Industry Collaboration

Mathematics and Statistics are at the heart of the digital economy.  Our researchers are engaged in uncovering the theoretical foundations which underpin internet security, cryptography, and data analytics.  At the same time, Mathematics and Statistics play a key role in understanding and optimizing “traditional” industrial processes in Engineering and Manufacturing and again, our researchers are involved in modelling the fundamental physical mechanisms which drive heat, energy, and mass transfer in industrial settings. 

Not surprisingly, there are many opportunities for collaboration between industry, and academia within the domain of Mathematics and Statistics.  Typically, an industrial collaborator approaches a researcher in the school with a desire to improve a product or process through the application of mathematical, statistical, and actuarial modelling techniques.  Typically, the researcher will be interested in a collaboration if it generates new research questions and gives insights into an old problem.  Often, it is possible to combine these viewpoints into a fruitful collaboration which satisfies a researcher’s curiosity and enables an industrial collaborator to enhance productivity or service experience.

It is important to note that we conceive of “industry” very broadly; we understand it to mean any collaboration between academics and the rest of society – this can include the private sector, the semi-state companies, the public sector, and voluntary organizations.

Below are some examples of previous industry collaborations which have been brought to a successful conclusion in the school.

Dr Michelle Carey “I have studied numerous real-world problems through research partnerships with industry, including the optimal scheduling of power systems with Captured Carbon; short term wind power forecasting with ESB; modelling the grain supply chain with Transport Canada; forecasting demand for service parts with Dell; risk management of non-maturing deposits with Bank of Ireland. Using Statistics and Applied Mathematics, we enable our partnering companies to predict outcomes, improve products, optimise processes, and ultimately reduce costs."

Prof Gary McGuire “In 2007 Harold Edwards published a theoretical paper in the Bulletin of the American Mathematical Society.  He proposed a new form of the equation for an elliptic curve.  Others then developed this equation and studied these curves from the point of view of cryptography, especially in software.  My PhD student Richard Moloney and I collaborated with researchers at Intel to study the implementation of the new equations in hardware. The new Edwards curves gave a significant speedup, and were implemented in a version of an Intel processor. When implemented on a large hardware multiplier, computation of point multiplication using this algorithm performed significantly better, in terms of code complexity, code coverage and timing, than the standard implementation.”

Dr Lennon Ó Náraigh “I have worked with several industrial partners in the past, sometimes on a joint research project, sometimes on a consultancy basis, through ConsultUCD.  The partners always gave me interesting problems to work on.  More often than not, I was able to formulate a mathematical model of an industrial process that would then be useful to the partner in a practical setting.  One particular model I developed with friends and collaborators was used as the “brain” for an artificial-intelligence algorithm that regulates temperature in a particular industrial process.  It was very enjoyable work, and I was happy to see the abstract mathematical model integrated into a usable software solution.”

Collaboration Opportunities

UCD School of Mathematics and Statistics warmly welcomes the opportunity to collaborate with other sectors on a topic of mutual interest. We work with companies and organizations of different sizes from start-ups, SMEs, to large multinationals, as well as the Public Sector.  Whatever the format, as mathematicians and statisticians we always want to create now knowledge and new insights into fundamental concepts, as well as providing business and organizational insights to partners and collaborators.  Any formal collaboration will be underpinned by best practice intellectual-property management, guided by NovaUCD

There are many ways of funding collaborative projects, including but not limited to:

  • Enterprise Ireland innovation vouchers
  • Large scale strategic partnerships, funded by SFI or H2020

We are also happy to work with companies and organizations to design a bespoke programme on a topic or project of mutual interest.

The school industry contact is Dr Michelle Carey michelle.carey@ucd.ie

Some avenues for collaboration can be found here (link to new page with information below)

European Study Group with Industry (ESGI)

The study group brings together leading mathematicians and statisticians from around the world with a wide range of backgrounds to work intensively on real-world problems, they have been called "Hackathons for Mathematics".  Study groups can accommodate 4-8 industrial problems, which are tackled by 40-80 academic's ranging from PhD students to professors. Irish study groups usually take place in June/ July. There is more information here.

Funding for Collaboration

1. Enterprise Ireland

Innovation Vouchers

Innovation Vouchers worth €5,000 are available to assist a company or companies to explore a business opportunity or problem with a registered knowledge provider (like MACSI in UL). Calls generally run quarterly. 

Innovation Partnership Programme

The Innovation Partnership Programme can provide between 40 and 80% of the cost of research work to develop new and improved products, processes or services, or generate new knowledge and know-how.  The stipends/salaries of persons employed to work directly on the company project are eligible for EI grant support. 

2. Irish Research Council

Irish Research Council Employment Based Postgraduate Programme 

The aim of this funded scholarship is to educate Scholars at either Masters or PhD level whilst simultaneously providing the Scholar with an insight into the professional aspects of working in a range of research and innovation environments; and facilitate research collaboration, knowledge transfer and networking between Scholars at Irish HEIs and Irish based employers. The company  would employ the Scholar (new or existing hire) for the duration of the award and the Scholar would be embedded within the company for 50-70% of the time.

This scheme usually opens in January.

Irish Research Council Enterprise Based Postgraduate Programme

The aim of this scholarship is to educate Scholars at either Masters or PhD level whilst simultaneously providing the Scholar with an insight into the professional aspects of working in a range of research and innovation environments; and facilitate research collaboration, knowledge transfer and networking between Scholars at Irish HEIs and Irish based employers. The company would employ the Scholar (new or existing hire) for the duration of the award and the Scholar would be embedded within the company for 30-50% of the time.

This call usually opens in the fourth quarter of the year.

There are similar programmes to the above for postdoctoral researchers (experienced researchers who already have a PhD). 

3. SFI

SFI Industry fellowship

The aim of this fellowship programme is to stimulate excellence through knowledge transfer and  training, thereby building critical mass in areas of strategic importance for Ireland and enabling economic and societal challenges to be tackled. Fellowships can be awarded to academic researchers wishing to spend time in industry worldwide.

The Industry Fellowship Programme is an element of SFI’s Agenda 2020 which aims to build strategic partnerships between industry and academic institutions, to encourage cutting-edge research and further grow Ireland’s competitive advantage. The maximum SFI contribution to an Industry Fellowship award is €120,000 direct costs over a period of between 1 and 12 months full time or between 2 and 24 months part-time. Anyone who has a PhD is eligible (postdoc to Professor). 

The call is expected to open in the fourth quarter of 2020. 

Secondment Model

Where an existing PhD student would be seconded from UCD into a company for a specific length of time e.g. 6 months - 1year.  Any formal collaboration of this nature would be underpinned by best practice intellectual-property management, guided by NovaUCD.