Three iCRAG members have received over €2 million in total funding from the Science Foundation Ireland Research Infrastructure Fund. The awards will contribute to the advancement of high-quality and high-impact research activities by our members.
Announcing the 33 funding awards in December Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, Simon Harris, TD, said: “I am delighted to announce €53.3 million in funding through my department that will support and encourage transformative research which will have both a national and international impact. The research community on our island has consistently proved itself to be world-class, not least during COVID-19, and continues to undertake cutting-edge, innovative research projects. In order for this community to continue to thrive, it’s essential that they have sustained access to modern infrastructure and equipment.”
Dr Duygu Kiyan of iCRAG at DIAS has received €772,475 from SFI for MASTER: Magnetotelluric Acquisition Systems for Terrestrial Earth Research, along with an additional €85,000 from Geological Survey Ireland. Magnetotellurics exploits natural time variations of the Earth’s magnetic and electric fields to derive electrical conductivity variations at depth. Electrical conductivity is sensitive to rock composition, porosity, permeability as well as rock fluid composition and temperature, and can be used in the search for metals for turbines and batteries, and to assess heat from depth for geothermal energy and groundwater to meet growing water demands.
Prof. Frank McDermott of iCRAG at UCD has received €831,791 for a Multi-Collector Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass-Spectrometer (HR-MC-ICP-MS) with reaction-gas enabled platform. This next-generation platform will greatly enhance research capacity to find economic sources of metals essential for energy system decarbonisation strategies that rely on electrification of the energy system such as battery storage (lithium, cobalt) and grid enhancement (copper). It will also facilitate research into geothermal energy exploitation (mineral and fluid-based characterisation of sub-surface flow paths) and CO2 capture by enhanced weathering.
Dr Karl Richards of iCRAG at Teagasc has received €571,238 for the National Soil Greenhouse Gas Test Platform, Teagasc, which will provide a facility to examine the efficacy of a range of novel fertiliser, bioactives, bio-stimulants, manure, and digestate additives.
Commenting on the investment, Prof Philip Nolan, Director General, Science Foundation Ireland said: “Encouraging and supporting excellent, ambitious and innovative research projects is the core objective of Science Foundation Ireland. The SFI Research Infrastructure Programme was developed with this in mind; in order for researchers to continue to deliver outstanding research and meet evolving and future challenges, we must ensure that they have the tools required for their research. The 33 infrastructure projects awarded funding are at the cutting edge and are truly helping us to achieve our goal of delivering today and preparing for tomorrow.”
The SFI Research Infrastructure Programme supports the research community in building and sustaining cutting edge infrastructure in order to accomplish high-quality, impactful and innovative research. The programme facilitates broad usage across Ireland and to encourage partnerships and collaboration between different cohorts of researchers in Ireland; for example, between Universities, Technological Universities, Institutes of Technology, other Eligible Research Bodies, researchers in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, and between different cohorts of researchers in Ireland.