Science Foundation Ireland offers a number of funding mechanisms, which help industry and academia to build competitive advantage by enhancing their R&D capabilities; enable them to engage in projects of scale, excellence and relevance; and allow them to explore novel opportunities and priorities.
The Industry Fellowship Programme seeks to enhance industry-academia collaborations through the funding of collaborative industry-academia research projects. The fellowships stimulate excellence through knowledge exchange and training of engineers and scientists through the temporary placement (up to 12 months) of academic researchers in industry, and of industry researchers in academia. The SFI Industry Fellowship Programme allows industry partners from around the world to have the opportunity to connect with academic researchers.
Since 2013, the SFI Industry Fellowship programme has supported over 190 Fellows. Here are some of our success stories.
Dr Marco Monopoli, a STAR Research Lecturer at RCSI, was awarded an Industry Fellowship award in 2016 to spend time at Ludger Ltd in the United Kingdom to develop glycoprofiling technologies for biologic therapeutics.
"I carried out my Industry Fellowship in Oxfordshire in 2016 at Ludger Ltd. During my time at Ludger, the scientific discussions I had with the team, in particular with Dr Daryl Fernandes, Dr Daniel Spencer and Dr Richard Gardner were hugely beneficial. I was treated like any member of the team, and we learned a great deal from each other by sharing knowledge through our collaborative work. After I returned to Ireland and joined RCSI, I continued to stay in touch with my industry contacts in Ludger as I started to apply for funding through various grant calls. The connections and expertise I built through my SFI Industry Fellowship were an important contributing factor in my group securing a grant for €4.2 million in EU funding in the Marie Skłodowska-Curie European Training Network for NanoCarb, a consortium composed of eight beneficiaries and nine partner organisations, including Ludger. The SFI Industry Fellowship programme had a tremendous impact on my career as it enabled me to gain expertise in a research field that would not have been possible in a solely academic setting. I now consider myself a more mature scientist and strong collaborator."
Dr Marco Monopoli, STAR Research Lecturer, RCSI
In 2014 Dr Davide Cellai, a post-doctoral researcher at the University of Limerick, was awarded an Industry Fellowship to examine predictive mathematical models at Idiro Analytics, an opportunity that has allowed him to continue work at the company as a Senior Scientist, Data and Analytics architect.
“After several years in academic research, I wished to engage more with industry and real-world problems. In 2014 I 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. Working at Idiro Analytics 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 the SFI Industry Fellowship to every researcher interested in working across the boundaries between academia and industry.”
Davide Cellai, Senior Scientist, Data & Analytics Architect at Idiro Analytics
“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. This SFI Industry 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.”
Brian Sullivan, Chief Analytics Officer, Idiro Analytics
In 2013 Dr Maria Luisa Guerriero, a Research Fellow in UCD, was awarded one of our first Industry Fellowships to work with Dr Claus Bendsen at AstraZeneca. They continue to work together today!
“I really enjoyed my time in AstraZeneca during the SFI Industry Fellowship; the project was interesting, the environment was very stimulating and I learned about the drug discovery process from the industrial side. I have been working in the company for three years now, and I am still enjoying and learning. The SFI industry Fellowship is an ideal mechanism to expose researchers to an industrial research environment, whether with the aim of preparing them for possible careers in industry or even simply to give them a better understanding of applied research, which is getting more and more important even in purely academic careers. Personally, knowing that the work I do contributes to the development of new life changing medicines is very exciting."
Dr Maria Luisa Guerriero
“Demonstrating what science can do is at the heart of our strategy at AstraZeneca and partnering though academic collaborations is a key component of this. Our experience with the SFI Industry Fellowship programme has been excellent as a mechanism to produce great science, strengthen our academic ties, and attract talented scientists to work with us.”
Dr Claus Bendsen
In 2016 Dr Therese Holton, a post-doctoral researcher in UCD, was awarded an Industry Fellowship to work with Nuritas an Irish Biotech company to develop a database of evidence-based food and health relationships. The fellowship was such a success that Therese was offered and accepted a position in Nuritas following her fellowship.
“During my postdoc career, I was fortunate to be involved in a number of commercialisation activities, and so became increasingly interested in exploring a career in industry. For me, the SFI Industry Fellowship offered the perfect way to do this- I could secure my own funding which would continue to support my academic goals, but I could also get a feel for life in industry. I was based in Nuritas for my Industry Fellowship in 2016, and overall it was a truly excellent experience. I learned so much by being situated there full time and equally found it very rewarding that my research and academic skills were directly relevant in an industry setting. After my Fellowship, I was delighted to be offered a position in Nuritas as a scientific officer, where I continue to use my academic training. The Industry Fellowship was instrumental in kick starting my career in industry and I would highly recommend it to any researcher who is thinking about making that move from academia.”
Dr Therese Holton
“At Nuritas, we are very proud of our strong scientific focus and openly welcome opportunities to collaborate with the academic research community. The SFI Industry Fellowship has served as an excellent way to engage with talented researchers, offering a unique opportunity to bring additional competencies to our operations.”
Greg Stafford, Chief Finance Officer Nuritas
The SFI Spokes programme is a flexible mechanism for industry to engage with SFI Research Centres to work on collaborative research projects. The proposed research programme is funded 50/50 by the company and Science Foundation Ireland.
In 2014 a collaborative project between Janssen and the SFI Research Centre APC Microbiome Institute to investigate the link between human microbiota and inflammatory bowel disease was funded through the Spokes programme.
“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, former Director and co-PI at the SFI Research Centre APC Microbiome Institute
“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, Janssen Research & Development LLC