Want to pinpoint the nucleus of all that is current and exciting in Ireland’s telecommunications research? That place is Ireland’s national research centre for Future Networks and Communications, CONNECT at Trinity College, Dublin.

Based on Westland Row, the red brick building in which CONNECT is housed already has form when it comes to innovation: In 1888 John Boyd Dunlop of Dunlop Tyres patented the pneumatic tyre here. Today, CONNECT are exploring Dublin’s considerable potential as a testbed for the Internet of Things; the biggest tech revolution of the modern age, which will see anything that can be connected become connected, from cars to cities.

Connect at Innovation Showcase 2015

How its future networks can help to connect anything to the internet – including cows in a field.

What CONNECT does has the potential to impact on all of us. As well as the intellectual and academic importance of the research done here, its practical application is just as relevant. According to CONNECT’s Andrew O’Connell, there is a strong culture here of commercialising the research, taking it from the lab and turning it into a commercially viable product or service. “Many CONNECT researchers have already generated spin out companies,” he says, “creating new employment opportunities in the process.”

Over 150 researchers are involved in CONNECT’s extended research team, with many working across other campuses around the country, including Dublin City University, Dublin Institute of Technology and University College Dublin. As it wins fresh funding for new projects, that number of researchers is set to increase further still. CONNECT, jointly funded by Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) and industry, also works with a number of large companies such as Intel, Google and Rivada Networks.

Putting the A in STEAM

Professor Linda Doyle, Director, CONNECT, speaking at Inspirefest 2015

Over the last year, CONNECT has had a number of significant funding successes, most recently an EU funding win of €6M, with which CONNECT will lead a major new postdoctoral programme, EDGE, with two other SFI research centres led out of Trinity – ADAPT  and AMBER. Significantly, CONNECT also values the creative arts, and has several artists working on different projects, exploring how arts and engineering intersect – Connect Director Prof. Linda Doyle, a key player in the Smart Dublin initiative, currently holds the title of ‘Professor of Engineering and Arts’. She’ll be speaking at the forthcoming Inspirefest promoting diversity and inclusion in science, technology engineering and maths – it all takes place at the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre from 30 June – 2 July 2016.

Technology moves fast and CONNECT, at barely one-years-old, is accelerating at speed with a success rate that can only suggest an even brighter and more brilliant future.

Claire is a Dublin-based journalist who contributes to a wide range of publications including The Irish Independent and Image magazine. She occasionally reviews restaurants, and loves a good crime novel.

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