Written answers

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation

Science Foundation Ireland

Photo of Seán SherlockSeán Sherlock (Cork East, Labour)
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293. To ask the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation the number of SFI awards that have been made to HEIs for collaborations between the North and South under the CSET, SRC, PICA and PIYRA programmes; the details of the awards for the years 2015 and 2016 showing which HEIs and research teams benefitted from these awards, in tabular form. [7713/17]

Photo of John HalliganJohn Halligan (Waterford, Independent)
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The SFI programmes referred to are largely legacy programmes that have been replaced by other programmes in recent years. SFI research outputs data for 2015 indicates that there have been 30 Higher Education Institute (HEI) collaborations with academic researchers in Northern Ireland across three programmes: the US-Ireland R&D Partnership, the SFI Investigators Programme and the SFI Research Centres Programme. The following tables provide a breakdown of academic collaboration by HEI and by SFI Programme from the SFI Research Outputs Data 2015. SFI Research Outputs data for 2016 collaborations will be available in June 2017.

Table 1 – Number of Collaborations by HEI from SFI Research Outputs 2015

HEICollaborations
Cork IT1
DCU1
DIAS2
Marine Institute1
NUIG1
RCSI1
TCD7
Tyndall National Institute3
UCC5
UCD5
University of Limerick3
Northern Ireland institutions involved in these collaborations are Queens University Belfast; University of Ulster and the Geological Survey of Northern Ireland.

Table 2 – Collaborations by SFI Programme from SFI Research Outputs Data 2015

SFI Award ProgrammeCollaborations
US/Ireland R&D6
SFI Investigator Programme17
SFI Research Centre7
Note further awards were approved under the SFI Investigator Programme 2016 and the US Ireland R&D Programme in partnership with the Department of Economy in Northern Ireland but this data is not included in the Table above as it will be reported as part of the 2016 SFI Research Outputs Data which will be available in June 2017.

Photo of Seán SherlockSeán Sherlock (Cork East, Labour)
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294. To ask the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation the number of researchers who will attend the awarding of the SFI St. Patrick's Day medal in Washington during the St. Patrick's Day celebrations 2017; if there are scientists who are members of Irish research teams in SFI funded centres who have been invited and who are the subject of the US executive order list of seven countries and may not be able to travel by virtue of their dual citizenship with one of those seven countries, which are now the subject of judicial proceedings in the US. [7714/17]

Photo of John HalliganJohn Halligan (Waterford, Independent)
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Travelling arrangements have yet to be finalised but it is envisaged that between 15-20 representatives from SFI Research Centres will attend meetings in Washington including the awarding of the SFI St. Patrick’s Day Medal. No SFI Researchers attending have indicated that they will be unable to travel due to the US executive order on travel.

The SFI St. Patrick’s Day Science Medal celebrates the achievements of individuals who are of Irish citizenship, descent or those who have a strong and enduring connection to Ireland. These individuals are outstanding in their fields of expertise and have also made significant contributions to developing the research ecosystem in Ireland or have demonstrably assisted researchers in Ireland in either academia or industry. The presentation of the Medal in Washington provides a unique opportunity to engage with the US scientific community including representatives from research funding agencies, industry, academia and the wider scientific diaspora.

Photo of Seán SherlockSeán Sherlock (Cork East, Labour)
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295. To ask the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation the number of times she and her Minister of State have met with the director general of SFI; the nature of those discussions; and if Brexit was discussed during the course of those conversations. [7715/17]

Photo of Mary Mitchell O'ConnorMary Mitchell O'Connor (Dún Laoghaire, Fine Gael)
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The Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation has met formally with the Director General of SFI on three occasions since her appointment. The Minister of State for Training, Skills and Innovation has met formally with the Director General of SFI on six occasions since his appointment. The possible implications of Brexit has been a discussion point during some of these meetings as have mechanisms to develop increased collaborative arrangements with the UK research community, options for potential new joint appointments for senior researchers between Irish and UK HEIs and joint approaches regarding PhD studentships. Other topics discussed have included:

- the role of SFI in the innovation system in Ireland;

- implementation of the Government’s strategy - Innovation 2020;

- SFI’s budget;

- Research Infrastructure;

- EU Horizon 2020 research programme;

- Action Plan for Jobs;

- Attracting world-class researchers to Ireland;

- SFI programmes to support research collaboration with industry;

- SFI role in supporting STEM Education & Public Engagement;

- Role of SFI Research Centres; and

- Ireland’s international scientific reputation.

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