€193 million investment in five SFI Research Centres announced

Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, Simon Harris TD today announced an investment of €193 million in five Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) Research Centres for a further six years, including Lero and ADAPT, which are both research partners of the Innovation Value Institute (IVI). This investment by Science Foundation Ireland will support approximately 1,060 graduate and Post-Doctoral students and Research Fellows employed by the Centres.

Lero, the Science Foundation Ireland Research Centre for Software, headquartered at University of Limerick but which partners with Maynooth University, is to receive more than €37 million of funding over the next six years following robust international peer reviews of its performance to date and its plans for the future. 

The SFI Research Centre for AI Driven Digital Content Technology, ADAPT, has been awarded funding of €42 million to extend its next phase of research over the next six years. Through this new phase finding phase, ADAPT will build on its established leadership in AI driven Digital Content Technology Research.

Professor Markus Helfert, Director of the IVI, and Professor Brian Donnellan, Maynooth Vice President of Engagement and Innovation, are both active members of Lero, and Markus Helfert is engaged with the ADAPT research centre also. Professor Helfert’s response to this significant funding announcement: “The strategic partnership with Lero and ADAPT allows researchers at Maynooth University and our industry partners to benefit and contribute to world leading expertise that assist industry in their digital transformation. The significant challenges associated with Digitalisation require an interdisciplinary approach.  The deep understanding of digital technologies and enterprise capabilities together with governance processes and the wider societal implication enables us to make the digital transformation a success that benefits all stakeholders.”

Director of Lero, Professor Brian Fitzgerald, said this latest round of funding from Science Foundation Ireland, backed by matching support from Lero’s industry partners, will enable Lero to continue to lead the way in establishing Ireland as a location synonymous with world-class software research and development.

Ireland’s future social, economic and industrial successes are dependent on Ireland being a world-leading developer of software. This latest vote of confidence in Lero’s 300-plus team of researchers throughout the country will play a crucial role in keeping Ireland at the forefront of software development and design. A core research area for Lero is delivering responsible innovation by addressing ethical standards with respect to privacy, trust, inclusion and fairness,” he added.

ADAPT’s research vision is to pioneer new forms of AI-driven Digital Content Technology to empower individuals and communities in their work and everyday lives. In particular, ADAPT’s research will enable next generation digital engagement, across video, speech, text and immersive technologies, and support inclusion, accountability, and appropriate controls. 

Announcing the investment, Minister Harris said “I am delighted to announce this significant Government investment in five SFI Research Centres, which reflects Ireland’s position as a world leader in research and innovation. The investment will ensure that we are prepared for the changes and disruption that we are facing in addressing global societal and economic challenges”.