Aug 25 2011

SFI Funding

Category: Fourth LevelTeknovis @ 6:52 pm

Science Foundation Ireland has announced its latest round of funding, in which 15 million Euro will be distributed to fund 79 different university projects. All of the usual universities are in there. See Robust and competitive research will drive Ireland’s economic development – Sherlock for the details.

To be honest, I find it a bit depressing to see some of the names I first came across over 10 years ago in that list, and these people are still doing basically the same projects. It makes me feel that the world moves on, but academics never change :|

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Nov 11 2010

How DERI Spends the Taxpayers’ Money

Category: Fourth LevelTeknovis @ 8:25 pm

Earlier this week I wrote about the huge, and unwarranted, costs of certain staff in Top Educational Salaries in Ireland. So today I decided to stay with expenditure in Irish education, and write about something that has really been annoying me for the last two weeks.

Somebody told me about an article describing how a UCG research group called DERI has been spending the tax payers’ money that was given to them by Science Foundation Ireland. The article is very revealing, and it can be read online: Tighter Controls at NUIG Research Institute Following Expenses Controversy.

I will quote some of the more astonishing revelations…

Tighter controls have been implemented at a research institute at NUIGalway after a hundred thousand euro was spent to hire private jets. The private flights were for researchers and academics at the Digital Enterprise Research Institute, DERI, at NUIG, in 2004.

The wastage continues…

Other expenses incurred include 154 thousand euro to send dozens of DERI staff to a luxury resort in Crete for conferences.

Shame on you both UCG and DERI for your pathetic self-interest at the cost of everybody else.

So what is the outcome of all of this?

Current DERI Chief Executive, Michael Turley, says policies have been tightened since those expenses were incurred.

What is wrong with this country? Why have those involved in this embezzlement, and those who were supposed to be overseeing it, not being charged with criminal activity? How come they have not been fired? Is it to much to ask that they be forced to pay it back? Even a public apology to the taxpayers whose money was squandered would be a start. Is policy tightening really the best outcome to this? It stinks!

It is sad, because the dishonesty of one group, and the incompetence of its university, will generate a negative impression regarding all of the research groups and universities in Ireland. I certainly would be ashamed to be associated with such a shambolic research group.

I also think that Science Foundation Ireland must share some of the blame here. At the minimum, it should immediately suspend all payments to UCG, until this money is repaid.

I also wonder should the spending of other similar research groups be scrutinised more closely?

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Jun 15 2009

Science Foundation Ireland Research Commercialisation

Category: Fourth LevelTeknovis @ 12:49 pm

Science Foundation Ireland has announced the creation of a new fund to commercialise existing research that it is funding. The fund is called the Technology and Innovation Development Award (TIDA), and you can read more about it in Technology and Innovation Development Award (TIDA).

The maximum grant size is 100,000€ over 12 months. I think that is a really significant amount, and it should be enough to determine if existing research has commercial potential.

I am actually surprised that Science Foundation Ireland is doing this, because I thought that commercialisation was under the remit of Enterprise Ireland.

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Apr 08 2009

Science Foundation Ireland Strategic Research Clusters

Category: Fourth LevelTeknovis @ 10:04 pm

Earlier this year Science Foundation Ireland announced the creation of five new Strategic Research Clusters with an investment of 23.9€ million. (I should have written about these at the time, but better late than never :)

Two of these projects are of interest to me (because they are ICT related):

  • Clique is analysing data graphs and networks. This project is based in UCD.
  • FAME is investigating end-to-end communications over heterogeneous networks. This project is based in TSSG.

For more details about this announcement see Tánaiste announces establishment of 5 New Science Foundation Ireland Strategic Research Clusters, and for the complete set of Strategic Research Clusters projects see Strategic Research Clusters.

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Jan 08 2009

Irish Companies involved in W3C

Category: Internet,StandardsTeknovis @ 11:14 pm

I am a big supporter of standards for technology, and I was reading some specifications from one of the many standards organisations today. I suspect, perhaps incorrectly, that there are many Irish companies involved in international standards organisations. I know that standards participation by Irish companies is something that Enterprise Ireland encourages.

Therefore, I decided to write a series of articles listing the Irish companies that are involved in international standards organisations that relate to information communication technologies. I will also include non-Irish companies that have technical operations in Ireland. (It would be nice if I could replicate this for the entire EU, but I do not have the time for that at the moment.)

I am going to start this series by looking at the W3C, because it is probably the prominent standards organisation in relation to the Internet. I am basing these lists on the online membership list.

The Irish companies that are currently members are:

The non-Irish companies that have technical operations in Ireland that are currently members are:

The Irish companies that appear to be members based on their own web pages even though they are not listed by the W3C:

That took me longer than I expected!

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Jan 07 2009

Science Foundation Ireland Funded Research Groups

Category: Fourth LevelTeknovis @ 5:03 pm

Science Foundation Ireland is an organisation that is tasked by the Irish Government to invest 1.4€ billion in fourth level research in the areas of science, technology, and innovation. (Chris Horn noticed that it is unfortunate that Science Foundation Ireland’s remit excludes Engineering in Accident and Emergency Beds ? Or….)

I am familiar with some of the Science Foundation Ireland projects that are currently being funded in the Irish Universities, so I will briefly mention them here for my own record. I am listing these projects because I either know some of the people involved in them, or they are of interest to me. (I am certainly not suggesting that they are the best in any way!)

There are two Strategic Research Clusters (SRCs) that are of interest to me:

  • ITOBO is investigating the creation of new types of buildings that make greater use of information and communication technology. For a long time I have felt that current buildings are really just large, but dumb, devices that contain many simple but totally independent systems. So I think that there is a lot of potential here to create really smart buildings simply by linking these systems and giving them some intelligence. This project is based in UCC.
  • StratAG is investigating methods for measuring and processing spatial information. It is based in NUI Maynooth.

For the complete set of Strategic Research Clusters projects see Strategic Research Clusters.

There are three Centres for Science, Engineering & Technology (CSETs) that are of interest to me:

  • Clarity is investigating techniques for sensing data in the real world, and then combining this data with existing digital information. This project is based in both DCU and UCD.
  • CTVR is investigating both low-level and high-level issues that are relevant to the next generation of telecommunications networks. It is based in TCD.
  • Lero is investigating techniques for developing dependable software. It is based in UL.

For the complete set of Centres for Science, Engineering & Technology projects see Centres for Science, Engineering & Technology.

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