TIDA, from Science Foundation Ireland, supports researchers in Ireland to ensure Ireland maintains its position as a leader in cutting-edge research

A research project from TSSG’s Dr Alan Davy is one of 37 nationwide to receive funding under Science Foundation Ireland’s Technology Innovation Development Award (TIDA) 2017.

Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Heather Humphreys TD, and Minister for Training, Skills, Innovation, Research and Development, John Halligan TD, this week announced €3.5 million in funding for 37 research projects to support the commercialisation of government-funded research.

Altogether 51 research positions are being supported through the awards, across higher education institutes.

Researchers funded through the TIDA programme will also participate in the new SFI Spark Pre-Accelerator, which is an intensive five-day programme, delivered by the DCU Ryan Academy for Entrepreneurs. It will support STEM researchers in developing skills in areas such as evidence-based entrepreneurship, innovation and design thinking. The pre-accelerator also facilitates mentoring and networking for participants.

In conversation with Dr Davy’s on the project ‘Auto-scaling virtual service function chains’, he says “We’ve developed a novel way of modelling the complexities of virtualised telecom systems using Artificial Intelligence techniques and through the SFI TIDA program we can really make an effort to showcase our approach to the Telecom Industry.”


Project overview

The emergence of virtualisation technologies has revolutionised how services are delivered over the Internet and paved the way for the ‘Software as a Service’ model used within Cloud Computing. This is also revolutionising the telecommunications industry, meaning operators will no longer depend on expensive hardware systems to deliver dedicated network functions. These functions can be virtualised and run on cheap commodity hardware, impacting on the overall cost of network operators’ investments. However virtual systems are increasingly complex to manage. This research project will demonstrate an Artificial Intelligence based network management function to improve the reliability and performance of virtual network functions involved in delivering telecommunications services.

TIDA focus

TIDA supports researchers undertaking applied research (that is, research used to find practical solutions to everyday problems, cure illness, and develop innovative technologies), across a range of disciplines in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM), which demonstrate strong potential for economic impact.

The programme aims to demonstrate the feasibility of an innovative idea for further commercial exploitation, as well as providing project funding and training in innovation and entrepreneurship skills to third-level researchers, to support them in exploring commercial opportunities.

Science strategy goals

Speaking of the awards, Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Heather Humphreys TD, said “I greatly welcome this announcement of commercialisation support for 37 research projects, which further helps us to achieve the innovation and entrepreneurship skills outlined in the Irish Government’s science strategy, Innovation 2020. The SFI TIDA programme supports researchers in Ireland to develop important entrepreneurship skills and commercialisation capabilities, ensuring Ireland maintains its position as a leader in cutting-edge research, with significant enterprise engagement, excellence and impact.”

Importance of commercialisation

Minister of State for Training, Skills, Innovation, Research and Development, John Halligan TD also welcomed the announcement, adding: “Commercialisation potential is significantly important for Irish research. While Ireland is one of the fastest growing economies in the Eurozone, we cannot be complacent. The SFI TIDA programme fosters collaborative partnerships and supports innovation across the regions, as well as the development of critical skills among our research community.”

Prof Mark Ferguson, Director General of Science Foundation Ireland and Chief Scientific Adviser to the Government of Ireland said, “Science Foundation Ireland is committed to investing in the translation of world-class research from the laboratory to market. The SFI TIDA programme aims to increase the number and quality of discoveries with strong economic impact potential that secure follow-on public or private investment. It supports the next generation of technology entrepreneurs in Ireland, which will lead to new innovative products and disruptive solutions to global research challenges.”

Director of Research at TSSG, Dr. Sasitharan Balasubramaniam spoke of the funding by saying “The SFI TIDA scheme is a vital mechanism to allow the research results produced at TSSG be exploited by Industry. Winning this competitive grant allows Dr. Davy and his team to have a real impact in the transforming Telecom Industry”