Dublin, 12th December 2019: Minister for Business, Enterprise, and Innovation, Heather Humphreys TD, and Minister for Training, Skills, Innovation, Research and Development, John Halligan TD, today announced a Government investment of €49 million through Science Foundation Ireland in the Insight SFI Research Centre for Data Analytics.
This Government investment will secure a further €100 million from industry and other international sources, such as the European Union, over the next six years to further harness the power of data analytics, machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI).
Minister Humphreys welcomed the announcement, saying: “I am delighted to announce this new investment in Insight, whose research and outputs are aligned with Future Jobs Ireland, the whole of Government plan to prepare our businesses and workers for tomorrow. Many traditional job roles are changing, and with Brexit and other international challenges on the horizon, we must continue to plan ahead, focus on what is within our control domestically and be the masters of our own destiny. Insight is playing an important role in our plans to prepare now for tomorrow’s world by keeping Ireland at the cutting edge of innovation in this important sector.”
Also welcoming the announcement, Minister Halligan said: “As one of Europe’s largest data analytics research organisations, the Insight SFI Research Centre has over 450 researchers and 89 industry partners. I am delighted to welcome this investment announcement, as part of the Government’s commitment to develop a highly skilled and innovative workforce."
Through this new investment, Insight will continue its world-class research via a set of three demonstrator projects under the themes: Augmented Human, Smart Enterprise and Sustainable Societies. In addition, it will significantly expand its Education and Outreach Programme, including a new Citizen Science initiative.
Insight was established in 2013 and is hosted at four higher education institutions: Dublin City University, National University Ireland Galway, University College Cork and University College Dublin and works in partnership with Maynooth University, Trinity College Dublin, Tyndall National Institute and University of Limerick.
This allocation forms part of a new six year round of funding (with an overall investment of €230 million) for six Research Centres, including Insight. The investment has been made by the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation, as part of Project Ireland 2040, through Science Foundation Ireland. It will directly benefit approximately 850 researchers employed by the Research Centres, while also supporting the Government’s Future Jobs Ireland initiative. The investment is buoyed by industry support with 170 industry partners committing to investing over €230 million in cash and in-kind contributions over the next six years.
Insight collaborates with over 80 industry partners, including Abtran, Acquis BI, Boston Scientific, Curtiss-Wright, Eagle Alpha, Fujitsu, GAA and Dublin GAA to name a few.
Insight’s research spans Health and Human Performance, Enterprise and Services, Smart Communities and Internet of Things and Sustainability and Operations. The centre’s new CEO, Professor Noel O’Connor, believes that the State’s continued investment in Ireland’s largest data research institute is a major boost for Irish research and will continue to pay dividends for the Irish economy. “We are very proud of what we have achieved since 2013. The establishment of Insight has been a major success story for the Irish economy, and the figures prove it,” says Professor O’Connor. “We have very ambitious plans for our next phase. We have globally competitive talent working at the frontier of research in artificial intelligence, smart cities and the augmented human, and have positioned ourselves right at the heart of innovation leadership.”
Commenting on the announcement, Science Foundation Ireland’s Director General and Chief Scientific Adviser to the Government of Ireland, Professor Mark Ferguson said: “Insight’s research is equipping indigenous Irish companies to harness the power of data analytics, machine learning and AI to become more competitive and open new markets. The SFI Research Centres continue to attract and retain multinational organisations who want to conduct high value research in Ireland. Centres like Insight are seeding the next generation of world class innovators in our universities.”
Insight was established in 2013 through an initial SFI investment of €43 million and has delivered an economic impact of €593m to the Irish economy. For every €1 of state investment, €5.54 is returned to the economy on an overall leveraged basis.
This funding was supplemented by €63 million from EU sources and industry. That means for every €1 of SFI funding, another €1.46 in additional investment has come from those other sources.
During this period Insight has produced over 2,000 publications, trained 184 postdoctoral graduates and established 11 spin out companies and with this new funding will continue to develop these outputs.