AWS to fund software fellowships at University of Limerick ‘forever’

19 Aug 2022

From left: ISE course co-director Prof Stephen Kinsella, UL Foundation CEO Harvey Duthie, ISE course co-director Prof Tiziana Margaria, AWS Observability general manager Brian Dennehy, UL president Prof Kerstin Mey and AWS Ireland country manager Mike Beary. Image: Marc O'Sullivan

The university said the backing from AWS will allow it to establish and fund a new fellowship programme in perpetuity.

Amazon Web Services (AWS) has become the latest tech giant to support computer science education at the University of Limerick (UL), funding a new fellowship programme in software engineering.

The philanthropic gift from AWS will help UL establish a Global Fellowships programme as part of its Immersive Software Engineering initiative.

The amount of funding has not been disclosed, but the university said it will be able to establish and fund the new programme in perpetuity.

The Immersive Software Engineering (ISE) programme at UL was launched last year to meet increased global demand for developers.

It offers an undergraduate and master’s degree in partnership with dozens of tech companies from Ireland and around the world including Analog Devices, Stripe, Zalando, Intercom, Shopify, Workday and Manna.

UL president Prof Kerstin Mey said it could be “one of the best software courses in the world” and the university is excited to have the backing of AWS.

With funding from the cloud computing giant, the Global Fellowships programme will bring in junior and senior fellows from a variety of backgrounds, genders, expertise and geographies.

Each fellow will be supported to spend between three weeks and six months working with ISE students, collaborating with researchers and engaging with industry partners.

“This is one of the most significant investments in the ISE programme to date, and AWS’s commitment will underwrite the fellows programme forever,” said UL Foundation CEO Harvey Duthie.

“It’s a confident statement about the future of technology in Ireland and demonstrates the importance AWS places on supporting world-class education.”

The ISE programme is set to welcome its first students next month and will allows participants to achieve a master’s qualification in four years. Students will spend half their time learning on campus, while the other half will be spent solving problems on residencies in tech companies.

ISE students will complete five paid residencies. Each of these will be between three and six months long, giving students multiple opportunities to work with real-world tech teams.

AWS Observability general manager Brian Dennehy said the company is supporting UL’s goal to “change and shape the way computer science is taught in Ireland today and welcome a new and diverse pipeline of talent into the technology industry”.

The ISE received another boost in May, when Intercom announced an equity, diversity and inclusion scholarship valued at €10,000 for students. A €10,000 scholarship for women students in the programme was also announced by Arizona-headquartered Transact Campus.

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Leigh Mc Gowran is a journalist with Silicon Republic