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Supporting career development, collaboration & public engagement

For the first time, two Irish universities have tapped into the Wellcome Institutional Strategic Support Fund. Trinity College Dublin (TCD) and University College Dublin (UCD) have each secured €1.1 million through this initiative. Half of this money will be provided by the Health Research Board and Science Foundation Ireland as part of the SFI-HRB-Wellcome Partnership.

Wellcome highlights the versatility of these awards, which are aimed at supporting areas of mutual strategic importance to the funders and the individual institutions. The awards will contribute to a number of new initiatives in each university. Awards are matched by an equal contribution from the universities.

In UCD, the fund will support a scheme aimed at giving early-career medical doctors and veterinarians the opportunity to work in a research for the first time, support a targeted scheme for mid-career researchers, and enable the creation of networks of excellence, supporting public engagement and collaborations with other researchers.

Commenting on the award, Professor William Gallagher, Director, UCD Conway Institute stated that he was very excited that UCD has been awarded this prestigious funding and, importantly, has matched this support so as to empower their researchers to overcome systemic barriers in career and network development, and consequently fast-track translation of UCD research.

Dr Graham Love, Chief Executive at the Health Research Board said, “You can’t stifle innovation and these Irish institutions have shown that in abundance. We have seen an increasing number of Irish researchers and institutions secure Wellcome Funding through this partnership in recent years and it is because they have great ideas and know how to sell them”.

Commenting on the announcement, Professor Mark Ferguson, Director General of Science Foundation Ireland and Chief Scientific Adviser to the Government of Ireland said, “At Science Foundation Ireland, we recognise that working in partnership is key to delivering innovation in the research ecosystem. We are pleased to be working in partnership with Wellcome and the Health Research Board to provide support for these programmes in two Irish Universities. I congratulate the awardees on their success, which clearly demonstrates the ability of Irish Universities to compete internationally for funding”.

Roger Blake, External Relations Manager at Wellcome said, “We are delighted to make our first awards to Irish Universities under the Institutional Strategic Support Fund scheme. The scheme enables universities to identify and support new initiatives in the health field that can really make a difference, and we have chosen to fund TCD and UCD as their plans are novel, innovative and transformative”.

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