An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny TD has announced that a consortium of Irish Higher Education Institutions, led by NUI Galway has been awarded €1.24m in funding to collaborate with their Japanese counterparts through Science Foundation Ireland’s (SFI ) International Strategic Cooperation Award (ISCA ).
The NUI Galway-led consortium of Irish Research Bodies will partner with 21 Japanese Universities and a number of companies and research institutes, with the aim of building strategic partnerships to perform cutting-edge scientific research, encourage more industry-informed research, and foster academic-industry interactions between Ireland and Japan.
Speaking in Tokyo, Japan, An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny TD said that this new initiative, supported by the Irish Government through Science Foundation Ireland, will build on the extensive linkages that already exist between the Irish and Japanese research communities. It will encourage a higher level of research engagement at both an academic and industrial level.
"The ultimate aim" An Taoiseach said "is to create innovative products, services and jobs to benefit Ireland and Japan as well as tackling important social challenges such as caring for an ageing population and climate change. Importantly, it will also help increase awareness of Ireland’s growing international standing in the area of research among potential new partner organisations in Japan.”
Professor Mark Ferguson, Director General of SFI and Chief Scientific Adviser to the Government, said, "Ireland ranks 20 in the world for the quality of its research. Our focus on funding excellent scientific research with impact is important for the economy and country. Ireland continues to develop strategic international partnerships. Through SFI’s ISCA programme we are fostering new important research collaborations between Irish based Researchers and both academic and industry partners in Japan.”
The partnerships developed by the consortium will address 6 key thematic areas which align with both Irish and Japanese research priorities. These are:
· Environmental and climate sciences and technologies;
• ICT and Big Data analytics;
• Advanced manufacturing and materials;
• Imaging and optics;
• Future healthcare including connected health;
• Medical devices and regenerative medicine.
Project Leader, Professor Ciaran Morrison of NUI Galway, commented "Many Irish researchers already have significant interactions with Japanese colleagues but until now there has not been a framework to support those interactions and to convert them into more tangible collaborations. The key goal of this initiative is to promote Irish science to Japanese research institutions, in order to forge new collaborative links between researchers in the two countries. Japanese research is very strong and Irish researchers can really benefit from closer association with their Japanese counterparts".