News 2017

BEES attracts €2million in funding through SFI Investigator Awards

4 Oct 2017
Prof Mark Ferguson (SFI), Prof Rosemary O’Connor (Biochemistry , UCC), John Halligan TD (Minister for Training, Skills & Innovation), Prof Andy Wheeler (BEES, UCC) and Prof Marcel Jansen (BEES-UCC) at the launch of the SFI Investigator Programme in Dublin

Two out of three SFI Investigator awards won by UCC are going to BEES academics.

Prof. Marcel Jansen and Prof. Andy Wheeler both attended an event in Dublin recently where Prof Mark Ferguson, Director General of Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) formally announced the awards. Minister John Halligan T.D., Minister of State for Training, Skills, Innovation, Research and Development was also in attendance. The funding success enables Profs Jansen and Wheeler to significant expand their research groups attracting new staff, acquiring strategic equipment and enabling them to take their research to the next level.

One of the projects, led by Professor Jansen is entitled “Exploiting narrow‑band UV‑LEDs for Sustainable, Innovative, Technology‑Enabled Cropping (UV‑SINTEC)”. UV‑SINTEC is a joint project between Professor Marcel Jansen (School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences -BEES) and Dr Alan Morrison (Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering -EEE). UV‑SINTEC will exploit novel ultraviolet (UV)‑emitting LEDs to pioneer a new form of precision agriculture. UV light can improve crop quality in terms of nutritional quality, plant architecture and resistance to pests. This has positive impacts on the sustainability of food production, and human health and well‑being. The SFI‑funded study will develop state‑of‑the‑art LED technology that will enable manipulation of UV doses and spectra, and advance our understanding of how plants respond positively to UV wavelengths. This has not been possible until now due to the limitations of current UV technologies. The pioneering combination of electronic engineering and plant biology will generate innovative technology enabling the horticultural industry to sustainably grow crops with enhanced quality.

The project which will start in December 2017 will initially employ 6 new researchers (post graduate, post doctoral, or research assistant) but further spin‑offs, both commercial and academic, are expected. See for more details.

Prof. Andy Wheeler will use advanced robotic technology and novel 3D visualisation tools to explore and monitor a submarine canyon to define seabed processes that dictate where cold-water corals corals occur and their sensitivity to climate change and fisheries/oil industry impact (MMMonKey_Pro). 

The project uses advanced robotic technology and novel 3D visualisation tools to explore and monitor the Porcupine Bank Canyon defining seabed processes that dictate where corals occur and their sensitivity to climate change and fisheries/oil industry impact. Submarine canyons are dynamic environments that support diverse biological communities including fisheries. Recent work on the Irish Porcupine Bank Canyon, a natural laboratory isolated from inputs from land, has revealed extensive speciose, high biomass cold-water coral (CWC) structural habitats.

The project will employ ROV-based multibeam bathymetry and novel 3D photogrammetric approaches for geostatistical analysis and habitat characterisation, monitor of canyon hydrodynamic and sedimentary processes, and uses core material to reveal the process thresholds defining coral sub-habitats’ limits, in space and time allowing predictive CWC, and habitat sensitivity, models to assist marine spatial planning.


School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences

An Scoil Eolaíochtaí Bitheolaíocha, Domhaneolaíocha agus Comhshaoil

Distillery Fields, North Mall, University College Cork, Ireland , T23 N73K.