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News : Irish Last Updated: Apr 24, 2009 - 5:31:05 PM

Martin announces €16.4 million investment for new "ground breaking" Research Centre; Investment will establish a "truly unique world-class multidisciplinary" centre
By Finfacts Team
Apr 15, 2008 - 2:16:10 PM

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Pictured with Prof Frank Gannon, SFI; Dermot O'Connell, Dell and Micheál Martin TD, Minister for Enterprise Trade and Employment were the 2007 SFI/Dell Young Women in Engineering Scholarship Award winners.

Micheál Martin, T.D, Minister for Enterprise Trade and Employment, today announced the establishment of CLARITY a new Science Foundation Ireland Centre for Science, Engineering and Technology (CSET). This"ground breaking" research centre will focus on the so-called ‘Sensor Web', which captures the intersection between two important research areas – Adaptive Sensing and Information Discovery.

The new "cutting-edge" CLARITY CSET is a partnership between University College Dublin and Dublin City University, supported by research at the Tyndall National Institute (TNI) Cork. The CLARITY CSET Director is Professor Barry Smyth (University College Dublin) and the Deputy Director is DCU's Professor Alan Smeaton.

In total, over 90 highly skilled personnel will be working to deliver the CLARITY research programme.

In addition, CLARITY will collaborate with leading multinationals and SMEs including: IBM, Vodafone, Ericsson, Foster-Miller, ChangingWorlds, Fidelity Investments and Critical Path, as well as national agencies, such as the Environmental Protection Agency, the Marine Institute and the National Museum of Ireland.

Minister Micheál Martin is a well-known user of superlatives and despite terms such as "ground breaking,""cutting-edge," "major," "high calibre," "high quality" "unique world-class" and "world-class knowledge economy," it is still unclear what are the specific goals of a programme that is going to cost over €8 billion by 2013? By that date, thousands of researchers will be on the public payroll but in a post housing boom scenario, funding them will be a challenge.

Over the next five years, total investment in CLARITY will amount to €16.4 million, of which Science Foundation Ireland through the CSET programme will contribute €11.8 million. CLARITY's primary industry partners will make a significant contribution collectively of over €4.6 million by contributing personnel, funding, equipment, infrastructure and services.

Martin said that the core aim of this innovative research centre is ‘bringing information to life'. The research will investigate the integration of sensor data from the physical world with sophisticated information processing and artificial intelligence techniques from computer science. CLARITY aims to develop systems that can sense, process and analyse what is happening in the real world and respond in an appropriate manner. 

“This investment will establish CLARITY as a truly unique world-class multidisciplinary research centre,” said Martin announcing the funding. “By linking academic researchers with industry partners in Ireland, SFI CSETs such as CLARITY will play a significant role in building Ireland's new knowledge-driven economy. By graduating 45 PhD students, CLARITY will provide Irish based companies with access to highly skilled individuals that will play a key role generating new products and innovations in industry”.

"This unique SFI CSET will develop innovative new information technologies of critical importance to Ireland's future industry base in areas such as personal health, digital media and in the management of our environment.

CLARITY will seek to develop new tools to address the issue of information overload and assist people in accessing information,” continued the Minister.

"Sensors help us to learn more about ourselves and the world in which we live, and the next generation of sensor technologies will be cheap, connected and reliable, enabling exciting new application areas,”
said Professor Barry Smyth, Director of CLARITY.

Ireland's policy to promote innovation through interaction between businesses and third-level institutes is having a disappointingly limited effect, according to a study carried out by two economists from University College Cork (UCC).

In an article in a January issue of the Irish Times Innovation magazine, Declan Jordan and Eoin O'Leary from UCC write: "The massive public investment in research at third level may have a disappointingly limited effect on future Irish prosperity."

The economists presented a paper to the Statistical and Social Inquiry Society of Ireland last year.

"Our study is just one of a number of recent studies that fail to find the positive role for third-level colleges on which the Government has shaped Irish innovation policy."

The economists say that the Government policy is based on a "science-push" view of innovation, where scientific laboratories are the source of the new products and processes introduced in Irish businesses.

Finfacts report: The Irish Mind and the Knowledge Economy: Should we bank everything on fuzzy leprechaunic political dreams?

“We have already, for example, been using wearable sensors to design garments that are capable of monitoring the posture of the



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