Six Science Foundation Ireland Research Centres will receive Government funding of €230 million over the next six years.

It will directly benefit 850 researchers conducting cutting edge research in areas such as marine renewable energy, data analytics, and advanced pharmaceutical manufacturing

The investment is buoyed by industry support with 170 partners committing to investing over €230 million in cash and in-kind contributions.

Mark Ferguson, Director General of Science Foundation Ireland, said companies indigenous and international are investing, and that is good for Ireland.

The centres will also compete for funding from the European Union.

"A third from the Irish taxpayer, a third from industry and a third from the European Union. That's very good leverage," said Mr Ferguson.

"Think of the value for money for the taxpayer. Two thirds of the bill is for somebody else. Think about the value for industry. Two thirds is from somebody else, so it's an all win situation," he said.

The Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Heather Humphreys described the funding as an investment, preparing now for the future.

She said, "The economic impact of this research is clear, not only through direct and in-direct employment levels, but also through increased foreign direct investment. Our research centres not only act as magnets to attract and retain investment; they also encourage companies, both Irish and foreign-owned, to develop their R&D activities here. This will continue to benefit Ireland and the world for years to come."

The INFANT centre at UCC, which conducts perinatal research, is not one of the six SFI research centres to be granted some of this particular funding.

Mr Ferguson said SFI benchmark very aggressively. "We unashamedly have a very high bar, because this is world class research." The INFANT centre will compete in an open competition which the SFI hopes to run next year, funding permitting.

Ireland performs well internationally in research. Mr Ferguson said the country is in the top 11 in the world, based on the volume of citations in publications. "In some specific fields, like materials, nanoscience, animal and dairy, we are in the top one or two."

He said competition is growing. "We need to keep investing. We need to be in partnership with other people. We need to have a very high standard. Companies indigenous and international are investing, and that's good for Ireland."

The investment is set to benefit the whole country with third level institutions located across Ireland partnering with the centres:

AMBER, the SFI Research Centre for Advanced Materials and Bioengineering Research, led by Trinity College Dublin - AMBER’s research programme continues to build on core expertise delivering world-class materials innovations, in partnership with industry, and translating these into impacts with environmental, clinical, economic and societal benefits. 

APC Microbiome Ireland, led by University College Cork - APC Microbiome Ireland strives to understand the complex relationship between diet, the microbiome, and our health status through our four themes - Microbes to Molecules, Diet and Microbes at the Extremes of Life, Brain-Gut-Microbiota Axis, and Host-Microbe Dialogue. 

The Insight Centre for Data Analytics, co-led by NUI Galway, Dublin City University, University College Cork and University College Dublin - Every scientific discipline, industry, and leisure activity generates data in ever-increasing amounts. Navigating and sifting this immense ocean of information, through data analytics, poses challenges. Unlocking the potential of this data offers unprecedented socio-economic benefits.

IPIC, the Irish Photonic Integration Centre, led by Tyndall National Institute - Photonics - the generation, manipulation and utilisation of light - underpins a global €600 billion market with an annual growth forecast of 8.4% and employs around 300,000 people in Europe alone. To realise its full potential, major advances in photonic integration are required, similar to the development of electronic integrated circuits some 50 years ago, enabling higher levels of functionality and new applications.

The MaREI Centre, led by University College Cork - MaREI undertakes research related to the energy transition, climate action, and blue economy and uses this research to empower business, shift policy and support society. 

SSPC, the SFI Research Centre for Pharmaceuticals, led by University of Limerick - SSPC will create impact for Ireland in the pharmaceutical sector by creating economic growth through spin-out companies and patent licences with innovative pharmaceutical companies, enabling next generation medicines to reach the market more quickly, and providing highly qualified scientists and engineers to support and grow the Irish pharmaceutical sector.