Wednesday, 11 October 2017
Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation
Research Centres Programme
77. To ask the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation if she has given consideration to the provision of an annual funding scheme for the provision of physical infrastructure such as equipment, buildings, libraries and laboratories untied to specific centres or priority areas to further research activities in third level institutions; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [43136/17]
Innovation 2020 contains an action to develop a strategic approach to the development of existing and new research infrastructure programmes. A number of bodies are involved in its implementation, including my own Department.
Science Foundation Ireland, an agency of my Department runs research infrastructure calls for research equipment to support the research community in the areas determined by the Research Prioritisation process. Such calls are run periodically and are subject to availability of budget. In February 2017, Ministers Mitchell O’Connor and Halligan announced a new investment by Science Foundation Ireland of €47.4 million in 36 research infrastructure and facilities projects. The awards covered areas including Advanced Manufacturing, Drug Delivery; 3D Imaging; Nanotechnology; Future Networks; Big Data; Marine Renewable Energy; Food and the Environment; and Animal & Human Health.
My colleague, the Minister for Education and Skills, Mr Richard Bruton, TD, announced yesterday (in Budget 2018) that following the Mid Term Review of the Capital Plan, an additional €257 million will be invested in higher education infrastructure and equipment over the period 2018-2021. This will bring direct capital investment in the sector over that period to €367 million. This investment will take place in addition to a €200 million Public Private Partnership Programme in projects for the higher education sector.