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Research Funding

Dáil Éireann Debate, Tuesday - 14 December 2021

Tuesday, 14 December 2021

Questions (485)

Rose Conway-Walsh

Question:

485. Deputy Rose Conway-Walsh asked the Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science the State funding provided to the Tyndall Institute since 2011 either through direct exchequer funding, competitive SFI funding or another source; if there is a commitment to increase Exchequer funding; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [61829/21]

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Written answers (Question to Further and Higher Education)

Tyndall National Institute was established in 2004 as a partnership between Government and University College Cork, to provide a national focal point for excellence in deep-tech research, development and graduate training in ICT.

As a key national Institute, Tyndall works through world-class teams performing ground-breaking research on new materials, devices and systems with an ‘economic impact through research excellence’ philosophy, focusing on the delivery of value from research to the Irish economy. Tyndall sits in a unique position in Ireland (and internationally) at the mid-point between traditional HEI research activities and the demanding industry interface, and over many years through an industry-experienced commercial team, Tyndall has built the required credibility and trust with industry partners which is critical to successful engagements.

Tyndall is a national leader in achieving success within EU funding programmes – and in particular is an acknowledged key player in Europe within the Horizon 2020 ICT programme. It is involved in projects with a value of €782m, with €62m coming to Tyndall, and €53m to other Irish partners.

Tyndall’s research excellence and impact has been acknowledged through prestigious international awards from ERC, Royal Society, IEEE, IoP, and EARTO and also through a number of its staff being appointed as Fellows of the IEEE.

Tyndall is also a national leader in the commercialisation of its technology output and in that regard has generated license income, unrivalled in the sector, from key consumer product manufacturers in recent years. It also commercialises its research through the creation of new spin-off and start-up companies, and Tyndall’s technology has been instrumental in the establishment of 22 such companies to date.

A significant multi-year Tyndall core underpinning equipment upgrade is currently underway, with €26m committed to date through a combination of direct Exchequer funding and competitively won infrastructure funding from SFI.

I am pleased to support Tyndall and I have committed to increase Tyndall’s annual funding to €10 million by 2024.

The Government have fully supported the Tyndall ambition to double in size in the coming years. This expresses strong confidence in Tyndall’s ability to continue to deliver for Ireland on the international stage. It will also allow Tyndall/UCC to draw down the enabling €75m EIB loan to fund the project, and importantly also ensure the project timeline can be maintained in order to deliver the new facility by the end of 2024.

This will result in a national research facility of international scale, which will become a magnet for international research talent and will substantially assist the Governments FDI agenda with consequent significant economic impact.

Related to the Tyndall expansion, in May 2021, I launched what will be an important activity within the expanded Institute – Ireland’s first Quantum Computer Engineering Centre (QCEC) at Tyndall, which will ultimately lead to the creation and retention of high-quality sustainable ICT jobs.

The State funding provided to the Tyndall Institute since 2011 either through direct exchequer funding, competitive SFI funding or another source is as follows:

- Direct funding to the Tyndall Institute from the Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science: €44.8 m

- Direct funding to the Tyndall Institute from Science Foundation Ireland: €133.5m

- Direct funding to the Tyndall Institute from the Department of the Environment Climate and Communications: €8.1m

- Direct funding to the Tyndall Institute from Enterprise Ireland R&I programmes: €45.0m

While the Irish Research Council have awardees based at the Tyndall Institute, and indeed in other research institutes in UCC, they don’t provide funding to the Tyndall Institute directly but instead provide it to UCC, which is responsible for hosting these awards.

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