Three WIT postgraduate and postdoctoral researchers awarded funding to pursue research projects under Irish Research Council Enterprise Programmes
Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, Simon Harris TD, has recently announced an investment of €7.9 million in 80 research projects under the Irish Research Council’s (IRC) enterprise programmes.
Each year, the IRC partners with around 70 organisations, ranging from multinational corporations to SMEs, public-sector agencies and non-governmental organisations (NGOs), under its Enterprise Partnership Schemes and Employment-Based Postgraduate Programme. Through these co-funded programmes, postgraduate or postdoctoral researchers develop new, advanced knowledge and skills linked with industry and employer needs. The programmes train early-career researchers for the diversity of employment opportunities in industry, the public sector and the non-government sectors. For enterprise and employers, the schemes provide a low-risk, flexible route to research collaboration and identifying new talent for innovation.
WIT successful research projects
At WIT, the successful research projects covered a range of topics including an antibiotic free approach to improving udder health in Irish dairy cows, a systems approach to cultivating a cycling culture in Irish towns, and the development of micro city-based innovation districts.
Dr Geraldine Canny, Head of Research at WIT, congratulated all Irish Research Council awardees stating, “The high success rate in these competitive postgraduate and postdoctoral scholarships across a range of disciplines is testimony to the quality of research being carried out at WIT. Some of these societally relevant projects also involve national and international collaborations, which will extend the reach and impact of WIT, as we transition to become a Technological University.
Two WIT PhD research candidates, Nichole Keohane McCarthy from the School of Science, and Caitriona Corr from the School of Health Sciences, in collaboration with their respective employment partners have secured IRC Employment Based Postgraduate Scholarships.
An Antibiotic Free Approach to Improving Udder Health in Irish Dairy Cows is the title of Nicole Keohane McCarthy’s research project which will be carried out in partnership with employment partner AHV International.
A Systems Approach to Cultivating a Cycling Culture in Irish towns is the title of Caitriona Corr’s research project which will be carried out in partnership with employment partner Kilkenny County Council.
Michelle Clancy from WIT’s School of Business, Department of Management and Organisation, has also been awarded an Irish Research Council Enterprise Partnership Scheme Postgraduate Scholarship.
Establishing an Innovation Footprint in the Cultural Quarter of a Regional Capital City is the title of Michelle Clancy’s research project, which will be carried out in partnership with enterprise partner Waterford City and County Council.
Talent and innovation
Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, Simon Harris TD, said: “Talent and innovation are key priorities of my department and will be increasingly important to build a sustainable 21st century economy. This investment will further boost the skills and knowledge pipeline for innovation in industry and employers. I am delighted to see both multinational companies and indigenous industry reflected in this year’s enterprise awards. I want to acknowledge the co-funding that partners are bringing to the awards, indeed the public-private partnership dimension to the programmes brings higher education institutions, industry and employers together and cultivates longer-term collaborations of benefit to all.”
Commenting today on the announcement of the latest round of awards, Peter Brown, Director of the IRC, said: “The contexts for researchers to make new discoveries and apply state-of-the-art knowledge go well beyond academia, and the diversity of organisational partners in this year’s cohort of awards is testament to the opportunities that are being grasped by enterprise, employers, the awardees and their host institutions."
A recent survey conducted by the IRC shows 97% of enterprises/employers say their organisation’s involvement with IRC programmes strengthened their relationships with higher education and research institutions and/or created further opportunities for collaborative research. Over 70% of enterprises/employers intend to pursue new opportunities via research and innovation in the coming three years.
Improving udder health in Irish dairy cows without antibiotics
Nicole Keohane McCarthy’s research project will be carried out in collaboration with her employment partner AHV International. AHV (Animal Health Vision) is the industry leader in quorum sensing powered animal health solutions and value-added advisory services. Nicole has been working with AHV International as a sales consultant and researcher since graduating from WIT in 2020 with a BSc Hons in Agricultural Science.
Nicole Keohane McCarthy will commence her PhD research project at WIT’s School of Science under the supervision of Dr Denise O’Meara and Mike Walsh at the School of Science WIT, and Prof Johanna Fink-Gremmels at Utrecht University in the Netherlands.The research project aims to demonstrate how a non-antibiotic approach to udder health can positively influence the longevity, production, and welfare of the dairy cow, whilst simultaneously reducing antibiotic overuse and resistance on farm. Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is a global health and development threat, and was declared as one of the top 10 global public health threats facing humanity by the World Health Organisation (WHO) in 2020. This research project is vitally important as AMR is a mounting concern within the dairy industry, to such an extent that preventative antibiotics in livestock will become heavily restricted under new European legislation (EU) 2019/6.
Urban Cycling Strategy
Cultivating a cycling culture in Irish towns
Catriona Corr’s research project will be carried out in collaboration with her employment partner Kilkenny County Council. Catriona Corr is a PhD researcher at WIT School of Health Science, Department of Sports and Exercise Science, under the supervision of Dr Barry Lambe. This research seeks to inform the cultivation of a culture of cycling, through a systems approach with broad cross-sector collaboration. The local authority in Kilkenny City, Ireland, is committed to investing in a comprehensive and multi-component urban cycling strategy.
This approach enables stakeholders to learn how to change patterns of decision making and emphasise project-based experimentation while developing an understanding of other partners’ roles and works towards building trust, a shared vision, and a common goal. This project explores how collaborative work and a systems approach can enhance implementation of cycling cultures and influence policy at a regional level, while considering the shift in mobility patterns in response to COVID-19 restrictions, the subsequent changes to public realm and the adoption of Climate Action Plans.
Micro city-based innovation districts
Establishing an Innovation Footprint in the Cultural Quarter of a Regional Capital City
Michelle Clancy’s research project will be carried out in partnership with Waterford City and County Council. Michelle Clancy is a PhD researcher at WIT School of Business, Department of Management and Organisation, under the supervision of Dr Eugene Crehan and Dr Thomas O’Toole. The IRC funding supports Michelle’s research to explore collaborative dynamics between urban stakeholders who share the common objectives of increasing the innovation capabilities of an Irish micro city and establishing an innovation district in its cultural quarter.
She is working with her enterprise partner to cultivate an innovation-focused network of key stakeholders, organised as a community of practice (CoP), to influence the design and operationalisation of an innovation footprint in Waterford City. Michelle’s work will improve understanding of the development of micro city-based innovation districts and generate insights into the nature and impact of relational practices enacted in innovation-focused communities. It will contribute to academic knowledge on the dynamics of interprofessional innovation community collaboration and address a knowledge gap regarding whether innovation-focused actors in micro city environments can be strategically used to assist in designing and activating innovation and enterprise activities in an urban cultural quarter.