Featured Article 02 Apr 2012

The Government of Ireland, as part of its Action Plan for Jobs, today revealed a €1.2m programme to make Ireland a world leader in cloud computing. The new Cloud Computing Technology Research Centre will exist as a consortium of third-level institutions.

The cloud computing revolution is a €48bn opportunity, according to Gartner. Ireland is already a global destination for cloud when you consider the massive investments by Google, Microsoft, IBM, EMC and many others.

Today the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Richard Bruton, TD, announced details of the €1.2m initial research programme in the Cloud Computing Technology Research Centre, aimed at helping to make Ireland a world leader in this fast-growing area, and at making a significant contribution to jobs and economic growth.

The funding will be allocated over 12 months to a consortium of Higher Education Institutions to carry out the initial research programme of centre. Led by Dublin City University, the research consortium, which includes University College Cork, and Athlone Institute of Technology with input from the Innovation Value Institute at NUI Maynooth, will use the funding provided by the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation through Enterprise Ireland to work with a group of software companies to establish ways to generate business and profit from cloud computing.

The four principal areas into which research will be carried out are:

  • cloud computing technology architecture, including design, configuration and operation
  • service management - cloud computing is now regarded as a utility service for organisations of all sizes, and there is need therefore for new methods and tools for designing, developing, releasing, maintaining and managing cloud-based applications and services
  • business research - organisational and business models are as important as technology for cloud service providers
  • cloud security - providing security is a key component in building trust in cloud-based services to ensure a quality user experience

"A key part of this Government's plan for growth and jobs is identifying areas where we believe Ireland has distinct advantages compared to other countries, and taking steps necessary to ensure that we realise our potential in those areas," Bruton said.

“Cloud computing is one such sector, and the Government believes that between our climate, skills base, telecoms connectivity and existing strengths in ICT, we have the potential to reap substantial benefits in terms of jobs and growth from the global expansion of this sector.

“However, this growth won't happen automatically, and through the Action Plan for Jobs we will implement a series of measures to encourage the growth of the sector. Today I am very pleased to announce the initial programme of industry-led research in the Cloud Computing Technology Research Centre.

“This centre will follow international best practice in bringing academic researchers together with industry so as to ensure that our research strengths are targeted at answering questions that will help companies create viable business ideas and ultimately jobs in this area," Bruton said.

A critical activity for Ireland
Gearoid Mooney, director of ICT Commercialisation at Enterprise Ireland, this research is vital to help Irish companies adopt cloud computing.

“Having the capacity to do computing this way is one thing but software companies have to figure out how to make best use of this technology. While cloud computing has opened up many opportunities for software businesses there are enough unknowns to make research necessary.

“These are the issues that the Cloud Computing Technology Centre will help Irish-based companies address," he said.

He continued, "The focus of the researchers in DCU, UCC, AIT and the Innovation Value Institute will be on identifying, harvesting, incubating and commercialising university and industry-led R&D to create new technologies, usage models and commercial applications for the global cloud computing marketplace. This is critical activity if Ireland is to become a leader in the cloud computing industry," said Mooney.

This initial research programme will last 12 months and is a significant step in the context of a Government-funded five-year investment in a technology centre for cloud computing.

The Cloud Computing Technology Centre is the latest of 10 such thematically based centres to be established jointly by Enterprise Ireland and IDA Ireland.

Prof Brian MacCraith, president of DCU, the lead research partner, said: "As Ireland's university of enterprise, DCU is delighted to lead a research consortium that will provide solutions for industry-defined problems in a technological area of global importance.

“This partnership between enterprise and the Higher Institutes of Education will play a key role in economic development and contribute to Ireland's recovery and, most importantly, job creation."