Irish Research Council awards €16.2m to postgraduates

Cyberbullying and seaweed wound dressings among areas to receive funding in scheme

Annabel Higgins Hoare received an Irish Research Council scholarship award for her project which will study the use of seaweed as a wound dressing. She is pursuing her research at Waterford Institute of Technology.

Annabel Higgins Hoare received an Irish Research Council scholarship award for her project which will study the use of seaweed as a wound dressing. She is pursuing her research at Waterford Institute of Technology.

 

Cyberbullying, tomb archaeology and turning seaweed into wound dressings are a few of the research areas to receive funding under a postgraduate award programme worth €16.2 million.

The 2015 Government of Ireland Postgraduate Scholarship Scheme run by the Irish Research Council provides scholarships for young researchers showing particular promise.

More than 1,200 graduates from home and abroad applied under the programme and after assessment 213 were awarded funding, said council director, Eucharia Meehan.

The awards are based on the excellence, novelty and innovation of their projects and undergo an intensive review by international experts.

“Each project is assessed by a panel of international peers and undergo three or four assessments,” she said.

Varied projects

The projects are extremely varied and cover both science and the humanities. One project will study the origins of stars. Other projects include improving weather prediction to track climate change and a study of modern Irish sculpture.

“The future of Irish research is as bright as it is diverse,” said Minister of State for Skills, Research and Innovation Damien English when announcing the awards.

The recipients of these awards would contribute to Ireland’s global reputation and its prosperity in the years ahead, he said.

These scholarships offer the potential for “diverse careers in enterprise, civic society, government bodies, in academia – in all walks of life”, said Prof Jane Ohlmeyer, the new chairwoman of the council.

“These are graduates who have the potential to be come the next generation of research leaders,” Dr Meehan said.

An example of this is Eilionóir Flynn based at NUI Galway who received a scholarship in 2010. In 2014, she became the youngest recipient yet of a prestigious European Research Council Starting Grant.

The council is the primary funder of 1,146 postgraduate students in Ireland, either PhD candidates or those studying for a Masters.