DIT awarded €8.9 million in PRTLI funding

Dublin, 07 August 2007:  Following submissions for research funding under the Programme for Third Level Research (PRTLI) Cycle 4, it has been announced that DIT is to receive a total of €8.9 million for three of the four projects for which funding was sought.   The successful projects include the establishment of a Graduate School of Creative Arts and Media, in collaboration with NCAD and University of Ulster, and two significant scientific projects - in the areas of nanoscience and biophotonics - in collaboration with a number of universities and institutes of technology. 

Announcing the awards, Minister for Education and Science, Mary Hanafin TD, said that 'the enhanced collaboration between Universities, Institutes of Technology and other higher education institutions in addressing national research priorities' was a key feature of the projects to receive PRTLI-4 funding and she specifically instanced collaboration in the area of Nanoscience.  Welcoming the announcement, Dr. Hugh Byrne, Manager of DIT-s Focas Institute, said that DIT was delighted to be involved in NanoTeire, in collaboration with six universities and Cork Institute of Technology.  'NanoTeire creates a nationally integrated nanoscience and nanotechnology activity which will enable us to leverage existing capabilities and will elevate the national activity to become internationally leading. The total amount awarded is €31m, of which DIT will receive €4.26 m.  This funding will enable the FOCAS Institute to contribute nanomaterial characterisation and toxicological assessment to the consortium, as well as expertise in promoting public awareness and education in the field.'

DIT is also involved in the successful National Biophotonics and Imaging Platform (NBIP) bid, which attracted total funding of €30m.  In this project DIT will collaborate with six universities to provide an integrated access and training infrastructure in research, education, technology development and industry collaboration for the State's investment in Biophotonics and Imaging for medical applications.  According to Dr. Byrne, DIT will receive €3.6 million for its part in the project.  'The Focas Institute will contribute unique expertise nationally in Spectroscopic analysis of cell cultures and tissue samples, adding the dimension of chemical analysis to complement other imaging techniques.  In this project and in NanoTeire, DIT's inclusion within the consortia is a welcome recognition of the growing expertise and reputation located in the Focas Institute.  The capital contributions will fund upgrading of facilities to international standards, while recurrent funding will enable us to increase the number of specialised research personnel.  Both projects show that collaboration is highly beneficial in broadening the scope of the research agenda nationally.  Both initiatives have a strong emphasis on a coherent approach to education and training in these priority research areas and DIT is proud to contribute.'

Funding for Humanities and Social Sciences

Minister Hanafin also emphasised that PRTLI-4 funding was not solely awarded to the sciences, but that significant funding had been allocated to the Humanities and Social Sciences also.  The DIT bid included two projects in these areas, one of which was successful - the proposal to establish a Graduate School of Creative Arts and Media.  Dr. Ellen Hazelkorn, Director and Dean of Applied Arts in DIT, welcomed the award of €1.9m for GradCAM which DIT will share with NCAD and University of Ulster.  'We are delighted!  This award is the first official recognition of the importance of research across the arts and media which hitherto have not received their share of this kind of funding.  This sector is deserving of, and is in great need of such resources and I hope this will lead the way for further awards, perhaps under SIF.  From DIT's point of view, this is particularly exciting as it incorporates a number of our areas of particular strength, including media, music, art, design and architecture.  Working with NCAD and University of Ulster we will develop the Graduate School of Creative Arts and Media as a framework which will enable the number of postgraduate research students and research capacity to increase significantly.'

DIT sought funding of €15m for four projects and was successful in three of them.  The fourth project, 'Social Partnership in Applied Research Knowledge - SPARK', was not accepted for funding.  Overall, Professor Brian Norton, President of DIT, said he was delighted that three of the four projects submitted by DIT were accepted.  'I believe that my colleagues can make a very significant contribution within the relevant consortia and I would like to congratulate them on the awards.  This kind of funding is of vital importance in developing our research capability and enabling us to address national priorities.'

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