RCSI welcomes Government’s €40m investment in AMBER SFI Research Centre

  • Research
SFI and AMBER Centre funding

RCSI has today welcomed the announcement of €40 million funding for phase two of AMBER, the SFI Research Centre for Advanced Materials and Bio-Engineering Research.

The announcement was made by Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Heather Humphreys TD, and Minister of State for Training, Skills, Innovation, Research and Development, John Halligan TD, as part of a total investment of €230 million in six SFI Research Centres under Project Ireland 2040.

RCSI was a founding partner of the AMBER Centre in 2013 with RCSI’s Professor of Bioengineering and Regenerative Medicine, Fergal O’Brien serving as Deputy Director of the Centre with specific responsibility in growing the materials for health space. RCSI researchers Prof. Sally Ann Cryan, Prof. Andreas Heise, Dr Cathal Kearney, Prof. Donal O’Shea, Dr Oran Kennedy, Dr Ciara Murphy, Dr Cian O’Leary, Dr Caroline Curtin and Dr Annie Curtis are also funded as AMBER Principal Investigators.

The funding of €40m will be delivered through SFI's Research Centres Programme, coupled with €77m in cash and in-kind contributions which AMBER will raise in investment from industry and non-exchequer sources through their collaborative and international research activities. The funding will support world-leading academic and industry-oriented materials science research in critical and emerging sectors of the economy, particularly sustainability, ICT, MedTech, manufacturing technologies and energy. The funding will be provided over the next six years, from 2019 to 2025.

Professor Ray Stallings, Director of Research and Innovation, RCSI, said: “I am delighted to welcome today’s announcement of €40m in grant funding for phase two of the AMBER SFI Research Centre. I congratulate Prof. Fergal O’Brien in his leadership of AMBER as Deputy Director, and I am very pleased that RCSI will have additional Principal Investigators leading impactful research on advanced healthcare materials as part of the next phase of the Centre.”

Commenting on the announcement, Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Heather Humphreys TD, said: “This investment by my Department in the six SFI Research Centres is part of the Government’s strategy to prepare now for tomorrow’s world, through plans like Future Jobs Ireland and Project Ireland 2040. The work that has been done to date has positioned Ireland as a world leader in research, further strengthening our global credibility across a number of different sectors. The economic impact of this research is clear, not only through direct and indirect employment levels, but also through increased foreign direct investment. Our Research Centres not only act as magnets to attract and retain investment; they also encourage companies, both Irish and foreign-owned, to develop their R&D activities here. This will continue to benefit Ireland and the world for years to come.”

Prof. Fergal O’Brien, Deputy Director of AMBER, commented: “We are delighted with the announcement of this funding. Our vision is to partner with industry and other sources to become a €120m world leading research centre by 2025. I am particularly pleased that 10 RCSI faculty are now funded investigators in AMBER, with more likely to follow in the coming years. This shows the quality and sustainability of the RCSI research community and is consistent with our mission to expand the materials for health and bioengineering remit of AMBER into the next decade.”

Prof. Mark Ferguson, Director General Science Foundation Ireland and Chief Scientific Adviser to the Government of Ireland, said: “SFI Research Centres support both basic and applied research, which I believe is one of the reasons they have been so successful to date. The research across the centres spans a wide range of sectors at varying levels and stages – the holistic approach we are taking to our research is fundamental to its success.

"In only a very short period the SFI Research Centres have made incredible progress, in terms of increased academic and industrial collaboration, training PhD students for industry, winning competitive funding from the EU, producing excellent scientific results and public engagement. We look forward to continued support from the Government and industry as we move forward, increasing our ability to positively impact both society and the economy through excellent scientific research.”