Trinity’s Prof Luke O’Neill appointed to the ERC scientific council

7 Dec 2022

Prof Luke O’Neill. Image: ERC

Often heard on the radio explaining all things science, O’Neill is also in the top 1pc of the world’s researchers by citations.

Prof Luke O’Neill of Trinity College Dublin has been appointed to the governing body of the European Research Council (ERC) for his “exceptional scientific expertise”.

In an announcement today (7 December), the ERC said that O’Neill is one of five new European scientists joining its scientific council for an initial period of four years, replacing outgoing members. The new members are set to take office on 1 January 2023.

The ERC is the EU body for funding scientific and technological research.

“The ERC scientific council is composed of outstanding European scientists and scholars who oversee Europe’s premier frontier research-funding organisation,” said European commissioner for innovation, research, culture, education and youth Mariya Gabriel.

“The five new members bring to the ERC scientific council exceptional scientific expertise, which will complement that of the sitting members.”

A professor in Trinity’s School of Biochemistry and Immunology, O’Neill is one of the most well-known scientists in Ireland.

He was an instrumental part of the formation of Trinity College Dublin spin-outs Opsona Therapeutics and Inflazome, the latter of which was snapped up in a €380m deal by pharma giant Roche in 2020.

O’Neill also co-founded Sitryx, an Oxford-based biopharma start-up that aims to regulate cell metabolism in the development of therapeutics in immuno-oncology and immune-inflammation.

Often heard on Ireland’s airwaves discussing all things science and medicine, O’Neill has also written several books, the most recent of which are What Make Us Human: A Scientist’s Guide to our Amazing Existence and Never Mind the B#ll*cks, Here’s the Science.

Just last month, he was named as one of 35 scientists based in Ireland who are in the top 1pc of the world’s researchers by citations.

“With these appointments, the quality and continuity of the scientific council is upheld, thanks to the work of the identification committee that was tasked with finding these new members,” said ERC president Prof Maria Leptin.

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Vish Gain is a journalist with Silicon Republic