€60m science funding announced
Scientific research awards worth a combined €60 million which will support 85 projects and the work of up to 250 scientists have been announced.
Details of the Investigator Programme awards granted by research funding body Science Foundation Ireland were released this morning.
The funds support a wide mix of scientific subjects from advanced biochemistry and computer assisted surgery to tissue engineering and nanotechnology. The top awards are worth as much as €2.7 million each.
There are 33 large scale awards with an average value of €1.4 million running over five years and claiming €46.4 million of the total funding. There are also 52 smaller scale awards with an average value of €270,000 over three years and amounting to €14.4 million of the total funding announced.
There is a wide mix of research subjects funded, something that should reassure concerns amongst the research community over past months that there would be a heavy bias towards the applied end of the research spectrum, projects that were near to market with the potential to create jobs.
Even so there will still be widespread disappointment amongst some researchers given there were 419 applications submitted for funding, representing a success rate of about 20 per cent. This rate was defended by the foundation’s director general Prof Mark Ferguson, who said it was comparable with international funding success rates “for example, that of the National Institutes of Health, USA at 18 per cent”.
Trinity College Dublin emerged as the single most successful institution at attracting funding, claiming 29 of the projects funded. University College Dublin follows with 14 and NUI Galway with 11. Another 31 awards went to University College Cork (9); NUI Maynooth (5); Tyndall National Institute (3); University of Limerick (3); Royal College of Surgeons of Ireland (3); Dublin City University (3); Institute Technology Tallaght (2); Dublin Institute Technology (1); Institute Technology Sligo (1); and Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies (1).
“A central part of this Government’s plan for jobs and growth is to ensure that this research is better targeted at turning the good ideas of researchers into good products and good jobs,” Minister for Innovation Richard Bruton said in a statement this morning. This in turn helped to attract foreign direct investment to Ireland and the creation of jobs, he added.