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Software research unit receives €16m funding

The Irish Software Engineering Research Centre at the University of Limerick has won significant second-term funding in support of its work over the next five years.

The funding includes €16 million in state support and another €6.4m funding from industry.

Announcing the funding in Limerick on 30 January, the minister of state for research, Sean Sherlock, said the renewal of support indicated the “excellence” of the research underway there, advances that he said were having a downstream commercial impact.

Known as Lero, the centre specialises in software engineering and is a Science Foundation Ireland CSET, a centre for science engineering and technology which typically receive the largest single block grants from the Foundation.

The centre supports 170 researchers and PhD students, with research outputs in urban traffic control, medical devices, the financial services area, communications and many other disciplines.

It was set up about five years ago and is one of nine major CSETs funded by the Foundation.

Lero academic partners include Dublin City University, Trinity College Dublin, University College Dublin, Dundalk Institute of Technology and the National University of Ireland, Galway.

The €6.4m industrial support comes from companies such as IBM Ireland, Intel, Information Mosaic and Storm Technology. IBM works with Lero in projects related system security, software modelling and cloud computing among others.

Lero’s external support includes a number of the EU’s research programmes in the software area.

Sherlock emphasised Lero’s commercial links at the launch: government policy places great weight on achieving a return on state investment in research.

The new funding would allow Lero “to further deepen the level of collaboration with industry and provide for increased commercialisation opportunities for Ireland,” he said. Lero’s success would “further our economic rehabilitation”.

The centre also played an important part in further education, he said. It supported a national graduate school for software engineering. It has also been involved in developing a national software engineering education programme for secondary school students.