Science Foundation Ireland

CONNECT in $3m US-Ireland research project

Three CONNECT researchers – Professor Liam Barry (DCU), Professor Linda Doyle (Trinity College Dublin) and Dr Marco Ruffini (Trinity College Dublin) are to participate in a ground-breaking collaborative project supported by Science Foundation Ireland, the National Science Foundation USA (NSF) and the Department for Employment and Learning in Northern Ireland. The research will explore ways of delivering faster internet speed while carrying large volumes of data with lower energy consumption and cost.

Funded through the The US-Ireland Research and Development Partnership, the $3 million research collaboration is the first tripartite Centre-to-Centre research collaboration between the US, Northern Ireland, and the Republic of Ireland. The project will address optical integrated chip technology for use in data centres. The research collaboration aims to improve the agility of high-bandwidth optical connections that support high-capacity cloud applications – delivering faster internet speed while also reducing the energy consumption and cost.

Partnering with CONNECT in Ireland will be another Science Foundation Ireland funded research centre, Irish Photonics Integration Centre (IPIC). In Northern Ireland, the research partner is the Computer Science Research Institute (CSRI), whilst in the US, the Centre for Integrated Access Networks (CIAN), a National Science Foundation funded engineering research centre is the main collaborator.

Photo of Professor Barry

Prof. Liam Barry, Dublin City University and Principal Investigator at IPIC and Connect commented: “The development of optical and photonic technologies will be key to enable the next generation internet and data centers that can handle the massive predicted increase in data transfer. This project will draw on expertise covering photonic devices to optical network architectures across the research centres in Ireland and the US, which will allow us to provide holistic solutions for future data centres.

Speaking about the announcement, Director General of Science Foundation Ireland and Chief Scientific Adviser to the Government of Ireland, Professor Mark Ferguson said: “Ireland’s significant international reputation for research excellence continues to grow. The cooperation and sharing of expertise in this prestigious research Centre-to-Centre collaboration will bring huge value and benefit to all the participating countries. Linking these Centres together, provides more opportunities both for the research institutes and for the potential collaborators.  I anticipate that significant advances will be made by this collaborative research effort and that the results generated will have significant economic and societal impact for all”.


Prof. Nasser Peyghambarian, CIAN director and Principal Investigator at CIAN, said: “This effort will complement CIAN activity in silicon photonics integration by allowing us to focus on packaging of the photonic chips that our foundry partner Sandia National Labs has been providing

Dr. Dan Kilper, CIAN Administrative Director & Project Lead, concluded:  “By bringing together four research centers with experts spanning devices to systems and applications, we can bridge the technology divide and take large steps toward a new, more scalable Internet

The project will form links between the following academic institutions and leading researchers in Ireland and US;

  • Republic of Ireland- Prof. Liam Barry (PI), Dr. Conor McArdle, Dublin City University, Prof. Linda Doyle, CONNECT Director, Prof. Marco Ruffini, Trinity College Dublin; Prof. Paul Townsend, IPIC Director, Dr. Peter O’Brien, Tyndall National Institute/UCC.
  • Ireland & NI: Dublin City University (DCU), Tyndall Institute/University College Cork (UCC), Trinity College Dublin (TCD), University of Ulster (Ulster) Coleraine,
  • CIAN universities including University of Arizona (UA), Columbia University (CU), University of California San Diego (UCSD), and University of California Berkeley (UCB), University of Sothern California (USC)
  • Northern Ireland: – Prof. Gerard Parr (PI), Prof. Bryan Scotney, Prof. Sally McClean and Prof. Philip Morrow, Ulster University;
  • USA:- Prof. Nasser Peyghambarian(PI), CIAN Director, Prof. Dan Kilper, Prof. Robert Norwood, University of Arizona; Prof. Keren Bergman, Columbia University; Prof. Shaya Fainman, University of California, San Diego; Prof. Ming C. Wu, University of California, Berkeley.

Connect in $3m US-Ireland research project

CONNECT is the world leading Science Foundation Ireland Research Centre for Future Networks and Communications. CONNECT is funded under the Science Foundation Ireland Research Centres Programme and is co-funded under the European Regional Development Fund. We engage with over 35 companies including large multinationals, SMEs and start-ups. CONNECT brings together world-class expertise from ten Irish academic institutes to create a one-stop-shop for telecommunications research, development and innovation.

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