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Minister launches €22 million SFI research centre focused on advanced manufacturing

Posted 25 September, 2018

Minister for Innovation, Research and Development John Halligan pictured with [l-r] Prof Mark Ferguson, SFI Director General, Prof Orla Feely, VP for Research at UCD, and Prof Denis Dowling, I-Form Centre Director
  • New I-Form centre will work to advance areas such as 3D printing and materials processing.
  • Over 31 companies have signed up to work with the new research centre.
  • The manufacturing sector is the second largest employer in Ireland.

University College Dublin is host to a new €22 million research centre focusing on advance manufacturing techniques.

The I-Form Centre aims to bring together researchers from computing, engineering, materials and data science to create a multi-disciplinary team to shape the future of Irish manufacturing.

It will work with companies to advance areas such as 3D printing and materials processing to help design new products and components that are cheaper, more reliable and perform better than current options.

Welcoming the launch, Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation Heather Humphreys said: “Innovation is at the core of the Government’s science strategy and is exemplified by the visionary technologies being developed here in I-Form.

“It is crucial that Ireland continues to deliver impactful research outcomes in advanced manufacturing.”

Minister for Training, Skills, Innovation, Research and Development, John Halligan added: “Collaboration and innovation are at the very core of the SFI Research Centre network, which continues to build on Ireland’s international reputation for research excellence and I wish all involved every success.”

The manufacturing sector is the second largest employer in Ireland, accounting for over €122.6bn in exports annually.

The new research centre will be hosted by UCD, and be co-funded by Science Foundation Ireland and private industry, with more 31 companies signed up to participate in it.

Other academic partners include Dublin City University, Trinity College Dublin, Institute of Technology Sligo, NUI Galway, Waterford Institute of Technology and Maynooth University.

I-Form’s Director Professor Denis Dowling, of the UCD School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering, said the work performed at the centre would deliver “a step-change in competitiveness for Irish manufacturing”.

“Through our research into digital solutions for materials processing technologies, we are changing how things are made… I-Form will drive regional development through industry collaborations in areas of advanced manufacturing and digital technologies for Industry 4.0.”

Professor Andrew J. Deeks, President of UCD, added: “With the next phase in the evolution of manufacturing upon us, this SFI Research Centre means that Ireland is well-placed to compete globally, and to attract and retain engineering talent to academia and industry."

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