February 27, 2023

University of Limerick ecosystem supports early career researchers to “flourish”

University of Limerick is committed to further developing a change making research community who partner globally and locally to ‘create and challenge’.

This aspiration is central to the strategic goal of Impact and Partnership in the University’s new Research Strategy: Wisdom for Action 2022-2027.

“Proactive collaboration is part of our DNA and a point of pride for UL,” explained UL Vice President Research Professor Norelee Kennedy.

“Our history demonstrates a longstanding orientation towards Europe supported by firm foundations with our regional partners. Our network of research institutes and centres demonstrate an impressive footprint of collaboration at an all-island, European and global level.”

A national leader in the research impact agenda, UL’s Research Impact programme is in line with international best practice. Through this programme UL has established the President’s Research Excellence and Impact Awards which recognise outstanding research collaborations and early career researchers.

These awards and the wider Research Impact programme are an important focal point to highlight the contribution of the scientific community and their research collaborators within the public and private sectors.

Late last year, several early career researchers at UL received awards recognising excellence and impact from President Professor Kerstin Mey.

Professor Mey explained: “These awards honour extraordinary accomplishments involving strong partnerships that have a significant global impact. These early career researchers have benefited from our strong focus on mentorship and suggest that UL is best positioned to support excellent research with a focus on tackling global challenges.”

Professor Kennedy said: “We are delighted to see these fantastic early career researchers recognised for their contribution to excellent science and the impact they are making globally. Research is at the forefront of our institution and at UL, we pride ourselves on supporting an ecosystem where excellent scientists can flourish.”

As part of UL’s proactive collaboration and the key objectives of the goal of Impact and Partnership is a focus on developing strategic research partnerships, expanding the spinout ecosystem and stimulating a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship and deepening existing partnerships across policymakers, NGOs, and industry.

UL hosts the Centre for Research Training (CRT) in Foundations in Data Science, a doctoral training programme providing students with a world-class foundational understanding of applied mathematics, statistics, and machine learning.

The programme is part of the largest ever investment in data science research in Ireland and is a collaborative initiative between Science Foundation Ireland (SFI), Skillnet Ireland, University of Limerick, Maynooth University and University College Dublin.

The large-scale collaborative initiative is training a cohort of 130+ PhD students with world-class foundational understanding in the horizontal themes of Applied Mathematics, Statistics and Machine Learning.

The unique PhD training programme fosters a cohort-based training environment, which supports students to collaborate with industry through training and an industry training placement, to collaborate with international research teams, and to work across multiple disciplines. At the heart of the Centre’s vision is understanding the importance of preparing the student with a wide breadth of technical and transversal skills to equip students with the skills to translate research into meaningful, real-world applications.

The Centre nurtures its top-class students for a career in research and industry by supporting a wide range of activities to complement the PhD journey. It trains students to become future leaders in the field of data science, an area where talent is in high demand both in Ireland and globally.

Students in the centre engage with industry leaders in workshops and lectures, train with small and medium sized enterprises and multi-national corporations and collaborate with research groups overseas.

Lero, the University of Limerick-based SFI Research Centre for Software, also recently announced it is to invest €2.9 million in a new postdoctoral fellowships programme.

The SyMeCo (Systems, Methods, Context) research training programme, which will be coordinated at UL, aims to develop world-class software expertise to facilitate responsible innovation focusing on privacy, trust, inclusion and fairness.

It is funded by SFI and the European Commission’s Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA) COFUND programme and will create 16 postdoctoral fellowships.

During their two-year fellowship, participants will receive discipline-specific skills training to assist career development and will be provided with a comprehensive set of courses to improve their transferrable skills and diversify their employment options.

UL also has a Researcher Development Programme that gives researchers an opportunity to develop and enhance the skills, knowledge and attributes necessary to complete research and enhance longer-term career ambitions.


Picture: Professor Norelee Kennedy, Vice President Research, UL, Dr Martina Prendergast, International Funding Manager, Lero, Mariana Clohessy, EU Project Manager with Lero and Professor Brian Fitzgerald, director of Lero, and coordinator of the SyMeCo fellowship programme at the launch of the new postdoctoral fellowships programme

Related News