Irish Government invests €14.6m in 25 Irish research projects

11 Jul 2024

Pathway awardee Dr Sujit Jung Karki with Dr Ruth Freeman. Image: SFI

The investment under SFI-IRC Pathway will support early-career research across all disciplines and encourage a cohesive research ecosystem in Ireland.

The Irish Government has invested €14.6m across 25 projects to support early-career researchers in Ireland.

Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science Patrick O’Donovan, TD said in an announcement today (11 July) that the funding “will help facilitate a defined journey from post-doctoral research to independent researcher”.

“Bridging this gap is a challenging but critical milestone, and the research selected for investment will address key challenges and opportunities, ranging from new therapies for Parkinson’s to the development of sustainable supercapacitors,” he said.

The investment is being made under Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) and the Irish Research Council’s (IRC) collaborative initiative, the SFI-IRC Pathway programme, which aims to support early-career research across all disciplines and to encourage a cohesive research ecosystem in Ireland.

A similar funding award of €24m across 43 different research projects was made under the SFI-IRC Pathway programme in November last year.

Some of the latest projects to receive funding involve investigating the link between the microbiome and the developing brain; identifying the chemical biomarkers of Irish whiskey; non-invasive brain stimulation to treat Parkinsonian symptoms; an additive to lower the climate and air polluting impacts of manures; exploration of the habitability of Jupiter’s moons; the genomics of diverse bee species and how they adapt to their environment; and the development of sustainable supercapacitors.

The awards will enable postdoctoral researchers to develop their career pathway and transition to become independent research leaders. The funding, covering a four-year period, will provide additional support for a postgraduate student who will be primarily supervised by the awardee.

Dr Ruth Freeman, director of Science for Society at SFI, said that the SFI-IRC Pathway programme provides targeted support to early-career researchers who will use the funding to pursue independent research “at the frontiers of knowledge”.

“Investment in these projects will generate novel discoveries and insights across diverse research topics, from environmental sustainability to disease treatment and prevention, to wireless network security.”

Yesterday, Prof Uri Frank of University of Galway was elected a member of the European Molecular Biology Organization in recognition of his life sciences research over the past two decades. His research into stem cells was co-funded by SFI.

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Vish Gain is a journalist with Silicon Republic