Griffith Geoscience Research Awards

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Griffith Geoscience Research Awards
Taly Hunter Williams - GSI

The Griffiths Geoscience Research awards have been previously reported on in Geology Matters, from their inception and announcement in 2007 (Issue 6), through the award of the research grants totalling €9million over seven years for eight research projects to groups from Irish universities and research organisations – north and south (Issue 7), and comprehensive overviews and progress updates in Issues 8 and 10.

The funded projects commenced during 2007 and 2008, with the Research Programme reaching its mid-term in late 2010. An independent external mid-term review of the Griffith Geoscience Research Awards undertaken by Indecon International Economic Consultants found that the scheme has had significant success both in terms of programme outputs and also in terms of leveraging non-Exchequer funding.

At the time of writing, the research projects are well past their half-way mark, and are producing significant results. Results from the research projects have been presented at established Irish conferences and internationally, and peer-reviewed research papers published in international journals. At a recent meeting held at the GSI in November 2012, the Principal Investigators of the research projects presented progress summaries. They highlighted the great value of the longer-term post-doctoral positions (up to seven years), which has enabled the research groups to attract high-quality researchers and also helped to form a stable nucleus of researchers around which the research groups have been able to grow.

The November meeting was followed up in December by a successful and lively half-day "research jam", at which five post-doctoral researchers and six PhD students presented results of their research. The presentations were of a consistently high standard and showcased a significant body of recent and active research in areas of:

  • Marine sedimentary processes, with applications in petroleum reservoir characterisation (Dr Shane Tyrell, Dr Aggie Georgiopoulou, Colm Pierce and Aoife Blowick from the UCD Marine and Petroleum Geology Research Group);
  • Marine environment, with applications in ecosystem and offshore aggregate characterisation (Siddhi Joshi and Maja Fabeta from the NUIG Biogeoscience Research Group: Marine);
  • Large dataset integration and standards-based data management solutions for GSI datasets (Declan Dunne, UCC Coastal and Marine Research Centre);
  • Groundwater flow paths in fractured bedrock aquifers, with applications in groundwater protection and the Water Framework Directive (WFD) (Dr Jean-Christophe Comte and Christopher Wilson, QUB Groundwater Research Group); and
  • Groundwater chemistry and natural concentrations of metals, with applications in the WFD and human health (Dr Liam Morrison and Enda McGrory, NUIG Biogeoscience Research Group: Metals).

Caroline Moloney also presented on the Irish Graduate Geoscience Programme (IGGP), which has had a successful 2012 and will offer 16 modules in 2013, to which more may be added. The IGGP is aimed primarily at geoscience graduate researchers, but is open to all geoscientists. More information on course modules, dates and fees can be found at:  http://www.iggp.ie/