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8005 academic-academic collaborations reported by SFI reseachers; 71% of these with international partners. 50% of non-academic engagements were with partners outside of Ireland; 11% with the US, 10% with the UK and 29% with other countries. 503 SFI-funded researchers were involved in or organised 828 workshops and conferences (62% were virtual).


In 2021, SFI continued to build strategic international collaborative research partnerships across the globe. By expanding the international footprint of Irish research, SFI is attracting top global research talent, building researchers’ networks and increasing access to international funding opportunities.

While adapting to the implications of Brexit and global challenges such as climate change and the post-COVID-19 economic recovery, SFI’s international partnerships are delivering positive economic and societal impacts. Showcasing Ireland’s excellent research capabilities, this includes supporting the Government’s Programme for a Shared Island research corridor.

Graphic showing 2021 international academic collaborations: North America 18.19%, Europe 68.34%, Asia 8.32%, Central America and the Caribbean 0.19%, Sub-Saharan Africa 0.44%, Middle East, North Africa and Greater Arabia 0.14%, Australia and Oceania 2.96%, South America 1.42%

SFI’s international collaborations have extensive global reach: Europe (68.34%), North America (18.19%), Asia (8.32%), Australia and Oceania (2.96%), South America (1.42%) and Middle East, North Africa, and Greater Arabia (0.14%), Central America and the Caribbean 0.19%, Sub-Saharan Africa 0.44%.

SFI St. Patrick’s Day Science Medal


Taoiseach Micheál Martin TD presented the prestigious SFI St. Patrick’s Day Science Medal to Prof William C Campbell, a recipient of the 2015 Nobel Prize in Physiology/Medicine, and to Mr Vincent T Roche, President and Chief Executive Officer of Analog Devices, Inc. The Medal recognises distinguished Irish scientists, engineers or technology leaders living and working in the USA, for their significant scientific contributions to academia and industry.

Pictured right: Prof William C Campbell (Image: Shelly Kusnetz) and Mr Vincent T Roche, Analog Devices Inc. winners of the SFI St Patrick’s Day Science Medal 2021.

Headshot images of Prof William C Campbell and Mr Vincent T Roche

OpenIreland- COSMOS transatlantic partnership to improve internet networks

“This is the first time that two advanced networking testbeds, based on open technology, are connected in this way for use by academics and industry partners anywhere in the world. These testbeds are powerful as they allow us to move from simulated experiments to real life, city-wide environments and carry out experiments on OpenRAN 5G networks, both outdoor and indoor, using actual 5G licensed spectrum, in addition to optical networking, transmission networks, and edge cloud computing.”
Prof Marco Ruffini, Principal Investigator, TCD


A new transatlantic partnership commenced in 2021 will see the SFI-funded OpenIreland telecoms testbed at the CONNECT SFI Research Centre for Future Networks and Communications at TCD connect physically with the National Science Foundation-funded COSMOS testbed in New
York City. Researchers will use data from the two testbeds to develop machine learning algorithms capable of predicting physical layer network
behaviour. These algorithms have the potential to provide more reliable and sustainable internet networks, using technology for the public good.

Investigators at CONNECT, led by Prof Marco Ruffini and Prof Dan Kilper, have partnered with Prof Gil Zussman at Columbia University and Ivan Seskar at Rutgers University to interconnect the two smart city testbeds, creating a cross-Atlantic, international research environment.

Explore The Report - Our Key Chapters

Driving Competitiveness

SFI is fostering a cohesive research and innovation ecosystem that supports Ireland’s competitiveness.

Find out more about Driving Competitiveness

Excellent Research

SFI supports and drives Ireland’s contribution to the latest scientific breakthroughs which lead to innovation for academia, enterprise, the public sector, government, society and beyond

Find out more about Excellent Research

Talent and Skills

From training highly sought-after PhD students, to supporting early career frontiers researchers and senior research leaders, SFI is working to attract and retain the best talent.

Find out more about Talent and Skills

Annual Report 2021

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