IRCSET and Intel to fund top research talent


30 Jun 2005

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A number of talented young Irish researchers will engage in advanced research projects overseen by Intel as a result of a new partnership between the chipmaker and the Embark Initiative.

Embark, which is run by the Irish Research Council for Science, Engineering and Technology (IRCSET), and Intel Ireland have announced joint funding for a number of new masters and PhD research scholarships, starting in October 2005.

Four researchers have been invited to become Embark Intel Research Scholars as a result of the first call for proposals to the postgraduate scholarship scheme. The scheme will consist of mentoring by an Intel technologist and may involve placements at Intel’s operations in either Leixlip or Shannon, where advanced technological research is carried out.

Each researcher will receive approximately €57k over the three years, bringing the total amount of funding to more than €228k. An annual social insurance contribution is also provided for.

Some additional candidates may be supported as part of a second call.

Areas of interest to Intel will include electronics, microelectronics, physics, physical chemistry, materials science, photonics, computer science, as well as electro-mechanical, mechanical and manufacturing engineering. Candidates may apply from Ireland or from any other European country, but must plan to commence their research at an Irish institution later in 2005.

The initiative is intended to broaden the exposure of Embark scholars to a commercial environment and to technological advances within industry. IRCSET already funds 580 Embark scholars; through partnerships with technology firms such as Microsoft and IBM (with which it already has joint programmes in place) and now with Intel too, it hopes to fund a further 70.

Professor Jane Grimson, chairwoman of IRCSET, commented: “National competitiveness depends on a number of factors including a continuous supply of highly qualified and career-orientated researchers into both the academic and industrial environments. Subsequent connectivity between academic and commercial interests is then vital to the process of innovation that contributes to our economic prosperity and social well-being.

“The council’s work is making a major impact in the development of Irish research training and the provision of new research capabilities and new knowledge into the economy. More than €30m has already been invested by the Exchequer in IRCSET programmes supporting this process at postgraduate and postdoctoral level.”

Frank Turpin, education manager for Intel Ireland, commented: “Our developments hinge around the availability of qualified people and research leaders capable of pioneering new technological advancements in the future. The opening of our collaborative funding initiative with IRCSET provides an opportunity for Intel to contribute directly to the encouragement of new research talent in the national interest. This level of support forms a key aspect of our corporate and economic partnership with Ireland.”

IRCSET programmes are designed to retain the services of talented young researchers within the State whilst also positioning Ireland internationally as a highly attractive destination in which to carry out research. These researchers are found in leading Irish research institutions across multiple disciplines within the sciences, engineering and technology fields. The selection process is competitive and candidates are subject to assessment, strictly on merit, by an international panel.

By Brian Skelly