26 Projects Announced under the COVID-19 Rapid Response Research and Innovation Programme

Posted: 29 April, 2020

The Government today announced details of the first 26 projects that will receive €5 million funding under the newly established national coordinated research and innovation response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Peter Brown, Director of the Irish Research Council, welcomed the announcement, saying: The COVID-19 pandemic has had, and will continue to have, a profound effect on nearly every aspect of our lives. The road to social and economic recovery will be multi-dimensional and will benefit from the expertise and evidence of Ireland’s research community across all disciplines. The projects announced here today seek to inform the next steps we take as a nation, both in the short term and as we look further ahead. The experts driving these projects are a subset of the broader Irish research and innovation ecosystem, which has much to contribute to successfully addressing the many challenges presented by the pandemic.

Dr Darrin Morrissey, Chief Executive at the Health Research Board, adds: COVID-19 will test people’s health and our health and economic resilience like nothing in recent history. Research and evidence are critical to understanding how COVID-19 works and key to getting Ireland back open again. I want to congratulate the Irish research community who have come up with an incredible range of research projects to help tackle the health, social and economic challenges that COVID-19 presents. 

The projects address short, medium and long-term aspects of this crisis, to help treat COVID-19, support front line staff and understand the disease better. The evidence that they generate will be key to supporting staff and changing practice so we can continue to deliver all health care while we live alongside COVID-19.

The Irish Research Council and the Health Research Board joined together to fund the first strand of the call, focusing on the development of medical countermeasures, health service readiness, and social and political countermeasures to COVID-19. Following international peer review, 21 projects were selected with a total investment of €3.4 million. For further information on a selection of the projects, click on the IRC-HRB Case Studies or watch the project videos. The full list of funded projects can be found in the table below.


IRC-HRB Case Studies

Case Study videos:

Speaking at today’s announcementMinister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Heather Humphreys TD, said: “Research, development and innovation will play a significant role in tackling the COVID-19 pandemic.  The projects announced today are part of a national drive to find solutions to the challenges we face. Right across the country, our research community in our Higher Education Institutions and businesses, both indigenous and foreign owned, have mobilised to address these key issues. The projects announced today, which take in health and social care as well as policy and industry, will help to address how we can ease the restrictions over time and get the country back up-and-running again. 

Minister for Training, Skills, Innovation, Research and Development, John Halligan said “I want to acknowledge the ongoing support from the higher education institutions and researchers across the country that have undertaken a vast array of actions to support and deal with the challenges we face. Research, development and innovation will have a significant role to play in our response to Covid-19. Governments around the globe have also rapidly mobilised research in tackling the crisis, and the opportunities being provided to our research community will ensure a coordinated and meaningful contribution to solving some of the challenges we are presented with during the current crisis. It is through sustainable investment in research that we will beat Covid-19 and future pandemics, as well as generate the insight and understanding to support responsive social, economic and cultural policies.

SFI, EI and the IDA funded the second strand of the call, an agile and adaptive initiative to support development of innovative solutions, including STEM-based social/behavioural science, that can have rapid demonstrable impact on the current COVID-19 crisis in Ireland. Five projects were funded to develop solutions for the shortfall in reagents for testing. More information on all five projects can be found in the Case Studies link.

SFI, EI & IDA Case Studies

ResearcherTopicHost InstitutionFunding €
Dr Nollaig Bourke SABS-TILDA: SARS-CoV-2 specific AntiBodieS in The Irish LongituDinal Study on Ageing (TILDA): an opportunity to assess COVID-19 rates and phenotypes in older adults in Ireland TCD€199,875
Dr Katarzyna Whysall Improving long-term patient recovery and reducing disability after COVID-19 critical illness using microRNA-based approaches NUIG€199,621
Professor Mark Little Defining the disease course and immune profile of COVID-19 in the immunosuppressed patient (DeCOmPRESS study) TCD€199,908
Professor James O'Donnell Irish COVID-19 Vasculopathy Study (iCVS) RCSI€199,036
Dr Virginie Gautier Screening for antiviral compounds active against SARS-CoV-2 UCD€190,237
Professor John Lambert COVID19: The North Dublin Cohort Study UCD€199,098
Professor Catherine Comiskey Using a back-calculation model to estimate the scale of asymptomatic Covid-19 prevalence by age and determine the critical threshold of available susceptible persons within the community. TCD€96,340
Professor Orla Hardiman Using telehealth to enhance management of vulnerable groups during the COVID-19 pandemic TCD€199,965
Dr Christine Linehan Impact of Covid 19 on Individuals with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities and Caregivers UCD€62,858
Dr Emma Nicholson and Dr Thérѐse McDonnell CUPID COVID-19: Paediatric emergency department attendance during COVID-19UCD€107,015
Professor Alice Coffey A Rapid Resource Repository for Health Professionals (RRR-HP): An online and social media individualised support intervention for return to practice, reassigned and new to practice, nursing and allied UL€199,647
Dr Siobhan Masterson Rapid response and learning for later: establishing high quality information networks and evaluation frameworks for the National Ambulance Service response to COVID-19 NUIG€109,188
Dr Aaron Golden Expediting the diagnosis of COVID-19 in a clinical setting using AI enabled analysis of CT scans NUIG€83,690
Professor Catherine Darker Creating an evidence-based toolbox for targeted public health interventions during COVID-19: a cross-border analysis to disentangle psychological, behavioural, media and governmental responses TCD€191,116
Professor Donal Fortune An investigation of psychological responses to COVID-19 in health care workers during the delay and mitigation phase of disease management: longitudinal and nested qualitative study. UL€175,013
Professor Rose Anne Kenny Altered lives in a time of crisis: Preparing for recovery from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the lives of older adults TCD€175,322
Dr Sinéad Smyth Autism specific Transition RESources : a response to the COVID-19 related restrictions (TRes) DCU€123,370
Dr Gerard Molloy Optimising Covid-19 social distancing communications: Identifying and addressing psychosocial determinants of social distancing during the Covid-19 pandemic NUIG€148,745
Professor Ivan Perry Covid-19: Estimating the burden of symptomatic disease in the community and the impact of public health measures on physical, mental and social wellbeing UCC€199,945
Professor Brian McGuire dentifying mental health needs and best practice for psychological support in frontline healthcare workers during and after the COVID-19 outbreak and in future pandemics. NUIG€187,254
Professor Cathal O'Donoghue Modelling Real Time Population Wide Impacts of COVID-19 NUIG€38,310
Professor Paul CotterIrish Coronavirus Sequencing Consortium Teagasc/
Professor Martin O’HalloranINSPIRE: Facillitating Non-Invasive Ventilation (NIV) during the COVID-19 CrisisNUIG€205,667
Professor Gil Lee, Professor Virginie Gautier, Professor Patrick MallonCritical Reagent Production Addressing Supply Chain Risk for COVID-19 DiagnosticsUCD
Professor Tim McCarthyProf Tim McCarthy Data Platform for Emergency Response Management (DPERM) Maynooth University 402,323MU€402,323
Dr Ignacio Martin-LoechesPrognostic indicators of critically ill patients with COVID-19: Impact on early immunology and survivalTCD€192,566

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