Two Mayo scientists scoop major research grants

Two of Mayo's leading science minds have received funding of more than €1.2 million between them to lead their own major research projects at the forefront of the sustainable and renewable energy sector.

Science Foundation Ireland has announced that Dr Jamie Goggins, from Fahy, Westport, a senior lecturer in civil engineering at NUIG, has been awarded €630,000 to recruit his own top research team to develop new technologies that make existing buildings more energy efficient.

His research could ultimately help Ireland hit ambitious EU targets for reducing its energy use and CO2 emissions.

The second Mayo recipient of the funding, Dr David Henry, from Castlebar, is a lecturer in applied maths at University College Cork. He has been awarded €570,000 to lead a research team investigating wave energy theories.

In its funding announcement, the SFI recognised Dr Goggins and Dr Henry among Ireland’s top 40 “most promising young research talents”, who have the potential to deliver significant economic and societal benefits through their work.

Speaking about his research, Dr Henry described wave power as an “untapped frontier”.

“Even at the most advanced level there are a lot of unanswered questions about water waves,” he explained. “The equations that describe water waves are so complicated. There are a lot of different approaches but what I will be doing is looking at the theory of water waves and trying to predict what should happen with certain waves. Hopefully we can make some advancements and have an impact.”

Meanwhile, Dr Goggins is hoping the SFI research grant will give him the foundation he needs to attract major European research funding through Horizon 2020, the EU’s biggest research and innovation funding progamme.

“We have already joined up with European partners and we would be hopeful that we can attract some of that funding. This grant should give us the strong foundation we need to be able to win larger European grants and really tackle some of these very important challenges in Europe.”

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