CRANN, the nanoscience institute based at Trinity College Dublin (TCD), secured €8m in industry funding this year, allowing for the creation of 50 full-time research positions.
The Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Richard Bruton, TD, was at CRANN’s industry showcase at the Science Gallery this morning to make the announcement that the institute, which is funded by the Government via Science Foundation Ireland (SFI), got €8m in funding from industry in 2012, allowing for the creation of 50 full-time research jobs. This was a 60pc increase over investment secured by CRANN in 2011.
As well as this, CRANN has also received a commitment of €20m of industry funding for research over the next six years.
Bruton spoke in front of 20 of the institute’s research partner companies, such as Intel, Merck Millipore and Hewlett-Packard.
With Ireland now ranked sixth globally for nanoscience research, and eighth globally for materials science research, CRANN researchers have been responsible for more than 70pc of the outputs leading to this national ranking, according to the Government.
Right now, nanoscience supports 250,000 jobs in Ireland, across the ICT, energy, medical and pharmaceutical sectors, and accounts for €15bn of annual exports.
Bruton also spoke this morning about the Government’s reforms in terms of investing in scientific research that achieves a greater commercial return.
"That is why we have put in place a series of changes to get more out of the State’s investment in this area, including a research prioritisation exercise, a one-stop shop for commercialising research and a new highly ambitious strategy from SFI which aims to become the best science funding agency in the world," he said.
CRANN’s director Prof John Boland said that Ireland’s researchers are at the heart of nanoscience innovation.
"Companies can partner with institutions from anywhere across the globe, but they are choosing to collaborate with CRANN as a result of our world-class research," he said.
Some of CRANN’s industry engagements include a partnership with Eblana Photonics on the characterisation and quality control of lasers that are used for the delivery of high-speed broadband to the home. CRANN is also partnering with Thomas Swan & Co on the industrial scale-up of graphene production.
Meanwhile, the brewing company SABMiller has invested in a project at CRANN on the development of a nanomaterial to prolong the shelf life of beer in plastic bottles.