Friday, 22 December 2017

Irish Research Council highlights achievements of its funded researchers in 2017

The Irish Research Council is highlighting just some of the discoveries and contributions to knowledge of Council-funded researchers in 2017: from star mapping to the digitalisation of The Ryan Report.

The Council is reflecting on an exciting year for its funded researchers, who have been part of some significant developments. These include:

  • Dr. Eamon O'Gorman, an astronomer at the Dublin Institute of Advanced Studies, led an international team of scientists to produce the most detailed image to-date of the surface of a star other than the Sun.
  • Dr. Aimee Stapleton, a researcher at the University of Limerick, discovered that applying pressure to a protein found in both egg whites and tears can generate electricity.
  • Dr. Emilie Pine, an associate professor at University College Dublin, led a team of researchers on the ‘Industrial Memories Project’; a digital and interactive version of The Ryan Report.  The project includes an app that provides location-triggered audio tours at the sites of former industrial schools.
  • Niamh Moriarty, a researcher at NUI Galway, was part of team that made a major breakthrough in the treatment of Parkinson’s disease. They discovered that treatment with transplanted brain cells is dramatically improved if they are implanted within a supportive matrix made from the natural material collagen.
  • Dr. Mark Maguire, an anthropologist at Maynooth University, is finding there are major differences between groups in how we respond in the immediate period after a terrorist attack. For instance, his early research suggests that reactions by women at the sites of terror attacks are often more appropriate.
  • Ailbhe Kenny, a researcher at Mary Immaculate College, University of Limerick, is enhancing our knowledge of the experiences and identity formation of children in direct provision and, in particular, how important music and musical engagement can be.

Reflecting on the year that has passed, Peter Brown, Director of the Irish Research Council, said: “2017 has been a productive year for Council-funded researchers. From the creation of an app capturing the history of our industrial schools to contributing to the development of a new treatment for Parkinson’s Disease, important and significant work is being done.

“Having recently celebrated 15 years of the Irish Research Council and its forbears, it’s important to recognise the continuing excellent standard of the researchers we fund, across all disciplines. Sustaining and indeed growing Ireland’s investment in individual researchers with creative, cutting-edge ideas will pay serious dividends into the future – economically, socially, educationally and culturally.”