TCD researcher to get nearly €1m funding

16 Jun 2008

A young researcher in Trinity College Dublin is to receive almost €1m in funding over the next five years after winning the Science Foundation Ireland (SFI), President of Ireland Young Researcher Award (PIYRA).

Dr Daniel Kelly’s research focuses on regenerative adult stem cell-based technology to develop alternative sources of cells for cartilage repair. He will receive funding of €992,463 over the next five years to advance his research.


The PIYRA is in its fifth year and is SFI’s most prestigious accolade, awarding young engineers and scientists from around the world who have displayed extraordinary ability and leadership in their field at an early stage in their career. 


Kelly received his award from President of Ireland Mary McAleese atÁras an Uachtaráin yesterday.


“It is a real honour to have my research work recognised in this way,” commented Kelly.“The PIYRA award will allow me to develop a multidisciplinary research group of engineers, scientists and clinicians in the Trinity Centre for Bioengineering at TCD’s school of engineering.


“The scientific advancements that I believe are necessary in the area of cartilage repair can only be made through the establishment of such a team and through the significant level of financial support provided by the PIYRA award. In addition, the mentoring programme that SFI has put in place will provide me with key scientific input and guidance.”


President McAleese commented: “It is important that we encourage our young and talented researchers to remain in Ireland and contribute to the outstanding research community we are seeking to build.”


Provision has been made for Kelly to spend time abroad working in a laboratory with a complementary research background, which will allow him to bring back vital new skills and experience to his research group in Trinity College Dublin.


“The primary objective of the SFI PIYRA award is to position Ireland as a leading location for young and exceptionally talented scientific and engineering researchers,” said Professor Frank Gannon, director-general, SFI. “SFI continues to work to ensure that the programme will enable the fast recruitment of young, elite researchers to Irish research bodies.


“In line with SFI’s new remit, PIYRA will now support research in areas underpinning sustainable energy and energy-efficient technologies, in addition to work underpinning biotechnology and ICT.”


SFI received 19 proposals in the areas of biotechnology and ICT for the 2008 PIYRA competition. Kelly is the sole recipient following the rigorous peer- review by international experts.


By Niall Byrne


<I>Pictured (L-R) at the announcement of the 2008 Science Foundation Ireland, President of Ireland Young Researcher Award (PIYRA) at Áras an Uachtaráin yesterday were: award winner, Dr Daniel Kelly, Trinity College Dublin; Prof Frank Gannon, director general, SFI and President of Ireland, Mary McAleese</i>