29 December 2022: Minister Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, Simon Harris, TD, today announced a €53.3 million investment in 33 research infrastructure projects through the Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) Research Infrastructure Fund. The awards will contribute to the advancement of high-quality and high-impact research activities.

Announcing the award today, Minister Harris said: “I am delighted to announce €53.3 million in funding through my department that will support and encourage transformative research which will have both a national and international impact. The research community on our island has consistently proved itself to be world-class, not least during COVID-19, and continues to undertake cutting-edge, innovative research projects. In order for this community to continue to thrive, it’s essential that they have sustained access to modern infrastructure and equipment.”

Commenting on the investment, Prof Philip Nolan, Director General, Science Foundation Ireland said: “Encouraging and supporting excellent, ambitious and innovative research projects is the core objective of Science Foundation Ireland.  The SFI Research Infrastructure Programme was developed with this in mind; in order for researchers to continue to deliver outstanding research and meet evolving and future challenges, we must ensure that they have the tools required for their research. The 33 infrastructure projects awarded funding are at the cutting edge and are truly helping us to achieve our goal of delivering today and preparing for tomorrow.”

Examples of projects include:
  • National Rechargeable Battery Fabrication and Test Facility, University of Limerick, co-funded by SEAI, is one-stop-shop for battery development, not present anywhere else in Europe. It will combine electrode fabrication, cell assembly, testing and state of the art materials characterization within one location for the first time within Ireland. 
  • National Soil Greenhouse Gas Test Platform, Teagasc, will provide a facility to examine the efficacy of a range of novel fertiliser, bioactives, bio-stimulants, manure, and digestate additives.
  • MICROFERM, University College Cork, is a facility for rapid development of microbial bioprocesses for applications in the food and bioeconomy sectors. It comprises four fermentation platforms at a micro-scale to enable simultaneous screening and testing of large numbers of strain and process variables.
  • Centre of Excellence in Multimodal Microscopy, University of Galway, this facility will comprise a correlative microscopy workflow where biological and biomedical samples can be imaged across scales and resolutions by combing three high end microscopy technologies - Super Resolution Microscopy, Multiphoton Microscopy and Serial Block Face SEM (Scanning Electron microscopy) in one seamless ecosystem.
  • Tera Lab, Tyndall National Institute, will focus on the deep convergence of ultra-high speed photonic and wireless communications technologies for 6G Wireless-Photonic Networking
  • The Core Medium Throughput Facility at RCSI, University of Medicine and Health Sciences, will facilitate multi-parametric readouts for the assessment of functional alterations in single cells and brain networks in health and disease states. This project will ensure a streamlined workflow enabling faster research outputs and help advance scientific research at a faster pace that will answer new research questions to identify novel drug targets in epilepsy, autism, multiple sclerosis, pain, neurodegenerative, psychiatric, and motor neuron diseases.
  • Terahertz Transmission and Characterisation Facility, Dublin City University, will allow for the detailed generation and characterisation of terahertz signals spanning frequencies from 0.1 to 0.75 THz. It will extend the existing capabilities of the University sector in Ireland and enable further interdisciplinary research that will further grow Ireland’s expertise in areas where THz is a key enabling technology.

Two projects were co-funded by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI).

The SFI Research Infrastructure Programme supports the research community in building and sustaining cutting edge infrastructure in order to accomplish high-quality, impactful and innovative research. The programme facilitates broad usage across Ireland and to encourage partnerships and collaboration between different cohorts of researchers in Ireland; for example, between Universities, Technological Universities, Institutes of Technology, other Eligible Research Bodies, researchers in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, and between different cohorts of researchers in Ireland. 

For more information about the research infrastructure programme visit: https://www.sfi.ie/funding/funding-calls/sfi-research-infrastructure-programme/