3 February 2010

Minister Cullen tuns sod on new TSSG Research Building


Last Friday we had Minister Cullen visit the TSSG to turn the sod on our new TSSG Research Building, funded by HEA PRTLI Cycle 4 capital programme, with matched funding from Waterford Institute of Technology. See the TSSG press release (copied below).

It is important to mention that the key people behind the original proposal were Willie Donnelly (the PI), myself, Brendan Jennings and Sven van der Meer. Of course like any large proposal this was team effort with many others contributing as well, and more subtly with the potential success based on the reputation of the TSSG that draws on an even wider set of people and achievements. The funding was won back in 2007 and this comprised a recurrent element, that funds the FutureComm project, and the capital element, that funds this new building.

As it happens we are conducting an internal mid-way review of the FutureComm project today in the Digital Hub. The key people in terms of actually delivering this work programme are Dmitri Botvich, who coordinates our research activity and manages the team, and Tom Pfeifer, who contributes his own expertise and acts as the logistics and support coordinator.

So these two events have given me the opportunity for reflection, and I am generally reminded of the good job we are doing, and of the importance of capturing this and promoting it publicly. This is actually very difficult given the complex nature of the inter-relationships between our various activities (126 funded projects in the period 1996-2010 to date, with nearly 40 active in 2010, and that doesn't include the 52 smaller Enterprise Ireland Innovation Vouchers we have done).

Martin Cullen TD, Minister for Arts, Sport & Tourism, turned the first sod today (Fri, Jan 29) on a new 1,056m² four-storey research building at Waterford Institute of Technology’s West Campus at Carriganore.

Funded by the Higher Education Authority (HEA) under the Programme for Research in Third Level Institutions (PRTLI), the €5m development designed by Devereux Architects is being built by BAM Construction and represents the next phase of expansion at the campus where much of the Institute’s fourth level research, development and innovation activity is now concentrated.

Set for completion in 2011, the new building will be clearly visible from the Waterford City Bypass and is being developed to the northwest of the ArcLabs Research and Innovation Centre. With a maritime design, it will overlook the nearby River Suir and accommodate offices and meeting rooms for postgraduate and postdoctoral researchers as well as general office and laboratory space.

Speaking as work commenced on site, Minister Cullen said: “Continued investment in Ireland’s research infrastructure is a central part of our push towards delivering on the ‘Smart Economy’ agenda that offers the strongest prospects for economic recovery and a return to sustainable growth.

“Going back to my own time as Minister of State at the Department of Finance a decade ago when the land-bank here at Carriganore was acquired for Waterford Institute of Technology, I had always been convinced that the Institute would have – as it now does - one of the finest higher education campuses in the country.

“Following on from the refurbishment of Carriganore House, the development of ArcLabs and the National Biodiversity Data Centre, this latest phase of development marks another milestone in the rollout of the terrific vision that exists for this location where excellent sports facilities are also nearing completion. The West Campus is, of course, more accessible than ever to the entire region since the opening in October of the N25 Waterford City Bypass.”

Redmond O’Donoghue, Chairman, Waterford Institute of Technology, added: “In what is our 40th year, the Institute and the wider community in the southeast can be justly proud of the great strides that have been made by researchers here. This latest significant addition to our West Campus will allow that work to continue to grow in scope and depth.

“It is vital that we maintain investment in the research that will deliver the employment opportunities of tomorrow. The additional space to be provided by this latest campus expansion will allow further growth of our Telecommunications Software Systems Group (TSSG) which has won €40m in national and international research funding for 85 projects over the last five years alone. Specifically, the building will facilitate TSSG work on globally significant HEA-funded research where they are partnering with NUI Maynooth and University of Limerick on the ‘Future Internet’.”

Dr Willie Donnelly, Head of Research, Waterford Institute of Technology and director and< co-founder of TSSG, said: “Our research has enabled us to successfully create a mobile services cluster of high potential start-ups where almost 200 sustainable direct and indirect jobs have been created.

“Our research team continues to successfully compete for funding at a national and international level with the additional facilities now being provided with HEA support set to allow us grow further in the years ahead. As well as having a considerable economic impact for the southeast and ‘Ireland Inc’, TSSG research outputs will also increasingly generate products and services that benefit end users in society more widely.”

The project team for the new building also includes JODA Engineering Consultants; Michael Punch & Partners Consulting Engineers and Brendan Murray & Associates Quantity Surveyors.

Posted by mofoghlu at February 3, 2010 7:20 AM | TrackBack
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