Almost €30m to be invested in research equipment and facilities

The investment is by the Department of Jobs through Science Foundation Ireland

Science investment, Department of Jobs, Science Foundation Ireland, equipment, facilities

This file photo shows a black magnifying glass on top of a wireless keyboard | Image: CDC/ Debora Cartagena

A €28.8m investment is being announced in 21 science projects.

The fund is for research equipment and facilities through Science Foundation Ireland.

The investment, through the Department of Jobs, is for projects in sectors including geo-sciences, pharmaceutical manufacturing, bio-banking, marine renewable
energy, internet of things, astronomy, big data and additive manufacturing using nano-materials.

The Department of Jobs says the infrastructure funding was awarded competitively following rigorous international review to research groups, where the research equipment and facilities are required to address major research opportunities and challenges.

This includes partnerships with industry and/or international funders.

"This new infrastructure will ensure that Irish researchers continue to be internationally competitive, with access to modern equipment and facilities which will enable them to be successful in securing future funding from leading companies and Europe, including Horizon 2020", the department says.

Speaking at the announcement in Birr, Co Offaly, Jobs Minister Richard Bruton said: "By investing in world-class R&D infrastructure, both at a regional and national level,
this will ensure that we can compete at the highest levels internationally and continue to turn more good ideas into good jobs".

While Professor Mark Ferguson, director-general of Science Foundation Ireland and chief scientific adviser to the government, added: "Ireland is increasingly becoming the location of choice for multinational companies to develop and test tomorrow’s technologies and this investment demonstrates our commitment and expanded ability to engage, discover and collaborate at all levels".

The projects funded were in a range of sectors, including:

  • Animal and Human Health: Human motion analysis system to facilitate the development of personal sensing connected health technologies for patients and athletes; an early life lab to monitor how the brain grows, develops and repairs in young children; a biobank of 4 million samples to facilitate the discovery and development of new treatments in personalised medicine and nutrition to improve outcomes for mothers and babies
  • Big Data Analytics, Internet of Things (IoT) and Networks: Low Frequency Array (I-LOFAR) gathering radio images of astronomical objects using advanced image processing and data analytics techniques; a new Ireland-wide wireless network testbed to support new IoT concepts, business models and devices to be developed and tested; a radio testbed for the development and testing of new radio technologies for IoT
  • Manufacturing: Additive manufacturing nanomaterial infrastructure for the development of innovative printable materials such as 3D hip and knee implants; a state-of-the-art advanced analysis facility, allowing real-time direct observation of pharmaceutical process reactions as they occur thus supporting drug manufacturing
  • Natural Resources and Hazards: Sensing/early-warning system for offshore earthquake and offshore storms, including the quantification of offshore natural resources; electron microscope to determine the microscopic composition of rocks to identify valuable minerals; state of the art X-ray CT scanner to enable the analysis of botanical, geophysical and natural resources
  • Marine: An Open Ocean Emulator to accurately replicate real ocean wave conditions in a laboratory setting to accelerate growth of the offshore renewable energy industry in Ireland