University of Limerick awarded €4m in Science Foundation Ireland funding

30 Apr 2014

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Unicersity of Limerick image via Wikimedia Commons

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The University of Limerick (UL) has been awarded €4m in funding from Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) to pursue a range of innovative scientific projects.

The three areas of science that the funding will go towards include pharmaceuticals, mathematics and composite materials, all of which are expected to lead to future job growth in their respective industries and research in the coming years.

As bernal chair of pharmaceutical powder engineering in UL, Prof Gavin Walker is aiming to improve manufacturing competitiveness and enhance the R&D mandate and activity of Irish pharmaceutical manufacturing sites and companies.

His team’s eventual goal is to support the transformation of the Irish pharmaceutical sector and to establish this country as the global hub of pharmaceutical process innovation and advanced manufacturing.

Meanwhile, mathematics professor Andrew Fowler will be looking to use his portion of the funding to use applied mathematics to study plant, microbial, and fungal biomass growth and its dependence on soil nutrients.

The research team will validate their theories against field and experimental data to provide predictive tools for use in fertiliser application and other areas of agriculture, septic tank installations, and many other situations concerning soil.

And finally, Dr Conor McCarthy’s project studies a new approach to join composites to metals which does not require any mechanical fastening.

Such an approach would be incredibly beneficial to manufacturers, allowing them to make cheaper but higher performing products.

The research project will hopefully open up new business opportunities for Ireland and worldwide.

UL vice president of research, Dr Mary Shire said of the announcement: “We are delighted with the recent SFI awards which build on ULs expertise in Engineering and Mathematics. The importance of engineering and mathematics in solving real world problems continues to be a focus for UL. We are working in partnership with companies to enhance their competitiveness and deliver to them graduates with the relevant skills and experience.”

Colm Gorey is a journalist with Siliconrepublic.com

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