UL-hosted Confirm launches Smart 4.0 fellowship programme

In University of Limerick for the launch of SMART 4.0 postdoctoral fellowship programme were, Deputy Mayor of Limerick City and County Cllr Adam Tesky, Senator Kieran O’Donnell, Prof Conor McCarthy, Confirm, Dr. Susan Daly, Confirm, Dr. Bill O’Leary, Confirm and Dr. Puneet Saidha, UL. Picture: Alan Place

CONFIRM, the world-leading SFI research centre in Smart Manufacturing hosted by University of Limerick, has launched SMART 4.0, a postdoctoral fellowship programme aimed at providing world-class training and research opportunities to 16 fellows in the area of Smart Manufacturing.

SMART 4.0, a prestigious training, mobility, and career development programme, will offer fellowships to experienced researchers to take part in a 24-month training and career development programme at one of its partner institutes.

The SMART 4.0 fellowship programme is a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA) COFUND initiative, the intent of which is to enable researcher mobility and career development opportunities to the best emergent talent in the area of Smart Manufacturing. The fellowship programme and Call 1 for open proposals were launched at UL this Tuesday.

UL President Dr. Des Fitzgerald said: “This programme will focus on delivering the next generation of Smart Manufacturing leaders with strong systems-level thinking interdisciplinary skills to help drive Industry 4.0 forward for Europe.

“University of Limerick has forged a longstanding reputation for industry informed education and hosting CONFIRM is a perfect exemplar of that and when you see the calibre of the industry partners associated with CONFIRM, you can see that as evidence in support of its importance to industry.

“Advanced manufacturing is a key research strength of University of Limerick and an area in which we can compete internationally. The CONFIRM centre is consolidating this work and attracting new international talent so as to ensure a dynamic transfer of innovation between the lab and the factory floor,” Dr Fitzgerald added.

Dr. Conor McCarthy, CONFIRM Director, and Co-Principal Investigator spoke at the event and said: “SMART 4.0 leverages significant European Commission funding through the Marie Skłodowska-Curie programme and Science Foundation Ireland investments in the CONFIRM Centre to attract 16 top international manufacturing researchers to Ireland.”

“Through this talent pool, we will be able to apply CONFIRM’s fundamental manufacturing research findings to industry through industry secondments. Our SMART 4.0 programme will help Ireland’s manufacturing ecosystem transition to a digital paradigm so that we remain competitive and to sustain our significant manufacturing base,” said Dr. McCarthy.

It was noted at the event that, the demand for people with STEMM backgrounds has grown considerably and the need for those with expertise and acumen is ever-present. With the ethos of Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions being centred on excellence and innovation, SMART 4.0 is very much aligned by promoting diversity through inclusivity, regardless of gender, age, or nationality.

Dr. Bill O’Leary, CONFIRM General Manager, was at the launch and said: “The provision of appropriate learning through traditional and non-traditional means is, and will increasingly be, a critical aspect of developing Industry 4 .0 capability nationally. CONFIRM through our new Community of Practise is optimally positioned to mobilise and support these learnings.”

“Our new Marie Curie SMART 4.0 program is, in essence, a capability-building program that is scientifically led and industrially informed and one which has the potential to be truly win –win.”

“This program allows researchers to themselves frame the areas of research, and in facilitating industry input through a dedicated industrial secondment program, we are creating a microcosm of the future CONFIRM – a true ecosystem of companies, HEI’s and researchers working collaboratively and smart,” Dr. O’Leary said.

Dr. Susan Daly, programme manager overseeing SMART 4.0, was on hand to discuss the Fellowships and said: “Marie Skłodowska-Curie actions aim to craft innovation and to nurture the career development and training of researchers in all disciplines through international and intersectoral movement.

“This mechanism through the CONFIRM Centre will foster research-business cooperation, excellence in researcher training, mobility and career development, by providing access to CONFIRM’s extensive academic and industrial infrastructure.

“At its core, the goal of CONFIRM’s SMART 4.0 programme is to enhance the creative and innovative potential of researchers wishing to diversify their competence through advanced training and in the development of a broad set of transversal skills. As this programme is open to all eligible researchers of any age and nationality, I very much welcome engagement with prospective SMART 4.0 Marie Skłodowska-Curie fellows,” said Dr. Daly.

If you are a researcher looking for more information about the SMART 4.0 Marie Skłodowska-Curie Action COFUND fellowship programme visit www.confirm.ie. All queries should be directed to smart_confirm@ul.ie. The deadline for Call 1 submissions is due no later than December 31,