13 Trinity researchers among first 26 projects selected for funding from €65 million National Challenge Fund

Selected projects aim to tackle decarbonization in the aviation industry, hydropower energy storage and improving thermal management in electric vehicles

13 Trinity researchers across eight teams are among the first of those selected for the €65 million National Challenge Fund.

Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science Simon Harris yesterday announced the first 26 teams chosen to help develop resolutions to fight the current societal and environmental issues.

Among the 26 projects are 13 members of Trinity staff: Dr Muhammad Ali, Professor Laurence Gill, Dr Subhash Chandra, Dr Liwen Xiao, Dr Julie Clarke, Professor Aonghus McNabola, Dr Séamus O’Shaughnessy, Dr Daniel Trimble, Dr Charles Stuart, Dr Sinead Roden, Dr Alessio Benavoli, Professor Rocco Lupoi and Dr Qian Xiao.

The teams’ projects aim to explore technological solutions to challenges such as carbon capture technology, the development of a “climate risk index” for buildings, hydropower energy storage, decarbonization in the aviation industry, and improving thermal management in electric vehicles.

Other projects selected include the development of sustainable energy stores for mobile devices, the establishment of AI to assist stroke patients and improvement of the accuracy of real-time public transport information.

Speaking yesterday, Harris said that utilising research and innovation for the benefit of the people of Ireland is “at the heart” of the Impact 2030 strategy.

“All eight challenges in the National Challenge Fund are designed to find and promote solutions within this decade, and I look forward to seeing the results these teams produce. When encouraged and nurtured, ingenuity from Ireland can and will improve life here, and around the world,” Harris said.

The National Challenge Fund is funded by the EU’s Recovery and Resilience Facility and forms part of the Government’s National Recovery and Resilience Plan (NRRP). It is managed by the Science Foundation Ireland (SFI).

The above grant is an initiative set under 2050 Challenge to reduce carbon emissions in Ireland for a more environmentally stable future.

The announcement also spoke about the Future Digital Challenge. Administered by the SFI, the Future Digital Challenge helps research teams with funding, training and support in order to improve industrial sectors for example: the automating and transport industries, medicine production, environmental protection as well as employment.

EU Commissioner for Financial Stability, Financial Services and Capital Markets, Mairead McGuiness, added that she was “delighted” that the fund “is being used to future-proof our economy and society” and that “we are stronger together.”

The funding ranges between €500,000 to €2 million as a prize for the most ambitious teams. According to yesterday’s announcement, the next teams to be selected for the challenge will be announced in June.

SFI Director General Philip Nolan stated that “challenge- based funding in Ireland has already reaped rewards”, and are working towards Irish research that “benefits the people of this country as quickly as possible.”

Additionally, he stated that “these are great opportunities for the talent and dedication of the Irish research community to make a real change to the world around them”.

A previous version of this article said that 10 Trinity researchers were among those selected. This article was updated on March 11 following communication from College that the true number is 13, and researchers names were added to the list.