Science and technology programmes get extra €10m


10 Jan 2005

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An additional €10m will be provided in 2005 for Science and Technology programmes funded through Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) and Enterprise Ireland, Enterprise Minister Micheál Martin TD has announced.

The new allocation is over and above the €218.5m, which appeared in the Estimates published in November and brings the total budget for these programmes this year to more than €228m. This is the figure that will appear in the Government’s Revised Estimates due to be published in the coming weeks, Bob Keane of the Office of Science and Technology within the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment, told siliconrepublic.com .

Of the €10m, €6m will go towards Enterprise Ireland’s (EI) industry-led initiatives to improve the ability of companies to conduct research and development (R&D) and also for a cluster approach to collaborative research among groups of companies in key technology platform areas. The funding for this programme, initially set at €37m, has been expanded to €43m.

In addition, €1m will be allocated to EI’s intellectual property programme. This falls under EI’s collaborative research funding strand, whose overall budget increases from €35m to €36m.

These initiatives were in line with the Government’s goal of increasing industry spend in R&D, Minister Martin said.

An additional €2m will be channelled into SFI’s programme of Centres for Science, Engineering and Technology (CSET) – research institutes spanning academia and industry. According to Keane, the increased funding will allow SFI to build an additional CSET this year above and beyond the number it had original budgeted for. Five CSETS have been established to date.
Finally, a further €1m will be allocated to the Women in Science and Engineering Initiative, a new programme to be run by the SFI that aims to promote the recruitment and retention of women in science, engineering and technology research careers through scholarships.

“Building R&D capability to support the development of high-value products and services will be a critical foundation of competitive advantage for Ireland going forward. As a Government, we have proactively assisted our high-tech sector to develop and grow. Through Enterprise Ireland linking with third level institutes we aim to ensure that the maximum potential is derived from applied research – both in terms of new business establishment and technology transfer,” said Martin.
“SFI is giving us significant additional capacity in high-quality research. Since its establishment in 2000, SFI has awarded in the region of €400m to support more than 1,000 individuals, research teams, centres, and visiting researchers in creating the knowledge and driving the discoveries to underpin future competitiveness in key industries,” he added.

By Brian Skelly