State to invest €193m in research on cybersecurity, AI and e-health

Research to include smart cities, applied geosciences, energy security, marine resources

The investment in SFI will support about 1,060 graduate and post-doctoral students. Photograph: iStock

The investment in SFI will support about 1,060 graduate and post-doctoral students. Photograph: iStock

 

The State is to invest €193 million over six years into research on cybersecurity, artificial intelligence, ethics and data privacy, smart medical devices, e-health and telecommunications.

Announcing the €193 million investment in five Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) research centres, Minister for Further and Higher Education Simon Harris said it reflected Ireland’s position as a world leader in research and innovation.

Earlier Mr Harris announced an increase of €3.2 million in funding for scholarships and fellowships to the Irish Research Council. This will support close to 1,300 early career researchers across the higher education system and the stipend to council postgraduates will increase from €16,000 to €18.500 a year.

The investment in SFI will support about approximately 1,060 graduate and post-doctoral students and research fellows employed by the centres and follows €91 million in cash and in-kind contributions from 200 industry partners

Mr Harris said the Government’s investment “will ensure that we are prepared for the changes and disruption that we are facing in addressing global societal and economic challenges”.

The research will also involve smart cities, applied geosciences, energy security and marine resources.

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

He also said 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.”

Director general of SFI and chief scientific adviser to the Government, Prof Mark Ferguson, said that to build on Ireland’s global standing in research innovation and discovery “it is crucial that we invest in excellent ideas and research with impact”.

Prof Ferguson said they had made “transformational progress” with increased academic and industrial collaboration and extensive training of PhD students.

Seventeen higher education institutions across the State which partner with the research centres will benefit including: Athlone Institute of Technology; Dublin City University; Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies; Dundalk Institute of Technology; and 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 will also benefit.