Ireland’s Limerick University has opened a new research centre, one of whose tasks will be to evaluate materials to extend battery life for potential automotive applications.

Inaugurated yesterday (21 November) by Irish Taoiseach (Prime Minister), Enda Kenny the Bernal Institute at the University of Limerick (UL), comprises an EUR86m (US$91m) science and engineering research institute featuring multi-purpose research space in the new Science and Engineering Zone. 

The Bernal Institute incorporates UL’s Materials and Surface Sciences Institute, the Stokes Research Institute and the Bernal Project into one unified flagship research institute to showcase and build on the University’s significant strengths in research in Science and Engineering. 

A key aspect of the Institute is the recruitment of leading researchers as Bernal Professors, with seven of a total of ten new chairs filled. 

The Institute houses more than 260 researchers who work in and across research themes in advanced materials, manufacturing and processing engineering and fluid dynamics, including new materials for rechargeable batteries which extend life.

“Ireland has a proud history of scientific achievement that has helped shape the modern world we live in,” said the Irish Taoiseach.

“The opening of the Bernal Institute at UL will ensure 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.

“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.

“Through our Action Plan for Jobs we will continue to support and promote science as a way to improve the lives of people in Ireland and around the world.”