Cork's Tyndall National Institute is seeking applicants for its new deep-tech start up programme.

The area of deep-tech covers - among other things - artificial intelligence, robotics, blockchain, advanced material science, photonics and electronics.

Discoveries in the area have applications in industries as diverse as computing, energy and clean-tech, telecoms and medicine.

Individuals and teams with scalable ideas in the area of deep-tech are being invited to apply to the Tyndall Explorer pre-accelerator programme which, as well as a €20,000 prize fund, offers access to Europe's semiconductor leaders.

The idea of the programme is to stimulate the deep-tech economy in Ireland.

Global investment in the area has soared from an estimated $9.8 billion in 2015 to $17.8 billion in 2018, with €7.7 billion invested in the area in Europe last year alone.

"Tyndall Explorer aims to help emerging entrepreneurial ideas and early-stage start-ups in the area of photonics and microelectronics - covering technology areas such as energy efficient chips, power semi-conductors, smart sensors, advanced optical equipment, and compound materials and applications," the Insitute said in its call for applicants.

"Tyndall is most interested in ideas that will address the global societal and environmental challenges that we face today - solutions for health and wellbeing, a greener sustainable society, smart agriculture and transport. Deep-tech has the potential to address these challenges through smart medical devices, rural broadband, autonomous vehicles and efficient light sources and displays," it added.

The call for entries is open to any resident of the Republic of Ireland or Europe, engaged in research or in industry, who have a deep-tech idea at start-up stage that's preferably a 'globally scalable concept'.

Entrants must not have previously received investment funding for the idea.

"There are huge opportunities for Ireland to lead the way in deep-tech solutions. We are already competing in technology development and initiatives such as this will sharpen Ireland's competitive edge and create new SMEs and jobs across a variety of sectors," Dr Patrick Morrissey, Tyndall Explorer lead, Head of Photonics Operations and IPIC Centre Manager said.

"We are seeking to attract people with an explorer-type personality, very much like John Tyndall. Tyndall had a fearless personality and demonstrated this through his scientific experiments, explanations and through his mountaineering exploits," he added.

Based in UCC, Tyndall National Institute is a research centre specialising in information and communications technology.

With a focus on the areas of nanotechnology, electronics and photonics, the Institute works with industry and academia to transform research into products and solutions in the areas of electronics, communications, energy, health, agri-tech and the environment.

Earlier this year, Tyndall launched a five year-strategy focused on using deep tech to help tackle issues such as the climate crisis.