Athlone Institute of Technology has become the first institute of technology and the eight higher education institute to accede to the prestigious Advanced Materials and BioEngineering Research (AMBER) SFI Research Centre headquartered at Trinity College Dublin. This new partnership will foster research and education initiatives between the institute and existing AMBER members (TCD, RSCI, UCC, DCU, NUIG, UL and Tyndall Institute) promoting academic exchange and the development of research and innovation, particularly in the field of bio-materials for health and the circular economy, an economic system aimed at minimizing waste.
Athlone Institute of Technology’s engagement will grow AMBER’s world leading academic and industry-orientated materials science research in critical and emerging sectors of the economy related to polymers for applications in the life sciences, sustainable materials and industrial manufacturing. The institute’s accession to AMBER and its established research clusters will enable the centre to address current gaps in knowledge, drive advances in materials science and engineering, and translate research excellence into new products and technologies for society and solutions for industry.
Alongside researchers from Athlone Institute of Technology, AMBER partners in UCC and TCD will help develop new sustainable polymer strategies, such as polymer recycling and emerging biopolymers, as alternatives to the reliance on the traditional fossil fuel-driven polymer sector. This will allow the centre to work with companies across multiple sectors in the area of waste reduction and efficient resource utilization. Crucially, Athlone Institute of Technology will enhance AMBER through its extensive polymer processing expertise so that the span of materials discovery through to application can be studied.
Athlone Institute of Technology joins AMBER at a critical time as the centre drives expansion of its activities. AMBER currently partners with 40 companies across the fields of ICT, medical technologies and devices, as well as those in 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 Business, 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 as well as helping catalyse and grow new industry engagements. It will also attract new foreign direct investment to Ireland and investment from foreign-owned businesses within Ireland, strengthen SME investment in research and develop and create new spin out businesses.
Welcoming the announcement, Professor Mark Ferguson, Director General of Science Foundation Ireland and Chief Scientific Adviser to the Government of Ireland, said: “This partnership marks a significant opportunity for research collaboration, bringing diverse talents together to forge economic and social progress and the translation of research to industry. Science Foundation Ireland looks forward to continuing to support the world leading AMBER SFI Research Centre, increasing Ireland’s ability to positively impact both society and the economy through excellent scientific research.”
Professor Mick Morris, Director of AMBER, added: “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 are delighted to welcome Athlone Institute of Technology into the centre to deliver world-class materials science research and form strategic alliances with industry. 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. Athlone Institute of Technology will play a significant role in delivering these ambitious goals as part of the centre.”
Dr Declan Devine, Director of the Materials Research Institute at Athlone Institute of Technology, said “We have a long established reputation for excellent science with translational potential. Partnering with the AMBER SFI Research Centre will further enable us to grow research in our areas of expertise, through the Applied Polymer Technologies (APT) Gateway, Ireland’s National Centre for Polymer Materials and Processing Research, which is hosted in our Materials Research Institute, and our development of materials for biomedical applications, such as bone regeneration and biodegradable polymer stents, and structural thermoplastic composites.”
AMBER (Advanced Materials and BioEngineering Research) is a world-leading SFI Research Centre funded by Science Foundation Ireland, hosted by Trinity College Dublin which provides a partnership between leading researchers in materials science and industry to develop new materials and devices for a range of sectors, particularly the ICT, medical devices and industrial technology sectors. AMBER is a national centre working in collaboration with CRANN (Trinity’s Centre for Research on Adaptive Nanostructures and Nanodevices) and the Trinity Centre for Biomedical Engineering, Trinity College Dublin, RCSI (The Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland), University College Cork, Dublin City University, NUIG, Tyndall National Institute, University of Limerick and Athlone Institute of Technology.
Source: Athlone Institute of Technology