The Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Innovation Batt O’Keeffe TD recently announced the Government’s science agency, Science Foundation Ireland (SFI), has backed more than 600 partnerships between research teams and firms last year.
Speaking at the SFI’s 10th anniversary in the Aviva Stadium, Dublin, O’Keeffe said the backing was a move aimed at generating high-quality jobs.
He described SFI’s journey as a “decade of discovery, pioneering research and teamwork involving brilliant minds from here and abroad who have conducted wide-ranging research on Irish soil” and praised the convergence of academia and enterprise.
“Through SFI, the traditionally distinct arenas of academia and enterprise have converged and collaborated, converting ideas and processes into new products and services and, importantly, jobs,” said O’Keeffe.
O’Keeffe noted the importance and value of researchers and higher educational institutions to the country’s economic recovery.
“In striving to unearth new discoveries and attain higher standards of research, you are playing a key role in delivering enhanced economic and societal benefits for Ireland.”
At the end of last year, SFI-funded researchers were working with 389 firms.
Last year, the agency directly supported 3,225 researcher team members – up 15pc on 2008 – involving 601 collaborations with firms.
The event was attended by the An Taoiseach Brian Cowen, as well as industry figures, scientific researchers and Government agencies.
The director general of SFI, Prof Frank Gannon, said: “There is now an unprecedented momentum in innovation in this country exemplified by the excellent day-to-day research conducted in laboratories across Ireland’s higher-education institutions.
“The fact that there is now more engagement between SFI-funded researchers and the enterprise sector is a source of particular optimism for future commercial output.”