Under the banner of Horizon 2020, the largest EU research and innovation programme ever, researchers from Trinity College Dublin, Dr Lydia Lynch and Dr Aidan McDonald, have both been awarded prestigious European Research Council (ERC) Starting Grant awards.
ERC Starting Grants aim to support the research leaders of the near future. The scheme targets promising researchers, who have demonstrated potential to create excellent new independent research teams.
Dr Lynch has secured around €1.8 million, towards research in finding new ways of manipulating the immune system to prevent or treat obesity and type 2 diabetes. In Lynch’s words, this will allow her to “set up a world-class research lab in Trinity,” and “bring my research from Harvard Medical School in Boston back to Dublin where I’m from.”
Assistant Professor in Inorganic Chemistry, Dr McDonald, has been awarded €1.5 million to investigate the fundamental aspects of the conversion of hydrocarbons – compounds containing carbon and hydrogen – from oil and natural gas feedstocks into high-commodity chemicals, pharmaceuticals, and materials. He believes that the funding will “accelerate our investigations towards a fundamental understanding of hydrocarbon activation, a process that is presently performed at great (unsustainable) energetic, financial and environmental cost.”
The announcements mean that Trinity has received more ERC awards than any other institution in Ireland since their inception, with thirteen Starting Grants having been awarded to Trinity researchers previously. Nine ERC Grants (four Consolidator Grants and five Advanced Grants) have also been awarded to Trinity researchers at later stages of their research careers, bringing the total to 23.