Presentations by Irish Research Council Laureates and Celebration Reception

Saloon, Provost’s House

Wednesday 17th October 2018, 3pm

You are all very welcome. This has been a great three days for Trinity Research: on Monday we got the very welcome news of a €100 million euro loan from the European Investment Bank. This enables investment in E3, the Law School, the Arts Block and student residences.

Yesterday we welcomed forty new PhDs, recruited following the PhD Project Awards granted to PIs across the three faculties. These awards were funded by alumni and by profits derived from the Commercial Revenue Unit. The projects were carefully selected in a very competitive process. The selected projects were identified as particularly cutting-edge, dealing with issues important to Ireland and the world and linking to the university’s research themes.

And now, today, we celebrate our great success with Irish Research Council Laureate awards. Trinity has performed outstandingly in these awards, taking well over a third - 13 of the 36 national awards. I think that 11 of our new IRC Laureates are here this afternoon.

Also here is Professor Jane Ohlmeyer, Chair of the Irish Research Council and also Dr Raasay Jones from the IRC – you are both very welcome.

Many congratulations to you all and thank you so much for coming along today. I very much look forward to the presentations of your projects. May I also take this opportunity to thank the support staff who assisted with your applications. As ever, their work has been tremendous. When we speak with pride of Trinity’s really remarkable research record, then tribute must be paid to the RPOs and other support staff without whose invaluable help we would not be able to make so many successful applications.

Yesterday, in this very room, at the event celebrating the new PhD projects, I highlighted how much research funding Trinity won last year. Some of you were there then – and indeed it’s not the first time I’ve mentioned this extraordinary figure – but it bears repeating: €100.6 million euro. Four years ago, that figure was €74 million, so in less than five years we’ve increased our research revenue by one third – and it was already by far the highest in Ireland.

Our research success is what places Trinity so far ahead of other Irish universities and on a par with Europe’s best. Another figure which I like to repeat is that Trinity has won half of all Irish ERC grants, with only have 16 percent of Ireland’s academic faculty.

And now today, I have a new statistic to bandy: we’ve won over a third of all IRC laureate grants, with, again, just 16 percent of Ireland’s academic faculty.

The credit for this goes, in part, to the structures the college has put in place to enable research collaborations and applications – the Research Office and RPOs whom I’ve just mentioned. But the primary credits goes, of course, to our researchers - to all of you, who bring your discipline and brilliance to the highly competitive process of putting together proposals and applying for grants.

Without you, Trinity – and Dublin and Ireland – would not be in the position of being able to compete with the best in the world. We would be unable to back up ambition with results. On behalf of the whole Trinity community – staff, students, alumni and friends - I thank you.
I know, of course, that, as scholars, being funded to do what you love is its own success.

The IRC Laureates are seen as preparation for ERC applications. Evidently the IRC gets its selection processes right because, as I’ve mentioned, Trinity also does exceptionally well with ERC grants.

We are extremely fortunate in this country and on this continent to have supra-national organisations and programmes like the ERC, the EIT and Horizon 2020 to enable genuinely competitive global research. The UK – which has the best universities in Europe – is central to the European research space, and we must hope and do all without our power, to maintain collaborations.

All 13 of you have been set on a strong path for ERC success. Again, we are fortunate in this country to be part of a framework which enables the continual growth, progression and expansion of research.

I know from my own experience what a great feeling it is, when you’re embarked on a research project, to know that you can explore it to the full potential, and will then have the opportunity to scale it up, and to make an impact in your research community worldwide.

I wish you all much success with your brilliant projects. Trinity and Ireland are fortunate to have you. I hope, and trust, that your success will be a spur to increased investment in higher education and research in Ireland.

It’s now my pleasure to hand over to our Dean of Research, Professor Linda Doyle, whose idea it was to have these presentations and the celebratory reception.

Thank you.


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