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Innovation Bursaries 2010

Overall Objectives

As part of the TCD-UCD Innovation Alliance, Trinity College seeks innovative ways to explore the theme “Sustainable Society” by offering opportunities to scholars and researchers to define it and become engaged with it across all disciplines.

 

Postdoctoral Innovation Bursaries


In addition, six post-doctoral researchers have been awarded Innovation Bursaries of 5K each to tackle exciting research problems on the theme of Sustainable Society, thereby assisting them to establish an independent research track.

Follow this link for details of these innovative research streams.

FACULTY OF ARTS, HUMANITIES AND SOCIAL SCIENCES

 

Principal Investigators

 
Project Title

 

 

Prof. N. Campbell

Prof. Nick Campbell
Centre for Language and Communication Studies

Prof. J. Ohlmeyer

Prof. Jane Ohlmeyer
History

 

Speaking the 1641 Depositions

This innovative project under the theme of "Digital Humanities and Sustainable Records" will attract candidates who are interested in independent and advanced research linking speech synthesis and important historical documents. It will involve application of advanced linguistic and statistical methods, using the latest tools and technologies, for the analysis and rendering into speech of large bodies of annotated historical text. The project will last for four years and research costs, a stipend, and coverage of fees, etc., will be offered. Successful applicants will have a background in either history or computing. They will have keen analytical skills and will join a small team of researchers with similar interests in the way people speak and present information. They will be especially interested in expressing personality through speech synthesis, and in attempting to render historical texts in order to express character through the synthesised voices.

[Applications closed]

 

 

Prof. P. Holm

Prof. Poul Holm
History

Dr. Mark Hennessy

Dr. Mark Hennessy
Geography

 

Irish fisheries of the medieval and early modern period: Scale and causes of decline

This study will be based on two lines of inquiry and inform at least two disciplinary interests, history and geography. A study of the decline of the Irish fishing industry may provide a striking historical illustration of economic path-dependency. Likewise it will inform geographical understanding of population settlement around the Irish coast. It will provide a backdrop to our understanding of marine resources today. The disaster of the hunger years from 1846 showed that the Irish economy was unsustainably based on agricultural produce, mainly the potato. At the same time observers were fully aware of the potential of the sea to provide an additional food source and the fishing industry had been well-developed in the medieval and early-modern period. What locked Ireland into a disastrous economic neglect of the sea? Was this unique to Ireland or was the under-development of the sea fisheries part of a wider European pattern?

[Applications closed]

 

 

Prof. Fiona Newell

Prof. Fiona Newell
Psychology

Prof. RoseAnne Kenny

Prof. RoseAnne Kenny
Geriatric Medicine

 

The role of multisensory processes in incidences of falls and cognitive decline in ageing

Most research in human perception has dealt with each of the senses in a separate manner, and research typically takes a 'reconstructive' approach to each system. However, recognition tasks and spatial localisation in the real world is rarely based on one modality only and involves a complex interplay between all the modalities. Research findings have suggested that efficient cross-sensory integration declines with old age and is particularly inefficient in older persons who are prone to falling. The proposed research will involve a systematic investigation of multisensory processes and how ageing may effect the efficient sharing of information across the senses. One important goal of this project is to devise a set of assessment tools that mark the onset of decline in posture control (leading to falls) and in other higher cognitive functions. Finally, the research will help guide in the design of intervention technologies designed to prevent falls and cognitive decline in older persons.

[Applications closed]

 

 

Prof. Roger Stalley

Prof. Roger Stalley
History of Art

Dr. John Dingliana

Dr. John Dingliana
Computer Science

 

The Book of Kells: Investigations of style and design through the application of non photorealistic rendering

This project will involve developing innovative techniques for the interactive visualisation of digitally scanned imagery from the Book of Kells. Technical contributions will include the segmentation of the imagery into its stylistic components, which will enable the interactive exploration of the images for scholarly academic analysis in particular by art historians. We will develop techniques for generating high-fidelity interactive renderings of the pages of the book, complete with accurate modelling of material and surface properties of the vellum and pigments under varying simulated lighting conditions. Analysis and modelling of the styles, colours and techniques used in the creation of its pages will allow us to develop tools for producing imagery and digital content themed on the book. We will also develop techniques for remote and online exploration of this historical and artistic content in order to facilitate applications that can reach and engage students and the general public.

[Applications closed]

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FACULTY OF ENGINEERING, MATHEMATICS AND SCIENCE


 

Dr. Ursula Bond

Dr. Ursula Bond
Microbiology

Jones_and_Hodkinson
Dr. Trevor Hodkinson

Prof. Mike Jones

Botany

 

Biomass to biofuel: Designing yeast strains capable of converting energy crops and waste products to a useable form of biofuel

As the world enters a post fossil fuel era, there is a need to identify alternative environmentally sustainable energy sources. Perennial grasses contain substantial reservoirs of energy in the form of cellulose which can be broken down to simple sugars by enzymes called cellulases. The sugars can then be converted to ethanol through fermentation. Currently, there is no single microorganism that can carry out both processes. The goal of this project is to generate a microbe capable of producing cellulose‐degrading enzymes and efficiently converting the released sugars to ethanol. Based on their high fermentative capacity, industrial yeasts are ideal candidates for producing high-levels of bio-ethanol. These yeasts will be bioengineered to breakdown cellulose by introducing genes encoding three classes of cellulases into the genome. We will then test the ability of the bioengineered yeast to convert cellulose present in crops such as perennial grasses or waste agricultural material into bio-ethanol.

