Minister Simon Harris announces IRC funding for 28 TU Dublin Researchers

6 Oct, 2021

Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, Simon Harris TD, has today announced €28m in funding for new research projects under the Irish Research Council’s flagship Government of Ireland programmes.

The investment will fund 28 awards in total at TU Dublin, namely 26 postgraduate scholarships and two postdoctoral fellowships.

Awardees will conduct research on a multitude of topics, ranging from bicycle-sharing systems to the susceptibility of young people to influence by social media influencers and the use of 3D printed scaffolds to enhance spinal cord regeneration. Several projects relating to COVID-19 and the impact of the pandemic are also being funded under the programme. In addition, a number of awards are funded by strategic partners, including the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Foreign Affairs, and Met Eireann.

Commenting on the announcement, Minster Harris said: “I am delighted to announce this investment of funding today to develop exceptional talent in our research system. I am particularly pleased to see the record number of awards being made this year under the two programmes combined. The programmes are unique in the Irish research landscape, supporting excellent individual postgraduate and postdoctoral researchers to develop innovative and creative ideas across the sciences, humanities and the arts. I would like to congratulate all the awardees on their success in the schemes and wish them well in their research endeavours.

“This year, my department allocated additional funding as part of a €7.5 million package to enable the Irish Research Council to enhance the number of postgraduate awards in the emerging technological university sector. I am pleased to see the first phase of this funding come to fruition today, with a total of 40 additional awards being made under the 2021 Government of Ireland Postgraduate Scholarship Programme to researchers based in our technological institutions. 

“Now more than ever, the benefits of investing in research and innovation are clear, and this starts with fuelling the pipeline of excellent early-career researchers. Support for basic research and investment in cutting-edge expertise across different disciplines is vital for Ireland, and this will be key to ensuring that we can overcome national and global challenges now and in the future.”

Successful awardees

Some of the Government of Ireland Postgraduate Scholarship Programme awardees is:

  • Charles Alves de Castro, based at Technological University Dublin, whose research will aim to determine personality traits that make young people susceptible to control by social media influencers and work towards teaching them how to avoid the negative issues associated with such undue influence. 

Amongst the Government of Ireland Postdoctoral Fellowship Programme is:

  • Masum Pandey, based at Technological University Dublin, whose research involves the development of novel bioresorbable alginate-based microspheres for embolic applications

Welcoming the announcement, Director of the IRC, Peter Brown, said: “The Irish Research Council Government of Ireland awards are extremely competitive and attract applications from all over the world. The programmes provide the foundation for the development of cutting-edge skills, and expertise and awardees will become future research leaders across academia and beyond, including industry and the public sector. The scope of awards across and between disciplines supports the balanced development of our research system and ensures that we are best positioned for the challenges of an uncertain future.

“Thanks to the increased funding announced by Minister Harris in January this year, the new awardees will receive funding for postgraduate stipends and postdoctoral salaries that are in line with national norms. This is vital to ensure our early-career researchers are adequately supported, and there is a level playing field in our research system.

To deliver on shared national objectives, the Government of Ireland programmes collaborate with strategic funding partners each year. Nine of this year’s awards were made in collaboration with and funded by partner agencies. The agencies include the Environmental Protection Agency, Met Éireann and the Department of Foreign Affairs.

A full list of the TU Dublin awardees is available TU Dublin IRC Awardees October 2021