Which 22 Irish-based researchers have won €13.7m in SFI funding?

25 Apr 2018

From left: Dr Brijesh Tiwari, principal research officer, Teagasc; Dr Dara Stanley, NUI Galway; and Andrew Parnell, UCD. Image: Jason Clarke Photography

SFI and the Government have announced a substantial investment in researchers amounting to almost €14m in several key research areas.

A total of 22 researchers have been awarded a share of €13.7m as part of Science Foundation Ireland’s (SFI) Career Development Award Programme, which supports Ireland’s research talent pipeline by funding excellent researchers still in the early stages of their scientific career.

As many researchers will know, securing funding is always one of the greatest challenges of their careers. But, for this group of Irish-based researchers, they are securing close to €500,000 each, or more in some cases.

The awards will contribute to the advancing research in areas such as energy, materials, environment, technology and health.

Among the research awardees this year, two received co-funding from the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI).

While the topics covered by the funding are far-ranging, some of them include potentially identifying new ways of preventing and treating breast and prostate cancer; enhancing epilepsy diagnosis, prediction and treatment; and collaboration with NASA to advance gamma-ray observations and improve our understanding of gravitational waves.

Next-generation LEDs

Speaking of the awardees, Prof Mark Ferguson, director general of SFI, said: “This programme helps those researchers develop the skills and experience necessary to lead Ireland’s future research in areas such as health, energy, materials and technology.

“The projects have been selected following a rigorous competitive international merit review process. I look forward to witnessing the positive impacts that these projects will have for Ireland and wish each awardee every success in their continued scientific research and careers.”

The largest single recipient of funding was Stefan Schulz of the Tyndall National Institute in Cork who, with co-funding from SEAI, received €585,620.

His proposal focuses on the semiconductor family gallium nitride and indium nitride and their respective alloys, and will provide theoretical guidance for the design of energy-efficient, next-generation optoelectronic devices for solid state lighting, such as light-emitting diodes (LEDs).

Full list of SFI Career Development Awardees

  1. Brian Rodriguez, University College Dublin (UCD), €498,713
  2. Sharon Glynn, NUI Galway (NUIG), €504,565
  3. Annie Curtis, Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, €504,286
  4. Andrew Parnell, UCD, €409,200
  5. Oran Kennedy, RCSI, €476,529
  6. Matthew Moebius, Trinity College Dublin (TCD), €494,513
  7. George Iosifidis, (TCD), €468,528
  8. Le Nam Tran, UCD, €413,661
  9. Gavin Collins, NUIG, €504,358
  10. Tobias Engel, RCSI, €504,729
  11. Kieran Meade, Teagasc, €473,769
  12. Marcus Claesson, UCC and APC Microbiome Ireland, €504,426
  13. Tomasz Piwonski, Tyndall National Institute (TNI), €493,483
  14. Brijesh Tiwari, Teagasc, €497,501
  15. Dara Stanley, NUIG, €443,653
  16. Sheila McBreen, UCD, €500,804
  17. Ning Liu, University of Limerick (UL), €501,125
  18. Russell McLaughlin, TCD, €480,000
  19. Ronan Courtney, UL, €492,269
  20. Conor Murphy, Maynooth University, €487,147
  21. Stefan Schulz, TNI, €585,620
  22. Padraig Cantillon Murphy, TNI, €462,000

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic