The Centre for Research in Engineering Surface Technology (CREST) is the result of scientific research and investigation focused on solutions for enterprise. Its precursor was the Institute for Industrial Research Standards (IIRS), which was established in 1946.

The IIRS was set up by the Irish state to encourage scientific research to improve the national industries. The Institute helped existing and emerging industries by developing innovative technical processes, ensuring conformity with standard specifications and driving the use of the natural resources of the State.

In 1987, the IIRS merged with the NBST (National Board of Science and Technology) to form what was to be known as EOLAS.

In addition to the functions assigned to the Institute and the Board, this new agency prepared and periodically reviewed the national programme for science and technology. It also worked towards the application of science and technology for industrial purposes. Seven years later and following the merger with the indigenous industry wing of the IDA, this agency transformed into Forbairt.

Forbairt (an agency within Forfás) provided services to support State industrial development. It served as an advisor for owners and managers of private-sector companies.

The need for an agency that would give an integral solution to industry and enterprise revolutionized the semi-state agencies. Following this initiative, Enterprise Ireland (EI) was formed in 1998. With EI’s establishment came the dissolution of both Forbairt and An Bord Tráchtála. The new agency focused mainly on developing industry and enterprise in the State and to strengthen the skills base of the Ireland.

Although Enterprise Ireland did an outstanding job at promoting the growth of industries in the State, research and product development had reached a plateau. It was then that the Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT) and Enterprise Ireland (EI) sponsored the founding of CREST. This Centre was set up, to boost the Institute’s research activity to the benefit of the industrial and academic communities.