SFI research centre at UL to create more than 100 jobs nationwide
17 May 2018
L-R: UL Professor Conor McCarthy, CONFIRM Centre director and Dr Ciarán Seoighe, deputy director general of Science Foundation. Image: Sean Curtin True Media
Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation Heather Humphreys TD has unveiled the latest Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) Research Centre, CONFIRM – a ‘smart manufacturing’ research centre led by University of Limerick (UL) and involving 42 companies.
One of the largest new research and development centres in the country
The centre is funded by SFI and industry to a value of €47 million, making it one of the largest new research and development centres in the country. The manufacturing sector is the second largest employer in Ireland and accounts for 24 per cent of total economic output – €110 billion in exports.
Minister Heather Humphreys TD launched the CONFIRM headquarters at Park Point, University of Limerick. The Park Point site, close to the main UL campus had been empty for some time and the university will continue to invest in its rejuvenation over the coming years.
The CONFIRM SFI Research Centre is a consortium led by University of Limerick including the Tyndall National Institute, University College Cork, Cork Institute of Technology, National University of Ireland Galway, Athlone Institute of Technology, Maynooth University and Limerick Institute of Technology. The centre will comprise more than 200 researchers in smart manufacturing, including 106 new appointments.
The CONFIRM SFI Research Centre is supported by 42 industry partners including technology providers and end users from the Multi-National Corporation (MNC) and Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) sectors across Ireland.
Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Heather Humphreys, TD, said: “Manufacturing is a key sector in our economy in Ireland, and in an evolving world where digital economies are becoming commonplace, it is crucial that Ireland can continue to deliver impactful research outcomes in this area. CONFIRM will benefit Ireland through enabling us to compete internationally, generating employment, enhancing student skills, and attracting new investment.”
A game-changer for Irish manufacturing competitiveness
Professor Conor McCarthy, CONFIRM Centre director, said: “This truly is a game-changer for Irish manufacturing competitiveness. The establishment of this SFI research centre will position Ireland to play a leading role in the global smart manufacturing revolution. This innovation will enable consumer-driven mass customisation, where future Irish products will be tailored to individual needs and delivered directly to them just hours after placing orders.”
Prof McCarthy added: “CONFIRM will act as a beacon for international talent in the areas of advanced manufacturing from robotics to artificial intelligence. Ireland enjoys a highly-skilled and highly-motivated workforce in the manufacturing sector, this workforce is the envy of other nations. CONFIRM builds upon this reputation and seeks to establish a world-leading centre for smart manufacturing.”
Dr Ciarán Seoighe, deputy director general of Science Foundation Ireland, said: “We are delighted to officially launch the new CONFIRM SFI Research Centre today. CONFIRM is supported through Science Foundation Ireland’s Research Centres Programme.
Network of 17 world-leading research centres across Ireland
“This programme has established a network of 17 world-leading research centres across Ireland that combine investment from government and industry partners. The research centres are a tangible demonstration of the government’s commitment to excellent scientific research in Ireland.
“By enhancing Ireland’s smart manufacturing systems through expert research, CONFIRM, alongside the other SFI Research Centres, will deliver important scientific advances that will enhance our economy, provide excellent training for students and maintain Ireland’s outstanding global reputation. I look forward to the impactful projects that CONFIRM will lead in smart manufacturing over the coming years.”
CONFIRM will create a total of 106 new jobs by 2020, based in UL and around the country. They include:
• Seven project/centre managers (based in Limerick and HEIs nationwide)
• Two administrators (one based in Limerick and one between the Tyndall National Institute, University College Cork and Cork Institute of Technology)
• 97 x senior research fellows/post-doctoral researchers
• 106 roles in total (55 in Limerick, comprising project/centre managers, administrator, senior research fellows and post-doctoral researchers)
• Separately, CONFIRM will also recruit 87 PhD students (based in UL and partner HEIs nationwide).
About CONFIRM Centre
The Science Foundation Ireland research centre, CONFIRM, aims to transform Ireland’s manufacturing industry to become a world-leader in smart manufacturing. Smart manufacturing seeks to add intelligence to our production systems, creating the factories of the future, where products can be fully customised and adaptable, decisions made in real-time, supply-chains shortened and new innovations realised. CONFIRM will deliver the technological advances and expertise for a smart manufacturing innovation ecosystem, enabling companies to compete within the rapidly changing global landscape, and boosting Ireland’s reputation as a leading international manufacturing location. More information is available at www.confirm.ie.
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