€28m IRC funding to boost next generation of researchers in Ireland

6 Oct 2021

Brakemi Egbedi from Waterford Institute of Technology, whose research focuses on the possible pharmaceutical uses for shell waste. Image: Marc O'Sullivan

The investment will fund 254 postgraduate scholarships and 76 postdoctoral fellowships across a broad range of topics.

The Government has today (6 October) announced €28m in Irish Research Council (IRC) funding for the next generation of researchers.

The IRC’s Government of Ireland programmes will fund 330 awards in total. This includes 254 postgraduate scholarships and 76 postdoctoral fellowships.

According to Minister for Further and Higher Education Simon Harris, TD, 40 postgraduate scholarships out of the 254 will be awarded to researchers from Irish technological universities.

Several awards will also be funded by strategic partners, including the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Foreign Affairs, and Met Éireann.

Awardees will conduct research on a variety of topics, ranging from bicycle-sharing systems to the use of 3D printed scaffolds to enhance spinal cord regeneration. Several projects relating to Covid-19 and the impact of the pandemic are also being funded.

According to the IRC’s director Peter Brown, the awards are “extremely competitive” and attract applications from researchers all over the world.

“The scope of awards across and between disciplines supports the balanced development of our research system and ensures that we are best positioned for the challenges of an uncertain future,” Brown added.

Some of the researchers being funded include:

Brakemi Egbedi, Waterford Institute of Technology

Egbedi will research whether novel antimicrobial compounds can be extracted from waste shells generated from seafood processing companies for potential use in pharmaceutical applications.

Vincent Thorne, Trinity College Dublin

Thorne’s research will examine whether there is a link between increased bicycle supply and urban pollution. It will also estimate the benefit-cost ratio of bicycle-sharing systems.

Charles Alves de Castro, TU Dublin

This research aims to determine personality traits that make young people susceptible to control by social media influencers and work towards teaching them how to avoid the negative issues associated with such undue influence.

Cian Fogarty, Trinity College Dublin

His research will explore improved solar thermal technology for decarbonising residential heating.

Ian Woods, RCSI University of Medicine and Health Sciences

Woods’ research aims to develop 3D printed scaffolds to enhance spinal cord regeneration.

Aoife Kathryn Lucid, University College Cork

Lucid’s research will use machine learning to increase the efficiency of thermoelectric materials that will allow for efficient conversion of waste heat and solar thermal energy into electricity, reducing the demand for fossil fuels.

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Blathnaid O’Dea is Careers reporter at Silicon Republic