Science Foundation Ireland will be allocated nearly €40 million to fund major research projects over the next 4-5 years. The announcement was made by the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Mary Mitchell O’Connor recently and will see SFI distribute the funding through their Investigators Programme. The awards will support over 200 researchers and the amounts awarded will range from between €500,000 to €2.7 million over four to five year periods.
Speaking about the project, Mary Mitchell O’Connor said; “This funding provides an important platform for researchers to advance their investigations and further enhance Ireland’s reputation for excellence in sectors such as health, agriculture, marine, energy and technology. “Engaging with 39 companies, the programme offers researchers the opportunity to develop their careers, as well as providing industry collaborators with access to the wealth of outstanding expertise and infrastructure found throughout the island”
“The alignment of the Investigators Programme with Horizon 2020, the European Union’s research funding programme, will lead to further successes in leveraging EU resources and increasing international collaboration. “The projects within this programme clearly demonstrate excellent and impactful research which is a key goal of the Government’s science and innovation strategy — Innovation 2020,” She added.
Tech Week, which is organised by the ICS Foundation is one of the projects which received funding under this initiative and wouldn’t have been as successful without the support from SFI and the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation. The week long ‘festival of technology’ sees more than 120,000 primary and post-primary pupils all over Ireland taking part in a range of fun activities including the finals of tech events that run throughout the year. Mary Cleary, Deputy CEO of ICS Foundation said “the success of Tech Week is dependent on support from SFI and the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation to supplement our own contribution.”
According to Jim Friars, CEO of the Irish Computer Society & ICS Foundation, “Tech Week provides hands-on opportunities for young people to learn about how computing and related technologies are shaping every area of life. The aim is to stimulate thinking around future opportunities for study and careers in technology, through learning in the wider areas of science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) subjects.”
“Research indicates that Ireland needs an additional 45,000 skilled new ICT professionals by 2018 to fuel our continuing growth. The current generation of children and teens are ‘digital natives’ but instead of just using technology it’s important for them, and their parents, to understand that careers in technology are creative, rewarding and enriching. We want young people and their parents to understand and be aware of the opportunities a career in technology can provide. They can then choose the right subjects and make college decisions on an informed basis around all that technology has to offer”.
ICS Foundation’s Tech Week 2017 will launch in November with the main activities taking place during the week of 23rd to 29th April, 2017.