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December 4th, 2009
Comparative to its size, Ireland has already placed a large bet on nanoscience research. Nanoscience represents the largest single portfolio investment for Science Foundation Ireland (SFI), and also a significant investment for the Higher Education Authority (HSE). This strategy has resulted in the development of the Crann Institute in Dublin, devoted entirely to nanoscience; the inclusion of nanoscience as a major component of the research mission at the Tyndall National Institute in Cork; and the creation of a national nanoscience academic consortium, Inspire, which brings together leading researchers on an all-island basis. The results of this public investment and research strategy are indeed impressive: Ireland is currently ranked sixth globally for the quality of its nanoscience research, among 35 other countries which have their own nanotechnology R&D activities.
Nanotechnology has become important across the ICT, medical device and pharmaceutical sectors. In these three sectors, Ireland has well over 500 companies, employing 150,000 people. At present it is estimated that 10 per cent, about €15 billion, of our annual exports are associated with nanotechnology. A cross-sectoral industry group, the Competence Centre for Applied Nanotechnology (CCAN) is now the interconnection between industry and the academic community, and with industry defining the deliverables. The successful integration of academic research with industry requirements is absolutely critical.
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