8 Irish researchers win ERC grants

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16 December 2014 | 0

Eight Irish researchers are among 328 scientists to receive Starting Grants from the European Research Council (ERC).

Each grant could be worth up to €2 million, from a total fund of €485 million that supports so-called “blue sky research” in ambitious high-risk, high-gain research projects.

The Irish recipients are Mark Ahearne, Trinity College Dublin, Eilionóir Flynn, National University of Ireland, Galway, Suzanne Kingston, University College Dublin, Caitríona Lally, Dublin City University, Sarah McCormack, Trinity College Dublin, Redmond O’Connell, Trinity College Dublin, Martin O’Donnell, National University of Ireland, Galway and Thomas Reed, University College Cork.

The projects selected cover a wide variety of topics, including wearable electronic textiles powered by body heat, detection of bacteria by smell, ‘toxic expertise’ in the petrochemical industry, the origins of human rationality, combatting cancer related inflammation, as well as optimising user interface design.

“To create tomorrow’s innovation and growth,” said Carlos Moedas, Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science, “cutting-edge research is a must. With its Starting Grants, the European Research Council nurtures the next generation of excellent scientists allowing them to follow their scientific curiosity and take risks. To be at the forefront, Europe needs this gutsy mindset, and to invest in young talent.”

Dr Eilionóir Flynn, NUI, Galway won funding for a project entitled ‘Voices Of Individuals: Collectively Exploring Self-determination (VOICES)’.

The project ‘VOICES’ will pair people with disabilities who have experienced denials of their legal capacity with social and legal scholars, to develop personal narratives and critical responses which can form the basis for future law reform.

Dr Caitríona Lally, DCU, won funding for a project entitled ‘Frontier research in arterial fibre remodelling for vascular disease diagnosis and tissue engineering (FibreRemodel)’. The project focuses on developing a means of early diagnosis of degenerative cardiovascular diseases, such as aneurysms and atherosclerosis.

Dr Thomas Reed, UCC, has won funding for a project entitled ‘Alternative life histories: linking genes to phenotypes to demography (ALH).

Reed  said the funding will provide a springboard to get a nascent research group off the ground, forging important collaborative links both within and outside Ireland and to leverage further funding sources down the line, with a goal of understanding how genetic and environmental factors together shape ‘alternative life histories’ in situations where two or more very different types of organism can arise from the same gene pool.

 

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