8 Irish researchers offered €11m to develop revolutionary science (updated)

11 Dec 2014

Eight Irish researchers across different scientific fields have been offered €11m by the European Research Council (ERC), making it the largest grant to be awarded to Irish-based researchers in a single year.

Provided under the European Research Council (ERC) starting grants scheme, the eight researchers from Dublin City University (DCU), University College Dublin (UCD), University College Cork (UCC), the National University of Ireland, Galway (NUIG) and Trinity College Dublin (TCD) will cover topics including solar energy, neuroscience, tissue engineering, evolutionary biology, disability legislation and environmental law.

The ERC’s starting grants programme supports up-and-coming researchers who are about to establish a proper research team and conduct independent research in Europe.

The scheme targets promising researchers who have demonstrated the ‘ground-breaking nature, ambition and feasibility of their scientific proposal’.

One of the Irish researchers awarded a portion of this funding, Dr Eiliónoír Flynn of NUI Galway, is exploring the issue of giving a voice to those with intellectual disabilities by supporting those individuals who self-identify as disabled to develop personal narratives about their experiences in exercising, or being denied, legal capacity.

Dr Eucharia Meehan, director of the the Irish Research Council (IRC), said ERC grants are particularly important for social science and humanities researchers who develop their pioneering and frontier research largely on their own initiative.

“We took a specific strategy over the last year to increase our support for this cohort in both our research project funding but also in specific bursaries to nurture these particular applicants, and it has certainly paid off,” said Meehan.

Update 12/12/2014: Siliconrepublic.com has since received word that the original figures of nine researchers receiving €12.5m was announced prematurely and is, in fact, eight researchers receiving €11m.

Microscope image via Shutterstock

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic