National science body Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) is to provide funding of €11.7m for a national centre for software engineering research, whose brief will be to deliver a sustained competitive advantage for the Irish software sector.
The Irish Software Engineering Research Centre (ISERC), which will be located primarily at University of Limerick (UL), will provide the focal point for a community of software engineering researchers based in Ireland looking at better ways to build, maintain and evaluate software.
The facility will be led by Professor Kevin Ryan of UL’s Computer Science and Information Systems Department. “We now can provide a showcase of advanced software engineering research and a strong attraction for research and development to move to or stay in Ireland.
Above all, the centre will supply the advanced innovations and ideas, the skilled personnel and leading-edge technology that are required to secure Ireland’s comparative advantage and ensure the long-term viability of our software-dependent enterprises,” he said.
The centre, which has been in operation since 1 November, will also involve top research scientists working at Trinity College Dublin, University College Dublin and Dublin City University, under the leadership of Professor Klaus Pohl, scientific director of ISERC based in University of Limerick. In addition, the centre has drawn in industry partners that want to co-operate on ‘pre-competitive’ approaches to improving their software development methods. These organisations — Aimware, Analog Devices, Ashling Microsystems, IBM Ireland, Iona Technologies, Intel Ireland, Beaumount Hospital, Robert Bosch, Evolve Technologies, Kugler Maag, Motorola, Piercom, QAD Ireland, and Silicon and Software Systems — have put forward personnel who will work with the academic researchers in solving problems and providing test cases for their work.
The researchers will initially focus on Automotive Systems, a sector that is seen to exemplify many of the problems that will be faced, sooner or later, by all software developers.
Professor Mark Keane, director of ICT at SFI, said industrial partners would also take part in technology transfer and educational efforts organised by ISERC. “In this way, ISERC will help connect the expanding research community to the industrial base and, through co-operative projects, technology trials, education and outreach, will maximise the impact of all SE research funding in Ireland.”
Announcing the funding, Enterprise Minister Micheál Martin TD said: “This SFI award to ISERC will further our credentials as a major software engineering player, providing the world-class infrastructure needed to excel in this area, enabling Ireland to punch above its weight in this significant field.
“Under the direction of Professor Kevin Ryan and his team, ISERC brings together the collective software engineering research community in Ireland and beyond, attracting researchers from different industrial and academic locations, nationally and internationally, to collaborate on key problem areas.”
By Brian Skelly