Ambitions to be global leader in nanoscience

After 10 years in existence the CRANN Institute in Trinity College Dublin has made Ireland competitive in nanotechnology and aims to make the country a world leader within another decade.

Executive director of CRANN, Dr Diarmuid O’Brien, said the first 10 years had been about developing nanotechnology in Ireland, but the next 10 will focus on making CRANN a world-leading institution.

“For us the past 10 years is about going from a position where there was no activity to being competitive. In the next 10 years we move from being very competitive to being world leaders,” he said.

In the past 10 years, nanoscience has grown to such an extent that it is now linked to 10% or €15bn of Ireland’s annual exports, and responsible for over 250,000 jobs. CRANN has grown from just six researchers to more than 300, and from working with four companies to more than 100. It has leveraged state funding to bring in more than €50m of non-exchequerinvestment from industry and international funding streams.

Despite CRANN’s success in tapping non-exchequer funding, Dr O’Brien stressed the need to maintain the current level of spending.

“We would be looking for the Government to maintain their current level of funding,” he said.

Junior minister Fergus O’Dowd said centres such as CRANN were key to developing new jobs and fields of excellence for Ireland.

“Leading research centres of excellence such as CRANN have helped to transform Ireland’s research landscape and higher education connectivity with industry since the early 2000s. With top-class researchers like those working in CRANN, Ireland is regarded as one of the leading countries for nanoscience innovation in the world. Centres of its scale and excellence are a key part of the Government’s plans for jobs and growth. We need to continue to develop good ideas through quality scientific research and ensure that we turn more of them into good sustainable jobs, new products and services,” said Mr O’Dowd.


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