Taoiseach launches €86m Bernal Institute

Taoiseach launches €86m Bernal Institute


Pic: Sean Curtin (True Media)
Pic: Sean Curtin (True Media)

Enda Kenny today (Monday 21st November) launched the Bernal Institute at the University of Limerick an €86 million science and engineering research institute.

Comprised of 20,000m of high quality, multi-purpose research space in the new Science and Engineering Zone at UL, the facility plans to recruit world leading researchers as Bernal Professors, with seven of a total of ten new professorial chairs filled. The Institute houses over 260 researchers who work in and across research themes in advanced materials, fluid dynamics plus manufacturing and processing engineering.

Speaking from the launch An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny, TD said: “Ireland has a proud history of scientific achievement that has helped shape the modern world we live in. The opening of the Bernal Institute at UL will ensure that Ireland stays at the cutting edge of research and innovation. Advances in pharmaceuticals, medicines and materials at the Bernal Institute will help tackle the great challenges facing society today.”

Research Impact is at the core of the vision for the new Institute UL President Professor Don Barry stated “Bernal is a shining example of industry, government and philanthropy working together to create a game-changer in terms of impact. And by ‘impact’ I mean impact in the real world that generates real benefits for real people and helps to build the future for us all. This new Bernal Institute will enable UL to enhance key disciplines in the Faculty of Science & Engineering and to advance the University’s reputation for Research Excellence, while continuously developing research that has a real impact on industry, society and the local, national and international communities we serve. “

UL has partnered with Science Foundation Ireland (SFI), Enterprise Ireland (EI) in relation to the establishment of numerous technology centres as well as centres of excellence hosted at the Bernal Institute. The Institute has been awarded substantial infrastructural funding by the Higher Education Authority’s Programme for Research in Third Level Institutions (cycles 1, 4 and 5).

Four major national centres; the Synthesis and Solid State Pharmaceutical Centre supported by SFI, the Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Technology Centre and the Irish Centre for Composites Research grant-aided by EI and more recently the Dairy Processing Technology Centre are hosted by the Institute and currently the Institute has research partnerships with over 70 companies. The recruitment of two of the Bernal Chairs, Mike Zaworotko, Professor of Crystal Engineering, and Paul Weaver, Professor of Composite Materials, has been supported by SFI through their Research Professors Programme with each receiving awards of €5 million.

The new Institute is named in honour of John Desmond Bernal, one of the most influential scientists of the 20th Century who was born in Nenagh, County Tipperary. The Science & Engineering Zone at UL 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.