Three hundred jobs are to be created through a new centre for data analytics.
The centre, named Insight, will place four universities, including DCU, NUI Galway, UCC and UCD at an €88m research centre in Dublin.
They will work with small start-up companies as well as large multi nationals to match up research with real life industry needs.
The positions will be rolled out at 12 "spin outs", but the Government says thousands of other jobs will be created indirectly.
Four universities, 30 firms and 200 researchers will unite for Insight, headed by Science Foundation Ireland (SFI).
It will receive funding of €58m from the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation through SFI, with €30m from the 30 companies, ranging from small Irish start-ups to established SMEs (small and medium enterprises) and large multinationals.
Jobs Minister Richard Bruton said big data is a sector growing globally at 40% per annum.
“This is a sector where Ireland has the potential to gain competitive advantage and attract significant numbers of investments and jobs, and we are putting in place measures to ensure that we can deliver on that potential,” he said.
“The establishment of this world-class SFI research centre in data analytics, with a total investment of €88m supported by my department, is a strong signal of our ambition in this area.”
Insight maintains it will lead to the creation of 300 direct jobs over the next six years through 12 new spin-out companies, as well as to the training of the next generation of data analytics experts.
The centre for data analytics, the largest of its kind in the country, is a joint initiative between researchers at UCD, NUI Galway, UCC and DCU and will be based across all four institutions.
Researchers from Ireland’s leading ICT centres will develop a new generation of data analytics technologies in a number of key application areas,
Professor Barry Smyth, chief executive of Insight, said: “Data analytics represents a huge growth opportunity for Ireland and we are perfectly positioned to take advantage of it.
“Spending on big data technologies is growing at 30% per annum as demand for data analytics skills continues to outstrip supply.
“In Insight we have brought together the country’s leading data analytics researchers to meet this demand and create new opportunities for Ireland and our industry partners.”