26 teams of researchers to share in multimillion-euro challenge funding

13 Feb 2023

From left: Prof Philip Nolan, Commissioner Mairead McGuinness and Prof Peter Clinch. Image: Mac Innes Photography

There will be two further funding calls opening next week as part of the wider National Challenge Fund.

The Irish Government has today (13 February) announced the first recipients of funding under the €65m National Challenge Fund.

The funding will be allocated to a total of 26 teams of researchers initially. The National Challenge Fund is a competition-based scheme that challenges academics to find solutions to major environmental and societal issues. It is being funded by the EU’s Recovery and Resilience Facility.

EU Commissioner for Financial Stability, Financial Services and Capital Markets, Mairead McGuinness expressed her delight that EU funding is being used to “future-proof our economy and society.

“The emphasis on research and innovation will support ongoing work on the green and digital transitions, and so it will help create a more sustainable future. I wish all the teams much success with their research that will bring benefits to the whole of the European Union,” she said.

Some of the areas that the funded teams are focusing on include the improvement of thermal management of batteries in electric vehicles; decarbonising aviation in Ireland; making renewable energy storage for mobile apps; tele-rehabilitation of stroke patients using AI and extended reality; and improving the accuracy of real-time public transport information.

“This is an exciting day for research and innovation in Ireland as a whole,” said Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, Simon Harris.

“We know that there is an urgent need to find solutions to big societal problems and to implement new ideas as quickly as we can.”

Prof Philip Nolan, director-general of the Government’s agency for science research, Science Foundation Ireland, praised the challenge-based approach to funding new ideas.

“Challenge-based funding in Ireland has already reaped rewards and we are working to make sure the best of Irish research benefits the people of this country as quickly as possible.”

Nolan pointed out that there will be more opportunities for researchers to get involved in shaping Ireland’s response to social issues in the coming weeks.

There will be two more funding calls opening next week as part of the wider fund.

“These are great opportunities for the talent and dedication of the Irish research community to make a real change to the world around them,” Nolan said. The next teams to join the Challenges will be announced in June.

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Blathnaid O’Dea is Careers reporter at Silicon Republic