33 research infrastructure projects bag €53.3m in SFI funding

3 Jan 2023

Image: © Robert Kneschke/Stock.adobe.com

The projects range from a new platform to test novel fertilisers to a one-stop shop for battery development.

A new wave of funding has been announced to support 33 high-impact research infrastructure projects across Ireland.

These endeavours will receive a total investment of €53.3m through the Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) Research Infrastructure Fund. The funding was announced by Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science Simon Harris, TD.

Harris said the funding will support “transformative research” which will have a “national and international impact”.

“The research community on our island has consistently proved itself to be world-class, not least during Covid-19, and continues to undertake cutting-edge, innovative research projects,” Harris said. “In order for this community to continue to thrive, it’s essential that they have sustained access to modern infrastructure and equipment.”

One of the projects is Tera Lab, led by Prof Paul Townsend at the Tyndall National Institute. This project is looking at high speed photonic and wireless communications technologies for 6G networks.

Another project aims to develop a platform to examine the efficacy of novel fertilisers, bioactives, biostimulants, manure management and digestate additives in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. This National Soil Greenhouse Gas Test Platform is being led by Karl Richards of Teagasc.

Two of the projects were co-funded by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland. This includes the National Rechargeable Battery Fabrication and Test Facility at the University of Limerick, which claims to be a first of its kind in Europe. This facility will be a one-stop shop for battery development, combining electrode fabrication, cell assembly, testing and state-of-the-art materials characterisation within one location.

SFI director general Prof Philip Nolan said the funded projects are at the “cutting edge”.

“In order for researchers to continue to deliver outstanding research and meet evolving and future challenges, we must ensure that they have the tools required for their research,” Nolan added.

In November 2022, 15 projects led by TUs and ITs in Ireland received €16.2m in funding from the SFI Frontiers for Partnership Awards.

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Leigh Mc Gowran is a journalist with Silicon Republic