Wednesday, October 6, 2021

A host of postgraduate scholarships and postdoctoral fellowships have been awarded to University of Limerick to support the next generation of top researchers.

Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, Simon Harris TD, has today announced €28m in funding for new research projects under the Irish Research Council’s flagship Government of Ireland programmes.

The investment will fund 330 awards in total – of which 22 postgraduate scholarships and five postdoctoral fellowships will be based at UL.

The UL awardees will conduct research on a multitude of topics, ranging from Alzheimer's Disease to climate policy, Brexit to loneliness, lymphoma to intercultural communication, molecular bioengineering to assisted human reproduction, battery technology to sonic mapping, physical activity to sign language, online learning to depression and respiratory illness to social inclusion.

Commenting on the announcement, Minster Harris said: “I am delighted to announce this investment of funding today to develop exceptional talent in our research system. I am particularly pleased to see the record number of awards being made this year under the two programmes combined. The programmes are unique in the Irish research landscape, supporting excellent individual postgraduate and postdoctoral researchers to develop innovative and creative ideas across the sciences, humanities and the arts. I would like to congratulate all the awardees on their success in the schemes and wish them well in their research endeavours.

“This year, my department allocated additional funding as part of a €7.5 million package to enable the Irish Research Council to enhance the number of postgraduate awards in the emerging technological university sector. I am pleased to see the first phase of this funding come to fruition today, with a total of 40 additional awards being made under the 2021 Government of Ireland Postgraduate Scholarship Programme to researchers based in our technological institutions. 

“Now more than ever, the benefits of investing in research and innovation are clear, and this starts with fuelling the pipeline of excellent early-career researchers. Support for basic research and investment in cutting-edge expertise across different disciplines is vital for Ireland, and this will be key to ensuring that we can overcome national and global challenges now and in the future.”

Welcoming the announcement, Director of the IRC, Peter Brown said: “The Irish Research Council Government of Ireland awards are extremely competitive and attract applications from all over the world. The programmes provide the foundation for the development of cutting-edge skills and expertise and awardees will become future research leaders across academia and beyond, including industry and the public sector. The scope of awards across and between disciplines supports the balanced development of our research system and ensures that we are best positioned for the challenges of an uncertain future.

“Thanks to the increased funding announced by Minister Harris in January this year, the new awardees will receive funding for postgraduate stipends and postdoctoral salaries that are in-line with national norms. This is vital to ensure our early-career researchers are adequately supported and there is a level playing field in our research system.

To deliver on shared national objectives, each year the Government of Ireland programmes collaborate with strategic funding partners. Nine of this year’s awards were made in collaboration with and funded by partner agencies. The agencies include the Environmental Protection Agency, Met Éireann and the Department of Foreign Affairs.