17 Irish-based researchers bank €2m in IRC funding

18 Nov 2015

From left to right: Dr Eucharia Meehan, IRC Director; Damien English TD, Minister of State for Research and Innovation; Prof Anna Davies, TCD and European Research Council awardee. Image via Jason Clarke Photography

It seems the funding just keeps coming for Irish researchers as 17 researchers based in Ireland have been awarded a total of €2m through the Irish Research Council (IRC) to boost their multidisciplinary research.

The IRC funding comes under the council’s New Horizons scheme for Irish-based researchers who are looking to get their feet off the ground in terms of taking their research concepts and advancing them to a wider European stage.

The eventual goal, according to the IRC, is to develop novel and excellent ideas and to build towards seeking further investment in those ideas from the European Union’s (EU) research and innovation framework, Horizon 2020.

The Horizon 2020 funding has, on a number of occasions over the last few years, provided Irish-based researchers with grants to help expand their research from beyond the theoretical stage and into the practical stage.

And now, the IRC hopes, this latest funding boost will help Ireland achieve its national target of winning €1.25bn in funding from the Horizon 2020 programme.

Multidisciplinary projects

The 17 research projects chosen for funding include projects in the fields of anthropology, medical devices, data analytics, art, politics and online culture.

Taking one example, Eleanor Denny, an associate professor of economics at Trinity College Dublin (TCD) , will explore developments in behavioural economics and information systems in her interdisciplinary project on efficient energy.

She is hoping her data analytical research will determine whether providing customers with information on how much electrical appliances cost to run will encourage them to buy more energy efficient products.

Prof Jane Ohlmeyer, chair of the IRC, said that the scheme will “nurture outstanding talent and help to promote the development of a research community that is internationally competitive into the future.

“The awards being announced today represent the outcome of a very rigorous, competitive process underpinned by international peer review. The potential for the awardees to go on and win further funding for Ireland through Horizon 2020 is strong.”

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic