Griffiths Research Awards
Geology Matters No.7
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Griffiths Research Awards:
Grants of €9.1 Million to Geo-Science Researchers

Koen Verbruggen

As reported in the last issue of Geology Matters the Griffiths Research Awards scheme, was launched earlier this year, to encourage and develop world-class geoscience research and educational activities in Ireland. On July 5th this year, the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources Eamon Ryan T.D., awarded more than €9.1 Million of Government grants to nine groups from Irish universities and research organisations, north and south, under this new scheme.

Richard Griffith

Commenting at a ceremony to mark the awarding of grants to the successful applicants Minister Ryan noted that, “Though geoscience is often an area that operates under the radar of the public at large, the sector in fact contributes more than €2 billion each year to our economy. Geosciences hold the vital key to the sustainable management of our environment, the development of our natural resources and infrastructure, and understanding and predicting natural hazards.”

“Some of the exciting new projects that we will be funding from today will undertake research that could potentially transform our lives. One group will explore the potential for generating geothermal energy from sources deep in the Earth’s crust, another group will evaluate the impact of climate change and human behaviour upon our groundwater supplies. Yet another will work to share data from the Geological Survey of Ireland via the internet”, continued the Minister.

The Griffith Awards are a key component of the National Geoscience Programme 2007 – 2013, published earlier this year which sets out the vision for how the geoscience sector will evolve over the next 7 years on the island of Ireland.

“I believe we can make Ireland an internationally renowned destination for geoscience research. The Government has committed to investing a total of €43 million over the next seven years in the geoscience sector and with 2008 designated by the UN as the International Year of Planet Earth there is no better time to build our geoscience research capacity,” concluded Minister Ryan.

A total of 29 applications for funding were received under the Griffith Awards Scheme. The applications were evaluated with the assistance of an international peer review panel and the following projects were successful, with the grant amounts and research groups involved:

  • Understanding coastal aquifers and the seabed, €3.1m, Biogeoscience Research Group, National University of Ireland Galway.
  • Groundwater behaviour in poorly productive fractured aquifers, €1.8m, Groundwater Research Group, Queen’s University Belfast.
  • Geomatics for geoscience research, €852,000, Coastal and Marine Research Centre, University College Cork.
  • Capacity building for the enhanced geophysical interpretation of the dynamics of CO2 sequestration, a joint project of the two Geophysics Research Groups at UCD (€640,000) and UU Coleraine (€521,000).
  • Strengthened research and training capacity in deep marine processes and basin development on the Irish Atlantic margin, €1.5m, Marine and Petroleum Geology Research Group, UCD.
  • Irish Geoscience Gradate Programme, coordinated by Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies (€407,000).
  • Geological outreach activities by Trinity College Dublin and the Natural History Museum (€120,000).
  • Support for a TV series Planet Ireland, Holocene Ltd (€100,000).

As these projects progress we will carry updates of the research findings in future issues of Geology Matters.

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