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International Partnership Awards Announced between US, Ireland and Northern Ireland

1 Nov 2016

Three new Centre-to-Centre Awards under the US–Ireland Research and Development Partnership programme were announced today at the Science Foundation Ireland Science Summit, Croke Park. The international partnership between Science Foundation Ireland, the National Science Foundation in the US and the Department for the Economy in Northern Ireland has recognised three new international collaborations between Research Centres in the Republic of Ireland, the United States and Northern Ireland.

Northern Ireland Economy Minister Simon Hamilton said: “I welcome the announcement of the three new Centre to Centre awards under the US-Ireland R&D Partnership. These three very important research collaborations will see ground breaking research carried out in the fields of renewable energy, nanotechnology and bioengineering, which will address key challenges and deliver important economic benefits for Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland and the United States.”

Professor Mark Ferguson, Director General of Science Foundation Ireland and Chief Scientific Adviser to the Government of Ireland welcomed the announcement saying; “The Science Foundation Ireland Research Centres combine world-class scientific research with deep and significant enterprise engagement, excellence and impact. The opportunity to combine the expertise within our Research Centres with those in the United States and Northern Ireland will greatly enhance the research performed. These new collaborations will result in innovative discoveries and advances relating to renewable energy, new memory cells for electronic devices and biodegradable orthopaedic devices.”

“These three new collaborations demonstrate the value of linking research clusters across the Atlantic, and of partnerships between the scientific and entrepreneurial communities,” said National Science Foundation Director France Córdova. “To augment Science Foundation Ireland’s financial commitments to the new centers, NSF will make new investments in the U.S.-based centers that collaborate with them. These partnerships provide us with the opportunity to address global research challenges.”

Science Foundation Ireland is investing €2.5 million into the three international collaborations over the course of 24-36 months. During the course of the collaborations, the three new awards will employ 8 postdoctoral researchers and 2 PhD students in Ireland, in addition to giving an opportunity to two summer students to work on cutting edge-research. The collaborations aim to foster entrepreneurship and economic development in the participating countries by directly engaging with at least 14 companies during the course of the three awards.

CREDENCE-Collaborative REsearch of Decentralisation, ElectrificatioN, Communications and Economics

SFI Research Centre: Marine and Renewable Energy Ireland (MaREI)

The Science Foundation Ireland funded Research Centre, MaREI, together with the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI), is collaborating with the NSF Engineering Research Centre, Future Renewable Electric Energy Delivery and Management Systems (FREEDM) and the Energy Power & Intelligent Control Research Cluster (EPIC) at Queen’s University Belfast (QUB).

‌The aim of this collaboration is to determine how to optimise the generation of intermittent renewable energy at the point of consumption, while maintaining safe, secure, reliable energy at affordable prices. The vision of this research programme is towards a futuristic grid with a low-carbon footprint interfaced with distributed resources, intelligence and control elements. Specifically, the collaboration aims to develop appropriate communication standards for all necessary devices and systems. Researchers will determine the optimal levels of decentralisation and electrification along with appropriate policies. Socio-economic policies which will favour the desired transition will also be developed during the collaboration.

Each partner will contribute to a specific area of the project. MaREI will lead the energy systems modelling efforts, ESRI provides insight into socio-economic aspects, FREEDM will bring expertise on distributed energy management solutions and systems-level theory, modelling and control, and EPIC-QUB will lead the communication-centred activities.

Ultra-Low Energy Electric Field Control of Nonvolatile Magnetoelectric Memory Devices

SFI Research Centre: Advanced Materials and BioEngineering Research (AMBER) Centre.

The Science Foundation Ireland funded Research Centre, AMBER, is collaborating with the NSF Engineering Research Centre, Translational Applications of Nanoscale Multiferroic Systems (TANMS), and the Centre for Nanostructured Media (CNM) at Queen’s University Belfast (QUB).

This collaboration aims to develop materials which can be used to develop high performance magnetoelectric memory cells.

Each research centre brings a unique set of skills to the collaboration. The AMBER team has developed an entire new class of materials, namely fully compensated half-metals, which can be grown in thin films. The properties of these materials properties depend on the growth conditions, which in turn affect the microscopic structure. These materials grown at AMBER will be characterised by CNM, who are world leaders in magnetic characterisation, in particular that of complex hybrid structures involving magnets and materials with ferroic ground state. The materials will then be used by TANMS who have a long-standing ability to make both magnetic heterostructures and, in particular, hybrid stack combining magnetic and ferroic materials (ferroelectrics and piezoelectrics).

A group of industry leaders drawn from the Research Centres’ own industry collaborations will form an advisory group for the project. Using their expertise in data storage and processing, the group will be involved in evaluating the technology readiness of the proposed research programme and in advising on how to proceed as the programme reaches an end.

Bioresorbable Magnesium Alloy Systems for the promotion of Regenerative Biological Function

SFI Research Centre: CÚRAM

The Science Foundation Ireland funded Research Centre, CÚRAM is collaborating with the NSF Engineering Research Centre, Revolutionizing Metallic Biomaterials (RMB) and the Nanotechnology and Integrated Bioengineering Centre (NIBEC) at Ulster University.

This project aims to develop advanced metallic biomaterials that can be used to create biodegradable orthopaedic devices which are capable of supporting regenerative biological functions. The partnership provides a unique combination of internationally leading expertise in the fields of material processing, experimental characterisation and computational modelling. Focusing on repairing bone fractures, two new tools will be developed based on a bioresorbable magnesium alloy system: small Kirschner-wire (K-wire)-sized devices, and larger elastic stable intramedullary nails (ESINs or bone nails).

Next-generation biodegradable metal orthopaedic implants will reduce the likelihood of infection, promote the formation of new bone and remove the necessity of an additional surgical procedure. The development of bioresorbable orthopaedic implants for fracture stabilisation will revolutionise the care of patients who have suffered either traumatic or surgically created bone fractures. The creation of orthopaedic implants of a sufficiently strong resorbable metal would benefit patients globally while markedly improving the healthcare systems within Ireland and the United States.

The expertise of the teams involved is very complementary and combines CÚRAM’s computational modelling of forces associated with orthopaedic device/bone interactions, RMB’s expertise in resorbable Mg materials, NIBEC’s bioactive orthopaedic nano-coatings, coupled with industry partner, Fort Wayne Metals’ expertise in forming medical wires.

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