Major research investment of â¬12 million for the NUI Galway Digital Enterprise Research Centre
Major research investment of €12 million for the NUI Galway Digital Enterprise Research Centre
The Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade & Employment, Mary Harney announced today (Thursday 1st May 2003) that Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) has made awards of €42 million to create in Ireland new world class research Centres for Science, Engineering and Technology (CSET).
These awards go to researchers in Irish universities who can make Ireland an international leader in key strategic areas through collaborations with scientists and engineers in industry.
These investments will create an extraordinary set of research partnerships connecting Irish universities with their counterparts from world leading research corporations and some of Ireland's most promising ICT and biotechnology companies. The Centres will link faculty at universities in Cork, Dublin and Galway with their counterparts from HP, Procter and Gamble and Servier. Irish companies involved in these partnerships include Surgen, Alimentary Health and Allegro Technologies.
SFI has made these first CSET grants for five years and committed at least €12 million to each of the three centres approved. This funding is bolstered further by industry partners, who are required by the CSET programme to add 20 percent to SFI's support for these awards in the form of funding, personnel, or equipment. The three centres will employ approximately 150 researchers, graduate students and others as a result of this funding.
These CSET awards build on investments of more than €150 million that SFI has made since 2001, in support of the ground breaking research efforts of 80 individual investigators and fellow award recipients.
Announcing the awards the Tánaiste said: "These are the most significant grants SFI has made to date in building Ireland's new knowledge-based economy. They create global strategic value for Ireland by embedding industrial research efforts leveraged with academic talent, that will generate new ideas and products, train the research talent of the 21st century and produce the research and development from which high-wage economies around the world have grown."
The three CSET recipients are NUI Galway, Royal College of Surgeons, and UCC.
At NUI Galway, Digital Enterprise Research Centre will partner with HP on research into the technologies that will underpin the next generation of the World Wide Web, specifically on intelligent software that can dramatically improve information retrieval from the Internet and personalise web applications.
At the Royal College of Surgeons' National Centre for Human Proteomics, researchers will partner with Servier, Surgen/Aventis/ Protagen, and Allegro Technologies to study technologies and proteins that can successfully treat diseases of the heart.
At UCC, the Alimentary Pharmabiotic Centre will partner with Procter & Gamble and Teagasc on research into drug treatment and pharmaceutical products, whose applications can include treatments for Crohn's disease.
The CSET awards also bring to or secure in Ireland three distinguished scientists who will direct the research at each centre. They include biologist Dolores Cahill, who will move from the Max Planck Institute in Germany to the Royal College of Surgeons to direct that research centre; Dieter Fensel, who will lead the centre in NUI Galway; and biologist and clinician scientist Fergus Shanahan, who will direct the centre at UCC.
These grantees received their awards against competition from 23 other applications following a rigorous review process led by international experts. The experts assessed each application's potential level of research quality, collaboration, intellectual breadth, flexibility in responding to new research opportunities, and integration of research and education. SFI also made the awards only after each centre underwent a review that included the experts' assessment of written proposals and oral research presentations and a visit by the experts to each site where a centre would be located.
Dr. William C. Harris, Director General of SFI, said, "SFI has focused such considerable resources on these awards because building top-class research teams between academia and industry is one of the most important steps any country can take in building a lasting indigenous research base and generating ideas, products, and jobs based on knowledge. More importantly, our future depends on the harnessing of ideas and the creativity of talented researchers in Ireland. I am excited by the talent and ideas supported by these three initial CSETs."
Even as these awards are being made, SFI is planning to invest aggressively in more centres. The Foundation issued its second call for proposals for its next round of CSET awards earlier this year. Thirty-seven scientists formally indicated they would submit proposals, which are due by May 9, 2003.