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Projects at UL to be funded under Irish Research Council Government of Ireland awards

Wed, 28 Oct 2020

A host of early stage researchers at University of Limerick are to receive funding under the Irish Research Council’s Government of Ireland programmes.

Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science Simon Harris has announced 209 Postgraduate Scholarships and 87 Postdoctoral Fellowships are to be funded – with 13 to be based at UL (see list below).

The awards represent a total investment of over €21 million in early career researchers across all academic disciplines.

Minister Harris said: “I am delighted to announce this investment by government in developing the next generation of research leaders across disciplines. Across higher education, enterprise, civil society and the public sector, expert knowledge and skills is a critical need for our present and our future. The awards announced today support a pipeline of research talent which will be at the forefront of addressing the many challenges and opportunities we face.

“The COVID crisis alone has demonstrated the importance of investment in expertise across all disciplines, whether in the form of advice on public health, the development of vaccines and treatments within industry, or, crucially, in working through the many longer term social, economic and cultural impacts of the crisis. It can be seen today how Ireland is benefiting from investment in basic research made some years ago, and this will be the case in the future with ongoing support for the pipeline of excellent researchers. I wish the many awardees starting their new projects the very best.”

The individuals receiving awards at UL will conduct research into a multitude of topics ranging from eating disorders to pharmaceutical processing, data modelling, rugby injuries and more.

Congratulating this year’s awardees, Irish Research Council Director, Peter Brown, said: “The Irish Research Council Government of Ireland awards form a critical pillar within Ireland’s research and innovation eco-system. The two programmes, addressing postgraduate and postdoctoral research, are the only ones of their kind in Ireland, funding excellent research across all disciplines and are highly competitive, nationally and internationally.

“Awardees benefit greatly from having obtained a research award in their own name, demonstrating world-class potential in their chosen field from early-career stage. Through this and other IRC programmes, the Council continues to deliver the best and brightest research talent for Ireland. Working hand-in-glove with our research-performing organisations, awardees will expand the frontiers of knowledge and generate the research and innovations that will help to address national and global societal challenges.”

Each year the Government of Ireland Programmes collaborate with strategic funding partners to run themed calls. A number of this year’s awardees are supported by the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Foreign Affairs.

The 2021 calls are now open on the IRC website and offer new collaborative funding opportunities with additional themed calls from the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Met Éireann and the Department of Rural and Community Development.

Further information about the Irish Research Council’s Government of Ireland programmes is available at

UL - Government of Ireland Postgraduate Scholarships:

Alice Parkes: Macromolecular and Materials Chemistry - Next generation pharmaceutical processing:  A systematic approach to formulating and manufacturing Multicomponent Fixed Dose Drug Combinations and Therapeutic Hybrids

Aoife Marie Foran: Psychology - Harnessing groups for health: Eating disorder recovery as supported by everyday social connections

Chiara Alessia De Benedictis: Biochemistry and Molecular Biology - The role of the Zinc Transporter ZnT5 in Autism Spectrum Disorders: a functional characterization

Ciara Leahy: Cell Biology - Defining the impact of BILF1 on B cell transformation

David Martin: Law - The Regulation of Shadow Banking and its Implications for Systemic Risk

Laura McQuaid: Statistics and Probability - A Flexible Parametric Modelling Framework for High-Dimensional Hierarchical Survival Data

Lia Mills: Literatures - Parallax in Fiction: Towards a practice-based theory of creative narrative intervention

Liam Whitmore: Zoology, Ornithology, Entomology, Behavioural Sciences Biology - Determining the environmental factors that enable an otherwise neoplastically benign herpesvirus to overcome host immune responses and induce a tumour epidemic in marine turtles

Mannthalah Abubaker: Medical and Biomedical Engineering - The influence of CSF flow in the subarachnoid space and its role in TBI

Phoebe Brown: Theatre Studies - The potential for perceptible process: an exploration of the interconnections between differential equations (DEs) and contemporary dance choreography

UL - GOI Postdoctoral Fellowships:

Angelika Holzinger: Electrochemistry - Electrosynthesis and advanced characterization of conductive polymer/nanoparticle nanocomposites at electrified soft interfaces for sensor and polymer solar cell applications

Olwyn Mahon: Cell Biology - Investigating the interplay between ECM architecture, cancer cell dynamics and immune cell-infiltrates in 3D reconstructions of human colonic tumour microenvironments

Rachel Sheehan: Psychology - Rugby injury epidemiology: Relations to psychological factors