Research News

Nine UCD teams awarded funding under final two categories of €65M National Challenge Fund

  • 12 September, 2023


The Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, Simon Harris TD has welcomed the final teams to join the fray in the National Challenge Fund. 

The final two Challenges – the Sustainable Communities Challenge and the Future Food Systems Challenge have now begun, with 25 teams joining more than 70 competing for prize awards of €1 million or €2 million in continued funding. The Challenges are structured so that professional researchers must engage directly with the potential beneficiaries of their inventions and solutions to make sure they are responding to their communities’ needs.

Members of the SHIFT research team from UCD which has received funding under SFI's National Challenge Fund. SHIFT stands for: Sustainable and Healthy InFrastructure by reducing stress during active Travel

Minister Harris said, “The National Challenge Fund is both a marathon and a sprint for these researchers. They are committing to solving long-term problems but they need to develop their ideas quickly and validate their solutions to keep unlocking funding each year.” 

“This kind of solutions-driven research will help us to tackle the big societal changes we face as we become a green and digital country, and I am already looking forward to the years ahead as we see the projects advance. I am particularly pleased to see the diversity of researchers – coming from all career stages, and from across the higher education network, as we work to make our professional research community representative of modern Ireland.”

Science Foundation Ireland Director General Prof. Philip Nolan said, “We know that sustainable living is important for our long-term stability and productivity as a nation. These projects will work to accelerate research towards implementation so that there will be better, less wasteful options for us to use in the future.” 

“It is really important that these solutions are developed with the people who are going to use them, and that they actually respond to their needs. I am delighted that so many researchers responded to the Challenges and that they are committed to working at such a pace to deliver real change in such diverse arenas.” 

The National Challenge Fund is a €65M challenge research fund under the Government’s National Recovery and Resilience Plan which aims to fund and accelerate research to address national challenges in the areas of Green Transition and Digital Transformation. The Fund is a key deliverable in the Government’s Research and Innovation Strategy Impact 2030. It is funded by the EU’s Recovery and Resilience Facility.

The successful UCD teams are:

Sustainable Communities Challenge

Future Food Systems Challenge