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Tánaiste Simon Coveney and Minister Pat Breen announce €12 million in joint research  funding with Chinese Science Foundation

Monday, 02 July, 2018 


Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade with responsibility for Brexit, Simon Coveney, TD and Minister of State for Trade, Employment, Business, EU Digital Single Market and Data Protection, Pat Breen, TD, have announced the details of eight new research collaborations supported through the partnership between Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) and the National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC). The projects, which will run over the next two years will support over 30 researchers in areas of strategic importance to the People’s Republic of China and Ireland.

The announcement is a direct result of a joint investment made by the Irish government through Science Foundation Ireland to the value of €8.6 million euro and ¥31,920,000 (ca. €4,273,000) from the National Natural Science Foundation of China.

Pictured (l-r): Minister of State for Trade, Employment, Business, EU Digital Single Market and Data Protection, Pat Breen, TD;  Dr Ciarán Seoighe, Deputy Director General of Science Foundation Ireland; Triona McCormack, Director of Research at UCD; Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade with responsibility for Brexit, Simon Coveney TD; Madam Hua Yang, Charge d'Affaires, Embassy of the Peoples Republic of China, Ireland; Professor Niall English, UCD.

Speaking at Iveagh House, Tánaiste, Simon Coveney, said: “Over the last decade Ireland’s engagement with China has grown from strength to strength, with China now ranking as Ireland’s largest trading partner in Asia. Collaboration and partnership in Research, Development & Innovation (RD&I) is vital for expanding this relationship. China’s emphasis on high technology systems, particularly in green-tech, is extremely complementary to Ireland’s research prioritisation and is reflected in some of the outstanding projects being launched."

Minister Pat Breen added: “Ireland is second in the world, in global scientific rankings by citation, for Nanotechnology. We also have the best wind and wave resources in Europe for renewable energy research. The projects being launched play to these strengths and build on Ireland’s strong international reputation as an open and engaging country for research and development. We welcome the ongoing collaboration with the NSFC through the SFI-NSFC Partnership Programme and hope to broaden and strengthen this successful bilateral initiative.”

Madam Hua Yang, Charge d'Affaires, Embassy of the Peoples Republic of China, Ireland, commented: "Today’s award symbolizes a good start of greater Science, Technology and Innovation cooperation between China and Ireland in the years to come. It is our belief and hope that, with concerted efforts from both countries, our cooperation in Science, Technology and Innovation will achieve more accomplishment, benefiting the well-being of the people from both countries and around the world."

Three of the eight funded projects are from University College Dublin. The following is an outline of the awardees and their research:

Prof Anding Zhu - UCD / Southeast University: High-Efficiency Adaptive Millimetre Wave Transceivers for High-Speed Wireless Communications with Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (ADAPMW)

Prof Kenneth A. Dawson - UCD / National Center for Nanoscience and Technology of China
Precision Engineering of Nanostructure Surface Architecture for Biological and Biomedical Applications

Prof Niall English - UCD / Beijing Normal University
Molecular-simulation-led studies of photoelectrochemical water-splitting: the mechanistic role of doping and surface defects in promoting the efficiency of cost-effective light-absorbing metal oxides


The eight projects receiving that received funding were subject to rigorous review with approximately 250 international expert reviewers assisting in the peer-review process. The chosen projects feature research into the areas of wireless and optical communications, artificial intelligence, micro- and nano-electronics, climate change, green energy, and nano-materials for biomedical applications. Four academic institutions in Ireland will collaborate with six institutions across the People’s Republic of China to carry out this work.