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SFI Attracts International Researchers to Ireland

14.12.2007
Minister Martin Announces 67 New Research Posts in €44.55 Million SFI Investment

Mr. Micheál Martin TD, Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, today announced details of a €44.55 million funding award that will create 67 new research posts in Higher Education Institutes, under the Science Foundation Ireland Stokes Professorship and Lectureship Programme.

The programme which will support 32 Professorships and 35 Lectureships is aimed at recruiting senior, world-class research academics as well as entry-level academics and senior post-doctoral researchers. Successful candidates are internationally-competitive, research-active academics, performing at the highest level appropriate to their career point.

Highlighting the importance of the programme in meeting the objectives of the Government’s Strategy for Science and Technology Innovation (SSTI), Minister Martin, said; “The central role of education and in particular higher education in Ireland’s economic success is beyond debate. We require significant support for new posts at Higher Education Institutes (HEIs) to achieve the next phase of our national development ambitions, and the Stokes Programme will be a key element in meeting this requirement”.

We also need to continue to build on the growing international recognition that Ireland is an attractive location for research. Of the 32 Stokes Professorships awarded today, 30 are being allocated to scientists from outside of Ireland. It substantially increases the recognition that Ireland is a location of choice for internationally competitive researchers and offers an environment of competitive excellence. It is an extremely positive signal for Ireland that such eminent researchers have chosen to further their scientific careers here.” he concluded.

Commenting on the programme, Professor Frank Gannon, Director General, SFI, said; “The Stokes Programme will allow more flexible and proactive recruiting by HEI’s of key scientific and engineering researchers. It should allow departments in HEIs to strategically plan their staffing, to integrate quality staff into the current base of permanent staff and to add to their net pool of expertise”.

SFI is providing direct funding amounting to €180,000 for Stokes Professorships and €90,000 for Stokes Lectureships and the funding is awarded for up to five years. These Stokes nominees all have a proven record of internationally-recognised independent research accomplishments and have at least two years of independent research experience beyond the Ph.D. or equivalent. Schools within the HEIs nominated the applicants for the Stokes Award programme. SFI received 172 applications for Lectureships and 89 for Professorships. Following an international review process SFI approved the awards under the Stokes Programme to 67 nominated candidates (32 Professorships and 35 Lectureships). The HEIs are now completing contract negotiations with the successful Stokes awardees.

The Stokes Programme is named after Sir George Gabriel Stokes (1819-1903), the Irish mathematician and physicist who was born in Skreen Co.Sligo. Stokes made several important contributions to fluid dynamics (c.f., Navier-Stokes equations), optics and maths physics (c.f., Stokes Theorem). Like Isaac Newton, he was the Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at Cambridge University, a Parliamentary representative for Cambridge University and a President of the Royal Society. Stokes made key contributions to the foundations of, what we now call, Information & Communications Technology and Biotechnologies.

Alva O'Cleirigh | alfa
Further information:
http://www.sfi.ie/content/content.asp?section_id=226&language_id=1&publication_id=1537

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