Ireland makes a €26m bet on discovering raw materials

2 Dec 2015

The €26m research centre will boost the discovery of raw materials

A new €26m Irish Centre for Research in Applied Geosciences (iCRAG) has been opened at University College Dublin to focus on the discovery, de-risking and sourcing of raw materials.

The centre will receive funding of €18m from the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation through Science Foundation Ireland’s (SFI) Research Centres Programme, with an additional €8m from 55 industry partners, which include Geoscience Ireland, Tullow Oil and Petroleum Infrastructure Programme.

iCRAG will conduct world-leading research in thematic research areas, which are systematically embedded into industry to maximise impact and underpin sustainable economic impact.

‘Geoscience underpins the discovery of raw materials, water and energy resources that are critical to the world’s economy’

The centre’s work will focus on significantly de-risking Ireland’s onshore and offshore hydrocarbon and mineral resource exploration activities, as well as ensuring safe and secure groundwater supplies.

Raw materials discovery

“ICRAG is an exciting new research centre that will help nurture real collaboration across industry and academia in Geosciences in Ireland,” said Damien English TD, Minister for Skills, Research and Innovation.

“It will support increased commercialisation of research, which will ultimately grow jobs and support further participation in the STEM sector”

ICRAG aims to engage with the public and policy makers to explain the nature of resource-related industries and to enhance the perception and understanding of applied geoscience.

“Geoscience underpins the discovery of raw materials, water and energy resources that are critical to the world’s economy,” said iCRAG director Prof John Walsh.

“With increasing demand and diminishing supply, focused innovations in geoscience are of paramount importance globally.

“ICRAG, under this investment by Science Foundation Ireland, will bring together a team of leading international researchers and industry partners on issues underpinning the economic development of the country – from safe and secure groundwater supplies to the discovery of mineral/aggregate deposits, and from de-risking oil and gas exploration to educating and informing the public on geoscience-related issues.”

Geoscience image via Shutterstock

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