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News Archive 2017

Minister John Halligan announces research investment of €43 million through SFI Investigators Programme

Monday, 02 October, 2017 


Science Foundation Ireland investment will support 26 research projects in key areas including mathematical modelling, nanoscience, inflammatory diseases, cancer, materials, cattle breeding, seismology, communications and climate change.

Minister for Training, Skills, Innovation, Research and Development, John Halligan TD has announced an investment of €43 million in 26 research projects through the SFI Investigators Programme. The 26 research projects will support 94 research positions over the next five years.

Pictured (l-r): Prof Mark Ferguson, Director General of Science Foundation Ireland and Chief Scientific Adviser to the Government of Ireland; Minister for Training, Skills, Innovation, Research and Development, John Halligan TD; Prof Dermot Brougham, UCD; Prof Anding Zhu, UCD; and Prof Orla Feely VP of Research, Innovation and Impact, University College Dublin

Minister Halligan said, “This funding recognises some of Ireland’s top researchers and enables them to advance vital research areas in Ireland including health, technology, agriculture and energy.  I am confident that the teams being supported will generate important new scientific breakthroughs.  In addition, today’s investment provides 20 companies with access to invaluable expertise and infrastructure across the country. These collaborations between industry and academia are integral to further enhancing Ireland’s reputation for research excellence.”

To strengthen and accelerate research in key strategic areas of national interest, Science Foundation Ireland collaborates with several funding agencies and public bodies through the SFI Investigator Programme. Six of the research projects received co-funding worth a total of €3 million from Teagasc, Geological Survey Ireland (GSI), the Marine Institute (MI), and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Along with the 26 research projects that will be funded, the international peer review panel recommended a further 33 scientifically excellent projects for funding. These projects are on a reserve list to be supported if budgets permit later in the year.

Professor Mark Ferguson, Director General of Science Foundation Ireland and Chief Scientific Adviser to the Government of Ireland added, “The Science Foundation Ireland Investigators Programme funds outstanding individuals performing excellent, impactful research. The standard of applications for the SFI Investigators Programme was exceptionally high. I have the highest expectations for the projects funded today, and look forward to seeing the benefits to Ireland’s society and economy.”

Under the Science Foundation Ireland Investigators Programme, three research projects at UCD will be funded:

  • Prof Dermot Brougham, UCD School of Chemistry: NANO-MAG-FACTORY: Multi-functional Magnetic Nanocomposite Materials for Biomedicine.

This project is to develop next-generation bio- compatible stimulus-responsive hydrogel supports for growing cells on plates.  The approach will also open up new exploitable technologies which will contribute to human health and to the medical diagnostics/device industry in Ireland.

  • Prof Ulla Knaus, UCD School of Medicine: Impact of ROS on intestinal health in inflammatory bowel disease

The long-term goal of the research team is to improve patient care by understanding how changes in the oxidant/antioxidant balance will affect intestinal health.

  • Prof Anding Zhu, UCD School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering: High Efficiency Millimetre Wave Power Amplifiers for Next Generation High Speed Wireless Communications

This project aims to develop a set of new technologies to enable super high speed wireless data transmission with minimum energy consumption while at the meantime maintaining high quality of data services in 5G.

A fourth project in collaboration with Teagasc and University of Limerick has also been funded:

  • Dr David Kenny, Dr Sean Fair and Prof Patrick Lonergan (UCD School of Agriculture and Food Science): An integrated multidisciplinary approach to revolutionise dairy cattle breeding.