May 2015

SFI Investigators Programme award for Prof. Martin Steinhoff

Mon, 4 May 15 13:01

Minister for Skills, Research and Innovation, Damien English TD recently announced over €30 million of research funding for 23 major research projects. The funding will be delivered by the Department of Jobs, Enterprise & Innovation through the Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) Investigators Programme. The Programme will provide funding over a four to five year period, for 23 research projects involving over 100 researchers. Funding for each project will range from €500,000 to €2.3 million.

Professor Martin Steinhoff, UCD Charles Institute and UCD School of Medicine & Medical Science is one of six UCD researchers awarded funding under this initiative. Worldwide, itch is the most frequent symptom in dermatology with a significant impact on quality-of-life for patients and their family members. Therapy-resistant itch is a major medical burden in many diseases (skin, renal, dialysis, liver, leukemias) and elderly people. A major barrier for therapeutic progress is our poor understanding of the molecular mechanisms of itch in humans.

To develop new treatments against therapy-resistant itch, Prof Steinhoff and his team will first identify in a translational setting key cytokines and chemokines in different human itch subtypes. With companies, they will then test in human studies the beneficial effects of treating itch by blocking cytokine/chemokine pathways.

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 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.

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.”

Click here for a full list of projects supported by the Programme.

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. 

Original article by SFI