Posted: September 19, 2007

DCU receives over Euro 23m in PRTLI research funding

(Nanowerk News) Following the announcement by the Minister for Education and Science, Mary Hanafin, TD, Dublin City University (DCU) will receive over €23m in research funding under PRTLI Cycle 4 to support three science and engineering projects and two humanities and social science based projects. These five projects will be carried out as part of national collaborative research programmes involving other third-level institutes.
DCU's €23m allocation is made up of €10.5m in capital funding and almost €13m in recurrent funding.
The key areas of research are Therapeutics/Theranostics, Photonics (Bio- and nano-photonics, Imaging and Ultrafast Science), Innovation, the digital media industry and Ireland's relationship to languages, literatures and cultures in other parts of the world.
Professor Eugene Kennedy, DCU's Vice President for Research welcomed the HEA's announcement. "Today's announcement represents a 100% 'success' rate for DCU and recognises DCU's growing excellence in research. The fact that all areas of research - within science, engineering and humanities and social sciences - have been acknowledged is a great testament to DCU's researchers.
The President of DCU, Professor Ferdinand von Prondzynski, welcomed the HEA decision, and indicated his strong support for the Government's strategy for research. He pointed out that the policies on research funding and the promotion of R&D were having a crucial impact on foreign direct investment in knowledge-intensive sectors, and that consistency in these policies was vital in the national interest. He was confident that the DCU research teams funded in this latest PRTLI Cycle would make a vital contribution to the economy, the health sector and Irish society.
DCU’s successful bids are positioned within the following national programmes.
National Graduate Programme in (Bio)pharmaceutical and Pharmacological Science (BPS): Therapeutics/TheranosticsM
DCU's International Centre for Neurotherapeutics (ICNT) in conjunction with researchers from the Schools of Biotechnology, Chemical Sciences and Nursing, the Biomedical Diagnostics Institute (BDI), the National Centre for Sensors Research (NCSR) and the Centre for Bioanalytical Science (CBAS) is to receive €12.5m, to explore cutting-edge research in Neuroscience, Immunology and Cell Biology for the development of novel therapeutics.
Professor Oliver Dolly, Director of the International Centre for Neurotherapeutics, said, "The entire research team involved in this project are both thrilled and excited with this substantial award. It will allow researchers from a number of complementary disciplines at DCU and partnering universities to exploit our knowledge on neuro-active drugs and explore their promising potential uses in other disease states".
The DCU team has acquired a considerable amount of new knowledge with significant commercial potential in the field of novel therapeutics active on the nervous system. As a result, it is hoped to set up a spin-out company, based in DCU Invent, the university’s commercialisation gateway, to exploit these opportunities.
“We want ultimately to produce a drug totally in Ireland for national and international markets; the advanced state of this research highlights the feasibility of achieving that goal. Moreover, the in-depth and state-of-the-art programme funded will produce high-calibre doctoral researchers with the sophisticated skills necessary for the advancement of the biopharmaceutical industry in Ireland", said the Professor.
The participating DCU researchers include: O Dolly, J Sack, G Lawrence, Ian Marison, P Cummins, R Murphy, C Loscher, S O’Neill, H Holthofer, R O’Kennedy, B Mac Craith, R Forster, C McDonagh, T Keyes, D Walls, M O’Connell and B O’Connor.
National Biophotonics & Imaging Platform (NBIP)
This multi-university research programme is funding the development of enhanced spectroscopy and microscopy techniques to view molecules in human cells at DCU, probing their nature and behaviour, to reveal the origins of major diseases.
Professor Brian MacCraith, Director of the DCU Biomedical Diagnostics Institute says the technologies developed in this programme will provide “groundbreaking views of the behaviour of molecules inside human cells.”
The almost 7 million euro support under PRTLI4 builds on the research, education and enterprise achievements of the PRTLI Cycle 1 supported NCSR and RINCE centres and DCU’s unique facilities will be made available to participating HEIs through an open access initiative enabling advanced graduate training within the overall NBIP programme.
DCU scientists and engineers (including B MacCraith, R Forster, P Whelan, T Keyes, R O’Kennedy and C McDonagh) will contribute key elements of expertise in photonics, nanotechnology and computerised image analysis.
Nanoscience and Nanoscale Technologies for Ireland (NANOTEIRE)
The main aim of the national proposal is to strengthen and reinforce scientific excellence in ultrafast photonics and nanotechnology in order to develop a range of key technologies which will form the building blocks of the next generation of high speed photonic systems.
The primary roles of the DCU participation, from teams based in RINCE (led by L Barry, P McNally and P Landais) and NCPST (led by J Costello, E McGlynn and J-P Mosnier) will be in developing.
* Photonic devices for next generation networks
* Ultra-fast short wavelength sources
* Nanomaterials growth, characterisation and applications.
The success will enable a significant improvement of the photonics facilities at DCU to underpin postgraduate training within National Graduate Programmes in Nanotechnology and Photonics.
“Humanities Serving Irish Society” (HSIS)
“Humanities Serving Irish Society” (HSIS) aims to build a National Platform for the Humanities, through an all-island research and training infrastructure embracing the universities, the Royal Irish Academy, two Institutes of Technology and NCAD. HSIS is seen as an important phase in Irish cultural development.
DCU’s involvement will be through its Centre for Translation and Textual Studies, led by M Cronin. CTTS will:
* Offer its distinctive expertise in computer assisted translation research and digital expertise in multilingual environments.
* Use digital resources to explore Ireland’s relationship to languages, literatures and cultures in other parts of the world and explore the impact of writings in other languages on the development of Irish culture
* Make available its extensive existing digital resources on translated literature and translators. National Programme of Research on Knowledge, Innovation, Society and Space (KISS)
KISS comprises an all-island programme of fundamental, applied, and comparative research and graduate training on Knowledge, Innovation, Society and Space. It links together significant and complementary centres of social science and humanities expertise across eight HEIs. This national research programme will focus on three inter-related areas:
* Innovation and the building of the knowledge society/economy;
* Social inclusion and the creation of sustainable communities;
* Spatial strategies and promoting balanced development and competitiveness.
DCU’s role comprises two complementary research strands contributed by specialist teams based in the SIM and LInK centres. SIM will focus on media and creative services (including digital games) in a knowledge-based economy frame (led by P Preston). The LInK team (led by K Monks) will examine the ways in which knowledge is created, managed and transferred within HEI research centres with the aim of informing practice in both existing and future centres.
DCU researchers from the National Centre for Cellular Biotechnology (NICB) and the School of Computing are also significantly involved with successful PRTLI Category 2 bids led by IT Tallaght and the University of Limerick, respectively.
Source: DCU