Research & Innovation

Three Researchers in Ireland Win Top-up Funding From EU

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Three Researchers in Ireland Win Top-up Funding From EU

Three Researchers in Ireland Win Top-up Funding From EU
February 10
09:59 2014

Ireland has performed very well in the latest competition of the European Research Council (ERC) for its top-up funding ‘Proof of Concept’ awards, with three out of a total of 34 going to researchers in Ireland. The three top level researchers are Frederic Dias (pictured), University College Dublin; John Nolan, Waterford Institute of Technology; and Debra Fern Laefer, University College Dublin. The researchers, who already hold ERC grants, have received up to €150,000 each to bring their pioneering ‘blue sky’ research closer to the market.

Frederic Dias – Measuring ‘rogue waves’ in extreme sea conditions

Recently, a new type of wave buoy reportedly measured a record wave height of 23.4 metres off the Northwestern coast of Ireland. Prof. Dias, an applied mathematician working in Ireland, aims to produce finely-attuned sensors for a similar buoy specially designed to measure such ‘rogue waves’ in extreme sea conditions. During his previous ERC project he studied the fundamental mechanisms underlying the physics of rogue waves – large coherent structures which emerge from a turbulent background. However, testing his theories about these structures proved more difficult, given the low reliability of conventional buoy measurements, especially in extreme conditions. So Dias has now secured a Proof-of-Concept grant to test his own measurement system, combining his research on the physics of extreme waves with the recent developments in buoy design, in order to optimise the new technology for waves of high amplitude and steepness. Commercial applications, if successful, would include marine renewable energies, shipping, marine forecasting, and ocean observation.

Host institution: UniversityCollegeDublin, National University of Ireland

ERC Projects: Multidisciplinary Studies of Extreme Nonlinear and Rogue Wave Phenomena (MULTIWAVE)

Calibration of extreme wave measurement on the ocean surface (WAVEMEASUREMENT)

ERC Funding: Advanced Grant 2011 (MULTIWAVE) € 1.8 million for five years and Proof of Concept Grant 2013 (WAVEMEASUREMENT) € 150,000 for one year.


John Nolan – Better nutrition – better vision

Lutein (L), a compound which is entirely of dietary origin, is essential for optimal vision and protection against the world’s leading cause of blindness (age-related macular degeneration). Currently, the world’s L market depends solely on extraction of this carotenoid from the marigold flower head and is highly seasonal dependent. This project will develop a method of L production from an alternative source to help meet the growing global demand for L.

Host Institution: Waterford Institute of Technology

ERC projects: Enrichment of macular pigment and its impact on vision and blindness (CREST).

Economical lutein production: LEAF

ERC Funding: Starting Grant 2011 (CREST) €1.49 million for five years + Proof of Concept 2013 (LEAF) €150,000 for one year.


Debra Fern Laefer- Rethinking Tunnelling in Urban Neighbourhoods

The RETURNPOC project will develop an interface that will allow pointcloud data from both terrestrial and aerial laser scanners to be used directly as input for three-dimensional (3D) printers. The process will circumvent the costly and time-consuming manual steps currently required for surface generation in a computer-aided design (CAD) or CAD-compatible format.

Host Institution: UniversityCollegeDublin, NationalUniversity of Ireland

ERC projects: Rethinking Tunnelling in Urban Neighbourhoods (RETURN)

Proof of Concept Rethinking Tunnelling in Urban Neighbourhoods (RETURNPOC)

ERC Funding: Starting Grant 2012 (RETURN) €1.5 million for five years + Proof of Concept 2013 (RETURNPOC) €150,000 for one year.

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