New data analytics centre will create 300 jobs

National research centre Insight will focus on big data technologies

UCD’s Professor Barry Smyth will lead the new Insight research centre

UCD’s Professor Barry Smyth will lead the new Insight research centre


The establishment of a new national data analytics research centre, Insight, will lead to the creation of 300 new jobs.

The centre, which was formally launched this morning by Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Richard Bruton, opened in July of this year, and is working with companies to develop next generation data analytical and big data technologies.

Bringing together the resources of four universities - DCU, NUI Galway, UCC and UCD - the centre will be led by UCD’s Professor Barry Smyth and will receive funding of €38 million from Science Foundation Ireland.

Over 40 corporate partners, including HP, Cisco, Avaya, Intel, The Irish Times, Microsoft and IBM, will provide a further €30 million in funding.

Speaking at the launch, Mr Bruton said: “Big data is a sector growing globally at 40 per cent per annum, and we have targeted it as part of the Disruptive Reforms contained in Action Plan for Jobs 2013. This is a sector where Ireland has the potential to gain competitive advantage and attract significant numbers of investments and jobs, and we are putting in place measures to ensure that we can deliver on that potential. The establishment of this world-class SFI research centre in data analytics, with a total investment of € 88million supported by my Department, is a strong signal of our ambition in this area. Today’s announcement, in combination with the other measures we have put in place in this sector, will help attract the investment, support the business ideas and create the jobs in Ireland that we need”.

Professor Barry Smyth agreed that data analytics represents a “huge growth opportunity”, adding that “we are perfectly positioned to take advantage of it”. “Spending on Big Data technologies is growing at 30 per cent per annum as demand for data analytics skills continues to outstrip supply. In Insight we have brought together the country’s leading data analytics researchers to meet this demand and create new opportunities for Ireland and our industry partners.”

Insight is the largest of seven new world class research centres being created by Science Foundation Ireland as part of a €300 million investment.

Its plan is to become a single brand and single entity with the critical mass of research competence that will serve as an “international beacon” for the science and application of big data analytics. Its research areas include machine learning and data mining; optimisation and decision analytics; and media analytics.

Insight will create a reusable data analytics pipeline enabling the transformation of data into actionable knowledge applicable and disruptive in many different domains as demonstrated by the wide variety of companies supporting our proposal. In addition, Insight will address the current global shortage in data analytics practitioners - through the training of PhDs and a research masters programme that will address a particular gap in the data analytics labour market.