UCD is set to become a host university for scientific research in Ireland, with the announcement that €300 million will be invested in scientific research in Ireland in the next six years, with €200 million being provided by the State and a further €100 million by around 150 industrial partners. The funding will be provided by Science Foundation Ireland (SFI), with a mid-term progress review after three years.

Seven new research centres will be created in Ireland covering a wide range of areas including the marshalling of computer data and food research.  The new research centres were picked by a panel of scientific experts from around 100 applicants, and the high number of Irish centres being selected has been hailed by the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Richard Bruton as a “new era” for scientific research in Ireland.

The new research centres will have a “hub and spoke” structure, meaning the academic research at a number of host universities will form the centre and the industrial partners connected by the spokes.

UCD has been selected as a host university, along with four others, to a centre called ‘Insight’, which will conduct research into the storage, handling and analysis of vast amounts of computerised information, collectively known as “big data”.

Academics from UCD will be working alongside colleagues from NUI Galway, Dublin City University and University College Cork on this project.

This is the only centre that has four host institutions, and it will communicate with and receive funding from 45 industrial partners. All other centres have a single host university/institution, alongside other associated institutions and commercial partners.

Other projects that will be conducted include research into nanotechnology, the manipulation and utilisation of light through photonics, drug development and synthesis, the harnessing of wave and wind energy to produce electricity, and the improvement of control processes to produce better drug formulations and safer medicines.

Research will be conducted in collaboration with institutions such as the Tyndall National Institute, University of Limerick, Cork Institute of Technology, Teagasc, the Marine Institute, Geological Survey Ireland, Royal College of Surgeons and CSO Cork.

The investment marks the largest of its kind made in Ireland, and it is hoped that the investment will open up 800 research-related jobs across the seven centres in the six-year duration of the funding. Further information will follow as to exactly how much of the funding will be allocated to projects with which UCD is involved.