Five new SFI research centres named – focus areas include medical devices, applied geosciences and connectivity

Five new world-class SFI research centres are to be set up with Government and industry funding of €245m over the next six years.

The five new centres are: Adapt, which is focused on global digital connectivity; Connect Centre for Future Networks and Communications, focused on future broadband, cellular and internet-of-things networks; Cúram Centre for Research in Medical Devices; iCRAG Centre for Research in Applied Geosciences; and Lero, The Irish Software Research Centre.

The five centres will be involved in over 165 industry collaborations with partners ranging from multinationals to SMEs and including Intel, Google, Microsoft, Medtronic Vascular Galway Ltd, Xilinx, and Huawei.

Funding of €155m from the Department of Jobs will be delivered through Science Foundation Ireland’s (SFI) Research Centres Programme, coupled with €90m in cash and in-kind contributions from industry partners. The funding will be provided between 2014 and 2020.

“The €245m investment announced today, and the five 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,” said Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Richard Bruton. “This builds on the announcement of seven similar centres last year. With 12 world-class SFI research centres, Ireland is now well placed to take the lead developing cutting-edge research and new technologies, ultimately delivering more commercial ideas and jobs.”

“These SFI research centres are ideally positioned to nurture real collaboration across industry and academia in Ireland which supports increased commercialisation of research and will ultimately grow jobs in the Stem sector,” said Minister for Skills, Research and Innovation, Damien English. “Importantly, these centres will also strongly position Irish based scientists to win funding through the EU Horizon 2020 funding programme, and will enable us to attract further investment from international companies in the future.“

“These five new SFI Research Centres were selected following a highly competitive and rigorous international peer review process which screened for scientific excellence and assessed potential economic and societal impact,” said Mark Ferguson, director general of Science Foundation Ireland and chief scientific adviser to the Government. “These five SFI research centres complement the seven we announced last year – which are already having a major positive impact: making important scientific advances, initiating and enhancing enterprise, training people with appropriate skills, winning EU projects and enhancing Ireland’s international reputation. These SFI research centres combine scientific research with deep and significant enterprise engagement, excellence and impact. We are confident that they will make a significant contribution to Ireland’s economy, employment and reputation.”

The five centres involve a collaborative partnership across higher education institutions in Ireland with participation from Cork Institute of Technology; Dublin City University; Dublin Institute of Technology; Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies; Dundalk IT; NUI Galway; Maynooth University; Royal College of Surgeons Ireland; Trinity College Dublin; Tyndall National Institute; University College Cork; University College Dublin; University of Limerick and Waterford Institute of Technology.

Grainne Rothery