Business News

Ministers announce new North/South research agreement

By Business & Finance
22 January 2014

The Irish Minister for Jobs, Enterprise & Innovation, Minister, Richard Bruton TD and the Employment and Learning Minister for Northern Ireland, Dr Stephen Farry MLA, today signed a ground-breaking Collaboration Agreement which will allow Queen’s University and the University of Ulster to participate as full academic partners in Science Foundation Ireland’s well-established and highly prestigious, ‘Investigators Programme’.

The new SFI/DEL Investigators Programme Partnership will support collaborative projects involving universities from both jurisdictions to undertake internationally peer reviewed, leading edge, discovery and fundamental research.

Speaking at the announcement, Minister for Jobs, Enterprise & Innovation,
Richard Bruton TD, said: “This new SFI/DEL Investigators Programme Partnership will benefit the island of Ireland both socially and economically. Improving our research and development infrastructure is a key priority for both Governments, and a key pillar upon which the Irish Government’s Action Plan for Jobs is built. Building upon our current achievements in the sector and delivering partnerships which allow for the improvement and sharing of knowledge will only heighten the potential for economic and societal impact on an all-island basis.”

Dr Farry added: “I am grateful to the Minister, and to Professor Mark Ferguson, for their generous offer of collaboration in such an important and high-profile research programme.

“I am pleased to announce that my Department is making available funding of up to £8.4mn over the next six years to enable Queen’s and Ulster to participate in the next two annual calls, the first of which is due to be published by SFI next month.

“This is an extremely timely development, building on the success of my Department’s Strengthening the all-Island Research Base programme, while also providing real opportunity to develop new cross-border research collaborations with the potential, in the longer term, to bring further success under Horizon 2020 – the European Commission’s latest research framework programme and a major priority for both Governments.”

Professor Mark Ferguson, director general of SFI and chief scientific adviser to the Irish Government, commented: “We are very pleased to see the Investigators Programme become accessible to even more members of Ireland’s talented scientific community. This partnership is a key stepping stone in helping Ireland maximise its potential funding opportunities under Horizon 2020. It will enable Ireland’s scientific community to work together on an all-island basis, create efficiencies by reducing the duplication of research and assist in the sharing of important new knowledge. The move towards building Ireland’s international reputation is linked heavily to partnerships such as this which offer the scientific community in Ireland, promising new opportunities.”