UCD Researchers recognised in SFI Frontiers for the Future Awards 

Written by: UCD Research
Written on: Thursday, 06 June, 2024

Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, Patrick O’Donovan TD has announced awards valued at €34 million to support research across seven Higher Education Institutions. Seven UCD researchers have been successful in this round of the SFI Frontiers for the Future awards.

Speaking today, Minister O’Donovan said: “These awards support the development of world-class research in areas of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. The projects and higher education institutions are focusing on will help deliver solutions to some of the major challenges facing society, including in healthcare, the environment and technology.”

Dr Ruth Freeman, Director, Science for Society at Science Foundation Ireland, said: “The SFI Frontiers for the Future awards provide opportunities for independent investigators to conduct highly-innovative, original research on important questions. I would like to thank SEAI for collaborating on this programme with SFI, supporting vital research in the area of sustainability.”

The SFI Frontiers for the Future awards at UCD are: 

- Prof Fiona Doohan, UCD School of Biology and Environmental Science, for ‘WheatHealth: Enhancing Our Understanding Of Wheat-microbe interactions to improve disease control and food security’.

- Prof Cormac Taylor, UCD School of Medicine, UCD Conway Institute for ‘GLYCOPLEX: A New Entity Regulating Glucose Metabolism in Hypoxic Cells’.

- Prof Madeleine Lowery, UCD School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, for ‘Closed-Loop Deep Brain Stimulation for Parkinson’s Disease: Foundations for Clinical Translation’.

- Prof Fionnuala McAuliffe,UCD School of Medicine, UCD Conway Institute, for ‘Preterm birth Prevention with Oral Probiotics: A Double-Blinded Placebo Controlled Randomized Controlled Trial on Lactobacillus-Crispatus-Containing Probiotic Therapy in Women at Risk of Preterm Birth (The PrePOP Study)’.

- Prof Ulla Knaus, UCD School of Medicine, UCD Conway Institute, for ‘Raising Oxidants for Immune Protection in Infectious Disease’.

- Prof Walter Kolch, UCD School of Medicine, UCD Conway Institute, The Role of Dynamic Protein-Protein Interaction Changes in Adaptive Drug Resistance.

On receiving the award, Prof Kolch said, "We are honoured to receive this substantial funding award from Science Foundation Ireland, which will enable us to further our research in personalised medicine and drug resistance. SFI has always been a great champion of the work we do in SBI and we are grateful for the continued support."

Prof Pieter Brama, UCD School of Veterinary Medicine, is a co-applicant on the Trinity College Dublin-led project ‘Engineering Structurally Anisotropic And Mechanically Functional Musculoskeletal Tissues By Guiding The Fusion, Differentiation And (Re)Modelling Of Stem Cell Derived Cartilage Spheroids’.

The 28 awards announced will support 124 research positions including 58 postdoctoral positions, 53 PhD students and 13 research assistants and other positions. This programme has been funded in collaboration with SEAI.

Director of Research and Policy Insights at Sustainability Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI), Margie McCarthy, said: “SEAI is delighted to be a co-funding partner in the Frontiers for the Future Programme. These awards are excellent examples of national innovation and creativity. By supporting independent researchers, we can help grow Ireland’s national capacity to conduct excellent scientific research. We look forward to the new insights and knowledge that the co-funded awards will bring to offshore wind energy support structures and anaerobic digestion ecosystems, and how their results will advance Ireland’s clean energy transition.”

The research will be undertaken in the following seven research bodies: University College Dublin, Dublin City University, Trinity College Dublin, Tyndall National Institute, University College Cork, Teagasc, and University of Galway.