Research centre to focus on medical and industrial materials

Collaborative hub expected to help improve global reputation for nanoscience research

The Amber centre will focus on production of discoveries that can translate into products, services and treatments in areas such as computer chip design, medical implants and pharmaceuticals. Photograph: Tim Ockenden/PA Photo

The Amber centre will focus on production of discoveries that can translate into products, services and treatments in areas such as computer chip design, medical implants and pharmaceuticals. Photograph: Tim Ockenden/PA Photo

Thu, Oct 24, 2013, 15:47

Advanced new materials for use in computing and in bioengineering are to be researched at a €58 million centre run as a collaboration between academic researchers and industry.

Its 99 researchers will broaden Ireland’s expertise in an important research area that has the potential to spin-out jobs and companies.

Trinity College Dublin and its Crann nanotechnology research centre will host the Amber (Advanced Materials and BioEngineering Research) Centre, which will work in collaboration with the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland and University College Cork.

The funding is split between public and private, with €35 million coming from funding body Science Foundation Ireland and €23 million from 18 industrial partners in a range of sectors, including Intel, DePuy, Medtronic, Merck Millipore and SAB Miller.

The centre will focus on production of discoveries that can translate into products, services and treatments in areas such as computer chip design, medical implants and pharmaceuticals.

State research spending needs to be targeted at employment opportunities, Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Richard Bruton said at the launch today at Croke Park. Ireland ranked among the top 10 countries in the world for nanotechnology research, and this made it easier to attract industry partners willing to invest, he said.

Nanoscience was linked to €15 billion worth of Irish exports and 250,000 jobs in a wide range of sectors, and Amber would play a key role in growing the companies involved, Minister of State for Research and Innovation Sean Sherlock said.

Amber would help develop advanced manufacturing in Ireland and would help attract additional foreign direct investment, the centre’s acting director Prof Stefano Sanvito said. It had the potential to influence everyone’s quality of life.

Amber is one of seven new science centres being set up during 2013 with €300 million in State and private sector funding.