Maynooth University is getting a robotics lab through Intel

15 Jun 2023

From left: Intel’s Bernard Capraro, Maynooth University students James Petri and Heather Bruen and Intel’s Allan Stewart. Image: Daniel Balteanu

The university’s €150,000 robotics lab is being supported by a donation from Intel Ireland and will let students try tech being used by the company.

Maynooth University (MU) is getting a new lab to give students hands-on learning experiences with the latest robotic technologies.

The robotics lab will cost €150,000 and is being supported by a donation from Intel Ireland. The university said this lab will give students access to the tech and equipment currently being used by Intel and other companies.

The new lab will also support students in the university’s current degree programmes in robotics and intelligent devices, electronic engineering and computer science.

Rebecca Doolin, the VP of external affairs at MU, said the robotics lab will give students “hands-on learning opportunities” and help bring “classroom learning to life”.

“Over the years, Maynooth University has developed a strong partnership with Intel that has fostered collaboration in various areas, including student skills and experiences, research, innovation, and community engagement,” Doolin said.

“As neighbours in a vibrant and fast-growing region of Ireland, today’s announcement not only deepens the ties between Intel and MU, but also demonstrates the positive impacts on student learning and innovation that such partnerships can yield.”

In 2019, MU and Intel signed a memorandum of understanding to establish a strategic partnership for research and innovation. This partnership aims to find potential growth areas, support emerging skills needs and extending diversity in education.

Intel is a large employer in Ireland and a large percentage of its national workforce are based at the company’s expanding Leixlip campus in Kildare. The company was reportedly offering voluntary unpaid leave to a significant portion of its Irish staff towards the end of 2022 in an effort to reduce costs.

“The development of key infrastructure in the area of robotics will provide an important opportunity for students to gain practical experience in an evolving technology field that has massive potential in advanced high-volume manufacturing,” said Dave Selkirk, Intel Ireland’s director of advanced analytics MSO automation.

The use of robotics appears to be on the rise in Ireland. Last month, one of Ireland’s largest pharmaceutical distributors brought in a squad of autonomous robots to one of its Dublin warehouses to improve productivity.

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Leigh Mc Gowran is a journalist with Silicon Republic