Irish researchers have just won €10 million in EU research funding according to recent results issued from the EU’s Horizon 2020 programme’s Marie Skłodowska-Curie actions (MSCA). The funding will support the development of research talent across all sectors of the economy, creating 100 high-value research jobs in companies, civil society organisations, public bodies and higher education institutions.
The successful applicants were supported by the Irish Marie Skłodowska-Curie Office, operated in partnership by the Irish Universities Association and the Irish Research Council. The two organisations have recently renewed this successful partnership. Since 2012, the partnership has secured €100 million of European funding for Irish research. MSCA is an initiative which ensures talent development and focuses on research mobility between countries and sectors, backed up by professional development and training. It is the top-performing area for Ireland in the current EU Framework Programme, known as Horizon 2020.
The Director of the Irish Research Council, Dr. Eucharia Meehan, speaking about the importance of the partnership said “Ireland’s new strategy for research and development, science and technology – ‘Innovation 2020’ – highlights the importance of research talent development to the economy and to the grand societal challenges that we face now and in the future. The IRC and MSCA are natural bedfellows, as they both play a key role in developing research talent, supporting researchers in all areas from Arts to Zoology to work across and break down the boundaries between academia, industry and civil society. The Council is pleased to continue the joint operation of the Irish Marie Skłodowska-Curie Office and looks forward to continuing to assist researchers to achieve a successful outcome for Ireland in the programme.”
Ned Costello, Chief Executive of the Irish Universities Association, said “The support provided by the Irish Research Council is essential to the operation and successful performance of the Irish Marie Skłodowska-Curie Office. It has facilitated the development and roll-out a system of supports to maximise the success of research-active organisations in the MSCA leading to the programme becoming number-one for Ireland in Horizon 2020. I am particularly pleased to see the strong links between the universities, industry and civil society translating into successful funding applications. The IUA looks forward to continuing the partnership with the IRC to support the wider research community in Ireland in continuing to improve on Ireland’s exemplary performance in the MSCA”.
A large portion of the funding in these latest awards is going to projects with strong interactions between academia and industry across the indigenous and MNC sectors. The funding is also supporting links between academia and the community and voluntary sector. Around €1 million will go to support six dedicated research and innovation projects wholly within companies and civil society organisations.
The MSCA celebrated its 20th birthday last year, and are poised to announce the 10,000th researcher to be supported by the programme, which has consistently been a high-performing area of EU funding for Ireland. The funding has benefited researchers in all disciplines, including the arts, humanities, social sciences, business and law.
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The Marie Skłodowska-Curie actions are a European Union Funding Programme which supports researchers at all stages of their careers, across all research disciplines from live-saving healthcare to “blue sky” research and in all employment sectors. It is named after the famous Polish-born Nobel Prize winning researcher. The opportunities in the Marie Skłodowska-Curie actions range from individual fellowships for talented researchers to large-scale pan-European research training networks.
The Irish Marie Skłodowska-Curie Office is jointly operated by the Irish Universities Association and the Irish Research Council, with support from Science Foundation Ireland. The office provides advice and support on preparing applications for Marie Skłodowska-Curie funding and the management of Marie Skłodowska-Curie awards.
Sample funded projects from previous funding rounds include:
- Alcatel Lucent Ireland Limited is participating in a pan-European consortium led by Karlsruhe Institute of Technology and also involving the University of Limerick. The funding will support six new research staff members (with most working towards a PhD during the project) to work full-time at Alcatel contributing to a project to develop new technologies for enhanced and efficient heat recovery in automotive, aeronautics and energy generation. Project website http://www.migrate2015.eu/70.php
- Ballyhoura Development Ltd., a community-led local development company based in Limerick has been funded in an MSCA training network project in the area of social entrepreneurship. University College Cork is also a partner in the consortium, and both will receive funding to support a PhD student working in their organisation for 3 years. Project Website: Ruraction
- E. Laboratories Ltd., a chemicals and environmental analysis company based in Carlow have been funded twice in the Horizon 2020 MSCA. Both projects involve collaboration with local organisations: Dublin City University in a project on contaminated land site remediation and Teagasc in a project about soil and groundwater contamination. Two projects were funded Remediate http://www.remediate.eu/ and Inspiration http://www.inspirationitn.eu/bulletin.php
- Envirotech Innovative Products Ltd., a spin-in to NovaUCD, has received funding for a project in the agrifood area. The consortium is led by University College Dublin and includes partners from Trinity College Dublin, Teagasc and organisations from across Europe. Project Website: https://cerealpath.eu/
- “Truss” – Arup Consulting Engineers have been funded in an MSCA training network project on improving structural safety of roads, bridges and buildings. The project, led by University College Dublin, also involves engineers from Trinity College Dublin and a network of companies, universities and research centres from Spain, the UK and France. Project website: http://trussitn.eu/
- CHESS won €3.9m funding under the Horizon 2020 People Programme and the project commenced in September 2015. It is Europe’s first networked Connected Health PhD training programme and will recruit 15 PhD students internationally to cover 4 main areas of research and training in Connected Health. Project website: http://www.chessitn.eu/