Coalition aims to develop 'smart' nanoscience drugs
A coalition of Irish universities and colleges came together today for an ambitious plan to develop "smart" drugs to fight cancer and other life-threatening diseases.
Ten of the country’s top third-level institutions will share expertise and technology in the emerging nanoscience field under the €32 million project.
The Inspire partnership, unveiled by Jimmy Devins, Minister of State for Science and Innovation, will be headed up by Trinity College, which opened the country’s first nanoscience institute earlier this year.
The Higher Education Authority (HEA) allocated €31.6 million to Inspire, the largest funding allocation awarded to a consortium under the Government’s Programme for Research in Third Level Institutions.
The scheme will allow around 500 researchers access to cutting-edge equipment including clean room facilities seen only in world-leading computer chip manufacturing companies.
A graduate programme will also be rolled out to produce highly skilled nanoscience experts from both Ireland and overseas.
Nanoscience involves studying and working with atoms and molecules to produce the next generation of microelectronics and so-called smart drugs.
Experts have hailed its growth worldwide as the advent of a new industrial age, benefiting not only the health care industry but the emergence of new technologies.
Prof John Boland of TCD said the research will have significant impact on health care, medicines and other technologies.
“The investment in Inspire will result in a shared national infrastructure which will enable collaborative research in the development and characterisation of new materials with significant impact on areas as diverse as health care, medicines and communication technologies,” said Mr Boland.
The third-level colleges involved include TCD, University of Limerick, University College Cork, Dublin Institute of Technology, Dublin City University, Cork Institute of Technology and University College Dublin, and National University of Ireland, Galway.