Specialist collaborative research centres to be created in Ireland and UK

24 Oct 2022

Image: © VectorMine/Stock.adobe.com

The new €74m collaborative initiative aims to build greater links between researchers in Ireland, Northern Ireland and the UK.

A new research and innovation initiative to boost collaboration between Ireland, Northern Ireland and the UK has been announced today (24 October).

The Co-Centres Programme involves the establishment of virtual collaborative research centres across these regions. The aim is to build strategic partnerships while addressing societal and environmental challenges.

The governments of Ireland, Northern Ireland and the UK are investing a total of €74m in the initiative.

In mid-November, a funding call will open to deal with two specific themes: climate and sustainable food systems.

“We have seen in recent years how important it is to invest in collaborative research and we are pleased to be able to support this ambitious new programme,” said Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science Simon Harris, TD.

“By working together, we can foster new research collaborations that are crucial to addressing both climate and sustainable and resilient food systems. These are critical issues that impact on all of us.”

Support is being provided through the Government’s Shared Island Fund, a scheme to boost cross-border cooperation, and Harris’s department. Last year, the Government allocated €40m to the North-South Research Programme through the Shared Island Fund.

Harris was joined at the announcement of the latest initiative by Northern Ireland Minister of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs Edwin Poots and UK Minister for Science and Investment Security Nusrat Ghani.

Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) will manage the call along with UK Research and Innovation and the Northern Ireland Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs.

SFI will provide up to €40m of the total €74m. Its director general, Prof Philip Nolan, said he looked forward to the launch of the programme call in the coming weeks.

He added that the “unique research centres” will address “major societal challenges in areas which are of global importance”.

Nolan recently sat down with Silicon Republic’s Ann O’Dea for a conversation about the direction the SFI will take in the coming years.

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Blathnaid O’Dea is Careers reporter at Silicon Republic