Irish Research Council awardees among recipients of European Research Council Advanced Grants for world-class research

Posted: 22 April, 2021

Awardees of the Irish Research Council are among those securing prestigious research grants from the European Research Council (ERC). Four new awards will see nearly €10 million invested in the Irish research system, bringing the total ERC funding secured by Ireland-based researchers over the course of Horizon 2020 to €152 million.


The ERC Advanced Grant is one of the most prestigious awards in the world for experienced researchers and, with 2,678 proposals submitted to the 2020 call, it is also hugely competitive. Over half a billion euro has been earmarked by the ERC to support 209 awards.


The four awards secured by Ireland-based researchers address frontier research in both the humanities and STEM. The awards provide excellent opportunities for teams of researchers, including early-career researchers, to conduct research on projects that are assessed by the ERC as being of world-class merit and importance to the respective fields.


The four awardees are as follows:

  • Prof Kathleen James-Chakraborty, Professor of Art History at UCD, will be exploring women, race and the global dissemination of modern architecture in her project titled Expanding Agency
  • Prof Jennifer McElwain, Professor of Botany at TCD, will study the evolution of land plant functional traits and how they terraformed Earth
  • IRC Laureate Prof Seamus Martin, Smurfit Professor of Medical Genetics at TCD, will examine the role of death receptors as integrators of stress-induced inflammation
  • IRCSET alumnus Prof Daniel Kelly, Professor of Tissue Engineering in TCD, will focus his research on printing spatially and temporally defined boundaries to direct the self-organisation of cells and cellular aggregates to engineer functional tissues

Welcoming the latest awards, Director of the Irish Research Council, Peter Brown said; “The Irish Research Council congratulates this year’s awardees on their ERC success. ERC Advanced Grants are a testament to the excellence of the recipient’s research and their track record. Over the past 10 years, Ireland has secured 25 such awards and there is the potential to build on this for the future. It is especially welcome to see once again this year, the four advanced career awards shared between female and male researchers. We are delighted to see another Advanced Grant awarded to an IRC Laureate, Professor Seamus Martin, as the programme continues to support researchers across all career stages and disciplines as they work towards fulfilling their ambitions in ERC funding. Success for Ireland in the humanities with Professor James-Chakraborty’s award is also very welcome, and indeed this is the third advanced grant award in the humanities/social sciences in two years.”

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