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Athlone Institute of Technology (AIT) plays a central role in the Midlands and Ireland’s economic development through its education, research and innovation programmes. AIT has three strategic research institutes in Materials (MRI), Biosciences (BRI) and Software (SRI) whose research thrusts are aligned with key regional and national priorities. These research institutes have developed international collaborations with leading multinational companies and universities in Europe, Asia and the US, along with supporting indigenous industry. The establishment of an Enterprise Ireland-funded translational research centre, SUNAT (seamless communications) within the SRI, further strengthens this support for strategic industry. Further research clusters exist within our four Schools of Business, Engineering, Humanities and Science.
Research opportunities at AIT for both Master’s and doctoral studies are many and varied. As a postgraduate researcher you will find yourself part of a vibrant, energetic and growing international research community working on leading edge research challenges. A new Postgraduate Research Hub currently being completed includes purpose-built research workspace, seminar and social space. Sixty research Master’s and doctoral student stations will be accommodated in the hub.
AIT is one of 14 global partners participating in the International Centre for Graduate Education in Micro- and Nano-Engineering (ICGEE). The institute’s participation in this student-centric doctoral research and education programme reflects the level of expertise and the calibre of research undertaken in Athlone. This collegiate approach highlights AIT’s commitment to meeting the needs of the knowledge society and the doubling of the number of doctoral students by 2013.
Collaboration with industry is a hallmark of many facets of AIT life. This is particularly true of our research activities, where AIT is a recognised leader in collaborative R&D projects. We are the second largest recipient among Irish HEIs under Enterprise Ireland’s Innovation Partnership Programme and are in the top three knowledge providers in collaborative R&D projects completed under Enterprise Ireland’s Innovation Vouchers scheme. In 2008, a joint AIT-IDA research-needs exploration team undertook an audit of the infrastructure needs of industry in the Midlands Gateway. The identified strategic needs were framed as a constituent part of a larger AIT Midlands Imaging Platform, which secured significant funding in a competitive Enterprise Ireland equipment call.
A key focus for AIT is in the support of high technology-based start-ups. This is demonstrated in 47 start-ups supported by AIT’s campus incubator, the Midlands Innovation and Research Centre (MIRC) and its enterprise programmes since 2004, with currently 20 companies, 62 employees and €1.4m in collaborative research activity to develop their technologies. The MIRC, together with the Midlands-West Enterprise Programme, incubates and supports the spin-out of AIT-developed technologies into new HPSU companies. AIT has on average incubated and supported three EI ‘High Potential Start-Ups’ per year.
Hopefully, you now have a sense of the range of strategic research undertaken at AIT. Our research plans are ambitious and framed with the needs of the region and the country in mind. Whether you are a staff member of AIT, a research partner or potential postgraduate student, we welcome your engagement with us and look forward to hearing from you.
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