Waterford News

Regional economy and international collaborations at the core of WIT’s research strategy

WIT Prof Willie Donnelly Dr Mark WhiteWaterford Institute of Technology (WIT) published its aspirational three-year research strategy with a positive future outlook very much at its core. 

For over 20 years WIT’s research and innovation community has been at the forefront of the social and economic development of Waterford and the south east region. The institute has created international centres of excellence in the areas of advanced manufacturing, ICT, biopharma, agriculture and financial services.  Its research base is truly international through collaborations with leading universities and industry partners across the world.

The 2020-2023 research strategy builds on this foundation and will contribute to ensuring WIT will have the research and innovation leadership expected from a university of international standing. This strategy builds on the ongoing message of progressive and cutting-edge research that the Vice President for Research, Dr Mark White, has been driving since joining the institute in 2018. “The future of WIT and WIT Research is very positive for many reasons, not least the welcomed transition to becoming a technological university. This strategy outlines our objectives to improving our enterprise, civic, social and economic impact in the south east and Ireland which will enhance WIT’s contribution to research and innovation.”

WIT is proud of the academic leadership in the European Framework programme, Enterprise Ireland Technology Gateway network and Science Foundation Ireland Centres which continue to generate significant funding for research projects and PhD graduates.

“Collaboration is key to meaningful research and WIT has a rich heritage of successful international collaborations with leading universities, academic and industry partners across the world resulting in the flow of state-of-the-art knowledge and skilled people in to the region. For this strategy to be effective, we will be encouraging the creation of even more partnerships beyond the institute to improve the knowledge transfer of our researchers. We will also continue to leverage and develop collaborators to create a multi-disciplinary research environment providing meaningful impact on the region,” Dr White continued.

President of WIT, Prof Willie Donnelly, highlighted the institutional vision to create an entity with the scale, autonomy, attractiveness and performance of an international university with the ambition of being among the top 100 ‘young’ universities by 2030, a vision shared with colleagues in IT Carlow. “Research excellence, doctoral education, knowledge transfer and international performance account for almost three quarters of the assessment of ‘young’ universities therefore this ambitious and committed strategy to being a research-led organisation is essential to achieving our objectives,” he explains.

Alongside the commitment to social and economic impact, collaboration and becoming a research-led organisation, is the continued dedication to industry nationwide. WIT’s research centres, Arclabs Research and Innovation Centre and the Technology Transfer Office (TTO) have a track record of supporting indigenous industry in their research and development endeavours. As the only institute to host three Technology Gateways funded by Enterprise Ireland with an overarching goal of providing support to industry from start-up to scale, WIT aims to build on this reputation by promoting and delivering research and development as an outsourced service function allowing them to optimise R&D tax credits without costly investments.

The launch of this strategy comes just weeks after WIT claimed the coveted Sunday Times Institute of Technology of the Year 2021 award. The impact of WIT research played a significant role in securing this award for the third time, with the success in European funding and the key role WIT plays in the region as deciding factors highlighted by the editor.

With the full details of the report available on WIT’s website, additional key strategic actions are:

  • Utilise the funding opportunities available to the Irish researchers in the Ireland 2040 strategic plan by maximising on the Disruptive Technologies Innovation Fund to create research with societal benefits.
  • Create an environment that can attract and retain creative people with a concern for making a difference though education and research. Successful research institutions add value to the efforts of their people.
  • In response to the imminent departure of the UK, WIT will establish a WIT-UK joint Research Professorial programme assigning a distinguished UK-based research professor to each School in WIT
  • Collaborate with the Southern Regional Assembly and support, through our research and innovation services, the goal of advancing the capacities of Waterford as a Smart City.
  • Continue our success in the forthcoming Horizon Europe programme with an aim of retaining the title of leading Irish IoT in ICT funding


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