The Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation Heather Humphreys TD today, Tuesday, May 16, launched the latest Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) Research Centre, CONFIRM – a ‘smart manufacturing’ research centre led by University of Limerick (UL) and involving 42 companies.
The centre is funded by SFI and industry to a value of €47 million, making it one of the largest new research and development centres in the country. The manufacturing sector is the second largest employer in Ireland and accounts for 24 per cent of total economic output – €110 billion in exports.
Commenting ahead of the launch UL’s Professor Conor McCarthy, CONFIRM Centre Director, said, “This truly is a game-changer for Irish manufacturing competitiveness. The establishment of this SFI research centre will position Ireland to play a leading role in the global smart manufacturing revolution. This innovation will enable consumer-driven mass customisation, where future Irish products will be tailored to individual needs and delivered directly to them just hours after placing orders.”
Minister Heather Humphreys TD launched the CONFIRM headquarters at Park Point, University of Limerick. The Park Point site, close to the main UL campus had been empty for some time and the university will continue to invest in its rejuvenation over the coming years.
“CONFIRM will benefit Ireland through enabling us to compete internationally, generating employment, enhancing student skills, and attracting new investment,” Said Minister Humphreys.
She added, “We are delighted to support this centre which will transform manufacturing in Ireland through the expertise of highly-skilled researchers. CONFIRM is one of five new Research Centres to receive funding from the Irish Government through Science Foundation Ireland (SFI).”
The CONFIRM SFI Research Centre is a consortium led by University of Limerick including the Tyndall National Institute, University College Cork, Cork Institute of Technology, National University of Ireland Galway, Athlone Institute of Technology, Maynooth University and Limerick Institute of Technology. The centre will comprise more than 200 researchers in smart manufacturing, including 106 new appointments.
The CONFIRM SFI Research Centre is supported by 42 Industry partners including technology providers and end users from the Multi-National Corporation (MNC) and Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) sectors across Ireland.
Dr Ciarán Seoighe, Deputy Director General of Science Foundation Ireland, said, “By enhancing Ireland’s smart manufacturing systems through expert research, CONFIRM, alongside the other SFI Research Centres, will deliver important scientific advances that will enhance our economy, provide excellent training for students and maintain Ireland’s outstanding global reputation.”
Speaking about the launch, Minister of State for Training, Skills and Innovation, John Halligan, TD, said, “Through impactful research led by manufacturing and engineering experts, CONFIRM will continue the excellent work to date of the 16 other SFI Research Centres, all of which generate value in our economy through education and training, job creation, advancing key sectors and important scientific discoveries. I want to congratulate the researchers of CONFIRM and to wish them the best of luck.”