Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Success on Horizon for Hundreds of Irish Students’ Innovative Research Projects

Household energy demand, the impact of obesity on motor development, the construction of Irish identity and potential therapies for autoimmune disease are just some of the research topics receiving funding under the latest round of grants announced by the Irish Research Council.

The Council, which supports research across all disciplines, announced its Postgraduate Scholarship Scheme awards for 2014 today (21.10.14).

A total of 219 students from 17 institutes nationwide have been funded, to the value of €16.8 million over four years, under this round of the Scheme which is targeted at those pursuing postgraduate studies in Ireland.

Commenting today, Eucharia Meehan, Director of the Irish Research Council, said: “Research and innovation are major drivers of economic growth. As Ireland strives to position itself as a world-class knowledge economy, it is imperative that more people are encouraged and supported to engage in research. As such, we are delighted to award this year’s postgraduate scholars with funding to continue their education and research projects, which are to an incredibly high standard.

“The Irish Research Council is a crucial port of call for students seeking funding. The main aim of our funding programme is to provide opportunities for researchers, particularly those at an early stage of their career, in order to encourage them to become independent researchers and have a range of career opportunities open to them.

“The sheer breadth of diversity in subject areas in the Postgraduate Scholarship Scheme announced today, demonstrates the role of the Irish Research Council in addressing the broad skills and research needs within society, and enabling a vibrant research community in Ireland.”

The successful students in the 2014 Postgraduate Scholarship Scheme are studying towards the award of a Masters by Research or a doctoral degree (Ph.D.), and are drawn from seventeen different higher education institutions, ranging from Trinity College Dublin to Limerick Institute of Technology, Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies and the National College of Art and Design.

Case Study: Research Project on STEM and 21st Century Learning

One of this year’s 2014 Postgraduate Scholarship Scheme awardees, Bianca Ní Ghrógáin, a student of Dublin City University (DCU), has focused her research on Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Education, under the supervision of Dr Miriam Judge. This postgraduate scholarship is awarded in partnership with Science Foundation Ireland (SFI).

Ní Ghrógáin’s research project is entitled ‘Computers, Creativity and the Flipped Classroom: Using Computer Construction Kits in Primary Schools to Promote STEM and Advance 21st Century Learning - an Exploratory Study’.

Speaking about the Scholarship Scheme, Ní Ghrógáin said: “Being awarded the funding to further my research and pursue my postgraduate education is one of the many crucial steps towards my future career. The Irish Research Council’s Postgraduate Scholarship Scheme application process was very straight forward, and I’m so thankful to have had such a wonderful experience with the programme to date.

“As a primary school teacher, I became very interested in the concept of ‘The Flipped Classroom’, which basically means pupils learn and process content at home, and then in school the next day jump into doing tasks related to that content. So it is a reversal of the traditional schooling model as homework is now something which is done in-class, whereas instruction or content deliver happens outside of the class online.

“I had considered searching for funding opportunities overseas, however I now have the opportunity to study here in Ireland and further my research in the use of technology as a pedagogical tool.”

For more information, visit www.research.ie.