Irish-French research projects get €100,000 to bloom from Ulysses fund

16 Jun 2022

Image: © griangraf/

Now in its 25th year, the Ulysses fund is giving 20 Franco-Irish projects a boost to bring collaborative research ideas to life.

20 research projects that involve collaboration between Irish and French institutions are being awarded a total of €100,000 in funding through the Ulysses scheme.

At an event marking Bloomsday today (16 June), the date on which James Joyce’s novel Ulysses is set, the Irish Research Council and the Embassy of France in Ireland awarded the funding to these projects.

Now in its 25th year, the Ulysses award scheme was set up to celebrate the Joycean links between Ireland and France through research collaborations and the exchange of innovative ideas between bright minds on both sides of the Celtic Sea.

“The scheme has fostered a culture of collaboration between Ireland and France for the past 25 years, bringing researchers and strategic partners together from both nations to develop diverse projects with long-ranging impacts,” said Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science Simon Harris, TD.

“The continued development of European research collaborations and partnerships across disciplines will be increasingly important as we look forward to the implementation of our new research and innovation strategy, Impact 2030.”

The projects to receive funding this year span a wide spectrum of research interests, including the effect of air pollution on respiratory health, interventions for patients living with dementia, and an analysis of energy sector policymaking in France, Ireland and Germany.

The awardees were honoured at a special Bloomsday-themed reception hosted by the French Ambassador to Ireland, Vincent Guérend, at his Dublin residence.

“This programme now has an established place within the French-Irish research landscape and highlights the special relationship between our two countries, as France is now Ireland’s closest EU neighbour,” said Guérend.

“It continues to evolve to meet the needs of our researchers, building links with the private sector and pointing to priority areas such as health, climate and renewable energy.”

One of the projects, led by Prof David Stifter of Maynooth University and Coline Ruiz-Darasse of Université Bordeaux Montaigne, is working towards digitising the remains of ancient Celtic languages such as Gaulish, Primitive Irish and Cisalpine Celtic.

Meanwhile, a collaboration between Prof Jonathan Coleman of Trinity College Dublin and Prof Thierry Brousse of Nantes Université is attempting to quantify the factors limiting rate performance in supercapacitor electrodes.

‘Out of the Shell’, led by Prof Graeme Warren of University College Dublin and Grégor Marchand of the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, is an Eirgrid and RTÉ-funded project that aims to transform our understanding of Mesolithic shell midden sites in French Brittany and Ireland.

Dr Gráinne Walshe, assistant director of the Irish Research Council, which administers the Ulysses scheme in Ireland, said that the programme has funded more than 700 awardees since its establishment in 1997.

“In our 25th year, we are very proud of our continuing collaboration with the French Embassy and our strategic partners on Ulysses in creating lasting professional networks of researchers and institutes in France and Ireland,” she said.

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Vish Gain is a journalist with Silicon Republic