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5 December 2013 11:26 am ,
Vol. 342 ,
Researchers have been hot on the trail of the elusive Denisovans, a type of ancient human known only by their DNA and...
Thousands of scientists in the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS) are about to lose their jobs as a result of the...
Dyslexia, a learning disability that hinders reading, hasn't been associated with deficits in vision, hearing, or...
Exotic, elusive, and dangerous, snakes have fascinated humankind for millennia. They can be hard to find, yet their...
Researchers have sequenced and analyzed the first two snake genomes, which represent two evolutionary extremes. The...
Snake venoms are remarkably complex mixtures that can stun or kill prey within minutes. But more and more researchers...
At age 30, Dutch biologist Freek Vonk has built up a respectable career as a snake scientist. But in his home country,...
Since arriving on the island of Guam in the 1940s, the brown tree snake ( Boiga irregularis ) has extirpated native...
- 5 December 2013 11:26 am , Vol. 342 , #6163
- About Us
Feeding the Celtic Tiger
20 June 2006 (All day)
A dozen years ago, Ireland was a scientific backwater with government spending on research virtually nonexistent. Now it is well along the path to becoming one of Europe's big R&D spenders. On 18 June, Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern, flanked by five cabinet ministers, announced that the government is to spend €3.8 billion ($4.8 billion) on R&D at universities and in industry between now and 2013.
For a country with a population of just 4 million, this is big money and will bring Ireland's investment in R&D up from less than 1% to 2.5% of GDP by 2013. This will put Ireland well above the European Union average of 2% of GDP but still behind the world's top spenders, including the United States (2.6%), Japan (3.2%), and Sweden (4%).
"This is a very positive signal," says Fergus Shanahan, director of the Biosciences Institute at University College Cork. "The international science community is taking Ireland and Irish science seriously. Our work is now getting into the top international peer-reviewed journals because of its high quality."
The current generosity is made possible by Ireland's transformation during the 1990s, with the help of the E.U., from a largely agricultural economy to a high-tech powerhouse--a "Celtic tiger." Many international corporations have put down their European roots in Ireland, taking advantage of the well-trained workforce and favorable taxes.
The Irish government will kick off the new funding by spending €2.7 billion between 2006 and 2008 to accelerate the pace of research. Much of this money will be channeled through Science Foundation Ireland, a body established by the government in 2000 to competitively reward research in leading edge technologies, with the aim of doubling the number of Ph.D.s and creating 350 new PI led research teams.
The government particularly wants to strengthen the areas of agriculture and food, health, environment, marine science, and energy. Other key points in the strategy include removing the obstacles to the mobility of researchers, strengthening technology transfer within universities, increasing business expenditure on R&D to €2.5 billion by 2013, and promoting collaboration with scientific colleagues in Northern Ireland.