Trinity College Dublin and South East Technological University’s Walton Institute, hosted CONNECT’s first in-person conference since 2020 in the Tower Hotel, Waterford city on 7th and 8th September 2022.

CONNECT is Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) research centre for Future Networks and Communications and brings together world-class expertise from ten Irish academic institutes to create a one-stop-shop for telecommunications research, development and innovation. The centre engages with over 50 companies including large multinationals, SMEs and start-ups.

Over 130 delegates from across ten of Higher Education Institutes (HEIs) attended including Trinity College Dublin (TCD), CONNECT’s host institution, as well as partner institutions Munster Technological University (MTU), Dublin City University (DCU), Maynooth University (MU), Technological University Dublin (TU Dublin), Tyndall National Institute (TNI), University College Cork (UCC), University College Dublin (UCD), University of Limerick (UL) and Walton Institute, South East Technological University (SETU).

Prof Veronica Campbell, President of SETU attended to talk about engagement across the network and welcomed the conference to the region.

Dr Deirdre Kilbane, Director of Research in Walton Institute and Principal Investigator in CONNECT, is at the forefront of CONNECT’s future and quantum technologies. Commenting on the importance of collaborations with international universities, Deirdre states “this emerging technology has huge potential to transform innovation through high-precision sensing and securing communications.”

Keynote speakers Prof Ryan Camacho, the US research lead of CoQREATE, a €3million US-Ireland centre to centre programme for quantum networks, and Prof Simon Cotton, Director of the Centre for Wireless Innovation (CWI) at Queen’s University Belfast (QUB) addressed the topics of ‘The Quantum Future’ and ‘Building an inclusive connected future across the island of Ireland’. These topics align with SFI’s mission to use technology to shape our future.

CoQREATE was launched at the conference by Prof. Dan Kilper and Prof. Ryan Camacho from the Centre for Quantum Networks (CQN) in the University of Arizona who will lead CoQREATE along with Prof. Mauro Paternostro from QTeQ at Queens University Belfast. Dr. Deirdre Kilbane and colleague Jerry Horgan, Head of Division at Walton Institute, will develop quantum network architectures for ground and space-based quantum communications, putting Waterford on the map for quantum technologies.

The project is a US-Ireland research and development partnership to investigate technologies that will form the foundations of a quantum internet. Quantum computers require quantum internet for connectivity and researchers will collaborate to learn from existing networks to accelerate the creation of quantum internet.