Eleven Trinity researchers to receive Irish Research Council Laureate Awards

Posted on: 10 October 2022

Eleven researchers from Trinity College Dublin were among the 48 successful applicants of the Irish Research Council (IRC) Starting and Consolidator Laureate Awards announced today. The investment of almost €24 million in ‘curiosity-driven’ frontier research, will fund 48 ground-breaking research projects under the Irish Research Council’s Starting and Consolidator Laureate Awards Programme.

Eleven Trinity researchers to receive Irish Research Council Laureate Awards

Under the scheme, researchers will receive funding for cutting-edge projects equally divided across the fields of the humanities; physical sciences and engineering; life sciences; and social sciences. Their research areas range from new approaches to treatment for diseases such as cancers and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, 6G technology development, interculturalism in rural Ireland, changing storm patterns and the communication of climate science.

The Laureate programme encompasses two streams of funding, namely ‘starting’ funding for early-career researchers who are to receive €400,000 each and ‘consolidator’ funding for mid-career researchers who are to receive €600,000 each.

The successful applicants from Trinity in the ‘Starting Laureate Awards’ category for excellent early career researchers were:

  • Caroline Jagoe, Assistant Professor (Clinical Speech & Language) for the project CO-CON-STRUCT - COmmunication disabilities and CONversational Success: Relevance-based pragmatic Universals.
  • Federico Cugurullo, Ussher Assistant Professor (Geography) for the project ORACLE_A new theory of AI-enabled anticipatory urban governance focused on city brains.
  • Felix Binder, Assistant Professor (Physics) for the project InfoNat -Understanding and Harnessing Information Pro-cessing in Nature.
  • Jennifer O’Meara, Assistant Professor (Film Studies) for the project RE-FORMSCREEN - From Cinematic Realism to Extended Reality: Reformulating Screen Studies at the Precipice of Hyper-reality.
  • Lara Cassidy, Assistant Professor (Genetics) for the project AncientIsle - Irish Genomic History: collapse, recovery, migration and natural selection
  • Luca Matrà, Assistant Professor (Physics) for the project E-BEANS - Exoplanets and Belts of Exocomets Around Nearby Stars
  • Martha Luff, Associate Professor (Trinity Business School) for the project INVESTGREEN - Saving for Sustainability: What factors affect decisions to invest sustainably

And in the ‘Consolidator Laureate Awards’ category for excellent mid-career researchers:

  • Aidan McDonald, Associate Professor (Inorganic Chemistry) for the project P680PLUS - Exploring the oxidant that drives natural water oxidation: P680PLUS, the most potent oxidant in bi-ology.
  • Jesse Dillon Savage, Ussher Assistant Professor (Political Science) for the project UNCO - The Unintended Consequences of Security Assistance.
  • Mark Ahearne, Assistant Professor (Mechanical Manufacturing & Biomedical Engineering) for the project EYEMECH - Examination of the effect matrix viscoleasticity and fluid flow have on the regulation of corneal and trabecular meshwork cells.
  • Suzanne Cloonan, Associate Professor (Clinical Medicine) for the project IRONWARS - The battle for IRON in the alveolar space under-lies susceptibility to Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease.

Congratulating the researchers, Trinity’s Dean of Research, Professor Wolfgang Schmitt said:

“I am proud of our successful applicants and delighted to see so many excellent Trinity researchers receive funding to pursue exciting, impactful and innovative research projects. The IRC Laureate awards are highly important for research, providing exceptional opportunities for outstanding individuals across the all disciplines. I thank the government and the IRC for providing and supporting this IRC Laureate programme. The programme plays a huge role in retaining academic talent in this country but we also recognise the need to grow investment in researchers, research excellence and scientific infrastructures.”

Announcing the awards, Minister Harris said:

“I am delighted to announce the winners of the second round of the Irish Research Council’s Starting and Consolidator Laureate Awards Programme and I congratulate each of the awardees. It is a pleasure to also welcome the Ukrainian researcher who came to Ireland from the war in Ukraine, and who will collaborate on one of the newly funded projects through the IRC’s innovative Ukrainian Researchers Scheme.

These talented researchers will no doubt contribute hugely towards the world-class excellence that is the bedrock of our research system in Ireland, pushing the boundaries of research knowledge and finding new discoveries that deepen our understanding of the world around us, by looking to the past, questioning the present, and unlocking our future potential.” 

Also commenting, Dr Louise Callinan, Director of the Irish Research Council, said:

“The 48 researchers who will receive funding under the Starting and Consolidator Laureate Awards Programme have the potential to make ground-breaking advances in their respective fields and to bolster Ireland’s competitiveness in European research funding.

This is the second round of Laureate funding and many of the first-round awardees will be completing their research next year. It is testament to the success of the programme that three of the first-round awardees have already gone on to receive European Research Council funding, one as part of Ireland’s first ERC Synergy grant worth €10 million.

The winning projects were awarded on the basis solely of excellence, and applications were assessed through a rigorous and independent international peer-review process.”

Further information about the Laureate Awards is available at www.research.ie

Media Contact:

Orla Sweeney | Public Affairs and Communications | orla.sweeney@tcd.ie | +353 1 896 3983