Science Foundation Ireland

CONNECT researchers win SFI Frontiers for the Future awards

Three CONNECT researchers have received funding in SFI’s Frontiers for the Future programme announced by Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, Simon Harris, TD.

The funded projects are among 71 grants valued at €53 million to support frontiers research across 12 Higher Education Institutions through Science Foundation Ireland.

Utz Roedig, incoming CONNECT Principal Investigator at University College Cork, won funding for his work on the security and privacy of personal voice assistants. Describing the project, Utz said:

“Personal Voice Assistants (PVAs) such as Amazon Echo, Siri or Google Home are now commonplace and are increasingly used for interaction with phones, tablets, PCs and smart environments such as automated homes or cars. PVAs collect sensitive information such as conversations and sound cues and are used to access important computer systems requiring access control. This research project advances our understanding of security and privacy issues in the PVA context. We develop methods that allow us to use PVAs securely and in such a way that our privacy concerns are respected.”

David McCloskey, a CONNECT Funded Investigator at Trinity College Dublin, won funding for his research on field-effect phase modulation with 2D nanomaterials. Explaining the research, David said:

“I am studying strong light absorption in ultra-thin semiconductor layers. This effect can be electrically switched leading to applications in electronic displays, communications and photovoltaics. The work could result in new energy efficient communication devices, flexible display technologies, and low cost thin film solar cells.”

Arman Farhang, a CONNECT Associate Investigator at Maynooth University, won funding for his project, NEW WAVE, which is investigating new waveforms for next-generation wireless networks. Arman explains:

“More and more devices are connected wirelessly. This enables new applications and services such as autonomous vehicles. The goal of this project is to ensure such applications are safe, smart and efficient. To accomplish this goal, this project focuses on improving latency, connectivity and reliability of wireless links for applications such as vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) and vehicle-to-everything (V2X) communications, as well as other wireless applications and services. This will be achieved through development of novel and disruptive data transmission and reception technologies that address unique challenges posed by future networks. This contributes towards a safer, smarter and highly connected society.”

Commenting on the SFI Frontiers for the Future programme, Minister Harris said: “Congratulations to all the researchers who have received funding today as part of the SFI Frontiers for the Future Programme. I am delighted to support this programme which funds individual-led research, with an emphasis on areas of high-risk, high-reward, which will help us build a better future for Ireland through discovery, innovation, and impact.” 

Find out more about the SFI Frontiers for the Future programme here.


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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