April 2015 | Aibreán 2015

Minister English Announces Over €30 Million SFI Investment in Scientific Research

Tue, 28 April 15 14:19

Dublin, 24 April 2015 – Minister for Skills, Research and Innovation, Damien English TD today 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.

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."

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.


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.”

UCD projects supported:

  • Prof. Martin Steinhoff, University College Dublin - 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, we will first identify in a translational setting key cytokines and chemokines in different human itch subtypes. With companies, we will then test in human studies the beneficial effects of treating itch by blocking cytokine/chemokine pathways.

 

  • Prof. Fiona Doohan, University College Dublin - The challenge of increasing wheat production by 70% to feed the world population in 2050 is great. We have to make a concerted international effort to increase yields, not least by controlling the diseases that reduce yield and contaminate grain with toxins. This project focuses on unravelling novel mechanisms involved in wheat response to stress and delivering knowledge and tools that can be used in plant breeding and crop biotechnology in order to improve wheat resistance to disease. Consequently, it will contribute to our understanding of plant biology, and to the development of sustainable means for enhancing food productivity.

 

About SFI Investigators Programme:

The SFI Investigators Programme alternates between thematic and open calls for proposals. The current call was thematic and included a new partnership with the Department of Employment and Learning in Northern Ireland.Projects supported under the partnership in Northern Ireland will be announced at a later date.
Details of the thematic areas can be found at http://www.sfi.ie/funding/funding-calls/closed-calls/sfi-investigators-programme-2014.html

The call for applications for the 2015 Investigators Programme (IvP 2015) is currently open. The call aims to stimulate and catalyse strong participation by Ireland’s researchers in the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 research framework programme (H2020). In recognition of the national importance of H2020 and the need to demonstrate a collaborative all-island approach, SFI is pleased to announce that the IvP 2015 call involves the participation of a number of Government Departments and funding agencies. Co-funding Partners include the Department for Employment and Learning, Northern Ireland (DEL), Teagasc, the Geological Survey of Ireland (GSI), the Marine Institute (MI), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Irish Research Council (IRC).

Click here for a full list of projects supported

Caption: 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. The funding will be delivered by the Department of Jobs, Enterprise & Innovation through the Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) Investigators Programme.  The projects 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.

Original article by SFI