It’s a good day to be Irish! The Irish government this morning outlined details of a €300-million package of research funding that will establish seven new hubs where industry will collaborate with academic researchers.
Areas which will receive the most funding will be data analytics, marine renewable energy, biomaterials, perinatal research, nanotechnology, functional foods, photonics and drug synthesis.
“This is the largest single research announcement to date in Ireland in terms of people and projects,” says Mark Ferguson, director general of Science Foundation Ireland, which will distribute the state funding. “As a small country we cannot do everything well, and these are areas where we see Ireland has the capability to build scale and excellence and have an economic and societal impact.”
A big part of this sum will go to new centres, which are to run for six years. Many of the new centres — including INSIGHT, Ireland’s Big Data and Analytics Research Centre — bring pre-existing SFI centres together.
“INSIGHT is all about the idea that nearly everything we are doing is creating a data record that is stored somewhere,” says the centre’s director, Barry Smyth, who is based at University College Dublin. “There are huge opportunities to analyse the data so we can make better decisions about where to live, what food to eat, where to send our kids to school and help governments make better decisions about policy and infrastructure.”