Research News

SFI Frontiers for the Future grants announced with focus on health and climate

  • 11 May, 2022


Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, Simon Harris TD, has today announced 76 grants valued at €53.7 million to support frontiers research across ten Higher Education Institutions through Science Foundation Ireland (SFI).

The research supported will investigate areas such as childhood ADHD, future coastal sea levels, new generation batteries, antiviral drugs to treat Covid-19 infections, safety critical software, the link between obesity and cancer and the futureproofing of crops to withstand flooding.

In line with SFI’s gender strategy, the programme seeks to provide opportunities to address gender imbalance and to provide support for investigators returning to research after a period of leave. Some 42 per cent of the research grants supported will be led by female researchers and 32% by emerging investigators early in their research careers

The programme is run in collaboration with Geological Survey Ireland and the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) who are co-funding a number of the grants.

Commenting on the SFI Future Frontiers Programme, Minister Harris TD, said: “Congratulations to all the researchers who have received funding today as part of the SFI Frontiers for the Future Programme. I am delighted to support this programme which funds individual-led research, with an emphasis on fundamental research at the cutting edge of science and engineering which will help us build a better future for Ireland through discovery, innovation, and impact.

“Not only will these grants support research in important areas for Irish society, they will also fund 216 people in varying research positions across 10 Higher Education Institutes to further develop their research careers. We are investing in talent. I would like to offer my thanks to the Higher Education Institutions for their support in delivering this programme again this year.”

Professor Philip Nolan, Director General of SFI said: “After the success of the first SFI Future Frontiers Programme in 2020, I am delighted to see 76 research grants awarded. The research programmes are wonderfully diverse, but they have one thing in common: they ask fundamental questions and will lead to important scientific breakthroughs, with important applications in areas such as climate action, biodiversity, human and animal health and digital transformation, with real and lasting benefits to our society and economy.  The SFI Frontiers for the Future Programme is a key element of SFI’s new strategy – Shaping Our Future providing support for excellent research.

“It is really encouraging to see that 42% of the research grants are led by female researchers for the second year running. SFI is committed to addressing the gender imbalance evident in areas of Irish research and this is another example of that commitment in action.”  

UCD projects included:

Abdollah Malekjafarian Automated and Rapid Fault Diagnosis of Railway Tracks using In-service Train Measurements 376313
Adam Kane Noisy Neighbours - the movement ecology of urban gulls 265,280
Alexey Lastovetsky Models, Algorithms and Software for Energy-efficient Parallel Computing in Heterogeneous Hybrid Multicore Era 479,959
Angela Feechan RECEPTAR PATH: Removing susceptibility RECEptors in wheat and barley TARgeted by fungal leaf blight PATHogens 479,936
Anthony Ventresque RobuSTests: Robust Software Tests 479,935
Brendan Kennedy Investigating fundamental biological processes underpinning vision, to understand disease and develop therapeutic interventions for blindness. 332,676
Colm Ryan Understanding and predicting context-specific synthetic lethality in cancer 421,572
Ioscani Jimenez del Val Dial-A-Sugar: Model-Predictive Control of biopharmaceutical glycosylation 477,658
Jonathan Bond Unravelling epigenetic systems disruption in cancer 479,985
Marcus Baumann Continuous Flow Biocatalysis for High Value Products Exploiting Enzyme Cascade Processes 419,916
Michael Peter Kennedy No Spurs After Nonlinear Distortion (NoSAND) 937,343
Nicola Fletcher A One Health approach to investigate hepatitis E virus in humans, animals and the environment 457,868
Robert Johnson DNA Amplification and Detection within a Confined Nanospace 457,455
Siobhan McClean AdaptaLox:  Adaptation of bacteria to the low oxygen environment in chronic lung diseases - a target for a single treatment modality. 479,756
Stefan Oscarson Towards novel therapies; Development of a glycoconjugate fungal vaccine targeting Cryptococcus neoformans infections 315,167
Teerachot Siriburanon Massive Array of mm-Wave Transmitters with Digital Pencil Beam Steering for 5G Communications and Radars 479,980
Kenneth Wolfe Molecular arms race between a yeast homing genetic element and its genomic target 985,850
Mert Celikin Eoin O'Cearbhaill Additive Manufacturing of Bioresorbable Magnesium Implants 392,059
Tancredi Caruso Jonathan Yearsley Delivering food security from grasslands by understanding the link between root microbial networks and resilient agriculture 387,845


The SFI Frontiers for the Future programme comprise two funding streams:

  • Projects – 58 high-risk, high-reward research projects will receive approx. €32.3m to facilitate highly innovative and novel approaches to research.
  • Awards - 18 larger scale innovative, collaborative excellent research programmes that have the potential to deliver economic and societal impact will receive approx. €21.4m in funding. 

The SFI Frontiers for the Future Programme supports the development of world class research capability and human capital in areas of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) that demonstrably support and underpin enterprise competitiveness and societal development in Ireland.

Working across ten Higher Education Institutes, 216 research positions will be funded including 93 Postdoctoral scientists, 105 PhD students and 18 Research Assistants/others across a variety of different areas.

 46 industrial collaborators are engaging in the research programmes.

The research will be undertaken in the following Higher Education Institutions: RCSI University of Medicine and Health Sciences, University College Dublin, Maynooth University, Trinity College Dublin, University of Limerick, National University of Ireland, Galway, University College Cork, Technological University Dublin, Tyndall National Institute and Dublin City University.


The full list of awards and projects supported can be found here.