Posted: 06/03/19

Trinity College Dublin, in partnership with Technological University Dublin (TU Dublin), Dublin City University (DCU), University College Dublin (UCD) and National University of Ireland Galway (NUIG), is leading a new €17 million SFI Centre for Research Training in Digitally-Enhanced Reality, D-REAL.

D-REAL is supported by two SFI Research Centres, the ADAPT Centre for Digital Content Technology and the Insight Centre for Data Analytics and will be one of six new Research Training Centres with a total investment of €100 million.  The announcement was made by the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Heather Humphreys TD and Minister of State for Training, Skills, Innovation, Research and Development, John Halligan TD, yesterday.

Speaking about D-REAL, Professor Vinny Wade, Director of the ADAPT Centre and Co-PI of D-REAL said: “D-REAL is an innovative, industry partnered, research training programme that equips PhD students with deep ICT knowledge and skills across Digital Platform Technology, Content and Media Technology and their application in industry sectors. D-REAL postgraduate students will make research breakthroughs in areas such as multimodal interaction, multimodal digital assistants, multilingual speech processing, real-time multilingual translation and interaction, machine intelligence for video analytics and multimodal personalisation and agency.  The ADAPT Centre is a world leader in pushing the boundaries of digital media technologies and looks forward to D-REAL funded postgraduates working in the ADAPT laboratories and academic teams.”

D-REAL is now open for recruitment, and postgraduate students across the country are encouraged to send expressions of interest to to info@d-real.ie for this innovative programme.

Professor Carol O’Sullivan, Head of the School of Computer Science and Statistics at Trinity College Dublin and lead applicant of D-REAL, said: “The line between the physical and digital worlds is becoming increasingly blurred as we go about our daily lives. Multimodal digital media, across text, audio, image, video and Virtual/Augmented Reality, are rapidly reshaping our working and living environments. What does it take to seamlessly blend digital media and interaction within the physical world? Think of a multilingual chat-bot who translates text to speech and appears before you in augmented reality as an animated and engaging virtual avatar. Leaders of the future will need to work across disciplinary boundaries and the SFI Centre for Research Training in Digitally-Enhanced Reality (D-REAL) will contribute by developing digital skills for next generation human-centric media technology.”

D-REAL has been awarded funding of €13.3 million by Science Foundation Ireland with the remainder made up from industry partnerships.  The 120 students trained in D-REAL will extend the boundaries of existing disciplines and result in new inter- and cross-disciplinary discoveries that will make a significant scientific impact and further enhance Ireland’s reputation for research excellence. The D-REAL student experience will be focused on producing a talent pool of academically outstanding future research leaders with the skills and knowledge required to address the future challenges of an ever-changing work environment.

Whether via multimodal devices such as smart phones, embedded displays and IoT, or virtual assistants and VR/AR experiences, media technology is revolutionising the way we interact, collaborate and behave. D-REAL PhD students will develop skills for next generation human-centric media technology, including machine intelligence-based sensing and understanding of digital content and information, its transformation and personalisation, its multimodal interaction and delivery via speech, text, video, image and VR/AR, and its impactful application in multiple industry and societal settings.

Welcoming the announcement of the SFI Centres for Research Training, Minister for Business, Enterprise, and Innovation, Heather Humphreys TD said: “In line the Government’s new Future Jobs initiative, which we will launch in the coming days, the programme will allow students to develop and learn about critical technologies for the future.This is all part of our wider effort to ensure that we are preparing now for tomorrow’s economy.”

Overall the six new SFI Centres for Research Training programme will train 700 postgraduate students in areas of nationally and internationally identified future skills needs of digital, data and ICT.

For more information on the SFI Centres for Research Training programme, visit www.sfi.ie/funding/funding-calls/centres-for-res-training.

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