New €26 million geosciences research centre at University College Dublin

Posted 03 December 2015

  • Centre will focus on discovery and safe-sourcing of raw materials, water and energy
  • 100 new highly skilled research positions
  • 55 industry partners (including Geoscience Ireland, Tullow Oil and Petroleum Infrastructure Programme) to invest €8 million with balance from Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation via Science Foundation Ireland (SFI)

Minister for Skills, Research and Innovation, Damien English TD has officially launched the Irish Centre for Research in Applied Geosciences (iCRAG), a newly established Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) Research Centre in Geosciences at University College Dublin.

The centre will focus on the discovery, de-risking and sourcing of raw materials, water and energy resources that are critical to our economy.

€18 million in funding for the centre comes from the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation through SFI’s Research Centres Programme. The additional €8 million comes from 55 industry partners including Geoscience Ireland, Tullow Oil and Petroleum Infrastructure Programme.

“A key part of the Government’s Action Plan for Jobs is to continue to build on the major achievements in scientific research with a focus on turning great ideas into good, sustainable jobs,” said Minister English.

“iCRAG is an exciting new research centre that will help nurture real collaboration across industry and academia in Geosciences in Ireland. It will support increased commercialisation of research which will ultimately grow jobs and support further participation in the STEM sector."

Pictured top: Minister for Skills, Research and Innovation, Damien English TD officially launched the newly established Science Foundation Ireland Research Centre, iCRAG today. The Irish Centre for Research in Applied Geosciences (iCRAG) at University College Dublin (UCD) will focus on the discovery, de-risking and sourcing of raw materials, water and energy resources that are critical to our economy. Pictured is Roisin Kyne, iCrag - Post Doc, Minister for Skills, Research and Innovation, Damien English TD and Prof Mark Ferguson, Director General of Science Foundation Ireland and Chief Scientific Adviser to the Government of Ireland

The centre will conduct research in thematic research areas which are systematically embedded into industry to maximise impact and support sustainable economic impact. Its work will focus on significantly de-risking Ireland’s onshore and offshore hydrocarbon and mineral resource exploration activities as well as ensuring safe and secure groundwater supplies.

“Excellent research and innovation are central to all we do in UCD, drawing on the range and depth of our disciplines, including Geosciences, and the strength of our partnerships with Government agencies, industry and other academic institutions, to deliver impact in areas of national and global importance and opportunity,” said Professor Orla Feely, vice-president for research, innovation and impact at University College Dublin.

iCRAG also aims to engage with the public and policy makers to explain the nature of resource related industries and to enhance the perception and understanding of applied geoscience.

“Geoscience underpins the discovery of raw materials, water and energy resources that are critical to the world’s economy,” said Professor John Walsh from the UCD School of Earth Sciences and director of iCRAG.

“With increasing demand and diminishing supply, focused innovations in geoscience are of paramount importance globally.  iCRAG, under this investment by Science Foundation Ireland, will bring together a team of leading international researchers and industry partners on issues underpinning the economic development of the country – from safe and secure groundwater supplies to the discovery of mineral/aggregate deposits, and from de-risking oil and gas exploration to educating and informing the public on geoscience-related issues.”

“Ireland is home to Europe’s largest zinc mine, untapped hydrocarbon resources in challenging North East Atlantic deep water environments, and diverse geological formations. The iCRAG centre will carry out research to find and harness these resources whilst protecting the environment,” said Professor Mark Ferguson, director general of Science Foundation Ireland and chief scientific adviser to the Irish Government.

iCRAG is a joint initiative between University College Dublin (UCD), Trinity College Dublin (TCD), University College Cork (UCC), National University of Ireland Galway (NUIG), National University of Ireland Maynooth (NUIM), the Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies (DIAS) and Teagasc, the centre brings together more than 150 researchers to position Ireland at the centre of applied geoscience research.

By: Dominic Martella, UCD University Relations