BLOG: #LoveIrishResearch at Maynooth University

From the invention of the world’s first battery amenable to mass production to the analysis of critical molecules without the use of radioactivity, Maynooth University has been at the heart of Irish research since 1795.

Research at Maynooth University traces its roots to the first professors of the Royal College of St Patrick, founded in 1795. These early scholars came to Maynooth to escape persecution in continental Europe, bringing with them the traditions of inquiry and independence that remain a feature of research at Maynooth University today.

Maynooth University’s expertise in Mathematics, Communications and Computation is founded on pioneering work in the early 19th Century when Professor Nicholas Callan (1799-1864), invented the 'Maynooth Battery', the world’s first battery amenable to mass production and a forerunner of the batteries that power modern consumer devices.

Our research expertise in Human Health traces to the 19th Century, when Sir Dominic Corrigan (1802-1880), pioneered the stethoscope. His observations of heart disease among the Dublin poor allowed him to identify the 'collapsing' pulse of aortic valve insufficiency, a sign still termed 'Corrigan’s pulse'.

Maynooth University’s research in the Humanities is exemplified by Charles W Russell (1812-1880), a prolific scholar remembered internationally for his work on historical source materials such as the Carte Manuscripts in Oxford’s Bodleian Library, and for his work in opening the Vatican Archives as a resource for international scholarship.

There have been many illustrious contributors from Maynooth to scholarship in Human Cultures, Experience & Creativity over the last two centuries; however Professor Barbara Hayley (1938-91) merits special attention.  A renowned literary scholar of the pre-Yeatsian literary revival, her work led to a re-evaluation of William Carleton and a broader re-evaluation of Anglo-Irish literature in the period.


Maynooth University has international research strengths in the humanities, social sciences, information and communications technology (ICT), and biological and chemical sciences.

Our humanities research explores the ways in which culture, language and creativity shape our experiences, and is particularly involved in harnessing information technologies to facilitate new insights into human legacies and cultures.

Within the social sciences, particular attention is focused on understanding relationships between people and the environment, allowing our researchers to devise more sustainable responses to a changing world. 

Maynooth’s research in ICT explores the fundamental aspects of Mathematics, Computation and Communications, applying theoretical advances to real world problems – looking, for example, to achieve coordination across network systems to facilitate cars working together to avoid congestion and take environmentally friendly routes.  

Research in the biological and chemical sciences focuses on understanding the fundamental aspects of health and disease. Our research teams collaborate with international academics, healthcare providers and industry to explore unique aspects of human health at the molecular and cellular levels, discovering new ways to tackle disease, and to translate our discoveries into novel medicines, procedures and policies.  

New discovery allows researchers analyse drug-target molecules without radioactivity

A ground-breaking new technique discovered by Dr Conor BreenDepartment of Biology, and colleagues at Maynooth University and Trinity College Dublin, will for the first time allow scientists to analyse critical molecules at the heart of drug development without the use of radioactivity.  The new research, published in the internationally renowned journal Scientific Reports, will enable researchers to accurately measure the number of these 'receptor' molecules without the significant cost and environmental risk implications associated with radiation.

The discovery that radioactivity can be used to track molecules in the body is a huge achievement, and its impact on the scientific landscape cannot be overstated. While radioactivity will continue to play an important role in quantifying molecules in cells, the restrictive costs of managing and disposing of radioactive waste has up until now prevented smaller labs and individuals from undertaking cellular research. This breakthrough will empower countless researchers and will unlock new avenues for researching, diagnosing, and treating human diseases. 


Maynooth University continues to invest significantly in a wide range of technologically advanced facilities. Laboratories across the campus are fitted with the best equipment for teaching and research.

Our new library contains the latest IT innovations and offers up to eight different ways to study, ranging from social and collaborative to silent and individual.

The University has recently opened the doors to our newest building, Eolas. The focal point for Information Communications Technology (ICT) on campus, this €20.6 million, state-of-the art facility is home to the Departments of Computer Science and Electronic Engineering.

Eolas includes 14 ‘hot desks,’ 2 bio wet labs, high-tech conference rooms and classrooms, laboratories and informal conversation spaces.  Its core philosophy is one of connectedness – our students will conduct research in high-tech facilities, learn from world-class researchers in their fields, and walk by the latest campus spin-out companies on their way to class.

Eolas is also home to two of the University’s world-renowned research institutes, the Hamilton Institute and the Innovation Value Institute (IVI) as well as the University’s business incubation centre and MaynoothWorks.

MaynoothWorks breaks the barriers between academia and business, giving our clients ready and simple access to the expertise of Maynooth University researchers from ICT and business processes, as well as a range of collaboration spaces to promote innovation.

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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in our guest blogs are the author’s own, and do not reflect the opinions of the Irish Research Council or any employee thereof.