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Posted: September 1, 2010

Tyndall CEO welcomes report on the commercialisation of nanotechnology in Ireland

(Nanowerk News) Professor Roger Whatmore, CEO of Tyndall National Institute welcomed today the Forf s report on Ireland s Nanotechnology Commercialisation Framework 2010-2014. Speaking at the launch of the report, Professor Whatmore commended the Forf s report on its recognition of the importance of Nanotechnology as a powerful growth engine for the Irish economy.
I welcome the report s emphasis on the need for Ireland to bring focus to bear on the nanotechnology research areas of More than Moore, Advanced Materials, Beyond CMOS and NanoBiotechnology research all highlighted as important areas for Ireland s future. These research fields resonate well with the nanotechnology research fields in Ireland s academic sector, which ranges from the fundamental nanoscience of carbon nanotubes, through research in the environmental and toxicological effects of nanoparticles to the applications of nanotechnology at Tyndall. Indeed, we have been investing heavily in the facilities for these related areas, which involve putting novel materials onto silicon to establish multi-functional capabilities. We were especially delighted to hear a couple of months ago that our research in these areas will be enabled by the award of funding by HEA under PRTLI5, to help establish a new FLEXIFAB at Tyndall. This is directly in-line with the report s recommendations.
I welcome the observation in the report that Ireland consistently features in the top 2-3 nations of the peer group examined when it comes to analysing nanotechnology productivity in patents or publications produced per unit of GERD. Ireland has only been investing seriously in research for just over 10 years. This is a remarkable achievement by the Irish academic and industrial sectors in this period. Relative to the comparison counties, Ireland is still in relative infancy with regard to its R&D investment but clearly already delivers world class research. This is in comparison with countries who have invested in nanotechnology R&D for decades , said Professor Whatmore.
The Report notes that the Government has been investing in establishing a high quality nanotechnology infrastructure, in line with international best practice, and that this is now in place in Ireland. He agrees that the recommendation that building upon this existing infrastructure will be the most effective and efficient way to further leapfrog our competitiveness in Nanotechnology applications. The Tyndall CEO went on to say, it will be essential to establish a means for funding the investment both to maintain these facilities and to support the highly trained human capital needed to get best use out of them. We welcome the recognition in the report that there will be a need both to network the infrastructure to maximise its effectiveness and to continuously upgrade it to meet the ever-changing needs of this rapidly developing field.
I agree with the reports recommendations on the need for Ireland to increase its national and international collaborations. At Tyndall we have placed much effort in intensifying our collaborations within Ireland, including the North, and internationally. This includes both other academic institutes and companies and our performance has directly been enhanced through this collaboration. Greater focus and co-ordination on the way we engage in strategic collaborations will be more beneficial as we strive to become strong players in specific technology areas of Nanotechnology , said Professor Whatmore.
The recommendation to establish an entrepreneurial innovation culture was also well received by Professor Roger Whatmore. He explained that the investment made by Enterprise Ireland and the IDA in the Competence Centre for Applied Nanotechnology, co-hosted by Tyndall and CRANN, would greatly assist this going forward. Tyndall had also been helping with the implementation of a structured graduate programme in Ireland under the HEA-funded INSPIRE programme, which would better-equip our next generation of innovators. He was confident that the academic nanotechnology community would welcome the recognition of the importance of this activity.
Professor Whatmore concluded Tyndall identifies with many of the recommendations in the report in terms of infrastructure development, commercialisation, education, research focus and collaborations. These are all very much in line with how much of the academic nanotechnology community in Ireland, including Tyndall, operate. I look forward to being actively involved in the development of this report s recommendations through participation in the Coordination Group and helping to bring the benefits of the commercialisation of Nanotechnology to the Irish economy.
Source: Tyndall National Institute
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