Working with academic researchers
SFI specialises in addressing companies’ needs through our support of researchers in Ireland’s higher education institutions. We play a complementary role to that of our sister agencies IDA Ireland and Enterprise Ireland in assisting foreign and indigenous industry. SFI supports industry collaborations by providing researchers with funding, linking researchers and companies that are working on relevant projects and providing the supportive environment that’s so essential for collaborative work.
Partnering with academic researchers presents several advantages for Industry:
- Reduced time to innovation
- Access to expertise to address immediate challenges or long-term needs
- Opportunity to engage in collaborative, highly innovative, co-funded R&D
- Identification of future talent for your company
- Access to collaborative European research networks
Technology Transfer & Intellectual Property (IP) Considerations
IP should be managed according to the policies set out in the Government publication Inspiring Partnership - the National IP Protocol 2016. To find out more about IP guidelines please National Policies / SFI Positions.
How to get involved? Finding a Researcher
Connecting with the right researchers
The first step to forming fruitful partnerships for your business is finding the right researcher. The Enterprise team is happy to put you in touch with researchers with the relevant expertise for your needs.
SFI Research Centres:
The world-leading SFI Research Centres link scientists and engineers in partnerships across academia and industry. These partnerships address crucial research questions, foster the development of new and existing companies to create innovative products leading to job creation, and expand educational and career opportunities in Ireland in science and engineering. Projects can be formed with a single research centre or across a number of relevant centres. To find a centre relevant to your needs take a look through all SFI Research Centres.
KTI Find a Research Partner:
Knowledge Transfer Ireland (KTI) four tools to assist you in locating expertise in Irish HEIs (Universities and Institutes of Technology) to work with you. To find a researcher appropriate to your needs see Knowledge Transfer Ireland.
Alternatively, over 2000 SFI funded researchers (past and present) can be identified through the SFI Researcher Database.
Collaborative Funding Opportunities
Finding the right funding programme for you
Science Foundation Ireland has a range of funding programmes that suit industry-informed research and industry-academic interactions at a number of levels, ranging from seeding an initial engagement with an academic group to large scale collaborative research endeavours.
- The SFI Industry Fellowship programme supports a post-doctoral researcher or academic member of staff in an Irish Research Body to spend time in industry, or an industrial researcher to spend time in academia for up to a year (2 years if part time).
- The SFI Spokes Programme enables the addition of new industrial and academic partners and projects to a SFI Research Centre, allowing the Centre to expand and develop in line with new priorities and opportunities.
- The SFI Strategic Partnerships Programme funds strategic opportunities within all areas covered by SFI’s legal remit where significant co-funding from a company, collection of companies, funding agency, charity, philanthropic organization or Higher Education Institute is available.
- The SFI-Pfizer Biotherapeutics Innovation Award Programme
Case Study 1
Idiro Analytics – SFI Industry Fellowship
“After several years in academic research, I wished to engage more with industry and real-world problems. So, in 2014, I successfully applied for an SFI Industry Fellowship with Idiro Analytics. As a network scientist, I had been interested in the real-world data of human activity, as they are essential in developing and testing predictive mathematical models. Idiro is a pioneering company in data analytics, with extraordinary expertise in predictive modelling and access to rich datasets, in telecommunications and other sectors. Working here has been a wonderful experience. For the first time, I had the opportunity to work with large databases and learn several relevant programming languages. Crucially, I have been working with cutting-edge techniques, on important live questions, and working alongside some of the best experts in data analytics in Dublin. This experience has been so good that I was delighted to take the opportunity to stay in Idiro as a data scientist. I certainly recommend this fellowship to every researcher interested in working across the boundaries between academia and industry.”
Dr Davide Cellai, Senior Data Scientist and SFI Industry Fellow
“Academic research has always been important to Idiro – that’s how we became world leaders in the application of Social Network Analysis (SNA) techniques to telecommunications business problems. That's why we were happy to support Davide's Industry Fellowship. This Fellowship has given us the opportunity to investigate questions and speculative, high-risk methodologies that we did not have the time to address within our current staff. Davide has made valuable contributions to the development of new analytics models (now part of one of our products) and improvements to existing ones. We were so happy with this project that, at the end of the Fellowship, we hired Davide in our analytics team, where he is investigating and developing new innovative solutions for our customers.”
Case Study 2
APC Microbiome Institute - SFI Spokes programme
“The SFI Spokes programme has enabled Janssen to collaborate with one of the leading academic labs to explore a new approach to the diagnosis of Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) using bacteriophage. This innovative project combines the expertise of Janssen and the APC Microbiome Institute and represents a promising approach in the field of IBD.”
Scott Plevy, MD, Vice President, Disease Area Leader, Inflammatory Bowel Disease, Immunology Therapeutic Area, Janssen Research & Development, LLC.
“Collaboration with industry ensures a rigour and relevance to our research, and maximises the chances of developing new therapeutics for patients with IBD. This collaborative Spokes project co-funded by SFI and Janssen, enables the APC Microbiome Institute to develop a scientific platform of tools to investigate the role of bacteriophage in health and disease, using IBD as a model, and which can also be used for other conditions.”
Prof Fergus Shanahan, Director, APC Microbiome Institute.
Relevant Documents and Links
In line with other international funding agencies, SFI has adopted the following definition of Impact, recognising it as the “the demonstrable contribution that excellent research makes to society and the economy”. Further insights into SFI’s impact framework and the objectives of SFI’s impact assessment can be found at SFI Research Impact.
Read about the latest SFI funded Research News.
- Agenda 2020 (English) (Irish)
- KTI Catalog of Model Agreements
- Directory of Innovation Supports, Research Centres and Technology Centres 2016
Other useful links