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

Eight new Science Foundation Ireland-National Natural Science Foundation of China Partnerships announced today in Iveagh House

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, today announced 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 four years will support over 30 researchers in areas of strategic importance to the People’s Republic of China and Ireland.

The announcement, which was made on the occasion of the Export Trade Council meeting at Iveagh House in Dublin, 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.

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 RD&I is vital for expanding this relationship with both nations recognising a commonality in our priority areas of scientific investment. China’s emphasis on high technology systems, particularly in green-tech is extremely complimentary to Ireland’s research prioritisation and reflected in some of the outstanding projects being launched here today. “

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 today play to these strengths and are built 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.”

The eight projects receiving funding today 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.

Congratulating this year’s awardees, Dr Ciarán Seoighe, Deputy Director General of Science Foundation Ireland, said: “I am delighted to welcomes the latest round of awards for the SFI-NFSC Partnership Programme. Science Foundation Ireland has been building research links between Ireland and the People’s Republic of China for the last number of years and the success of this Programme is a testament to the strong collaborative relationships between our two nations. Combining the expertise and resources of both research communities has proven very successful in attracting innovative and impactful project submission, I am excited to see the outcomes from this round of successful applicants.”

President of the NSFC, President Prof. Li Jinghai, noted that: “The SFI-NSFC Partnership Programme supports excellent collaborative scientific research that has potential economic and societal impact. The programme builds capacity, expertise and mutually beneficial relationships between Ireland-based and China-based researchers and will potentially allow researchers in Ireland and China to compete and win support through various EU-China opportunities within Horizon 2020.”

For Further Information

Science Foundation Ireland

Emer Cahill

01 607 3025

Short lay summary of research:

Anding Zhu


ADAPMW: High Efficiency Adaptive Millimetre Wave Transceivers for High   Speed Wireless Communications with Unmanned Aerial Vehicles

Kenneth A. Dawson


Precision Engineering of Nanostructure Surface Architecture for   Biological and Biomedical Applications

John Donegan


Chip-scale Optical Frequency Synthesizer

Brian Ó Gallachóir


Multi-model innovations in Integrated Assessment Modelling of Global,   Chinese, and Irish energy-economy-environment-climate systems investigating   deep decarbonisation pathways from the Paris Agreement to the United Nations   sustainable development goals

Luiz DaSilva


Smart Networking in the Era of Artificial Intelligence

Niall English


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

Michael Nolan


Process development and mechanistic investigation of barrier materials   for advanced interconnect technology

Plamen Stamenov


Analysis Under Strong Magnetic fields of Advanced Spintronic and   Functional Magnetic Materials for Autonomous Low-Power Communications


About Science Foundation Ireland (SFI)

SFI funds oriented basic and applied research in the areas of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) which promotes and assists the development and competitiveness of industry, enterprise and employment in Ireland. The Foundation also promotes and supports the study of, education in and engagement with, STEM and promotes an awareness and understanding of the value of STEM to society and in particular to the growth of the economy.  See

About National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC)

The National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC), under the jurisdiction of the People’s Republic of China State Council, administers the National Natural Science Fund from the Central Government. The NSFC supports basic research, fosters talented researchers, develops international cooperation and promotes socioeconomic development. See