€13.5m joint investment will boost R&D across the US and Ireland

17 Mar 2021

Image: © Tierney/Stock.adobe.com

Seven projects have received funding as part of an initiative to foster collaboration between researchers on both sides of the Atlantic.

An investment of €13.5m will support more than 60 research positions across 14 institutions in Ireland and the US over three to five years.

This is part of the US-Ireland Research and Development Partnership, which was launched in 2006 to increase the level of collaborative R&D between researchers and industry in the US, the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.

Seven funding awards have been announced under the programme today (17 March).

The funding agencies involved are Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) and the Health Research Board in Ireland, the National Science Foundation and National Institutes of Health in the US, and the Health and Social Care R&D division and the Department for the Economy in Northern Ireland.

“The US-Ireland R&D Partnership Programme continues to support and encourage strong collaborative relationships between our countries,” said Prof Mark Ferguson, director general of SFI.

“It recognises and highlights Ireland’s significant scientific standing internationally and the societal and economic benefits that can be realised when we work beyond our borders.”

This year’s funded research projects

The programme focuses on supporting research and development in areas such as sensors, nanoscale science and engineering, telecoms, energy and sustainability, and health.

Prof Simon Kelly at University College Dublin (UCD) will partner with Ulster University, Columbia University and Northwell-Hofstra School of Medicine on a neuroscience research project to identify the underlying mechanisms of decision-making.

Prof Rose Anne Kenny at Trinity College Dublin will lead a research project focused on ageing, epigenomics and behavioural sciences, working with researchers at Queen’s University Belfast (QUB) and University of South California.

Also at UCD, Prof Grace Morgan will lead research in the area of molecular magnetoelectric materials to investigate new ways to harness the manipulation of electron spins in transition metal complexes. She will work with QUB and Florida State University.

At Maynooth University’s Centre for Ocean Energy Research, Dr Oliver Mason and Prof John Ringwood will partner with QUB and Iowa State University to investigate new ways of improving the efficiency of arrays of wave energy converters.

Prof Frank McDermott, based at SFI’s iCRAG research centre, is partnering with QUB and the Centre for Bio-mediated and Bio-inspired Geotechnics in the US to investigate the use of microbes and enzymes to enhance bio-based strengthening for stabilising soil slopes.

Prof Garry Duffy at SFI’s Cúram research centre for medical devices at NUI Galway is working with researchers at QUB and the National Science Foundation’s Engineering Research Centre for Cell Manufacturing Technologies. The team aims to develop tech to allow ambient transfer of complex cell-based therapies for chronic diseases such as heart disease and non-healing wounds.

Finally, Prof Gerard O’Connor, also based at Cúram, is working with QUB and Boston University to create a functional engineered cardiac tissue with the potential to transform the treatment of chronic heart disease.

Sarah Harford was sub-editor of Silicon Republic