Dundalk Institute of Technology (DkIT) has announced the introduction of two new research and innovation initiatives to expand opportunities for its staff to participate in targeted industry engagement in the North Leinster South Ulster region.
The DkIT Emerging Technology Fund and the DkIT-Sponsored Postgraduate Scholarship with Industry aim to increase collaboration with regional industry and to augment the Institute’s track record for success in the areas of research and innovation.
Both initiatives were jointly-developed by the Regional Development Centre (RDC) and the Research Office at DkIT with input from Enterprise Ireland. The schemes are funded internally by DkIT demonstrating the ongoing commitment to industry focused research, innovation and engagement.
The DkIT Emerging Technology Fund is a new funding stream available to individual DkIT staff and teams of interdisciplinary staff which will support early-phase research projects involving emerging technology fields. The fund is prioritised for projects that that facilitate interdisciplinary research and creative collaborations that focus on the study and application of emerging technologies in addressing regional industry, public and individual needs.
The DkIT-Sponsored Postgraduate Scholarship with Industry offers staff the opportunity to apply for funded research Masters and/or PhDs (Levels 9 and/or 10) which have a particular focus on supporting regional industry. As part of the new scholarship programme, DkIT will cover programme fees and will provide an annual postgraduate stipend to scholars, in addition to other supports provided by selected industry partners. The new scholarship scheme will directly assist the continued growth of the Institute’s postgraduate research output having graduated 102 to date.
Both initiatives have been designed to bolster the Government’s National Research Priority Areas 2018-2023 with particular focus on driving regional growth opportunities in ICT, Health and Wellbeing, Food, Energy, Climate Action and Sustainability and Services & Business Processes. The new schemes also compliment the DkIT Corporate Partnership Programme, a strategic initiative overseen the RDC which provides a structured framework for the institute to work with high profile organisations across industry, community and professions in the region.
Speaking today, Aidan Browne, Head of Innovation & Business Development at DkIT said: “These initiatives are a welcome commitment from DkIT that will seed fund collaborations that will ensure the continuing relevance of DkITs teaching, innovation and research while also creating a framework to support innovation and development within external organisations that engage with us on them”.
Dr Tim McCormac, Head of Research and Graduate Studies commented: “The allocation of a research and innovation focused funding element from the government through the new RFAM model is a very much welcome targeted funding initiative. This model is performance related and recognises achievements in research and innovation activities for the Technological Higher Education Sector and is an acknowledgement of the importance of research and innovation in the mission of future vision of the sector and of DkIT.
"A proportion of this funding is being employed to drive two initiatives to enable industry-facing research which will impact on the economic development of the region and Ireland Inc whilst ensuring the Institute continues to grow its postgraduate research base which underpins its recently awarded higher education landscape funding for the MEND cluster.
Aidan McKenna, Enterprise Ireland Regional Director North East & North West commented: "These initiatives by DKIT to drive collaboration between the Institute and Industry in the Region, are very timely given the challenges facing businesses in the context of Brexit. Enterprise Ireland’s key focus is to encourage companies to innovate, compete and diversify internationally and these initiatives will help companies increase their levels of innovation with support from DKIT.
"The pace of innovation has never been greater and Enterprise Ireland-backed companies that engage in innovation perform stronger in international markets and are more resilient and sustainable as a result. I would encourage all local and regional businesses to engage with DKIT to investigate how third level research can help drive their own innovation agenda.”