Irish Research Council announces €22m investment in early-career research

19 Sep 2018

Image: Alex_Traksel/Shutterstock

Numerous exciting research projects will benefit from the €22m investment in early-career research.

Today (19 September), the Irish Research Council (IRC) and Minister of State for Training, Skills and Innovation John Halligan, TD, announced a major investment of more than €22m in early-career researchers.

288 postgraduate and postdoctoral researchers will benefit from the investment under the IRC’s Government of Ireland programmes. From the experiences of LGBTQ prisoners to the water quality in Irish rivers, a vast variety of projects are receiving funding.

IRC fostering innovation

Halligan said: “Innovation 2020, Ireland’s strategy for research and development, science, and technology, sets out a vision for Ireland as a global innovation leader.”

He added that investment in early-career research across all disciplines is a vital part of this plan. “The investment announced today will fund some of our brightest minds to develop their research interests and progress their careers, thereby ensuring Ireland has a strong pipeline of research talent well into the future.”

208 postgraduate and 80 postdoctoral researchers have received awards under the programmes. €15,142,50 is earmarked for postgraduate scholars while €7,118,065 is allocated for postdoctoral researchers.

From vascular health to homelessness

The topics of study are wide-ranging.

  • Thomas Byrne, a PhD student based at Waterford Institute of Technology, is examining vascular health in older people with the hope of alleviating problems associated with age-related frailty.
  • Jessie Barr, a PhD student at the University of Limerick, is investigating mental health stigma in elite sport. An athlete herself, Barr has represented Ireland at the European Championships and the 2012 Olympics.
  • Mohamed El Amri is a PhD student based at NUI Galway whose research focuses on spinal cord regeneration in Xenopus laevis tadpoles.
  • Postdoctoral researcher Valesca Lima is based at Maynooth University and her work focuses on housing activism and homelessness in Dublin and Lisbon.
  • Adam Henwood is a postdoctoral researcher based at Trinity College Dublin who is investigating the use of thermally activated fluorescence emitters for biological imaging.

Commenting today, Peter Brown, director of the IRC, said: “The Government of Ireland programmes are unique in the Irish research landscape and essential to the research ecosystem for several reasons. Firstly, they provide individual, prestigious awards for excellent research in the name of the applicant.

“Secondly, they provide funding across all disciplines, from archaeology to zoology. The researchers supported are addressing major societal and scientific challenges, and deepening our understanding of topics ranging from traditional music to liquid crystals and ecological connectivity.”

Halligan concluded: “The skills developed by these researchers – intellectual curiosity, self-directed working, resilience in the face of inevitable setbacks – are highly prized by employers while research outputs in the form of invention and innovation support Ireland as a strong competitor for investment.”

Ellen Tannam was a journalist with Silicon Republic, covering all manner of business and tech subjects