Science research

SFI plans 18 centres for research training under 2025 strategy

'Shaping our Future' targets first mover advantage in new areas of discovery
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1 March 2021

Science Foundation Ireland has announced a new strategic plan based on the theme of ‘delivering for today while preparing for tomorrow’.

The strategy, Shaping our Future, sets out a number of key performance indicators to be completed by 2025, including the establishment of 18 research training centres; having 65% of postgraduate and postdoctoral researchers leave academia after six years; and increasing the level of women’s participation in positions of research leadership to 35%.

SFI also plans to maintain its plan of attracting world-class talent to Irish universities, targetting 20 high-calibre hires per year to 2025.




The new strategy also emphasised the necessity of developing the future skills required for Ireland’s future economy and society – anticipating future trends and areas of discovery and changing available supports accordingly to achieve a ‘first mover’ advantage over other countries in competing for funding at EU level and with industry partners.

Launching the new strategy, Prof Peter Clinch, Chairman, Science Foundation Ireland, said: “This strategy is an ambitious one. Investment in research is a key determinant of the long-term success and prosperity of Ireland and its people.

“Our vision is that Ireland will be a global innovation leader in scientific and engineering research for the advancement of Ireland’s economy and society. By ‘delivering today while preparing for tomorrow’, SFI’s new strategy is designed to meet current challenges and to position Ireland to take advantage of future opportunities.”

Prof Mark Ferguson, Director General Science Foundation Ireland and Chief Scientific Adviser to the Government of Ireland, said: “From the mechanisation of agriculture to the invention of television, from vaccines to the internet, from mobile phones to electric cars, the positive contribution that science, research, and innovation makes to people’s lives globally is unquestionable. Discovery, invention and innovation fuel great progress.

“Under our previous strategy, SFI focused on increasing the effectiveness and efficiency of the Irish RD&I system. This was successful with Eurostats citing Ireland as the most R&D efficient country in Europe, generating more innovation output per euro of public funds invested than any other country. But there are limits to efficiency gains and the system now needs, and is prepared for, increased investment.”

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