Project call for EU research programme

30 Sep 2004

Research funding bodies in 15 EU States are involved in a new five-year research initiative. The Smart Structural Systems Technologies (S3T) programme was launched today with a call by the Irish Research Council for Science, Engineering and Technology (IRCSET) for Irish research proposals in this area. The winning entrants will be funded by the Council’s Embark Initiative.

S3T is being organised under the European Science Foundation’s Eurocores research scheme.

S3T are systems that have the ability to learn about and interpret their environment. The S3T programme will seek to create theories, experiments and prototypes for the integration of state-of-the-art sensors into infrastructural systems. Such research could eventually led to major bridges or buildings revealing when they are becoming unsafe, industrial plants signalling when they will need replacing and planes warning of impending mechanical failure.

Under the S3T research funding, outline research proposals are being sought which are designed to advance specific understanding in four areas: modelling of structures and machines; development of sensors and actuators; complete monitoring and control systems; and analysis and decision making technologies.

Commenting on the research programme, Martin Hynes, director of IRCSET, said: “Major incidents due to failures in engineering infrastructure and modern transportation are unacceptable in a networked world and zero-risk protection of citizens is now a long-term aspiration of governments … The way to achieve this is through the application of smart new technologies which ensure long-term safety and which underpin our knowledge of the economic and operational lifetime of individual components within structures and entire systems. This is what the Eurocores S3T programme will seek to achieve.”

Eurocores aims to provide a framework for national research funding organisations to support collaborative research in and across all scientific areas throughout Europe. Participating funding agencies from across Europe have jointly defined the research programme, type of proposals required and the peer review procedure to be followed. The ESF will provide support for cross-border networking while the funding of the actual research stays with the national research funding organisations. The programme will run for five years with research funding starting in 2005.

Proposals must involve participation from a minimum of two individuals conducting the research from two different countries, ie, at least one from each country. Larger groups are also invited to apply. The closing date under this first call for outline proposals is the 2 November, 2004. All applications will be reviewed by a review panel and successful applicants will be notified by January 2005 and invited to submit full proposals.

By Brian Skelly