€7m national electronics research centre for Cork

27 Jul 2004

The Government has announced the creation of a €7m national research centre in Cork to conduct work in the areas of electronics, photonics and networking technologies.

The new National Institute for Networking and Electronics Research, developed as a partnership between the Department of Enterprise, Trade & Employment, Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) and University College Cork (UCC) and funded through the SFI, will be located at the existing Lee Maltings campus, close to the main UCC Campus. Dr Alastair Glass of SFI, director of the information and communications technology (ICT) division at SFI, will chair the board of the new Institute.

The Tánaiste, Mary Harney, TD, made the announcement at an International Conference on Emerging Technologies in Optical Systems (ETOS) at the Department of Physics in UCC.

She commented: “Technology and scientific understanding are changing our world faster than ever before. New developments in areas such as ICT and biotechnology are unleashing new waves of innovation and creating endless opportunities for businesses to gain competitive advantage. Applications of nanotechnology are emerging which will impact on the life of every citizen. Ireland has been developing a strong capability in photonics, which already forms the underlying technology in a number of global industries such as data storage and telecommunications.

“The exploitation of these and other technologies is a key driver in the internationalisation of Irish business. Investment in the application of innovation and technology to the development of new products, services and processes will be the key to generating continued and sustained economic growth for Ireland.

“However, technology does not stand still and we increasingly need to achieve critical mass in our research efforts. That is why my Department, UCC and SFI have been working together on this exciting new project to capitalise on the existing work at UCC and grow it further. The new Institute will have its own legal status as a subsidiary of UCC. It will have its own chief officer and a board of directors which will reflect the role of the partners involved in developing the initiative. In particular, I am keen that the board should have strong business and scientific expertise,” the Tánaiste added.

The Tánaiste confirmed that she would shortly be finalising the composition of the board of the Institute, which will be chaired by Dr Alastair Glass, currently of SFI.

“Working with Dr Bill Harris, chief executive of SFI, Dr Glass has been hugely instrumental in developing our ICT base. His high level research and industrial contacts have played a significant part in securing key investments, as exemplified by the recent Bell Labs project,” the Tánaiste said.

“The vision for Ireland to be achieved by 2015 is of an economy and society where a significant proportion of enterprise has become technology-based and where higher standards of living are being enjoyed by ever increasing numbers of people.”

By Brian Skelly