36 researchers bag almost €30m as part of new frontier research awards

22 Mar 2018

Image: science photo/Shutterstock

36 researchers have been given the funding they need to pursue frontier research under the new €29.6m Laureate Awards announced by the Irish Research Council.

Irish researchers have a new funding stream for potentially groundbreaking research, with the Irish Research Council (IRC) announcing new Laureate Awards for research in life sciences, physical sciences and engineering, as well as the arts, humanities and social sciences.

Worth €29.6m, the inaugural awards are to be distributed among 36 researchers as part of two main funding streams.

Future Human

The first is the Starting Laureate Awards, which are aimed at supporting leading early-career researchers to establish their own independent research programme, 18 of which have been funded this year.

The second is the Consolidator Laureate Awards, which provide funding for leading mid-career researchers with an established track record to progress to the next level, of which a further 18 have been funded.

With these two streams worth a total of €7m and €10.6m respectively, the Department of Education and Skills also announced a further investment of €12m for a series of advanced grants under the Laureate programme.

This programme will be open to senior researchers in Ireland’s highest education and research institutions, with a value of up to €1m over four years.

The recipients

Researchers who will be funded by these Laureate Awards include:

  • Dr Sarah Doyle, Trinity College Dublin: Her research is focused on age-related vision loss
  • Dr Larisa Florea, Dublin City University: She will develop micro-vehicles to navigate through the human body to recognise, diagnose and treat a variety of diseases
  • Dr Jacopo Bisagni, NUI Galway: He is researching how intellectual exchanges between Ireland, Brittany and Francia during the Carolingian age (750-1000AD) laid the foundations of Europe as we know it
  • Dr Dawn Walsh, University College Dublin: Her research will explore the role played by independent commissions in peace processes

“Frontier research is key to understanding the world around us and developing the bedrock of knowledge necessary for social, technological and environmental progress,” said Minister of State for Training, Skills, Innovation and Research and Development John Halligan, TD.

“We would not have devices like mobile phones, or indeed the internet, without frontier basic research. Innovation 2020 targets Ireland to become an innovation leader, and the investment being announced today by the department is a very positive step on the way to achieving this.”

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic