47 new research teams join SFI’s National Challenge Fund

12 Jun 2023

Image: © Nuthawut/Stock.adobe.com

The teams announced today will share in a slice of funding worth €13m out of the larger budget of €65m.

A host of new sci-tech research teams have joined the National Challenge Fund, a programme that is focused on digital and green innovation. It is bankrolled by the EU and managed by Science Foundation Ireland (SFI).

Some of the projects announced by the Government today (12 June) will deal with a variety of topics affecting society such as flood risk mitigation, trustworthy AI, cybersecurity and sustainability in agriculture.

The teams have been divided into four different challenges based on their proposals. The Digital for Resilience challenge teams will focus on gaining deeper insights and a better understanding of the origins and potential impacts of future environmental, social or economic events.

The OurTech challenge is an attempt to strengthen the connections between people, their communities and the Government.

The Energy Innovation challenge aims to develop solutions that will accelerate Ireland’s transition to a clean and secure energy system.

And the Healthy Environment for All challenge aims to protect the environment and restore biodiversity.

In total, there are 47 new projects being added to the National Challenge Fund. When it was first announced last August, there was a budget total of €65m.

Minister Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science Simon Harris TD said that the latest cohort of projects will share in a €13m slice of funding.

The research teams will spend the next six months working to refine their ideas. SFI director general Philip Nolan said that the organisation was “very pleased with the response to the National Challenge Fund calls” and added that it was “happy to be supporting these teams as they embark on an intense period of engaged research.”

“We have learnt from our previous challenge-based funding that teams can make huge strides in very short periods of time.”

Since the National Challenge Fund’s launch, several projects have been awarded funding. In February of this year, 26 teams of researchers were allocated funding for a series of projects ranging from decarbonising aviation to using AI to protect Ireland’s peatlands.

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Blathnaid O’Dea was a Careers reporter at Silicon Republic until 2024.