Minister Sherlock announces €6.9million for 62 projects

Minister for Research and Innovation, Seán Sherlock TD, has today (Thursday) announced Government funding through Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) of €6.9million encompassing 62 research awards.  

The investment is being made through SFI’s Technology Innovation Development Award (TIDA) programme, in collaboration with Enterprise Ireland.

Minister Sherlock said, “The TIDA programme focuses on commercially relevant research projects. It will enable numerous research teams to take the first steps in developing new discoveries and inventions with commercial potential.”

The Minister added “Today’s funding announcement will help deliver the commercialisation of excellent research taking place in Ireland in a range of areas such as ICT, ‘Big Data’, medical technologies and food, amongst other things. These are areas of significant employment and should provide additional opportunities for Ireland.”

Amongst the research activities being funded are:

  • ‘Big Data’, a sector currently growing at up to 40% per annum;
  •  The development of new drugs for cancer treatment and diabetes;
  • New ways to detect cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s disease;
  • Research to develop genetically modified crops tolerant to drought;
  • Underground high-voltage power cable technology as a substitute to overhead power lines;
  • Smart networked sensing systems in Agriculture; and
  • Projects supporting off-shore wind turbines, wi-fi technology and ultraviolet light sources for the pharmaceutical and semi-conductor sectors.

Minister Sherlock concluded by outlining the thinking behind these awards. “A key part of the Government’s Action Plan for Jobs is to support the commercialisation of excellent research and ultimately help to create the quality sustainable jobs we need. These 62 TIDA awards will release vital funding to allow the development of early discoveries and inventions with commercial potential, thereby feeding into our Action Plan.

”The Director General of SFI, Professor Mark Ferguson, said, “As set out in Agenda 2020, one of SFI’s strategic objectives is to become the best scientific funding agency in the world at creating impact from excellent research and demonstrating clear value for our research investment. Each submitted project has been through a rigorous review process and ultimate selection was on the basis of the quality and novelty of the proposed innovation, its potential impact, and its fit with the National Research Prioritisation areas. Additionally, the commercial expertise that Enterprise Ireland brought to the TIDA selection process played a key role in further underpinning the market potential of the award recipients.”

Incorporated into the TIDA programme is an entrepreneurship training course to consolidate and intensify the entrepreneurial skills of postdoctoral researchers active in SFI funded research labs. This course, which will support over 100 personnel, is designed to develop the skills necessary for SFI funded researchers to assess the market for potential commercial developments from research discoveries.

It is also designed to create a network of researchers with business acumen who will interact regularly with each other, with SFI, Enterprise Ireland and Ireland’s Technology Transfer Offices (TTOs) established across the higher education institutes.