Minister Harris announces €16.2 million to support 15 research projects led by Technological Universities and Institutes of Technology

16 Nov, 2022

On Wednesday, Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science Simon Harris has today announced €16.2 million in funding from Science Foundation Ireland for 15 collaborative projects aimed at increasing research capacity within the technological sector.

Several projects at TU Dublin have received funding, including ViroSPEC led by Prof. Hugh J. Byrne, Plasma PLUS led by Prof. James Curtin, PHOtosensitive Recording Materials led by Dr Kevin Murphy, Dyes for photonics by Dr Mikhail Filatov and Internal Wave-Current Interactions led by Prof. Rossen Ivanov. 

Speaking on Wednesday, Minister Harris said:

“I’m delighted during Science Week to announce these exciting new research projects. Through these new awards we are delivering on several key objectives, including an enhanced focus on research activities within the TU sector.

“In order for TUs to grow and reach their full potential, we need to ensure they have the ability to deliver impactful research and this funding allows them to do that.

“This research will address key areas too, such as healthcare and climate change.”

The SFI Frontiers for Partnership Awards support research proposals led by the Technological University (TU) / Institutes of Technology (IoT) sector with partners from the established University sector. The funding will support research in areas such as the development of a traceability tool for seafood, green hydrogen, sheep breeding, cancer therapies, tremor in Parkinson’s’ disease, and reducing energy use in AI technology.

Examples of projects include:

  • Prof James Curtin (Technological University Dublin) and Prof Paula Bourke (University College Dublin) will use cold plasma to create smart drugs that reduce toxicity and improve the effectiveness of chemotherapy
  • Dr Conor Graham (Atlantic Technological University) and Dr Liam Morrison (University of Galway) aim to develop the world’s first scientifically based traceability tool for seafood. This will help protect the health of consumers, deter food fraud and enhance the marking of Irish seafood abroad.
  • Dr Deirdre Purfield (Munster Technological University) is partnering with Dr Nóirín McHugh (Teagasc) to increase productivity in Irish sheep farming in a sustainable and welfare-friendly manner by exploiting genomic information in sheep breeding.
  • Dr Suresh Pillai (Atlantic Technological University) and Prof Paula Colavita (Trinity College Dublin) are developing low-cost materials to allow commercial hydrogen production from renewable sources. This project is co-funded by SEAI.

Prof Philip Nolan, Director General, Science Foundation Ireland, said:

“We have developed this programme following detailed consultation with the sector.

“It is important we provide the support to build excellent research capacity in our Technological Universities and Institutes of Technology, and working in partnership with their colleagues in the wider University sector is an excellent way to do this. I wish the awardees every success with these projects.”

This week is National Science Week (13-20 November), with hundreds of events for all age groups taking place throughout the country. Science Week aims to encourage people to discuss and explore the possibilities that science offers.

Science is an important part of a shared better future – helping us to understand our world, inspiring new opportunities, and providing potential solutions. From the infinite variety of our amazing planet and the adaptability of nature to our ability to face the unexpected, the possibilities are endless.

The Infinite Possibilities theme was developed as a result of the findings of the government’s Creating Our Future public consultation campaign. Creating Our Future sought submissions from the public on what they would like researchers to explore.

Read more about the awards here.