Ireland’s higher education institutes are set to benefit from a €155 million investment made by the Department of Jobs to fund five new science foundation research centres.
The funding will be boosted by a €90 million investment made by industry partners to provide a total figure of €245 million, delivered through the Science Foundation of Ireland (SFI) and will provide jobs for recent postgraduates.
Speaking at Monday’s announcement, Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Richard Bruton said that funding in computer science is a key part of the Government’s action plan for jobs.
“We want to build on the major achievements in scientific research [that] we have built up over the past decade and turn more good ideas into good jobs,” said Bruton.
“The announcement will lead to the establishment in Ireland of world-class centres of research excellence and scale, which will be game-changers for Irish scientific research,” he continued.
NUIM are set to receive between €8-10 million in high tech research funding, and Vice President of Research, Professor Bernard Mahon believes the funding allotted to NUIM is recognition to the high level of expertise within the University.
“It’s an important investment for Maynooth and recognises our expertise in the aspects of communications and networking,” said Mahon.
The application process for funding requires colleges to raise capital from Information and Communication Technology (ICT) companies, with an international panel deciding on whether applicants are successful.
“We needed industrial co-funding to support our bid, we needed these ICT companies to basically put their money where their mouth is, almost one million of it to back our application,” said Mahon.
With over 3,000 students studying computers in some form in Maynooth, Mahon believes that students will be major beneficiaries of the research projects.
“As part of their degrees it will affect hundreds of undergraduates who will have the benefit of working closely with the industry, while the research should also provide over a dozen jobs for our postgraduates,” Mahon explained.
The research is set to also have a knock on affect for employment in another 12 Higher Education Institutes, one of which is Trinity college.
Dr Patrick Predergast of Trinity College, similarly to Mahon, believes there are a number of benefits to the investment.
“Trinity is committed to research excellence and translating this excellence to achieve economic and societal impact. We are delighted that such a significant amount of funding is being put into this research enabling Trinity College, as well as other collaborating institutions in Ireland, to achieve this,” insisted Predergast.
Other colleges that will receive funding are DCU, DIT, DKIT, NUIG, RCSI, UCD, UCC, WIT, UL, Tyndall National Institute and Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies.