Tuesday, 24 April 2018

Minister Halligan announces €13.7 million investment in next generation of research talent

Minister of State for Training, Skills and Innovation, John Halligan TD, today announced an investment of €13.7 million in funding for 22 early career researchers. The awards will be funded through Science Foundation Ireland’s Career Development Award Programme, which supports Ireland’s research talent pipeline by funding excellent researchers still in the early stages of their scientific career. Two of this year’s awards are co-funded with Sustainable Energy Authority Ireland.  The awards will contribute to the advancing research in areas such as energy, materials, environment, technology, and health.

Announcing the awards, Minister of State for Training, Skills and Innovation, John Halligan TD said, “The awards announced today demonstrate the impressive cutting-edge research taking place in the universities across Ireland. The Science Foundation Ireland’s Career Development Awardees are the future leaders of research and innovation in Ireland. Through their promising work, they will continue to shape our research community, and generate positive impacts at a national and global scale. I believe that the important projects receiving funding today will advance Ireland’s economy and society, and further solidify its reputation as a world-leader in scientific advancements.” 

Commenting on the awards Professor Mark Ferguson, Director General of Science Foundation Ireland and Chief Scientific Adviser to the Government of Ireland, stated, “Science Foundation Ireland supports researchers at every stage of their careers. The Career Development Awards are a superb reflection of our investment in early-career researchers who display great potential and lead projects of major impact. This Programme helps those researchers develop the skills and experience necessary to lead Ireland’s future research in areas such as health, energy, materials and technology. The projects have been selected following a rigorous competitive international merit review process.  I look forward to witnessing the positive impacts that these projects will have for Ireland and wish each awardee every success in their continued scientific research and careers.”

The research projects funded are in a range of key strategic areas including:
  • Potential to identify new ways of preventing and treating breast and prostate cancer (Dr Sharon Glynn, NUI Galway)
  • Improving prediction of treatment outcomes of ulcerative colitis in children (Dr Marcus Claesson, University College Cork)
  • Development of intelligent magnetic systems to create safer and more reliable surgical approaches (Dr Padraig Cantillon Murphy, Tyndall National Institute)
  • Enhancing epilepsy diagnosis, prediction and treatment (Dr Tobias Engel, Royal College of Surgeons Ireland)
  • Development of seasonal forecasting approaches to inform strategic water management in Ireland (Dr Conor Murphy, NUI Maynooth)
  • Designing a strategy for sustainable management of mine processing waste through soil remediation and vegetation (Dr Ronan Courtney, University of Limerick)
  • The effect of climate change and pesticide on pollinators and the sustainability of our crops (Dr Dara Stanley, NUI Galway)
  • Collaboration with NASA to advance gamma-ray observations and improve our understanding of gravitational waves (Prof. Sheila McBreen, University College Dublin)
  • Enhancing energy storage capacity to improve battery life for smart phones, electric cars and more (Prof. Brian Rodriguez, University College Dublin)
  • Enabling mobile operators and service providers to deliver high-quality communication to users economically and efficiently (Prof. Giorgios Iosifidis, Trinity College Dublin)


The 22 research projects range in value from €443,653 to €504,729 undertaken in nine research bodies, as follows: National University of Ireland Galway (3), National University of Ireland Maynooth (1), Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (3), Trinity College Dublin (3), Tyndall National institute (3), University College Cork (1), University College Dublin (4), University of Limerick (2), Teagasc (2).