Minister Harris Announces Funding for TU Dublin Researcher to Support Ireland's Green Transition

Published: 3 Oct, 2023

On Tuesday, Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science Simon Harris TD, announced €5 million in funding under the latest round of the Irish Research Council’s Enterprise Partnership Scheme and Employment-Based Postgraduate Programme,

The IRC's enterprise programmes provide postgraduate and postdoctoral candidates, hosted by a research-performing institution, with the opportunity to collaborate with an enterprise or employer on a research project of mutual interest.

In the pursuit of reducing our dependence on fossil fuels, hydrogen and electricity are poised to emerge as pivotal energy carriers for end-user services. With the Enterprise Partnership programme funding, Dr Hector Diego Estrada Lugo will work with ESB to conduct a resilience assessment of a pilot facility designed to produce, store and distribute  Hydrogen.

Commenting on the announcement, Dr Hector Diego Estrada Lugo said, "This collaborative project represents a visionary stride towards realising a sustainable and secure hydrogen-driven future for Ireland, underpinned by a commitment to safety, resilience, and strategic resource management."

The team working with Dr Hector Diego Estrada Lugo are:

Academic mentor: Dr Maria Chiara Leva (TU Dublin)

Enterprise mentor: Sinead Treanor (ESB)

Academic co-mentor: Dr Mick McKeever (TU Dublin)

Each year, the IRC partners with a wide spectrum of organisations, ranging from multinational corporations to SMEs, public-sector agencies, and non-governmental organisations (NGOs), under its Enterprise Partnership Scheme and Employment-Based Postgraduate Programme. Through these co-funded programme strands, postgraduate or postdoctoral researchers develop new, advanced knowledge, and skills linked with industry and employer needs.

Announcing the latest IRC enterprise programmes’ awards, Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, Simon Harris TD, said: “I am delighted to announce the latest projects to be selected for funding under the Irish Research Council’s Enterprise Partnership Scheme and Employment-Based Postgraduate Programme. These co-funded programmes train early-career researchers for the diversity of employment opportunities in industry, the public sector and the non-government sectors. For enterprise and employment partners, the schemes provide a low-risk, flexible route to research talent and innovation in an area closely aligned with their strategic interests.

“It’s exciting to see the broad experience and benefits that these partnerships will give to researchers and their enterprise-employer partners. These collaborative projects will allow researchers to gain valuable experience in the early stages of their careers, while employers and enterprises will benefit from having fresh perspectives, expertise, new ideas and knowledge.”

Welcoming the announcement, Peter Brown, Director of the Irish Research Council, said: "The Enterprise Partnership Scheme and Employment-Based Postgraduate Programme are unique national initiatives linking excellent researchers in all disciplines to enterprise and employer partners. The programmes help to future-proof the careers and skills of academic researchers, while connecting employers with a high-quality pool of talent within Ireland's research community. Researchers and employers benefit mutually. Researchers get exposure to sectoral challenges and how to address them from within a research setting. They get to work alongside some very talented and innovative people as well as industry mentors, who they can learn from, and this new knowledge can then be applied in their research and work.

"A recent study conducted by the IRC found that 92% of enterprise and employment partners strongly agreed that the IRC's enterprise programmes strengthened their relationship with academia. These collaborations are of significant benefit for enterprise and employers as they seek to harness the benefits of research and innovation in their forward development.

Read the full announcement on the Irish Research Council's website.