Researchers partner with NGOs to address global challenges

Posted: 4 July, 2019

€1.6 million in funding has been granted to research projects to help achieve global Sustainable Development Goals. Developing climate-smart risk management for vulnerable people; assessing herbicide exposure in the Irish Population;  and helping to advance our understanding of ageing tunnels are just three of the 10 research projects to receive Irish Research Council funding under their ‘CAROLINE’ Irish and International Fellowship programme.

The research fellowships were announced today by Minister of State for Skills, Training, Innovation, Research and Development, Mr. John Halligan TD. The successful researchers are the third and final cohort to receive funding under the EU co-funded CAROLINE programme. Funding of €1.6m is being invested over the next two years in the ten fellowships.

Under the scheme, which is co-funded by the European Union under the Marie Sklowdowska Curie Actions strand of Horizon2020, experienced researchers are funded to conduct research relevant to the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in collaboration with NGOs and/or international organisations. The successful researchers will carry out their work both in Ireland and Germany, Switzerland and Cuba, gaining intersectoral and interdisciplinary exposure through this programme.

The 2030 Agenda includes goals such as achieving gender equality, building resilient infrastructure, encouraging climate action, ending poverty and improving access to inclusive education.

Some of the researchers and projects receiving funding in these areas include:

  • Tommaso Natoli, who will be hosted by University College Cork and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, will aim to develop advocacy tools for the adoption of climate-smart risk management laws that protect vulnerable people.
  • Alison Connolly, who will be hosted by NUI Galway, will conduct an environmental assessment of the exposures to glyphosate among the Irish Population. She will work in partnership with the Institute for Prevention and Occupational Medicine of the German Social Accident Insurance.
  • Zhipeng Xiao, who will be hosted by University College Cork and partner with CERN, will work on advancing our fundamental understanding of ageing tunnels.

Commenting today, Minister Halligan, said: “As a signatory to the UN Sustainable Development agenda, Ireland is committed to playing its part in achieving these goals, which are vital to safeguard our planet’s future and all life within it. The ten research projects getting underway today will join 40 others awarded in the first and second funding calls. Overall, this international fellowship programme of the Irish Research Council is helping to develop the capacity of the Irish research system to make a strong contribution, nationally and internationally, to the sustainable development agenda”

Director of the Irish Research Council, Peter Brown said: “The CAROLINE Fellowship offers a valuable opportunity for researchers to obtain a prestigious career development fellowship, and to respond to the sustainable development agenda. “Since 2016, the scheme has cultivated partnerships between researchers, their host institutions and partner organisations – all with the common goal of working towards a sustainable future. Now more than ever, these links and this important research is vital for moving towards a more sustainable, equal and prosperous future.”