Director General for Research at the European Commission Begins Tour of Irish Un
Monday, 7 September 2009
José Manuel Silva Rodríguez, Director General for Research at the European Commission, begins a tour of Irish universities at NUI Galway today (Monday, 7 September). The Director General develops EU policy in the field of research and technological development, helps coordinate research activities and promotes understanding of the role of the sciences. Speaking at a welcome reception in Galway last night, NUI Galway President, Dr James J. Browne, said: "As the Lisbon referendum debate gathers momentum in Ireland, it is important to recognise the significant contribution which EU programmes have made to Irish universities. EU support has enabled universities such as NUI Galway to develop and to achieve world-class research standards. This investment has transformed the Irish research landscape, and has enabled Ireland to play a key role in developing Europe's research-intensive smart economy". This represents another strong reason for a Yes Vote in the forthcoming Lisbon Referendum. Director General Rodríguez was confident of the future relationship between his office and Ireland's education institutions, explaining the purpose of his visit: "Over the last five years, European research and technology policy has come of age. By bringing together the research community, industry and policy-makers, it promotes scientific excellence and addresses the fragmentation and duplication in European research that leads to wasted resources, ground lost to our global competitors and a sub-optimal impact on economic growth and job creation. Making a genuine European research area come true is now a unanimously agreed objective that features high on the political agenda". He continued: "European citizens believe in science as a tool of progress, and support a more cooperative European approach to science and technology policy. Pooling brains and resources is key to make the EU competitive globally: we are more intelligent together than on our own. Ireland has a strong scientific expertise in many areas on which your country is building and developing its research capacity. Irish research centres and enterprises already benefit from EU funding. They have joined or established research partnerships and submitted ambitious research projects. Participating in an EU-funded project opens doors and brings you knowledge, training, partners etc. This is key for your research and your development". Dr Browne added: "Much of our current research strength can be attributed to the major investment over many decades of EU research funding. Over the lifetime of Framework Programmes 5, 6 and to date in Framework 7, NUI Galway has received almost €55 million of research funding – the vast majority through the Directorate General for Research. We hope to build on this success through our Strategy for Research, which focuses on clearly identified themes based on national and regional needs, as well as institutional knowledge strengths". Director General Rodríguez will travel onto Dublin on Tuesday.