The development of effective, easy-to-administer vaccines and new fungicides to manage potato blight are among 12 UCC research projects awarded a total of 6.8m in funding from Science Foundation Ireland with just under 1m granted to Tyndal National Institute as well.
Other projects include pioneering plans to develop processes to enable waste products to be exploited as resources, reducing a bacterial virus problem in dairy manufacturing, and designing gut-based strategies to prevent and treat stress-related disorder depression and learning & memory disorders Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, Simon Harris, announced a total of 76 grants valued at €53.7 million to support frontiers research across ten Higher Education Institutions through Science Foundation Ireland (SFI).
Some of the UCC research projects will eventually result in improved global vaccines access and public health.
In addition, Tyndall National Institute based at UCC received a further €999,313 for research on Next Generation Visible and UV Light Emitting Devices.
UCC President Professor John O’Halloran welcomed the funding announcement:
“I’m delighted to see the hard work of our frontrunning researchers recognised with this grant success. We recently launched UCC Futures as part of our ongoing commitment to leading research - an ambitious programme of academic recruitment that will build a foundation for scholarly, economic and societal resilience and prosperity.
“UCC Futures will sharpen our research profile, support the development of multi-disciplinary networks, strengthen UCC’s position as an outstanding place to conduct research, and further develop our curricular offerings,” he said.
Professor John Cryan, Vice President for Research & Innovation at UCC said: “I would like to congratulate these 12 talented researchers on their success in this prestigious call. Such awards help to address global challenges in key areas of sustainability, pharmaceuticals, vaccine development and brain science and are in line with our ambitious UCC Futures programme which is securing our future through excellence in research.” Professor Sarah Culloty, Head, College of Science, Engineering and Food Science said: "I would like to congratulate our researchers from the College of Science, Engineering and Food Science on securing this transformative funding which will enable them to lead in new areas of discovery that advance our mission of supporting the delivery of superior quality research that provides tangible impact on the world."
The SFI Future Frontiers Programme is run in collaboration with Geological Survey Ireland and the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) who are co-funding a number of the grants.
Professor Philip Nolan, Director General of SFI said: “After the success of the first SFI Future Frontiers Programme in 2020, I am delighted to see 76 research grants awarded. The research programmes are wonderfully diverse, but they have one thing in common: they ask fundamental questions and will lead to important scientific breakthroughs, with important applications in areas such as climate action, biodiversity, human and animal health and digital transformation, with real and lasting benefits to our society and economy. The SFI Frontiers for the Future Programme is a key element of SFI’s new strategy – Shaping Our Future providing support for excellent research.
“It is really encouraging to see that 42% of the research grants are led by female researchers for the second year running. SFI is committed to addressing the gender imbalance evident in areas of Irish research and this is another example of that commitment in action.”