CNGL centre at DCU gleans €19.8m Govt-industry funding to up digital-media research

7 Oct 2013

Prof Mark Ferguson (left), director-general, Science Foundation Ireland (SFI); CNGL researchers Teresa Lynn and Sheila Castiho; John Perry, TD, Minister for Small Business; and Prof Vincent Wade, director, CNGL. Image via Mac Innes Photography

The CNGL (Centre for Global Intelligent Content) at Dublin City University (DCU) has secured an investment of €19.8m, which has been drawn by the Irish Government along with a combined 16 industry partners. The centre is now set to leverage the funding to pursue digital media R&D. The monies will also directly support 75 highly skilled research jobs over the coming two and a half years.

John Perry, TD, Minister of State with responsibility for Small Business at the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, officially announced the investment last week during an innovation showcase hosted by the CNGL.

Broken down, via this funding, the Government is injecting €13.5m, via Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) in the centre, with the remaining €6.3m coming from 16 industry partners.

CNGL is an academia-industry research consortium dedicated to delivering disruptive innovations in digital media and intelligent content such as multilingual content analysis. The Centre is led by Trinity College Dublin (TCD) and co-hosted by DCU.

The CNGL will now target the funding to tap into the expertise of researchers at four universities – the aforementioned TCD and DCU, University College Dublin and University of Limerick.

CNGL currently partners with Microsoft, Symantec, Intel, McAfee, Cisco, DNP, Xanadu, Welocalize, Alchemy Software Development, VistaTEC, and other industry leaders.

The CNGL’s new research programme will focus on the development of content processing technologies to adapt and personalise digital content and services.

This will be in order to meet the individual needs and preferences of users across global markets.

As well as this, it is expected that the centre will also help cement Ireland’s leadership in the global digital media market, which is thought to be worth in the region of US$250bn at the minute.

These industry partners include tech giants Symantec, Microsoft, McAfee, Cisco, Welocalize and Intel.

And, the CNGL could also be set to spawn more start-ups from this research, down the line.

So far, seven companies have spun-out of the centre, raising €1.25m in venture capital, and creating between them around 30 new home-grown jobs in Ireland.

The new research programme will tackle issues such as global marketing, customer care, e-learning, fraud detection, and personalisation of content across languages and devices.

The move is being viewed as timely. That’s because CNGL is entering its second funding cycle supported by SFI.

The centre has also attracted a further €7m in funding from non-exchequer sources, including 15 large-scale European Union-funded projects.

Speaking at an industry showcase of CNGL innovations on the same day, Perry said the global digital-media market is worth an estimated US$250bn.

The Government now believes there is the scope for further job creation from the CNGL.

Perry said that it provides an “exciting opportunity” for Ireland.

The National Research Prioritisation Exercise has already identified digital platforms, content and applications as a key area for potential jobs growth and focus.

“Having a research centre of CNGL’s calibre in Ireland offers significant potential for attracting multinational investment,” Perry said.

Big data ‘explosion’

Prof Vincent Wade said the CNGL’s research focuses on both the challenges and opportunities associated with the explosion of content now available to users, enterprises and communities.

“Content is the lifeblood of an organisation, and savvy companies view content as a strategic asset.

“Today we are experiencing massive growth in volume of content being generated – there are now over 175m tweets sent per day – and an ever expanding variety of devices on which people access this content.

Multilingual content analysis and search

Meanwhile, Ferguson said, on behalf of SFI, that this academic-industry research consortium is leading the “transformation of Ireland’s global intelligent content revolution”.  

“The importance of continued investment in excellent scientific research related to Ireland’s ongoing and future economic development is imperative,” he said.

“CNGL has clearly delivered tangible economic benefits, to date that include productive engagement with industry collaborators, the establishment of a number of successful spinout companies and the creation of over 30 new jobs.”  

He said that the additional funding is a further reflection of the commitment of SFI, Government and industry to establish a leading international position for Ireland in content intelligence.

“It [CNGL] is helping to create high-tech, high-quality employment opportunities for the future.”

Carmel Doyle was a long-time reporter with Silicon Republic