The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today announced new funding for Environmental and climate research in Ireland, with funding of €14.3m awarded for 33 new research projects.

This represents a significant increase over previous years and reflects the EPA’s ongoing commitment to funding environmental and climate research. These innovative projects will support the development and implementation of environmental policies in Ireland, as well as building research capacity in strategically important areas. 

Support more than 200 research staff

This funding will support more than 200 research staff across 13 organisations to conduct projects in innovative areas such as:

  • How blue light can affect human health and biodiversity;
  • Societal transformation required to address climate, environmental and social challenges;
  • Digital twins for coastal areas;
  • Nature-based solutions for water quality and ecology;
  • The circular economy for batteries;
  • Sustainable tourism; and
  • Air pollution in Irish towns.

Laura Burke, EPA director general and Engineers Ireland vice president, said: “Scientific research and innovation are playing an increasingly important role in informing how governments and society can respond to the challenges posed by climate change and environmental degradation.

"The projects announced today will address knowledge gaps, both current and future, to provide robust evidence to support the implementation of effective environmental policies in Ireland.

"This EPA funding will also help to build transdisciplinary research capacity and talent in Ireland in key areas relating to sustainability transitions and societal transformations.

"These specialist skills and expertise are essential to enable Ireland to effectively leverage the full range of environmental, economic and societal opportunities offered by the green transition. I congratulate the successful research teams and look forward to seeing the project outputs making a positive contribution to environmental protection in the years ahead.”

The EPA places a high priority on promoting the uptake of funded research to inform policy and to maximise the impact of research and innovation. Reflecting the need for an integrated, cross-sectoral approach, the EPA is working in partnership with Met Éireann and Geological Survey Ireland to co-fund a number of projects.

Broadening the base

Of the successful lead research applicants supported through the call, more than 40% had not previously applied for funding to the EPA, broadening the base of the researchers and institutions engaging in research relevant to environmental policy.

University College Cork (UCC) received the highest number of successful research awards in 2023. Professor John Cryan, UCC vice president for research and innovation said: “I would like to thank the Environmental Protection Agency for continuing to award talented researchers. This allows them, through scientific research and innovation, to tackle critical environmental, climate, health, and sustainability issues.

"These awards will further strengthen UCC’s position as a recognised global leader in the field of Sustainability. Aligned to UCC Futures – Sustainability, these projects will enable UCC researchers to support environmental policies in Ireland, address key societal challenges caused by climate change, and help deliver a healthier environment for all.”

The list of awards made under the EPA Research Call 2023 is available on the EPA website.

The EPA Research Programme is a government initiative funded by the Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications. The EPA Research Call 2024 will open for applications in April 2024. Details will be made available on the EPA website.