The Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation Heather Humphreys yesterday 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% of total economic output - €110 billion in exports.
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.
Speaking at the launch of the new centre, Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Heather Humphreys said, “CONFIRM will benefit Ireland through enabling us to compete internationally, generating employment, enhancing student skills, and attracting new investment. 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). SFI Research Centres are selected through a competitive and rigorous international peer-review process, and are of critical importance to Ireland’s economy."
CONFIRM Centre Director, Professor Conor McCarthy added, "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."