Science Foundation Ireland is investing €100 million in six specialist centres to train postgraduate researchers.

700 students will be trained as part of the SFI Centres for Research Training programme in areas that have been identified as being important for future skills.

These cross a broad range of specialities, including machine learning, digitally enhanced reality, advanced networks, data science, artificial intelligence and genomics.

The centres will see the higher education sector and 90 industry partners brought together.

It is hoped that in time the centres will start delivering a pipeline of highly trained researchers who can go on to further research or bring their skills into industry.

"SFI aims for this to be the best programme in the world providing major opportunities for PhD students in Ireland and a rich source of outstanding graduates who will be sought after by employers from both the private and public sectors," said Professor Mark Ferguson, Director General of SFI and Chief Scientific Adviser to the Government.

All the main universities and many Institutes of Technology are involved with the programme, the first phase of which is focused on the area of "Data and ICT Skills for the Future".

"In line the Government’s new Future Jobs initiative, which we will launch in the coming days, these programmes will allow students to develop and learn about critical technologies for the future in areas like machine learning, artificial intelligence and more," said Heather Humphreys, Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation.

"This is all part of our wider effort to ensure that we are preparing now for tomorrow’s economy."

Recruitment has already begun with postgraduate students from across the country being encouraged to apply.