€150,000 ERC grants awarded to two Trinity researchers

Dr Sarah McCormack and Dr David Finlay received ERC Proof of Concept grants to advance their respective research in engineering and biochemistry

Two Trinity faculty members, Dr Sarah McCormack and Dr David Finlay, have been awarded European Research Council (ERC) Proof of Concept grants.

Dr Finlay, Associate Professor of Immunometabolism, received the grant in order to further develop a technique to be used in resolving immune cells by using information from a person’s metabolic profile.

Dr McCormack, associate professor of civil, structural, and environmental engineering, received the grant to develop advanced luminescent software.

The grant, worth €150,000 each, was awarded to 90 successful candidates across the EU including Dr McCormack and Dr Finlay on Tuesday in the third and final round of awards.

In developing the luminescent software, Dr McCormack will use a model developed in a previous ERC funded PEDAL project, which centred on the development of plasmonic solar cell devices and led to significant improvements for the efficiencies of solar cells in diffuse solar radiation.

Provost Linda Doyle congratulated both awardees, stating that “Sarah and David’s projects have enormous potential to provide exciting new solutions for the future of healthcare and sustainable infrastructure”.

In her congratulations, Doyle recognised the importance of the scheme, saying: “The ERC Proof of Concept highlights the real world benefits of supporting fundamental research in every discipline.”

Projects funded by the Proof of Concept grant are expected by the ERC to be completed within 12 months, though the grant agreements are signed for a period of 18 months to allow for projects requiring more preparation time.

Following her success, Dr. McCormack said: “The new project EVOLUTE will enable us to develop advanced software to determine the commercial potential not only of building integrated luminescent components, but also the potential of luminescent devices for other light management applications beyond solar energy.”

Evaluation of proposals for the grant are determined by analysing the potential for innovation in the project’s field, while ensuring that the plan is feasible within the timeframe, with the Principle Investigator showcasing a clarity in all aspects of managing the project.

Mariya Gabriel, the European Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education, and Youth states: “The ERC Proof of Concept grants aim to enable innovations, stemming from EU investments in frontier research, to reach society and the market faster.”

The funding provided by the ERC for the Proof of Concept grant is part of the EU’s research and innovation scheme Horizon Europe.