SFI approves 120 basic research projects

19 May 2004

Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) has given the go-ahead for 120 research proposals under the Basic Research Grants Programme (BRGP) and has increased the funding available for basic research from €8m every three years to €20m every three years as it takes over responsibility for funding for this segment from Enterprise Ireland.

Bill Harris, director general of SFI, commented: “With these award announcements SFI is demonstrating its commitment to the BRGP. We have put in place a new funding model that will support the creation of a pool of researchers able to investigate strategic fields of enquiry of the future. Until now, €8m was invested over a three-year period. With the revised funding for the BRGP, more €20m will be committed on a tri-annual basis. This investment is a strong indicator of SFI’s interest in supporting excellent, peer reviewed research in a diverse range of thematic fields.”

The awards were made to academic scientists and engineers in the earth sciences, engineering, mathematics, physical sciences, biosciences and computer science.

The most successful institution in the awards round was UCD which obtained 34 approvals. Trinity College Dublin secured 31 approvals, University of Limerick received 11 and UCC and NUI Maynooth shared 10 awards each. Three awards were made to researchers based at Dublin Institute of Technology, Institute of Technology Carlow and Cork Institute of Technology.

Previously under the auspices of Enterprise Ireland, the Basic Research Grants Programme is now being managed by SFI in association with the Irish Council for Science, Engineering and Technology.

Professor Luke O’Neill of Trinity College and chair of one of the BGRP review panels on biosciences said: “These awards go to researchers with proposals that were rigorously evaluated by a panel of their peers, who were expert in the subject matter of each proposal. We are confident that the very best proposals have been funded and look forward to the efforts of these scientists and engineers leading to research advances in the future.”

By John Kennedy