DCU awarded funding for STEM research

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DCU has been awarded a total of €340,000 by Science Foundation Ireland.

The awards were made under the government funded Technological Innovation Development Award (TIDA) programme, which supports developments in STEM research with strong potential for economic impact.

DCU President Briain MacCraith said that the university is “research intensive”, and said the award is a “significant boost for DCU researchers… the funding will enable them to accelerate their research towards the realisation of its full potential”.

Announced on February 7th, the university was awarded the funding for its innovations in cancer and cellular research, which are said to have excellent potential for commercial application across pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries.

Three research projects in DCU will be funded by this award. Prof Martin Clynes has received €128,422 of the award for a project exploring a new anti-cancer drug, Dr Aisling Byrne is spearheading a project to allow monitoring of cell health – this project is valued at €121,279. Dr Criena Slator is the final leader of a project, which is worth €96,767 to develop new types of anticancer agents.

The National Institute for Cellular Biotechnology is a research institute in DCU campus, researching fundamental and applied cellular biotechnology, molecular cell biology, ocular diseased, and biological chemistry.

DCU’s Biomedical Diagnostics Institute have made significant breakthroughs in cancer research previously, with researchers making two discoveries in identifying the early signs of bowel cancer, which is the second most common cause of cancer death in Ireland. The university has also received TIDA funding previously, in 2013, when they were awarded €1.4 million in total.

Funding for cancer research projects has previously made enormous impacts on those in the field, for example, Dr. Gregor Kijank of the Biomedical Diagnostics Institute in DCU, who said that the Irish Cancer Society Research fellowship has allowed him to translate his research “from bench to bedside”. The impact of the research being funded once it reaches the Irish people is huge.

However, there are still many miles to go in the ways of cancer research, with the Irish Cancer Society saying that the race to find better ways to detect, treat, and prevent cancer is a “marathon, not a sprint”.

The TIDA programme aims to demonstrate how innovative ideas for commercial benefit can be achieved. The programme also provides project funding and training in innovation and entrepreneurship skills in third level institutions.

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