Despite the significant challenges faced by the research community in 2020, SFI and its funded community continued to deliver world-leading scientific excellence, with significant positive impact on our society and the economy. Leading with vision and agility, SFI researchers have tenaciously driven innovative scientific discovery, ensuring Ireland remains an attractive location for top scientific talent and foreign direct investment.

Publications and Citations

With access to laboratories limited for many sectors in academia during the pandemic, the number of publications saw a strong increase in 2020, as SFI funded researchers continued to publish world-leading scientific discovery with excellence and impact.

Excellent Science Key Statistics 2020

  • 5,888

    publications were reported by SFI researchers in 2020.
  • x2.5

    SFI-funded publications are 2.5 times more likely to be star publications than the global average.
  • 28

    SFI-funded researchers were named among the top 1% in the world.
  • 2nd

    Ireland ranks 2nd in the world for Immunology.

Societal and Economic Impact

An international study led by Prof David Henshall at the SFI Research Centre for Chronic and Rare Neurological Diseases, led by RCSI University of Medicine and Health Sciences, uncovered three molecules that have the potential to be developed into new drugs to treat epilepsy. Epilepsy is the most common neurological disorders worldwide, with over 50 million patients across the world and no current cure.

A study by PhD candidate Abeba Birhane at the Lero SFI Research Centre for Software and UCD’s Complex Software Lab, resulted in the withdrawal of an 80-million image library. Belonging to Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) the dataset had been used to train AI and Machine Learning (ML) systems but was found to be contaminated with racist, misogynistic and other offensive content.

Pictured right: PhD candidate Abeba Birhane at the Lero SFI Research Centre for Software and UCD’s Complex Software Lab.

SFI Researcher of the Year 2020

SFI was delighted to announce Prof Kingston Mills as the 2020 SFI Researcher of the Year. Kingston is a Professor of Experimental Immunology at TCD, and Director of the Trinity Biomedical Sciences Institute. This prestigious award recognises the accomplishments of an SFI-funded researcher who has contributed significantly to the Irish research community and achieved exceptional scientific and engineering research outputs.

His research focuses on T cells in infection and autoimmunity and he has published over 300 peer-reviewed papers and book chapters that have been cited over 31,000 times. He has been continuously successful in securing Prinicipal Investigator grants from SFI since its foundation in 2001 and has led a number of Strategic Research Partnerships with Industry.

Pictured left: Prof Kingston Mills, Trinity Biomedical Sciences Institute.

Explore The Report - Our Key Chapters

  • Responding to COVID-19

    In 2020, the global research community came together in an unprecedented, and immensely collaborative and agile manner to address the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.

    Find out more
  • Talent and Skills

    SFI develops, attracts and retains diverse academic and research talent that powers Ireland’s innovation society.

    Find out more
  • Global Footprint

    In 2020 SFI continued to foster and maintain our strong global connections with international funding agencies, as well as seeking new opportunities for international research collaborations.

    Find out more
  • Driving Competitiveness

    Ireland is a competitive, innovative country with ambitions to become a global innovation leader.

    Find out more

Responding to COVID-19

In 2020, the global research community came together in an unprecedented, and immensely collaborative and agile manner to address the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Find out more

Talent and Skills

SFI develops, attracts and retains diverse academic and research talent that powers Ireland’s innovation society.

Find out more

Global Footprint

In 2020 SFI continued to foster and maintain our strong global connections with international funding agencies, as well as seeking new opportunities for international research collaborations.

Find out more

Driving Competitiveness

Ireland is a competitive, innovative country with ambitions to become a global innovation leader.

Find out more

Download the full Report

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