The Government has approved the drafting of a bill to extend the remit of Science Foundation Ireland (SFI).

The bill will include funding of applied research and allow SFI to focus its funding on areas of research which have the potential to deliver the greatest return to the economy.

According to press release issued this morning by the Department of Enterprise, Jobs and Innovation, the bill will also ensure that the strategic focus of SFI is aligned with areas that have the greatest potential to deliver sustainable economic return through enterprise development, employment creation and quality of life. A Research Prioritisation Group chaired by Mr. Jim O’Hara has completed work on the identification of priority areas for Irish research and this report will be published shortly.

The Bill will also make it explicit that the development of employment in the State is included as part of SFI’s overall objective of supporting the future development and competitiveness of industry and enterprise in the State.
The Bill will also provide Science Foundation Ireland with the legal power to fund research projects related to its strategic areas of focus in Northern Ireland and, subject to the consent of the Minister, participate in collaborative funding schemes, related to its strategic areas of focus, with countries of the European Economic Area or other countries.

Professor Mark Ferguson recently took up the post of Director General of Science Foundation of Ireland on January 16 having been appointed by the Board of Science Foundation of Ireland.

In a recent PAI Journal, the recently departed Director General of Science Foundation of Ireland, John Travers discusses the role of SFI and outlines how scientific research can enhance competitive advantage. To view this article see page of the October issue of the PAI Journal by clicking here.