New SFI centre a ‘game changer’ for manufacturing competitiveness

Friday, 8th September 2017

An Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, TD, together with the Minister for Training, Skills, Innovation, Research and Development, John Halligan, TD, launched four new world-class Science Foundation Ireland Research Centres.

The four new SFI centres, including CONFIRM led by University of Limerick (UL), represent an investment of €74 million from the Government over the next six years, with a further investment of €40 million from industry.

CONFIRM, the new €47 million centre for smart manufacturing, seeks to add intelligence to production systems, creating the factories of the future, where products can be fully customised and adaptable. The overall SFI investment supports cutting-edge basic and applied research with strong industry engagement, driving economic benefits and positive societal impact.

The CONFIRM centre will be led by University of Limerick and UL Professor Conor McCarthy, with Tyndall National Institute, University College Cork, Cork Institute of Technology, NUI Galway, Athlone Institute of Technology, Maynooth University and Limerick Institute of Technology as academic partner institutions.

Professor McCarthy, Director of SFI Research Centre CONFIRM, said: “CONFIRM 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, whereby products, machines, production systems and supply chains are digitally connected and making smart decisions. 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.

“CONFIRM will act as a beacon for international talent in the areas of advanced manufacturing from robotics to artificial intelligence. Ireland enjoys a highly-skilled and highly-motivated workforce in the manufacturing sector, this workforce is the envy of other nations. CONFIRM builds upon this reputation and seeks to establish a world-leading centre for smart manufacturing,” Professor McCarthy added.

The four SFI Research Centres will be involved in 80 industry collaborations with partners ranging from multinationals to SMEs. CONFIRM has 42 industry partners across these sectors including: Johnson & Johnson; Analog Devices; Action Point; Modular Automation; SL Controls; United Technologies Research Centre Ireland; KUKA; and, Medtronic.

More information on the SFI launch is available here.

More information on CONFIRM is avialable here.