Over 370 new researchers amongst those benefitting from €30m in Irish Research Council funding during 2016

Posted: 29 December, 2016

The Irish Research Council awarded €30 million in funding to over 370 new researchers during 2016, bringing the total amount of researchers currently supported by the Council to 1,360.

Details released by the Council show the largest amount of funding, €15.5 million, was allocated to participants in the Government of Ireland Postgraduate Scholarship Scheme.  In total, 206 researchers received funding under that scheme, meaning the average award was just over €75,000.

Researchers funded under the Government of Ireland Postdoctoral Fellowship scheme, meanwhile, received an average award of over €83,000, with 80 awards granted in total.

The other two major schemes supported by the Irish Research Council this year were:

  • The Employment Based Programme, which provided €2.5 million to 32 participants; and
  • The Enterprise Partnership Scheme, which granted €4.4 million to 55 researchers.

Commenting on this announcement, Dr Eucharia Meehan, Director of the Irish Research Council, said: “There were a number of striking features about our work in 2016.  The high number of international researchers that received funding was remarkable: we supported researchers from 40 different countries, including – of course – a high proportion of Irish researchers. 

“This is important because Ireland’s capacity to attract international research talent impacts directly on our ability to enhance our global competitiveness.  We are delighted that researchers from all over the world recognise the quality of work undertaken in higher education institutions here, and are choosing to come to Ireland to further their own careers.

“Another noticeable trend from our work over the past year was increased collaboration with a wide range of industry, civil society and public sector partners.  During 2016, we worked with 223 enterprise partners, including the likes of Intel, Analog, Dublin Port Company and Tullow Oil. 

“We also funded a range of projects involving civil-society partners.  Fifty-five civil-society groups benefitted in this regard, including the Pavee Point Traveller and Roma Centre, the Glencree Centre for Peace and Reconciliation, and the GAA. 

“We funded 29 research projects marking the Decade of Centenaries this year, and we embarked on partnerships with 17 different government departments and agencies.”

Dr Meehan said that priorities for the coming year will include the launch of the Irish Research Council’s new frontier research programme, as well as increased emphasis on funding interdisciplinary research to address major societal challenges.

“We’ll also be continuing to focus on gender, participating in a European consortium on gender, which has recently been approved by the European Commission,” she said.

“Also in the European arena, during 2016, we announced the CAROLINE fund to promote mobility amongst European researchers; a particular focus of this fund is research that will contribute to the UN sustainable Development Goals.

“In recent months, we celebrated 20 years of the Marie Skłodowska-Curie European research actions in Ireland.  Early in the New Year, we’ll be formalising continued support for the Irish office that administers Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions.  These have consistently been a high-performing area of EU funding for Ireland, benefitting researchers in all disciplines.

“Throughout 2017, we’ll also continue to run our #LoveIrishResearch campaign, which is aimed at raising public awareness of the amazing work done by researchers throughout Ireland.  This was launched at the beginning of this year, and has proven to be a huge success.”

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