University College Dublin Announces New €2.2 Million Strategic Fund to Support Health-Related Researchers

University College Dublin (UCD) has announced the first round of eight (8) awardees of a new strategic fund to support health-related researchers.

The objective of the UCD Wellcome Institutional Strategic Support Fund (ISSF), worth €2.2 million over five years, is to drive key research initiatives within the University’s research themes of Personalised and Translational Medicine and One Health.

The Fund aims to assist UCD researchers overcome systemic barriers to career and network development, ultimately unlocking future research potential within the University and beyond. It will support high-quality research in the biomedical and clinical sciences and is also available to directly support research or collaborations within the medical humanities field.

The Fund, with three separate schemes, has been established with funding from the SFI-HRB-Wellcome Trust Biomedical Research Partnership in addition to matched funding from UCD.

Pictured (l-r) at the UCD Conway Institute are; Professor William Gallagher, Director, UCD Conway Institute of Biomolecular and Biomedical Research, awardees, Dr Conor McAloon, Associate Professor Orina Belton, Dr David Crosby, Associate Professor Margaret McGee, Dr Conor Magee, Associate Professor Amanda McCann, Dr Clodagh Kearney and Triona McCormack, UCD Director of Research.
(Eight awardee is Professor Emmal Teeling, not in the photograph).

The Clinical Primer Scheme will incentivise and support the early careers of medical and veterinary clinicians, practitioners, and individuals within the allied health services with the aim of unlocking a new clinical talent pool.

The Mid-Career Stimulus and Diversification Scheme will support excellent mid­career researchers who were previously highly productive, but whose activity has been impeded by external factors or suspended as a result of extended leave, or indeed a combination of the two.

The Networks of Excellence Scheme is aimed at promoting activities to develop and facilitate interdisciplinary collaboration, foster greater public engagement, and ultimately enable research translation.

The 8 awardees announced at an event held in the UCD Conway Institute, 4 in both the Clinical Primer Scheme and the Mid-Career Stimulus and Diversification Scheme, are as follows;

Clinical Primer Scheme

  • Dr Conor Magee, Specialist Registrar Rheumatology, St. James’s Hospital. He will undertake an MD research project on the development of biomarkers to predict the progression of psoriatic arthritis.
  • Dr David Crosby, Clinical Research Fellow and Specialist Registrar Obstetrics and Gynaecology, The National Maternity Hospital and Merrion Fertility Clinic. His MD research project will focus on how the dysregulation of inflammatory pathways affects embryo implantation and pregnancy.
  • Dr Clodagh Kearney, Lecturer and Senior Clinician in Large Animal Surgery, UCD School of Veterinary Medicine. She will utilise an equine model to develop innovative ‘One Health’ treatments for arthritis.
  • Dr Conor McAloon, Assistant Professor and Clinician in Bovine Health Management, UCD School of Veterinary Medicine. He will undertake a research project elucidating the role of the environment in bovine respiratory disease.

Mid-Career Stimulus and Diversification Scheme

  • Associate Professor Orina Belton, UCD School of Biomolecular and Biomedical Science and UCD Conway Institute. Her research focus involves the development of optimum therapeutic strategies for the treatment of diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
  • Associate Professor Amanda McCann, UCD School of Medicine and UCD Conway Institute. Her research focus involves evaluating the role of extracellular vesicles in triple negative breast cancer.
  • Professor Emma Teeling, UCD School of Biology and Environmental Science and UCD Conway Institute. Her research is focused on utilising the bat as an animal model to elucidate the mechanisms of longer health spans, and the basis of novel immunity for disease tolerance. 
  • Associate Professor Margaret McGee, UCD School of Biomolecular and Biomedical Science and UCD Conway Institute. Her research is focused on the characterisation of extracellular cyclophilins during cancer growth and metastasis.

Professor William Gallagher, Director, UCD Conway Institute, and lead academic overseeing the Fund said, “The calibre of the awardees within the first round of these schemes is absolutely superb, representing a broad range of disciplines across the university. I will be excited to see their projects develop over the next couple of years, as they all undoubtedly generate highly impactful research.”

Professor Orla Feely, UCD Vice-President for Research Impact and Innovation said, “I am delighted that the University has been awarded this prestigious funding, which will have a major impact on the UCD research community, enabling our researchers to overcome systemic barriers in career and network development.”


16 June 2017

For further information contactMicéal Whelan, University College Dublin, Communications Manager (Innovation), t: + 353 1 716 3712, e: or Claire Kilty, Programme Manager, UCD Conway Institute, t: +353 +1 716 6716, e:

Editors Notes

The UCD Wellcome Institutional Strategic Support Fund (ISSF) is supported under the SFI-HRB-Wellcome Biomedical Research Partnership, with matched funding from UCD. This award will enable UCD to strategically advance research in Personalised and Translational Medicine and One Health themes and to leverage further external funding from agencies such as the EU and Wellcome, amongst others.

Established in 1854, University College Dublin (UCD) is Ireland’s largest university with over 30,000 students from some 120 countries worldwide. Founded on the educational principles of its first Rector, John Henry Newman, the university seeks to contribute to the economy and society through the excellence and impact of its research, innovation and scholarship, the quality of its graduates and through its engagement nationally and internationally.