Trinity’s ADAPT and CONNECT research centres awarded €81 million in SFI funding

The centres specialise in artificial intelligence and telecommunications research

Two Trinity led research centres, the SFI Research Centre for AI-Driven Digital Content Technology (ADAPT) and the SFI Research Centre for Future Five Science Foundation Ireland (CONNECT), have received approximately €81 million in SFI funding to expand their current research and strengthen Ireland’s research environment. 

The centres are two of five nationwide research facilities that have received combined funding of €193 million from Science Foundation Ireland, also included are the SFI Research Centre in Applied Geosciences (iCRAG) led by University College Dublin, the SFI Research Centre for Medical Devices (CÚRAM) led by NUI Galway, and the SFI Research Centre for Software (Lero) led by University of Limerick. 17 higher educations institutions in total are in partnership with the five centres. 

€42 million has been awarded to ADAPT to continue its current research trajectory for the next six years. Research from the ADAPT centre is centred around the furthering of AI-based technology to impact and modernise both the workplace and daily life. To date, the centre has trained nearly 100 PhD students in this field and its researchers have contributed to over 1,500 journal and conference publications. Six spin-out companies have formed in ADAPT, including Data Chemist and Iconic Translation Machines. 

CONNECT has been awarded approximately €39 million, to further its research also until December 2026. CONNECT’s research is focused on developing solutions for current communications and network challenges. The centre is a hub of new technology, and its researchers have filed 52 patents and made 158 Invention Disclosures. Over 140 PhD and MSc students have been trained through the centre, and its researchers have also produced over 1500 journal and conference publications. 

The total investment by the SFI will support over 1060 graduate, postdoctoral students and Research Fellows across the five centres. In addition to this over 200 industry partners of the SFI have committed to contributions summing to over €91 million, both in cash funding and through benefits in kind to the centres. 

Trinity Provost, Dr Patrick Prendergast celebrated the welcome funding for the college-based centres: 

“We are delighted that the Trinity-led ADAPT and CONNECT Centres are among those to have secured significant second-phase funding to build on their many initial successes.” 

“Trinity’s researchers, many of whom conduct research in these Centres or collaborate closely with others who do, have made significant societal and economic contributions by fostering links between research, government and industry partners through their work. They have also developed the foundations for future excellence by training many talented PhD and Post-Doctoral students to be future difference-makers. Collectively they have helped to make Trinity – and Ireland – a world-leader in research and innovation.” says Prendergast. 

All five centres receiving the funding were established as a result of the 2013 SFI Research Centres Call and this second round of funding strengthens the centres’ positions as hubs of innovation in Ireland and ensures there continued progress in the future. 

Lucy Fitzsimmons

Lucy Fitzsimmons is the SciTech co-Editor of Trinity News, and a Junior Sophister student of Chemical Sciences.