€23 million funding boost for scientists announced


An automated system to monitor newborn infants, a way to get free hydrogen fuel from sunlight and special coatings that allow metal surfaces to “heal” themselves of corrosion are amongst the projects that have won research funding from Science Foundation Ireland.

Details of the 143 award recipients were announced yesterday in Dublin by the Minister of State for Science, Technology and Innovation, Dr Jimmy Devins. The projects are supported under the “Research Frontiers” programme and will receive a combined €23 million over the next three years.

SFI also launched its 2007 annual report which details its activities through the year. The report also includes the first full scale survey of research groups that have received funding from SFI.

The Foundation had overseen research spending worth more than €1,000 million since its first awards in 2001, Mr Devins noted. Its funding comes via successive National Development Plans including the current plan which supports the Government’s Strategy for Science, Technology and Innovation.

“Investment in research is at the core of the Government’s strategy to ensure the development of Ireland as a knowledge-based economy,” Dr Devins said at the event yesterday.

The new funding is shared by projects in 10 research bodies and will provide training for about 180 scientists, stated SFI director general Dr Frank Gannon. It will support “novel exploratory research” into medicine, engineering, chemistry and other disciplines.