Explore UCD

UCD Home >

UCD-led projects benefit from US-Ireland R&D Programme awards

Posted 22 March, 2023

Three UCD-projects have received funding under the US-Ireland R&D Programme as the international partnership announced €21m in research investment.

The programme, a tripartite venture between the United States, Ireland and Northern Ireland following the Good Friday Agreement, has awarded 12 projects funding - supporting over 60 research positions across 27 institutions over the next three to five years.

Its selected projects will be supported by (opens in a new window)Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) and the (opens in a new window)Health Research Board (HRB) in Ireland; the (opens in a new window)National Science Foundation (NSF) and (opens in a new window)National Institutes of Health (NIH) in the USA; and the (opens in a new window)Department for the Economy (DfE) and the (opens in a new window)Health and Social Care (HSC) R&D Division in Northern Ireland. 

UCD-led Projects:

A functional genomics pipeline for genetic discovery in diabetic kidney disease.

Lead: (opens in a new window)Professor Catherine Godson, UCD School of Medicine

This is the third US-Ireland award for the research group led by Professor Catherine Godson, who was among the recipients of the first US-Ireland awards made in 2008. 

Kidney disease is a common and devastating complication of diabetes, and represents a major public health problem worldwide.

For this project, UCD has partnered with Queen’s University Belfast, Harvard Medical School and Mass General Hospital, US, to expand and combine data from several complementary approaches, with the hope of identifying those genes and biological processes that impact the development of diabetic kidney disease.

This work is co-funded by the HRB and HSC.

Processing-Driven Nucleation Mediated Control for Manufacturing of Phase-Pure Ferroelectric Hafnia

Lead: (opens in a new window)Professor Brian Rodriguez, UCD School of Physics

The second US-Ireland award for Professor Brian Rodriguez’s group, this project is seeking to lower the power requirements for computing.

In collaboration Queen’s and the University of Virginia, the team are examining the manufacturing of electronic materials that do not form naturally but which exhibit useful properties. 

The material of study in this effort is hafnium oxide with a specific arrangement of atoms that results in a spontaneous electric charge separation that can be changed with application of a sufficient voltage.

Funded by the NSF, SFI and the DfE, it is hoped that this research will lead to new functionality that could be useful for future generations of low power computing and computer memory.

Full Atomistic Understanding of Solid-Liquid Interfaces via an Integrated Experiment-Theory Approach

Lead: (opens in a new window)Professor Niall English, UCD School of Chemical and Bioprocess Engineering

In partnership with the University of Ulster, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and the University of Texas at Austin, this UCD-lead project aims to achieve a thorough understanding of surfaces of electrodes in contact with electrically active liquids.

It is probing, at the atomic level, how liquids are structured at these interfaces, and on how this affects the electrostatic "personality" of the surface. 

Alongside these three projects, UCD is also collaborating with the Trinity College Dublin-led project ‘Convergent Quantum REsearchAlliance in Telecommunications (CoQREATE)’.

With the rapid development of quantum computers, there is a pressing need to develop a quantum Internet, providing true quantum connectivity between quantum computers over short and long distances.

(opens in a new window)Professor Mark Flanagan, UCD School of Electrical & Electronic Engineering is working together with researchers from TCD, QUB, Dublin City University, Tyndall National Institute, South East Technological University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, University of Arizona, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and University of Chicago to realise a telecommunication system that supports the coexistence of quantum and classical signals, and exploit their combined power. 

“The growth of the US-Ireland R&D Partnership Programme since its inception, highlights the significant value of our international collaborations,” said Professor Philip Nolan, SFI Director General.

“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.” 

NSF Director Sethuraman Panchanathan added: "The US-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.”

Mark Lee, Interim DfE Director of Higher Education said that international research partnerships had “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 more information on the programme and full list of awards, (opens in a new window)visit here.

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

To contact the UCD News & Content Team, email: newsdesk@ucd.ie