Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland Coláiste Ríoga na Máinleá in Éirinn

RCSI Researchers Awarded Funding for SFI Industry Fellowship Programme

09 June 2014

The Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Richard Bruton TD today announced the award of funding of over €1.7 million to support twenty new industry-academia partnerships through the Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) Industry Fellowship Programme. The programme is funded by the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation through SFI.

RCSI researchers Dr Annette Byrne and Professor Caroline Jeffries were among those who were awarded funding through the programme. Dr Annette Byrne, Senior Lecturer, RCSI Department of Physiology and Medical Physics, received funding for a project in partnership with Bayer Healthcare Pharmaceuticals for research on cancer biomarkers. Professor Caroline Jeffries, Associate Professor and Head of Biochemistry, RCSI Department of Molecular & Cellular Therapeutics (MCT), was awarded funding for research in partnership with AMGEN on biomarkers in lupus (SLE).

Professor Caroline Jeffries

Announcing the funding, Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Richard Bruton TD said: "A key part of our Action Plan for Jobs is delivering measures to deliver more commercial outcomes and ultimately jobs from the excellent research infrastructure we have built up over recent years. The SFI fellowships are an important measure in delivering this, by providing funding to research projects working directly on solutions to problems that particular companies are facing. In this way, we can support researchers who are working on projects which can ultimately be developed into commercial ideas and employment - turning good ideas into good jobs. I congratulate all involved and wish them every success with their projects."

The SFI Industry Fellowship Programme provides researchers from academic institutions with the opportunity to gain important first-hand experience in a commercial research environment, while also providing industry with access to highly specialised trained researchers from academic institutions. The aim of the programme is to increase levels of collaboration between industry and academia.

These are the first twenty awards approved for funding under this new programme and involve research in key sectors such as animal health, smart grid, marine, solar energy, transport and mobility studies, and diagnostics in oncology with both multinational companies and SMEs participating.

Dr Annette Byrne

Companies participating in the programme include: Siemens AG, Alcatel-Lucent Ireland Ltd., Bell Labs Ireland, Crystal Innovation, ESB Networks, IBM, Intel Ireland, Orbsen Therapeutics Inc., Pavement Management Services Ltd, Tech Works Marine Ltd, TreeMetrics Ltd, Westway Health, AstraZeneca, AMGEN, Bayer Healthcare Pharmaceuticals and Perkin Elmer.

Professor Mark Ferguson, Director General of Science Foundation Ireland and Chief Scientific Adviser to the Government of Ireland said, "The Industry Fellowship programme is an important element of SFI's Agenda 2020 which aims to build strategic partnerships between industry and academic institutions, to encourage cutting-edge research and further grow Ireland's competitive advantage. The awards will provide academic researchers with practical working knowledge of relevant business drivers as well as legitimate industry experience and important industry contacts. Industry partners participating in the programme will gain from the up skilling of staff and input into their research and development. The partnerships will in turn provide an important stepping stone for fuelling future collaborations between industry and academia."

Professor Ray Stallings, RCSI Director of Research said: "RCSI welcomes the announcement to award funding to two RCSI research projects through the Science Foundation Ireland Industry Fellowship Programme. I congratulate the RCSI researchers involved; their success is a testament to the world-class, high-impact biomedical translational research being carried out here in the College and its relevance to industry."

RCSI approved projects:

Name of Fellow   Industry Partner Host Institution    Title of Proposal
Annette Byrne  Bayer Healthcare Pharmaceuticals RCSI Collaborative Predictive Biomarker/Companion Diagnostic Programme in Oncology: Integration of Bayer Healthcare Pharmaceuticals/ Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland Translational Research Agenda through application of a Global Medical Affairs Strategy
Caroline Jefferies  AMGEN  RCSI  Biomarker analysis in SLE

Under the SFI Industry Fellowship programme 20 research projects were funded through 8 research bodies, as follows: University College Dublin (5), Trinity College Dublin (1), University College Cork (2), Tyndall National Institute (1), University of Limerick (1), National University of Ireland Galway (3), National University of Ireland Maynooth (5) and RSCI (2).

Applications for the 2014 Industry Fellowship Programme are now open. The programme allows the exchange of people at all levels between academia in Ireland and industry in Ireland and abroad.

More information is available at -

RCSI is a not-for-profit health sciences institute which focuses on education and research to drive positive change in all areas of human health worldwide. RCSI is headquartered in Dublin and is a recognised College of the National University of Ireland. In 2010, RCSI was granted independent degree awarding status by the State, which enables the College to award degrees alongside its traditional powers to award licentiates.