Jan 13, 2016 | By Alec

While the initial 3D printing revolution has been largely driven by startups and individual users, more and more governments are beginning to recognize it as a legitimate industry with economic and employment potential. This usually results in subsidies and investments, and the Irish government is the next in line to recognize what 3D printing can bring to their economy. They have just announced a €28.8 million investment plan for 21 next-generation sciences, and nano 3D printing will be among its key targets. The funds are to be used to set up research facilities and purchase equipment, all with the purpose of creating jobs.

This investment plan was just announced by the Irish Ministry for Jobs, and will be guided through the Science Foundation Ireland. The Minister for Jobs, Richard Burton and the Minister for Research, Innovation and Skills, Damien English, just announced the details of the investment plans, revealing that a total of 21 exemplary research projects from a variety of sectors will be supported. The projects were selected following a rigorous international review of research groups that require specific equipment and facility investments to address major research opportunities and challenges.

The ministers added that the goal of this investment infrastructures is to ensure that Irish specialists will continue to be competitive internationally and that access to modern equipment and facilities will enable them to stay able to secure funding from other sources as well, such as businesses and the European Union. The Minister for Jobs Richard Burton further told reporters that employment was a key target as well. “At the heart of our Action Plan for jobs is driving employment growth in every region of the country,” he said. “We have now put in place individual jobs plans for seven out of the eight regions in the country, and what has repeatedly become clear is that research and innovation must be accelerated right across the country if we are to deliver the jobs growth we need.”

The Minister for Research, Innovation and Skills, Damien English, added that the government felt compelled to show that they have the best interests of businesses and research at heart. “The 21 projects will enable globally compelling research to be undertaken across the country; facilitating greater industry and international collaboration; supporting the training of researchers and demonstrating to an international audience that Ireland on an all island basis, is business friendly and bullish in its pursuit of, and participation in, excellent research,” English said.

So what sectors are set to benefit? They have chosen to back a wide range of specialisms, including applied geo-sciences, pharmaceutical manufacturing, bio-banking, marine renewable energy, internet of things, astronomy, big data and of course 3D printing. Specifically, they are looking at the development of 3D printed nano materials with an eye on top of the range applications such as 3D printed (smart) implants. This will, however, acquire a state-of-the-art advanced analysis facility to enable researchers to study pharmaceutical effects in real time.

In short, Ireland is seeking to raise their own reputation in the scientific market place, and next gen 3D printing applications are set to benefit from this drive. “Ireland is increasingly becoming the location of choice for multinational companies to develop and test tomorrow’s technologies and this investment demonstrates our commitment and expanded ability to engage, discover and collaborate at all levels, says Prof. Mark Ferguson, Director General Science Foundation Ireland. “Ultimately, this is about providing Irish researchers in strategic areas with the tools to be world leading.”



Posted in 3D Printing Technology



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