English and Bruton announce €28 Million Science Foundation Ireland investment in research

Investment by the Dept of Jobs through Science Foundation Ireland Supports Ireland’s Expanding Collaborations and Partnerships with Industry and Academia Internationally   

Research Infrastructure for 21 Projects Supports Progression of Exemplary Irish Science in areas including Manufacturing, Big Data, Wireless Technology & Networks, Natural Resources & Hazards, Internet of Things, Marine Renewable Energy and Animal & Human Health.

Ministers English and Bruton Announce Further Commitment to Irish Science & Innovation through Science Foundation Ireland Infrastructure Awards, supporting the Government’s Action Plan for Jobs and its recently announced Science Strategy, Innovation 2020     
 
Birr Castle, Offaly, IRELAND – 12 January 2016
  – The Minister for Jobs, Richard Burton, TD together with the Minister for Research, Innovation and Skills, Damien English, TD today announced details of a €28 million investment in research equipment and facilities through Science Foundation Ireland. A total of 21 exemplary research projects will be supported in sectors including applied geo-sciences, pharmaceutical manufacturing, bio-banking, marine renewable energy, internet of things, astronomy, big data and additive manufacturing using nano-materials.


This infrastructure funding was awarded competitively following rigorous international review to research groups where the research equipment and facilities are required to address major research opportunities and challenges; including partnerships with industry and /or international funders.  This new infrastructure will ensure that Irish researchers continue to be internationally competitive, with access to modern equipment and facilities which will enable them to be successful in securing future funding from leading companies and Europe, including Horizon 2020.  


This investment is made by the Department of Jobs through Science Foundation Ireland.
The 21 infrastructure projects funded were in a range of strategically important sectors as follows: 

Animal & Human Health: Human motion analysis system to facilitate the development of personal sensing connected health technologies for patients and athletes; an early life lab to monitor how the brain grows, develops and repairs in young children; a biobank of 4 million samples to facilitate the discovery and development of new treatments in personalised medicine and nutrition to improve outcomes for mothers and babies; a human performance sensing suite to discover and develop new therapeutic strategies for metabolic and neuromuscular disease; animal and pathogen genomics analysis system to support emergent agri-food research areas such as next generation biomarkers, multiplex diagnostics, and genomic selection breeding programmes;

Big Data Analytics, Internet of Things (IoT) and Networks:
 Low Frequency Array (I-LOFAR) gathering radio images of astronomical objects using advanced image processing and data analytics techniques; a new Ireland-wide wireless network testbed to support new IoT concepts, business models and devices to be developed and tested; a radio testbed for the development and testing of new radio technologies for IoT;  a 400+ Gigabit-per-second communications testbed to enable the development of the next generation core network and datacentre technologies;

Manufacturing:
 additive manufacturing nanomaterial infrastructure for the development of innovative printable materials such as 3D hip and knee implants; a state-of-the-art advanced analysis facility, allowing real-time direct observation of pharmaceutical process reactions as they occur thus supporting drug manufacturing; a crystallization, isolation and drying technology testbed for pharmaceutical manufacturing; splutter disposition tool capable of growing complex, device-quality stacks of metal and oxide thin films for applications such as integrated photonics; infrastructure to support the packaging and assembly of a wide range of miniaturised photonic devices used in data-communications, sensing and point-of-care medical diagnostics.

Natural Resources & Hazards:
 sensing/early-warning system for offshore earthquake and offshore storms, including the quantification of offshore natural resources; electron microscope to determine the microscopic composition of rocks to identify valuable minerals; state of the art X-ray CT scanner to enable the analysis of botanical, geophysical and natural resources; an atmospheric chamber to enable innovative studies on air pollution and climate change.

Marine:
 an Open Ocean Emulator to accurately replicate real ocean wave conditions in a laboratory setting to accelerate growth of the offshore renewable energy industry in Ireland; a remotely operated vehicle to enable the deployment, repair and maintenance of wave and tidal energy devices in the challenging off shore conditions. Speaking at the announcement in Birr, Co Offaly, Minister Bruton said: “At the heart of our Action Plan for jobs is driving employment growth in every region of the country. We have now put in place individual jobs plans for 7 out of the 8 regions in the country, and what has repeatedly become clear is that research and innovation must be accelerated right across the country if we are to deliver the jobs growth we need. Today’s announcement by Science Foundation Ireland is an important part of this.  By investing in world-class R&D infrastructure, both at a regional and national level, this will ensure that we can compete at the highest levels internationally and continue to turn more good ideas into good jobs”.

Commenting on today’s announcements, Minister English said “Today’s investment will advance the implementation of the government’s new science strategy – Innovation 2020. The 21 projects will enable globally compelling research to be undertaken across the country; facilitating greater industry and international collaboration; supporting the training of researchers and demonstrating to an international audience that Ireland on an all island basis, is business friendly and bullish in its pursuit of, and participation in, excellent research.”

 Prof. Mark Ferguson, Director General Science Foundation Ireland and Chief Scientific Adviser to the Government of Ireland, added, “Ireland is increasingly becoming the location of choice for multinational companies to develop and test tomorrow’s technologies and this investment demonstrates our commitment and expanded ability to engage, discover and collaborate at all levels.  Science Foundation Ireland is delighted to support and drive Ireland’s science strategy, Innovation 2020, with the addition of key infrastructure to propel important research projects. Ultimately, this is about providing Irish researchers in strategic areas with the tools to be world leading.”

 

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