AMBER (Advanced Materials and Bio-Engineering Research Centre), the Science Foundation Ireland-funded National Materials Science Research Centre, hosted in Trinity College Dublin, has today published its impact assessment report which details the last 10 years of nanoscience and materials science in Ireland.

This impact assessment report rigorously assesses the impact that AMBER, and its predecessor CRANN, have made to the Irish economy and wider society in the last 10 years. Working with the impact framework as defined by Science Foundation Ireland, AMBER has thoroughly interrogated research impacts across 7 key pillars – Economic and Commercial, Societal, International Engagement, Policy & Public Services, Health and Wellbeing, Environmental and Human Capacity. The report demonstrates that continued funding (under review by SFI) will allow AMBER to become one of the international centres of choice for collaborative industry research and help Ireland further its research profile in materials science and so promote Ireland as a destination for attracting high-tech companies and inward investment. The centre has and will continue to attract leading industry and academic researchers into Ireland. AMBER’s vision is to grow and become a critical hub in the country’s innovation strategy - creating more opportunities for company spin-outs and growth.

Key Highlights of the Report include:

  • Ireland ranked 1st in the world for nanoscience research and 3rd for materials science research in 2016
  • For every €1 invested, AMBER and CRANN have helped the Irish economy to grow by €5
  • AMBER and its predecessor CRANN generated over 14,000 jobs in Ireland over 10 years and during this time had a total income of €108 million generating a gross output nationwide of over €505 million
  • The institute has worked with more than 200 companies in Ireland and internationally and has received €4.4 M of industry cash in the last four years with a further €1.7M contracted
  • Over €45 million European funding has been awarded to CRANN and AMBER academics
  • Over 2,400 research papers, generating over 76,000 citations have been published by AMBER researchers– 45% of AMBER academics have taken out a patent compared to 8% of Irish academics and 6% of UK academics
  • AMBER researchers have been awarded more ERC funding than any other research centre in Ireland and Prof Valeria Nicolosi is Europe’s only 5 time ERC awardee
  • AMBER and CRANN academics are far more engaged across a broad range of knowledge exchange activities than either Irish or UK academics, including giving invited lectures, working with research consortia and engaging with industry – 79% of CRANN/AMBER academics gave invited lectures compared to 50% of Irish academics and 55% of UK academics.

Announcing the publication of the report, An Tánaiste and Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation Frances Fitzgerald T.D. said: “A key part of Government’s Action Plan for Jobs is prioritising research and innovation, and ensuring that spend in this area is focused on turning good research into tangible applications, investment and jobs. The results contained in today’s report are testimony to the impressive research discoveries, significant industry collaborations, new patents and new technologies delivered by AMBER, all of which delivers real societal and economic impact, positioning Ireland as first and third internationally for nanoscience research and materials science research respectively last year. Government remains firmly committed to supporting high quality, internationally competitive research with the potential to generate jobs and support economic growth. I commend Professor Morris and all of his team on these impressive results.”

Minister of State for Training, Skills, Innovation, Research and Development John Halligan T.D.said, “It is no exaggeration to say that a key part of Ireland’s economic recovery can be attributed to the quality of our research centres and their output. AMBER’s world-leading research has attracted and continues to attract FDI into Ireland, creating thousands of jobs and spurring growth amongst innovative domestic companies too. Leading multinationals have stated in this Impact Assessment Report that a key reason for their selecting Ireland as a base, is their work with AMBER, the quality of which is unrivalled in many areas. AMBER’s researchers are making world-first discoveries that are leading to new Irish start-ups, and helping global corporations deliver new applications in the areas of ICT, energy and medicine, among others. Government is committed to supporting centres like AMBER, through Science Foundation Ireland, and as part of our national Innovation Strategy.”

Commenting on the report, Dr Darrin Morrissey, Director of Programmes at Science Foundation Ireland said: “The report demonstrates the significant positive impact that has been made by the AMBER SFI Research Centre in Ireland over the past 10 years. AMBER, through world-leading researchers, is creating new knowledge and intellectual property. It is transferring that knowledge to industry through licensing agreements, industrial staff exchanges and spin-outs. The report highlights the impressive outputs from AMBER and demonstrates how Ireland’s research community are world-leading and making tangible impacts on our economy.”

Speaking at the launch, Professor Mick Morris, Director of AMBER, said: “We are delighted that the hard work of our researchers and staff over the last 10+ years is effectively demonstrated in this report through the significant contribution that CRANN and AMBER have made to the economic and societal wellbeing of our local, regional and national communities and through our international research. In the next decade nanoscience and materials science in Ireland will lead on the international stage and we remain committed to making a difference to the social and economic well-being of Ireland through the quality of our research and training for graduates and our engagements with businesses and communities both nationally and internationally. This report showcases the critical importance for AMBER to continue to be funded for world class research so that we can deliver, scientific, economic and societal impacts into Ireland for the benefit of the entire population.”

Domhnaill Hernon, Head of Innovation Incubation and Experiments in Arts and Technology, Nokia Bell Labs, said: “AMBER is considered as an exemplar academic collaborator across Bells Labs globally and for good reason. They stand out for their ability to engage with industry while delivering world leading scientific research. In my opinion they are a dream partner and acting as the executive sponsor I plan on growing this collaboration substantially.”

Gerardo Bertero, Senior Director at Western Digital, said: “We partner with the best expertise we can find around the globe. As such, we are proud of our association with AMBER. We have found the exchanges to be open, highly intellectual, mutually respectful and of excellent technical and scientific content.”