SFI Projects SFI has created a number of world-class research Centers of Science, Engineering, and Technology (CSETs). CSETs support research
partnerships that link scientists and engineers with their industrial counterparts. One such CSET is the Alimentary Pharmabiotic
Center (APC), which is receiving €16.5 million over five years to research drug treatments and pharmaceutical products. The
APC's commercial partners include global giant Procter & Gamble, as well as Alimentary Health Limited, a company established
to commercialize the output from the University College Cork. SFI has also made a €15 million CSET award to NUI Galway to
establish the Regenerative Medicine Institute. Regenerative medicine is an emerging discipline that involves developing gene
and cell therapy to promote tissue repair and regeneration. As a result of regenerative medicine's use of minimally invasive
techniques, it promises to partially replace current conventional medicine.
Investing in Indigenous Companies
Enterprise Ireland's biotechnology strategy aims to maximize the creation and growth of commercially focused biotechnology
companies in Ireland. On campus, Enterprise Ireland, the state agency responsible for the development of indigenous Irish
industry, is active in funding applied research, which has a commercial output through its Commercialization Fund. Over 100
life sciences technologies are currently in the pipeline, with a number of these forming the basis for spinoff companies while
others are being licensed to existing firms.
Enterprise Ireland commercialization specialists work with university technology transfer offices to help identify, protect,
and exploit the technologies being developed. Campus-based incubation space for life sciences start-up companies has doubled
in the last two years. Moreover, many facilities funded by Enterprise Ireland are fully occupied by client companies. Enterprise
Ireland has provided almost €4 million to establish six facilities that are available to a range of clients, including university
spinoffs, company spinoffs, entrepreneurs from overseas, and foreign companies wishing to relocate in Ireland. The incubators
are a combination of laboratory and business space, with access to financial, legal, and marketing advice.
Enterprise Ireland, in conjunction with the Irish BioIndustry Association, is bringing industry and academia together to develop
specific research and development projects that will help address the needs of industry in the short term. The initiative
concentrates on two areas of particular interest to companies: in-line testing capability for bioprocessing, and miniaturization
Enterprise Ireland has also been instrumental in promoting private sector seed and venture capital development in Ireland.
Networks have been very important for the life sciences sector, both within Ireland and abroad. BioConnect Ireland, BioLink
USA-Ireland, and TechLink UK-Ireland are three organizations established in recent years that cooperate to keep individuals
in Ireland, the US, and the UK in touch and informed about developments and opportunities within the sector.
Scientists and Entrepreneurs
Many of the best and brightest graduates left Ireland in the 1980s and 1990s when the level of scientific funding was low
and jobs in science were hard to find. The situation has turned around since the late 1990s, when major funding became available
for science and R&D for the first time, in the shape of PRTLI, set up in 1998, and SFI, established in 2000. Enterprise Ireland
also significantly increased support for applied research and life sciences companies with high potential for growth. The
positive upshot of these developments is that some of Ireland's top minds, who had nearly given up on the possibility of returning
home, started to view things very differently. Given the transformation of the research climate, a return home became attractive.
Returned Scientist View