37 research projects bag €3.5m in SFI funding

17 Oct 2018

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SFI has announced the recipients of €3.5m in funding, helping researchers commercialise their projects and creating research positions in the process.

Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) has revealed which Irish research projects are set to move to the next level thanks to €3.5m in funding as part of its Technology Innovation Development Award (TIDA) programme.

Its aim is to bolster researchers who are seeking practical solutions to everyday problems across a range of disciplines in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM), demonstrating strong potential for economic impact.

51 research positions created

Aside from trying to show the commercial potential of these ideas, the programme is also providing project funding and training in innovation and entrepreneurship skills to third-level researchers.

A total of 37 researchers from across Ireland’s higher-education institutions have been awarded under the latest TIDA programme and, as a result, 51 new research positions will be created.

Researchers funded through the programme will also participate in the new SFI Spark Pre-Accelerator. Delivered by Dublin City University’s Ryan Academy, the five-day programme for entrepreneurs will support researchers in developing skills in areas such as evidence-based entrepreneurship, innovation and design thinking.

‘We cannot be complacent’

Some of the researchers selected to participate include Prof Celine Marmion of the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, who is attempting to break cancer drug resistance; and Dr Lynne O’Shea of University College Dublin, who is attempting to create a commercial test to improve pregnancy rates when using assisted reproductive technologies.

“The SFI TIDA programme aims to increase the number and quality of discoveries with strong economic impact potential that secure follow-on public or private investment,” said Prof Mark Ferguson, director general of SFI. “It supports the next generation of technology entrepreneurs in Ireland, which will lead to new innovative products and disruptive solutions to global research challenges.”

Meanwhile, Minister of State for Training, Skills, Innovation, Research and Development John Halligan, TD, also welcomed the news. “Ireland is one of the fastest-growing economies in the eurozone; we cannot be complacent. The SFI TIDA programme fosters collaborative partnerships and supports innovation across the regions, as well as the development of critical skills among our research community.”

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic