Prof Mark Ferguson
Director General, Science Foundation Ireland and Chief Scientific Adviser to the Government of Ireland
The life sciences sector in Ireland has played a critical role in the COVID-19 pandemic and now with increased industry commitment is set to become a world leader of innovation.
More than ever before we have witnessed the significant and important contribution that science, research and innovation play in our daily lives as we have responded to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Here in Ireland, the sector has supported the national and international response throughout the crisis and recently we had the welcome news that Pfizer will establish a vaccine manufacturing facility in Ireland, a further demonstration of the strength of the sector.
Value of life sciences to Irish economy
Life sciences remains a critically important sector for the Irish economy. The total life science sector, across medical devices, pharma and bio in Ireland exports more than €45 billion annually and employs over 50,000 people directly, contributing significantly to our economy at national and regional level.
SFI has a goal for Ireland to be a global innovation leader, with this in mind, early this year we launched our new strategy – Shaping Our Future. This has two core ambitions: Delivering Today and Preparing for Tomorrow. Driven by increased investment in research we aim to evolve our collaborative enterprise facing programmes, develop new approaches to investing in emerging areas of science and to provide solutions to the challenges we face as a society.
Key aspects of our new strategy include building on the successful collaborative research environment primarily driven through the 16 SFI Research Centres, continuing support for home grown research talent, attracting leading research talent to Ireland, providing a world-class training environment for young researchers and encouraging a dialogue with the general public.
The total life science sector, across medical devices, pharma and bio in Ireland exports more than €45 billion annually and employs over 50,000 people directly, contributing significantly to our economy at national and regional level.
A leading role in life science innovation
With the many new tools now available – synthetic biology, super-computing, genetic technologies, artificial intelligence, advanced imaging and fast communications – the pace of discovery and innovation has rapidly increased. We in Ireland are well positioned to play a leading role and contribute to advances that have the potential to positively transform our society and bring economic prosperity.