MU researchers win EPA funding for environmental projects

Wednesday, February 14, 2024 - 12:00

Two researchers at Maynooth University have secured nearly €1 million in funding from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for their work on projects that aim to make a positive contribution to environmental protection.

Dr Patrick Bresnihan of the Geography Department and ICARUS was awarded €505,842 for his work, A Just Transition for Housing.

The research aims to examine how, why and to what extent, current retrofitting strategies in Ireland exacerbate existing inequalities in the housing sector. It also hopes to build on international best practice and collaboration with housing groups in Ireland to develop more inclusive and equitable retrofitting strategies.
"As Ireland enters a crucial period for its ambitious plan to reduce emissions by 51% by 2030, this project will not only offer policy-relevant research into a key area of climate governance, it will also advance fundamental understanding of the complex interplay of housing, equity and decarbonisation," Dr Bresnihan said.


Dr Edgar Galván-Lopez of the Department of Computer Science and the Hamilton Institute received funding of €449,347 for his work, The CirculaR Economy Buildings as Material Banks (REBUILD), which focuses on facilitating a green and circular economy in the construction sector.

Dr Galván-Lopez aims to leverage artificial intelligence and evolutionary algorithms to develop advanced models to optimise resource usage, minimise waste, and promote circularity in construction practices and beyond.

The project will help foster sustainable practices that prioritise the well-being of communities and future generations, while opening avenues for innovation, job creation, and long-term growth within the construction industry and beyond. Environmentally, it will reduce negative impacts on the environment as carbon emissions are saved by making the range of selected materials more circular.

"This funding is not just an investment in our project but a commitment to a greener, more sustainable future for all," Dr Galván-Lopez said.

In total, the EPA announced funding of €14.3 for 33 new research projects across 13 organisations, supporting over 200 research staff. The funding covers research in the areas of climate change, the natural environment, the green and circular economy, and the environment and human health.
The projects are designed to support innovation and the development and implementation of policies in Ireland, as well as developing transdisciplinary research capacity and talent in key areas relating to sustainability transitions and societal transformations.

Announcing the awards, EPA Director General Laura Burke said: "The projects announced today will address knowledge gaps, both current and future, to provide robust evidence to support the implementation of effective environmental policies in Ireland."

The EPA Research Programme is a Government of Ireland initiative funded by the Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications.