€5.5m in funding announced for 41 new Covid-19 research projects

24 Sep 2020

From left: Minister Simon Harris, Prof Zena Moore and Prof Donal O’Shea at RCSI University of Medicine and Health Sciences. Image: Shane O'Neill/Coalesce

Funding under the SFI-led initiative focuses on supporting projects that respond to societal needs that have arisen from the pandemic.

Following the first batch of funding for Covid-19 research projects in April and a subsequent announcement of 11 more projects in June, 41 additional projects have now received funding under the Rapid Response Research, Development and Innovation programme led by Science Foundation Ireland (SFI).

Today (24 September) Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science Simon Harris, TD, announced an investment of €5.5m in these new projects.

“It is clear this virus is with us for a significant period of time and yet we still have a lot to learn about it,” he said.

“The 41 projects announced today are part of a national drive to find solutions to the challenges we face now, and to help us prepare to live in a changing environment that requires new thinking and innovative approaches.”

The new projects are from researchers in 10 institutions across the country: University College Dublin, University of Limerick, NUI Galway, Trinity College Dublin, RCSI University of Medicine and Health Sciences, Dublin City University, Maynooth University, University College Cork, TU Dublin and Cork Institute of Technology.

The projects cover a wide variety of Covid-19 research topics and aim to address a number of challenges posed by the pandemic. These include how to reduce skin damage on the face from PPE, early detection of secondary waves of infection, and saliva sampling for the detection and diagnosis of Covid-19.

SFI’s director general, Prof Mark Ferguson, said this funding is “critical” to supporting Ireland’s National Action Plan and response to the pandemic.

“The projects announced today will play a pivotal role in developing societal and economic solutions to challenges we face,” he added.

“In the global response to Covid-19, collaboration and partnership are key, so I am delighted that funding for 41 more outstanding projects is announced today. As a nation, we are stronger when we work together, and we will continue to generate solutions to the many challenges presented by the Covid-19 pandemic.”

The Covid-19 Rapid Response Research, Development and Innovation programme was established in March by SFI, Enterprise Ireland, IDA Ireland, the Health Research Board and Irish Research Council. All of the projects funded have been internationally peer reviewed at the assessment stage.

Jenny Darmody is the editor of Silicon Republic