Six SFI centres to receive more than €100m in funding

5 Mar 2019

Image: © StudioDin/

Ministers announce an investment of more than €100m to go towards six new SFI Centres for Research Training.

The Irish Government has today (5 March) confirmed an investment of more than €100m in six new Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) centres.

These hubs, called Centres for Research Training, will provide digital, data and ICT skills to 700 postgraduate students in the hopes of building upon the existing world-class research taking place in Ireland. Students will be educated in emerging technologies such as machine learning, genomics and artificial intelligence. The centres are now open for recruitment and interested students are strongly encouraged to apply for the programme.

The funding was unveiled by Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation Heather Humphreys, TD, and Minister of State for Training and Skills John Halligan, TD. Humphreys welcomed the announcement, stating how this investment is a part of the Government’s plan to secure a “strong economic future” in Ireland as set out by the objectives in Project 2040.

“Delivering on these will require continued investment in skills and talent in research and development, equipping the champions of this future economy with the tools and expertise necessary to build it.”

Halligan noted that initiatives such as these are critical to developing and maintaining a pipeline of “highly trained, well-networked research talent” in areas of strategic importance in Ireland.

Halligan continued: “Through the SFI Centres for Research Training, we will take a cohort-based approach to research training, allowing for better integration and collaboration across disciplines, and, ultimately, individuals who are well-rounded, well-equipped and confident to guide Ireland to a strong economy.”

Collaboration with industry

The new SFI centres will aim to establish a strong connection between research and industry. This will involve forging partnerships across a variety of Irish higher education institutions such as Dublin City University, Trinity College Dublin, TU Dublin, NUI Galway, Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland and more. Approximately 90 industry partners are also lined up to support the SFI centres.

Prof Mark Ferguson, director general of Science Foundation Ireland and chief scientific adviser to the Irish Government, beamed at the news, deeming the level of investment to be “significant” and indicative of “SFI’s commitment to ensuring that future generations of Irish PhD students are well trained”.

Ferguson added: “Teams of excellent researchers in Irish higher education institutions have teamed up with industrial collaborators and international partners to develop outstanding national programmes of research and training in digital, data and ICT skills … SFI aims for this to be the best programme in the world, providing major opportunities for PhD students in Ireland and a rich source of outstanding graduates who will be sought after by employers from both the private and public sectors.”

For more information on the new centres, interested parties can consult the SFI website.

Eva Short was a journalist at Silicon Republic