LONDON The pending loss of over a thousand manufacturing jobs in Ireland following Dell's decision to shift manufacturing to Poland is being partially redressed with the creation of several hundred electronics industry related R&D jobs in the country.
The main backers of the Cell Broadband Engine IBM, Sony and Toshiba have chosen Trinity College, Dublin, as a major development centre for applications of the chip that already powers Sony's Playstation 3 and some of Toshiba's lap-tops.
And Alps Electric in Cork is to set up a project to design car safety technology for the European market, while Shimadzu is collaborating with The Applied Optics Group in NUIG Galway in the area of imaging techniques.
The Alps team will work in the areas of both mechanical construction and software controls and build on the HAPTICS technology of the group. It will build significant technical capability and knowledge within the Irish operation and strengthens its position within the Alps group.
The applications centre for the Cell Broadband Engine will be located within Trinity's Graphics, Vision and Visualisation (GV2) Research Group, which is funded by IDA and Enterprise Ireland.
The trio have been expanding their partnerships with R&D centres. For instance, late last year, IBM, Toshiba and Sony said they would work on the Cell processor with researchers at the Georgia Tech College of Computing. The project will focus on developing applications and productivity tools based on the cell microprocessor.
None of the companies involved have to date announced details of the number of engineers that would be employed on the projects in Ireland.
Shimadzu, a manufacturer of precision instruments, will be working with the Applied Optics Group which, it says, leads in the field of novel imaging techniques and has a number of patents in this area. The Applied Optics Group is funded by Science Foundation Ireland.
The investments follow a government led trade mission to Japan.
"It is testament to the strength of the R&D sector in Ireland that companies such as Sony and IBM chose Ireland as the location for such R&D projects," said IDA Ireland chief executive Barry O’ Leary.
Commenting on the mission, Irish Taoiseach (Prime Minister) Brian Cowen noted that over Euros 46 million in new business was also secured by Irish export firms.
For instance, Cork based Firecomms, which develops develops high-speed plastic optical fibre transceivers,
secured investment by Alps Electric Ltd.
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