48 frontier research projects to get €24m IRC funding boost

10 Oct 2022

Image: © VectorMine/Stock.adobe.com

Funded projects range from 6G tech to climate science communication, and a Ukrainian researcher will collaborate on one of the projects.

The Irish Research Council (IRC) is investing €24m in “curiosity-driven” research projects.

This funding will go to 48 projects under the Starting and Consolidator Laureate Awards Programme, which was established in 2017 to boost frontier research across the country.

The programme is split into two streams, with early-career researchers to get ‘starting’ funding of €400,000 each and ‘consolidator’ funding of €600,000 going to mid-career academics.

The selected projects range from the humanities to STEM-focused research. This includes new approaches to cancer treatment, 6G technology development, interculturalism in rural Ireland, changing storm patterns and the communication of climate science, to name a few.

Dr Louise Callinan, director of the IRC, said that the 48 recipients “have the potential to make groundbreaking advances in their respective fields and to bolster Ireland’s competitiveness in European research funding”.

This is the second round of funding under the Laureate Awards Programme. Callinan said that many of the programme’s first-round awardees are due to complete their research next year.

“It is testament to the success of the programme that three of the first-round awardees have already gone on to receive European Research Council funding,” she added.

Among the researchers to receive funding in this round are Dr Tríona Ní Chonghaile of RCSI University of Medicine and Health Sciences, who will investigate the dynamic effect that age has on tumour biology.

Meanwhile Dr Jane Suiter of Dublin City University will examine the potential of communicative deliberation for climate action, and Dr Lisa Orme of Maynooth University will examine how periods with intense or frequent storms can cause societal challenges in Ireland.

A Ukrainian researcher who recently came to Ireland will collaborate on one of the projects under an IRC scheme. The European Commission also has a dedicated support scheme for Ukrainian researchers who have been affected by the ongoing war.

“These talented researchers will no doubt contribute hugely towards the world-class excellence that is the bedrock of our research system in Ireland, pushing the boundaries of research knowledge and finding new discoveries that deepen our understanding of the world around us, by looking to the past, questioning the present, and unlocking our future potential,” said Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science Simon Harris, TD.

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Blathnaid O’Dea was a Careers reporter at Silicon Republic until 2024.