High expectations for science projects sharing €40m fund

There are “high expectations” for all the research projects sharing a state- funded research investment of €40m, said Science Foundation Ireland yesterday.
High expectations for science projects sharing €40m fund

The 24 successful projects include the development of a vaccine against the hospital-acquired infection methicillin-resistant staphylococcus (MRSA).

The awards range from €50,000 to €2.7m over four- to five-year periods. The money will support projects involving 200 researchers and 39 companies.

SFI director general Prof Mark Ferguson said the programme supports the highest standard of impactful research.

“I have high expectations for these projects; all have undergone rigorous peer review by international experts and we have funded only those projects deemed to be at the pinnacle of scientific excellence,” said Prof Ferguson.

Scientists at Trinity College Dublin received €2.19m for a project to help advance the development of a vaccine against MRSA.

Dr Rachel McLoughlin, the assistant professor of immunology at Trinity, and her colleagues will establish if particular immune cells (T-cells) are important in protecting against infection in at-risk patients.

They will also identify strategies used by the bacterium to inhibit the protection afforded by the T-cells that may impede vaccine efficiency.

“Knowledge gained will inform S.areus vaccine development, attracting significant industrial interest,” said Dr McLoughlin.

Meanwhile, researchers at University College Cork received €1.7m to investigate how escaped farmed salmon reduce the survival potential of wild salmon when they breed together in rivers.

The principal investigator, Dr Philip McGinnity, who has been working in the area for over 20 years, said that results using new analytical techniques would enable salmon farming to be better managed and expanded in a sustainable way.

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