On December 2nd Minister for Skills, Research and Innovation, Damien English TD officially launched iCRAG, the newly established Science Foundation Ireland Research Centre. The Irish Centre for Research in Applied Geosciences will focus on the discovery, de-risking and sourcing of raw materials, water and energy resources that are critical to our economy.
The centre will receive funding of €18 million from the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation through Science Foundation Ireland’s (SFI) Research Centres Programme, with an additional €8 million from 55 industry partners that include Geoscience Ireland, Tullow Oil and Petroleum Infrastructure Programme.
Speaking at the announcement, Minister for Skills, Research and Innovation, Damien English TD, said, “A key part of the Government’s Action Plan for Jobs is to continue to build on the major achievements in scientific research with a focus on turning great ideas into good, sustainable jobs. iCRAG is an exciting new research centre that will help nurture real collaboration across industry and academia in Geosciences in Ireland. It will support increased commercialisation of research which will ultimately grow jobs and support further participation in the STEM sector”
iCRAG will conduct world-leading research in thematic research areas which are systematically embedded into industry to maximise impact and underpin sustainable economic impact. The Centre’s work will focus on significantly de-risking Ireland’s onshore and offshore hydrocarbon and mineral resource exploration activities as well as ensuring safe and secure groundwater supplies. Furthermore, iCRAG aims to engage with the public and policy makers to explain the nature of resource related industries and to enhance the perception and understanding of applied geoscience.
Roisin Kyne, iCrag – Post Doc, Minister for Skills, Research and Innovation, Damien English TD and Prof Mark Ferguson, Director General of Science Foundation Ireland and Chief Scientific Adviser to the Government of Ireland
iCRAG Director, Prof John Walsh said, “Geoscience underpins the discovery of raw materials, water and energy resources that are critical to the world’s economy. With increasing demand and diminishing supply, focused innovations in geoscience are of paramount importance globally. iCRAG, under this investment by Science Foundation Ireland, will bring together a team of leading international researchers and industry partners on issues underpinning the economic development of the country – from safe and secure groundwater supplies to the discovery of mineral/aggregate deposits, and from de-risking oil and gas exploration to educating and informing the public on geoscience-related issues.”
Prof Mark Ferguson, Director General of Science Foundation Ireland and Chief Scientific Adviser to the Government of Ireland added, “The launch of this new Science Foundation Ireland Research centre, iCRAG, is a key development in Ireland’s Geoscience research. Ireland is home to Europe’s largest zinc mine, untapped hydrocarbon resources in challenging North East Atlantic deep water environments, and diverse geological formations. The iCRAG centre will carry out research to find and harness these resources whilst protecting the environment.”
“The Science Foundation Ireland Research Centre programme, of which iCRAG is a participant, represents the largest ever state and industry co-funded research investment in Ireland. The programme is supporting an investment of €355 million from SFI matched by €190 million from industry in twelve world class Science Foundation Ireland Research Centres of excellence and scale.”
Speaking at the launch of iCRAG, Professor Orla Feely, UCD Vice-President for Research, Innovation and Impact said, “Excellent research and innovation are central to all we do in UCD, drawing on the range and depth of our disciplines, including Geosciences, and the strength of our partnerships with Government agencies, industry and other academic institutions, to deliver impact in areas of national and global importance and opportunity.”
“Through the new SFI and industry funded iCRAG Research Centre launched today, which is being led by UCD, 150 leading researchers from across Ireland, together with 55 industry partners, are coming together to transform applied geoscience research in Ireland to deliver economic impact nationally in a broad range of areas and industries.”
iCRAG is a joint initiative between University College Dublin (UCD), Trinity College Dublin (TCD), University College Cork (UCC), National University of Ireland Galway (NUIG), National University of Ireland Maynooth (NUIM), the Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies (DIAS) and Teagasc, the Centre brings together more than 150 researchers to position Ireland at the centre of applied geoscience research