15 researchers score SFI funding to collaborate with industry

17 Jun 2024

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SFI will support the temporary placement of these researchers in companies, where they can collaborate on a variety of projects.

Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) has awarded €1.4m to connect 15 researchers with industry and support their collaborative projects.

The funding will support the temporary placement of these academic researchers in 12 companies. They will conduct research in a variety of areas including energy efficient communications networks, electrochemical sensors for rapid medical diagnostics and moorings for offshore wind platforms.

One of the projects aims to find sustainable alternatives to reduce the environmental impact of composites for renewable energy devices, while another aims to reduce the carbon footprint of cement.

The awards were given as part of the SFI industry research, development and innovation (RD&I) fellowship programme, which supports partnerships between academia and industry to address “industry-informed challenges”.

The awards are aimed at academics who want to spend time working with an industry partner to gain business knowledge experience, while the industry partner gains the expertise of the academic fellow.

The 12 companies will provide co-funding with a total value exceeding €1m, according to the SFI. The awarded fellows are from Trinity College Dublin, University of Galway, University of Limerick, University College Dublin, RCSI University of Medicine and Health Science, Technological University of the Shannon, University College Cork, Atlantic Technological University, and Dublin City University.

“This funding supports colleagues in academia to bring their research knowledge and skills to an industry partner and work collaboratively on solutions to industry‐informed challenges,” said Dr Siobhan Roche, director of science for the economy at SFI. “The SFI industry RD&I fellowship programme provides a unique opportunity for researchers, drives research excellence through knowledge exchange and enhances the industry partners’ competitive advantage.”

Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science Patrick O’Donovan, TD, said the programme allows industry and academia to “collaborate and mutually benefit from each other’s invaluable knowledge and expertise”.

“Academic-industry collaborations maximise the economic and societal impact of Irish State-funded research and resources, and foster impactful innovation,” O’Donovan said. “I look forward to seeing the achievements that will shape the years ahead.”

Applications for the 2024 SFI RD&I fellowship are now open. The deadline for submissions is 26 June 2024. Last year, the SFI provided €1.6m to support 18 participants through this RD&I fellowship programme.

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Leigh Mc Gowran is a journalist with Silicon Republic