A consortium including the Local Enterprise Office (LEO) Offaly, Offaly County Council and I-LOFAR has been awarded €458,240 from the Enterprise Ireland Regional Development Fund to establish “STREAM Creative Suite” in Birr Technology Centre.
Orla Martin, Head of Enterprise in LEO Offaly explained that STREAM Creative Suite will be a natural extension to the I-LOFAR Project. The I-LOFAR radio telescope, situated in Birr Castle, is the Irish Station in the largest radio telescope in the world. There are 52 LOFAR Stations across Europe, generating 3 Gbps per station, over 150 Gigabits per second, more than 6 Petabytes per year.
Therefore, I-LOFAR provides a unique opportunity to access big data in real time. This data can be utilised for training purposes and for proving algorithms for many sectors. Professors and researchers of universities affiliated with the international LOFAR network together with Software Developers and Data Analysts from companies operating within or in cooperation with companies based in the Midland Region will have the opportunity to use the STREAM Creative Suite – either through regular hot desk usage or through the establishment of a base there.
The space will comprise an open plan work area for researchers, a training room and smaller office spaces. The programme will also include a residential/visiting researcher programme, support for workshops, summer internships, and training in Data Analytics and related topics. The funding will also support the salary costs of a manager who will be hired for 3 years to run the suite and develop future activities.
The Creative Suite will bring together researchers and practitioners in areas such as the visual arts, multi-media, technology and astronomy, who share a common interest in Big Data.
Offaly County Council Cathaoirleach Cllr. Danny Owens welcomed the news and acknowledged the collaborative efforts those who made the successful application: Offaly County Council’s Chief Executive, Ms. Anna Marie Delaney; Head of Enterprise, Ms. Orla Martin; Prof. Peter Gallagher, I-LOFAR Consortium and Mr. Joe Hogan, Founder of Openet.