New legislation extends SFI’s remit to fund applied research

11 Oct 2013

The Government has just signed into law new legislation that extends the remit of Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) to fund applied research and which gives SFI the legal power to fund projects on an all-island basis.

Minister for Research and Innovation Sean Sherlock TD today signed into law the Industrial Development (Science Foundation Ireland) (Amendment) Act 2013.

He said the legislation highlighted the key role played by science and technology in improving Ireland’s prospects for economic recovery and enhancing societal development.

“The broad cross-party support for this important legislation was particularly encouraging,” Minister Sherlock said.

New powers for SFI

The main provisions of the act enable SFI to fund applied research, complementing its current remit to fund basic research.

The act provides SFI with the legal power to fund research projects on an all-island basis as well as participate in international collaborative funding schemes.

The legislation also aims to further enhance outreach activities in science, technology, engineering and maths at primary and secondary level as well as increase public awareness of the sciences.

“The changes provided for in this Act will, amongst other things, be critical in enabling Science Foundation Ireland to deliver further on the Government’s aim to strategically direct our research investment towards areas linked to Ireland’s future economic and societal needs, and to accelerate the delivery of desirable outcomes from this investment,” Minister Sherlock said.

“The enactment of this legislation brings our present aspirations closer to fulfilment.  Science Foundation Ireland will continue to fund scientific research of excellence – both oriented basic research and applied research – thereby inspiring innovation and stimulating enterprise.

“This will translate into high-value jobs and further, related improvements to Irish society,” Sherlock said.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years