SFI-led initiative announces €1.4m for 11 Covid-19 research projects

9 Jun 2020

Image: © Hoda Bogdan/Stock.adobe.com

The SFI-coordinated Covid-19 research response call has revealed 11 new projects set to receive a total of €1.4m in funding.

After announcing the first batch of funding for research projects tackling Covid-19 in April, the Rapid Response Research, Development and Innovation programme led by Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) has revealed 11 more projects that are to receive funding.

These 11 projects will receive a total of €1.4m. According to SFI, more than 500 applications were received under the Covid-19 funding call. Further announcements are expected to be made over the coming weeks as the reviews are completed.

All of the projects funded have been internationally peer reviewed at the assessment stage. This latest group include projects for remote blood-pressure monitoring in pregnancy, the development of tests for antibodies, addressing supply chain challenges and computer modelling the impact of Covid-19.

SFI, along with Enterprise Ireland, IDA Ireland, the Health Research Board and the Irish Research Council, is now evaluating areas of priority with a view to issuing thematic calls in the next phase of the programme.

The focus for the second phase will be on important scientific and engineering research that will help contribute to a safe re-opening of Ireland to the wider world.

‘We are stronger when we work together’

Speaking of these latest projects, SFI director general Prof Mark Ferguson said: “This programme has been delivered by a high level of interagency and higher education institutional collaboration.

“We are stronger when we work together, and we will continue to collaborate with our colleagues to share the latest knowledge, developments and innovations, and to support ideas that will generate solutions to the many challenges presented by the Covid-19 pandemic.”

The 11 new projects are:

  • Putting Covid-19 infections on the map in Ireland (TU Dublin)
  • Remote blood-pressure monitoring in pregnancy in the Covid-19 pandemic (University College Cork)
  • A rapid test for Covid-19 antibodies (NUI Galway)
  • Rapid advanced production responses to frozen supply chains in hospitals (University of Limerick)
  • Evidence to inform Ireland’s digital contact-tracing strategy (University of Limerick/Lero)
  • Ireland’s medium-term future in the Covid-19 pandemic (Maynooth University)
  • New antibody tests for SARS-CoV-2 (Maynooth University)
  • Expanding lab tests for the Covid-19 virus (Waterford IT)
  • Identifying protective immunity in frontline healthcare staff during Covid-19 (Trinity College Dublin)
  • 3D printing PPE for healthcare settings (University College Dublin)
  • Coronavirus in sewage and bodies of water (University College Dublin)

Updated, 12.50pm, 10 June 2020: This article was updated to include the project from the University of Limerick and the SFI Lero research centre.

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic