Four new world-class research centres are to be opened in Ireland as part of a multimillion-euro investment.
The Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) centres, which will be focused on the areas of smart manufacturing, neurotherapeutics, bioeconomy, and 3D printing, will receive €74m in government funding and €40m from their respective industries over the next six years.
In total, the four centres will directly support some 650 highly skilled researchers.
The investment will support cutting-edge basic and applied research, with strong industry engagement, driving economic benefits and positive societal impact.
The four research centres will focus on the following: CONFIRM aims to transform Ireland’s manufacturing industry to become a world-leader in smart manufacturing; BEACON will develop alternative technologies based on renewable biological resources; FutureNeuro is looking for treatments for chronic and rare neurological diseases; and I- FORM will enhance processing efficiency for Irish manufacturing, allowing the production of highly customised 3D printed components.
The four SFI research centres will engage in more than 80 collaborations with industry partners both at home and abroad.
Announcing the new centres, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said the investment would help create jobs and drive economic growth
“Investing in leading-edge scientific and technological research is good for our economy and helps us to discover new innovations which can improve our quality of life,” he said.
“Our SFI research centres represent a virtuous triangle between government, industry and higher education, and show just what can be achieved when there is a shared vision about reaching your ambitions.
“These four new SFI research centres will be centres of activity where Irish and international researchers are trained, and collaboration with private companies is facilitated to deliver new ideas and innovation. This, in turn, helps to create high-value jobs and drives economic growth and regional development.”
Director general of SFI and the Government’s chief scientific adviser, Prof Mark Ferguson, said last year Ireland was ranked 10th for the overall quality of scientific research carried out here and that research centres had been central to this success.
“Research and innovation matter for our future — they make the difference in enhancing productivity and boosting competitiveness and to tackling the societal challenges of our time: building a digitally-smart, low carbon, energy efficient, circular economy that offers well-paid, rewarding work and brings a good quality of life for all,” he said.
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