The launch of Science Foundation Ireland’s (SFI) Annual Report 2014 appears to show welcome news for Ireland, as it has jumped four places to 16th in the list of the most-advanced countries globally in science.
Among the other key findings in the annual report is the news that in the last year the SFI invested a total of €155m in five new state-of-the-art SFI research centres, which had previously received government support of a total of €90m.
One element that the foundation has been pushing for some time now has been greater collaboration between academia and industry, whereby partnerships are formed to learn skills from one another.
In total, the SFI supported more than 1,200 collaborations with industry, including 650 multi-national corporations (MNCs) and 561 SMEs.
Meanwhile, Ireland’s international reputation was arguably enhanced, with 1,843 international academic collaborations in 57 countries.
Investing in Smart Futures
The SFI directly invested €27m in 343 new research awards across 23 programmes in Ireland, while five projects were approved for funding at a total cost of €2.5 million to SFI under the SFI-Pfizer Biotherapeutics Innovation Award Programme.
2014 also marked the launch of the foundation’s Smart Futures initiative, a new three-year plan to deliver and increase the uptake of science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) subjects among Irish students.
Speaking of the launch of the report, Prof Mark Ferguson, director general of Science Foundation Ireland and chief scientific adviser to the Government of Ireland, said: “We operate in a globally competitive environment where investment in research is critical to maintaining our competitive edge by providing creative ideas and skilled people. Ireland is succeeding in terms of creating high-value jobs in the STEM sector, encouraging industry collaboration, commercialising research and promoting science and innovation among the general public.”