NUI Maynooth wins highly sought €2.5m software masters deal

22 Dec 2011

The European Union has chosen NUI Maynooth as the lead university for a prestigious Erasmus Mundus double masters in dependable software systems (DESEM), worth €2.5m.

This is the first time an Irish university has been chosen as the lead university under this highly sought-after EU funding stream.  

The course offers students a choice of study over two years to be undertaken in two of three universities; NUI Maynooth, the University of St Andrews (UStA) in Scotland or the Université Henri Poincaré Nancy (UHP) in France. Students will achieve the double masters through the award of two degrees from the participating universities.  

This is one of only two new Erasmus Mundus masters courses awarded this year worldwide in science, mathematics and computing.  

The closing date for scholarship applications for the course is 31 January 2012. The DESEM programme is targeting young software developers with an honours degree in computer science or a related discipline. There will be 16 places available.

Global dependence on software is increasing

According to the university, the growing worldwide dependence on software is inevitable. We now control global finances, regulate power generation and telecommunications, control transport and public services and securely store personal information, all with computer software.  

Problems arise because this software is fallible and can break down, causing extreme difficulty and financial loss. This dependence on software has not been matched with a corresponding increase in software dependability. The DESEM programme will educate computer science and software engineering graduates to design and build dependable software systems in a cost-efficient manner.  

The Erasmus Mundus (EM) programme will provide funding of up to €2.5m for scholarships over five years. These scholarships will be awarded to 16 students this year, with seven successful EU students receiving up to €20,000 over two years and nine non-EU students receiving up to €48,000 over two years.  

“We are very pleased that NUI Maynooth was chosen as lead university for this Erasmus Mundus Masters in dependable software systems,” said Prof Philip Nolan, president of NUI Maynooth.  

Dr Rosemary Monahan, of the Department of Computer Science, is the course director of the DESEM programme at NUI Maynooth.

“We are dedicated to equipping our students for all aspects of life, including career prospects, and we see this masters course as having not only great academic value but also establishing our students as experts in the field of dependable software systems.”

The course will require students to complete two projects – the first with one of the university’s industrial collaborators, the second with an existing university-based research group.  

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