Researcher David Egan with UL president Don Barry and Taoiseach Enda Kenny Picture: Sean Curtin
TAOISEACH Enda Kenny has officially launched the University of Limerick’s new €86m Bernal Institute, a ‘game-changer’ facility dedicated to science and engineering research.
The facility, which houses more than 260 researchers across 20,000m2 of high quality, multi-purpose research space, incorporates the UL’s Materials and Surface Sciences Institute, the Stokes Research Institute and the Bernal Project into one unified zone to “build on the university’s significant strengths in research in science and engineering”.
Speaking at the Analog Devices Building which forms part of the new science and engineering zone this Monday afternoon, Mr Kenny said the opening of the Bernal Institute will “ensure that Ireland stays at the cutting edge of research and innovation”.
“Ireland has a proud history of scientific achievement that has helped shape the modern world we live in,” Mr Kenny said.
“Advances in pharmaceuticals, medicines and materials at the Bernal Institute will help tackle the great challenges facing society today. The Government is proud to support scientific endeavour, and the development of the Bernal Institute is an excellent example of collaboration between Government, higher education, philanthropy, and industry.”
UL president Don Barry said the project was a “shining example of industry, Government and philanthropy working together to create a game-changer in terms of impact”.
Currently the Bernal Institute has research partnerships with more than 70 companies, and its chairpersons Mike Zaworotko, professor of crystal engineering, and Paul Weaver, professor of composite materials, have received €5m in Science Foundation Ireland awards.
The Institute houses over 260 researchers who work in and across research themes in advanced materials, manufacturing and processing engineering and fluid dynamics.
A key aspect of the Institute is the recruitment of world leading researchers as Bernal Professors, with seven of a total of ten new professorial chairs already filled.
In infrastructural terms, it comprises the Lonsdale Building completed in 1996, the MSSI building completed in 2002 and the recently-completed Phase Two of that building and the new Analog Devices Building, so named following a major gift by the company to the UL Foundation.