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Irish Research Council Announce Investment in early-career Research

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Irish Research Council and Minister Halligan announce €22m investment in early-career researchIrish Research Council

An investment of over €22 million in early-career researchers was announced today (19.09.18) by the Irish Research Council and Minister of State for Training, Skills and Innovation, John Halligan TD.

288 postgraduate and postdoctoral researchers will benefit from the investment, under the Irish Research Council’s Government of Ireland programmes.

Water quality in Irish rivers, the health benefits of lipid-rich diets and the experiences of LGBT prisoners are amongst the research areas receiving funding this year.

Announcing the investment, Minister Halligan said the Irish Research Council’s Government of Ireland programmes are aimed at ensuring a strong pipeline of research talent for future years.

“Innovation 2020, Ireland’s strategy for research and development, science and technology, sets out a vision for Ireland as a global innovation leader,” he said.  “Investment in early-career researchers – across all disciplines – is key to achieving this vision.

“The Irish Research Council’s Government of Ireland programmes support exceptional researchers at postgraduate and postdoctoral levels. The investment announced today will fund some of our brightest minds to develop their research interests and progress their careers, thereby ensuring Ireland has a strong pipeline of research talent well into the future.

“The skills developed by these researchers — intellectual curiosity, self-directed working, resilience in the face of inevitable setbacks — are highly prized by employers while research outputs in the form of invention and innovation support Ireland as a strong competitor for investment.”

Researchers awarded funding

208 postgraduate and 80 postdoctoral researchers have received awards under the 2018 Government of Ireland programmes.

An investment of €15,142,250 is being made in postgraduate scholars, with €7,118,065 allocated for postdoctoral researchers.

Examples of researchers supported through the programmes this year include:

  • Thomas Byrne, a PhD student based at Waterford Institute of Technology, whose research is examining vascular health in older people with the hope of alleviating problems associated with age-related frailty.
  • Jessie Barr, a PhD student at the University of Limerick, who is investigating mental health stigma in elite sport.  Jessie – an athlete herself – has represented Ireland at the European Championships and the 2012 Olympics.
  • Mohamed El Amri, a PhD student based at National University of Ireland, Galway, whose research focuses on spinal cord regeneration in Xenopus laevis tadpoles;
  • Valesca Lima, a postdoctoral researcher based at Maynooth University, whose work focuses on housing activism and homelessness in Dublin and Lisbon; and
  • Adam Henwood, a postdoctoral researcher based at Trinity College Dublin, who is investigating the use of thermally-activated fluorescence emitters for biological imaging.

Commenting today, Peter Brown, Director of the Irish Research Council, said: “The Government of Ireland programmes are unique in the Irish research landscape and essential to the research ecosystem for several reasons.  Firstly, they provide individual, prestigious awards for excellent research in the name of the applicant.

“Secondly, they provide funding across all disciplines, from archaeology to zoology. The researchers supported are addressing major societal and scientific challenges, and deepening our understanding of topics ranging from traditional music to liquid crystals and ecological connectivity.

“As in previous years, the application process for the 2018 programmes was highly competitive and all applications were internationally peer-reviewed. This means those receiving support have demonstrated the very highest standards of research excellence.”

Further information about the Irish Research Council’s Government of Ireland programmes is available at:

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