EPA announces funding of €14.3m for new research to address climate and environmental challenges

Date released: February 14, 2024

  • EPA announces funding of €14.3m for 33 new research projects to address climate and environmental challenges. This represents a 34 per cent increase in investment from the previous call in 2022.
  • EPA funding is building essential research capacity in Ireland with over 40 per cent of lead researcher applicants in 2023 new to the EPA Research Programme.
  • The funding covers research in the areas of climate change, the natural environment, the green & circular economy, and the environment & human health. 
  • Reflecting the need for cross-sectoral research, the EPA is working in partnership with Met Éireann and Geological Survey Ireland to co-fund some of the research. 

February 14, 2024: The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today announced new funding for Environmental and climate research in Ireland, with funding of €14.3 million awarded for 33 new research projects. This represents a significant increase over previous years and reflects the EPA’s ongoing commitment to funding environmental and climate research. These innovative projects will support the development and implementation of environmental policies in Ireland, as well as building research capacity in strategically important areas.  

This funding will support more than 200 research staff across 13 organisations to conduct projects in innovative areas such as: 

  • how blue light can affect human health and biodiversity; 
  • societal transformation required to address climate, environmental and social challenges; 
  • digital twins for coastal areas; 
  • nature-based solutions for water quality and ecology; 
  • the circular economy for batteries; 
  • sustainable tourism and 
  • air pollution in Irish towns. 

Announcing the awards, Laura Burke, EPA Director General said:

“Scientific research and innovation are playing an increasingly important role in informing how governments and society can respond to the challenges posed by climate change and environmental degradation. The projects announced today will address knowledge gaps, both current and future, to provide robust evidence to support the implementation of effective environmental policies in Ireland.

This EPA funding will also help to build transdisciplinary research capacity and talent in Ireland in key areas relating to sustainability transitions and societal transformations. These specialist skills and expertise are essential to enable Ireland to effectively leverage the full range of environmental, economic and societal opportunities offered by the green transition. I congratulate the successful research teams and look forward to seeing the project outputs making a positive contribution to environmental protection in the years ahead.”

The EPA places a high priority on promoting the uptake of funded research to inform policy and to maximise the impact of research and innovation. Reflecting the need for an integrated, cross-sectoral approach, the EPA is working in partnership with Met Éireann and Geological Survey Ireland to co-fund a number of projects.

Of the successful lead research applicants supported through the call, over 40 per cent had not previously applied for funding to the EPA, broadening the base of the researchers and institutions engaging in research relevant to environmental policy. 

University College Cork (UCC) received the highest number of successful research awards in 2023. Professor John Cryan, UCC Vice President for Research and Innovation said: 

“I would like to thank the Environmental Protection Agency for continuing to award talented researchers. This allows them, through scientific research and innovation, to tackle critical environmental, climate, health, and sustainability issues. These awards will further strengthen UCC’s position as a recognised global leader in the field of Sustainability. Aligned to UCC Futures – Sustainability, these projects will enable UCC researchers to support environmental policies in Ireland, address key societal challenges caused by climate change, and help deliver a healthier environment for all.”

The list of Awards made under the EPA Research Call 2023 is available on the EPA website.

The EPA Research Programme is a Government of Ireland initiative funded by the Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications. The EPA Research Call 2024 will open for applications in April 2024. Details will be made available on the EPA website.

Contact:  Emily Williamson, EPA Media Relations Office, 053-9170770 (24 hours) or media@epa.ie. 

Notes to Editor

As part of its wide range of functions, the EPA manages a research programme that delivers essential scientific support for environmental policy development, implementation and broader decision making. The EPA has been funding research in Ireland since 1994 and is currently funding more than 200 on-going research projects. 

Supporting environmental policies: 

The annual EPA Research Call is a key element of the EPA 2030 Research Strategy which provides scientific support for environmental policy development, implementation and broader decision making across four thematic areas:

  • Addressing climate change evidence needs,
  • Facilitating a green and circular economy,
  • Delivering a healthy environment,
  • Protecting and restoring our natural environment.

The EPA Research Programme is designed to support the implementation of environmental policies in Ireland, such as the Climate Action Plan; National Climate Adaption Framework; Circular Economy Action Plans and Strategies; the Biodiversity National Action Plan the National Radon Strategy; National Land Use Evidence Review; UN Sustainable Development Goals’ Implementation Plan; as well as a range of key policy areas including water, air, radon, and other areas of interest for the EPA.  

EPA Research provides support to all types of organisations within Ireland through a variety of funding mechanisms and partnerships. Further details about the EPA Research Programme are on the EPA website.

EPA Research Call 2023 – further information

A total of 71 eligible applications were received to the EPA Research Call 2023 with 33 being funded, corresponding to a success rate of 46 per cent. Over 200 research staff will be supported through the projects funded under the EPA Research Call 2023. This represents all those declared as working on the project and includes the lead and co-investigators, research team members, students and support staff. Of the 213 people declared as being involved in the funded projects, 118 will be directly funded through the research grants.  

A full list of the funded projects is provided below. Of the 13 organisations leading projects, nine are higher education institutions, three are enterprises and one is a registered charity. For full details on the awards granted through the EPA Research Call 2023 and other research funding by the EPA in 2023, please refer to our Call Results webpage.  In addition to a summary of all funding in 2023, details of the 33 project descriptions are provided and organised under the four thematic hubs of the EPA 2030 Research Strategy.

Funding opportunities 2024: It is expected that the 2024 EPA Research Call will consist of open topics and will be launched in April 2024. Other EPA funding opportunities this year include EPA Fast-track to Policy Funding; Fulbright-EPA Scholarships and Fellowships; the Irish Research Council-EPA Postgraduate Scheme; as well as opportunities supported through EPA’s participation in European Partnerships. Details are available on our Research Funding webpage.