Dublin has officially begun its year as European City of Science 2012 following a ceremony in the capital.

More than 160 science related events will take place during the year, including a major international science conference in July.

Government Chief Scientific Adviser Prof Patrick Cunningham said Ireland was claiming its place in the world of scientific research.

Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Richard Bruton said dramatic improvements had been made in publicly funded research over the past decade.

The Government is working to ensure that this research is commercialised to create jobs, he added.

Highlights of the year of science include a multimedia performance of composer Philip Glass's ''Icarus: At the edge of time'' by the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra.

Speaking at the launch, comedian and broadcaster Dara Ó Briain said Ireland's incredible achievements in the Arts were long recognised but its science achievements were just as strong.