Tanaiste puts nanotechnology under the microscope
Minister learns to sweat the small stuff
TechLife | 16 Nov 2009 :
Tánaiste Mary Coughlan has officially launched Nanoweek in the Science Gallery, TCD.
Organised by the Nanoscience Network, Nanoweek will run from 30 November to 4 December and will include a wide range of events designed to raise awareness of the contribution that nanoscience makes to the Irish economy and to highlight the central role it can play in driving the Smart Economy.
The area of nanoscience has grown consistently in Ireland over the past number of years and the country has developed a global reputation for leadership in nanoscience with its researchers ranked sixth globally for the quality of their research output. There is a potential to make nanoscience a key pillar of the Smart Economy strategy, using it as a magnet both to attract FDI as well as supporting indigenous companies who are developing IP in the area for global export.
Speaking at the launch Coughlan said, "Government investment in research is core to the delivery of our Smart Economy. The area of nanoscience has grown consistently in Ireland over the past number of years, largely through the very significant investments Government has made - primarily through Science Foundation Ireland the Higher Education Authority. This has been complemented by crucially growing collaborations with major industry partners who are seeking competitive advantage through innovative new products aided by nanotechnology."
Also in attendance, Jim O'Hara, general manager Intel Ireland said, "Nanoscience has the ability to be a significant contributor to Ireland's efforts to return to global competitiveness in industries such as ICT, Biomedical and Pharmaceutical. There is an opportunity for us to underpin our work in these areas internationally by nurturing and exploiting our expertise in nanoscience.
"There are a number of Intel researchers in residence at CRANN and the Tyndall National Institute. The reason we are doing this is because the products Intel Ireland will manufacture in ten years time will be based on fundamental research carried out today. Intel is only one company of many engaged in this kind of work and Ireland must build on its leadership in nanoscience if it is going to continue to attract, retaining and grow these kinds of industries in Ireland."
Events running over the week include: Graduate Workshops in Nanoscience; the INSPIRE National Scientific Meeting; conferences on University Research to Economic Value - exploring how to commercialise R&D - which will include speakers Chris Horn, Donald Fitzmaurice and Mark Heffernan, Nanoscience to Nanotechnology - a Strategic vector for the Knowledge Economy - featuring Frank Gannon, SFI; Barry O'Leary, IDA; Frank Ryan, Enterprise Ireland; Roger Whatmore, Tyndall National Institute and John Boland, CRANN Institute.
In addition, a schools programme will take place with members of the Nanoscience Network visiting schools in Cork, Limerick, Dublin and Galway to introduce secondary schools students to the exciting world of Nanotechnology. Each lunchtime during the week there will be an opportunity to visit the Nano Ice Cream Van and assist with Nano experiments - as well as getting Nano questions answered.