Ireland joins six-year EU research programme


18 Aug 2004

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A significant number of scientists across Europe will be funded to engage in biodiversity research as part of a new partnership between the Irish Research Council for Science, Engineering and Technology (IRCSET) and the European Science Foundation (ESF).

The six-year programme is designed to stimulate collaborative research between scientists in 15 EU states, including Ireland. Research funding bodies in each state are participating in the Biodiversity Eurocores Initiative, the first element of which has been launched with a call for Irish research proposals in the field of biodiversity science.

Under the EuroDiversity research funding, outline research proposals are being sought which are designed to advance specific understanding of biodiversity change; the impact of biodiversity change on ecosystem functioning; and the interface between biological and social systems including the socio-economic consequences of change within ecosystems.

Martin Hynes, director of IRCSET, commented: “Biodiversity science must bridge the gaps that exist between the natural and social sciences, between works on terrestrial, freshwater and marine ecosystems, works on plants, animals and micro-organisms, and between theoretical, experimental and observational approaches. The Eurocores EuroDiversity programme aims to meet this research need by fostering top-quality biodiversity research across Europe, including Ireland.

“This new initiative brings us closer to our goal of supporting the continued flow of new research talent so vital to a sustainable research system. Transnational collaboration is essential to this programme and will facilitate the exchange of ideas and information among researchers across Europe. This initiative also creates an opportunity for national funding agencies and research organisations to work together to achieve international standards of excellence and to offer research leadership in the global arena,” he concluded.

The principle behind the Eurocores Scheme is to provide a framework for national research funding organisations to fund collaborative research, in and across all scientific areas. Participating funding agencies from across Europe, including IRCSET, have jointly defined the research programme, the type of proposals required and the peer review procedure to be followed. The ESF will provide support for cross-border networking while the funding of the actual research stays with the national research funding organisations. The programme will run for six years, with research funding starting in 2005.

Proposals must involve participation from a minimum of two individuals conducting the research from two different countries. The closing date under this first call for outline proposals is the 30 September 2004. More information can be found at: www.embark.ie.

By Brian Skelly