Tánaiste Announces Major Investment of over €45 million in SFI Centres for Scien

Thursday, 18 December 2008

Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Mary Coughlan T.D., has announced substantial awards totalling €45.7 million over five years, through Science Foundation Ireland (SFI). This investment provides second term funding for the Digital Enterprise Research Institute (DERI) at NUI Galway as well as two other world-class research Centres for Science, Engineering and Technology (CSETs). Funding will be supplemented by an additional contribution from industry of €14.5 million, bringing the overall investment to over €60 million. At NUI Galway, DERI is researching technologies that will underpin the next generation of the World Wide Web – the Semantic Web. Announcing the awards, the Tánaiste said: "From its inception, the SFI CSET programme has been designed to facilitate the creation of internationally-competitive, large-scale research centres that support high-quality collaborations between higher education institutes and industry-based researchers. All three centres have been playing a pivotal role in contributing to the Government's goal of building a world-class research base in Ireland, and developing our human capital to support economic competitiveness. Today is an endorsement of this achievement to date, and marks the beginning of the next chapter for each individual researcher and their respective teams". Michael Turley, CEO, DERI, said at the announcement: "The receipt of this second term funding from SFI will enable DERI to execute on its strategies. These include world class research and the creation of fourth level human capital for Ireland s knowledge economy. This funding will give DERI the opportunity to exploit the commercialisation and job creation opportunities that will arise through DERI s industry partnerships and NUI Galway's technology transfer programmes. The University's education and outreach programme with schools and communities will also play a vital part in attracting third level students to the Engineering and Science disciplines". DERI's industry partners include: Nortel Networks (Ireland) Ltd, Cisco Systems Internetworking (Ireland) Ltd, FISC-Ireland Ltd, L M Ericsson Ltd, Storm Technology Ltd, Celtrak Ltd, Cyntelix Corporation Ltd, OpenLink Software (UK) Ltd. Stefan Decker, Scientific Director, DERI, NUI Galway, said: "DERI s mission is to create the foundation for interlinking the worlds knowledge. We are not only aiming for academic excellence, but together with our industry partners we want to change the way how people interact with the computers when using the Web or Desktop software. Starting from a basis of strength enabled by SFI s funding, we are confident that we are able to help shape Ireland s future." Also attending the announcement, Minister for Science, Technology and Innovation, Dr Jimmy Devins T.D. said: "A total of 12 distinct indigenous and multinational companies will partner with these CSETs, and SFI funding will be bolstered by these industry partners' contribution of an additional €14.5 million in the form of funding, personnel and equipment. The funding announced today will directly support almost 200 researchers, graduate students and others in a well-structured and wholly-collaborative environment between now and 2013". The two other funding awards under the SFI CSET Programme announced today are for: Alimentary Pharmabiotic Centre (APC) based at University College Cork which is focusing on research in gastrointestinal health; Director: Professor Fergus Shanahan, Industry Partners: GlaxoSmithKline and Alimentary Health. Other Partners: Teagasc CRANN, the Centre for Research on Adaptive Nanostructures and Nanodevices which is hosted by Trinity College Dublin and is working in the area of Nanotechnology; Director: Professor John Boland Industry Partners: Hewlett-Packard and Intel Commenting on the awards, Professor Frank Gannon, Director-General of SFI stated: "SFI CSETs have led our portfolio of initiatives that are steadily moving Ireland towards a truly knowledge-based economy. These CSETs have been independently verified as playing an important role in building a world-class research system in Ireland, as well as linking successfully with major multinational companies and providing an attractor for multinational investment in research in Ireland. Funding for the three CSETs announced today was approved by the SFI Board following a rigorous, multi-faceted assessment process. This encompassed international scientific peer review, 31 international experts participated in the postal review process and 28 international experts participated in the four on-site reviews. In addition, a 'Strategic Value to Ireland' assessment was performed by key Government agency stakeholders, including IDA Ireland, Enterprise Ireland, Forfás, the Higher Education Authority and the Health Research Board.
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