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Minister Humphreys and Minister Halligan announce investment of over €100 million in six new SFI Centres for Research Training

700 students to be trained in digital, data and ICT skills for the future

Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Heather Humphreys TD and Minister of State for Training, Skills, Innovation, Research and Development, John Halligan TD, today announced an investment of over €100 million in six new SFI Centres for Research Training. The SFI Centres for Research Training programme, the first postgraduate training programme run by Science Foundation Ireland, will provide training for 700 postgraduate students in areas of nationally and internationally identified future skills needs of digital, data and ICT.

The SFI Centres for Research Training are now open for recruitment, and postgraduate students across the country are encouraged to apply for this innovative programme which will build on research excellence in Ireland.

Welcoming the announcement of the SFI Centres for Research Training, Minister for Business, Enterprise, and Innovation, Heather Humphreys TD said: “In Project 2040, the Government has set objectives that will ensure a strong economic future for Ireland. Delivering on these will require continued investment in skills and talent in research and development, equipping the champions of this future economy with the tools and expertise necessary to build it. 

“The six new SFI Centres for Research Training will bring together the higher education sector and industry to develop and deliver innovative programmes of research and training for postgraduate students in Ireland.

“In line the Government’s new Future Jobs initiative, which we will launch in the coming days, these programmes will allow students to develop and learn about critical technologies for the future in areas like machine learning, artificial intelligence and more. This is all part of our wider effort to ensure that we are preparing now for tomorrow’s economy.

“I want to congratulate the teams involved in forming the centres and encourage postgraduate students across the country to apply to them.”

Minister of State for Training, Skills, Innovation, Research and Development, John Halligan TD said: “It is a government priority to develop and maintain a pipeline of highly trained, well networked research talent in areas of strategic importance for Ireland. Through the SFI Centres for Research Training we will take a cohort-based approach to research training, allowing for better integration and collaboration across disciplines, and ultimately, individuals who are well-rounded, well-equipped, and confident to guide Ireland to a strong economy. The cohort approach will expose students to the wider scientific relevance of their research, encourage peer-to-peer learning and facilitate the establishment of networks, empowering them to take on positions of leadership.” 

The SFI Centres for Research Training will generate strong collaborations between research and industry. They will involve partnerships across multiple Higher Education Institutions including University College Dublin (UCD), Technological University of Dublin (TUD), Dublin City University (DCU), Trinity College Dublin (TCD), Cork Institute of Technology (CIT), University College Cork (UCC), Maynooth University (MU), University of Limerick (UL), NUI Galway (NUIG), Tyndall National Institute (TNI) and Royal College of Surgeons Ireland (RCSI).

A number of SFI Research Centres and approximately 90 major industry partners will also support the SFI Centres for Research Training.

The six SFI Centres for Research Training are:

  • SFI Centre for Research Training in Machine Learning
    Dr Brian McNamee (UCD), Dr Georgiana Ifrim (UCD), Prof Sarah Jane Delany (TU Dublin), Prof Noel O’Connor (DCU) 
  • SFI Centre for Research Training in Digitally Enhanced Reality
    Prof Carol O’Sullivan (TCD), Prof Vincent Wade (TCD), Prof John Kelleher (TU Dublin), Prof Alan Smeaton (DCU), Prof Peter Corcoran (NUIG), Prof Julie Berndsen (UCD) 
  • SFI Centre for Research Training in Advanced Networks for Sustainable Societies
    Prof Dirk Pesch (UCC), Prof John Barrett (CIT), Dr Deirdre Desmond (MU) Prof Siobhán Clarke (TCD), Prof Max Ammann (TU Dublin), Prof Cormac Sreenan (UCC) 
  • SFI Centre for Research Training in Foundations of Data Science
    Prof James Gleeson (UL), Dr Claire Gormley (UCD), Prof Ken Duffy (MU)
  • SFI Centre for Research Training in Artificial Intelligence
    Prof Barry O’Sullivan (UCC), Prof Tiziana Margaria (UL), Dr Ivana Dusparic (TCD), Dr Derek Bridge (UCC), Dr Suzanne Little (DCU), Dr Paul Buitelaar (NUIG)
  • SFI Centre for Research Training in Genomics Data Science
    Prof Cathal Seoighe (NUIG), Dr Eva Szegezdi (NUIG), Prof Denis Shields (UCD), Prof Gianpiero Cavalleri (RCSI), Prof Pavel Baranov (UCC), Prof Aoife McLysaght (TCD)

