Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Minister puts emphasis on "promoting science"

I'm just back from an SFI event announcing funding for "early career researchers" - it's great to see postdocs getting support so that they can start putting together their own independent research groups.

The comments by Minister Conor Lenihan were really interesting too - especially his emphasis on the importance of promoting science to "parents, citizens and taxpayers". He really put it up to all the people who'd just been awarded funding that they had to go out and "campaign" for science to encourage young people to study it - and for taxpayers to fund it.

Frank Gannon also made some very interesting points - and elaborated on his recent blog entry about the thought-provoking parallels between Irish science and Irish soccer.

For the background on today's announcement, here's an extract from the official press release:

“It is vital that we have in Ireland the mechanism to keep and attract to Ireland highly skilled, early-stage career researchers,” Minister for Science, Technology and Innovation, Mr Conor Lenihan T.D., said today (Tuesday, October 20th, 2009) as he announced Government funding of €7.9million under a new Science Foundation Ireland initiative that will help 15 highly-talented researchers at an early stage in their profession to progress towards a fully independent academic research career.

Announcing the first SFI Starting Investigator Research Grant (SIRG) awards, Minister Lenihan said “These 15 outstanding individuals are among the brightest working in Irish laboratories today, and SIRG provides them with the necessary support to enable the transition from team member to independent and accomplished innovator in their respective fields. It will also allow them to recruit 15 postgraduate students”.


The 15 award recipients are based in the following seven Higher Education Institutions:

Tyndall National Institute, Cork (4 awards); Trinity College Dublin (4 awards); NUI Galway (3 awards); Dublin Institute of Technology (1 award); University College Cork (1 award); University College Dublin (1 award); and Waterford Institute of Technology (1 award).

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