US-Ireland R&D Partnership: Flying The Flag For Research

20 Sep 2019 | 11.16 am

US-Ireland R&D Partnership: Flying The Flag For Research

Latest phase takes aim at challenges in agri-food sector

20 Sep 2019 | 11.16 am

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A trilateral cross-border partnership for supporting R&D has made 50 research awards and approved over €70 million of funding

Tackling head-on some of the universal challenges of our time requires cutting-edge thinking and funding from around the world. That’s exactly why the US-Ireland R&D Partnership is so important.

Established in 2006, the partnership is an alliance between Ireland, Northern Ireland and the USA, in which academics from the three countries join together to bid for funds. It is led by a steering group of senior representatives from each jurisdiction, with InterTradeIreland providing the secretariat for the group on the island of Ireland.

To date, this innovative alliance has funded over 50 projects and raised over €70 million to address issues such as agriculture, sustainability and health. The partnership recently celebrated the signing of the updated Memorandum of Understanding between the National Science Foundation in the US, Science Foundation Ireland and the Department for the Economy in Northern Ireland.

Kidney Disease Research

Professor Peter Maxwell from Queen’s University Belfast, along with Professor Catherine Godson and Dr Eoin Brennan from University College Dublin, in collaboration with academics from the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, and Massachusetts General Hospital, have joined forces on a project around diabetic kidney disease.

By 2040, the disease is predicted to be one of the leading causes of mortality worldwide. For the researchers, the benefits of this type of partnership are obvious. “It gives us a critical mass, and working with other investigators allows us to tackle questions at scale,” says Prof. Maxwell. Dr Eoin Brennan notes that the US is at the forefront of ground-breaking bioinformatics. ”There is so much synergy when everyone has distinct areas of expertise,” he adds.

Collaboration Exemplar

The model of the US-Ireland R&D partnership has been so successful that it is now used as an example of international best practice to foster collaboration between nations.
Grainne Lennon, International Funding and Collaborations broker in InterTradeIreland, says that the success rate for proposals submitted to the National Science Foundation through the US-Ireland R&D Partnership is higher than the agency-wide success rate.

According to Lennon: “We are delighted that so many Irish researchers are successful in securing funding, and it speaks to the extremely high calibre of projects across the island. Cross-border collaboration is vital to exchange ideas and promote growth. Moreover, programmes like this also help develop the leaders of science across the island, who will bring forward enhancements for the future around disease prevention and health.”

Call for Applications

The latest phase of the US-Ireland R&D Partnership aims to tackle global challenges facing the agri-food sector. If you would like more information, visit intertradeireland.com/innovation/us-ireland-rd-partnership/

Pictured: (back row, l-r) Aidan Gough, Designated Officer, InterTradeIreland; Dr Rosemary Hamilton CBE, NI co-chair; Feargal Ó Móráin, Ireland co-chair; Dr Jonathan Margolis, US co-chair, US Department of State. Front row (l-r): Samuel Howerton, National Science Foundation (US); Prof. Mark Ferguson, Science Foundation Ireland; and Trevor Cooper, Department for the Economy (NI).

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