Ireland jumps four places to 10th in global scientific rankings – SFI

13 Jul 2017

Image: Jiab Ja/Shutterstock

SFI’s annual report for 2016 shows that Ireland’s stature in global science has grown once again, now ranking 10th in the world.

Each year, Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) throws out a number of figures for the release of its annual report, and this year is no different.

Released this morning (13 July), the report revealed that Ireland’s position in the world of science has grown significantly, from 14th place in the global scientific rankings in 2015, to 10th last year.

Ranked according to Thomson Reuters’ InCites Essential Science Indicators, this is the first time that Ireland has made it into the top 10. It finds itself one place behind Wales, but one spot ahead of Germany.

So what science areas did Ireland excel in? The country came in second place globally for animal and dairy, immunology, and nanotechnology research; and found itself in sixth place in the fields of basic medical research and computer science.

General funding has increased

Across the year, SFI said that a total of €184m was invested by the agency across its research programmes, up €30m on the year before.

Of that figure, more than 70pc came from non-exchequer funding, including €77m from the EU and €45m from private enterprise. It is worth noting that while investment from private enterprise rose by €7m last year, EU funding decreased slightly from €79m in 2015.

Over the course of the year, SFI supported 1,603 industry collaborations across nearly 900 MNCs and SMEs, and, on current estimates, it supports 31,000 jobs across Ireland.

There has also been a slight increase in the number of international academic collaborations from the previous report, with a total of 2,359 in 2016 compared with 2,081 in 2015.

Brexit looms

Speaking of the future, SFI chair Ann Riordan emphasised Ireland’s continued connection with the UK despite the onset of Brexit.

“While Brexit has serious implications for Ireland generally, there are also opportunities in science and research,” she said.

“In 2016, the SFI worked hard to put Ireland in a position to best avail of these opportunities. We are working closely with our partners in the UK – the UK Research Councils, the Royal Society and Wellcome – and with individual research and education organisations there.”

SFI also said that one of its key priorities for 2017 will be to support its research centres. Plans are to invest €72m in four centres over the course of the next six years, with 80 industry partners committing an additional €38m.

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic