Richard Bruton TD, Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation and Sean Sherlock, TD, Minister for Research and Innovation have announced a landmark investment by the Government in scientific research, which is closely aligned to industry and enterprise needs, job opportunities and societal goals.
€200 million of Irish exchequer funding will be invested in seven, world-class, research centres of scale. The new funding will be delivered through Science Foundation Ireland’s (SFI) Research Centres Programme coupled with over €100 million in cash and in-kind contributions from industry partners, making it the largest ever combined state/industry co-funding announcement of its kind in the research field in Ireland. The funding will be provided over the next six years with a mid-term review.
Under the SFI Research Centres Programme, the Irish Photonic Integration Research Centre (I-PIC) is being funded. Located at the Tyndall National Institute in Cork, the Partner academic institutions are, CIT, UCC, and DCU, along with sixteen Industry Partners. Dr Guillaume Huyet, Head of Centre for Advanced Photonics and process Analysis (CAPPA) at CIT is one of the lead researchers on the project.
According to Dr Huyet, "The funded Research Centre is an excellent match to the strategy and focus of CIT photonics research, and builds on the existing strong links we have with industry. It will be a great boost to our on-going activities in ICT and medical devices applications of photonics. It also further strengthens the collaboration between CIT and other photonics centres such as Tyndall."
Photonics is the generation, manipulation and utilisation of light, and forms an important enabling technology that underpins a wide range of application areas. The European photonics market alone is worth €58 billion and is estimated to impact 10% of the European economy.
Major advances in photonics integration are required, similar to the development of electronic integrated circuits some fifty years ago, to enable much higher levels of functionality whilst simultaneously reducing the cost and size of devices. Advances in photonic integration will enable new market opportunities in areas such as Communications Technology and Medical Devices, which are key sectors of the Irish economy, employing over 100,000 people, and have been identified as Key Enabling Technologies and Research Priorities by the Irish Government.
The Irish Photonic Integration Research Centre (I-PIC) brings together the internationally recognised Irish research capabilities in Photonics and Biomedical Science and 16 industrial partners, many of whom are indigenous SMEs. They will share world-class facilities to address the technological challenges confronting these industries. The specific goals of the centre will be to provide technological solutions via photonic integration to enable point-of care medical diagnostics, minimally invasive patient monitoring and screening procedures, and continued growth of the internet.
See also: SFI Press Release