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Air Quality, Wind Energy and the Circular Economy – ERI Awardees of the SFI National Challenges Fund

ERI research which aims to develop a novel engineered bio-based material from distillery by-products, a collaboration with Cork City Council to develop air quality forecasts and wind energy research which will assist Ireland in its green transition are among the UCC projects that have received funding through Science Foundation Ireland’s (SFI) National Challenge Fund.

Funded by the EU’s Recovery and Resilience Facility, the National Challenge Fund calls on researchers to identify problems related to Ireland’s Green Transition and Digital Transformation and work with those directly affected to solve them.

“These teams have presented ingenious ideas and committed their talents to working for the benefit of the people of Ireland”

- stated Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science Simon Harris TD at the launch today.

In total UCC received €630,000 in funding, and the ERI awardees were as follows:

BEHAV-I-AIR – Dr Marica Cassarino (School of Applied Psychology), Dr Dean Venables (School of Chemistry) and Dr Kevin Ryan (Cork City Council, Societal Impact Champion)

- A project to develop air quality forecasts in Cork and work with community groups to co-create engaging and effective air quality messages to encourage healthy behaviours and reduce public risk of exposure to dirty air.

EMERGE - Dr Kunwar Paritosh (MaREI centre for energy, climate and the marine at the Environmental Research Institute), Dr Archishman Bose (MaREI centre and the School of Engineering and Architecture, UCC) and Dr James Browne (Irish Distillers Limited, Societal Impact Champion)

- This project will be performed in collaboration with Irish Distillers Limited, aims to develop a novel engineered bio-based functional material (pyrochar/hydrochar) from the effluent of an anaerobic digester (AD) processing distillery by-products and from used distillery barrels.

Eirblade - Dr Vesna Jaksic (lead applicant, MTU) and Dr Paul Leahy (co-lead applicant, School of Engineering and Architecture and MaREI, UCC)             

- This project will assist in accelerating Ireland’s transition to a secure and clean energy system.

Professor John F. Cryan, UCC Vice President for Research and Innovation said:

“Congratulations to the UCC research teams on their National Challenge Fund awards. These awards address problems related to Ireland’s green transition and digital transformation. The interdisciplinary team approach to solving major environmental and societal issues aligns with our UCC Futures initiative to secure a better future for all.”