Dr Sasitharan Balasubramaniam of TSSG
Dr Sasitharan Balasubramaniam, director of research at TSSG. Image: Waterford Institute of Technology

FutureMilk research centre to generate 18 new jobs at TSSG

7 Nov 2017

A brilliant development for TSSG as the FutureMilk research centre brings new opportunities to the south-east.

Waterford Institute of Technology’s (WIT) Telecommunications Software and Systems Group (TSSG) has announced it will collaborate with agri-food and ICT research institutes, as well as leading Irish and multinational food and ICT companies, through the FutureMilk research centre, funded by Science Foundation Ireland (SFI).

18 new positions at TSSG

The FutureMilk principal investigator team is supported by 22 funded investigators, 43 academic collaborators and 46 industry partners. FutureMilk will also be taking on 30 postdoctoral researchers and 54 postgraduate students.

In a boost for Waterford announced today (7 November), TSSG will be hiring six postdoctoral fellows and 11 PhD students as well as a site manager – 18 new positions in total.

Smart agriculture in Ireland

TSSG director Dr Sasitharan Balasubramaniam, who is also the principal investigator on this ambitious project, expressed his excitement at the opportunity presented: “This opportunity will allow us to deliver solutions specifically for the agri-food technology sector, and to look at new emerging communication paradigms that will truly transform smart agriculture.”

TSSG researchers already have a long history in the field of smart agriculture, working to provide novel ICT solutions to the agricultural sector.

FutureMilk centre director Dr Donagh Berry said: “The FutureMilk centre aims to be an agent of growth for the Irish dairy industry by being a world leader in fundamental and translational research for precision pasture-based dairying.

“The vision of the FutureMilk centre is to be a world leader in the agri-food technology sector through innovation and enhanced sustainability across the dairy supply chain, positively impacting the environment, animal wellbeing and the health of consumers.”

From molecular biology to AI

TSSG will aid in the FutureMilk research project by looking at a myriad of innovations, from communication systems created from molecular biology systems that can be synthetically engineered for sensing and communication, all the way to advanced AI algorithms that can monitor animal behaviour.

Dr Balasubramaniam added: “By integrating these novel ideas for research in smart agriculture, [we] will make Ireland address the issue of feeding the future population as we face more uncertain environmental conditions (eg climate change).”

Minister for Training, Skills, Innovation, Research and Development John Halligan, TD, spoke about the win for TSSG: “I am delighted that researchers at Waterford-based TSSG will play an integral role in the new FutureMilk research centre, helping to drive the discovery and development of innovative technologies to support the production of dairy products.

The Waterford native added: “This investment will significantly contribute to the key national objective of keeping Irish agriculture globally competitive, as well as meeting Brexit-related challenges and helping stimulate rural development and employment.”

Ellen Tannam
By Ellen Tannam

Ellen Tannam was a journalist with Silicon Republic, covering all manner of business and tech subjects. She keeps her library card close at hand at all times and is a big fan of babies, chocolate and Sleater-Kinney.

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