SFI announces industry RD&I fellowship awardees

27 Apr 2023

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With a government investment of €1.6m, successful academic fellows will collaborate with industry partners on ‘ambitious and innovative’ projects.

Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) announced 18 recipients of its industry research, development and innovation (RD&I) fellowship programme today (27 April).

Run in collaboration with IDA Ireland and Enterprise Ireland, the fellowship programme 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 so that they can gain business knowledge and experience. In turn, the industry partner gains the expertise of the academic fellow.

Announcing the recipients, Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, Simon Harris, TD, said the fellowship would give participants opportunities to “undertake new transformative research in companies”.

Alongside a government investment of €1.6m, the industry partners working with the 18 awardees will provide co-funding worth a combined total of €1.3m.

Fellowships run for between one and 12 months on a full-time basis or between two months and 2 years on a part-time basis. The maximum SFI contribution for each fellowship is €100,000 in direct costs.

The selected projects come from a range of areas including microbiology, virtual reality, smart manufacturing, biotechnology and photodynamic therapy.

Researchers from the University of Galway had the most success with five awards. Trinity College Dublin had three awardees and the remainder were spread across the University of Limerick, RCSI University of Medicine and Health Sciences, University College Cork, Tyndall National Institute, University College Dublin and the National Institute for Bioprocessing Research and Training.

“The research projects selected for this funding are a testament to the talent that exists in our higher education institutions, and I look forward to seeing the outcomes generated through this programme which will shape the years ahead,” Harris said.

Prof Philip Nolan, director general of SFI, said that the industry fellowship programme was developed with the core objective of “encouraging and supporting ambitious and innovative research collaborations with industry”.

“The programme creates exciting opportunities for researchers and enhances the industry partners’ competitive advantage and future resilience,” Nolan said.

According to Nolan, the fellowships often lead “to longer-term collaborations between industry and academia”.

The 2023 fellowship programme is open for applications. For more information, visit the SFI website.

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Rebecca Graham is production editor at Silicon Republic