A €14.5 million research programme to study how internet connected objects can be used to improve the quality of life of ordinary citizens living in urban areas is being launched today.

ENABLE will see researchers work in partnership with more than two dozen companies, including Intel and Huawei.

The internet of things is a network of devices, machines, objects and sensors all connected to the internet.

ENABLE will see 60 researchers in the three existing Science Foundation Ireland funded research centres CONNECT, Lero and Insight, come together to examine how such technology can be used to help people living in cities and towns.

Such assistance will be necessary because it is predicted that by 2050 up to 70% of the world’s population will live in urban zones, putting pressure on resources and infrastructure.

The kinds of areas the research will focus on include water management, air pollution, transport congestion, data privacy and cyber security.

Science Foundation Ireland will provide €10 million of the funding, with the remaining €4.5 million coming from research agreements with industry partners.

The initiative will be led from Trinity College, but will involve researchers from seven other academic institutions around the country.

Citizens will also be asked to get involved in the research.

ENABLE is part of SFI’s Spokes Programme that allows its existing research centres to connect up with each other in order to tackle new problems and involve new industry and academic partners.

"The high industry cost-share component of ENABLE’s funding reflects the importance and urgency of its research programme to industry," said Professor Mark Ferguson, Director General of SFI.

"We expect ENABLE to deliver excellent research results and, through its collaboration with its industry partners, to deliver significant economic and societal impact during its lifetime."

The project has been welcomed by the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Heather Humphreys, whose department funds Science Foundation Ireland.

"ENABLE will involve significant collaboration with multiple industry partners ranging from large multinationals to SMEs," she said.

"This engagement will ensure that the research outcomes will have industrial relevance."

"I also welcome ENABLE’s ambitious plans to take its research outside the lab by using test-beds such as Croke Park and the Mallow Urban Rural Testbed, so ensuring that the research outcomes will find practical applications."