Six MTU research teams bag €1.25m from SFI challenge fund

26 Jun 2023

MTU Cork School of Music. Image: MTU

Established only two years ago, MTU received the fifth highest funding from the National Challenge Fund of any Irish university.

Researchers based at Munster Technological University have secured €1.25m from Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) to fund research into a range of environmental and social issues.

The goal of the SFI National Challenge Fund, which is backed by the EU, calls on researchers to identify and solve problems related to Ireland’s green transition and digital transformation. A total of 47 new Irish research teams joined the fund announced earlier this month.

Out of these 47 new teams, six are from MTU, with eight participating researchers. Overall, the university established in 2021 has received the fifth highest funding amount from the National Challenge Fund, which has an overall budget of €65m with €13m in funding up for grabs.

For the next six months, the teams will spend time working on refining their ideas across a range of industries, from cybersecurity and healthcare to renewable energy.

“These teams have presented ingenious ideas and committed their talents to working for the benefit of the people of Ireland,” said Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science Simon Harris, TD.

“We see examples in the news most days of why Ireland needs to work at the green transition and digital transformation and ensure that our innovation and research prepare the country for the future.

“The solutions being worked on in all eight challenges in the National Challenge Fund have the potential not just to improve life here in Ireland, but across Europe and around the world.”

Since the National Challenge Fund’s launch, several projects have been awarded funding. In February of this year, 26 teams of researchers were allocated funding for a series of projects ranging from decarbonising aviation to using AI to protect Ireland’s peatlands.

Here are the six teams from MTU that received funding across three broad categories.

Digital for Resilience

  • Cyber Shock – Building Ireland’s Cyber Resilience against Cyber Attacks: Prof Donna O’Shea of MTU and Prof Thomas Newe of the University of Limerick
  • Cyber Safety for Vulnerable Populations: Dr Hazel Murray and Dr Aoife Long of MTU
  • Deep Learning based Transferrable Supply Chain Stress Test: Dr Cemalettin Ozturk of MTU and Prof Barry O’Sullivan of University College Cork

Our Tech

  • Digital Resilience for SMEs: Dr Hazel Murray and Gillian O’Carroll of MTU
  • IDEate – Inclusive Design for Digital Public Services: Dr Susan Rea and Dr Mary Galvin of MTU

Energy Innovation

  • National Repository of Decommissioned Wind Turbine Blades: Dr Vesna Jaksic of MTU and Dr Paul Leahy of University College Cork

10 things you need to know direct to your inbox every weekday. Sign up for the Daily Brief, Silicon Republic’s digest of essential sci-tech news.

Vish Gain is a journalist with Silicon Republic