Maynooth University to lead two EU sustainable data projects

9 Mar 2023

From left: Prof Markus Helfert, director of the Innovation Value Institute and the SFI EMPOWER Data Governance Programme; Prof Zohreh Pourzolfaghar, School of Business, Maynooth University; and Martin Heydon, Minister of State for the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, TD. Image: Maxwells Photography

The Entrust and Digi+ programmes have received €7m to fund 20 postdoctoral researchers, focused on tackling the challenges around data governance.

Maynooth University has been chosen to lead two European research programmes that will focus on sustainable digital transformation.

These programmes have received €7m, which will be used to fund 20 postdoctoral researchers. The initiatives will work towards advancing digital transformation practices, accelerating digital and data skills, and developing data governance and business models.

The projects will aim to ensure that Ireland is aligned with the EU’s sustainable development goals.

The two programmes – called Entrust and Digi+ – will be led by Maynooth’s Innovation Value Institute (IVI), the university’s research institute focused on digital transformation and technology adoption.

The Entrust programme aims to bring together 16 European research institutions to create a doctoral network, which will look at the challenges around data governance in agriculture and farming.

This initiative aims to create a fair and trustworthy agri-data space to help farmers access the potential of data. Entrust also intends for this data space to be aligned with the EU’s current Data Strategy and Green Deal.

The Digi+ programme plans to complement the goals of Entrust with a multi-sector focus, by looking at the global challenges of sustainable digital and data ecosystems.

IVI director Prof Markus Helfert said the focus on sustainable digital transformation and data will create positive impacts for “multiple sectors including agriculture, health, climate, fintech, construction and manufacturing”.

“This investment will drive the co-creation of new ways of doing business, creating value and moving from ‘potential’ to ‘real’ benefits for companies and public sector organisations,” Helfert said.

Helfert is also leading the Empower programme, which launched in 2021 to future-proof EU data flows and drive innovation in data protection.

The Entrust and Digi+ programmes are being funded by the European Commission under the Marie Sklowdowska-Curie programme. Digi+ is also being co-funded by Lero and Adapt, two SFI research centres that are involved in the programme.

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Leigh Mc Gowran is a journalist with Silicon Republic