A joint investment of €9 million was today announced through a tripartite research and development partnership between the United States of America (USA), Republic of Ireland (RoI) and Northern Ireland (NI), spanning 16 research institutions. The seven awards will support more than 14 research positions in the Republic of Ireland and 10 research positions in Northern Ireland for three to five years.
The funding agencies involved in the awards being announced today are Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) in the Republic of Ireland; the National Science Foundation (NSF) in the USA, and the Department for the Economy (DfE) in Northern Ireland. The Health Research Board (RoI), the Health & Social Care R&D Division (NI) and National Institutes of Health (USA) have also been cofounding partners in the programme.
One of the awards was granted to energy sustainability project ‘Intelligent Data Harvesting for Multi-Scale Building Stock Classification and Energy Performance Prediction,’ led by Dr James O’Donnell, UCD School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering. Partnering on the project are Professor Neil Hewitt, University of Ulster and Professor Wangda Zuo, University of Colorado Boulder.
The project aims to reduce residential building energy consumption and related greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and other environmental impacts through the development of a novel tool chain for building owners and policymakers.
The tool chain will recommend complementary solutions for predicting GHG potential reductions. It will be enabled by harvesting non-uniform datasets from various sources and automatically generating building energy prediction models at multiple scales, using physics-informed machine learning.
Dr O’Donnell said: “This project is a unique and exciting opportunity to integrate expertise in the areas of energy modelling, energy informatics and green engineering, through the creation of a unique decision support tool aimed at policymakers and home owners, and that can be used across the three countries.”
By collaborating with the major stakeholders, the project will have a broad range of real world socioeconomic and environmental impacts to all three jurisdictions, include the ability to inform decision makers - such as policy makers, local planners, and building architects and operators -based on trustworthy, explainable results.
Commenting on the announcement, Director General of Science Foundation Ireland, Professor Philip Nolan said: “I am delighted to congratulate all of the award recipients and their collaborators. These are world-class research projects, driving innovation with the potential to greatly benefit our collective societies and economies. The US-Ireland R&D Partnership Programme demonstrates the strong collaborative relationship between our countries, encouraging globally-relevant scientific discovery across borders.”
Also welcoming the announcement, Director of the US National Science Foundation, Dr Sethuraman Panchanathan said: “The US-Ireland R&D Partnership Programme provides a unique opportunity to advance research on a global scale. I am delighted to congratulate the awardees collaborating across the Atlantic, who are working to create future world-class technological innovations.”
The overall goal of the US-Ireland Research and Development Partnership, launched in July 2006, is to increase the level of collaborative research and innovation amongst researchers and industry professionals across the three jurisdictions. The unique collaboration aims to generate valuable discoveries and innovations which are transferable to the marketplace, or will lead to enhancements in health, disease prevention or healthcare.
Director of Higher Education in the Department for the Economy, Northern Ireland, Trevor Cooper said: “The US-Ireland R&D Partnership is playing a key role in driving forward Northern Ireland’s economic vision for a ‘10x Economy’ which champions greater collaboration and innovation to deliver a ten times better economy with benefits for all our people. ‘10x Economy’ recognises that international collaboration is a key feature of the Northern Ireland research landscape and fundamental to driving both economic impact and social advancement. This flagship trans-Atlantic partnership is crucial to delivering this vision.”
The 16 collaborating institutions are University College Dublin (UCD), Trinity College Dublin (TCD), National University of Ireland Galway (NUIG), Munster Technological University (MTU), Tyndall National institute (TNI), and Dublin City University (DCU) in the Republic of Ireland; Queen’s University Belfast (QUB) and Ulster University (UU) in Northern Ireland; and University of Pennsylvania, Virginia Tech, University of Colorado Boulder, Arizona State University, Harvard University, Pennsylvania State University, Ohio State University, and Rensselaer Polytechnic University in the United States.
For more information on the programme, visit www.sfi.ie/funding/funding-calls/us-ireland-rd-partnership.
The six other US-Ireland Research Partnership awards were granted to:
'Mechanics of the Formation and Function of 2D Material Pleats - An Integrated, Multidisciplinary Study,'led by Prof Graham Cross (TCD), with Dr Gareth Tribello (QUB) and Prof Robert Carpick (University of Pennsylvania).
'Strained Engineered Germanium Quantum-Well Laser on GaAs and Si for Nanoscale Photonics,' led by Dr Tomasz Ochalski (Munster Technological University), with Supriya Chakrabarti (University of Ulster) and Prof Mantu Hudait (Virginia Tech ), and the Tyndall National Institute.
'A unified framework for the emulation of classical and quantum networks,' led by Prof Marco Ruffini (TCD), with Prof Mauro Paternostro (QUB), Dr Boulat Bash (University of Arizona ) and Prof Prineha Narang (Harvard University).
'Design of Genetically Engineered Tensile Load-Bearing Soft Tissues Inspired by Embryonic Tendon Development,' led by Prof Paula Murphy (TCD), with Prof Nicholas Dunne (DCU), Prof Helen McCarthy (QUB) and Prof Spencer Szczesny (Pennsylvania State University).
'Sensor Application to Peatland Hydrology in Remote Environments,' led by Dr Tiernan Henry (NUI Galway), Dr Raymond Flynn (QUB) and Prof Berry Lyons (Ohio State University).
'Ultrasensitive Nitrogen Sensor using Imprinted Polymer Assisted Bacteria for Real-Time Monitoring of Water Quality,'led by Prof Noel O’Connor (DCU), with Dr Panagiotis Manesiotis (QUB) and Dr Rick Relyea and Dr Shayla Sawyer (Rensselaer Polytechnic University).