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€8m Purse for 15 Early Researchers


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CategoryBusiness
DateWednesday, October 21, 2009
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€8m Purse for 15 Early Researchers

IT Research Figures Strongly in Science Foundation Ireland New Starting Investigator Research Grant Awards

 

 

SFI-SIRG-Andreas-Amann-&-Conor-Lenihan.jpgAnnouncing the first Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) Starting Investigator Research Grant (SIRG) awards at the Royal College of Physicians yesterday, Minister for Science, Technology and Innovation, Mr Conor Lenihan T.D said "It is vital that we have in Ireland the mechanism to keep and attract to Ireland highly skilled, early-stage career researchers." 

 

 

IT related projects figured strongly with almost €3million of the total €8million being awarded to the sector.

 

 

The new initiative will see each of the fifteen highly-talented awardees, two thirds of whom are re-locating researchers, receive approximately €1/2million of Government funding under SIRG, to help them progress towards a fully independent academic research career.  

 

 

Minister Lenihan continued, "These 15 outstanding individuals are among the brightest working in Irish laboratories today, and SIRG provides them with the necessary support to enable the transition from team member to independent and accomplished innovator in their respective fields. It will also allow them to recruit 15 postgraduate students".

 
The Minister added, "SIRG is the instrument to ensure that the best trained post doctoral scientists can be both attracted to and retained in Ireland which is central to our overall national aim of building a sustainable world-class research system. SIRG not only provides financial backing but crucially also provides structured support and expert advice to these highly capable early-career researchers as they navigate through this critical period in their careers. "

 

"The research of these successful awardees will focus on strategic areas such as renewable energy, cancer research, genetics and telecommunications that will benefit both society and the economy," the Minister concluded.

 


Inaugural SIRG Award Winners 2009 - SFI Research Scientist Institution Award €7,971,634.90 (figures include overheads) 

 

Dr. Xiulong Bao (Dublin Institute of Technology) €484,450.10
Title:
Compact and High-Performance Circularly Polarized Antennas for the Integration of Wireless Positioning, Communications and Asset Tracking Systems     
Synopsis: Circularly polarised (CP) antennas are commonly used in Global Navigation Satellite Services (GNSS) and have potential applications in devices such as mobile phones.  Circularly polarised (CP) antennas are difficult to miniaturize, but find many applications in hand held devices. Dr Bao and his team will develop miniaturized CP antenna prototypes and investigate the possibility of commercializing them through companies or start-up incubators.

 

 

Dr. Paul Eastham (Trinity College Dublin) €474,506.50
Title:
Strong interactions and collective effects in semiconductor optoelectronics
Synopsis: Quantum dots are a kind of artificial atoms whose properties, e.g. the light they emit, can be manipulated in a very controlled manner.  Quantum dots are nano-sized, man-made objects with a wide range of applications in optoelectronics, photonics and quantum computers. Dr Eastham and his team aim to investigate how quantum dots would interact with each other in laser or quantum computing devices.

 

 

Dr. Andreas Amann (Tyndall) €469,993.70
Title: Complex networks based on discrete mode lasers         
Synopsis: Telecommunications today rely partly on the transmission of light signals through fibers to ensure high speed and bandwidth.  The capacity of telecom networks would greatly improve if the signal processing was performed using light instead of electrons in all network parts. Dr Amann and his team aim to understand how lasers emitting more than one color could be used to perform the logical operations that are today performed by electronic computers.

 

 

Dr. Nikolay Petkov (Tyndall National Insititute) €530,734.30
Title:   Tuning surface and dopant properties of silicon and germanium Nanowires for high performance nanowire based field-effect transistors
Synopsis: Over the years increased computer speed and capacity has been realized through a reduction of the size of the semiconductor components that make up the functional parts of the computers. The sizes are now nearing the nanometer regime where the components will have dimensions of no more than a few tens or hundreds of atoms.  Nanotechnology, the manipulation of matter on an atomic scale, will in the next decade allow faster and more efficient computers. Dr Petkov and his team will contribute to the transition to nanotechnology computers by investigating nanowires made from silicon and germanium for use as transistors.          

