Ireland has been ranked among the top 20 science hubs in the world, according to Thomson Reuters Essential Scientific Indicators.

The country moved from a placement below Bangladesh into one of the coveted top 20 spots, thanks largely to the fact that the Science Foundation Ireland (SFI), an Irish governmental agency, connected 349 firms with college researchers in a move which is expected to create hundreds of jobs in science and renewed vigor on the part of the government towards investing in third level research. The agency supports 29 top-class research centers and 3,225 researchers in higher education institutions.

The SFI allocates €180 million annually for research in science and technology, according to its recently released annual report.

Researchers in Ireland now publish more research on a per capita basis than the United States, Germany, France or Spain, while Ireland is ranked third in the world for immunology research, while other areas are almost just as strong.

The Crann nanoscience research center in Trinity College, Dublin is working on the next generation of computer processor chips while UCC’s Tyndall Research Institute is also involved in crafting the latest scientific advances.

Minister for Science, Technology and Innovation, Conor Lenihan, said that in 2009, SFI linked 184 multinational firms and 165 small- and medium-sized enterprises with academic teams.

"The agency supported 29 top-class research centers and 3,225 researchers in higher education institutions," said the Minister.

"Collaborations and partnerships between Ireland's scientific research and enterprise communities are now being formed at an unprecedented level and they are a critical component of our developing Smart Economy," he added.

The Government has pledged an investment of €2.4bn in science, technology and innovation programs over the next few years, which is expected to generate further progress in the sciences in Ireland.