Tomb Readers, Galaxy Mappers and Climate Change Specialists among the next-gen of Irish Researchers

Mr. Damien English, T.D Minister for Skills, Research and Innovation has announced that €16.2 million has been awarded to the next generation of Irish researchers.

Exploring the origins of Zirconium stars, redefining tomb funerary archaeology, modern Irish Sculpture and enhancing weather prediction to tackle climate change are a sample of topics by the successful Scholars under the 2015 Government of Ireland Postgraduate Scholarship Awards from the Irish Research Council.

Whether it is analysing the self-cleansing power of the atmosphere, cyber bullying, green-synthesis of anti-HIV drugs or the development of seaweed wound dressings, ‘’the future of Irish research is as bright as it is diverse’’, said Minister English. 

Out of a total of 1200 graduate students who competed for €16.2 million over four years, 213 Scholars are being awarded funding based on the excellence, novelty and innovation of their projects. These qualities are key drivers for the supply of skilled human capital for academia, industry and public sector.  Announcing the awards, Minister English added, ‘‘The international research environment is becoming increasingly competitive. Individuals with new ideas and thinking are needed to contribute to economic development and to Ireland’s reputation globally. These budding researchers are now well placed to contribute to Ireland’s prosperity in the years ahead.’’

Commenting today, Professor Jane Ohlmeyer, newly appointed Chair of the Irish Research Council said: ‘‘Each year, we are told by the independent international assessors that the calibre of applicants is increasing and we are excited to see what the next intake of scholars will achieve. Last year, one of our former awardees became the youngest ever recipient of an award which is the gold standard internationally - the European Research Council Starting Grant. The Government of Ireland Scholarships offer students the potential for diverse careers in enterprise, civic society, government bodies, in academia – in all walks of life’’.

About the Government of Ireland and other Strategic Funding Partner Scholarships:

The Government of Ireland Scholarships were established to provide support for the best and brightest Scholars to develop Ireland’s Research and Innovation base. The Irish Research Council is the largest primary funder of 1,146 postgraduate students in Ireland studying a masters by research or a PhD. The Irish Research Council partner with a number of other national agencies to deliver on our shared national objectives. In 2015, 14 scholarships were offered in partnership with the Department of Foreign Affairs, the Department of Children and Youth Affairs, the Environmental Protection Agency, the National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching & Learning, and Science Foundation Ireland.

2015 Postgraduate Scholars pictured  left to right: Daniele Canestrari, Keith Nolan, Helena Murphy, Annabel Higgins Hoare