Industry Collaborations

The UCD College of Engineering and Architecture has a strong track record of collaborating with industry.  Through collaboration we share research expertise and provide access to talent and research infrastructure to address industry priorities and needs.  Many of our collaborations have the potential for significant technology transfer activity in the future. 

Industry - academic collaborations can vary from:  student scholarships and individual fellowships to support knowledge exchange and to develop research expertise for application in academia and industry;  project partnerships to address specific research questions;  large-scale programmes such as SFI Research Centres  and EI Technology Centres that involve multiple partners to deliver high-impact research and scientific advances, to train students with critical in-demand skills, to support regional development, and enhance Ireland’s international reputation. 

Examples of UCD Engineering & Architecture working in collaboration with Industry

Funding Programmes Supporting Industry – Academic Collaboration

Collaborations can be funded directly by industry through bilateral / multi-party partnerships.  National and international funding agencies also offer a range of funding programmes and mechanisms to support industry – academic collaboration and partnership, some of which are part-funded by Industry.

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Student Scholarships and Individual Fellowships

The aim of the Employment Based Postgraduate programme is to embed the scholar with an Irish based employer in a professional research and innovation environment for training and development whilst simultaneously providing postgraduate education leading to a Masters by Research or PhD.  The IRC contributes €24,000 p.a. and the Employment Partner contributes a minimum of €8,000 p.a. for the duration of the scholarship award.  The programme will be of interest to eligible Employment Partners with one or more of the following interests or priorities:

  • to pursue a research project linked with its mission through the employment of a dedicated researcher, collaborating with a HEI
  • to further develop the research capacity/output of the organisation
  • to enhance links with research leaders in HEIs
  • to support the training, development and throughput of early-stage researchers in areas linked to the organisational mission
  • to target future research talent for permanent roles in the organisation

Employment-Based Postgraduate Programme

The Enterprise Partnership Scheme offers Irish Research Council co-funding of Masters, PhD and Postdoctoral scholarships in partnership with industry and public bodies. The scheme provides flexible access to competitively selected, high-calibre researchers working on projects of mutual interest.  The Research Council will provide 2/3 of funding for awards. 1/3 co-funding required from industry together providing scholarships of:

  • Masters Total Value - €24,000 p.a. up to 2 Years
  • PhD Total Value - €24,000 p.a. up to 4 years
  • Postdoctoral Value - €45,895 p.a. for 2 years

Eligible Enterprise Partners may be based anywhere in the world and can be a business, a company, a registered charity, a social, cultural or not-for-profit civic organisation, a semi-state commercial organisation or eligible public body.

Enterprise Partnership Scheme (Irish Research Council)

The SFI Industry Fellowship Programme supports the temporary placement of academic researchers in industry, and of industry researchers in academia:

  • to enhance industry-academia collaborations through the funding of collaborative industry-academia research projects, and
  • to stimulate excellence through knowledge exchange and training of engineers and scientists.  

Fellowships can have a duration between 1 and 12 months if full-time, and between 2 and 24 months if part-time. The maximum Industry Fellowship award amount is €100,000 direct costs.

Industry Fellowship (Science Foundation Ireland)

The Technology and Innovation Development Award (TIDA) does not directly support industry academic collaboration. However it does facilitate greater interaction between SFI-funded researchers and engineers developing new technologies and industrial partners.   TIDA is designed to enable researchers to focus on the initial stages of an applied research project which may have a commercial benefit if further developed. It enables researchers to demonstrate the technical feasibility of an applied research project directed toward the development of a new or innovative technology, product, process or service that has potential for further commercial development. In the context of supporting researchers who wish to pursue the commercialisation of a technology, TIDA awards €100k direct costs for projects of 12 month duration.  It also provides Entrepreneurship and commercialisation training.

Technology and Innovation Development Award (TIDA)  (Science Foundation Ireland)

InterTradeIreland’s FUSION offers funding for companies to employ a high calibre science, engineering or technology graduate to support product development and innovation.  It also partners the company with a third level institution with specific expertise. The graduate is employed by, and is based in, the company with mentoring from the academic partner and the InterTradeIreland FUSION consultant.  Projects can be for 18 months (typically for new product or service development) or 12 months project (typically for process improvement) depending on the business needs.  Funding is available up to £44,250/€58,700 for 18 month projects and up to £31,000/€41,100 for 12 month projects and contributes towards 50% of the graduate’s employment costs. The programme is open to manufacturing or tradable services companies, located on the island of Ireland (North or South), and the third-level partner institution must be based in the opposite jurisdiction.

FUSION Programme (InterTrade Ireland)

The Marie Skłodowska-Curie actions (MSCA) provide grants for all stages of researchers' careers - be they doctoral candidates or highly experienced researchers - and encourage transnational, intersectoral and interdisciplinary mobility. The MSCA enable research-focused organisations (universities, research centres, and companies) to host talented foreign researchers and to create strategic partnerships with leading institutions worldwide.

Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions (European Commission)

Project Partnerships

The Enterprise Ireland Innovation Vouchers scheme is focused on small companies were €5,000 is available to assist a company to explore a business opportunity or problem with a designated knowledge provider. The objective of the Innovation Voucher initiative is to build links between Ireland's Research Institutes and small businesses.

Innovation Vouchers (Enterprise Ireland)

The Enterprise Ireland Innovation Partnerships Initiative encourages Irish based companies (of all sizes) to work with Irish institutes to access their expertise and resources to develop new and improved products, processes, services, and generate new knowledge and know-how.  Enterprise Ireland provides grants of up to 80% towards eligible costs of the research project up to €200,000.

Innovation Partnerships Initiative (Enterprise Ireland)

Large Scale Programmes

The Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) Research Centres Programme  links scientists and engineers in partnerships across academia and industry to address crucial research questions, foster the development of new and existing Irish-based technology companies, attract industry that could make an important contribution to Ireland and its economy, and expand educational and career opportunities in Ireland in science and engineering.

SFI will fund up to 70% of the overall Research Centre budget i.e. €1-5 million per annum in direct costs for upto 6 years.  A minimum of 30% of the Centre budget must be secured from industry, at least one-third of which must be cash.

Research Centres Programme (Science Foundation Ireland)

UCD College of Engineering & Architecture currently participates in the following 6 SFI Research Centres and is also the Lead Principal Investigator on I-FORM:

The SFI Spokes Programme enables the addition of new industrial and academic partners and projects to a SFI Research Centre, allowing the Centre to expand and develop in line with new priorities and opportunities.  This will ensure that the Research Centre retains its ability to do cutting edge research and its industrial relevance, and so enhance its sustainability. The Spokes programme also provides a vehicle to link together, in a meaningful and relevant way, different Research Centres.  The Spokes Rolling call will remain open, with no closing date (until further notice), to allow Research Centres to apply for funding at any time for new collaborative research projects with an industry partner(s).

To apply for a Spokes award under the rolling call mechanism, the industry partner (or partners) must make a minimum 50% cash contribution to the research programme.

Spokes Programme (Science Foundation Ireland)

The SFI Strategic Partnerships Programme funds strategic opportunities within all areas covered by SFI’s legal remit where significant co-funding from a company, collection of companies, funding agency, charity, philanthropic organization or Higher Education Institute is available.  The Strategic Partnership Programme is specifically aimed at funding compelling research opportunities, on a flexible basis, that are not otherwise served by other national funding programmes. The scheme aims to support standalone initiatives of scale with strong potential for delivering economic and societal impact to Ireland. 

Strategic Partnerships (Science Foundation Ireland)

Horizon 2020 is the biggest EU Research and Innovation programme ever with nearly €80 billion of funding available over 7 years (2014 to 2020) – in addition to private investment that this money attracts. It includes the Industrial Leadership pillar which aims to speed up development of the technologies and innovations that will underpin tomorrow's businesses and help innovative European SMEs to grow into world-leading companies.

Horizon 2020 (European Commission)

Interreg is one of the key instruments of the European Union (EU) supporting cooperation across borders and regions  through project funding. Its aim is to jointly tackle common challenges and find shared solutions in fields such as health, environment, research, education, transport, sustainable energy and more.  Interreg is funded by the European Regional Development Fund.  Interreg comprises a suite of programmes each focusing on specific borders, areas and regions for transnational co-operation.  Projects involve cross sectoral collaborations, including opportunities for industry to participate.  

UCD College of Engineering and Architecture has experience of the

Technology Centres are a joint initiative between Enterprise Ireland and IDA Ireland that allow for Irish companies and multinationals to work together. These centres are collaborative entities established and led by industry. They are resourced by highly qualified researchers associated with research institutions who are empowered to undertake market focussed strategic R&D for the benefit of industry. The funding level requirements of each Technology Centre will be different, but as a guide a successful centre would operate with State funding of the order of €1M per year over a five year period. Once established, Technology Centres are open for participation to companies in Ireland.

There are 14 industry-led research centres in the Technology Centres Programme.

UCD College of Engineering & Architecture currently participates in the following 2 Technology Centres:

Student Internship Programme

Industry access to talent through UCD Engineering Internships Programme.  Internships available with UCD undergraduate and postgraduate Engineering students in a wide range of disciplines with internships ranging from 3 months to 1 year.

UCD Innovation  

The university’s Technology Transfer Office NovaUCD supports faculty collaboration with companies and the protection, management, and exploitation of Intellectual Property.  It also offers a purpose-built, state-of-the-art incubation facility for knowledge-intensive companies and new ventures and entrepreneurs.


University College Dublin is committed to engaging in an increasingly broad range of activities that will allow business, industry, public sector and not-for-profit organisations to benefit fully from the wealth of the expertise generated by the university. ConsultUCD, is a managed consultancy service to facilitate access and support the engagement between business, industry and UCD.

Research Infrastructure

The Nano Imaging and Material Analysis Centre (NIMAC) based in University College Dublin, Ireland, specialists in providing Scanning & Transmission Electron Microscopy (SEM, TEM) and state-of-the-art analytical techniques, training and services to industry and academia.

Case Studies of Collaborations with Industry