UCD researchers head up new €100m SFI ‘Future Skills’ postgraduate centres

Posted 5 March, 2019

Four new Science Foundation Ireland centres will be led by researchers from University College Dublin following a €100m investment announced by the Government.

The academics will act as ‘Centre Directors’ at four of six new SFI centres aimed at providing training for 700 postgraduate students in areas of digital, data and information and communications technology (ICT).

Over 90 companies have partnered with Irish third-level colleges in directing the research courses.

Dr Brian Mac Namee, from the UCD School of Computer Science, will head up one of the centres alongside Dr Georgiana Ifrim, also from the UCD School of Computer Science.

Professor Julie Berndsen, of the UCD School of Computer Science, Professor Denis Shields, UCD School of Medicine, and Dr Claire Gormley, from the UCD School of Mathematics and Statistics, have also each been appointed co-directors at the newly announced centres.

The six new SFI Centres for Research Training are:

SFI Centre for Research Training in Machine Learning - Dr Brian McNamee (UCD), Dr Georgiana Ifrim (UCD), Professor Sarah Jane Delany (TU Dublin), and Professor Noel O’Connor (DCU).

SFI Centre for Research Training in Digitally Enhanced Reality - Professor Carol O’Sullivan (TCD), Professor Vincent Wade (TCD), Professor John Kelleher (TU Dublin), Professor Alan Smeaton (DCU), Professor Peter Corcoran (NUIG), and Professor Julie Berndsen (UCD).

SFI Centre for Research Training in Advanced Networks for Sustainable Societies - Professor Dirk Pesch (UCC), Professor John Barrett (CIT), Dr Deirdre Desmond (NUIM), Professor Siobhán Clarke (TCD), Professor Max Ammann (TU Dublin), and Professor Cormac Sreenan (UCC).

SFI Centre for Research Training in Foundations of Data Science - Professor James Gleeson (UL), Dr Claire Gormley (UCD), Professor Ken Duffy (NUIM).

SFI Centre for Research Training in Artificial Intelligence - Professor Barry O’Sullivan (UCC), Professor Tiziana Margaria (UL), Dr Ivana Dusparic (TCD), Dr Derek Bridge (UCC), Dr Suzanne Little (DCU), and Dr Paul Buitelaar (NUIG).

SFI Centre for Research Training in Genomics Data Science - Professor Cathal Seoighe (NUIG), Dr Eva Szegezdi (NUIG), Professor Denis Shields (UCD), Professor Gianpiero Cavalleri (RCSI), Professor Pavel Baranov (UCC), and Professor Aoife McLysaght (TCD).

The Government has invested €100m to fund the new SFI Centres for Research Training.

Minister for Business, Enterprise, and Innovation, Heather Humphreys TD said: “In line the Government’s new Future Jobs initiative, which we will launch in the coming days, these programmes will allow students to develop and learn about critical technologies for the future in areas like machine learning, artificial intelligence and more. This is all part of our wider effort to ensure that we are preparing now for tomorrow’s economy.”

Minister of State for Training, Skills, Innovation, Research and Development, John Halligan TD added that the new centres would ensure better integration and collaboration across research areas of strategic importance to Ireland.

 “We will take a cohort-based approach to research training… [allowing for] individuals who are well-rounded, well-equipped, and confident to guide Ireland to a strong economy.”

Professor Mark Ferguson, SFI Director General and chief scientific adviser to the Government said: “Teams of excellent researchers in Irish higher education institutions have teamed up with industrial collaborators and international partners to develop outstanding national programmes of research and training in digital, data and ICT skills - the future of both the economy and society.”

By: David Kearns, Digital Journalist / Media Officer, UCD University Relations