New €26m science research centre launched at UCD

Business, Life sciences and energy | Thu 3 Dec | Author – Business & Finance
Pictured (L-R): Roisin Kyne, iCRAG,Damien English TD, Minister for Skills, Research and Innovation; and Prof Mark Ferguson, director general, Science Foundation Ireland

The Irish Centre for Research in Applied Geosciences (iCRAG), a newly established €26m Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) Research Centre in Geosciences, has been officially launched at University College Dublin (UCD).

The centre will focus on the discovery, de-risking and sourcing of raw materials, water and energy resources that are critical to the Irish economy.

The centre will receive funding of €18m from the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation through SFI’s Research Centres Programme, with an additional €8m from 55 industry partners that include Geoscience Ireland, Tullow Oil and Petroleum Infrastructure Programme.

Damien English TD, Minister for Skills, Research and Innovation, said: “A key part of the Government’s Action Plan for Jobs is to continue to build on the major achievements in scientific research with a focus on turning great ideas into good, sustainable jobs. iCRAG is an exciting new research centre that will help nurture real collaboration across industry and academia in Geosciences in Ireland. It will support increased commercialisation of research which will ultimately grow jobs and support further participation in the STEM sector.”

iCRAG will conduct world-leading research in thematic research areas, which are systematically embedded into industry to maximise impact and underpin sustainable economic impact.

Professor Orla Feely, vice-president for Research, Innovation and Impact, UCD, commented: “Excellent research and innovation are central to all we do in UCD, drawing on the range and depth of our disciplines, including Geosciences, and the strength of our partnerships with Government agencies, industry and other academic institutions, to deliver impact in areas of national and global importance and opportunity. Through the new SFI and industry funded iCRAG Research Centre launched today, which is being led by UCD, 150 leading researchers from across Ireland, together with 55 industry partners, are coming together to transform applied geoscience research in Ireland to deliver economic impact nationally in a broad range of areas and industries.”

iCRAG director, Professor John Walsh, UCD School of Earth Sciences said, “Geoscience underpins the discovery of raw materials, water and energy resources that are critical to the world’s economy. With increasing demand and diminishing supply, focused innovations in geoscience are of paramount importance globally iCRAG, under this investment by Science Foundation Ireland, will bring together a team of leading international researchers and industry partners on issues underpinning the economic development of the country – from safe and secure groundwater supplies to the discovery of mineral/aggregate deposits, and from de-risking oil and gas exploration to educating and informing the public on geoscience-related issues.”

Professor Mark Ferguson, director General of Science Foundation Ireland, added: “The launch of this new Science Foundation Ireland Research Centre, iCRAG, is a key development in Ireland’s Geoscience research. Ireland is home to Europe’s largest zinc mine, untapped hydrocarbon resources in challenging North East Atlantic deep-water environments, and diverse geological formations. The iCRAG centre will carry out research to find and harness these resources whilst protecting the environment.”