January, 2012


31
Jan 12

Ireland’s IERC gets €1m energy research funding boost

Ireland’s IERC gets €1m energy research funding boost

Mick McKeever, DIT researcher (from left); Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Richard Bruton, TD; Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, Pat Rabbitte, TD; and Dominic O Sullivan, UCC researcher

Ireland’s International Energy Research Centre (IERC) has been given a €1m cash injection from the Government, via Enterprise Ireland, to ramp up its energy research projects. The aim is to position Ireland as a global clean-tech hub for the development of integrated energy solutions.

With the issue of energy security having come to the fore as a major global challenge, a key element of the research at the IERC will involve linking up knowledge-intensive international and Irish companies with leading researchers to develop innovative energy solutions for global markets. That was according to the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, Pat Rabbitte, TD, and the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Richard Bruton, TD, who both jointly announced the IERC funding yesterday.

The two ministers also announced the approval of the first two projects as part of the IERC. In all, €1m in funding will be provided via Enterprise Ireland.

Key research areas

Some of the main research areas that will be pioneered at the IERC include:

  • Energy storage in commercial buildings. In particular, such research will look at using wireless networks to control and manage heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems.
  • Redesigning and developing storage heating solutions.

The IERC itself is operating as a type of ‘virtual’ research centre, with the researchers meeting at Tyndall National Institute in Cork. It is supported by the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation and the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources working with a co-ordinated agency project team comprising IDA Ireland, Enterprise Ireland, Science Foundation Ireland and the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland.

Four higher education institutions have also backed the IERC. Contracts have been signed with NUI Galway, University College Cork, Cork Institute of Technology and Dublin Institute of Technology.

The energy research agenda of the IERC is also industry led, with global companies in Ireland collaborating on it. Such firms include United Technologies, Bell Labs, HSG Zander and IBM. Irish unities Bord Gáis Energy and Bord Gáis Networks are also involved.

Powering the green economy in Ireland via targeted research

Powering the green economy via targeted research that can be commercialised

Global clean-tech focus

Rabbitte said the Government’s strategy is to position Ireland as a leading-edge location for such energy research developed for global markets.

He said the research carried out at the IERC will complement existing energy research activities in Ireland, including the smart grid and renewable energy integration research at the UCD Electricity Research Centre, where the researchers work in partnership with global companies, as well as EirGrid and ESB Networks.

“Energy is of fundamental strategic importance to the economy and it is essential that we continue to invest in research to develop energy efficiency technologies which will underpin the Government’s energy efficiency objectives and support economic growth in the clean technology sector,” said Rabbitte.

Job creation and the green economy

Bruton pointed to how, in getting “out of this crisis” and getting jobs and growth back in the economy, that the focus will have to be on sectors where Ireland as a country has “distinct” advantages.

“The green economy clearly is one of these sectors, as not only do we have unrivalled natural resources in the area, but we have also built up a base of excellent research strength over the past decade.”

From research to commercialisation

Bruton said the challenge for Ireland now is to make sure that research is channelled and targeted at commercialisation.

“That is why this centre is led by top-end global and Irish companies operating in the energy field, and will enable them to collaborate with world-leading researchers and institutions in developing cutting-edge solutions.”

He said that in the coming weeks, the Government’s Action Plan for Jobs will target the green economy.

Bruton pointed to how the clean-tech focus will “build on this good news with further changes to the Irish research sector to create more good ideas and ultimately, good jobs.”

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31
Jan 12

Cylon Active Energy wins cloud contract in US

Cylon Active Energy wins cloud contract in US

Sean Giblin, managing director, Cylon Group

Irish firm Cylon Active Energy has secured its first US contract following an Enterprise Ireland trade mission. The company will apply its cloud-based, real-time energy management technology to centrally monitor and analyse the energy consumption of Raleigh Convention Center in North Carolina.

Cylon Active Energy itself is the energy management division of Cylon Group, an Irish provider of energy management services.

Via the new contract with North Carolina’s Raleigh Convention Center, Cylon will centrally monitor and analyse the energy consumption of the centre remotely from its Dublin-based ‘Energy Bureau’ in Clonshaugh.

Cloud technologies

Sean Giblin, managing director, Cylon Group, said the company’s engineers will also use their cloud-based information to determine the efficiency of the building, identify areas for improvement and make recommendations on elevating energy efficiency and delivering energy savings for Raleigh Convention Center.

