New €7 Million Sustainable Digital & Data Research Programmes launched by Minister Heydon at Maynooth University

The Innovation Value Institute (IVI) at Maynooth University has been selected to lead the €7 million Digi+ and ENTRUST programmes that are focussed on sustainable digital transformation and data. The programmes are funded by the EC under the Marie Sklowdowska-Curie programme and Digi+ is also co-funded by Lero and Adapt; both world leading Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) Research Centres.

Data Driven technology is viewed by many as the next frontier for agriculture and a crucial component required to achieve a sustainable ecosystem, yet there remains a global challenge with a lack of skills and expertise in this space. ENTRUST tackles this challenge head on through the formation of a doctoral network that brings together 16 leading European research institutions. This will attract top tier doctoral candidates who will emerge as leading experts in addressing current challenges around data governance in agriculture and farming.

They will provide evidence based information in relation to the adoption of Data Technologies in order to allow farmers to unlock data potential while safeguarding their data. The ENTRUST programme will build towards a fair and trustworthy agri-data space that is aligned with the European Data Strategy and Green deal. This places Ireland at the forefront of agri-data driven technology on an international stage.

Speaking on the announcement of the awards, Martin Heydon, Minister of State for the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine with special responsibility for Research and Development, Farm Safety and New Market Development said: “I am delighted to announce Maynooth University has successfully been selected to lead the 7m €Digi+ and ENTRUST programmes in these two European  research initiatives. I commend the Irish researchers involved for their success in these highly competitive research calls.  The research will contribute to Digital innovation which is fundamental to achieving sustainability in all its forms. Ireland’s agri-food sector has been making good progress in embracing technology and innovation in recent years. These awards highlight Ireland has an innovative, competitive, and resilient agri-food sector, driven by technology and talent.”

The Digi+ programme complements the goals of ENTRUST through its multi-sector focus addressing the global challenges of sustainable digital and data ecosystems. Embedded within Ireland’s leading SFI-funded research centres, Lero and Adapt, and led by Maynooth University, it brings together a group of world-leading experts that will develop a new generation of creative, entrepreneurial and innovative research leaders, able to face current and future challenges aligned with EU’s Digital and Green Agenda.

Ireland will benefit significantly from this cohort of 20 highly skilled Postdoctoral Researchers that the programme will fund. They will work towards advancing digital transformation practices, addressing vital areas such as new and innovative business models, accelerating digital and data skills, developing forward looking data governance and business models while ensuring alignment to the EU sustainable development goals.

Ireland is well positioned to be a leader in the digital and data economy and this €7m investment will contribute strongly to Ireland’s continued sustainability and progression towards world leading status both in the private and public sector.

Professor Markus Helfert, Director of the Innovation Value Institute and the Science Foundation Ireland EMPOWER Data Governance Programme explains: “The cross-disciplinary focus on sustainable digital transformation and data will deliver significant positive impact on multiple sectors including agriculture, health, climate, fintech, construction and manufacturing. 

“This investment will drive the co-creation of new ways of doing business, creating value and moving from ‘potential’ to ‘real’ benefits for companies and public sector organisations. At IVI, we are looking forward to working with our partners and prospective new partners to achieve these goals and advancing the digital and data research fields.”

Professor Eeva Leinonen, President of Maynooth University said: “At Maynooth University, we are delighted to play a world leading role towards achieving sustainable digital and data ecosystems. With a growing focus on Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) factors, Digi+ and ENTRUST are timely initiatives that will address the challenges across the ESG spectrum through a highly collaborative engagement model that benefits from the Digital and Data expertise in IVI.”

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