June 25th, 2018 – Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Heather Humphreys TD today announced €1.8 million in funding to support the latest round of SFI Industry Fellowship Programme awards. The Industry Fellowship Programme, which is funded by the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation and awarded through Science Foundation Ireland, will see 23 researchers from the 2017 Programme call, take up temporary placements in industry. The placements – ranging from 2-24 months – have proven a great success, with over 130 industry partnerships to date.

Congratulating the awardees, Minister for Enterprise and Innovation, Heather Humphreys TD said: “Collaboration with industry is a key objective of “Innovation 2020”. Ireland has a highly skilled workforce driving our knowledge economy and programmes such as the SFI Industry Fellowship provide a vital platform for the flow of talent and expertise between our academic institutions and the corporate world. Industry partners benefit from access to leading edge technology within Irish academic institutions and our research community gains first-hand knowledge of research in a commercial setting.”

The SFI Industry Fellowship Programme offers researchers from academia the opportunity to gain valuable insight into the commercial working environment; the cultural differences, and industrial approach to project management. For industry researchers entering academic institutions, they can benefit from access to highly specialised equipment and the deep repository of knowledge and insight within the academic community.

Dr Ciarán Seoighe, Deputy Director General of Science Foundation Ireland, added: “Science Foundation Ireland is delighted to support the ongoing collaborative framework provided by the Industry Fellowship Programme. The Irish higher education institutions are an excellent source of highly skilled individuals, with nearly a third of PhD students and Postdocs departing to industry as a first destination. The Industry Fellowship Programme is an ideal conduit for industry partners to grow their talent base and stimulate excellence through knowledge exchange and training.”

Discussing his participation in the Industry Fellowship Programme, Dr Sibu Padmanabhan said; "I am looking forward to the year ahead with Versatile Packaging. My research will focus on developing an antimicrobial coating process for food packaging, to ensure safety, reduce food waste and in turn support sustainable food development. The SFI Industry Fellowship Programme has enabled me to connect with a relevant industry partner in Versatile Packaging, where access to real world expertise and high throughput processing technology will be a huge benefit to my research.”

The 23 projects supported by funding announced today cover a range of topics, including; renewable energy; cancer research; medical devices; environmental sensors; and materials science. These projects are supported by 20 industry partners ranging from Irish start-ups and SMEs to large MNCs.

“Versatile Packing is an Irish SME with a relentless focus on continuous improvement and a passion for providing unparalleled packaging solutions using leading edge technologies, so for us, the SFI Industry Fellowship Programme offers a fantastic opportunity to link into the latest research taking place in Irish Universities and bring some new ideas and perspectives in-house. We are very excited to have Sibu join our team, his project fits in very well with the company’s portfolio and having him on board allows us to explore new, more speculative product ideas using the latest in materials innovation.” Richard Mulligan, Director, Versatile Packaging, Monaghan.