New government fund to support 850 jobs in science research

SOURCE: Lukas Bischoff Photograph/Shutterstock
Library at Trinity College Dublin.

By Clara Chooi 

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Investment of almost half a billion euro in cutting-edge science research is set to boost six science centres in Ireland and support the work of up to 850 researchers over the next six years.

The Irish Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation announced last week that it will invest €230 million (US$257 million) in six Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) research centres. This will be further boosted by industrial support of a further €230 million from 170 industry partners, totaling close to half a billion over the next six years.

Minister for Innovation, Heather Humphreys, told press the investment is set to benefit the whole country and especially those top-flight universities that partner with the six selected research centres. These include Trinity College Dublin, University College Dublin, Royal College of Surgeons Ireland, University College Cork, and NUI Galway.

“Our research centres not only act as magnets to attract and retain investment; they also encourage companies, both Irish and foreign-owned, to develop their research and development activities here. This will continue to benefit Ireland and the world for years to come,” Humphreys said.

The research centres are set to focus on a diverse range of areas including marine renewable energy, gut health, data analytics, advanced pharmaceutical manufacturing, and advanced materials.

Trinity’s Advanced Materials and Bio-engineering Research (AMBER) centre specialises in delivering world-class materials innovations. Researchers are working to enable faster computing and communications, revolutionise the treatment of damaged tissues, improve materials for energy efficiency and enable the next generation of manufactured products, maximising resource use for a more sustainable environment, and enabling a circular economy.

Alongside Trinity’s AMBER centre, APC Microbiome Ireland will also receive funding for its research on the complex relationship between diet, the microbiome, and a person’s health status.

The investment is part is the bigger Project Ireland 2040, the government’s long-term overarching strategy to make Ireland “a better country for all of its people.”

The scheme aims to change how investment is made in public infrastructure in Ireland, moving away from the approach of the past, which, according to the website, “saw public investment spread too thinly and investment decisions that didn’t align with a well-thought-out and defined strategy.”