Four Trinity researchers secure EPA funding for new research projects

Dr Patrick Morrisey, Dr Paul Liston, Dr Pete Akers, and Dr Margaret Jackson have received funding for “sustainability and societal transformation” projects

Four Trinity Researchers have been awarded funding from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The funding, which was announced on Tuesday, falls under the 2023 EPA research call which awards funding to projects that “support policy- and decision-making addressing environmental, climate change and sustainability challenges”.

Dr Patrick Morrissey, Martin Naughton Assistant Professor of the School of Engineering, has received €299,847 and €599,196 in funding for two separate projects. 

The first of these projects, which is co-funded by Met Éireann and the Geological Survey of Ireland, will “evaluate the vulnerability of aquifer recharge to changing climate across Ireland”.  Researchers from Trinity will work in collaboration with South East Technical University (SETU) on this project. 

In a statement following the announcement, Dr Morrissey called the aims of the project “critical to so many areas of society”.

“I am really excited to work on this project with my colleague Dr Owen Naughton at SETU”, he added. 

Dr Morrissey’s second project aims to “evaluate the benefits of agri-environmental schemes incorporating nature-based solutions for water quality and ecology”. 

Dr Morrissey said: “I am delighted to be able to work on this project, which is vital to providing the scientific evidence required to fully assess these agri-environmental schemes and ensure that future policy in this area will deliver the best possible outcome for the water environment and particularly the health of our rivers and lakes.”  

Dr Paul Liston, a Research Fellow in the Centre for Innovative Human Systems in the School of Psychology, received funding of €449,953 for the project BASTILLE (Batteries: Barriers and Enablers to Circular Economy Transition in Ireland). The project aims to “inform policy to expedite Ireland’s shift towards a circular economy”.

BASTILLE will examine battery grade graphite, a material used in electric vehicle batteries. The project will also analyse Societal Readiness Levels (SRLs) to ascertain the level of willingness to adapt to the changes the project suggests. 

Liston will work in collaboration with Dr Corina Hebestreit from the European Carbon and Graphite Association (ECGA) and fellow Trinity Research Fellow, Dr Damáris Fernandez.

Dr Pete Akers, Assistant Professor of Physical Geography, received €549,667 aimed at increasing our understanding of intense rainfall and the resulting flooding in Ireland. The project, which is co-funded by Met Éireann, will enable researchers to “monitor the stable isotopes of Irish rainwater and atmospheric moisture through new analytical equipment”. 

Dr Margeret Jackson, Assistant Professor in Geography, received €574,920 to lead a project which aims to “to reconstruct the timing and magnitude of past climate change in Ireland”.

The project, which is also co-funded by Met Éireann, will use Ireland’s preserved glacial landscapes to develop the reconstruction.  

“This project will fundamentally improve our understanding of Ireland’s glacial past, and our climate past along with it”, Dr Jackon said.