Joint investment in collaborative centres of research

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£64 million investment to create new collaborative research centres across Ireland and the UK.

Science Foundation Ireland (SFI), Northern Ireland’s Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) and UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) have today (24 October 2022) announced a £64 million investment to create new collaborative research centres across Ireland and the UK.

The ‘Co Centres: Collaboration for Transformative Research and Innovation’ opportunity opens in November and will focus on climate, and sustainable and resilient food systems themes.

The opportunities were announced by Minister for Science and Investment Security, Nusrat Ghani, Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science Simon Harris TD, and Minister for Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs, Edwin Poots MLA.

Deepening relationships

Nusrat Ghani, Minister for Science and Investment Security, said:

This excellent new programme will further deepen the relationships between the research sectors in Great Britain and Northern Ireland and Ireland, encouraging valuable cross-border collaboration between our friendly nations.

By working closely with industry, the co-centres will ensure their excellent research translates into innovation that helps us tackle some of the most important challenges we face, from climate change to sustainable food systems.

Solving global challenges

Professor Christopher Smith, UKRI’s International Champion, said:

UKRI are delighted to collaborate with SFI and the DAERA on this partnership.

Establishing these research centres will enable researchers and innovators in Ireland and the UK to play their part in solving some of our most pressing global challenges. I look forward to seeing what our combined great minds achieve.

Working together

The new co-centre programme will bring together leading academic and industrial researchers, as well as policymakers across Ireland and the UK.

Simon Harris TD, Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science said:

I am delighted to announce the launch of the new co-centre programme.

We have seen in recent years how important it is to invest in collaborative research and we are pleased to be able to support this ambitious new programme through the government’s Shared Island initiative.

By working together, we can foster new research collaborations that are crucial to addressing both climate, and sustainable and resilient food systems, these are critical issues that impact on all of us.

World-leading collaborative science

Minister for Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs, Edwin Poots MLA, said:

I am pleased to welcome the opening of this call, which represents a major joint investment for new research in the areas of climate and sustainable and resilient food systems.

I look forward to our research community responding to the call and subsequently delivering world-leading collaborative science to provide the evidence and innovation we need to enable Northern Ireland to reduce carbon emissions and biodiversity crisis in the right way; balancing climate, driving efficiency, environment and green jobs.

The new programme will provide for an investment of £64 million, funded through DAERA (up to £17 million), SFI (up to £35 million) and UKRI (up to £12 million).

Further information

A call for proposals under the new co-centres programme will be published by the agencies in mid-November.

About the Co Centres: Collaboration for Transformative Research and Innovation funding opportunity

The co-centres will be structured according to the existing SFI model incorporating cutting edge academic research underpinning collaborative research projects with industry.

The programme will establish joint, virtual research centres with the aim of strengthening the research and innovation base within Ireland and the UK, building strategic partnerships across these regions to support a competitive economy and addressing societal and environmental challenges.

£35 million of funding has been provided through the Shared Island Fund and the Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, to SFI for the co-centres programme.

Additional funding includes:

  • an allocation of up to £17 million by DAERA
  • a UKRI budget allocation of up to £12 million

Each co-centre is expected to be funded for a duration of 72 months.

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