The BIOMERIT Research Centre (BRC) was established in 1991 as a centre of excellence in the Microbiology Department. The mission of the BRC is to Maximise Education and Research in Innovative Biotechnology. The centre was established to promote, co-ordinate and develop key biotechnology research activities in the thematic area of Environment and Health by targeting strategic research funding to sustain and develop research in this area. Basic and translational research is carried out in the centre and utilises a systems microbiology approach to drive research and technology transfer around three core programmes. (1) Microbial-Host Interactions, (2) Functional Genomics and Signalling in Gram-negative bacteria and (3) Environmental & Marine Biotechnology. The centre provides a competitive and efficient research and training environment supported by external research funding and attracts national and international research scientists and graduate students of the highest calibre.
Research in the centre is currently promoted and developed by a complement of 4 Academic Principle Investigator staff and up to 12 contract researchers and 11 graduate students in laboratories located in the Microbiology Department, the Biosciences Institute and the Environmental Research Institute. The success of the research activity in the BRC is evident from its publication output and in the number of postgraduate students graduating under the supervision of BRC PIs. From 2006 – 2011 a total of 31 graduate students have graduated. In this same time period BRC researchers have published 100 peer-reviewed research papers in international journals. The PIs in the BRC have also a strong record of achievement in soliciting research funding for its research programme. Specifically the centre has had significant funding and involvement in all EU-Framework cycle programmes since its inception. The BRC has been awarded research contracts of over €20 million over the past 20 years from national and international agencies and industries. Current grant income totals approximately €6 million.
Based on a strong focus on its core areas of research expertise and a clear strategic vision of the future, the BRC is well positioned to sustain its activities as the thematic area of ‘Environment and Health’ has been identified as a strategic area in the national government’s scientific plan and is also relevant to EU Framework programmes.