AMBER the SFI Research Centre for Advanced Materials and Bio-Engineering Research, headquartered at Trinity College
Dublin, has today welcomed the Minister for Business, Enterprise, and Innovation, Heather Humphreys TD, together with Minister for Training, Skills, Innovation, Research and Development, John Halligan TD’s announcement of €40 million funding for phase two of the centre. The funding of €40 million will be delivered 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. The funding will support world leading academic and industry orientated materials science research in critical and emerging sectors of the economy, particularly sustainability, ICT, MedTech, manufacturing technologies and energy. The funding will be provided over the next 6 years, from 2019 to 2025.
Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Heather Humphreys TD, and Minister of State for Training, Skills, Innovation, Research and Development, John Halligan TD, today announced a total investment of €230 million in six SFI Research Centres as part of Project Ireland 2040. Minster for Business, Enterprise, and Innovation, Heather Humphreys TD today said: “This investment by my Department in the six SFI Research Centres is part of the Government’s strategy to prepare now for tomorrow’s world, through plans like Future Jobs Ireland and Project Ireland 2040. The work that has been done to date has positioned Ireland as a world leader in research, further strengthening our global credibility across a number of different sectors. The economic impact of this research is clear, not only through direct and in-direct employment levels, but also through increased foreign direct investment. Our Research Centres not only act as magnets to attract and retain investment; they also encourage companies, both Irish and foreign-owned, to develop their R&D activities here. This will continue to benefit Ireland and the world for years to come.”
Professor Mick Morris, Director of AMBER, said: “We are delighted with today’s funding announcement and it underlines the very significant impact of the centre and all the hard work of our researchers and staff. The centre has made valuable contributions to the economic and societal wellbeing of Ireland through our world-class research. This funding will ensure that the centre and 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 the expanded remit in training and researcher development that this funding provides, we have the ability to contribute significantly in preparing highly skilled individuals for the Irish workforce. With this funding AMBER through excellent research will deliver, scientific, economic and societal impacts into Ireland for the benefit of the entire population and assist international and indigenous industry to grow and flourish.”
Professor Morris concluded: “AMBER’s researchers will continue to make world-first discoveries that lead to new Irish start-ups, and help global corporations deliver new applications in the areas of sustainable materials, ICT, energy and health, among others.”
Welcoming the announcement, Dr Patrick Prendergast, Provost of Trinity, said: “This announcement illustrates the leading role AMBER has played in consolidating Irelands reputation for materials science research and the ongoing ambition of the centre to create high-quality, high-tech employment opportunities for the future. AMBER has demonstrated that linking industry and academia, underpinned with fundamental research, is a successful model and can bring economic and social impacts. 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.”
The €230m investment made by the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation through Science Foundation Ireland, will directly benefit approximately 850 researchers employed by the centres, while also supporting the Government’s Future Jobs Ireland initiative. The investment is buoyed by industry support; there are 170 industry partners involved who are committed to investing over €200m in cash and in-kind contributions over the next six years. Under the new funding model, these six SFI Research Centres are successfully scaling up to secure 66% of the funding from other sources, so only 34% of their funding over the six years will now come from Science Foundation Ireland.
Professor Mark Ferguson, Director General Science Foundation Ireland and Chief Scientific Adviser to the Government of Ireland, said: “SFI Research Centres support both basic and applied research, which I believe is one of the reasons they have been so successful to date. The research across the centres spans a wide range of sectors at varying levels and stages – the holistic approach we are taking to our research is fundamental to its success. In only a very short period the SFI Research Centres have 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. We look forward to continued support from the Government and industry as we move forward, increasing our ability to positively impact both society and the economy through excellent scientific research.”