Photo L-R: Kevin Doolin, Director of Innovation, TSSG and Dr. Sasitharan Balasubramaniam, Director of Research, TSSG. Photo Credit: Patrick Browne
Recent EU Commission data shows that Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT) has attracted more research funding from the EU in the area of ICT than all the other institutes of technology combined and more than many Irish universities and technology companies. Waterford ranks second to Dublin in attracting ICT funding under the Europe-wide Horizon 2020 research funding programme.
To date WIT has competitively secured over €16.6 million during the course of the H2020 funding programme, with €14.8 million competitively won by the Telecommunications Software & Systems Group (TSSG) research centre. Since the beginning of the H2020 programme in 2014, WIT have secured funding for 32 projects in the areas of biotechnology, smart agriculture, social sciences and ICT all with the overarching goal of improving our society of the future as directed by the EU Commission.
Of the 28 projects secured by TSSG, having a total project value of €168m, 12 of these were co-ordinated by TSSG. Of this total value, €14.8million goes directly to TSSG and the remainder is allocated to each partner on the project positioned throughout Europe. One of the core values of WIT and TSSG is to invite Irish entities to join the project consortia which include complementary research centres or industry collaborators such as Tyndall, Teagasc, IBM, DNET and F6S. To date, Irish partners have seen a substantial benefit of working with TSSG on H2020 projects with a total of €8.4 million worth of funding going directly to these companies bringing a welcomed investment to the region and across Ireland.
Welcoming the news, President of WIT and founder of the TSSG, Professor Willie Donnelly, said, “The focus of WIT has always been on using research to create sustainable economic development in the city and the region. When the TSSG was founded over 20 years ago, there was no ICT industry in the region to speak of. Now it is one of the largest employers. This is down in no small part to the TSSG and its record in attracting research funding totalling €40m to WIT since 1996. The institutes strategic focus on leveraging the European funding to drive research, innovation and postgraduate training has resulted in the emergence of an ICT industry of critical mass in the South East.
This remarkable achievement, which mirror’s WITs success in older European funding programmes, is the foundation for a diverse, increasingly vibrant ICT industry in the city and region. The ICT industry, it is estimated, employs over 3,000 people in Waterford and the South East making it one of the largest employers.
Brendan McDonald, IDA Ireland Regional Business Development Manager for the South East commended the achievements of TSSG and WIT in its contribution to the ICT industry in the region. He said, “This is a significant achievement for WIT and the team in TSSG. The combination of cutting edge research, talented and driven entrepreneurs, supportive state agencies and a pool of well-educated graduates has created in Waterford the perfect environment for new technology companies to set up in the region and makes Waterford Ireland’s ICT innovation capital”
Dr Mark White, Vice President for Research, Innovation and Graduate Studies at WIT, said “we set a target in 2014 of securing €20m funding over the lifecycle of the H2020 programme and these latest results are a very welcome affirmation just as we are submitting the final tranche of proposals for the final phase of H2020. WIT is now setting its sights on even higher targets as we prepare for the upcoming Horizon Europe research programme which will be launched in 2021. Our aim is to further strengthen WIT’s research footprint across Europe and have real local impact and job-growth in the Southeast in the areas of Science, Engineering and Technology .”
Congratulating the team on this accolade is Kevin Doolin, Director of Innovation at TSSG “The Director of Research, Dr Sasitharan Balasubramaniam, and I are incredibly proud of what the team in TSSG have achieved these past number of years. We have been active in European funding programmes since 1996 and being positioned second of all Irish academic and industry organisations who participate in European ICT projects is a true testament to the dedication of our researchers. We would also like to acknowledge the Enterprise Ireland’s H2020 division who have supported us throughout the funding programme.”
Source of data: EU Commission Portal and Waterford Institute of Technology Research Office