Giblin said the company is excited about the contract win, as it is starting to ramp up its US focus. He spoke about how the company is capitalising on the cloud to “monitor, analyse and manage the energy consumption of buildings regardless of geographical location”.

Seeking tech partners in the US

Parent company Cylon Group has had a presence in the US market for more than 15 years with its building control systems but Giblin asserted there has been little focus on energy management and conservation in the US market up to now.

“This is rapidly changing through increasing cost and regulatory pressures and we believe our unparallelled expertise and unique technology puts us in an ideal position to become a leader in this field in the US, as well as in our other core markets in Europe,” said Giblin.

Giblin said that following this new contract win, Cylon Active Energy will be “actively” seeking technology partners in the US in order to progress its growth plans.

Cylon Active Energy already supplies its energy management services to large corporations and SMEs in the UK, Ireland and across Europe. Last month, the company was awarded the Sustainable Energy Innovation Award at the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland 2011 Annual Awards.

Giblin also indicated that Cylon Group will be looking to open an office in the US in 2012. Cylon Group already has offices in the UK, Europe and China.

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31
Jan 12

Sky customer centre to create 800 jobs

More than 800 jobs are being created at a new Sky customer centre in Dublin, it was announced today.

The digital TV provider is opening the facility at the Burlington Plaza in August 2012. The jobs will be rolled out over the next two years.

The positions will be in customer service, advisor training roles, coaching and HR. The recruitment process will begin immediately.

The company says the new service centre will be the 10th operation of its kind and will for the first time enable it to serve Irish customers from a single dedicated site.

The new jobs are part of Sky’s wider workforce expansion – it plans to create 1,300 jobs in the UK and Ireland over the next two years.

“This is great news, and represents a very welcome vote of confidence in our workforce and in the Irish economy by a leading company,” said Enterprise and Jobs Minister Richard Bruton.

“Confidence is key, and in the coming weeks the Government’s Action Plan for Jobs will implement a series of measures to drive reform across the economy, ensure that more businesses can create more jobs, and get growth and confidence back into the economy again.”

Sky chief executive Jeremy Darroch said: “I’m delighted that we are opening a centre in Ireland. Our Irish customers are very important to our business and the creation of this customer centre will ensure they receive first class customer service.

“We hope to recruit a committed and enthusiastic workforce and look forward to making further contributions to the local community.”

Sky currently reaches over 10.5 million homes across the UK and Ireland with its services.

Sky will offer full induction training and on-going support to successful Dublin applicants.

Commenting on the investment, IDA Ireland CEO, Barry O’Leary said: “This is a very welcome announcement by a leading global brand name. The scale of BSkyB’s new customer contact centre clearly endorses the skills available in Ireland for multinational companies.”

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31
Jan 12

New ICT Graduate Skills Course has 750 places

The Minister for Education and Skills, Ruairí Quinn TD, together with Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Richard Bruton TD, today launched the Joint Government – Industry ICT Action Plan: Meeting the High Level ICT Skills Needs of Enterprise in Ireland.

Launching the Action Plan, Minister Quinn said “I’m very pleased to announce today that more than 750 places are being made available on 17 new graduate skills conversion programmes across the country. People can apply for a place today, through the Bluebrick website, for courses commencing in March. “Participation on the programmes will be fully subsidised by my Department; no fees will be charged.” the Minister said.

The Action Plan also sets out how we are going to build the supply and quality of graduates in the medium term to long term. It establishes an ambitious target of doubling the annual output of ICT graduates from 1,000 this year to 2,000 by 2018.

Speaking at the launch, Regina Moran, Chair of ICT Ireland, said: “The technology industry is a significant area of growth in Ireland and is a crucial sector for economic prosperity. All of the top 10 global technology companies have a major presence here and importantly we have a powerful indigenous software sector. With 80 jobs a week being announced since the beginning of 2011, the sector offers fantastic career opportunities in a variety of fields. For more information on the ICT sector click here.

A key action contained in the Plan is the development of a High Level ICT Foresight Group. This Group is being chaired by John Hennessy of the HEA, and is having its first meeting today. The Group’s members are key industry and higher education decision makers and they will work on ICT and electronic engineering programme development.

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30
Jan 12

Irish Jobs: Big indigenous firms internationlise; Young high tech firms with potential sold overseas