[Applications closed]

 

 

Dr. Peter Gallagher

Dr. Peter Gallagher
Astrophysics

Prof. Linda Doyle

Prof. Linda Doyle
Electronic Engineering

 

The effects of solar storms on telecommunications: Implications for a sustainable society

The goal of this project is to understand the physical link between solar storms and telecommunication dropouts in Ireland, and will involve collaboration between the Schools of Physics, Computing and Engineering. The team will build a solar radio burst monitor, correlate the onset of solar storms to periods of telecommunication problems, and create a real-time system to predict these events in the future. The research student will have acquired an undergraduate degree in physics, with experience in computing and electronics. The project will be hosted in the School of Physics, with input from the Schools of Engineering and Computer Science, and ETH Zurich. The student will partake in several taught modules in each School, and will play an active role in the TCD Innovation Academy. Through this PhD, the student will obtain skills relevant to the space and telecommunications industries, and experience in commercialisation.

[Applications closed]

 

 

Dr. Paula Murphy

Dr. Paula Murphy
Zoology

Dr. Daniel Kelly

Dr. Daniel Kelly
Engineering

 

The mechanical regulation of bone development: Identifying mechanically regulated genes and conditions for tissue regeneration

We can learn how the skeleton is formed from studying events during embryonic development. This knowledge is vital for establishing and refining successful regenerative therapies and maintaining bone into old age. The task of differentiating stem cells into, and maintaining robust functional tissues depends on our knowledge of how cells respond to their chemical and biophysical environment. Movement of the embryo in the womb is necessary for the formation of normal bones but we don’t know how exactly it impacts the cells. This project focuses on particular regulatory genes we have identified as responsive (their expression is altered) to mechanical stimuli in the embryo to further investigate the molecular mechanisms involved in the response. It will also attempt to replicate the correct mechanical environment in 3D culture to regenerate functional cartilage and bone tissue. The research combines innovative techniques in molecular developmental biology and bioengineering to address important biomedical questions.

[Applications closed]

 

 

Dr. Carl Vogel

Dr. Carl Vogel
Computer Science

Prof. Nick Campbell

Prof. Nick Campbell
Language, Speech and Communications

 

Technology for harmonising interpersonal communication

We explore how contemporary modes of interaction, typically at a distance via electronic devices, can be supplemented to support the sorts of information flow and inference that evolution has endowed humans sensitivity to in face-to-face communications. The research entails that various prototype applications be constructed, deployed and analyzed. A successful candidate will have demonstrable expertise in computer programming, preferably with experience of end-user application delivery. The candidate will be engaged in the delivery of software alongside performance of quantitative and qualitative analysis of linguistic data. The background research topic is in discerning sentiment and other non-propositional content of textual communications (such as text messages) and projecting the same through appropriate vocal synthesis. Prior expertise in text and dialogue analysis as well as speech synthesis will be an advantage. Candidates should be comfortable with computational theoretical frameworks for syntax and formal semantics, as well as statistically oriented approaches to language analysis.

[Applications closed]

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FACULTY OF HEALTH SCIENCES


 

Prof. Marina Lynch

Prof. Marina Lynch
Neuroscience

Prof. Kingston Mills

Prof. Kingston Mills
Biochemistry and Immunology

 

The role of infections agents in precipitating the neurodegenerative changes that lead to development of Alzheimer's disease

Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) is the most common cause of dementia. The greatest risk factor is age and therefore the number of sufferers is increasing with the increase in the ageing population; the risk of developing the disease reaches almost 50% at age 85 and over. Currently, our understanding of the pathogenesis of the disease is poor and consequently the efficacy of currently-available treatments is poor. Genetic and environmental factors probably contribute to the disease but, at present, the evidence is unconvincing. In contrast, emerging evidence suggests that exposure to infection triggers inflammatory changes in the brain, precipitating neurodegenerative changes and accelerating the development of AD. This project will exploit expertise in Immunology and Neuroscience and will examine the novel hypothesis that infection-induced inflammatory T cells contributes to progression of AD, whereas another population of T cells, regulatory T cells whose function is to suppress immune responses, may slow disease progression.

[Applications closed]

 

 

Dr. Dominick McCabe

Dr. Dominick McCabe
Neurology

Prof. James Meaney

Prof. James Meaney
Radiology

 

HaEmostasis In carotid STenosis (HEIST) Study

This is a Clinical Translational Science project in patients with asymptomatic and symptomatic carotid stenosis. The clinical PhD student, who must possess MRCPI/MRCP by 01-10-2010 and be committed to a career in Neurology/Vascular Medicine, will recruit and clinically subtype suitable patients under expert supervision.  The student will gain expertise in the management of patients with TIA, stroke and carotid and vertebral stenosis. He/she will be trained to perform careful venepuncture, platelet activation and function assays, and assessment of endothelial activation and coagulation system potential in the laboratory in the Education Centre, AMNCH, and at the Haemostasis Research Unit, St James’s Hospital. The student will also gain expertise in colour Doppler ultrasound analysis, transcranial Doppler ultrasound monitoring, and will coordinate the establishment of a 3-Tesla MRI programme assessing carotid plaque morphology at the CAMI. The simultaneous detailed clinical, laboratory haemostatic, and multimodal neurovascular imaging assessment of patients is innovative and unique.

[Applications closed]

 

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