Research in areas ranging from breast cancer treatment to 3D-printed batteries is set to be boosted with the announcement of €11.8m in funding to researchers through the Irish Research Council.

The funding, awarded under this year’s Advanced Laureate Awards programme, is given to researchers who are at the advanced stage of their career, with each to receive a maximum of €1m each.

Commenting on this year’s winners, the Minister for Education and Skills Joe McHugh, TD, said: “Funding frontier research is vital in order for us to compete with our counterparts on the global stage … in order to bring new knowledge, skills and innovations to our research institutions.”

A total of 140 applications were received from researchers during the funding call. In addition to the 12 award winners, a further 48 proposals were deemed to be fundable by the international panels of experts.

According to the director of the Irish Research Council, Peter Brown, this “illustrates the high quality of researchers and the calibre of proposals being generated in frontier research in Ireland”.
‘No one can be satisfied with the current imbalance’
However, less impressive was the fact that of the 12 award winners in this round, only three were women. This, Brown added, was far from ideal.

“The gendered distribution of research grants at the advanced career stage is a very real issue, both in Ireland and internationally,” he said. “Although this outcome is similar to benchmarks such as the European Research Council Advanced Grant, no one can be satisfied with the current imbalance.”

Looking at the breakdown of universities represented among the winners, half of those awarded are based at Trinity College Dublin (TCD). This was followed by University College Cork (UCC), which had four award winners, followed by the University of Limerick (UL) and Maynooth University (MU) with one each.

The full list of winners and project titles can be found below.

Adrian Bracken (TCD)
‘Understanding the impact of divergent PRC2 complex assemblies on chromatin landscapes and gene regulation.’

Lorraine O’Driscoll (TCD)
‘Extracellular vesicles in cancer.’

John Atkins (UCC)
‘Codes within the code: Revealing hidden genetic information.’

Seamus Martin (TCD)
‘Death receptors as integrators of cell stress-induced inflammation.’

Brendan Dooley (UCC)
‘Examining new sources for the European dimension of early modern news, integrating Ireland and elsewhere into the network of circulation, 1550-1700, to understand a forgotten but highly significant media landscape.’

Christine Casey (TCD)
‘Surface value: The agency and impact of craftsmanship in the architecture of Britain and Ireland, 1680-1780.’

Patricia Palmer (MU)
‘Mapping actors and contexts: Modelling research in Renaissance Ireland in the sixteenth and seventeenth century.’

Pádraig Ó Macháin (UCC)
‘The materiality of the late-medieval Gaelic vernacular manuscript (1100–1600). A study of inks and vellum in the Book of Uí Mhaine, the development of a materiality protocol from that study, and the refinement of that protocol through application to other Gaelic manuscripts from the same era.’

Colm O’Dwyer (UCC)
‘Battery performance in technicolour: Photonic material circuitry and 3D-printed batteries for probing electrochemical energy storage mechanisms and cell performance.’

Stefano Sanvito (TCD)
‘eMag: A computational platform for accelerated magnetic materials discovery.’

Michael Zaworotko (UL)
‘Switching adsorbent layered materials.’

Igor Shvets (TCD)
‘New concepts for superconducting tunnelling junctions.’

Colm Gorey

This article first appeared on and can be found at: