Software research centre Lero won funding worth €22.4m in 2012

24 Jul 2013

Prof Mike Hinchey, director, Lero

During 2012, Ireland’s national software engineering research centre Lero announced funding of €22.4m over five years through Science Foundation Ireland and technology firms such as IBM and Intel, the organisation revealed in its annual report today.

The centre said it also raised €3m in additional funding from projects that included the European Space Agency, United Technologies Research Centre and several EU-funded research consortiums.

Lero brings together researchers in the University of Limerick, Trinity College Dublin, University College Dublin, Dublin City University, NUI Galway, and Dundalk Institute of Technology and is funded by Science Foundation Ireland and other Irish and international funding agencies.

The centre reported that it was awarded five new patents in 2012 covering areas such as self-sacrificing spacecraft swarms and methods of protecting autonomous systems. Forkstream, a spinout company, was established and it has recently been acquired by Openet, an Irish transaction management software and services provider. Some 170 Lero researchers recorded a 47pc increase in journal papers and a 41pc increase in conference papers during the year.

“Our researchers are in demand globally,” said Prof Mike Hinchey, director, Lero. “The work which is being done in Ireland is world leading across a number of areas, including medical devices, agile, cloud and space flight software.”

He said the prolonged Ulster Bank and RBS outage in 2012 was a reminder of what can happen when critical software systems crash due to badly managed changes. In the United States, a recent report by the US Food and Drug Administration showed  that 20pc of the medical device recalls in the US in 2012 were due to software faults. “Today it is almost impossible to lead a software-free life. Software is the enabling factor in smartphones, smart cities, smart homes, smart health and just about smart anything.”  

“Because software can be easily changed, it is often changed badly. Lero specialises in evolving critical systems research which aims to develop methods, techniques, tools and processes for the development and evolution of highly reliable software systems that maintain, or improve, their reliability as they evolve,” Hinchey said.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years