Five NUI Galway Researchers Among Ireland’s Most Promising Young Scientific Talent in €23 Million Announcement

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Minister for Research and Innovation, Seán Sherlock T.D., has today announced €23 million in new funding to help support 40 of Ireland’s most promising young research talent to become fully independent researchers. Included are five individuals from NUI Galway who have secured funding to the value of almost €3 million.

The funding, which is being awarded by Science Foundation Ireland (SFI), will encourage Ireland’s most talented young researchers to remain in Ireland, while also helping to attract excellent young researchers from other countries to base themselves here.

Minister Sherlock said:“Funding for researchers at the outset of their careers is an important element of the Government’s strategy for job creation in research and innovation under our Action Plan for Jobs. SFI’s funding schemes for early career researchers help ensure that excellent research with the potential for real economic and societal impact is properly supported in Ireland. Investment like this is important for Ireland’s developing international reputation for excellent research with impact. The 40 research projects being awarded by SFI today demonstrate the enormous talent and potential that exists among Ireland’s young researchers”.

The €23 million in funding delivered by the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, through SFI’s Starting Investigator Research Grant, and Career Development Award, will support researchers and post-graduate students.

Two individuals at NUI Galway have received the Career Development Award (CDA) which aims to support early and mid-career researchers who already hold a salaried, independent research post and who are looking to expand their research activities:

  • Dr Peter Crowley, School of Chemistry, for his project ‘Supramolecular Approaches to Protein Surface Recognition and Self Assembly’. This is Dr Crowley’s second funding of late from SFI, having recently been given an award to help increase his potential to attract EU funding.
  • Dr Jamie Goggins, Civil Engineering, for his project ‘Achieving nearly zero energy buildings - A life cycle assessment approach to retrofitting existing buildings’.

A further three researchers at NUI Galway have received Starting Investigator Research Grant (SIRG), which provides support for excellent postdoctoral researchers who wish to take steps towards a fully independent research career:

  • Dr Subhadip Bodhak for the project ‘Multifunctional Nanofibrous Patch for Intervertebral Disc Regeneration’.
  • Dr Sebastian Gornik for his work in the epigenetic basis of stem cell maintenance and cellular differentiation in the cnidarian Hydractinia.
  • Dr Margaretha van der Merwe for her work in ‘Leveraging the Evolutionary Epigenetic Landscape for Understanding Regulatory Mechanisms of Abiotic Stress Tolerance’.

Professor Lokesh Joshi, Vice-President for Research at NUI Galway, welcomed the announcement: “We are delighted to see that NUI Galway’s talented faculty are being acknowledged by SFI through CDA awards. We will also enrich our pool of young research stars by bringing SIRG Fellows to join excellent research teams in the University”.

Professor Mark Ferguson, Director General of SFI and Chief Scientific Adviser to the Government of Ireland, said: “Both of the programmes under which funding is being announced today will help promising young researchers to create and develop impactful careers here in Ireland and in turn enable the pursuit of scientific research that has potential economic and societal impact. These programmes are also an important factor in ensuring that Ireland can succeed in persuading top young scientific talent from abroad to base their research efforts here in Ireland”.

-ends-

Keywords: Press

Author: Marketing and Communications Office, NUI Galway
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