iCRAG Co-Principal Investigator Prof. Laurence Gill and Dr Lea Duran of Trinity College Dublin has been awarded funding under the Ulysses funding scheme, which is designed to foster collaborations between Ireland- and France-based researchers. Run by the Irish Research Council and the Embassy of France in Ireland, the programme funds reciprocal travel between the two countries, facilitating the exchange of innovative ideas and technologies across all disciplines.
Prof. Gill and Dr Duran's research project, run in collaboration with David Labat from Université de Toulouse Paul Sabatier is focussed on the contamination of karst groundwater in France and Ireland. In Europe, carbonate terrains contribute up to 50% of the drinking water in some countries. Karst aquifers (natural reservoirs of water in carbonates formations) are therefore of strategic importance regarding water supply. These aquifers are very vulnerable to contamination, reinforcing the need to better understand and model their behaviour.
The Irish team has developed a 3D distributed modelling approach to simulate flow and contaminant transport from the surface to the spring. The French team has developed an alternative Transfer Function Approach (TFA) from which insights into both the intrinsic, structural characteristics of the studied system. The collaboration will see both teams cross-applying two different methodologies developed by each research team.
The Ulysses scheme, named after the iconic James Joyce novel, celebrates not just the literary connections between Ireland and France, but also aims to establish lasting professional networking links between researchers and institutes. Through reciprocal visits over the course of one year, the programme provides ‘seed-funding’ to begin collaboration. Successful applicants are encouraged to develop their collaboration post-Ulysses by seeking large-scale funding from other sources, e.g. Horizon 2020 or Horizon Europe.