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The SFI funded Irish Separation Science Research Cluster (ISSC) is an academia-industry collaboration involving University College Cork, Dublin City University, and partner industries.

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The Irish Separation Science Cluster (ISSC) was established as a Strategic Research Cluster by Science Foundation Ireland in recognition of the indispensable and often unappreciated role that Separation Science plays in the ability of industry to deliver on almost all aspects of their activities and with scope that transcends the Pharma, Biopharma, Biomedical, Food and Beverage as well as the Environmental Sectors.

Irish Separation Science ClusterThe ISSC was lead by Prof. Brett Paull, Dublin City University with Prof. Jeremy Glennon at University College Cork. Key researchers at DCU and UCC included Dr. Mirek Macka and Dr. Brendan O’Connor, as co-PI’s (pictured below at the SFI launch) and Dr. Dermot Brabazon, Dr Miroslav Pravda and Dr. Dara Fitzpatrick as funded researchers. The granting of approximately €4.9 million created 7 new postdoctoral researcher positions, 16 PhD positions, 4 PIs including a lead PI, 3 investigators and a number of administrative positions.

Apryll_Stalcup_001The ISSC has made experienced significant changes since its launch, with the appointment of Prof. Apryll Stalcup as new Director at the end of June 2012.

The Irish Separation Science Cluster brings together a team of researchers from a multidisciplinary background, spanning chemistry and materials, biotechnology and engineering, to develop the next generation of materials, methods and technologies to enable separation science overcome future challenges in the understanding and characterisation of complex biological systems, with particular emphasis being placed upon application within the growing biopharmaceutical and medical diagnostic industries.

Separation science is a supporting and enabling scientific discipline, facilitating and underpinning the diverse spectrum of technological advances, within all fields of science and engineering, which continuously and increasingly affect and shape all our lives, and the lives of those of generations to come. As part of the launch of the ISSC, Prof. Frank Gannon from Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) stressed the importance of this cluster to Ireland as separations sciences provide the ability for production innovation, a key industrial requirement as capital investment tightens and the cost of operations is increasing.
As an underpinning technology, the separation sciences support advances in all biotechnology-based research and development. The SRC focuses on the development of advanced separation methods to enable the delivery of more efficient, faster and comprehensive separation systems that meet industry requirements. In addition to the pharmaceutical sector, the impact of this cluster will extend to other important areas as well, including the food industry, chemical industry, environmental measurements and the associated regulatory bodies.

Value to Ireland

Separation science – an enabling technology for industry

Active centres in the area of separation science are essential for Ireland’s pharmaceutical and bio-pharmaceutical industries. One of Ireland’s largest employers over the past decade has been the chemical and pharmaceutical industry. In these industries, analytical science is widely seen as an essential enabling technology, within which separation science expertise is particularly required. Funding of this proposal will act to substantially boost the cluster members’ efforts to develop an internationally recognised Centre for Separation Science in Ireland, with the associated production of highly trained PhD and undergraduate graduates, with a solid background in the wide and varied field of separation science required by industry, together with knowledge of new materials and technologies to enable industries (helping produce a highly trained workforce). This project will also help to show Irish innovation at the highest level and help grow an already significant reputation for cutting edge research in the field of separation science. It is vital to Ireland’s ability to attract and support the above industries in the future that Ireland’s current standing, known as having a strong analytical science pedigree, continues and is strengthened by projects such as this, with leading research groups seen to be in place, fully resourced and competing on an international level.