Science Foundation Ireland has announced that it will invest 72 million over the next six years in four new world-class SFI Research Centres in Ireland. The new SFI Research Centres will be supported by 80 industry partners who will provide an additional 38 million to support cutting-edge basic and applied research with strong industry engagement, economic and societal impact. The decision follows a comprehensive international peer review process involving leading industry and academic experts over the last 12 months.
Innovation 2020, the Government’s five-year strategy for research and development, science and technology, directs that the network of SFI Research Centres should be further developed to build critical mass in strategic areas of research strength and address enterprise needs.
The announcement marks the third tranche of funding under the SFI Research Centres Programme. The first seven SFI Research Centres were established in 2013 and a further five were established 2015. These 12 worldleading SFI Research Centres are recognised internationally for research excellence; attract talent and capital to Ireland; anchor, attract and spin-out businesses; consolidate excellent basic and applied research across Higher Education Institutions; and secure EU and other international funding.
The four new SFI Research Centres announced will address the following:
• Smart manufacturing IT and industrial automation systems, led by Prof Conor McCarthy, University of Limerick (Project Title – Confirm); • Biological resources as alternative materials to finite fossil resources, led by Prof Kevin O’Connor, UCD (Project Title – BEACON);
• Innovative techniques and processes in Additive Manufacturing, led by Prof Denis Dowling, UCD (Project Title – Deantus);
• Diagnosis, monitoring and treatment of chronic and rare neurological diseases – led by Prof David Henshall, RCSI (Project Title – FutureNeuro).
The four new SFI Research Centres involve strong collaborative partnerships between research bodies in Ireland with funded researchers participating from institutions including Athlone Institute of Technology, Beaumont Hospital, Cork Institute of Technology, Dublin City University, Mater Hospital, Maynooth University, NUI Galway, the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, Teagasc, Temple Street Children’s Hospital, Trinity College Dublin, Tyndall National Institute (UCC), University College Cork, University College Dublin, University of Limerick and Waterford Institute of Technology.
The new SFI Research Centres will be formally launched in September 2017.