Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland Coláiste Ríoga na Máinleá in Éirinn

RCSI welcomes major Government investment in Science Foundation Ireland Investigators Programme

02 May 2014

The Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Richard Bruton TD and the Minister for Research and Innovation Seán Sherlock TD have announced €47 million in funding for pioneering research initiatives, delivered by the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, through the Science Foundation Ireland Investigators Programme. Three RCSI projects were among those announced as recipients of the funding to carry out research in the areas of epilepsy, colorectal cancer and medical devices.

The Programme will provide funding over a three to five year period, for a total of 36 research projects involving over 200 researchers. The projects were selected by competitive peer review by 400 international scientists, focusing on excellent research with potential impact.

Prof Jochen Prehn

Professor Jochen Prehn, RCSI Department of Physiology and Medical Physics, was awarded €2.2 million for his project ‘BCL-2 family proteins and cellular bioenergetics in the control of cell survival: Towards novel predictive and prognostic markers for disease progression and therapy responses in colorectal cancer patients'. Professor David Henshall, RCSI Department of Physiology and Medical Physics, was awarded €0.9million for research into ‘MicroRNA biofluid profiles as molecular diagnostics for epilepsy'. Professor Sally-Ann Cryan, RCSI School of Pharmacy, was jointly awarded €1.9 million for a collaborative project with Dr Andreas Heise, DCU entitled ‘Functional polymers for (nano)medical devices'.

Prof David Henshall

Professor Ray Stallings, RCSI Director of Research said: "RCSI welcomes the announcement to provide major funding to three RCSI research projects through the Science Foundation Ireland Investigators Programme. I congratulate the RCSI researchers involved; their success is a testament to the world-class, high-impact biomedical translational research being carried out here in the College which will ultimately lead to improved diagnoses and treatments for the benefit of patients and the community."

Prof Sally-Ann Cryan

A fourth RCSI project proposed by Dr Ann Hopkins, RCSI Department of Surgery, for research into breast cancer, was deemed scientifically excellent and impactful by the International Review Panel and is on a reserve list to be funded in the future.

Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Richard Bruton TD said: "This investment through SFI helps to develop Ireland's international reputation for excellent research with impact. This allows us to continue to attract foreign-direct investment, as well as to support Irish companies, long-term economic competitiveness and most importantly ultimately job-creation."

Minister for Research and Innovation, Seán Sherlock TD said: "This major investment will support world-class research in key priority areas that support economic and social development in Ireland. By concentrating on sectors of strength, the SFI Investigators Programme aligns funding to areas of increasing national and international importance. This will create many opportunities for successful collaboration between industry and Ireland's science ecosystem."

Professor Mark Ferguson, Director General of Science Foundation Ireland and Chief Scientific Adviser to the Government of Ireland, said: "The Investigators Programme will support Ireland's research community in developing projects that can lead and win in Horizon 2020. Not only will it provide direct support for over 200 researchers, the programme will also have an indirect impact on many other research programmes by allowing for the development of further research links with industry in Ireland and internationally."

Founded in 1784, RCSI's mission is to develop healthcare leaders who make a difference worldwide. RCSI is a not-for-profit health sciences organisation which focuses on education and research to drive positive change in all areas of human health worldwide. RCSI is headquartered in Dublin and is a recognised College of the National University of Ireland.