05 Jul 2022

Ministers announce €2.4m funding to solve challenges faced by Defence Forces

Ministers announce €2.4m funding to solve challenges faced by Defence Forces

Ministers announce €2.4m funding to solve challenges faced by Defence Forces

A total of €2.4million in funding has been announced to develop disruptive solutions to challenges faced by the Defence Forces.

Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, Simon Harris, and Minister for Defence and Minister for Foreign Affairs, Simon Coveney, made the announcement yesterday (Thursday February 17). 

Ten research teams - as part of the SFI-Defence Organisation Innovation Challenge - have been awarded the funding to initiate solution-based projects. 

After three months, the teams will be whittled down to five and provided with €200k to compete for an overall prize award of €1million. 

Minister Harris called the announcement "really exciting" and said, "Today’s announcement shows the value of a partnership between our research community and the Defence Forces. The innovation on display can help address existing and future challenges within our Defence Forces. 

"There is a myriad of innovative ideas and expertise from machine learning and virtual reality to data analytics, engineering, and robotics." 

Ideas include a portable device that detects biological agents, AI technology to assist the Irish Air Corps fight wildfires, reducing the carbon footprint of its vehicle fleet to a novel prototype marine electric motor, and a co-operative system that will allow a human controller and robot to work together to manoeuvre aircraft. 

Congratulating the teams, Minister Coveney said, "From the time we launched this challenge last July, I believed that it would confront emerging issues within the Defence Forces head-on, through the collaboration of leading researchers with the talented people behind our Defence Forces. 

"At EU level, the role of innovation and disruptive technologies in delivering next generation military capability is already well recognised. I am looking forward to seeing the results that this synergy of innovators and practitioners under this challenge will undoubtedly generate for the Defence Forces going forward." 

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