Government investment of €40 million for phase two of the Science Foundation Ireland funded research centre will contribute vastly to the Government’s Future Jobs Strategy to prepare now for tomorrow’s world
AMBER, the SFI Research Centre for Advanced Materials and Bio-Engineering Research headquartered at Trinity College Dublin, has today launched its second phase of the centre which will see 350 new research positions created directly between 2019 and 2025, while also supporting the Government’s Future Jobs Ireland initiative. This second phase is being delivered via €40 million in funding over the next six years through Science Foundation Ireland’s (SFI) Research Centres Programme, coupled with €77 million in cash and in-kind contributions which AMBER will raise in investment from industry and non-exchequer sources through their collaborative and international research activities.
With a total employment of 1116 staff, during the first phase of the centre (2013-2019), AMBER generated 14,279 jobs nationwide in sectors such as biomedicine, pharmaceutical, energy and ICT. During this time, for every €1 invested, AMBER has helped the Irish economy to grow by €5. The AMBER centre has made valuable contributions to the economic and societal wellbeing of Ireland by partnering with over 40 companies from SME’s to Multinational Companies and attracting over €40 million in international research funding.
New investment from government, industry and international research funding during phase two (2019-2025) will grow the Centre’s world leading academic and industry orientated materials science research in critical and emerging sectors of the economy, such as ICT, MedTech, manufacturing technologies and energy. Between 2019 and 2025 AMBER will bring together research clusters to address current gaps in knowledge, drive advances in materials science and engineering, and translate research excellence into new sustainable products and technologies for society and solutions for industry. AMBER’s work will create new materials and technologies that minimise environmental impact and build a sustainable future. The creation of 350 new research positions will also strongly contribute to the Government’s Future Jobs Ireland initiative by promoting interest in ICT, manufacturing technologies and energy, thereby ensuring that our economy is well positioned into the future.
The funding will expand AMBER’s remit into the realm of materials for sustainability, developing Irish science to support a green revolution aligning with the All Government Climate Action Plan. It will play a significant part in tackling climate change and supporting the circular economy, through, for example, research into sustainable biopolymers as alternatives to synthetic polymers, and working with industry to reduce waste and increase resource efficiency.
Other significant environmental impacts will be achieved through the development of novel energy technologies and innovative materials for energy harvesting, delivery, and storage. The development of new technologies to convert light into chemical energy, cost-effective thermo-electric generators and high-performing magnets for energy applications will all contribute to reduce environmentally damaging emissions and increase energy efficiency.
AMBER scientists are pioneering new technologies that reduce power consumption in electronic devices and data centres, enable better batteries for energy storage, promote the capture and conversion of carbon dioxide and develop alternatives to petroleum-based polymers for consumer products. With a track record in materials science research rivalling other world-leading scientific institutions, AMBER research is creating new sustainable materials that will provide solutions for current problems and address future needs.
AMBER currently partners with 40 companies across the fields of ICT, medical technologies and devices, as well as those in the sustainability and manufacturing. AMBER will continue to significantly scale its industry investment during the centre’s second phase, aligning its vision with Enterprise 2025, Ireland’s national policy document by the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation. AMBER will play a crucial role for both multi nationals and SMEs in driving innovation and will demonstrate economic impacts through retaining Irish-based multinationals, driving their research and development agendas. It will also attract new foreign direct investment to Ireland and investment from foreign-owned businesses within Ireland, strengthen SME investment in research and development and create new spin out businesses.
AMBER researchers are world leaders in the area of biomaterials for tissue regeneration, additive manufacturing, bioprinting and scaffold mediated drug delivery, and will facilitate the development of new engineered implants, between 2019 and 2025, alongside researchers with expertise in immunology and 2D materials. Expected impacts in the area of health includes the development of new therapies for the treatment of bone defects and heart attacks, peripheral nerve repair, joint repair and wound healing, as well as developing new methods for monitoring health.
Minster for Business, Enterprise, and Innovation, Heather Humphreys TD said: “The second phase of AMBER will contribute hugely to the Government’s strategy to prepare now for tomorrow’s world, through plans like Future Jobs Ireland and Project Ireland 2040. The work done by AMBER previously has helped position Ireland as a world leader in research, further strengthening our global credibility across a number of different sectors.
Minister of State for Training, Skills, Innovation, Research and Development, John Halligan TD, said: “I congratulate AMBER on all of its success as it move to the next phase. SFI Research Centres such as AMBER provide the basis for Ireland to move towards becoming an innovation leader, by providing new thinking and new solutions. We have many opportunities, including those I set out in the recently published National Space Strategy for Enterprise, it is important that we invest in excellent research to allow us to take full competitive advantage and deliver this potential.”
Professor Mark Ferguson, Director General Science Foundation Ireland and Chief Scientific Adviser to the Government of Ireland, said: “The SFI Research Centre AMBER has contributed hugely to fundamental and applied materials science research. In only a short period AMBER has made incredible progress, in terms of increased academic and industrial collaboration, training PhD students for industry, winning competitive funding from the EU, producing excellent scientific results and public engagement. Science Foundation Ireland looks forward to continuing to support this world class centre, increasing our ability to positively impact both society and the economy through excellent scientific research.”
Dr Patrick Prendergast, Provost of Trinity, said: “AMBER has played a leading role in consolidating Ireland’s reputation for materials and bioengineering science research and this announcement highlights the ongoing ambition of the centre to create high-quality, high-tech employment opportunities for the future. AMBER has been a successful model for linking industry and academia, underpinned with fundamental research, and will continue to positively contribute to economy and society. Trinity is committed to fundamental research and generating close links between industry and academia which AMBER will continue to forge and that will create new business opportunities for the future.”
Ruairí Quinn, Chair of AMBER, said: “The second stage of AMBER will ensure that our researchers can carry out breakthroughs in some of society’s greatest challenges through collaboration and engagement with national and international academics, businesses and communities. With an expanded remit in training and researcher development, we can contribute significantly in preparing highly skilled individuals for the Irish workforce. The centre will continue to be a recognised model in Ireland for driving our international reputation in science and become one of the world’s leading materials science centres.”
Professor Mick Morris, Director of AMBER, said: “As part of AMBER’s second phase, the centre will demonstrate significant impacts which will benefit individuals, communities, organisations and society both in Ireland and around the world. We will do this by delivering world-class materials science research and forming strategic alliances with industry, as well as significant collaborations with leading academics and clinicians. The quality of our scientific research is critical for AMBER in attracting and sustaining long term engagements with industry, providing a skilled workforce competing for non-exchequer funding and tackling global challenges.”