News & Events

Minister Halligan announces research investment of €22.3 million in next generation of research talent

Science Foundation Ireland investment to develop future research leaders

Minister of State for Training, Skills and Innovation, John Halligan TD, announced €22.3 million in research funding for 40 major research projects. The funding is distributed through Science Foundation Ireland’s Starting Investigator Research Grant (SIRG) and Career Development Award (CDA) Programmes. With awards ranging from €450,000 to €877,000 over four years, the projects funded will support nearly 100 researchers. 

Announcing the awards, Minister of State for Training, Skills and Innovation, John Halligan TD said; “This investment in the Science Foundation Ireland 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.”

The 40 research projects supported by the Science Foundation Ireland Career Development Award (CDA) and Starting Investigator Research Grant (SIRG) Programmes will be funded through nine research bodies, as follows: Dublin City University (7), National University of Ireland Galway (3), National University of Ireland Maynooth (1), Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (2), Trinity College Dublin (9), Tyndall National institute (2), University College Cork (3), University College Dublin (8), University of Limerick (5). 

The 40 research projects funded are in a range of strategically important sectors:

Health & Medical

  • Development of new and improved compounds for drug delivery and storage;
  • Identification of genetic variations associated with neurodevelopment disorders;
  • Development of a new gene-delivery method to enhance the body’s ability to fight a disease;
  • Development of a prosthesis which stimulates the repair of intervertebral discs, relieving lower back pain;
  • Creation of a decision support tool for doctors to identify the best drug treatment for individual patients with Her2+ breast cancer;
  • Growth of tendon tissue in a laboratory to create a device to help treat patients with tendon injuries;
  • Investigation into the causes of infection at access sites in a patient’s arm during dialysis;
  • Development of laser-based diagnostic tools to non-invasively detect bladder cancer from urine samples, and improve the sensitivity of the screening of precancerous cervical lesions.

Food and Marine

  • Improving the quality and safety of dairy products by investigating how viruses infect the bacteria used to produce cheese and yoghurt;
  • Identification of the proteins used by bacteria to infect wheat.

Energy and Environment

  • Conversion of CO2 into liquid fuels using low cost catalysts and solar cells;
  • Novel solutions for efficient energy management in embedded power magnetic devices.

Manufacturing & Materials

  • Creation of novel two-dimensional materials whose properties can be used to create novel devices and improve the effectiveness of batteries and catalysts;
  • Development of new sensor technologies based on optical fibers;
  • Development of new methodologies to guide the discovery of novel materials.

ICT and Communications

  • The development of new software technology that will transform cyber and physical forensic investigations in the future;
  • Novel communication technologies to enable the exponential growth of the Internet with minimized cost and power consumption;
  • Sophisticated machine learning techniques (deep learning) for the detection of novel events in data streams such as CCTV images or data from a wearable medical device;
  • Software development using methods such as open source and crowd sourcing;
  • Improving the efficiency of telecommunications networks by employing novel transmission techniques and introducing elements of programmability and flexibility.



Full list of awards attached.

For further information, please contact:

Science Foundation Ireland

Alva O’Cleirigh

01 607 3249/087-9152553

Drury Porter Novelli

Morwenna Rice

01 260 5000 / 086 1940069

About the Science Foundation Ireland Starting Investigator Research Grant Programme:

The SFI Starting Investigator Research Grant (SIRG) Programme aims to support the development of excellent postdoctoral researchers, and others who are yet to hold an independent research post, in taking the initial steps towards a fully independent research career. The SIRG award provides an opportunity for excellent early-career-stage investigators to carry out their own novel research project. The award has a duration of 4 years, during which researchers are provided with the necessary experience towards a full time academic position, including supervision of a postgraduate student who is funded through the award to work on the research project.

About the Science Foundation Ireland Career Development Award Programme:

The SFI Career Development Award (CDA) Programme supports excellent investigators in the earlier stages of their research career who are already in an independent academic research position. The award allows researchers to expand their research activities by providing funding to procure required equipment or consumable materials. During the four-year duration of the award, the award can be used to support other researchers by allowing the creation or expansion of a research team to perform novel research. The call for applications for the 2016 Career Development Award is currently open with full details available at

About Science Foundation Ireland

Science Foundation Ireland funds oriented basic and applied research in the areas of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) which promotes and assists the development and competitiveness of industry, enterprise and employment in Ireland. The Foundation also promotes and supports the study of, education in and engagement with, STEM and promotes an awareness and understanding of the value of STEM to society and in particular to the growth of the economy.  See

#ScienceRising supporting Innovation 2020 – a Science Foundation Ireland campaign that creates the connection for industry and individuals with science and innovation in Ireland.

Science Rising – The Story

Ireland is a nation where curious minds live, learn and discover. Known as the land of famous writers, actors and musicians, Ireland is also home to esteemed inventors, explorers, scientists and leaders. Together we shape the future.  Science is part of our past, a past that is often overlooked, an immense part of our present and it is key to our success. There is endless potential still to be realised. The growing impact of Irish scientific achievement will make a difference in people’s lives, support industry investment, future proof our skill base and involve everyone in the potential of science and innovation. We will continue to question, imagine, collaborate, discover, answer and create. We will make a difference to Irish society and our economy.  More importantly, we will make a difference to humankind. See