Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, Simon Harris TD today announced an investment of €193 million in five Science Foundation Ireland Research Centres for six years.

The five centres will carry out research into smart medical devices, e-health, telecommunications networks, cybersecurity, smart cities, artificial intelligence, ethics and data privacy, as well as applied geosciences, energy security and marine resources. 

Speaking today, Minister 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 that we are facing in addressing global societal and economic challenges.

“SFI Research Centres promote discovery and impact, as well as collaboration between academia, government and industry across the Island of Ireland and internationally.

“This support will further enhance the important work these Centres have already achieved, so they continue to play a pivotal role in the years ahead in protecting the wellbeing of the population and the economy.  

“The five centres will also work to promote science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) to the wider public through extensive Education and Public Engagement outreach. These initiatives include summer computer camps, developing secondary school education modules, and residency programmes for filmmakers, artists and teachers to forge collaborations between researchers and the community. “

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. SFI Research Centres support both basic and applied research, spanning a wide range of sectors at varying levels and stages, and as a country we have benefited from their considerable contributions in the recent Covid-19 pandemic.

“They have made transformational progress in just six years, with increased academic and industrial collaboration, extensive training of PhD students for future skills needs, winning competitive funding from the EU, producing excellent scientific results and driving vital public engagement. 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.” 

This investment by Science Foundation Ireland will support approximately 1,060 graduate and Post-Doctoral students and Research Fellows employed by the Centres. 

The investment is further backed by significant industry support from 200 industry partners committing over €91 million in cash and in-kind contributions.

The investment is set to benefit the whole country with 17 Higher Education Institutions across the country partnering in Centres, including Athlone Institute of Technology, Dublin City University, Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies, Dundalk Institute of Technology, Limerick Institute of Technology, Maynooth University, Munster Technological University, NUI Galway, Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, Teagasc, Technological University of Dublin, Trinity College Dublin, Tyndall National Institute,  University College Cork, University College Dublin, University of Limerick, and Waterford Institute of Technology.   

The five SFI Research Centres receiving this second phase of funding are:

  • ADAPT - 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
  • CÚRAM - 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.

Other partners include the National Institute for Bioprocessing Research and Training (NIBRT), Geological Survey Ireland (GSI), Teagasc, Telecommunications Software and Systems Group (TSSG), Cork City Council, Cork County Council, Dublin City Council and Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council. 

Awards of funding to SFI Research Centres are made following rigorous international expert peer reviews.