Irish science projects ‘worth €500m’ ranked first in the world

Ireland ranked first in the world for nanoscience research with a €5 return for every €1 invested, a report has found.

The report, carried out by Trinity College Dublin finance professor Brian Lucey, said that nano and materials science was worth €500m to the economy and had supported 14,000 jobs in the past decade.

Nanoscience is the study of tiny particles while materials science involves the study of the properties of materials in construction or manufacturing such as ceramics and metals.

Mr Lucey’s report found that the Science Foundation Ireland-funded research centre Advanced Materials and Bio-Engineering Research (Amber) had along with its Centre for Research on Adaptive Nanostructures and Nanodevices predecessor generated a gross output of more than €500m over 10 years from an income of €108m.

It said the former worked with more than 200 companies in Ireland and internationally, while its researchers were awarded €45m in European funding.

The centre’s researchers have published over 2,400 research papers generating over 76,000 citations.

Director Mick Morris said nanoscience and materials science in Ireland will lead on the international stage in the next decade.

“This report showcases the critical importance for Amber to continue to be funded for world class research so that we can deliver, scientific, economic and societal impacts into Ireland for the benefit of the entire population,” he said.

Projects have included a partnership with Fosters and Miller beer maker SABMiller to increase the shelf life of bottled beer, as well as discovering a new material to repair damaged knee cartilage.

Its advanced microscopy laboratory has some of the world’s most advanced microscopes, allowing material to be viewed at atomic scale.

Innovation and Research Minister, John Halligan said the research has led to a significant influx of foreign direct investment into the Republic.

“Leading multinationals have stated in this report that a key reason for their selecting Ireland as a base, is their work with Amber.

“Its researchers are making world-first discoveries that are leading to new Irish start-ups, and helping global corporations deliver new applications in the areas of ICT, energy and medicine, among others,” he said.

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