Irish Research Council priming for future success in Horizon 2020

Damien English, TD, Minister for Skills, Research & Innovation, today announced more than €2m of competitive funding for 17 research projects under the Irish Research Council's New Horizons scheme. The scheme supports top-class researchers in our higher education system to develop novel and excellent ideas and to build towards seeking further investment in those ideas from the EU’s Research and Innovation framework, Horizon2020. The scheme represents one of a number of measures implemented by the Council that contribute towards enabling Ireland to be successful within the European research sphere, and ultimately to reach our national target of winning €1.25billion of H2020 funding.

Speaking about the scheme, Minister English said that the funding announced today will ‘provide opportunities for the Irish research community to maintain momentum in what is an incredibly competitive European research funding environment. This scheme taps into the incredible breadth and diversity of expertise in our institutions, and the funding will enable a set of exceptional researchers to carry forward their research and also help to establish a strong track record in interdisciplinary research.’

Professor Jane Ohlmeyer, Chair of the Irish Research Council, said that the scheme will ‘nurture outstanding talent and help to promote the development of a research community that is internationally competitive into the future. The awards being announced today represent the outcome of a very rigorous, competitive process underpinned by international peer review. The potential for the awardees to go on and win further funding for Ireland through Horizon2020 is strong. The scale of European research funding is such that a single award from the European Research Council in the future for one of the successful awardees could outweigh the aggregate cost of all awards being announced today under New Horizons 2015. Given our ambitious target for Horizon2020, these modest investments in future research leaders make a lot of sense on many different levels.’

Among the awardees under the scheme are Dr. Frank Doyle and Professor Ronan Conroy of the Royal College of Surgeons Ireland, whose research will investigate the complex reasons behind patients’ non-adherence to recommended treatment regimens. Using knowledge of psychosocial predictors of adherence, initially to inhaled medications, this work will attempt to model adherence patterns in order to provide significantly better health outcomes for patients whilst reducing costs for healthcare providers.

Eleanor Denny, an Associate Professor of Economics at Trinity College Dublin, will explore developments in behavioral economics and information systems in her interdisciplinary project on efficient energy. Her data analytical research will ascertain whether providing customers with information on how much electrical appliances cost to run will encourage them to buy more energy efficient products. 

Image: Dr. Eucharia Meehan, IRC Director; Damien English TD, Minister of State for Research and Innovation; Professor Anna Davies, TCD and European Research Council awardee.