The Irish Centre for Research in Applied Geosciences (iCRAG) at University College Dublin has received €28 million in funding from Science Foundation Ireland (SFI).
This funding is part of a €193 million investment announced by Minister for Further and Higher Education Simon Harris TD, in SFI Research Centers across Ireland for the next six years. "I am delighted to announce this significant Government investment in five SFI Research Centres, which reflects Ireland's position as a world leader in research and innovation," said Minister Harris.
SFI Research centres support research across a wide range of sectors at varying levels. iCRAG is an SFI research centre for Applied Geosciences focussed on developing innovative science and technologies to create solutions for a sustainable society. "The investment will ensure that we are prepared for the changes and disruption that we are facing in addressing global societal and economic challenges" explained Minister Harris.
This SFI investment has additional support from 200 industry partners who have committed a further €91 million in contributions. The acquisition will benefit 17 Higher Education Institutions across the country, partnering with the Centres.
Dr Fergus McAuliffe, iCRAG Communications Manager, described how "SFI's new funding investment to iCRAG means that we can expand our research efforts to help Ireland reach carbon neutrality by 2050." "The investment will allow iCRAG to continue to work with industry partners from across Ireland and the world to help meet global environmental targets and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals," he said.
The increased funding will fund iCRAG's work in addressing critical challenges including those of "Earth System Change, Earth's Resources and Earth Science in Society" added Dr McAuliffe. Specifically, the investment will allow iCRAG to continue vital research in various areas such as climate change mitigation and adaptation and the sustainable discovery of energy resources and raw materials required for decarbonisation.
Additionally, the investment will support approximately 1,060 graduate and postdoctoral students and research fellows employed by the Research Centres. Dr McAuliffe outlined how "this [investment] will allow for the hiring of over 130 researchers across eight Irish Higher Education institutions, with many of these positions to be based in UCD, including Masters, PhD and Postdoctoral researcher positions." The investment will also fund state of the art equipment and research infrastructure.
The funding will support a range of activities including work on oceans, energy transition, and the interaction between society and the earth. In the coming weeks, iCRAG researchers will be carrying out offshore site investigations for wind farm developments in the Irish Sea. This will provide important information for engineers to design infrastructure projects on the seabed.