Funding of €1.5 million for a new research project at NUI Galway which will seek to address technical challenges associated with the development of improved imaging quality for smartphone cameras has been announced by Minister for Skills, Research and Innovation Damien English
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Funding of €1.5 million for a new research project at NUI Galway which will seek to address technical challenges associated with the development of improved imaging quality for smartphone cameras has been announced. Delivered by the Department of Jobs, through Science Foundation Ireland (SFI), the funding is part of SFI’s Strategic Partnership Programme and includes a €750,000 industry contribution from Galway-based computational imaging company FotoNation.  The research project will run for four years and will sustain positions for six PhD researchers and three post doctorial researchers.

Commenting about the announcement, Minister for Skills, Research and Innovation Damien English TD said: “A key part of the government’s Action Plan for Jobs is to identify strategic opportunities based on emerging global trends. Social media content is becoming increasingly visual with huge growth in the amount of photos and videos now being shared online. This trend is driving strong demand for advancements in smartphone camera technology. This demand presents a strong strategic opportunity for Ireland in the years ahead, and that’s why funding for a project like this through SFI is enormously important.”

Professor Gerard Lyons, dean of engineering and informatics at NUI Galway, said: “We are delighted to be associated with this ground-breaking applied research and to be partnering with FotoNation, which is the global leader in smartphone image analytics. Our academic researchers are pioneers in this new industry and we are committed to supporting close-to-market R&D as the foundation for future economic growth in Ireland.”

Dr Peter Corcoran, principle investigator on the project said: “This proposal provides a unique opportunity for engineering PhD researchers at NUI Galway to work on research topics driven directly by the future needs of the global consumer electronics industry. Many of these researchers will have opportunities to engage with, learn from, and contribute to an industry-leading innovation and intellectual property development process. This forward-looking research partnership is a bold step towards the future of PhD education in Europe.”

Dr Petronel Bigioi, general manager of FotoNation added: “FotoNation has a long history of innovating and advancing state of the art in image processing. More than two billion digital cameras and smartphone devices are powered by the imaging technologies designed by FotoNation engineers. This collaboration with NUI Galway will allow us to continue our quest for innovative solutions to technical issues associated with the development of improved imaging quality for smartphone cameras.”

Professor Mark Ferguson, director general of Science Foundation Ireland and chief scientific adviser to the government of Ireland, also welcomed the announcement: “SFI’s Strategic Partnership Programme is specifically aimed at funding compelling research opportunities of scale with strong potential for delivering economic and societal impact to Ireland. The explosion of imaging technology globally creates very clear opportunities for Ireland and we are pleased to be in a position to support Dr. Corcoran and his team at NUI Galway in helping to position Ireland as a leader in research and innovation this area.”

SFI is focused on building strategic partnerships that fund excellent science and drive that science out into the market and society as part of its Agenda 2020 strategy. These partnerships enhance the delivery of SFI’s strategy through leveraging its investment and capability to the maximum extent possible. The SFI Partnership Schemes aim to provide a flexible mechanism by which SFI can build strategic collaborations with key partners such as industry, funding agencies, charities, philanthropic organisations or higher education institutes (HEIs) with the goal of co-funding outstanding opportunities.

David O'RiordanNewsfunding,NUI Galway,SFI
  Funding of €1.5 million for a new research project at NUI Galway which will seek to address technical challenges associated with the development of improved imaging quality for smartphone cameras has been announced. Delivered by the Department of Jobs, through Science Foundation Ireland (SFI), the funding is part of...