A file picture of Professor Ken Byrne
Professor Ken Byrne from the Department of Biological Sciences whose research expertise is carbon stocks and greenhouse gas exchange in forest and peatland ecosystems will lead the research team at UL
Monday, December 4, 2023

University of Limerick is set to play a pivotal role as a primary research partner in a new Co-Centre for Climate+, Biodiversity and Water.

This new research centre, which is backed by a joint investment of €43.1 million from the Irish and UK governments, marks a significant milestone in addressing the critical issues of climate change, biodiversity loss, and water quality degradation on the islands of Ireland and Great Britain.

The research centre aims to enable fair transformations to Net Zero, reverse biodiversity loss, restore water quality and ensure resilience for communities and a sustainable economy.

UL is one of the eight Irish universities contributing to this initiative, alongside three Northern Irish research institutes and three British institutions.

The research at UL is being co-ordinated by Professor Ken Byrne from the Department of Biological Sciences who is a Climate+ Principal Investigator and will lead the ‘Investing in Carbon and Nature’ theme.

“The case for urgent and transformative change grows daily. Change is essential at all levels of society and throughout the economy if we are to address the climate, biodiversity and water crises. We will work with industry partners who wish to support the state-of-the-art research which is necessary to drive this transformation.”

Joining Professor Byrne on the UL research team for Climate+ will be Associate Professor Gerard Dooly from the Department of Electronic and Computer Engineering who will be using drone technology to investigate bird habitats, and Associate Professor John Garvey of the Department of Accounting and Finance in the Kemmy Business School.

Professor Garvey’s focus in the project will be financial institutions and markets, specifically identifying the enabling conditions required to unlock financial flows towards the protection and restoration of biodiversity.

Welcoming the announcement of UL’s role in the Centre, UL Vice President Research Professor Norelee Kennedy said: “UL welcomes the establishment of the new climate research centre and are delighted to see UL’s strength in the area harnessed through our researchers across Biological Sciences, Electronic & Computer Engineering and the Kemmy Business School.

“UL’s commitment to the grand challenge of tackling climate action and sustainability is central to our research strategy and we look forward to continued partnership across the island of Ireland in addressing real change which will impact the generations to come.”

The Climate+ initiative will formally begin on January 1st 2024. It will initially be funded over six years by Science Foundation Ireland, the Northern Ireland Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs and UK Research and Innovation. More than 30% of the centre’s co-funding will come from 29 industry partners. 

The centre brings together 60 leading scientists from 14 academic partner institutions in Ireland, Northern Ireland and Great Britain.

The Climate+ academic partner institutions are Trinity College Dublin; Maynooth University; University of Galway; University College Cork; Dublin City University; University College Dublin; Atlantic Technological University; University of Limerick; Queen’s University Belfast; Ulster University; Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute; University of Reading; Newcastle University and the UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology.

The Centre has a leadership team of Professor Yvonne Buckley, Trinity College Dublin, Professor Mark Emmerson, Queen’s University Belfast and Professor Ed Hawkins, University of Reading.