(from left to right): Director General of Science Foundation Ireland and Chief Scientific Adviser to the Government of Ireland, Professor Mark Ferguson, NUI Galway’s Dr Laura Russo and Dr Aideen Ryan, Minister of State for Training, Skills and Innovation, John Halligan TD.
Oct 21 2016 Posted: 15:16 IST

Three NUI Galway researchers have been awarded significant funding in an announcement made by Science Foundation Ireland this week.  Working in the fields of colon cancer, intervertebral disc repair and tissue engineering, the individuals were selected as “the next leaders of research in Ireland, shaping the research community both here in Ireland and internationally”.

Minister of State for Training, Skills and Innovation, John Halligan TD, announced a total of €22.3 million in research funding for 40 major research projects in Ireland.  The funding is distributed through Science Foundation Ireland’s Starting Investigator Research Grant (SIRG) and Career Development Award (CDA) Programmes.

Dr Aideen Ryan, a Senior Research Fellow in Immunology at NUI Galway’s Regenerative Medicine Institute (REMEDI), was awarded a SIRG of €518,821 for her work on colon cancer. Her project, RESTRAIN, involves investigating tumour stromal interactions in metastatic colon cancer for the identification of novel immuno-therapeutic targets.

Dr Laura Russo, a member of the CÚRAM Centre for Research in Medical Devices at NUI Galway, was awarded a SIRG of €518,749 for her research on tissue engineering for degenerative intervertebral disc disease. Her project will look at glyco-functionalised hydrogel to stimulate the repair of the damaged disc.

Dr Dimitrios Zeugolis, Director of the Regenerative, Modular and Developmental Engineering Laboratory (REMODEL) and Principal Investigator of the CÚRAM Centre for Research in Medical Devices at NUI Galway, was awarded a CDA of €493,759 for his work on tissue engineering. His project, Tissue Engineered Nanoassemblies of Advanced Biomimicry of Living Equivalents (TENABLE), will develop living tissue substitutes using iPSCs based on the principles of in vitro organogenesis.

NUI Galway’s Vice-President for Research, Professor Lokesh Joshi, welcomed the awards: “These awards recognise the excellent young research talent at NUI Galway and how our researchers are advancing scientific frontiers which will ultimately benefit patients. We are focused on developing the next generation of researchers which is critical to the long-term sustainability of delivering research impact.”

Announcing the awards, Minister of State for Training, Skills and Innovation, John Halligan TD said; This investment in the SFI SIRG and CDA Programmes allows researchers to advance their research investigations and continue developing their careers. These researchers will be the next leaders of research in Ireland, shaping the research community both here in Ireland and internationally. The nine industrial collaborations linked with these awards provides industry with access to the emerging research expertise found throughout Ireland. Collaborations at these early career stages will help establish relationships which will advance Ireland’s economy, society and reputation for research excellence now and in the future.”
 
Professor Mark Ferguson, Director General of Science Foundation Ireland and Chief Scientific Adviser to the Government of Ireland welcomed the announcement saying: “Science Foundation Ireland places a heavy emphasis on supporting researchers at every stage of their careers. The SIRG and CDA awards help early and mid-career researchers develop essential skills and track records necessary to become the next generation of research leaders in Ireland.  I have high expectations for these projects and look forward to these teams contributing to the advancement of Ireland’s international reputation in areas such as energy, materials, technology, and health.”

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