€16.4m investment for groundbreaking research centre


Mr. Micheál Martin, T.D, Minister for Enterprise Trade and Employment, has announced the establishment of CLARITY - a new Science Foundation Ireland Centre for Science, Engineering and Technology (CSET).

This groundbreaking research centre will focus on the so-called ‘Sensor Web’, which captures the intersection between two important research areas - Adaptive Sensing and Information Discovery.

The new cutting-edge CLARITY CSET is a partnership between University College Dublin and Dublin City University, supported by research at the Tyndall National Institute (TNI) Cork. The CLARITY CSET Director is Professor Barry Smyth (University College Dublin) and the Deputy Director is DCU’s Professor Alan Smeaton. In total, over 90 highly-skilled personnel will be working to deliver the CLARITY research programme.

In addition, CLARITY will collaborate with leading multinationals and SMEs including - IBM, Vodafone, Ericsson, Foster-Miller, ChangingWorlds, Fidelity Investments and Critical Path - as well as national agencies, such as the Environmental Protection Agency, the Marine Institute and the National Museum of Ireland.

Over the next five years, total investment in CLARITY will amount to €16.4 million, of which Science Foundation Ireland - through the CSET programme - will contribute €11.8 million. CLARITY’s primary industry partners will make a significant contribution collectively of over €4.6 million by contributing personnel, funding, equipment, infrastructure and services.

The core aim of this innovative research centre is ‘bringing information to life’. The research will investigate the integration of sensor data from the physical world with sophisticated information processing and artificial intelligence techniques from computer science. CLARITY aims to develop systems that can sense, process and analyse what is happening in the real world and respond in an appropriate manner.

“This investment will establish CLARITY as a truly unique world-class multidisciplinary research centre” - said Minister Martin, announcing the funding. “By linking academic researchers with industry partners in Ireland, SFI CSETs such as CLARITY will play a significant role in building Ireland’s new knowledge-driven economy. By graduating 45 PhD students, CLARITY will provide Irish-based companies with access to highly-skilled individuals that will play a key role generating new products and innovations in industry.

“This unique SFI CSET will develop innovative new information technologies of critical importance to Ireland’s future industry base, in areas such as personal health, digital media and in the management of our environment. CLARITY will seek to develop new tools to address the issue of information overload and assist people in accessing information” - continued the Minister.

"Sensors help us to learn more about ourselves and the world in which we live and the next generation of sensor technologies will be cheap, connected and reliable - enabling exciting new application areas” - said Professor Barry Smyth, Director of CLARITY.

“We have already, for example, been using wearable sensors to design garments that are capable of monitoring the posture of the wearer, helping back-pain prone knowledge-workers to improve their seated posture” - he explained. “Other applications include the networks of sensors that are capable of monitoring water quality with a view to identifying and signaling potential pollution events.”

“To succeed in our research efforts, it is not enough to strengthen our academic capability and output” - said Professor Frank Gannon, Director General of SFI. “It is also necessary to develop more research performing companies with a sharper focus on the commercialisation of publicly-funded research.”

“The centre will focus on empowering citizens through new technologies, to harvest, refine and make use of the deluge of different kinds of information in the modern world” - said DCU’s Professor Alan Smeaton. “CLARITY will develop a new generation of smarter, simpler and more proactive information services as well as commercial products which are set to improve our quality of life - from monitoring the impact of exercise on health, new technologies to support our aging population and innovative ways to protect the quality of our environment.”

The funding commitment was made in accordance with the highest standards of research investment and follows a rigorous review process by international scientific experts and a strategic review process involving representatives from Enterprise Ireland, IDA, Forfás, the Health Research Board and the Higher Education Authority.