Ministers sign North/South research agreement

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22 January 2014

Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Richard Bruton and the Employment and Learning Minister for Northern Ireland Dr Stephen Farry have signed an agreement to allow Queen’s University and the University of Ulster participate as full academic partners in Science Foundation Ireland’s Investigators programme.

The SFI/DEL Investigators Programme Partnership will support collaborative projects involving universities from both jurisdictions to undertake internationally peer reviewed, leading edge, discovery and fundamental research.

Speaking at the announcement, Minister Bruton said: “Improving our research and development infrastructure is a key priority for both Governments, and a key pillar upon which the Irish Government’s Action Plan for Jobs is built. Building upon our current achievements in the sector and delivering partnerships which allow for the improvement and sharing of knowledge will only heighten the potential for economic and societal impact on an all-island basis.”

Dr Farry added: “My Department is making available funding of up to £8.4 million over the next six years to enable Queen’s and Ulster to participate in the next two annual calls, the first of which is due to be published by SFI next month.

“This is an extremely timely development, building on the success of my Department’s “Strengthening the all-Island Research Base” programme, while also providing real opportunity to develop new cross-border research collaborations with the potential, in the longer term, to bring further success under Horizon 2020 – the European Commission’s latest research framework programme and a major priority for both Governments.”

Prof Mark Ferguson, Director General of Science Foundation Ireland and Chief Scientific Adviser to the Irish Government, said: “This partnership is a key stepping stone in helping Ireland maximise its potential funding opportunities under Horizon 2020. It will enable Ireland’s scientific community to work together on an all-island basis, create efficiencies by reducing the duplication of research and assist in the sharing of important new knowledge.”

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