Seven key sectors are each to receive grants of €1m under the government’s Competence Centre Initiative, which was launched in 2007.

These will include centres looking at energy efficiency in factories, bioenergy generation and bio-refining.

Government is promoting the wave of funding as part of a transition to a smarter, greener economy.

Mary Coughlan, An Tánaiste (Deputy PM) and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment said: “Creating employment through knowledge and innovation in our existing companies is a key Government priority as outlined in our strategy ‘Building Ireland’s Smart Economy’.

“The Competence Centre initiatives will use collaborative research to address the challenges of making Irish manufacturing more competitive, and exploit the opportunities in the emerging energy, green technologies and IT sectors”.

The Competence Centre initiatives will carry out market-focused strategic R&D for the benefit of industry and will be resourced by highly qualified researchers.

Welcoming the announcement, the Minister for Science, Technology, Innovation and Natural Resources Conor Lenihan said: “Bringing together companies with similar research needs and teaming them with highly-qualified researchers to produce marketable products and services is a highly efficient way of conducting industrial research.

“This collaborative approach to creating and managing intellectual property will not only benefit the companies involved but will deliver a competitive advantage to Irish industry, reinforcing Ireland’s reputation as a flexible and innovative country.”

Sam Bond

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