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Recognising the achievements of Ireland’s Champions of EU Research

Researchers winning equivalent of €2.7 million in Horizon 2020 funding per week

John Halligan TD, Minister of State for Training, Skills, Innovation, Research and Development with Julie Sinnamon, CEO of Enterprise Ireland will present outstanding achievement awards to academic researchers, companies and research organisations that have reached the pinnacle of European research at ‘Ireland’s Champions of EU Research’ event taking place in the Royal Hospital Kilmainham, Dublin today (Wednesday 28th June).

Sixteen individuals will receive Horizon 2020 achievement awards for their projects which exhibited outstanding leadership in their respective programme areas.

The aim of the event is to recognise the immense contribution of the award winners and all project leaders from Ireland to our national success in the €75 billion Horizon 2020 EU Framework Programme for research and innovation. Enterprise Ireland is hosting the event on behalf of Ireland’s National Support Network for Horizon 2020.

Speaking ahead of the presentation of awards the Minister said “I am delighted to be here today among this impressive and diverse representation of the Irish research community. The breadth of projects nominated for awards today inspires confidence in the continued excellence and dedication to research and innovation in Irish society. I was particularly impressed to note the variety of Universities, Higher Education Institutes, agencies and companies that are competing at the highest levels of European research.”

Julie Sinnamon, CEO of Enterprise Ireland added “Today’s event celebrates the achievements of collaboration between academic research and industry. Horizon 2020 is an important source of funding for research and innovation and provides a mechanism for researchers and Irish enterprise to network and collaborate with the best researchers and leading companies across Europe. These benefits are particularly important for a small, open economy like ours. The award winners here today are a source of inspiration for others and I’d like to wish them every success with their current projects and in their future endeavours.”

A panel discussion at the event will focus on Ireland’s success in Horizon 2020 to date, how to maximise participation in the final period 2018-2020 (launching later this year with a budget of €30 billion), and how to capitalise on the opportunities presented by the successor programme which will commence in 2021.

Dr Imelda Lambkin, National Director for Horizon 2020 reiterated that “today is about recognising what has worked well for Ireland’s researchers to date and applying that knowledge to position Ireland to make best use of the available funding from Horizon 2020 and FP9. We call on our EU Champions to lead this initiative as role models and mentors”.



Horizon 2020 is the EU Framework Programme for research and innovation. It runs over the period 2014-2020 and has a total budget of €75 billion. Ireland’s national target of securing €1.25 billion in EU funding is equivalent to 1.67% of the overall Horizon 2020 budget. To date, Ireland has secured funding of €424 million, representing 1.66% of the total EU budget committed.

Enterprise Ireland leads the national support network for Horizon 2020, working to increase participation by Irish companies and academic institutions in the EU’s main instrument for funding research in Europe. Led by Enterprise Ireland, the national support network for Horizon 2020 has 9 member organisations; the Department of Agriculture, Food & the Marine, Enterprise Ireland, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Health Research Board, the Irish Research Council, the Irish Universities Association, the Marine Institute, the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland and Science Foundation Ireland.

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List of winners

1. European Research Council (ERC) awardees

Professor Suzanne Kingston, UNIVERSITY COLLEGE DUBLIN for her ERC Starting Grant. Suzanne’s project focuses on Legal Architectures: The Influence of New Environmental Governance Rules on Environmental Compliance – it achieved the highest ranking for an Irish applicant for this grant type.

Professor Anna Davies, TRINITY COLLEGE DUBLIN for her ERC Consolidator Grant. Anna’s project is SHARECITY: Assessing the practice and sustainability potential of city-based food sharing economies – also ranked highest.

Professor Poul Holm, TRINITY COLLEGE DUBLIN for his ERC Advanced Grant. Poul’s project is NorFish North Atlantic Fisheries: An Environmental History, 1400-1700 – also ranked highest.

2. Recognising the career development of our next generation researchers

Dr Conor O'Byrne, NATIONAL UNIVERSITY OF IRELAND, GALWAY and Dr Fiona Doohan, UNIVERSITY COLLEGE DUBLIN for leadership of their Marie Skłodowska-Curie Innovative Training Networks in the areas of Understanding and Exploiting Mechanisms of Sensory Perception in Bacteria and training in innovative and integrated control of cereal diseases - both ranked first in their respective calls.

Dr Brian Cahill, INSTITUTE OF BIOPROCESSING AND ANALYTICAL MEASUREMENT TECHNIQUES, HEILBAD HEILIGENSTADT and MARIE CURIE ALUMNI ASSOCIATION on behalf of all of Ireland’s Marie Skłodowska-Curie Individual Fellows. Individual Fellowships support the mobility of researchers within and beyond Europe - as well as helping to attract the best foreign researchers to work in the EU.

Professor Jane Ohlmeyer, Chair of the IRISH RESEARCH COUNCIL for leadership of the CAROLINE programme for Collaborative Research Fellowships for a Responsive and Innovative Europe. The CAROLINE Fellowship Programme provides a unique opportunity for 50 researchers to develop their skills, competencies and experience through collaboration with NGOs and International Organisations under the overarching theme of global sustainable development as set out under the United Nations 2030 Agenda.

Professor Linda Doyle, Director of CONNECT, TRINITY COLLEGE DUBLIN for leadership of the EDGE training and development programme for postdoctoral researchers that offers a unique combination of disciplines and industry engagement to the 71 fellows it will recruit. Leveraging the strengths and assets of three Irish National Research Centres, AMBER, CONNECT and ADAPT, headquartered in TCD, EDGE will form the next generation of thought leaders in ICT.

3. Northern Ireland and North-South successes

Ms Julie-Ann Walkden, BUSINESS SERVICES ORGANISATION, HEALTH AND SOCIAL CARE NORTHERN IRELAND for leadership of the Northern Ireland-led project, 'Mobile Assistance for Groups and Individuals in the Community' (MAGIC). The MAGIC project is designed to discover innovative approaches to post-stroke care with a view to improving the independence of stroke survivors. This Pre-commercial Procurement project is the only one of its kind on the Island of Ireland, focusing on engaging with industry providers that will compete through several phases of solution development, testing and deployment in live healthcare environments in both Northern Ireland and Italy.

Dr Michaela Black, ULSTER UNIVERSITY for leadership of the MIDAS project on Meaningful Integration of Data, Analytics and Services. The MIDAS consortium is a partnership involving health authorities in five EU countries and the U.S. and technical big data experts from research institutions, MNCs and SMEs. Managing big data for ‘health in all’ is a monumental challenge for policy makers. MIDAS is developing an integrated solution which will liberate knowledge from data silos and unify heterogeneous big data sources to provide evidence-based actionable information and transform the way care is provided. DCU and IBM Ireland are partners in the project.

Professor Chris Elliot, QUEEN’S UNIVERSITY BELFAST for leadership of the EU-China-Safe project Delivering an Effective, Resilient and Sustainable EU-China Food Safety Partnership. EU-China-Safe will mobilise resources in Europe and China to deliver a shared vision for food safety and authenticity and work towards “mutual recognition”. Comprising 15 participants from the EU and 18 from China, EU-China-Safe will develop and jointly implement major advances in improving food safety and combating food fraud in the two trading blocks. Teagasc and UCD are partners in the project.

4. SME Instruments

Mr Des O’Leary, ONCOMARK LTD for leadership of the OncoMasTR project developing a Novel Prognostic Assay for Early Stage Breast Cancer: the highest scoring Irish project in the Horizon 2020 SME Instrument. OncoMark, a spin-out from UCD, is developing a novel, game-changing breast cancer prognostic assay which has the potential to transform patient care. OncoMasTR will help clinicians to decide which patients should receive chemotherapy for early stage breast cancer, which is a pressing clinical and economic issue worldwide. OncoMark’s plans to release its innovative breast cancer diagnostic test in 2018 have been bolstered by the company’s latest investment round. The company ranked first for its Health Pitch at the European Commission’s Innovation Summit.

Mr Paul Collins, DP DESIGNPRO LTD for leadership of the DP Renewables project developing a range of HydroKinetic turbines that will enable users to exploit the huge potential of clean, predictable energy in the world’s rivers, canals and estuaries: the second highest scoring Irish project in the Horizon 2020 SME Instrument. Europe, as well as many countries around the world, is rich in small and medium-sized rivers and straits between islands. Existing technologies require very fast flow speeds and large deployment spaces in order to make turbine outputs viable. DP DesignPro aims to commercialise a range of innovative, hydrokinetic turbines that will offer a reliable solution for generating zero-carbon energy from rivers, estuaries and canals.

5. Collaborative Research

Mr Gal Weiss, IBM IRELAND LTD for achievement of a Horizon 2020 collaborative project portfolio of scale; IBM Ireland is one of the European Commission’s Top 50 Companies in Horizon 2020. IBM Ireland has had 18 projects approved with funding of approximately €11 million. Projects span the areas of Information and Communication Technologies with applications in Internet of Things, Health, Energy and Security.

Dr Michael Madden, NATIONAL UNIVERSITY OF IRELAND, GALWAY for leadership of the ROCSAFE Remotely Operated CBRNe Scene Assessment Forensic Examination project under the SECURITY programme – a €4.7 million 13 partner project with Irish partners REAMDA LIMITED, SCORPION NETWORKS LTD, UNIVERSITY COLLEGE CORK, DEPARTMENT OF DEFENCE and the HEALTH SERVICE EXECUTIVE. The overall goal of ROCSAFE is to fundamentally change how CBRNe events are assessed, in order to ensure the safety of crime scene investigators by reducing the need for them to enter high-risk scenes. For this, ROCSAFE will make use of cost-effective remotely-controlled robotic air and ground vehicles that are designed for use in rain, wind, and challenging ground surfaces.

Dr Peter O'BRIEN, TYNDALL NATIONAL INSTITUTE, UNIVERSITY COLLEGE CORK for leadership of the PIXAPP Photonic Integrated Circuits Assembly and Packaging Pilot Line project in the ICT programme – a €15 million 18 partner key enabling technologies project. PIXAPP will establish the world’s first open access Photonic Integrated Circuit assembly and packaging Pilot Line. It combines a highly-interdisciplinary team of Europe’s leading industrial and research organisations and provides Europe’s SMEs with a unique one-stop-shop, enabling them to exploit the breakthrough advantages of PIC technologies. Irish company EBLANA PHOTONICS will work with UCC in the project.


For more information contact:

Grace Labanyi

Senior Executive, Corporate Communications

Enterprise Ireland

Direct line: +353 (0)1 727 2820

Mobile: +353 (0)87 3286404


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