Ireland's science funding agency has announced a new partnership agreement with the main body responsible for funding engineering and physical sciences in Britain.

The pact will see Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) support joint research and technology development projects.

They will work in areas including engineering, ICT, maths, physics, chemistry and materials science. 

The deal comes at a significant time as the British research community grapples with a future after Brexit and Irish researchers try to strengthen bilateral links with Britain. 

Under the partnership, single joint research proposals from applicants in both countries will be submitted to the EPSRC which will process the applications according to existing rules and standards. 

UK-based research groups will receive funding from EPSRC, with SFI providing the grants for any groups based in Ireland. 

The new partnership is the latest between SFI and international research organisations.

Accords have also been agreed between the foundation and Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, Wellcome Trust, Royal Society and the US-Ireland R&D Partnership Programme. 

EPSRC invests around £900m a year in research within its mandated areas. 

"I very much welcome this important collaboration with EPSRC, which presents us with an excellent opportunity to promote closer linkages between our top-class researchers and their peers in the UK," said Professor Mark Ferguson, Director General of Science Foundation Ireland and Chief Scientific Adviser to the Government.

"Science Foundation Ireland supports world-class scientific research, with deep and significant enterprise engagement, excellence and impact," Professor Ferguson said.

"The opportunity to combine the expertise in Ireland with researchers supported in the UK by EPSRC will greatly enhance the impact of research performed in both jurisdictions," he added.