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


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

Michael Diskin & Mark Crowe Teagasc, UCD, The development of early non-invasive and reliable molecular biomarkers of pregnancy in dairy cattle. €1,162,915

Séamus Donnelly, UCD, Macrophage migration inhibitory factor (MIF), enzymatic activity & Pseudomonas Aeruginosa infection €1,741,156

Andrew Fowler, UL, Mathematical modelling of soil biomass €1,544,841

Emmanuelle Graciet, NUIM, Regulation of Plant Immunity through Protein Degradation by the N-end Rule Pathway €799,910

Jim Greer & Giorgos Fagas, TNI SMALL: Semi-Metal ALL-in-One Technologies €977,061

Thorfinnur Gunnlaugsson, TCD, Supramolecular approach to novel nano-materials for biological and material applications €3,145,860

Andreas Heise & Sally-Ann Cryan, DCU, RCSI Functional polymers for (nano)medical devices €1,925,468

David Henshall, RCSI, MicroRNA biofluid profiles as molecular diagnostics for epilepsy €909,433

Gregory Hughes, DCU, Copper diffusion barrier layers for advanced interconnect integration €899,535

Stefan Hutzler, TCD, Usage of peat biomass in novel products obtained with fibre-foam dispersions €592,372

Michael Peter Kennedy, TNI, Advanced Frequency Synthesis Informed by Nonlinear Dynamics €1,256,559

Patrick Lonergan, UCD, Reducing embryo mortality through improved understanding of embryo maternal communication €866,991

Noel Lowndes, NUIG, The ATR and ATM kinases: new roles in maintaining genome stability. €1,800,575

Conor McCarthy, UL, Fastener-less Joining Technologies for High Performance Hybrid Composites-Metal Structures €1,346,127

Gary McGuire, UCD, Theory and Application for the Discrete Logarithm Problem in Finite Fields: setting a Cryptographic World Record €634,291

Michael O’Neill, UCD, App’ED €1,812,988

Stefan Oscarson, UCD, Design, Synthesis, and Development of Carbohydrate-Based Vaccines, Therapeutics, Diagnostics, and Medical Devices. €1,971,203

Frank Peters, TNI, Injection locking within Photonic Integrated Circuits supporting high spectral density optical communications €1,740,070

Jochen Prehn, RCSI, BCL-2 family proteins and cellular bioenergetics in the control of cell survival: Towards novel predictive and prognostic markers for disease progression and therapy responses in colorectal cancer patients €2,266,294

John Ringwood, NUIM, Development of the next generation of controllers for wave energy devices €1,479,862

Wolfgang Schmitt, TCD, Bio-inspired Chemical Transformations in Confined Supramolecular Environments of Nanoscopic Coordination Cages and Metal-Organic Frameworks €1,240,818

Mathias Senge, TCD, Molecular Scaffolds and Functional Design - Porphyrins as Platforms for Biomedical Applications €2,116,052

Laurence Shalloo & William Donnelly, Teagasc WIT, Using precision technologies, technology platforms and computational biology to increase the economic and environmental sustainability of pasture based production systems €1,371,423

Sanbing Shen & Louise Gallagher, NUIG, TCD Role of NRXN1 in neurodevelopmental disorders: from stem cells to clinical phenotypes €1,733,274

Cormac Sreenan, UCC, An Internet Infrastructure for Video Streaming Optimisation (iVID) €1,123,443

Douwe van Sinderen, UCC, Functional analysis of the host adsorption and DNA injection processes of a lactococcal bacteriophage €1,380,436

Gavin Walker, UL, Model Predictive Control of Continuous Pharmaceutical Processes €1,202,653

Wenxin Wang, UCD, In situ formed Skin Substitute in Combination with Gene Therapy for Wound Healing €1,188,389

Kenneth Wolfe, UCD, Sexual cycles, genomics, and mating-type switching in non-conventional yeast species €921,625