Staff/Researcher Awards

Launch of Insight (SFI) Research Centre for Data Analytics

12 Dec 2013
Professor Barry O'Sullivan of Insight, a new Science Foundation Ireland (SFI Research Centre for Data Analytics

Minister Bruton launches €88 million SFI research centre at RHA in Dublin

Ministers Mr Richard Bruton TD and Mr Seán Sherlock TD launched Insight, a new Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) Research Centre for Data Analytics at the RHA in Dublin.

Key features of Insight include:

  • Insight, the Centre for Data Analytics,  will position Ireland at the heart of global data analytics research
  • The largest investment in a single research centre in the history of the state
  • Uniting four universities, 30 industry partners, and 200 researchers in one multi-location research centre
  • Creating 300 direct jobs through 12 funded spin outs, as well as creating indirectly thousands of other job opportunities

In a joint initiative between DCU, NUI Galway, UCC and UCD, Insight, and other partner institutions, brings together more than 200 researchers from these and other Higher Education institutions, with 30 industry partners, to position Ireland at the heart of global data analytics research.

The Centre will receive funding of €58 million from the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation through SFI’s Research Centres Programme, along with a further contribution of €30 million from 30 industry partners. Insight represents a new approach to research and development in Ireland, by connecting the scientific research of Ireland’s leading data analytics researchers with the needs of industry and enterprise.  

Insight will work with more than 30 industry partners, ranging from small Irish startups to established SMEs and large multinationals, on a range of projects to advance data analytics technologies in Ireland. Cork industry partners include TreeMetrics , Avego/Carma and UTRC / Abtran, NitroSell and Keelvar.

Big data is a sector targeted as part of the Disruptive Reforms in Action Plan for Jobs 2013, and today’s announcement marks delivery of a key action contained in the Plan.

Speaking at the launch of Insight, Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Mr Richard Bruton T.D. said: “Big data is a sector growing globally at 40% per annum, and we have targeted it as part of the Disruptive Reforms contained in Action Plan for Jobs 2013. This is a sector where Ireland has the potential to gain competitive advantage and attract significant numbers of investments and jobs, and we are putting in place measures to ensure that we can deliver on that potential. The establishment of this world-class SFI research centre in data analytics, with a total investment of €88 million supported by my Department, is a strong signal of our ambition in this area. Today’s announcement, in combination with the other measures we have put in place in this sector, will help attract the investment, support the business ideas and create the jobs in Ireland that we need”.

Also speaking at the launch, Minister for Research and Innovation, Mr Seán Sherlock T.D. said: “The launch of Insight is an important step forward in the development of the skills base necessary for Ireland to harness and channel the current and future potential of Big Data. Insight is a major national investment in this new area of research and one that is essential for Ireland’s future success in the technology sector.”

In today’s society, an increasing torrent of data is being created every second in the world around us. Insight will play a leading role in developing next generation technologies to capture and transform the raw data being generated into valuable concepts and ideas that can inform better decisions about society, the economy, healthcare and government.

Insight will lead to the creation of 300 direct jobs, as well as to the training of the next generation of data analytics experts. Over the next six years, Insight research is expected to result in 12 new spin out companies, approximately 50 patent filings, and over 50 technology licenses, leading to thousands of indirect jobs in the data analytics sector.

Professor Barry O’Sullivan, Director of Insight at UCC and Head of UCC’s Department of Computer Science, commented: “I am extremely excited about the opportunities that Insight creates for collaborative research between Irish scientists and industry, and the additional capacity it provides for Ireland to win significant additional funding from Horizon 2020, Europe’s €79 billion research fund that was recently announced by Ms Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, European Commissioner for Research, Innovation & Science.”

UCC President, Dr Michael Murphy, said: “UCC is very proud to be one of the co-leading institutions in the Insight Centre for Data Analytics, which builds upon the past success of the Cork Constraint Computation Centre at UCC, but heralds a new departure in inter-institutional and industrial collaboration to achieve Ireland’s strategic goal to become a world leader in the field of data analytics.  We are very pleased that the University is leading four and co-leading the fifth of the seven major Centres created by the SFI last February. This success reflects the high level of research undertaken in UCC and the excellent industrial partnerships that we have created over the years.”

Data Analytics is big business as Ireland stands to benefit significantly from the scale of the global analytics market. The global market for business analytics is estimated to be worth in excess of $34 billion, with Big Data driving a 60% increase in the operating margins of retailers, while the annual value of data analytics for the US healthcare system is valued at $300 billion.

Commenting on the potential for the data analytics market in Ireland, CEO of Insight, Professor Barry Smyth, said:  “Data analytics represents a huge growth opportunity for Ireland and we are perfectly positioned to take advantage of it. Spending on Big Data technologies is growing at 30% per annum as demand for data analytics skills continues to outstrip supply. In Insight we have brought together the country’s leading data analytics researchers to meet this demand and create new opportunities for Ireland and our industry partners.” 

Speaking at the announcement, Professor Mark Ferguson, Director General of SFI and Chief Scientific Adviser to the Government said: “Insight will provide Ireland with a new flagship national research resource in information and communications technology (ICT) and underlines Ireland’s focused investment in excellent research with impact. Insight is one of seven world-class SFI Research Centres of scale and excellence that involve significant co-investment by industry partners. Insight will be undertaking research that is fundamental to Ireland’s enhanced competitive positioning in the area of data analytics as well as our international standing in the overall ICT sector.”

School of Computer Science and Information Technology

Scoil na Ríomheolaíochta agus na Teicneolaíochta Faisnéise

School of Computer Science and Information Technology, Western Gateway Building, University College Cork, Western Road, Cork, Ireland

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