Skillnet Ireland part of a new €21m data science research training centre

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In partnership with University College Dublin and Maynooth University, the University of Limerick is to lead a new €21 million SFI Centre for Research Training in Foundations of Data Science, with industry partners coordinated by Skillnet Ireland.

Announced by Minister Heather Humphreys TD Minister for Business, Enterprise, and Innovation, and Minister of State for Training, Skills, Innovation, Research and Development, John Halligan TD, the centre has been awarded funding of €13.6 million by Science Foundation Ireland with the balance coming from the Universities, Skillnet Ireland and the participating companies.

The Centre for Research Training (CRT) will train 139 PhD students towards a world-class foundational understanding of Applied Mathematics, Statistics, and Machine Learning.

It represents the largest ever investment in mathematical sciences research in Ireland.

“Graduates from the CRT will positively impact all aspects of Irish society and will become Ireland’s future leaders, innovators, entrepreneurs and employers. Students will get a unique opportunity to work with some of the best researchers and innovative companies working in this area,” said UL’s Professor James Gleeson.

This large scale collaborative initiative between UL, UCD, MU, and Skillnet Ireland, will address existing skills gaps in data analytics such as advanced analytics, high-performance computing, and the ability to create bespoke algorithmic methods to turn data into knowledge.

The CRT will impact real-world challenges in the areas of Data Analytics, Privacy and Security, Smart Manufacturing, Health and Well-being and sectors including agriculture, automotive technologies, consulting, data protection, economics, electronics, finance, health care, information technology, insurance, manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, and weather forecasting.

The 139 PhD students trained in the CRT will gain a fundamental understanding that will make them uniquely adaptable to the rapidly-evolving needs of Ireland’s data science industry. Students will engage with industries and enterprises coordinated by Skillnet Ireland, and will develop an understanding of the real-world applications of data science, gaining transversal skills and an appreciation for true impact in the process.

Prof Ken Duffy of Maynooth University Hamilton Institute said: “The participation of Skillet Ireland, Irish industry and enterprise, will enable the programme to create a future-proofed workforce. It will combine foundational training and research in areas of national importance, with bespoke skills that are needed to succeed in business.”

Gerard Doyle, Manager of the Technology Ireland ICT Skillnet described this as “the most advanced scheme at third level that Skillnet Ireland has been engaged in, which directly compliments the existing programmes provided by Skillnet Ireland in Artificial Intelligence and Data Science.”

UCD’s Associate Prof Claire Gormley said: “The SFI Centre for Research Training in Foundations of Data Science will provide a world-class environment, training students in applied mathematics, statistics and machine learning, with application areas of national importance, equipping them with the skills needed to be the innovative data scientists of the future.”

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