Scientific research projects awarded €47 million

Projects range from pregnancy tests for cows to cancer detection

Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Richard Bruton said research and innovation must be focused on turning good ideas into good jobs. Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Richard Bruton said research and innovation must be focused on turning good ideas into good jobs. Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

Thu, May 1, 2014, 08:53

Some €47 million has been allocated to 36 scientific research projects involving everything from pregnancy tests for cows, to the provision of high quality internet video.

Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Richard Bruton said the funds were being delivered to projects involving more than 200 researchers, through the Science Foundation Ireland Investigators Programme. UCD and Trinity College topped the table of allocations with seven projects each while UCC and DCU received funding for four projects each. Other institutions approved for funding included Tyndall National Institute, University of Limerick, Teagasc, NUI Galway, NUI Maynooth and the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland.

Teagasc will co-fund two projects involving precision technology for sustainable grass-based farming, and pregnancy testing for dairy cows and heifers. The latter project, led by Prof Michael Diskin of Teagasc with Prof Mark Crowe of University College Dublin, is looking at providing a reliable early pregnancy test for dairy cows and heifers.

Other projects include the provision of high-quality internet video, developing wave energy devices, biopharmaceutical production, cancer detection and investigating the control of epilepsy development.

Prof Séamus Donnelly of UCD is studying the treatment of serious infection caused by a bug called Pseudomonas Aeruginosa which is particularly common in patients with cystic fibrosis. He is trying to deliver new therapies which makes the bacteria easier to treat with antibiotics.

Meanwhile, Dr Conor McCarthy of the University of Limerick is studying a new approach to joining composite materials to metals which would allow manufacturers to make cheaper but higher performing products.

Mr Bruton said research and innovation must be focused on turning good ideas into good jobs. “ This investment through Science Foundation Ireland helps to develop Ireland’s international reputation for excellent research with impact,” he said. “This allows us to continue to attract foreign-direct investment, as well as to support Irish companies, long-term economic competitiveness and most importantly ultimately job-creation.”

List of Funded Projects

John Atkins, UCC, Dynamic redefinition of codons: From antivirals to an essential micronutrient €1,523,518

Niall Barron, DCU, Improving Biopharmaceutical productivity from industrial CHO cell lines by microRNA knockdown €562,641

Francis Boland, TCD, Spatial audio over virtual and irregular arrays, €626,341

Siobhan Clarke & Dirk Pesch, TCD, CIT SURF: Service-centric networking for urban-scale feedback systems €1,948,428

Martin Clynes, DCU, Phenotype Engineering using MicroRNAs in Chinese Hamster Ovary (CHO) Cells to Achieve Faster Growth Rate and Extended Culture Lifespan for more Efficient Biopharmaceutical Production €1,526,898

Thomas Cotter, UCC, Cell survival signalling mechanisms and drug delivery strategies for retinal neuroprotection €1,145,954

John Dingliana & Michael Manzke, TCD, aRTIVVIS: Real-time Time-variant Volume Visualisation €852,319