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December 2, 2014
€4.5 million Investment Announced to Support Business and Research Partnerships


Tuesday, 2nd December 2014

€4.5 million Investment Announced to Support Business and Research Partnerships

The Irish Research Council today (02.12.14) announced €4.5 million in funding to enable some of Ireland’s top postgraduate researchers to work with leading companies around the country. The funding was awarded to 48 researchers at a ceremony today, which took place on board the MV Cill Airne, a former passenger liner docked on North Wall Quay in Dublin.

The €4.5 million is being allocated under the Irish Research Council’s Employment-Based Postgraduate Awards scheme, which enables postgraduate researchers across all academic disciplines to work and undertake research in a business, not-for-profit, NGO or public sector organisation.

The researchers who received funding today are drawn from universities and higher education institutions across the country.

They will begin their employment-based research early next year in over 45 partner companies and organisations.  Employers participating in the scheme include IBM, enBIO, Oxymem, Galvanic, Future Analytics, Merchants Quay Ireland, Tusla – The Child and Family Agency, and more.

The research projects that received funding cover topics such as:

  • Optimising innovative, energy-efficient wastewater treatment facilities.
  • Developments in surface treatment for the European Space Agency.
  • Undertaking risk assessment for urban development and planning.
  • Enhancing stress reduction through gaming.
  • Developing community engagement strategies to reduce HIV transmission.

Benefits for Industry of Engaging with Research

Speaking at today’s event, Professor Orla Feely, Chair of the Irish Research Council, said: “Increasingly, Irish companies are seeing the benefit of engaging with academia in order to remain competitive in the global economy. By working closely with researchers, companies can accelerate their innovation process. They can bring new products to market faster, gain expertise in specialist areas and, at the same time, help graduates become better equipped for the business world.

“Today, we are highlighting the benefits for companies of working with researchers and what can be achieved when industry and academia join forces to engage in cutting-edge research that is demand-led and enterprise oriented. Industry-academia partnerships have resulted in the development of products that impact on our day-to-day lives, such as internet search technology, cancer treatments, weather prediction software…the list is endless.

“It is fitting that we are here today, aboard the MV Cill Airne, which was used until 2003 by the Maritime College as a training vessel for engineers, bringing them to sea where they familiarised themselves with radar, lifeboats and engine room-practices.  Today, 48 postgraduate researchers will set sail on their career journey and begin to navigate the business world.”

Supporting Growth of Indigenous Enterprise

John O’Donoghue, CEO of EnBIO, an Irish company providing surface treatment for structures for space and aerospace applications, commented: “EnBIO is currently producing coated surfaces for the European Space Agency’s Solar Orbiter mission. In order for our company to grow, we must also move into commercial space applications, for example telecommunication satellites, as well as applications closer to home.

“From the researcher’s perspective, being able to apply your research, see it take shape and, ultimately, be used is invaluable for your career. For us as a company, linking with academic centres is a great way to support us during the proof-of-concept stage. The knowledge is there, the people are there and the high-tech analytical tools are there. Having this at your fingertips is a massive help.”

Minister of State for Skills, Research and Innovation

The Minister of State for Skills, Research and Innovation, Damien English TD, officially announced the 2014 awards.

“I am delighted to announce the Irish Research Council’s Employment-Based Programme awards and to meet some of the leading companies involved and the researchers who will be joining them in the coming year,” he said.

“It is absolutely critical to the success of the Irish economy that we apply research and innovation to our business challenges and provide the necessary supports to enable companies and academic institutions to work together for mutual benefit. The advantages are numerous, including job creation, increased exports, opening up of commercial opportunities, and the positioning of Ireland as a top-class research and innovation centre.


Contact: Sarah Harte / Sebastian Enke, DHR Communications, Tel: 01-4200580 / 087-9858259 / 087-3239496

Notes for Editors:

  • Interviews with Orla Feely, Chair of the Irish Research Council, as well as a number of companies and researchers involved in the programme, are available on request.
  • Photographer Jason Clarke has been commissioned to cover this event, and will issue images to all photo-desks on Tuesday afternoon.

About the 2014 Employment-Based Postgraduate Programme Awards

The Irish Research Council’s Employment-Based Postgraduate Programme provides funding for Small or Medium sized Enterprises (SME), High Potential Start-Ups (HPSU), Spin-outs, Spin-ins, and multinational corporations (MNC) to employ competitively selected, high-calibre researchers to work onsite with them on product, service or process innovations.

  • This year’s 48 awardees are drawn from: Dublin City University (3); Dublin Institute of Technology (1); Carlow IT (1); Dundalk IT (1); Galway-Mayo IT (1); Waterford IT (2); Maynooth University (5); NUI Galway (6); Trinity College Dublin (3); University of Limerick (8); University College Cork (1); University College Dublin (16).
  • Award area breakdown: 35 Awards to Science, Engineering, Technology and Mathematics (STEM); 13 Awards to Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences (AHSS)
  • Award type breakdown: 48 Postgraduate Awards (4 x 12 month Research Masters; 11 x 24 month Research Masters; 16 x 3 year PhD; 17 x 4 year Structured PhD Programmes).

About the Irish Research Council

The Irish Research Council supports excellent researchers in all disciplines from Arts to Zoology. An agency of the Department of Education and Skills, the Council primarily funds early stage career researchers: namely, postgraduate students and postdoctoral researchers. Diverse career opportunities are enabled through a suite of programmes which partner with employers. The other key area of activity for the Council is the funding of research projects with a societal focus; the Council has established partnerships across government and civic society. The Council represents Ireland in particular dimensions of Horizon 2020 and, by providing supports for H2020 applicants, enhances opportunities for the Irish research community.

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