Two Trinity researchers awarded a combined €3.5m in ERC funding

17 Mar 2022

Image: © Tierney/

Dr Emma Tomlinson was the only Irish researcher out of 313 to get an ERC Consolidator Grant, while Dr Fiona Smyth secured a Starting Grant.

Two researchers from Trinity College Dublin (TCD) have received funding awards from the European Research Council (ERC) worth a combined total of close to €3.5m.

Under the latest results announced today (17 March), Dr Emma Tomlinson, an associate professor in geology at TCD’s School of Natural Sciences, was awarded an ERC Consolidator Grant worth up to €2m for her project called LITHO3 which looks at the formation of the cratonic lithosphere.

Future Human

According to Tomlinson, the grant will enable her to investigate what was “a key event in Earth history that led to the development of the first stable continents and laid the foundations of our habitable planet.”

Tomlinson was the only Irish researcher to be awarded a Consolidator Grant under this round, which saw a total of 313 awards worth a total of around €632m. The grants will benefit mid-career researchers working on projects based in 24 different EU countries.

Dr Fiona Smyth of the School of Education and Trinity Long Room Hub, has been awarded an ERC Starting Grant worth up to €1.5m for her project, Spectres and Camouflage, which explores the links between architecture and construction, and music, military history and acoustics. The project aims to find out how different disciplines propelled each other forward in the design of the silent environment in the 20th century.

Smyth said she was “excited and honoured” to be given the funding to carry out her work, adding that “it is a really exciting time to conduct this research – just as documents that were previously classified are now entering the public domain”.

TCD provost Linda Doyle congratulated the researchers on their success. “ERC awards are a great recognition of research quality and it is wonderful to see the ERC supporting such a wide variety of brilliant research,” she said.

“The awards demonstrate the importance of supporting ambitious curiosity-led research, which produces impactful new knowledge at the frontiers of disciplines.”

Dean of research at TCD Prof Wolfgang Schmitt, a previous winner of an ERC Consolidator Grant, echoed Doyle’s congratulations, adding that it represented an opportunity for Tomlinson and Smyth to “build their research teams, mentor a new generation of PhDs and postdoctoral researchers and advance their ambitious scholarly research agendas”.

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Blathnaid O’Dea is Careers reporter at Silicon Republic