ATU Research Projects receive €5.2m funding from SFI Frontiers for Partnership Awards

Monday, November 21, 2022 Press Office
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Five Atlantic Technological University (ATU) research projects have been awarded over €5.2m funding from SFI Frontiers for Partnership Awards.  Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science Simon Harris TD announced a total of €16.2 million in funding from Science Foundation Ireland for 15 collaborative projects aimed at increasing research capacity within the Technological Universities (TUs) and Institutes of Technology (IoTs). 

Announcing the funding, Minister Harris said the SFI Frontiers for Partnership Awards would help Technological Universities reach their full potential: “Through these new awards we are delivering on several key objectives, including an enhanced focus on research activities within the TU sector. This research will address key areas too, such as healthcare and climate change.” 

The SFI Frontiers for Partnership Awards support research proposals led by the Technological University (TU) / Institutes of Technology (IoT) sector with partners from the established University sector. 

Welcoming the news, Dr Rick Officer, Vice President of Research and Innovation at ATU’s Galway City campus said: 

“I’m thrilled that ATU’s tremendous expertise has been so well recognised by these five SFI awards. Each of the projects involves research teams of excellence, and each will deliver research outcomes of huge relevance and benefit to society. These projects exemplify the type of research impact that ATU strives to achieve.” 

The funding will support research in areas such as the development of a traceability tool for seafood, green hydrogen, 3D printing of personalised medical devices, study of gill disease in Irish salmon, and finding new natural remedies from our seabed. 

The five ATU-led projects that received funding are: 

Dr Conor Graham (Atlantic Technological University) and Dr Liam Morrison (University of Galway) aim to develop the world’s first scientifically based traceability tool for seafood through the TRACE-FISH project. This will help protect the health of consumers, deter food fraud and enhance the marking of Irish seafood abroad.   

Dr Suresh Pillai (Atlantic Technological University) and Prof Paula Colavita (Trinity College Dublin) are developing low-cost materials to allow commercial hydrogen production from renewable sources including agricultural waste. This project is co-funded by SEAI. The Nano2H2 project aims to develop low-cost materials to allow commercial hydrogen production from renewable sources. 

Dr Katie O' Dwyer, Dr Orla Slattery (Atlantic Technological University) and Dr Jens Carlsson (University College Dublin) will lead a team of biologists, ecologists, veterinary scientists, biochemists, geneticists, and industry partners to improve treatment of Gill Disease in Atlantic salmon (GIDAS project), striving towards resolving gill disease issues in global finfish aquaculture.   

Dr Shane O'Reilly (Atlantic Technological University) and Dr Brian Kelleher (Dublin City University): Bioprospecting of novel marine terpenoids with broad commercial applications (ProspecTER). In this project, researchers will use chemical and genomic tools to discover novel types of compounds called terpenoids and test their use and commercial potential. Terpenoids are known to be the most diverse chemicals in nature, yet largely unexplored in marine settings. 

Dr Marion McAfee (Atlantic Technological University) and Prof Gavin Walker (University of Limerick): Process Control for Extrusion-based 3D-printing of Personalised Medicine (PROCEED 3D). 3D Printing of drug delivery devices, including medical implants, is a key goal to enable fabrication of patient specific devices rapidly at the point of care, for example within the hospital setting. PROCEED 3D aims to progress this vision of personalised medicine by developing new technologies to address challenges in manufacturing next-generation, personalised, drug delivery devices. 

Commenting on the awards, Prof Philip Nolan, Director General, Science Foundation Ireland, said: “We have developed this programme following detailed consultation with the sector.  It is important we provide the support to build excellent research capacity in our Technological Universities and Institutes of Technology, and working in partnership with their colleagues in the wider University sector is an excellent way to do this.  I wish the awardees every success with these projects.”