Research is a core dimension of CIT activity. In collaboration with a wide range of organisations including Higher Education Institutions, Industry, State and Voluntary Bodies, CIT is involved in research that contributes to supporting:
- Regional and National Industry.
- The National and EU knowledge economy and Innovation Base.
- Enhanced quality of life within Irish society.
- Quality research postgraduate education at Masters and PhD level.
- Quality undergraduate and taught postgraduate teaching and learning.
The main Institute research activity is primarily (though not exclusively) organised around three Strategic Research Clusters that reflect the CIT current dominant strategic research strengths and critical mass.
There are also new and emerging areas of research and a number of long established centres that engage in research and consultancy.
Across the Institute faculties and constituent colleges, academic staff research interests range across Engineering, Science, Business and Humanities, Music and Art.
The CIT Research mission is to continue to build on niche strengths and to develop sustainable and productive research, innovation, technology transfer and postgraduate education across all its faculties. The Institute research strategy is outlined in the CIT Strategic Plan 2005-2010 and more detailed plans are contained in Research 2011.
On 17th January 2010, CIT formally took possession of the new NIMBUS Centre for Embedded Systems Research and, on 16th March, 65 researchers and students relocated from diverse locations in CIT to the NIMBUS building.
Funded through the HEA Programme for Research in Third Level Institutions (PRTLI) in 2007, NIMBUS is the first building nationally to be completed in the 4th cycle of PRTLI funding and reflects very successful collaboration and project management by the CIT Development Office, the architects RKD, building contractors Walls and the team of researchers for whom the building was designed. In a time of financial constraint, it also reflects well on the team that the project was completed on time and within budget.
The NIMBUS Centre is adjacent to and attached to the Rubicon Centre and its extension (currently under construction). This reflects the determination of the NIMBUS researchers not only to carry out high quality research but also to ensure that the research feeds through to innovation and commercialisation, through licensing and new company start-ups. The integration of the Technologies for Embedded Computing (TEC) Centre (funded by Enterprise Ireland under the Applied Research Enhancement (ARE) programme) with NIMBUS further reflects this determination. This also exposes the Centre’s postgraduate students to an innovation culture throughout their time carrying out research in the Centre. This strategy aligns closely with the recommendations of the recently published report from the Task Force on Innovation which call for a much greater emphasis on ensuring that research feeds through to tangible benefits to industry and on producing graduates who can contribute directly to Ireland’s fast-growing knowledge economy. In this context, NIMBUS is currently training 32 postgraduate researchers and NIMBUS staff is actively involved in undergraduate and postgraduate teaching in the Department of Electronic Engineering in CIT.
The NIMBUS Centre provides space for up to 80 researchers, including facilities for undergraduate project students, visiting postgraduate students and researchers from other institutions and dedicated industry visitor workstations, already in use, where company researchers can work in close collaboration with NIMBUS staff and use NIMBUS research facilities.
NIMBUS is among the most heavily networked buildings in the country with high data rate wired and wireless network points throughout the building and a suite of communications antennae on the roof of the centre facilitate long distance wireless networking. A large area of the ground floor is given over to an open-plan laboratory space which will contain facilities for electronics prototyping and testing, RF/microwave testing and reliability testing. This space will also be used for both small- and large-scale demonstrations of embedded systems applications.
NIMBUS is CIT’s first dedicated research centre and is intended not only to be a showcase for CIT’s research but also to demonstrate CIT’s ability to translate innovative research into economic benefit. As embedded systems can benefit all technology disciplines and can be used in many applications including sensing, energy, health, manufacturing, safety, environment, logistics and business, NIMBUS welcomes collaborations with other researchers and companies interested in these and related topics.