MU ocean energy project among €13.5m US-Ireland research awards

Thursday, March 18, 2021 - 09:00

A joint investment of €13.5 million was announced on St Patrick’s Day through a tripartite research and development partnership between the United States of America, Republic of Ireland, and Northern Ireland.
The seven projects, including an innovative ocean energy project at Maynooth University Centre for Ocean Energy Research, will support more than 60 research positions across 14 research institutions, for three to five years.
Dr Oliver Mason, of the Department of Mathematics and Statistics, in collaboration with Prof John Ringwood, of the Department of Electronic Engineering, will partner with Queen’s University Belfast (NI) and Iowa State University (US) to investigate new ways of improving the efficiency of arrays or farms of Wave Energy Converters (WECs). 
The MU project, which was awarded €399,653 in funding, will focus on how the size and shape of individual WECs and different control strategies, can be designed to optimise the performance of the array in harvesting energy from ocean waves. 
The US-Ireland Research and Development Partnership, launched in July 2006, is a unique initiative that aims to increase the level of collaborative research and development (R&D) amongst researchers and industry professionals across the three jurisdictions. 
The programme involves multiple funding partners across the three jurisdictions, working together collaboratively to support the most excellent and impactful research. The funding agencies involved in the awards being announced today are Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) and the Health Research Board (HRB) in the Republic of Ireland; the National Science Foundation (NSF) and National Institutes of Health (NIH) in the USA, and the Health & Social Care R&D Division (HSC R&D) and the Department for the Economy (DfE) in Northern Ireland.
Welcoming the announcement, Prof Mark Ferguson, Director General of Science Foundation Ireland and Chief Scientific Adviser to the Government of Ireland, said: “The US-Ireland R&D Partnership Programme continues to support and encourage strong collaborative relationships between our countries. It recognises and highlights Ireland’s significant scientific standing internationally and the societal and economic benefits that can be realised when we work beyond our borders. I wish all of the partners every success in this important collaboration.”
The programme, which uses a ‘single-proposal, single-review’ approach, focuses on prioritised thematic areas, including sensors, nanoscale science and engineering, telecommunications, energy and sustainability, and health. The Irish components of research projects in the area of health are jointly co-funded by SFI with the Health Research Board (HRB).
Commenting on the awards, HRB Chief Executive, Dr Mairéad O'Driscoll said: “Health research makes a real difference to people’s lives. We’ve seen how the recent pandemic has sparked huge public interest in both health and research. The HRB plays an essential role in advancing research, and is committed to supporting highly innovative international collaboration through the US-Ireland R&D Programme. I welcome the announcement of these new awards, which will generate health benefits in Ireland and internationally.”
Congratulating the researchers on these awards, Dr Janice Bailie, Assistant Director, Health and Social Care (HSC) Research and Development, Northern Ireland, said: “More than ever, we can see the immense value of international research collaboration, as supported by the US Ireland R&D Programme. This bringing together of researchers from across Ireland and the US is strengthening knowledge transfer and improving health outcomes with global impact.”  
Seven project details listed below. For more information on the programme, visit Full list of awards attached.
About the US Ireland R&D Partnership Programme
The US-Ireland Research and Development Partnership is a unique initiative involving funding agencies across three jurisdictions: United States of America, Republic of Ireland & Northern Ireland. The overall goal of the Partnership is to increase the level of collaborative R&D amongst researchers and industry across the three jurisdictions. This collaboration aims to generate valuable discoveries and innovations which are transferable to the marketplace, or will lead to enhancements in health, disease prevention or healthcare.
The partner agencies in the Republic of Ireland are Science Foundation Ireland (SFI), the Health Research Board (HRB) and the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM). It is facilitated by the National Science Foundation (NSF), US National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), within the US Department of Agriculture in the USA. In Northern Ireland, the Health & Social Care R&D Division (HSC R&D), the Department for the Economy (DfE), and the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) are partners.