Multi-million euro investment to benefit Maynooth University research

Tuesday, October 21, 2014 - 00:00

The Irish government announced today details of a multi-million euro national research initiative that will result in a significant investment in Maynooth University.  The investment commits between €8-10 million in high-tech research funding to the University under the Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) Research Centres programme.
Speaking at the announcement in Dublin Castle, Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Richard Bruton said, “A key part of the Government’s Action Plan for Jobs is to build on the major achievements in scientific research we have built up over the past decade and turn more good ideas into good jobs. Today’s 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.”

The Department of Electronic Engineering, in partnership with Department of Computer Science and the Department of Mathematics and Statistics, will receive a substantial portion of this funding to support world class research in the areas of radio communication systems for future telecommunications as part of the new CONNECT centre.  There will also be support for work in the area of Smart Cities under Prof. Brian Donnellan of the Innovation Value Institute (the LERO Centre) and in the area of geotechnologies with Dr. Tim McCarthy of the National Centre of Geotechnologies (the iCRAG Centre).

“We are delighted that the unique expertise at  Maynooth University is so central to this national programme,” Prof. Mahon said. ”The investment here will focus on some key projects. For example, we will be working with leading telecoms companies to solve problems in wireless communication and network congestion.  Other teams will work with major multinational companies in Ireland to design the software and business models needed to run future smarter cities.”

The funding for Maynooth University is part of the overall research announcement of €155 million from the Department of Jobs to be delivered through five new, world-class SFI Research Centres, coupled with €90 million in cash and in-kind contributions from industry partners.  The six-year funding stream will support cutting-edge research in critical and emerging sectors of the economy that are critical for job creation in Ireland.

The investment also will have a ripple effect on the local economy, creating jobs and study opportunities for highly skilled graduates in computer science and software engineering. The investment is important to help attract high-tech companies to the region, Prof. Mahon explained. “The presence of research expertise in a region acts like a magnet—giving large companies confidence around location decisions and giving support, ideas and time to new start-up firms. This type  of investment should have a large multiplier effect locally.”

“The investment will also benefit Maynooth University students,” Dean of Science & Engineering Dr. Fiona Lyddy stated. “Direct research experience and engagement with active researchers are central to how our students acquire the skills needed for the new technology sectors.  A key part of the Maynooth University ethos is that students have access to world-class researchers throughout their time on campus and this investment will support that.”

Prof. Mahon hinted there were further investments to come. “We have world-class scientists and engineers here and it is no secret that we are making Maynooth University the go-to place for information and communications technology research in Ireland. This investment is likely to be just the start, and I expect us to announce more in the next 12 months.”