Thursday, 11th July 2024: Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, Patrick O’Donovan TD, today announced a €14.6 million investment in 25 projects to support early career researchers under the SFI-IRC Pathway programme.

Minister O’Donovan said: “This Pathway funding will help facilitate a defined journey from post-doctoral research to independent researcher. Bridging this gap is a challenging but critical milestone, and the research selected for investment will address key challenges and opportunities, ranging from new therapies for Parkinsons to the development of sustainable supercapacitors.”

Projects include:

  • Investigating the link between the microbiome and the developing brain
  • Identifying the chemical biomarkers of Irish Whiskey
  • Non-invasive brain stimulation to treat Parkinsonian symptoms
  • An additive to lower the climate and air polluting impacts of manures
  • Exploration of the habitability of Jupiter’s moons
  • The genomics of diverse bee species and how they adapt to their environment
  • Development of sustainable supercapacitors  

The SFI-IRC Pathway programme is a collaborative initiative between Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) and the Irish Research Council (IRC) to support early-career research across all disciplines and to encourage a cohesive research ecosystem in Ireland.

Commenting on the awards, Dr Ruth Freeman, Director, Science for Society at Science Foundation Ireland, said: “We are delighted to work in partnership with our colleagues in the IRC to deliver the SFI-IRC Pathway programme. It provides targeted support to early-career researchers who will use the funding to pursue independent research at the frontiers of knowledge. Investment in these projects will generate novel discoveries and insights across diverse research topics, from environmental sustainability to disease treatment and prevention, to wireless network security.”

The awards will enable postdoctoral researchers to develop their career pathway and transition to become independent research leaders. The funding, covering a four-year period, will provide additional support for a postgraduate student who will be primarily supervised by the awardee.

The 25 research projects will be funded through 13 research bodies, as follows: Trinity College Dublin (2); Maynooth University (1); University College Cork (3); Tyndall National Institute (2); University College Dublin (7); Technological University Dublin (1); University of Limerick (1); Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies (1); RCSI University of Medicine and Health Sciences (1); The National Institute for Bioprocessing Research and Training (1); South East Technological University (1); University of Galway (2); Dundalk Institute of Technology (1); Dublin City University (1).

View the full list of projects here.