Ten UCD teams among first awarded funding under €65m National Challenge Fund
Posted 14 February, 2023
Ten teams from University College Dublin are among the first to be awarded funding under the newly announced €65m National Challenge Fund, which aims to provide ambitious solutions to major environmental and societal issues.
Over the next 18 months, the scheme intents to provide funding for approximately 90 research teams - with initial funding up to €250,000 - to tackle one of eight ‘challenge’ streams.
Participating under each of these, successful teams will be awarded follow-on funding, up to €500,000, before competing for prizes between €1m and €2m.
Ten of the initial 26 successful teams are from UCD, and including project which feature using artificial intelligence to allow for tele-rehabilitation for stroke patients, and improving the accuracy of real-time public transport information.
“This is an exciting day for research and innovation in Ireland as a whole. We know that there is an urgent need to find solutions to big societal problems and to implement new ideas as quickly as we can,” said Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science Simon Harris, TD.
“Putting research and innovation to work for the benefit of the people of Ireland is at the heart of our strategy, Impact 2030. All eight challenges in the National Challenge Fund are designed to find and promote solutions within this decade, and I look forward to seeing the results these teams produce.
“When encouraged and nurtured, ingenuity from Ireland can and will improve life here, and around the world.”
Science Foundation Ireland Director General Philip Nolan added: "Challenge-based funding in Ireland has already reaped rewards and we are working to make sure the best of Irish research benefits the people of this country as quickly as possible.
“For researchers, it’s not too late to get involved in the National Challenge Fund, as we have two more calls opening next week. These are great opportunities for the talent and dedication of the Irish research community to make a real change to the world around them.”
The successful UCD teams are:
- Dr Thomas Hooper, UCD School of Chemistry, and co-lead Dr Ioscani Jimemez de Val, UCD School of Chemical and Bioprocess Engineering.
- Fluorocapture - Reducing fluorinated gas emission by converting fluorinated gases to chemical building blocks for industry
- Dr Andrew Phillips, UCD School of Chemistry, and co-lead Dr James Carton, Dublin City University.
- RSER - Renewable energy storage for mobile applications.
- Dr Oisín Boydell, UCD School of Computer Science, and co-lead Dr Eoghan Holohan, UCD School of Earth Sciences.
- AI2Peat - Combining artificial and human intelligence for peatland monitoring.
- Dr Cailbhe Doherty, UCD School of Public Health, Physiotherapy and Sports Science, and co-lead Dr Rob Argent, Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland.
- Cerberus - Acting as a watchdog for consumers of wearable devices for health and fitness.
- Dr Ibrahim Khalil, UCD School of Agriculture and Food Science, and co-lead Dr Anca Delia Jurcuti, UCD School of Computer Science.
- HOLOS-IE - Digital tool to assess Irish agricultural land use and management to reduce pollution.
- Prof Eleni Mangina, and co-lead Dr Abraham Campbell, UCD School of Computer Science.
- STROHAB - Using extended reality and artificial intelligence to allow for tele-rehabilitation for stroke patients.
- Dr Di Nguyen, and co-lead Dr Vincent Hargaden, UCD School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering
- ReApt - Improving the accuracy of real-time public transport information to support passengers and those allocating resources in the system.
- Dr Vikram Pakrashi, UCD School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering, and co-lead Dr Michelle Carey, UCD School of Mathematics and Statistics.
- TRaIn - Sensors to allow trains in motion to inspect the tracks they run on for signs of degradation.
- Dr Stephen Redmond, UCD School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, and co-lead Dr David McKeown, UCD School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering.
- Light Touch Robotics - Developing a sense of touch for robotic grippers to enable them to do more tasks in industry.
- Dr Nan Zhang, UCD School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering, and Prof Wenxin Wang, UCD School of Medicine.
- AI-Form - using artificial intelligence to accelerate nanomedicine development.
The National Challenge Fund was established under the Irish Government’s National Recovery and Resilience Plan (NRRP), and is funded by the EU’s Recovery and Resilience Facility.
“I am delighted that EU funding, through the National Challenge Fund, is being used to future-proof our economy and society,” said EU Commissioner for Financial Stability, Financial Services and Capital Markets, Mairead McGuiness.
“The emphasis on research and innovation will support ongoing work on the green and digital transitions, and so it will help create a more sustainable future. I wish all the teams much success with their research that will bring benefits to the whole of the European Union. We are stronger together."
By: David Kearns, Digital Journalist / Media Officer, UCD University Relations