Professor John O’Doherty receives Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) Investigators Programme funding

Pictured at the announcement that over €30 million of research funding for 23 major research projects are Professor John Doherty, UCD; Professor Martin Steinhoff, UCD; Minister for Skills, Research and Innovation, Damien English TD; Professor Mark Ferguson, Director General of Science Foundation Ireland and Chief Scientific Adviser to the Government of Ireland; and Professor Torres Sweeney, UCD.

Minister for Skills, Research and Innovation, Damien English TD has announced over €30 million of research funding delivered by the Department of Jobs, Enterprise & Innovation through the Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) Investigators Programme. At the announcement, made on 24 April 2015, funding for 23 major research projects was revealed. The Programme will provide funding over a four to five year period, for 23 research projects involving over 100 researchers, with funding for each project ranging from €500,000 to €2.3 million.

The investment, which aims to support world-class research in key priority areas in Ireland, has awarded funding to UCD School of Agriculture & Food Science’s Professor John O’Doherty, and Associate Professor Torres Sweeney, School of Veterinary Medicine, for their project entitled “The Macroalgal Fibre Initiative: ‘natural molecules naturally’.” The research project is borne out of the requirement to identify alternatives to antibiotics used in veterinary and human medicine as a result of an EU ban on ‘in-feed’ antibiotics in animals.

Minister for Skills, Research and Innovation, Damien English TD said, “This funding provides assistance to individual researchers to advance their investigations and address key research questions in sectors such as energy, medicine, food and nutrition, technology and agriculture. It allows researchers to further their careers and build partnerships with leading industry partners who also benefit from access to some of the leading academic talent on this island. The Investigators Programme is an important contributor to Ireland’s credentials as a research leader in a number of sectors."

Professor Mark Ferguson, Director General of Science Foundation Ireland and Chief Scientific Adviser to the Government of Ireland added, “The SFI Investigators Programme provides important support to researchers in Ireland, creating employment opportunities and allowing them to leverage State funding to access additional funding streams, such as the EU’s Horizon 2020 Programme. Their research focuses on areas such as Alzheimer’s disease and cancer, animal breeding and disease prevention, ICT and data storage, as well as bioenergy among other topics. These are areas that will make a difference to both Ireland’s economy and society. All of the successful projects have been peer reviewed by international experts to ensure scientific excellence and we have funded every project deemed to be of the highest standard internationally.”

The SFI Investigators Programme supports excellent scientific research that has the potential to impact Ireland’s society and economy. The 23 projects were selected by competitive peer review involving 400 international scientists after a call for proposals across a number of thematic areas of national and international importance. The projects were funded through 14 research bodies which include Dublin City University (2); Dublin Institute of Technology (1); Marine Institute (1); National University of Ireland Galway (3); Royal College of Surgeons of Ireland (1); Teagasc (1); Trinity College Dublin (5); University College Cork (2); University College Dublin (6) and University of Limerick (1). The awards include research in areas such as materials science, data management, medicine and pharmaceuticals, food and nutrition, agriculture and veterinary research and have links to 40 companies.

Other UCD projects supported include:

Prof. Martin Steinhoff, School of Medicine & Medical Science - Neuro-immune communication in skin diseases: Cytokines and chemokines.

Prof. Fiona Doohan, School of Biology & Environmental Science - Identifying disease resistance breeding targets in order to enhance the sustainability of cereal production and the security of food supply.

Prof. Walter Kolch, Conway Institute of Biomolecular & Biomedical Research - Overcoming drug resistance in metastatic malignant melanoma by personalizing treatment.

Dr Alexey Lastovetsky, School of Computer Science & Informatics - Meeting the Future Challenges of Heterogeneous and Extreme-Scale Parallel Computing.

Prof. Grace Mulcahy, School of Veterinary Medicine - Application of New and Emerging Technologies to Develop Vaccines against Fasciola hepatica.

Related links

Full listing of supported projects