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Ulysses scheme to support 15 new Franco-Irish research projects

Posted: 25 September, 2023

The Embassy of France in Ireland and the Irish Research Council today announced funding for 15 new collaborations between Ireland- and France-based researchers through the Ulysses Scheme. Ulysses is funded and administered by the Irish Research Council in Ireland in collaboration with the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the French Ministry of Higher education and Research, the Embassy of France in Ireland and Campus France. Selected projects are also supported by strategic partners, namely EirGrid, Réseau de Transport d’Électricité, the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland and ADEME — the French Environment and Energy Management Agency.

Barriers to non-motorised modes of transport for children and young people in disadvantaged urban areas; how administrative burdens may be a reason for the gap between climate aspirations and climate actions in Ireland and France; and optimising end-of-life care in hospital emergency departments for people with advanced cancer. These are among 15 new research projects selected for funding under the Ulysses Scheme.


The Ulysses scheme — named after James Joyce’s famous novel to celebrate the Joycean links between Ireland and France — aims to foster new collaborations, and facilitates the exchange of innovative ideas and approaches between researchers based in Ireland and France, by providing critical seed funding across all disciplines.


Welcoming the latest Ulysses awards, French Ambassador to Ireland, H.E. Mr. Vincent Guérend, said: “The Embassy of France in Ireland is delighted to continue our longstanding collaboration with the Irish Research Council and to see the exceptional standard of collaborative research being supported under the Ulysses scheme. The topics being addressed in the latest projects selected for funding are urgent and significant, and the exchange of knowledge between the Irish and French researchers collaborating together will greatly enhance their investigations and outputs.


“I would like to thank the scheme’s strategic partners and to congratulate them on their continued support in recognising the vital role that researchers in Ireland and France play in solving real-world problems, especially by coming together. Their commitment to the Ulysses programme in its evolvement to focus on priority aspects relating to health, climate, renewable energy and other areas besides is remarkable.”


Also welcoming the announcement, Peter Brown, Director of the Irish Research Council, said: “We are very proud to collaborate with the Embassy of France in Ireland to support research topics that are of particular significance in helping to meet pressing societal needs, common to both countries. More than 700 awardees have participated in the Ulysses scheme since it began in 1997, and a 2019 study of 81 French principal investigators who were awarded Ulysses funding between 2003 and 2017, showed that 73% of collaborations continue after the end of the funded project, such as via Horizon Europe funding and other European funding. The Ulysses scheme is an important part of establishing lasting professional networks of researchers and institutes, and we look forward to seeing the latest successful awardees continue to develop their collaborations into the future.”


New Projects Awarded Funding

Among the new projects being funded are:

  • Evaluating and promoting the active mobility of children from disadvantaged backgrounds: a participative and comparative approach between Dublin and Strasbourg:

JoAnne Marie Mancini from Maynooth University, along with her partner from the University of Strasbourg, will compare children and young people’s active mobility in Dublin and Strasbourg, focusing on disadvantaged urban areas. Active mobility is a concept that promotes physical activity as a result of utilising non-motorised transportation modes such as walking, cycling and scootering. Identifying and understanding the causes of better or worse outcomes in these different contexts is important for informing policy responses and for removing barriers. This project is funded by SEAI and ADEME.

  • Who suffers more from paperwork? Comparing administrative burdens across Ireland and France as barriers to the implementation of the National Climate Action Plans:

Margaret Samahita from University College Dublin, along with her partner from the Burgundy Business School (LESSAC) will employ tools to visualise the impact of administrative processes on Ireland and France achieving their climate targets, as set out in Ireland’s 2023 National Climate Action Plan and France’s PNACC (Plan National d’Adaptation au Changement Climatique). The project aims to identify opportunities for reducing and simplifying administrative processes to help deliver climate actions. This project is funded by SEAI and ADEME.

  • Exploring evidence-based interventions to support people living with advanced cancer who require end-of-life care in the emergency department:

Amanda Drury from Dublin City University, along with her partner from Sorbonne Université (IPLESP) will research and evaluate the characteristics and outcomes of interventions to support people living with advanced cancer who require end-of-life care in hospital emergency departments (EDs). The study will provide a basis to design and adapt new interventions, which are culturally and contextually sensitive, to optimise end-of-life care for advanced cancer patients in EDs.


  • Real-time prediction of GREEN electricity generation potential from wind for optimised GRID management (GREEN-GRID):

James Sweeney from the University of Limerick, along with his partner from INRAE, will apply a near-real-time model for substantially improving the estimation of wind potential in Ireland using publicly available information from meteorological stations. Resultant new wind energy maps will assist in optimising the placement of turbines for onshore wind, reducing installation lead times and costs, and aiding in decarbonising Ireland’s energy grid.

  • Women, agency and the promotion of Franco-Irish cultural relations, 1850-1950:

Judith Harford from University College Dublin, along with her partner from Université Paris-Cité will examine educational institutions and key women who were central to the promotion of Franco Irish cultural relations in the period 1850-1950. This includes Mary Ryan (1873-1961), a student at St Angela’s College Cork, run by the Ursuline Order, who became the first Irish woman to hold a professorship and who was awarded the Legion d’honneur in 1935. The project will analyse the role of the French religious teaching orders on the development of higher education for women in Ireland, and high-profile élite schools and colleges for females, influenced by French educational ideas. This project is funded by EirGrid and RTE France.

  • Investigating how viral infections shape epigenetic ageing and health: Nollaig Bourke from Trinity College Dublin, along with her partner from Institut Paster, will employ DNAm epigenetic sequencing and cutting-edge viral history screening to examine how lifetime exposure to viruses may influence accelerated biological ageing and age-related disease risk. The study will utilise data collected from large longitudinal studies of ageing and immunity in Ireland and France — ‘The Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing (TILDA)’ and ‘Milieu Intérieur’, respectively.


You can read more about the Ulysses scheme here.


Ireland-France research links celebrated at Ulysses event in Paris

A celebration of the strong research and innovation links between Ireland and France was hosted by the Ambassador of Ireland to France, Niall Burgess, in the Irish Embassy in Paris on 6th September 2023. The event was addressed by the Minister of State for Skills and Further Education, Niall Collins TD, and attended by members of the IRC, representatives from the Ulysses scheme’s strategic partners, together with previous Ulysses awardees. Read more about the event here.



Full list of Ulysses awardee

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