€22 million manufacturing research centre to be hosted in UCD

Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation Heather Humphreys TD and Minister for Training, Skills, Innovation, Research and Development John Halligan TD have launched a new advanced manufacturing research centre which is to be hosted in UCD in partnership with 5 other higher education institutes.The I-Form Advanced Manufacturing SFI Research Centre represents €22.2 million of public and industry investment and was established by Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) to pursue research on additive manufacturing, also known as 3-D printing, and digital technologies in manufacturing. Data analytics, augmented and mixed reality, and cognitive computing will be the focus of much of the research. I-Form’s mission is to "shape the future of manufacturing through high-impact research into the application of digital technologies to materials processing." The centre's industry partners are split equally between small to medium enterprises (SMEs) and multinational corporations and include sectors such as medical device manufacturing, aerospace, automobile and microelectronic components.Other partners to the research centre include Trinity College Dublin, Waterford Institute of Technology, NUI Galway, Dublin City University and Institute of Technology Sligo. The Centre will operate in collaboration with a number of leading international manufacturing research centres in countries such as Australia, Belgium, Germany, the UK and the USA.In a press release, Minister Heather Humphreys said: “I am very pleased to welcome I-Form to the world-leading SFI Research Centre network, which attracts talent and investment to Ireland. Innovation is at the core of the Government’s science strategy and is exemplified by the visionary technologies being developed here in I-Form."“The manufacturing sector is the second largest employer in Ireland and accounts for 36.5 per cent of GDP and €122.6 billion in exports. It is crucial that Ireland continues to deliver impactful research outcomes in advanced manufacturing and I am very pleased to see such a strong regional focus, with 17 of the 31 companies based outside Dublin.”Prof Mark Ferguson, director general of SFI and chief scientific adviser to the government, said: “Science Foundation Ireland supports excellent research with impact that underpins economic development and assists international and indigenous industry to grow and flourish in Ireland. SFI Research Centres deliver significant economic and societal impact to Ireland.“I-Form’s research will be vital for the future competitiveness of manufacturing, helping Ireland to attract and train outstanding researchers and be a global leader in this rapidly changing sector.”