Irish and UK research centres join forces in €38.6m SFI deal

4 Feb 2019

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The Government has signed a €38.6m agreement to bring seven SFI research centres into a partnership with UK counterparts.

While there is so much uncertainty in the air for UK academia in the face of a hard Brexit, Irish researchers are set to benefit from a new initiative that has received an investment of €38.6m from the Government.

This funding will lead to the development of Centres for Doctoral Training (CDTs), linked with seven Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) research centres. The awards have been made under a new partnership between SFI and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), which is part of UK Research and Innovation.

The CDTs represent one of the UK’s biggest investments in research skills and will involve more than 70 centres to equip future doctoral-level researchers across engineering and physical sciences. Under this latest agreement, the seven joint awards between the UK and Ireland will allow Irish doctoral students to gain training opportunities and collaborate with UK institutions.

Speaking of the new partnership, Prof Mark Ferguson, director general of SFI, said: “Ireland and the UK are key drivers of impactful, world-leading research, and it is important that we continue to strengthen our partnerships.

“The level of investment in the CDT is significant and represents our commitment to prepare graduates for careers in research and beyond, and the emphasis we place on progressing international alliances and global opportunities for our researchers.”

The seven new centres and partnerships include:

CDT in photonic integration and advanced data storage

IPIC, the SFI research centre for photonics with Queen’s University Belfast and the University of Glasgow.

CDT in advanced metallic systems

I-Form, the SFI research centre for advanced manufacturing with the University of Sheffield and the University of Manchester.

CDT in engineered tissues for discovery, industry and medicine

Cúram, the SFI research centre for medical devices with the University of Glasgow, Aston University and the University of Birmingham.

CDT in transformative pharmaceutical technologies

SSPC, the SFI research centre for pharmaceuticals with the University of Nottingham and University College London.

CDT in energy resilience and the built environment

MaREI, the SFI research centre for marine and renewable energy with University College London and Loughborough University.

CDT in advanced characterisation of materials

AMBER, the SFI research centre for advanced materials with Imperial College London and University College London.

CDT: Atoms-to-products: An integrated approach to sustainable chemistry

Beacon, the SFI research centre for the bioeconomy with the University of Nottingham.

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic