A further €100m will be put forward over the next six years by 156 leading research industry companies, in what will be the largest joint state/industry research investment in Irish history.
Part of the Science Foundation Ireland research centres programme, it will be announced this morning by Sean Sherlock, the minister for research and innovation, alongside Richard Bruton, the jobs minister.
Among the firms to have already signed up to the project are Hewlett Packard, Microsoft, Pfizer, Roche, and IBM.
Almost all leading Irish third- level institutes — including UCC and the Tyndall in Cork City, and Trinity College, UCD, and DCU — will benefit from the investment.
Speaking about the project areas — including marine renewable energy, healthy ageing, nano-technology and drug synthesis — Mr Bruton said the move was a “key part” of the Government’s attempts to improve the jobs market.
“A key part of the Government’s action plan for jobs is to build on the major achievements in scientific research we have built up over the past decade and turn more good ideas into good jobs.
“This announcement will lead to the establishment in Ireland of world-class centres of research excellence and scale which will be gamechangers for Irish scientific research.
“The €300m investment — and the seven new large-scale, world-class research centres it will support — are aimed at achieving a step-change in the reputation and performance of Ireland’s research system.
“It will support more than 800 talented scientists, develop cutting-edge research and new technologies, attract dynamic partnerships with industry, and ultimately help to create the jobs we need,” he said.
Mr Sherlock last night said today’s announcement should be seen as helping to “ramp up” investment in the vital multi-billion-euro research industry, with the “main aim” being to “create more jobs”.
“This is a landmark moment in the evolution of Ireland’s research system which will deliver major economic and societal benefits for Ireland in the years to come,” he said.
The drugs and technologies research sector is seen as a key element of any sustained improvement in Ireland’s ongoing economic problems, with sustained investment considered vital to encouraging companies to base themselves in this country.