Almost €7 million in funding for 62 early stage scientific research projects has been announced by the Government.

The funding is being targeted at projects that may have a commercial benefit with further development.

The investment is being made as part of Science Foundation Ireland's Technology Innovation Development Award programme.

It is also being carried out in collaboration with Enterprise Ireland.

Details of the 62 projects to benefit were outlined by Minister for Research and Innovation Sean Sherlock this morning.

The projects will include studies in the area of “Big Data” and the development of new drugs for cancer treatment.

Other projects include an examination of new ways of detecting cognitive decline and Alzheimer's disease, as well as the development of genetically modified crops that are tolerant to drought.

It is hoped the €6.9m will help research groups focus on the first stages of their applied research projects, which may ultimately yield a commercial benefit.

The programme also provides training in entrepreneurship to help the researchers identify market potential.