The Board of Directors of Media Lab Europe announced today that it is putting the company into voluntary solvent liquidation. Fifty people will lose their jobs as a result of the decision.

The decision was taken to close the digital media centre because its principal stakeholders - the Irish Government and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - have not reached agreement on a new funding model for the organisation.

Media Lab Europe was launched in 2000 as a research and innovation laboratory in the fields of digital technologies. It is based in the Digital Hub in the Thomas street area of Dublin.

The Digital Hub provides start up facilities for early stage, fast growth companies and established companies in the digital industry. The Hub also includes a learning/training component geared to the local community.

It grew to a community of around 100 people, covering staff, researchers, students, collaborators and part-time undergraduate students.

The Board said in a statement it believes that it is important to acknowledge the innovative  work of the Lab since it was established. Much of this work has been coming to fruition in recent months, with fourteen patent applications  filed and a number of commercialisation opportunities being explored.

The Minister for Communications Noel Dempsey said today that the media research centre is to be wound down over a period of months. He praised the achievements of the centre to date.

'The Lab was particularly successful in a number of collaborative projects with Irish third level institutes. A number of these are ongoing and I am committed to funding these Higher Education Authority supported projects through to completion in their Irish educational establishments', he said.

The Minister said the dot com industry had not done as well as had been expected when it was set up 5 years ago.

But he said the digital hub project was going from strength to strength and would be successful even without its flagship company.