UCD named partner of major European manufacturing consortium

11 Dec 2018

Image: © Denis Starostin/Stock.adobe.com

UCD is the only Irish partner of an EU manufacturing consortium aiming to make competitive and sustainable production on the continent.

The European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) has announced the winner of a pan-European competition, namely its EIT Manufacturing initiative.

The partnership contains 50 universities, companies and research institutions from across 17 different countries. Among the announced partners was University College Dublin (UCD), the only Irish partner in EIT Manufacturing.

The initiative aims to make Europe the global reference for manufacturing innovation with a faster and more efficient uptake of modern technologies, while promoting European values on a world scale.

The UCD bid was led by Prof Denis Dowling, director of the Science Foundation Ireland-funded advanced manufacturing research centre, I-Form. Headquartered at UCD, the centre works with industry to advance the low-cost, low-risk design of new products, and the manufacture of high-value components exhibiting enhanced material performance, while reducing processing times and achieving enhanced process reliability.

As a partner, UCD will apply to leverage an EU fund worth several hundred million euro over a seven-year period, with EIT Manufacturing’s goals for 2030 including the launch of 360 products and services as well as the training and upskilling of 50,000 for the latest manufacturing techniques.

Innovation community

A start-up grant of €4m is being made available to partners to ensure EIT Manufacturing becomes fully operational as soon as possible, and its current funding will increase to a maximum of more than €80m after a few years, depending on their results.

“The newly established innovation community in manufacturing will play a key role in boosting European manufacturing innovation. It aims to achieve this goal by bringing together leading groups from industry, research, academia and finance to work collectively on key manufacturing issues,” Dowling said.

“From an Irish perspective, our participation in this innovation community will help to strengthen our technical skills and innovation through close collaborations with leading manufacturing research centres across Europe.”

Staying with manufacturing, UCD engineering students also got a chance this week to get hands-on experience with industry 4.0 principles, with a demo version of an automated football factory provided by Maxim Integrated Products, which has its European headquarters in Dublin.

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic