A key objective of Science Foundation Ireland’s Agenda 2020 is to develop a set of world-leading, large-scale research centres that will provide major economic impact for Ireland. SFI Research Centres link scientists and engineers in partnerships across academia and industry to address crucial research questions; foster the development of new and existing Irish-based technology companies;attract industry that could make an important contribution to Ireland and its economy; and expand educational and career opportunities in Ireland in science and engineering.

Twelve SFI Research Centres have been established through an investment of €355 million from Government through Science Foundation Ireland and a further €190 million from industry collaborators. Over 200 companies are involved in collaborations with the centres. After an extensive review for scientific excellence and impact the first seven centres were established in 2013. Five additional centres were approved in 2014 and commenced operations in early 2015.

There are now sixteen SFI Research Centres are focused on strategic areas of importance to Ireland with a focus on delivering scientific excellence with economic and societal impact - Pharma, Big Data, Medical Devices, Nanotechnology/Materials, Marine Renewable Energy, Food for Health/Functional Foods, Perinatal Research, Applied Geosciences, Software, Digital Content, Telecommunications and Medical Devices.