Professor Mark Ferguson, Director General of Science Foundation Ireland and Chief Scientific Adviser to the Government of Ireland, said: “I am very pleased to announce the six new SFI Centres for Research Training .The level of investment in this programme is significant, and demonstrates SFI’s commitment to ensuring that future generations of Irish PhD students are well trained in the important field of data analytics and its application to business, health, agriculture etc. Teams of excellent researchers in Irish higher education institutions have teamed up with industrial collaborators and international partners to develop outstanding national programmes of research and training in digital, data and ICT skills - the future of both the economy and society .SFI aims for this to be the best programme in the world providing major opportunities for PhD students in Ireland and a rich source of outstanding graduates who will be sought after by employers from both the private and public sectors.” 

Operating on a thematic basis in terms of skills needs, the first SFI Centres for Research Training will focus on the area of ‘Data and ICT Skills for the Future’. This area highlighted in particular by the Government’s Future Jobs initiative, which prepares for the future economy by investing in innovative, disruptive technologies. The scope of this thematic area includes innovative software and hardware-based information and communications technologies (ICT) as well as the diffusion of ICT in other application areas of science and technology.  With ICT playing a role as a key enabling technology in other application areas of science and technology, the development and adoption of disruptive technologies will also be a focus for this round of funding.

For more information on the SFI Centres for Research Training programme, visit www.sfi.ie/funding/funding-calls/centres-for-res-training.

ENDS

For further media information contact

Alva O’Cleirigh

01 607 3046 / 087 9152553 / alva.ocleirigh@sfi.ie

Editor’s Notes

About Science Foundation Ireland

Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) is the national foundation for investment in scientific and engineering research. Science Foundation Ireland funds oriented basic and applied research in the areas of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) which promotes and assists the development and competitiveness of industry, enterprise and employment in Ireland. The Foundation also promotes and supports STEM education and engagement, and creates awareness and understanding of the value of STEM to society and to the growth of the economy. 

About SFI Centres for Research Training

Through additional funding allocated to Science Foundation Ireland by the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Science Foundation Ireland has developed and implemented a new cohort-based postgraduate research training programme, the SFI Centres for Research Training, to fund enrolment of additional students from 2019 onwards.

  • SFI Centre for Research Training in Advanced Networks for Sustainable Societies
    The SFI Centre for Research Training in Advanced Networks for Sustainable Societies focuses on enabling technologies for future hyper-networks, concepts such as network virtualization, dependable communications, Internet of Things, data driven network management and applications in sustainable and independent living.
  • SFI Centre for Research Training in Genomics Data Science
    The SFI Centre for Research Training in Genomics Data Science will produce a cohort of highly trained scientists capable of engaging effectively with the data science challenges involved in realizing the transformative potential of genomics across the broad range of its applications.
  • SFI Centre for Research Training in Digitally-Enhanced Reality
    The SFI Centre for Research Training in Digitally-Enhanced Reality will focus on the development of digital skills for next generation human-centric media technology. The centre will address the widely recognised gap in ICT skills to provide a world-class talent pool of PhD qualified graduates deeply skilled in cutting edge digital media technology. 
  • SFI Centre for Research Training in Artificial Intelligence
    The SFI Centre for Research Training in Artificial Intelligence brings together supervisors working across the full spectrum of AI techniques. The centre focuses strongly on the development of AI solutions in domains such as smart buildings, mobility and transportation, autonomous vehicles, public service delivery, manufacturing, enterprise, cybersecurity, climate change and environment, agriculture, marine, food production, and natural resources.
  • SFI Centre for Research Training in Foundations of Data Science
    The SFI Centre for Research Training in Foundations of Data Science joins together the underpinning disciplines of Applied Mathematics, Statistics, and Machine Learning to train PhD students whose fundamental understanding makes them uniquely adaptable to the rapidly-evolving needs of Ireland’s data science industry and changing industry needs.
  • SFI Centre for Research Training in Machine Learning
    The SFI Centre for Research Training in Machine Learning will address the urgent industry demand for Machine Learning talent. The centre is a collaboration between UCD, DCU, and DIT and will bring together leaders in their field to supervise and train students. Students will benefit from world-class, inter-institutional programmes, led by active researchers as part of a mature interdisciplinary environment that emphasises cutting-edge research with an industry-relevant and entrepreneurial focus.
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