Congratulations to Prof Marco Ruffini who recently secured funding from the SFI Frontiers for the Future Awards programme, co-funded with SEAI, in collaboration with Prof Dan Kilper (School of Engineering and CONNECT). They were one of 11 STEM-related research projects from Trinity College Dublin to with these awards.  

Their project TwiLight: Twin Lightpaths, A Digital Twin Framework for Full Automation of Disaggregated Optical Networks, seeks to deliver innovations in today’s optical networks, which lack the flexibility require to support the development of new digital systems such as Smart Cities and Virtual/Augmented Reality.  

TwiLight will create a digital twin of the optical network as a safe testing enviroment to 1) help develop and test new solutions, and 2) facilitate fast changes to networks without risking any disruption.  

The awards, each valued at approximately €1.28 million, were announced by Patrick O’Donovan, Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science. 

They are of 4-5 years’ duration and will support postdoctoral positions, PhD students and research assistant and other positions.  

Prof. Sinéad Ryan, Dean of Research at Trinity, said: “I welcome this news; these awards are an investment in world-class research and in our next generation of researchers – such important resources for Ireland’s future. My thanks to all our colleagues for their work on securing this funding for Trinity’s research.” 

Speaking about the awards, Minister O’Donovan said: “These awards support the development of world-class research in areas of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. The projects and higher education institutions are focusing on will help deliver solutions to some of the major challenges facing society, including in healthcare, the environment and technology.” 

Dr Ruth Freeman, Director, Science for Society at Science Foundation Ireland, said: “The SFI Frontiers for the Future awards provide opportunities for independent investigators to conduct highly innovative, original research on important questions. I would like to thank SEAI for collaborating on this programme with SFI, supporting vital research in the area of sustainability.” 

Director of Research and Policy Insights at Sustainability Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI), Margie McCarthy, said: “SEAI is delighted to be a co-funding partner in the Frontiers for the Future Programme. These awards are excellent examples of national innovation and creativity. By supporting independent researchers, we can help grow Ireland’s national capacity to conduct excellent scientific research.  

“We look forward to the new insights and knowledge that the co-funded awards will bring to offshore wind energy support structures and anaerobic digestion ecosystems, and how their results will advance Ireland’s clean energy transit