SFI - EPA Investigators Programme

The SFI Investigators Programme supports the development of world-class research capability and human capital in areas of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) that demonstrably support and underpin enterprise competitiveness and societal development in Ireland. To this end, the Investigators Programme funds outstanding people with innovative ideas and strategic partnerships, recognising that excellence remains a paramount criterion. For this Programme, scientific excellence is both necessary and paramount but is not sufficient in isolation; applications must also be able to clearly articulate the potential for economic and societal impact. The EPA provides cofunding to SFI as part of their call.

2016/17 SFI Investigator Programme Awards

As part of this strategic partnership with Science Foundation Ireland, we will co-fund two five-year research projects:

  • Trinity College Dublin (Frank Wellmer) – looking at crop protection (A new avenue for crop protection: generating Brassica cultivars with supernumerary trichomes); and
  • University of Limerick (Michael Zaworotko) – looking at clean energy (Green Adsorbents for Clean Energy).

The awards were announced at the Science Foundation Ireland Award Ceremony in Trinity College Dublin on September 21st 2017.

2015/16 SFI Investigator Programme

This was the first award as a result of the EPA partnership with SFI under its Investigators Programme.

Dr David Chew from Trinity College Dublin was awarded almost €650,000 in funding from the SFI 2015 Investigators Programme. The funding for the award is provided by SFI, Geological Survey of Ireland and the EPA. 

Dr Chew’s project will investigate uranium-lead dating of the mineral calcite by laser ablation mass spectrometry. Calcite is the major rock-forming mineral in limestones, and is a common mineral in veins in zinc and lead ore systems such as the world-class Irish zinc-lead mineral province. Isotopic dating of calcite therefore has important industrial applications and also permits dating of carbonate rocks from key time periods in the ancient geological record, before the appearance of hard-bodied fossils. 

The project will run over 5 years and will employ a post-doctoral researcher and a PhD student.