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SFI Technology Innovation Development Awards for four UCD academics

Posted 07 February, 2019

Four academics from University College Dublin have been awarded funding under the Science Foundation Ireland, Technology Innovation Development Award (TIDA) programme.

The research projects across animal genetics, health, and energy will share more than €400,000 in funding over the next 12 months.

Dr Gabriella Farries, from the UCD School of Agriculture and Food Science, will lead a project aimed at developing a test to aid horse breeders to identify the genetic aptitudes of horses when it comes to aerobic fitness and responsiveness to exercise training.

Dr Fiona McGillicuddy, at the UCD School of Medicine, will head-up a research project seeking to produce a new diagnostic test which will allow doctors to distinguish between obese individuals at increased risk of heart disease, diabetes and cancer.

Dr Crystal O'Connor, of the UCD School of Chemistry and Chemical Biology, is looking at the potential of using chemical bonding to create a safer, more reliable method of storing hydrogen.

Dr James Rice, from the UCD School of Physics, seeks to create a system that uses laser-based senses to greatly increase the speed and accuracy of detecting STDs.

The Science Foundation Ireland TIDAs provide project development funding and training in entrepreneurship skills to third-level researchers, with the aim of exploring the commercial opportunities associated with their research. 

UCD Vice President for Research, Innovation and Impact Professor Orla Feely congratulated the UCD researchers, saying the funding “will allow them to progress the commercialisation of their research, and to deliver impact to society and the economy.”

“The [TIDA] programme is aligned with a number of key Government strategies including Innovation 2020, the National Policy Statement on Entrepreneurship in Ireland and Project Ireland 2040,” added Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Heather Humphreys TD.

“It will develop important entrepreneurship skills and commercialisation capabilities, ensuring Ireland maintains its position as a leader in cutting-edge research.” 

Minister of State for Training, Skills, Innovation, Research and Development, John Halligan TD said: “Fostering a culture of entrepreneurship and helping researchers in Ireland to realise the commercialisation potential of their work is an important factor in deepening Ireland’s economic resilience.”

Professor Mark Ferguson, Director General of Science Foundation Ireland and Chief Scientific Adviser to the Government of Ireland added: “A key objective is to increase the number and quality of discoveries that have strong economic impact potential, that can secure follow-on public or private investment.

“The TIDA programme plays a key role in this process by providing funding to develop technologies, as well as fostering entrepreneurship skills among our research community.”

In total, the TIDA programme will provide €4.5 million in funding for 38 research projects across Ireland.

By: David Kearns, Digital Journalist / Media Officer, UCD University Relations