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Minister Martin Announces ¤48m Research Investment as Science Foundation Ireland Builds on its 2006 Performance

Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Micheál Martin TD today (Thursday 6th September 2007) launched the SFI Annual Report for 2006 and announced additional new investment of over ¤48 million in 2007.

Speaking at the launch of the SFI 2006 Annual Report at the Royal Irish Academy, Minister Martin said “SFI has made outstanding progress in 2006 and has established itself as an organisation with an international reputation for funding quality research”.

Minister Martin revealed that in 2006 SFI approved 463 new awards to 18 Higher Education Institutes, involving a financial commitment of almost ¤135 million.

Since its establishment in 2001, SFI has approved over 1,600 awards across all its programmes, representing a substantial investment commitment of over ¤825 million as it continues to build a high quality research environment in Ireland. In 2006 alone, SFI attracted 28 world class researchers to Ireland from overseas through a variety of programmes, and continues this trend in 2007 with a significant number of new grant approvals to researchers previously based abroad.

Referring to the latest additional investment of ¤48 million in a range of world class research projects in key areas of Biosciences and Bioengineering and Information and Communication Technologies, across a number of Higher Education Institutes, the Minister said “These scientific investments are crucial for Ireland's future economic development. World class research and world class people are at the heart of any knowledge economy. This funding feeds into the goals of the SSTI, goals which are to build the critical mass of world class research in Ireland and to double our output of PhDs.”

Key to these goals are research grants for projects such as that of Dr Andrew Bowie in Trinity College Dublin, who will be working on utilising Vaccinia virus to explore the first line of immune defence systems in humans. It is hoped this work will lead to a greater understanding of how viruses engage with the immune system and also point to new drug targets. Professor Christopher Dainty, who is located at the National University of Ireland Galway, will research applied optical techniques. Optics is concerned with lighting, displays such as TVs and computers, CDs and DVDs, healthcare and manufacturing but also human vision. This research will focus on improving diagnostic methods which would lead to early diagnosis of disease in the eye and prevention of blindness in old age.

So far in 2007, SFI has already made significant investment announcements. The Stokes Professorship and Lectureship Programme plans to invest up to ¤18 million a year in a new programme that will create 150 extra research posts in Irish Higher Education Institutes. It has also announced the SFI Engineering Professorship and Lectureship Programme - a ¤20 million programme aimed at increasing the number of world-class, research-active professors and lecturers in engineering in Ireland.

This programme has close links with industry and builds on another of SFI’s key objectives to encourage collaboration with industry. Similarly, SFI Centres for Science, Engineering and Technology (CSETs) are major research centres involving investment over ¤100 million from SFI and the seven centres currently in existence are engaged with a number of major companies such as GlaxoSmithKline, Procter & Gamble, Hewlett Packard, IBM and Intel.

SFI, the national foundation for excellence in scientific research, invests in academic researchers and research teams who are most likely to generate new knowledge, leading edge technologies, and competitive enterprises. SFI has responsibility for investment of ¤1.4bn under the current National Development Plan and the Strategy for Science, Technology & Innovation up to the year 2013.

Note to Editors:

Breakdown of 2007 SFI Grant Approvals for Long Term Research Projects ( 1 to 5 Years)

Name Higher Education Institute From Abroad Award Amount
Dr Graeme Watson Trinity College Dublin   ¤567,056.00

Dr. Conor Ryan

University of Limerick   ¤699,189.00

Prof. Orla Feely

University College Dublin

  ¤599,488.00
Prof. Catherine Godson

University College Dublin

  ¤2,730,000.00

Dr. Frank Wellmer

Trinity College Dublin   ¤710,000.00

Prof. Matthew Dallas Griffin

NUI Galway

USA

¤997,940.00

Prof. Rosemary O'Connor

University College Cork   ¤1,200,000.00

Prof. Igor Shvets

Trinity College Dublin   ¤3,296,153.00

Prof. Eoin O'Reilly, Dr. Stephen O'Brien

Tyndall National Institute   ¤2,800,000.00

Dr. Thomas Francis Moore

University College Cork   ¤700,000.00

Prof. John Boland

Trinity College Dublin   ¤3,500,000.00

Prof. Charles Dorman

Trinity College Dublin   ¤901,994.00

Prof. Ken Wolfe

Trinity College Dublin   ¤1,300,000.00

Prof. Mani Ramaswami

Trinity College Dublin   ¤3,139,802.00

Prof. Thomas G. Cotter

University College Cork

  ¤1,243,900.00
Dr. Padraic Fallon Trinity College Dublin   ¤1,680,000.00

Dr. Andrew Bowie

Trinity College Dublin   ¤1,378,000.00
Prof. Cormac Taylor

University College Dublin

  ¤900,000.00

Prof. J. Christopher Dainty

NUI Galway   ¤4,508,888.00
Prof. Stefan Oscarson

University College Dublin

Sweden

¤760,000.00
Prof. Richard Middleton NUI Maynooth

Australia

¤521,000.00
Prof. Mark Achtman University College Cork

Germany

¤3,025,304.00
Dr. Karen Keeshan University College Cork

US

¤937,946.00
Dr. Claude Ederer Trinity College Dublin

US

¤897,840.00
Dr. Silvia Giordani Trinity College Dublin

Italy

¤887,839.00
Dr. Stephen Rea NUI Galway

Germany

¤954,751.00
Prof Miles Turner Dublin City University   ¤907,737.00
Prof Cynthia Colinge

Tyndall National Institute

US

¤750,000.00
Dr Thomas Ritter NUI Galway   ¤748,000.00

Prof Doug Leith & Prof Robert Shorten

NUI Maynooth   ¤2,734,028.00

Prof Matthew Hennessy

Trinity College Dublin

UK

¤1,707,660.00

Dr Juan Pablo Labrador

Trinity College Dublin   ¤750,000.00
Dr. James Gleeson University of Limerick   ¤381,689.00
      ¤48,816,204.00

ENDS/ETE 1778

Last modified: 06/09/2007

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