Minister for Research and Innovation Seán Sherlock TD yesterday announced the appointment of Feargal Ó Móráin as the new Irish co-chair to the US-Ireland R&D Partnership Steering Group.
The announcement coincides with a visit by the US co-chair to the Steering Group, Dr Kerri-Ann Jones, assistant secretary of State for the US Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs, in Dublin this week for a series of engagements around the Earth Gathering in UCD.
The US-Ireland R&D Partnership, established in 2006 and based on principles of the Good Friday Agreement, involves the governments of the United States of America, Ireland and Northern Ireland working together to advance scientific progress by awarding grants for research on a competitive basis. The Steering Group, including representatives of the three jurisdictions, guides collaborative efforts under the partnership and reflecting the partnership ethos has a co-chair from each of the three jurisdictions.
Speaking at the announcement, Minister Sherlock said: “I am delighted that Feargal Ó Móráin has accepted this appointment as Irish co-chair of the US Ireland R&D Partnership Steering Group. Feargal brings a wealth of personal experience to the position having recently retired as an Executive Director of Enterprise Ireland with responsibility for the Agency’s national mandate in relation to Technology Transfer and R&D and this followed on a very noteworthy career in the industrial development agencies in Ireland.
“I would also like to take this opportunity to thank Dr Killian Halpin for his uncompromising commitment to the Partnership which has contributed in no small part to growing it to the success that it is today. Killian has been a mainstay as Irish co-chair to the US-Ireland R&D Partnership Steering Group since its establishment.
“The US-Ireland Partnership continues to go from strength to strength and close cooperation has been developed between Government Departments and Agencies, north and south of the border and with our US counterparts. Since 2009, fourteen projects had been awarded a total of €22.2mn from a combination of sources and these projects have brought together over 50 principal and co-principal investigators from 8 universities and research institutes in Ireland, two Northern Ireland universities and 17 US institutions.”
Professor Mark Ferguson, director general of Science Foundation Ireland (principal funder of partnership projects in Ireland) and chief scientific adviser to the Government, added: “The US-Ireland programme has provided a great opportunity for Irish researchers to develop funded collaborations with partners in the US and NI. These collaborations have enabled researchers to leverage non-exchequer funding and access facilities, data and biobanks, for example, that would otherwise not have been available to them. Furthermore, it has facilitated student exchange which greatly enhances the postgraduate training experience in areas relevant to Irish industry. The success of the US-Ireland R&D Partnership Programme particularly in recent months is validation of the excellence of the research on-going in Ireland, as all submissions undergo extensive international peer review at NSF (US National Science Foundation) or NIH (US National Institutes of Health).
“The most recent expansion of the US-Ireland programme to encompass the broader area of Health has opened the programme to a wider community and we look forward to increased success in this space. Having developed relationships with partner US agencies under the US-Ireland R&D Partnership Programme, SFI has expanded the collaborations, for example recently with the National Science Foundation’s GROW programme which enables leading US scientists to spend time undertaking research in laboratories in Ireland.”