MU welcomes €193 million investment in SFI Research Centres

Monday, February 1, 2021 - 09:00
  • Funding will support over 1,000 research positions in 17 Higher Education Institutions 
  • 200 Industry partners to contribute an additional €91 million bringing total investment to €284 million 
Maynooth University welcomes an investment of €193 million in five SFI Research Centres for a further five years announced today by Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, Simon Harris, TD. 
The investment is set to benefit the whole country with 17 Higher Education Institutions (HEIs), including Maynooth University, partnering in Centres. 
The funding initiative will support approximately 1,060 graduate and Post-Doctoral students and Research Fellows across the five Centres, ADAPT, CONNECT, LERO, CÚRAM and iCrag. 
The investment is further backed by significant industry support from 200 industry partners committing over €91 million in cash and in-kind contributions.  The research areas focused on by the five Centres, which are in their second phase, will include smart medical devices, e-health, telecommunications networks, the Internet of Things, cybersecurity, smart cities, artificial intelligence, ethics and data privacy, as well as applied geosciences, energy security and marine resources. 
Announcing the investment, Minister Simon Harris said: “I am delighted to announce this significant government investment in five SFI Research Centres, which reflects Ireland’s position as a world leader in research and innovation. The investment will ensure that we are prepared for the changes and disruption we are facing in addressing global societal and economic challenges.” 
Welcoming the funding announcement, Prof Ray O’Neill, Vice President of Research and Innovation at Maynooth University, said:  
“Maynooth University is delighted to contribute to world-class research at ADAPT, CONNECT, Lero and iCrag. Our highly-expert research teams are working to enhance digital innovation, governance and security, telecommunications networks and artificial intelligence with a focus on interdisciplinary research and innovation. The investment announced today will further support Maynooth University to extend our innovative STEM and social science research in partnership with Irish enterprise.” 
  • Prof Aphra Kerr, Department of Sociology and MU Social Sciences Institute, has been appointed partner institution lead by ADAPT at Maynooth University.  
  • Prof Brian Donnellan, School of Business and Innovation Value Institute, is leading research at Maynooth for Lero, the Irish Software Research Centre.  
  • Prof Markus Helfert, School of Business and Innovation Value Institute, is leading research at Lero and ADAPT. 
  • Prof Ronan Farrell, Dept of Electronic Engineering and Hamilton Institute, is leading a team at CONNECT, the Research Centre for Future Networks and Communications. 
  • Prof David Malone, Hamilton Institute and Dept of Mathematics and Statistics, is leading research and outreach in CONNECT. 
  • Prof Tim McCarthy, National Centre for Geocomputation, leads research projects in iCrag.  
Prof Mark Ferguson, Director General Science Foundation Ireland and Chief Scientific Adviser to the Government of Ireland, said: “To maintain and build on Ireland’s global standing in research, innovation, and discovery, it is crucial that we invest in excellent ideas and research with impact. We look forward to further strengthening our ability to positively impact our society and economy through excellent scientific research, with continued support from the Government and industry in the years ahead.” 
The 200 industry collaborators will include multinational companies (47%), SMEs (32%) and other consortium groups (21%) based in Ireland and internationally. The five Centres are partnered with companies such as Accenture, Analog Devices, ARUP, Benetel, Cisco, Combilift, Dairymaster, Dell, Dense Air, Deutsche Bank, eBay, Fidelity Investments, Glandore, Huawei, IBM, Informatica, Intel, Kostal, Logitech, Mazda, Microsoft, Nexalus, Ocuco, Ryanair, Salaso Healthcare, United Technologies, Valeo, Xperi and Xilinx. 
Awards of funding to SFI Research Centres are made following rigorous international expert peer reviews. For more information visit  
Notes for Editors:  
Investment breakdown per Centre (including overheads) 
ADAPT: €42,090,078   
CONNECT: €38,864,909   
CÚRAM: €46,372,380    
iCRAG: €28,273,066   
Lero: €37,449,510   
About the SFI Research Centres: The five SFI Research Centres receiving this second phase of funding are: ADAPT, the SFI Research Centre for AI-Driven Digital Content Technology, led by Trinity College Dublin; CONNECT, the SFI Research Centre for Future Networks and Communications, led by Trinity College Dublin; CÚfor AI-Driven Digital Content Technology’RAM, the SFI Research Centre for Medical Devices led by NUI Galway; iCRAG, the SFI Research Centre in Applied Geosciences led by University College Dublin; Lero, the SFI Research Centre for Software, led by University of Limerick. A key objective of SFI’s Agenda 2020 is to position Ireland as a global knowledge leader and develop a set of world-leading, large-scale Research Centres that will provide major economic impact for Ireland. The SFI Research Centres Programme was first launched in 2012 to achieve this objective. There are currently sixteen SFI Research Centres, established through a cumulative investment of €684 million from Government through SFI, and a further €466 million committed by industry.