Eight researchers based in Ireland bag millions in EU grant

31 Jan 2023

Image: © Bits and Splits/Stock.adobe.com

While Ireland had eight winning projects – including two STEM-related ones – Germans emerged as the most awarded nationality.

Eight researchers based in Ireland have won grants in the latest round of European Research Council (ERC) funding under its Consolidator Grant awards.

The eight academics are part of a cohort of 321 researchers based across EU member states who were awarded a total of €657m as part of the EU Horizon Europe programme.

ERC Consolidator Grants are aimed at distinguished scientists who have between seven and 12 years’ experience after their PhDs, to help them to pursue their most promising ideas.

Prof Maria Leptin, president of the ERC, said that the grants support researchers “at a crucial time of their careers, strengthening their independence, reinforcing their teams and helping them establish themselves as leaders in their fields”.

“And this backing above all gives them a chance to pursue their scientific dreams,” she said of the latest grants, announced today (31 January).

Winning projects range from engineering and life sciences to humanities and social sciences.

One neurologist in Denmark is looking for personalised treatments for chronic pain while a researcher in France is exploring fibrous materials as a green alternative to fossil-based plastics, and a scientist in Lithuania will study what influenced the adoption and abandonment of crops over time.

Germany emerged as the country with the highest number of grants, while German nationals were also the most awarded group. France and Spain attracted the next highest grants, while Italians, French and British were the top three nationalities after the Germans.

The winners in Ireland include Chiara Bonfiglioli and Aoife Daly of University College Cork, Marius De Leeuw and Sarah Doyle of Trinity College Dublin, Irial Glynn and Aisling Swaine of University College Dublin, Karen Desmond of Maynooth University and Erin McCarthy of the University of Galway.

Two of these, both in Trinity, are STEM-based projects. De Leeuw is on a mission to find all integrable models in mathematics while Doyle’s project is exploring natural immunity in retinal neovascular disease.

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Vish Gain is a journalist with Silicon Republic