Trinity and IBM deal to advance research in areas such as quantum and AI

15 Sep 2022

TCD provost Prof Linda Doyle; Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research and Innovation Simon Harris; Alessandro Curioni, VP of Europe and Africa, director IBM research; James J Kavanaugh, CFO and SVP of finance and operations, IBM. Image: Paul Sharp

TCD and IBM are collaborating on research activities and extending their pre-PhD programme to train next-gen talent in quantum, AI and security.

Trinity College Dublin (TCD) has signed a memorandum of understanding with tech giant IBM to expand their existing collaboration on education and research activities.

The deal will see the extension of a pre-PhD programme that was launched in 2021.

IBM and TCD also intend to engage in industrial partnerships in Ireland and the wider EU ecosystem. They will consider co-locating research activities with the aim of boosting joint projects and the accelerated discovery of new materials.

Researchers from TCD and IBM will work together to create new materials with targeted properties through new approaches that include the use of cloud-based, AI-driven laboratories, remote robotic laboratories and computational methods.

The aim is to significantly reduce the timescale of the discovery of important materials. These materials will potentially have impacts on environmental sustainability, energy storage and conversion, decarbonisation and polymer science. Research may also focus on the discovery of drugs and pharmaceuticals using various computational and synthetic approaches.

Prof Wolfgang Schmitt, director of research at TCD, said that both parties are “committed to research excellence”.

He added that the deal would help Ireland “to develop new partnerships between industry and academia” and help attract new industry partners to the country.

Last year, TCD also teamed up with Microsoft Ireland to advance quantum research and train talent in the sector.

TCD and IBM want to scale up their pre-PhD programme, aimed at students eventually hoping to complete a PhD in areas such as quantum computing, AI and security. Supported by IDA Ireland, it offers participants an opportunity to work with scientists tackling real-world problems while gaining hands-on industry experience.

Juan Bernabe-Moreno, director of IBM Research Europe in Ireland, said that the country is a “key part” of the company’s research ecosystem. He added that the deal was a sign of IBM’s “ever-deepening commitment to the country which dates back to 1956”.

Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science Simon Harris, TD, said that research and innovation attracts foreign direct investment and generates new ideas, technologies, skills and knowledge that can be “transformative” to the way we work and live.

“In working together, between those three important strands of academia, industry and government, we are preparing the next generation of researchers to deliver the science and technology for the challenges we face,” Harris added.

Updated, 11.15am, 15 September 2022: This article was updated to remove details that were incorrectly provided to

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Blathnaid O’Dea was a Careers reporter at Silicon Republic until 2024.