Investing in research centres


Sir, – Your science correspondent (Home News, February 26th) and Editorial (February 27th) cast an unnecessarily negative light on the €300 million investment by Science Foundation Ireland and industry into the seven new research centres announced last week by Minister for Enterprise Richard Bruton.

Have the “sceptical academic researchers” mentioned by your correspondent already forgotten the 85 SFI investigator awards, totalling €60 million and supporting 250 researchers?

It makes no sense for your Editorial writer to label as “catastrophic” the Government’s wish to align the work of these new centres with the needs of industry.

In today’s leading IT and biotech companies new products are often the result of research conducted at the leading edge of science. For these companies the gap between basic and applied research is frequently a semantic one.

I certainly agree that SFI’s 14 priority research areas exclude domains of blue sky research (eg astronomy, geophysics, etc) which often attract the best academic minds. However at this difficult time in our economic development the Government should be congratulated on the discernment and foresight shown in the funding and selection of these exciting new centres. – Yours, etc,



Kinsale, Co Cork.