€100m SFI postgrad research training programme gets the green light

31 May 2018

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A significant new fund for 600 postgraduate researchers in Ireland has been launched by the SFI as part of an investment worth €100m.

The Government has been setting out its stall out in recent days in terms of the Project 2040 initiative, as seen with the €500m allocated as part of a climate action fund. Now, academia has been revealed as the latest to benefit from increased funding.

At an announcement today (31 May), Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) and ministers from the Government launched a new postgraduate research training programme that will see an investment of more than €100m with the intention of meeting industry skill needs.

The new SFI Centres for Research Training initiative will provide training for 600 postgraduate students in areas of nationally and internationally identified future skills needs of digital, data and ICT.

SFI has said that these centres of research training will be required to build partnerships with enterprise in the design and delivery of training programmes, to ensure that postgraduates have the necessary skillsets to attract investment to Ireland through the availability of a talent pipeline.

‘We need to be ambitious’

As part of the training programme, students will work alongside academic research teams, and will also be required to undertake placements in enterprise, other non-academic establishments or in groups of international collaborators.

Dr Ciarán Seoighe, deputy director general of SFI, said: “We need to be ambitious and invest in areas of real potential to ensure our future economic competitiveness. Education is a key element of our future competitiveness, especially at third and postgraduate levels right up to the world-class researchers and research centres SFI funds.”

SFI estimated that of the 600 or so researchers expected to take part in the programme, 20pc of these will be funded from other sources such as industry, universities or charitable organisations.

Minister of State for Training, Skills, Innovation, Research and Development John Halligan, TD, added: “The cohort approach will expose students to the wider scientific relevance of their research, encourage peer-to-peer learning and facilitate the establishment of networks.

“All of this will help enhance their skills, employability and leadership potential.”

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic