The Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Richard Bruton TD, recently announced funding totalling €39million for 30 flagship scientific research projects including 2 University of Limerick (UL) projects. The University of Limerick projects to receiving funding are in the fields of solar power research led by Dr Kevin M. Ryan of the Materials and Surface Science Institute (MSSI) and mathematical network structures and their impact on virus spread led by Professor James Gleeson of the Mathematics Applications Consortium for Science and Industry (MACSI).
Administered via Science Foundation Ireland’s (SFI) ‘Principal Investigator’ (PI) Programme, the projects will be supported through to 2015.The funding will support 151 researchers working in areas identified by Government as key for developing new commercial products and services from scientific research, including ICT, health/life sciences and energy. Industry collaboration will be central to the projects, and companies involved will include Intel, Analog Devices, J&J and Hitachi. Among the areas covered by the research projects funded include: Molecular imaging of cancer; Obesity; Inflammatory diseases; Green transport and communications networks; Renewable energy generation and storage.
Making the announcement, Minister Bruton said: “Over the past decade, Ireland has built up a very substantial infrastructure and a reputation for basic scientific research, and many of the high-end jobs we have created in multinational and indigenous companies are directly related to these achievements. However, a central part of this Government’s plan for jobs and growth is to ensure that this research is better targeted at turning the good ideas of researchers into good products and good jobs. Already, investments of €700million from multinational companies in 2011 were in R&D – but we must do more.”
“To achieve this, we have introduced legislation to allow SFI to go beyond basic research to investigate commercial solutions; we have identified 14 areas which the Government is targeting for commercialisation; and we have adopted a series of reforms to make it easier to commercialise the results of State-funded research, including a one-stop-shop.
“Today, I am very happy to announce that the Government is investing a further €39million in 30 new research projects in areas which the Government has identified as having particular potential for jobs and growth, including ICT, health/life sciences and energy. What is particularly heartening is that much of this research is being done in collaboration with companies who are seeking to find new products and services, including Intel and Analog Devices. I congratulate SFI on their achievements; we must now build on this to ensure that even more of this work is translated into commercial products and services and ultimately the jobs we need”.
Welcoming the announcement, Seán Sherlock T.D., Minister of State with responsibility for Research and Innovation, commented, “Investment is key to ensuring that robust and results-driven research continues to take place and thrive here in Ireland. The funding announced today will help to bring the best of these research projects to the next level, creating impactful, innovative products and services for the Irish and international market.”
Also welcoming Minister Bruton’s PI funding announcement, Director-General of Science Foundation Ireland, Professor. Mark Ferguson, said, “The PI projects for 2012, selected following a highly-competitive, peer-reviewed process, are investigating some of the most important issues facing humanity today. From research into cancer, strokes and Alzheimer’s, to communication networks, next-generation thermoelectric devices and improving future flood risk predictions for Ireland among others, recipients have demonstrated both an in depth understanding and an ability to make measurable strides in their respective fields.”