Irish research into climate studies has received a significant EU boost.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has revealed that 41 Irish researchers were approved for a total of €12.9m for climate-related studies on a variety of related projects.
Part of the EU’s Horizon 2020 (H2020) fund, the money will be spent over three years. The researchers were finally chosen after years of applications were processed.
The ‘Climate Action’ sub-category of H2020 represents 4pc of the total €3bn in funding, though the EPA claims there are far more strands to climate research than what is in that relatively narrow band of approved studies.
“As well as providing national funding, the EPA promotes international funding and collaborative opportunities,” said Dr Alice Wemaere, EPA research manager.
This allows for the generation of “high-quality, relevant research that can inform policy and develop solutions” for the environment and overall health, she said.
Two of the successful Irish-led proposals are looking at Dublin as a hub for various aspects of environmental focus.
For example, the iSCAPE project (Improving the Smart Control of Air Pollution in Europe) is investigating air quality, led by Francesco Pilla at UCD.
Elsewhere, the Connecting project (Co-production with Nature for City Transitioning, Innovation and Governance), is led by Marcus Collier in Trinity College, with nature-based solutions as its target.
There’s actually plenty happening in this space at the moment. Earlier this month, for example, a ‘renewable engine’ project was created at Northern Ireland’s South West College thanks to a bumper funding allowance from the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB).
It is hoped that a cluster of research and innovation SMEs will be developed on the back of the project, supported by governments both sides of the border.
Armed with €5.8m in SEUPB funding, the aim is to increase the commercialisation of new products and processes within the renewable energy sector.
“This research will prove invaluable for businesses working within the renewable energy sector in terms of increasing both their competitiveness and profitability,” said Gina McIntyre, CEO of the SEUPB.
The programme aims to generate mounds of research developed at PhD level and above, and the research will hopefully lead to commercial advantage for the participating businesses.