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June NUI Galway Project Among New COVID-19 research and innovation projects Announced
NUI Galway Project Among New COVID-19 research and innovation projects Announced
Minister Humphreys announces 11 new COVID-19 research and innovation projects building on previous investment
Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Heather Humphreys TD, today announced an investment of €1.4 million in 11 projects under the SFI-coordinated research and innovation response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This investment builds on previous funding and complements the existing research work underway in higher education institutions across the country.
Amongst the projects announced today is NUI Galway project ‘A rapid test for COVID-19 antibodies’ led by Professor John Pius Dalton. The team at NUI Galway will develop a fast, lab-based test known as an ELISA, that can measure antibodies in blood and determine whether a person has been infected with SARS-CoV-2. The team has already made a short-list of antigens, the features of the virus that prompt antibodies, and will use these as a basis for developing antibody tests that can be rolled out at scale to test large populations.
Professor John Pius Dalton, Professor of Molecular Parasitology at NUI Galway, says: “Essentially, this is community tracing using immune status, but the information gained is an essential element in the overall control measures employed to stop the spread of disease, as well as understanding its distribution, infectivity and epidemiology.”
Speaking at today’s announcement, Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Heather Humphreys TD said: “I am delighted to announce this further investment in research and innovation related to COVID-19. These projects will address immediate priorities to assist us with the challenges we face as we seek to reopen our society and economy, and get the country running again. Research and innovation from our higher education institutions, in collaboration with our health services and industry, can support us in delivering solutions to the many challenges the pandemic has thrown at us. Working together we can find solutions and move forward towards recovery.”
Commenting on the awards, Professor Mark Ferguson, Director General Science Foundation Ireland and Chief Scientific Adviser to the Government, said “The COVID-19 Rapid Response Research and Innovation programme exemplifies the high international standards, agility and responsive nature of our research community. This programme has been delivered by a high level of interagency and higher education institutional collaboration. We are stronger when we work together, and we will continue to collaborate with our colleagues to share the latest knowledge, developments and innovations, and to support ideas that will generate solutions to the many challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic.”
The eleven new projects cover the following:
- Putting COVID-19 infections on the map in Ireland – TU Dublin
- Remote blood-pressure monitoring in pregnancy in the COVID-19 pandemic – University College Cork
- A rapid test for COVID-19 antibodies – NUI Galway
- Rapid Advanced Production Responses to Frozen Supply Chains in Hospitals - University of Limerick
- Ireland’s medium-term future in the COVID-19 pandemic – Maynooth University
- Expanding lab tests for the COVID-19 virus – Waterford IT
- COVIGILANT - Evidence to inform Ireland’s digital contact-tracing strategy – University of Limerick
- New antibody tests for SARS-CoV-2 – Maynooth University
- 3D printing PPE for healthcare settings – University College Dublin
- Identifying Protective Immunity in Frontline Healthcare Staff During the COVID-19 Pandemic- Trinity College Dublin
- SARS-CoV-2 in sewage and bodies of water – University College Dublin
Minister for Training, Skills, Innovation, Research and Development, John Halligan added: I am proud of how the Irish research community has mobilised so rapidly and intensively in focusing on this issue. Ireland’s investment in research allows us to move rapidly and coherently in a crucial area such as Covid-19 research. This will have benefits for Ireland but also for the wider world. This could not be done without our ongoing long-term investment in our higher education and research and shows the need for continuing investment in these areas at all times.
The Rapid Response Research, Development and Innovation programme was established by Science Foundation Ireland, Enterprise Ireland, IDA Ireland, the Health Research Board and Irish Research Council. Today’s announcement builds on the previous investment of €3.5million across 26 projects and the ongoing work in our universities and institutes of technology that are adding significantly to the national effort to combat the virus and assist us on the path to recovery. More than 500 applications were received by the agencies.
All of the projects funded have been internationally peer reviewed at the assessment stage. Further announcements will be made over the coming weeks as the reviews are completed. The agencies, working with partners across our public service and health system are now evaluating areas of priority with a view to issuing thematic calls as the next phase of the programme. The focus for the second phase will be on important scientific and engineering research that will contribute in a meaningful way to re-opening Ireland.