Trinity Awarded the Most Funding Nationally in EU Framework Programme

Posted on: 17 January 2014

Trinity College Dublin has been awarded the most funding of any higher education institution to date in the Seventh EU Framework Programme (FP7). A total of €76.2 million was received by Trinity academics for leading international research and innovation in the programme and this will increase as further contracts are signed.

Launching Trinity’s strategy of participation in the follow-on EU Horizon 2020 programme, Provost Dr Patrick Prendergast congratulated the research community on their success in the FP7 programme, and stressed the impact of the research not just for Trinity, but nationally and globally:

“The FP7 programme aimed to strengthen the scientific and technological base of European industry and to encourage its international competitiveness.  In securing and leading this collaborative and transnational research you have delivered on this. The improvement of patient healthcare and the development of new technologies are just some of the important outcomes emanating from your leading research and innovation.  This research has made a difference for society, and provided added value for European industry. As a world leading research  university, Trinity’s research will continue to address issues of global societal and economic importance.”

Trinity’s achievement in FP7 to date include:

  • It received  the most FP7 funding  €76.2 million of  any higher education institution  in Ireland (including any other Irish institutions and industry)*
  • It received the highest proportion of Irish grants exceeding €1 million *
  • 130 principal investigators  were  funded at Trinity, many of whom have multiple research projects
  • It  received 15 European Research Council, prestigious grants for excellence in research, the most of any higher education institution in Ireland
  • The areas in  which  Trinity were more successful include ICT (32), Nanotechnology and Advanced Materials Programme (NMP) (20), Health (17) collaborative programmes, Marie Curie actions (64) and the European Research Council (15)

(*Enterprise Ireland Statistics, 2013)

Commenting on this success, Dean of Research, Professor Vinny Cahill, said: “Ireland has ambitious targets in the new EU Horizon 2020 programme, doubling from €600 million to €1.25 billion. The targets set by Trinity are similarly ambitious but we are well positioned for this challenge.  The benefits of participation go beyond the actual funding and include working with the very best in academia and industry, the development of high quality publications, career development opportunities for research fellows and funding for PhD students.   Excellence in research underpins our strategy and together we will engage fully in the funding opportunities presented in Horizon 2020.  Our newly established Office of Corporate Partnership and Knowledge Exchange will not only support Trinity researchers in securing Horizon 2020 funding but will also work with Irish companies to facilitate their greater involvement in Horizon 2020 projects.”

Trinity FP7 Research Highlights include:

Clinical Trials for New Alzheimer’s Disease Treatment

An international research consortium led by Trinity College Dublin   that is working on the development of  a new Alzheimer’s disease treatment was selected for grant funding of €6 million by FP7. Trinity College Dublin researchers at the School of Medicine and St James’s Hospital, Dublin, are coordinating this major clinical trial that will determine whether NILVADIPINE can improve memory and also slow the rate of progression of Alzheimer’s disease. NILVADIPINE is an approved medication used for the treatment of high blood pressure and has been already shown to decrease the risk of developing dementia. 

Alzheimer’s disease is an ever-increasing public health concern among the ageing population. It is estimated that by 2050, 1 in 85 of the population worldwide will   have the disease. There are few effective symptomatic treatments and there is no treatment that can delay or prevent Alzheimer’s disease.

Professor Brian Lawlor, Conolly Norman Professor of Old Age Psychiatry at Trinity and Consultant Psychiatrist at St James’s Hospital  who is leading the research said: “If this trial is successful, Nilvadipine would represent an advance in the treatment of AD patients and will have a major impact on the health and social care costs incurred in Europe by this neurodegenerative disorder.”

Funding: €6m overall grant, €2.3m in total to Ireland partners, Trinity:  €945.000

Developing Nanomaterials for Efficient Energy Storage

Professor Valeria Nicolosi’s internationally recognised research focuses on processing and characterising  nanomaterials for the development of more efficient energy storage devices.  She is working on the storage of energy in devices, using her atom-thick sheets of two-dimensional nanomaterials. These could be used to make more efficient supercapacitors that can store and release energy.

Professor Valeria Nicolosi who is Principal Investigator in the SFI research centre, AMBER,  hosted in the nanoscience institute, CRANN and Trinity’s Schools of Chemistry and Physics was funded through  European Research Council (ERC) for frontier research.

“Solutions are urgently needed to meet the energy, water and resource requirements of the world’s burgeoning population and the looming ‘9 billion’ challenge’.  The transition to a renewable green energy future is imperative as part of this process,” said Professor Nicolosi.

She  aims to provide part of this solution with her work using 2D materials to improve the efficiency of energy storage devices: “The current technology means that the supercapacitor can release energy very quickly when needed – like when you open the door of the aircraft or you turn on the home appliance. But it also means that not much energy can be stored. What I want to do is develop supercapacitors that can hold on to and release large amounts of charge efficiently.”

Cutting Edge Research in Medieval and Modern European History

An international research project facilitating cutting-edge archival research in medieval and modern European history was awarded €6.5 million under FP7. The project, CENDARI (Collaborative EuropeaN Digital ARchive Infrastructure), is coordinated by Trinity and includes collaborative partners in archives, libraries and universities in the UK, France, Germany, Italy, Czech Republic, Serbia and Netherlands.

The project focuses on two pilot areas of research: The First World War, a pan-European conflict which led to the dispersal of archives across national borders, all but preventing the rise of any truly comparative approach to its history, and the medieval era, crucible of modern Europe.  With CENDARI   technical experts have joined forces with leading historians and archivists to create a widely applicable digital infrastructure of the highest quality. It allows scholars unprecedented visibility over primary archival materials, from illuminated medieval gospels to propaganda leaflets dropped over Germany in 1917. By integrating and enhancing a huge variety of data and sources into a central research infrastructure, CENDARI will provide a model that is not only relevant for historical data, but also for other scientific fields, such as biomedical images and environmental data.

“Projects like CENDARI not only enable a new level of ambitious historical research, they also push the barriers of what e-infrastructures are able to do.  The potential for synergy between complex humanities data and emergent ‘big data’ ICT methodologies is huge, and CENDARI is at the forefront of leveraging it,” said Dr Jennifer Edmond who heads the project.

Funding:  €6.5m in overall grant, €1.2 m to Trinity