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Minister Halligan announces €13.7 million investment in next generation of research talent

Science Foundation Ireland supports 22 early career researchers in Ireland

Minister Halligan announces €13.7 million investment in next generation of research talent
Minister of State for Training, Skills and Innovation, John Halligan TD, announced an investment of €13.7 million in funding for 22 early career researchers. The awards will be funded through Science Foundation Ireland’s Career Development Award Programme. Pictured with Minister Halligan are Mark Ferguson, SFI and one of the successful awardees Brijesh Tiwari, Teagasc

Minister of State for Training, Skills and Innovation, John Halligan TD, announced an investment of €13.7 million in funding for 22 early career researchers. The awards will be funded through Science Foundation Ireland’s Career Development Award Programme, which supports Ireland’s research talent pipeline by funding excellent researchers still in the early stages of their scientific career. Two of this year’s awards are co-funded with Sustainable Energy Authority Ireland.  The awards will contribute to the advancing research in areas such as energy, materials, environment, technology, and health.

Announcing the awards, Minister of State for Training, Skills and Innovation, John Halligan TD said, “The awards announced today demonstrate the impressive cutting-edge research taking place in the universities across Ireland. The Science Foundation Ireland’s Career Development Awardees are the future leaders of research and innovation in Ireland. Through their promising work, they will continue to shape our research community, and generate positive impacts at a national and global scale. I believe that the important projects receiving funding today will advance Ireland’s economy and society, and further solidify its reputation as a world-leader in scientific advancements.” 

 Commenting on the awards Professor Mark Ferguson, Director General of Science Foundation Ireland and Chief Scientific Adviser to the Government of Ireland, stated, “Science Foundation Ireland supports researchers at every stage of their careers. The Career Development Awards are a superb reflection of our investment in early-career researchers who display great potential and lead projects of major impact. This Programme helps those researchers develop the skills and experience necessary to lead Ireland’s future research in areas such as health, energy, materials and technology. The projects have been selected following a rigorous competitive international merit review process.  I look forward to witnessing the positive impacts that these projects will have for Ireland and wish each awardee every success in their continued scientific research and careers.”

The 22 research projects range in value from €443,653 to €504,729 undertaken in nine research bodies, as follows: National University of Ireland Galway (3), National University of Ireland Maynooth (2), Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (3), Trinity College Dublin (3), Tyndall National institute (3), University College Cork (1), University College Dublin (3), University of Limerick (2), Teagasc (2). 

The two Teagasc research projects were;

Awardee NameResearch BodyProject TitleLay AbstractAward Amount
Kieran Meade Teagasc The Bovine Epigenome and Susceptibility to Mycobacterial Disease Despite costly national eradication schemes mycobacterial infections are proving difficult to eliminate resulting in reduced profitability of already low-margin farm enterprises. These diseases threaten our brand image on international markets and are also linked to human infection. Based on my novel results, I believe that epigenetic mechanisms (chemical switches) suppress the activation of genes which prevents the ability of cattle to fight infection, and also the detection of diseased cattle. Profiling these changes in live cattle will identify the marks associated with disease and in conjunction with a novel nanosensor will contribute to improved detection of TB. €473,769
Brijesh Tiwari Teagasc Novel technological interventions for biofilm The World Health Organization has identified antimicrobial resistance as one of the greatest threats to human health and endorsed a global action plan for tackling this challenge, which includes encouraging research and development of new antimicrobial agents. Biofilms present a major global challenge in the fight against product contamination due to significant resistance to current antimicrobial treatments and developing antimicrobial resistance against key antimicrobial agents. To address this challenge the Ultrafilm project aims to deliver a novel technological solution for the eradication of biofilms via the application of low temperature atmospheric pressure plasmas in combination with airborne acoustic technology. €497,501