UCC STEM Research Projects Receive Funding Totaling €6.4m
World-leading academics in science and engineering at University College Cork (UCC) have received prestigious European funding worth a combined total of €6.4m to support research into diverse topics such as animal evolution, how viruses impact gut bacteria, and ways to revolutionise surgery.
The receipt of the much sought-after European Research Council (ERC) Consolidator Grants is a significant endorsement of the state-of-the-art scientific exploration underway at UCC, with funding being allocated to academics from the College of Science, Engineering and Food Science based across APC Microbiome Ireland, Environmental Research Institute, and the Tyndall National Institute.
Professor Sarah Culloty, Head of the College of SEFS said:
“Academics from the College of Science, Engineering and Food Science play a major role in UCC’s large research centres, including the Tyndall National Institute, the Environmental Research Institute and APC Microbiome Ireland. We are delighted that our three colleagues have been awarded prestigious ERC funding, enabling them to undertake cutting edge research in their respective fields of expertise”.
The funding is part of the EU’s current research and innovation programme, Horizon 2020. A total of 327 grants worth €655m were awarded to projects based across 23 countries. UCC accounted for three of the eight grants awarded in Ireland this year.
The funding has been allocated as follows:
Professor Maria McNamara - €2,460,114.
Based at UCC’s School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences, the Environmental Research Institute (ERI) and the Irish Centre for Research in Applied Geosciences (iCRAG), Prof McNamara’s research aims to understand how key biomolecules such as melanin, keratin and collagen evolved in animals, and to understand how well these important biomolecules can be preserved in fossils.
Dr Shkoporov is the first Irish-based researcher to also secure prestigious Wellcome Trust Research Career Development Fellowship in 7 years to study crAssphage, the most abundant bacteriophage in the human microbiome, and it is exceptional for him to receive both awards.
The significant grants have been welcomed by Interim UCC President Prof John O’Halloran, Vice President for Research & Innovation Prof Anita Maguire, and Head of the College of Science, Engineering and Food Science Prof Sarah Culloty.
Prof O’Halloran said:
“This outstanding achievement by these cutting-edge researchers reflected their commitment to excellence in exploratory research. Securing this new funding will enable them to build capacity in their specialist areas and to develop their ambitious research ideas.
I would like to offer my sincere congratulations to the three grant awardees on securing this highly competitive funding, and I look forward to supporting these outstanding scholars in advancing these and other research priorities at UCC over the coming years.”
Prof Maguire said:
“The prestigious ERC awards support frontier research by the highest calibre researchers across Europe – inclusion of three UCC researchers in the latest group of awardees is very welcome, highlighting the global competitiveness of their research and the exciting ideas they have presented. Sincere congratulations to all three researchers and their research teams – we look forward to exciting results from their endeavours.”