 

 

Professor Abdelhamid Nafaa (University College Dublin) €476,117.60
Title:
Modelling and Analysis of A Large-Scale Peer-to-Peer Streaming System to Provision Cost-Effective Video on Demand Services in Managed Networks
Synopsis: Video on Demand (VOD) service is expected to replace the current TV model of content distribution. VOD service must work with a large number of users and a large amount of content. Today’s internet can not handle the demand using traditional methods. Peer to peer (P2P) systems involve users that can both supply and consume content.  Dr Nafaa will research a system that uses set top boxes in a peer to peer architecture to provide VOD.

 

 

Dr. Sasithatharan Balasubramaniam (Waterford IT) €470,978.30
Title: A biologically inspired framework supporting network management for the Future Internet   
Synopsis: The Future Internet will bring new challenges in managing interconnected communication networks. The communication network management community is addressing this problem by creating networks that automatically govern themselves; this concept is called autonomic network management. Biological entities have tremendous capabilities of exhibiting robustness and adaptation in face of any changes or fluctuations in the environments. Biologically inspired autonomic networks seeks to exploit models from biological systems and apply them to communications network management. This research proposal seeks to develop a Bio-inspired toolkit to help support and assist autonomic network researchers in developing solutions.

 

 
Dr. Ray Duffy (Tyndall National Institute) €562,546.80          
Title: N-type doping in germanium for sub-20nm technology CMOS devices
Synopsis:  One of the key factors in the coming of the modern Information Age has been the rapid increase of computational power.  This has been led by the semiconductor device manufacturing industry which is constantly improving the speed and power of computer chips.  This is done by manufacturing the components as small as possible.  The state of the art in semiconductor device manufacturing is a process that creates features that are 45 nanometres wide. This proposal studies the use of germanium instead of silicon as one possible way to allow for sub 20 nanometre technologies. 
           


Dr. Kimon-Andreas Karatzas (National University of Ireland, Galway) €575,283.80                  
Title
: Elucidating the Role of g-Aminobutyric Acid Metabolism in Stress Resistance and Virulence of Listeria monocytogenes
Synopsis:  Listeria monocytogenes is the bacterial causative agent of Listeria, a serious disease associated with significant mortality in humans. The development of disease by L. monocytogenes, the causative agent of Listeria, is thought to involve the novel gene lmo0913, a component of the GABA metabolic pathway. Dr. Karatzas proposes to establish the existence of this pathway in the listeria pathogen and elucidate its contribution to acid tolerance and invasion. 
 


Dr. Hongyun Tai, (National University of Ireland, Galway) €584,307.30            
Title:
Minimally Invasive Tissue Engineering Scaffolds for Repair of the Nucleus Pulposus of an Intervertebral Disc
Synopsis: Degenerated intervertebral discs (DIVD), a cause of lower back pain, is associated with significant socioeconomic costs. Therapeutic restoration of degenerated intervertebral discs presents a tissue engineering challenge to develop materials with suitable properties. Dr. Tai proposes to optimize and test a candidate material which she has developed as a novel injectable scaffold system to restore damaged discs.
Keywords: Bioengineering

 

 

Dr. Eva Szegezdi,  (National University of Ireland, Galway) €569,573.80

Title: Novel ratiometric approach to identify decisive molecular interactions of the TRAIL apoptotic machinery
Synopsis: Despite extensive research, the average 5 year survival rate for the 20 most common cancers is still below 50%. Survival rates of tumours typically detected late (e.g. lung cancer) or difficult to remove by surgery (brain tumours) are the lowest and have only marginally increased over the last 20 years. Targeting the abnormal molecular pathways with drugs can be the key to eradicate such tumoursResistance to cancer chemotherapy is a major public health issue with both social and economical effects. Dr Szegezdi’s research aims to generate a predictive formula to determine the likelihood of a tumour’s ability to respond to particular anti-cancer therapies. 

 


Dr. Jean Fletcher (Trinity College Dublin) €574,223.00
Title:
Role of CD39+ regulatory T cells in controlling pathogenic Th17 cells in autoimmune disease
Synopsis: Natural regulatory T (nTreg) cells play a crucial role in maintaining normal immunity. Defects in these cells are thought to contribute to deregulation of the immune system and contribute to autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis (MS). Dr. Fletcher’s research will investigate the role of specific cells of the immune system and how dysregulation of these cells can lead to autoimmune disease such as Multiple Sclerosis and Rheumatoid Arthritis.

 

 

Dr. Emmanuelle Graciet (Trinity College Dublin) €565,523.00                            
Title:
Transcriptional Regulation by the Ubiquitin System in the Model Plant Arabidopsis thaliana
Synopsis:  Transcriptional regulation by Ub-ligases is a novel mechanism of genetic regulation in multi-cellular organisms. Using the plant Arabidopsis thaliana as a model system, Dr. Graciet’s research will further elucidate this genetic regulatory mechanism and its contribution to physiological processes.
Keywords: Gene regulation

 

 

Dr. Roger Preston, (Trinity College Dublin) €590,408.00                                      
Title:
Modulating Activated Protein C Function for Therapeutic Gain
Synopsis:  Activated Protein C (APC), a critical blood component for normal coagulation, is used for the treatment of severe sepsis which is a serious medical condition characterized by a systemic (whole-body) inflammatory response. Sepsis therapy with the blood protein APC is associated with an increased risk of severe bleeding. Dr. Preston’s research aims to dissociate its serious side-effects from its protective anti-inflammatory effects, thereby improving the efficacy of APC therapy.
 

 

Dr. Ray Duffy (Tyndall National Institute) €562,546.80          
Title: N-type doping in germanium for sub-20nm technology CMOS devices
Synopsis:  One of the key factors in the coming of the modern Information Age has been the rapid increase of computational power.  This has been led by the semiconductor device manufacturing industry which is constantly improving the speed and power of computer chips.  This is done by manufacturing the components as small as possible.  The state of the art in semiconductor device manufacturing is a process that creates features that are 45 nanometres wide. This proposal studies the use of germanium instead of silicon as one possible way to allow for sub 20 nanometre technologies. 

 

 

Dr. Michael Nolan (Tyndall National Institute) €472,244.40       
Title: Engineering Metal Oxide Interfaces For Renewable Energy Photocatalysis
Synopsis: Artificial photosynthesis is the process where light energy is used to split water into hydrogen and oxygen.  The hydrogen can then be used as a clean, renewable, easy to store, environmentally friendly fuel.  Currently however the efficiency of the reaction is not high enough for the process to be viable.  New materials could sufficiently improve the efficiency and speed of the reaction.  The proposal will study metal oxides that have particular structures when measured on the nanometer scale.  These metal oxides could be suitable new materials for the artificial photosynthesis process.  
           


Dr. Robert Ryan (University College Cork) €570,744.30
Title: The role of interspecies communication in influencing virulence, biofilm formation and antibiotic resistance to bacterial pathogens associated with Cystic Fibrosis
Synopsis: Polymicrobial (multiple species of microbes) lung infection is the leading cause of morbidity and mortality in cystic fibrosis (CF) patients. Understanding the complex interplay between infectious organisms may be crucial for improving therapies for polymicrobial diseases.  Dr. Ryan’s research will investigate the interplay between different co-infecting bacterial species and determine how these bacterial interactions lead to antibiotic resistance and increased tolerance to anti-microbial stresses. The aim of this research project is to address the mechanistic basis of these effects, which may lead to new strategies for intervention and therapy.

 

 

 

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