Belfast Telegraph

37m euro for new research centres

An extra 37 million euro is set to be pumped into innovative new research centres bringing industry and academia together, it has been revealed.

Enterprise Minister Batt O'Keeffe said the projects, which aim to create hi-tech, next-generation products, would help create jobs and encourage the pooling of expertise.

The funding injection will bring total investment in the Government's Competence Centres Programme to 90 million euro over the next six years.

Announcing the extra funding, Mr O'Keeffe said the new centres would allow firms that are usually competitors to share knowledge, risk and rewards.

"If we want to produce next generation hi-tech products, we must get academic researchers working more closely with industry so that their expertise can be pooled and tailored for the market," he said.

"Clusters of firms will work together to overcome common research challenges and drive opportunities for innovation, growth and jobs."

The research centres are set to increase in number from six this year to 15 by 2016.

At the start of 2010, five competence centres were added to the initial pilot centre, Food for Health.

They are the Centre in Nanotechnology at University College Cork (UCC), the Centre in Composite Materials at the University of Limerick, the Centre on IT Innovation at National University of Ireland (NUI) Maynooth, NUI Galway's Centre in Bioenergy, and the Centre in Microelectronics, also at UCC.

Each project will receive up to five million euro over five years. The programme is a joint initiative between the Government's job creation agencies, Enterprise Ireland and IDA Ireland.

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