15 research projects in Ireland bag €16.2m funding from Government

16 Nov 2022

Minister Simon Harris at Inspirefest 2018. Image: Conor McCabe Photography

Projects based in Ireland’s TUs and ITs have bagged funding from the SFI Frontiers for Partnership Awards to help them ‘grow and reach their full potential’.

Three days into Science Week 2022, researchers across Ireland’s many technological universities and institutes of technology have received some good news from the Government.

Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science Simon Harris, TD, has announced today (16 November) that 15 projects led by TUs  and ITs in Ireland have received €16.2m in funding from Science Foundation Ireland (SFI).

The funding aims to help TUs “grow and reach their full potential”. It is supporting a wide range of research areas, from the development of a traceability tool for seafood, green hydrogen and sheep breeding, to cancer therapies, tremors in Parkinson’s disease and reducing energy use in AI technology.

“Through these new awards we are delivering on several key objectives, including an enhanced focus on research activities within the TU sector,” Harris said of the SFI Frontiers for Partnership Awards. “This research will address key areas too, such as healthcare and climate change.”

One of the projects, led by Prof James Curtin of Technological University Dublin and Prof Paula Bourke of University College Dublin, will use cold plasma to create smart drugs that reduce toxicity and improve the effectiveness of chemotherapy.

Another, led by Dr Conor Graham of Atlantic Technological University (ATU) and Dr Liam Morrison of the University of Galway aims to develop the world’s first scientifically based traceability tool for seafood to help protect consumer health, deter food fraud and enhance the marking of Irish seafood abroad.

In partnership with Dr Nóirín McHugh of Teagasc, Dr Deirdre Purfield of Munster Technological University is leading research to increase productivity in Irish sheep farming in a sustainable and welfare-friendly manner by exploiting genomic information in sheep breeding.

Another ATU academic, Dr Suresh Pillai, has teamed up with Trinity College Dublin’s Prof Paula Colavita to develop low-cost materials that allow commercial hydrogen production from renewable sources. This project is co-funded by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland.

Organised by SFI, Science Week is an annual nationwide celebration of science that sees lots of events happening all over Ireland. They will be a mix of in-person and online experiences.

“It is important we provide the support to build excellent research capacity in our technological universities and institutes of technology. Working in partnership with their colleagues in the wider university sector is an excellent way to do this,” said SFI director-general Prof Philip Nolan.

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Vish Gain is a journalist with Silicon Republic