UL secures €3m from SFI for research, including mathematical modelling

25 Jan 2013

Prof Stephen O'Brien, Minister Sean Sherlock, TD, and Joanna Mason, manager, Mathematics Application Consortium for Science and Industry (MACSI) at UL

Researchers at University of Limerick (UL) have secured €3m from Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) as part of the €60m investment programme announced today by the science-funding body. UL has received funding for research projects in the areas of maths, software architecture and renewable-energy technologies.

Today, the Government announced that SFI is to invest €60m in 85 research projects that have the scope to have a positive impact for Ireland, both economically and socially.

One of the recipients of this round of funding is Prof Stephen O’Brien, the director of the Mathematics Application Consortium for Science and Industry (MACSI) at UL.

Future Human

Using mathematical models to solve industrial problems, the centre is currently working on projects with more than 25 companies across sectors including electronics, pharmaceutical, medical devices and energy.

O’Brien said the SFI funding is an endorsement of the importance of maths as a discipline that is a vital for modern industry.

“Maths and specifically, mathematical modelling, is an enabling technology which is central to the proper technical support of a knowledge-driven economy,” he said.

“The essential process is to identify real problems of concern, build mathematical models, analyse and solve them and interpret the mathematical results in a meaningful way.”

O’Brien said the funding would help further develop this network of Irish mathematicians. He said the goal would be to tap into their mathematical modelling skills to help enterprise, science and engineering and to raise the profile of maths in Ireland.

Under the SFI funding round, UL also received funding for a project in the area of software architecture, with Dr Jim Buckley leading this research. In addition, a renewable energy project led by Dr Fernando Rhen at the university was awarded SFI funding.

Today, SFI’s director-general Prof Mark Ferguson said that a follow-up 2013 SFI Investigator Programme will be launched next week, on 29 January, and will include an open call, as well as a call for submissions under the theme ‘Future Agri-Foods’, which will be jointly funded by SFI and Teagasc.

Carmel Doyle was a long-time reporter with Silicon Republic