Today, the Minister for Education and Skills, Mr Ruairí Quinn TD, officially opened ‘NetLabs’, a €5 million research building at WIT’s West Campus, positioning the Institute to help deliver 600 jobs for the South East as part of its strategic plan to draw down European funding until 2020. This new building promises more breakthroughs, discoveries and world-firsts by taking great ideas from the lab right through to the market place.
At the opening, Minister Quinn said, “WIT and TSSG have worked hard to create an eco-system of education, innovation and creation in the South East and it is heartening to see the dividends of that effort in NetLabs today.
“Over the past 10 years, WIT has been successful in securing more than €130m in research funding from national, EU and international sources and in particular in leveraging that funding to create real job opportunities in strategically important industries such as ICT, pharmaceutical and healthcare and advanced manufacturing.”
Telecommunications Software and Systems Group (TSSG) is a major driver in the emergence of a telecommunications industry in the South East. In the last five years alone, TSSG has secured funding in excess of €10 million under the Seventh EU Framework Programme (FP7), making it one of the most successful ICT research centres in Ireland.
Commenting at the opening, Dr Ruaidhrí Neavyn, President of WIT, said, “The Institute has a proven track record in translating world class research into market ready products and services and has established an eco-system of mobile service companies in the South East and beyond, creating several hundred jobs directly and indirectly in the last ten years.”
The ICT centre of excellence currently consists of over 100 research scientists and engineers, 25 postgraduate students to PhD level and manages an active international network in excess of 450 partners from industry, academic and research institutes spread across 35 countries worldwide.
Prof Willie Donnelly founder of TSSG and Head of Research at WIT said, “TSSG aims through collaboration with industry, to double its research funding under the Horizon 2020 programme, which will impact greatly on not just the local economy but Ireland as a whole. Our aim is to work closely with industry to create almost 600 new jobs through the development of our core research, strong connectivity with indigenous industry as well as large multinationals, supporting high potential start-ups and partnerships with other institutes. We have created a critical mass of ICT industries in the South East and will continue to be a hub for telecommunications excellence in Ireland.”
Horizon 2020 is the biggest EU Research and Innovation programme ever with nearly €80 billion of funding available over 7 years – in addition to the private investment that this money will attract. TSSG is strategically placed to leverage this funding, working with SME’s and indigenous companies to secure funding, the first phase of which is worth €50,000 to each SME. Using Horizon 2020 as a vehicle of collaboration with industry, the NetLabs building will give indigenous industries in Ireland the capability to compete on a global scale. TSSG is committed until 2020 and beyond to help SME’s innovate, bring their products to market and create jobs to boost the Irish economy.
NetLabs was funded under the Programme for Research in Third-Level Institutions (PRTLI) Cycle 4 and co-funded under European Regional Development Fund.
Dr Willie Donnelly is interviewed by KCLR – Listen HERE
WIT’s Telecommunications Software & Systems Group (TSSG) is an internationally recognised centre of excellence for ICT research and innovation which carries out a wide spectrum of industry-informed research in Information and Communications Technologies (ICT), particularly technologies enabling communications and information services.
The four key prioritised technical research areas include Mobile Platforms and Services, Security Privacy and Identity, Data Analytics and Social Computing, Adaptive Networks and Services. TSSG creates a real economic impact by translating knowledge and innovation into leading edge products and services by engaging with industry in collaborative R&D, knowledge generation and transfer.
Over the past five years, TSSG has delivered innovative solutions to over 110 Irish companies, and has created 11 spin-out companies in the South East including the award winning FeedHenry, a groundbreaking mobile cloud platform company, and ZolkC, a leading provider of mobile technology for international visitor attractions.
About Horizon 2020
Of the €98m awarded to Irish industry and academic institutions under the 7th Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development ICT programme (FP7), TSSG secured €10.4m which is 10.6% of the overall Irish allocation under this programme.
Horizon 2020 is the European Union’s new research programme, which will succeed FP7 in 2014. Horizon 2020 is the financial instrument implementing the Innovation Union, a Europe 2020 flagship initiative aimed at securing Europe’s global competitiveness.
Running from 2014 to 2020 with an €80 billion budget, the EU’s new programme for research and innovation is part of the drive to create new growth and jobs in Europe. Horizon 2020 will tackle societal challenges by helping to bridge the gap between research and the market by, for example, helping innovative enterprise to develop their technological breakthroughs into viable products with real commercial potential.
This market-driven approach will include creating partnerships with the private sector and Member States to bring together the resources needed. Horizon 2020 will be complemented by further measures to complete and further develop the European Research Area by 2014. These measures will aim at breaking down barriers to create a genuine single market for knowledge, research and innovation.