mark fergusonA new academia-industry research consortium by the name of AMBER was launched today, 24/10/13, by Science Foundation Ireland (SFI). AMBER stands for Advanced Materials and Bio-Engineering Research Centre.  It is a new centre to translate science into new discoveries and devices for a range of sectors, particularly ICT, medical devices and industrial technologies.

AMBER is an academia-industry research consortium dedicated to developing new materials and medical devices which includes the development of novel silicon and magnetic memory devices which will impact communication devices like mobile phones; medical implant coatings which will improve patient care, for example hip implants and other products such as thermoelectric devices.

The Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Richard Bruton TD, together with the Minister for Research & Innovation, Sean Sherlock TD, today (Thursday) launched AMBER.

The research centre will directly support 99 highly skilled jobs with the potential for more.  These researchers will work to introduce their nanotechnology and materials science research in order to commercialise their discoveries.

The statement from SFI says that AMBER Centre positions Ireland as a global leader in the areas of materials and medical device development for industry.

sfi€58 million has been invested in the project, which is made up of €35m from Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation through SFI and €23million from 18 industry partners.  Industry partners include Intel, DePuy, Medtronic, Merck Millipore and SAB Miller.

AMBER will be led by Trinity College Dublin in collaboration with University College Cork and the Royal College of Surgeons of Ireland

The SFI said that its research centres programme, through which AMBER is being established, represents the largest ever state industry co-funded research investment of its kind in Ireland. The programme will see €200 million of Irish exchequer funding matched by €100 million in support from industry invested in seven “world class research centres of scale”, one of which is AMBER.

Speaking at the launch, Minister Bruton said: “Almost 50% of IDA jobs wins are connected to SFI research projects – that’s almost 6000 jobs per year over recent years. Therefore, if we are to achieve the level of job-creation we need, we must ensure that our science and research spending is properly targeted at employment opportunities. As part of the Action Plan for Jobs we are making a series of changes to achieve this, including the new SFI centres programme which will focus our spending in this area on 7 large-scale research centres which can attract industry funding and compete with the best in the world.

“The establishment of AMBER is a key part of this plan. Nanoscience and materials science are areas where we rank well inside the top ten internationally for research. The scale and ambition of this centre means that we can attract 18 industry partners and leading international researchers who can turn these good ideas into good jobs. I commend all involved and wish them every success with this crucial project”.

Minister Sherlock said, “With nanoscience linked to €15 billion or 10% of Irish exports and 250,000 jobs in sectors like technology, biomedicine, pharmaceuticals, energy and more, the importance of AMBER as a driver of future materials science research is clear. As a national centre, AMBER will play a key role in growing and retaining existing companies, providing world-leading research, increasing the level of foreign direct investment and enabling job creation in Ireland.”

nanoProfessor Stefano Sanvito from AMBER said, “AMBER will strengthen Ireland’s reputation for research, create new intellectual property; and support industrial collaborations and the commercialisation of research. The Centre will work to educate the next generation of researchers and create breakthroughs that influence everyone’s quality of life; such as the development of next generation computer chips; new medical devices, implants and pharmaceuticals which will improve patient care.”

“The AMBER Centre will deliver world-leading research into engineered materials and interfaces for applications in a number of priority sectors in Ireland, most notably in ICT, medical devices, and industrial technology. By delivering research of global quality, AMBER will support the development of advanced manufacturing in Ireland, and they will work with industry to attract additional foreign direct investment, thus supporting a research mandate for Irish-based companies.“

Professor Mark Ferguson, Director General of SFI said, “The SFI Research Centres Programme represents the largest ever state industry co-funded research investment of its kind in Ireland. The programme will see €200 million of Irish exchequer funding matched by €100 million in support from industry invested in seven world class research centres of scale, one of which is AMBER. AMBER has the potential to impact positively on Ireland’s future, not only in terms of the research outputs and resulting economic gain, but also in terms of creating and maintaining a strong pool of excellent talent within our shores. The foundation of AMBER has already delivered tangible economic benefits that include productive engagement with industry collaborators and the creation of new jobs.”

Welcoming the announcement, Dr Patrick Prendergast, Provost of Trinity, said: ‘The launch demonstrates the commitment of SFI, Government and industry to establish a leading international position for Ireland in materials science and to create high-quality, high-tech employment opportunities for the future. The link between industry and academia is a successful model and it ensures that the economic return of research is fully realised. Trinity is committed to driving a culture of job creation, and the close links between industry and academia which AMBER will forge could help to surface new business opportunities.’



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