15th March 2024: A combined investment exceeding €7 million has been announced today through the US-Ireland programme – a tripartite research and development (R&D) partnership between the United States of America (USA), Republic of Ireland (RoI) and Northern Ireland (NI).

Under the Programme, six awards have been announced spanning 11 institutions which will support more than 11 research positions in RoI, 10 research positions in NI, and over 20 positions in the US. The funded projects, covering three to four years, include research in the areas of sustainable collection and management of water, photonic integrated circuits, wearable sensors to monitor health, telecommunications, and microbial activity.

Launched in 2006, the US-Ireland Research and Development Partnership is a unique initiative that aims to increase the level of collaborative R&D amongst researchers and industry professionals across the three jurisdictions. The programme involves multiple funding partners across the three jurisdictions, working collaboratively to support excellent, impactful research. The funding agencies involved in today’s announcement are Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) in RoI; the National Science Foundation (NSF) in the USA, and the Department for the Economy (DfE) in NI.

Since the US-Ireland programme started, agencies have committed €148.4 million of government funding across a total of 92 awards.

Prof Philip Nolan, Director General of Science Foundation Ireland welcomed the announcement, saying: “I am delighted to congratulate the award recipients and their collaborators on their work addressing challenges in the realms of sustainability, telecommunications, healthcare, biosensors and engineering. The US-Ireland R&D Partnership Programme continues to support and encourage strong, collaborative relationships between our countries. These are world-class, innovative research projects that will greatly benefit our collective societies and economies.”

“With increased global competition in STEM research and talent across every field, it is more important than ever that the U.S. collaborate with countries that share our values and vision for science, engineering, and technology for a more equitable and prosperous world,” said NSF Director Sethuraman Panchanathan. "The U.S.-Ireland R&D Partnership program plays an important role in generating, at speed and scale, valuable discoveries and innovations that will lead to advancements in health, climate resilience and telecommunications to improve our world.”

Mark Lee, Interim Director of Higher Education at Northern Ireland’s Department for the Economy, said: “International research partnerships have a key role to play in driving forward Northern Ireland’s economic vision for prosperity, higher productivity and a better quality of life for all of our people. The US-Ireland R&D Partnership, as a flagship trans-Atlantic initiative, is playing a crucial role in the delivery of this vision, supporting Northern Ireland-based researchers to make a global impact through the discovery and development of new and ground-breaking technologies that can benefit all in our society.”

Prof Alan O’Riordan’s group (TNI) has received a second US-Ireland Programme award, for work using digital technologies such as AI to better understand and predict how microbes are likely to behave. Prof Michael Zaworotko (UL) has received a second US-Ireland Programme award with research that aims to use predictive modelling to make the collection of water under normal temperatures and atmospheric conditions more effective.

The 11 collaborating institutions are:

Tyndall National institute (TNI), University of Limerick (UL), and University College Dublin (UCD) in the Republic of Ireland; Queen’s University Belfast (QUB) and Ulster University (UU) in Northern Ireland; and North Carolina State University, Ohio State University, University of California Irvine, Virginia Tech, University of Utah, and University of Nebraska-Lincoln in the United States.

For more information about the US-Ireland R&D Partnership Programme visit the programme webpage.