Irish Research Council announces 100 new awards worth €800,000

8 May 2020

Image: © Maksim Šmeljov/

The funding was awarded under four strands: STEAM, knowledge exchange for impact, networking and collaboration, and engaging civic society.

The Irish Research Council has announced 100 new awards to support research collaboration and dissemination in Ireland. Under the New Foundations 2019 scheme, it issued awards to 100 researchers of all career stages across 13 higher education institutions. The awards are valued at a total of nearly €800,000.

Director of the Irish Research Council, Peter Brown, said he is “delighted” to announce the awards, as the scheme fosters the exchange of knowledge within and beyond academia. It provides seed funding for small-scale research actions, the development of networks and workshops, and creative approaches to the communication of scientific concepts to the general public.

“By supporting this collaboration, the benefits and impact of research are more widely shared, nationally and internationally,” Brown added. “The emphasis on engaging with civil society fosters mutual learning between researchers and practitioners, often leading to longer collaborations.”

Due to the challenges posed by Covid-19, the New Foundations awardees have been granted an extended period in which to undertake their research, which ends on 31 December 2021.

The awards

The scheme is comprised of four strands: engaging civic society; knowledge exchange for impact; STEAM; and networking and collaboration. The full list of New Foundation Awards can be read here.

Under the category of engaging civil society, 41 awards were made to researchers. This included Dr Richard Roche of Maynooth University for a project helping older adults with Alzheimer’s, and Dr Evelyn Gordon of Dublin City University for her work investigating interventions to enhance the relational capacity of parents and children to promote resilience.

In the knowledge exchange for impact strand, 40 awards were made to researchers including Dr Yosuke Hashimoto of Trinity College Dublin, who is examining an essential protein involved in maintaining brain homeostasis, and Dr Joanna Hofer-Robinson of University College Cork, who is analysing and mapping disconnections that exist within social networks.

The STEAM strand aims to bring science (including social science) and art, design and the humanities together to work on new ways of communicating scientific concepts and complex societal challenges for a lay audience.

One of the 13 funding recipients under this strand is Dr Samantha Martin-Mcauliffe from University College Dublin, for a showcase of a STEAM initiative with the Samburu tribe in northern Kenya, which aims to communicate the impact of global warming to a wide audience.

The final strand is the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade networking and collaboration grants, which is providing six researchers with an opportunity to carry out networking activities or to form consortia with partner countries. This includes a project by Dr Frances Finn from the Waterford Institute of Technology to develop partnerships between Irish and South African universities of technology in relation to work-integrated learning.

Kelly Earley was a journalist with Silicon Republic