US-Ireland R&D Programme funding for research on diabetic kidney disease and low power computing elements


A joint investment of approx. €21 million was announced on St Patrick's Day through a tripartite research and development partnership between the United States, Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, marking the highest number of annual awards ever made through the programme, which came about as a result of the Good Friday Agreement.

Under the Programme, which celebrates its 17th year in operation, 12 awards have been announced spanning 27 research institutions and supporting more than 35 research positions in the Republic of Ireland, and over 25 research positions in Northern Ireland, for three to five years. The funded projects include research in the areas of energy storage and conversion, wearable health diagnostics, 5G/6G communications and quantum networks.

The Programme is supported by Science Foundation Ireland and the Health Research Board (RoI); the National Science Foundation and National Institutes of Health (USA); and the Department for the Economy and the Health & Social Care R&D Division (Northern Ireland). Three Conway Fellows received awards under this programme. 

People smilingPictured l-r: Dr Eoin Brennan, Prof. Catherine Godson, Prof. Brian Rodriguez 

This is the third US-Ireland award for research group led by Professor Catherine Godson, UCD School of Medicine with co-applicant, Dr Eoin Brennan. Together, this group aims to develop improved treatments for kidney disease. Together with long standing collaborator, Professor Peter Maxwell in Queen’s University Belfast, they were the recipients of the first US-Ireland award ever made in 2008. 

HRB Chief Executive, Dr Mairéad O'Driscoll said: “We are delighted to support Professor Godson’s work in kidney disease which represents a major public health problem worldwide. The HRB is committed to supporting highly innovative international collaboration through the US-Ireland R&D Programme to generate health benefits in Ireland and internationally.” 

Also welcoming the announcement, Dr Janice Bailie, Assistant Director, Health and Social Care Research and Development, Northern Ireland, said: “US-Ireland research collaboration continues to demonstrate its immense value. We look forward to seeing the results of Prof. Godson’s and Prof. Maxwell’s work, which has potential to improve kidney disease treatments and preventive measures.”

Professor Brian Rodriguez has received a second US-Ireland Programme award for work that could lead to the development of computing with low power requirements. His group are exploring the manufacture of electronic materials with functionality that is useful for future generations of low power computing and computer memory. Such low power devices are needed to reduce the overall energy consumption related to computing. This, in turn, will enable the development and manufacturing of new microelectronic technologies that could lead to new functionality and less energy consumption.

Prof Philip Nolan, Director General of Science Foundation Ireland welcomed the announcement, saying: “The growth of the US-Ireland R&D Partnership Programme since its inception, highlights the significant value of our international collaborations. I am particularly pleased to see the evolution of a number of the groups that have now won multiple US-Ireland awards. I am delighted to congratulate the award recipients and their collaborators on their work which spans both fundamental and applied research and has the potential to greatly benefit our collective societies and economies.” 

"The U.S.-Ireland R&D Partnership program plays an important role in pushing the boundaries of frontier research beyond any borders. This unique research partnership model aims to generate, at speed and scale, valuable discoveries and innovations which are transferable to the marketplace or will lead to enhancements in health, climate resilience and telecommunications to improve our world. I congratulate the awardees and look forward to seeing how their outcomes contribute to successfully addressing global challenges," said NSF Director Sethuraman Panchanathan.

Mark Lee, Interim Director of Higher Education at Northern Ireland’s Department for the Economy, said: “International research partnerships have a key role to play in driving forward Northern Ireland’s vision for a ‘10x Economy’ to deliver economic prosperity and a better quality of life for all our people. The US-Ireland R&D Partnership, as a flagship trans-Atlantic initiative, is playing a crucial role in the delivery of this vision, supporting Northern Ireland-based researchers to make a global impact through the development of new and ground-breaking technologies that can benefit all right across society.”