prof kevin o'connor

UCD Project looking at fossil fuel alternatives to receive funding from Science Foundation Ireland

May 3rd, 2017

A University College Dublin project looking at alternatives to fossil fuels has been named as one of four projects to share €72 million in funding from Science Foundation Ireland.

The funds will be used to establish four new SFI Research Centres, with one of them to be led by UCD’s Prof Kevin O’Connor. The project will examine biological alternatives to fossil resources.

Prof. Kevin O’Connor is the Head of UCD’s Microbiology Department and a Principal Investigator at the Centre for Synthesis and Chemical Biology at UCD.  He has previously developed and patented technology for converting plastic waste into biodegradable plastic.

The other research centres will examine automated technology, 3D printing in manufacturing and rare neurological diseases.

The research centres are set to open in September this year, adding to the twelve SFI research labs already up and running across the country. The first seven SFI Research Centres were established in 2013 and a further five were established 2015.

According to Prof Mark Ferguson, the Director General of SFI, the new labs will contribute to “important scientific advances, enhancing enterprise and industry, developing critical skills, supporting regional development, and enhancing Ireland’s international reputation”.

The research centres will be supported by 80 businesses and private industry partners who will provide an additional €38 million in funding to support the research.

“The commitment of industry and academic bodies to come together to develop these new SFI Research Centres clearly demonstrates the potential economic and societal impact of the planned research,” added Prof Ferguson, who is also the chief scientific adviser to the Irish Government.

“I look forward to working with the four new SFI Research Centres on their road to becoming world-class centres of research excellence.”

Four further SFI Research Centre proposals were approved in principle, including a Teagasc project looking at new technologies to support the production of dairy products. The SFI will be seeking funding to support these additional projects over the next six years.

About the Author

Niall Sargent

Niall is the Editor of The Green News. He is a multimedia journalist, specialising in data and investigative stories.

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