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Associate Professor Kazim Buyokboduk and Associate Professor Robert Osburn 2023 IRC Advanced Laureates awardees

€16M in IRC funding for pioneering projects pushing the boundaries of knowledge

12 December 2023: A total of almost €16 million in funding is being invested in a suite of research projects under the (opens in a new window)Irish Research Council’s (IRC’s) Advanced Laureate Awards programme, the Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, Simon Harris TD, announced today.

The IRC’s (opens in a new window)Advanced Laureate Awards (ALAs) support established research leaders who have a record of original and significant research contributions to carry forward groundbreaking discoveries at the frontiers of knowledge in their respective fields.

Three UCD researchers have been selected amongst the sixteen awardees for 2023. Each awardee will receive up to €1 million in funding over a period of up to four years.

The ALAs enhance frontier research in Irish research-performing organisations across all disciplines and build the international competitiveness of senior researchers and Ireland as a whole. The awards are designed to encourage and widen the gateway to future European Research Council (ERC) funding, one of the most prestigious grant schemes in Europe, whilst boosting Ireland’s ability to retain excellent researchers in our research system.

Announcing the new awards, Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, Simon Harris TD, said: “I am thrilled to announce this significant investment in basic frontier research across a wide range of fields. This funding will help push the boundaries of knowledge and research forward, it will help break new ground and enhance Ireland’s leadership internationally in solving key challenges of our time.

“Ireland is a small island on the edge of Europe and has maintained a reputation for excellent research and strong interconnectedness with the best of the global research community. This is the case across the sciences, arts, and humanities and it is crucial we continue to foster a vibrant research eco-system and grasp the full potential of research for society, innovation, the economy, and our culture. The IRC’s support for basic research across all disciplines and career stages is a key pillar in this regard and government is committed to maintaining and building on this support with the establishment of a unified research agency in 2024 in the form of Research Ireland. I wish each of the Advanced Laureate awardees well as they embark on their ambitious projects over the next four years.”

UCD Interim Vice-President for Research, Innovation and Impact, Professor Helen Roche said: "I am delighted to congratulate this year's successful IRC Advanced Laureate awardees from UCD as they embark on the exploration of new horizons in research areas of cybersecurity, quantum theory and genomic evolution. The IRC Advanced Laureate awards are an essential part of Ireland’s research landscape, enabling our leaders to conduct important frontier research and build international competitiveness.”

Welcoming the announcement, Peter Brown, Director of the Irish Research Council said: “I would like to congratulate the sixteen new Advanced Laureate awardees for 2023. This follows the funding of 48 ‘starting’ and ‘consolidator’ Laureate awards in 2022. Taken together, the Laureate awards represent a very significant investment of some €40m in frontier basic research across the researcher career spectrum. Within the suite of advanced grant awards being announced today reside the potential for significant leaps forward in solving key problems and developing new understandings on topics that resonate strongly in our society, and globally.  Smart cities, inflammation, migration, cross-border dynamics, immune cells, dementia, long-term memory and our linguistic past are just some examples of the themes connected with the projects that will be supported."

"Through these awards, the selected researchers will further develop their expertise and enhance their contribution nationally and internationally to addressing the challenges at the forefront of their respective disciplines. Success within this very competitive programme will enable the awardees to progress to the next stage in their research trajectory, building their track record and positioning them to target future success in schemes such as those of the European Research Council.”

2023 IRC Advanced Laureate Awardees from UCD:

Dr Kazim Buyokboduk, UCD School of Mathematics and Statistics
Project: Arithmetic of critical p-adic L-functions — Higher dimensional eigenvarieties
Dr Buyokboduk will study variational properties of arithmetic objects, which has become a major theme of the number theory domain of mathematics, namely automorphic forms. This research will pave the way for new theoretical techniques to tackle mathematical problems of central importance, while also laying the foundation for future progress in applied areas, such as in algorithms to encrypt data for transmission and public-key cryptography, which is the backbone of cybersecurity.

Dr Robert Osburn, UCD School of Mathematics and Statistics
Project Q-series, quantum knot invariants and modularity
Dr Osburn will lead pioneering research that will involve new analytic, algebraic combinatorial and knot-theoretic techniques. This project will constitute completely uncharted territory, with potential transformative impacts in the study of automorphic forms, quantum topology, combinatorics, theoretical physics and beyond.

Professor Ken Wolfe, UCD School of Medicine and a UCD Conway Institute Fellow
Project: Meiotic drive and evolution of pericentromeric genome organisation in budding yeasts
Prof Wolfe will undertake research based on his recent discovery that challenges the general thinking that the locations of genes along chromosomes in eukaryotes is random. This project will use experiments to test a proposed model in which the regions of chromosomes located close to centromeres (pericentromeric regions) are under strong selection to contain genes that are required during the early stages of spore development, and possibly also the early stages of bud formation.

For information on all 16 Awardees and Irish Research Council programmes, visit (opens in a new window)https://research.ie/news/

UCD School of Mathematics and Statistics

Room S3.04, Science Centre South, University College Dublin, Belfield, Dublin 4, Ireland.