The Irish Consul General to Wales visited Swansea University Medical School for a special briefing about the Celtic Advanced Life Science Innovation Network (CALIN).
Denise Harahan was welcomed to the University by Vice-Chancellor Paul Boyle and CALIN directors Shareen Doak and Steve Conlan and deputy director Gareth Healey.
Established in 2016, CALIN is an Ireland Wales Interreg operation led by Swansea to support research and development in life science small-medium enterprises in West Wales and East and South Ireland. It is one of two Ireland-Wales Interreg operations involving Swansea University.
So far CALIN’s six university partners - University College Dublin, Tyndall Institute, University of Cork, National University of Ireland Galway, Bangor University, Cardiff University and Swansea University - have assisted more than 100 companies and established 30 short and medium-term collaborative projects. The cross-border initiative teams a Welsh and Irish university with an SME to deliver developments in the life sciences.
CALIN support has led to more than 5 million euros of R&D investment from businesses with the creation of 20 new jobs.
Professor Boyle said: “Ireland is Wales’ closest and most important European economic partner. There are exciting opportunities for our universities to extend their collaborations beyond innovative projects like CALIN in the future.
“Through its Go Global programme, Swansea is committed to student mobility and Ireland is a great destination for our students. In the future I see the possibility for us establishing joint degree programmes with our Celtic cousins.”
Ms Harahan said: “Ireland and Wales share a very special bond and this was reflected by the Irish Government’s decision to re-open our Consulate in Wales earlier this year. The connection between our countries has deep historical roots and flourishes in many vibrant and exciting links across the sciences, arts, business and politics.
“It was a pleasure to visit Swansea University, see at first-hand the work being done and its high-tech facilities. Innovation and investment in life sciences is a priority area for both governments and the CALIN life sciences network, funded through EU Regional Development Funds, has real potential for Irish and Welsh people, businesses and universities.”
Dr Healey added: “CALIN has established cooperative partnerships between Ireland and Wales that will significantly strengthen the life science sector in both countries.
“Our work is helping small businesses to enhance their research and development capacity and delivering real benefits such as jobs, inward investment and new life science products.”