From left - Prof Brian Fitzgerald, director of SFI backed Lero, Dr. Markus Helfert, Lero researcher at DCU, Dr Mary Shire, vice president research at UL and Senator Kieran O'Donnell. PHOTO Sean Curtin, True Media.

Limerick, 8th November, 2017: Ireland has been selected to manage a new €3.6 million EU fellowship programme for international software researchers. ALECS (Advanced Learning in Evolving Critical Systems) will be co-ordinated by UL and Lero, the Irish Software Research Centre. The initiative is being funded by the EC under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie programme and by Science Foundation Ireland through Lero.

Under the ALECS programme Ireland will benefit from the influx of 26 international advanced software researchers. The fellowships will be open to overseas PhD degree holders or researchers with at least four years’ high-level research background. The benefits will be spread across Irish industry as the two year programme will require a 3-6 month secondment to an industry partner.

The launch coincides with the first meeting of PERFORM, a recently announced €3.8 million EU programme headed up by Lero and DCU designed to enable European high street and online retailers counter the competitive threat posed by foreign global players.

The aim of ALECS is to help generate a diverse, mobile, skilled workforce which will contribute to European research and innovation. The fact that Ireland was selected to manage this strategically important programme is recognition of the country’s international reputation in software research,” commented Dr Mary Shire, vice president research at UL

The ALECS programme reflects the fact that software-based systems are increasingly important to economic activity and to the normal functioning of our everyday lives. The scope, scale and interconnected nature of such systems are increasing rapidly, with the potential consequences of failure, security breaches or malfunction becoming a growing cause of concern,” added Professor Brian Fitzgerald, director of SFI backed Lero.

Dr Darrin Morrissey, director of programmes at Science Foundation Ireland said, “The ALECS programme is an excellent example of the type of international collaboration Science Foundation Ireland aims to encourage. We have developed a strong base of outstanding and impactful software research in this country and we are delighted that it is being recognised on the global stage. Ireland is ranked first in the world for knowledge diffusion and the ALECS programme stands to reinforce this standing.”

The first call for proposals will be published before end of November and the first researchers are expected to start their fellowship in August 2018. They will be based across seven Irish universities – all of which are members of Lero.

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No. 754489.

For updates go to: Twitter @ALECSFellowship