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Horizon 2020 - Ireland to lead five major health projects

In the 2019 funding round, Irish health researchers secured almost €16.9 million. This represents 2.5% of the available budget and is the largest Irish drawdown to date in Horizon 2020.

€16.9 million for Ireland in 2019 in EU research funding for health

Dr Darrin Morrissey, Chief Executive at the Health Research Board says,

'Irish researchers punch above their weight when it comes to accessing Horizon 2020 research funding. From European Commission figures, per capita, Ireland is the third highest recipient of health research funding, and in absolute terms we rank 11th overall in health. In the six years so far of Horizon 2020 Ireland has received €76.5 million in funding for health and we are on well on track to achieve the €80 million drawdown target set for the country’s health researchers'.

The HRB has two dediciated staff who support Irish health resarchers to access EU research funds.

Ms Kay Duggan Walls, National Contact Point for Horizon 2020 Health, HRB, continues,

'While this round of funding will bring in €16.9 million directly to Ireland, the total value of the projects of which they are a part is €145 million.

'The €16.9 million is spread among 19 projects with Irish participants. Irish researchers lead or coordinate five of these 19 projects. Those five Irish-led projects will address areas such as maternal diabetes, mental health, osteoarthritis, facilitating independent living for ageing populations, and artifical intelligence to monitor mental health post cancer treatment'.

The five Irish coordinators are:

1. Sharleen O’Reilly, University College Dublin (UCD), School of Agriculture and Food Science. ImpactDiabetesB2B. A low resource system of care intervention for appropriate gestational weight gain and improved postnatal outcomes.

This project will identify women early in pregnancy at highest risk of developing gestational diabetes and work with them right through to the end of their baby's first year using personalised health coaching delivered via a smartphone App. The project has nine partners in total including ones from Denmark, the UK, Spain and Australia. The project will bring €1.5 million to Ireland and has a total funding allocation of €4 million.

2. Ella Arensman and Birgit Greiner, UCC, School Public Health and National Suicide Research Foundation, MINDUP. Mental health promotion and intervention in occupational settings.

The project aims to improve mental health and wellbeing in the workplace by developing, implementing and evaluating a comprehensive, multilevel intervention targeting both clinical and non-clinical mental health issues. Some of the 17 project partners include: the European Alliance Against Depression; the Australian 'Mates in Construction' (a workplace intervention to reduce suicide in construction workers); the National Suicide Research Foundation; and Pintail. The project will bring approximately €1 million to Ireland, and has a total funding allocation of €4 million. Professor Arensman is an HRB Research Leader.

3. Mary Murphy and Frank Barry, NUI Galway, AutoCRAT. Automated cellular robot-assisted technologies for translation of discovery-led research in osteoarthritis.

This project will generate human articular chondrocytes from induced pluripotent stem cells for cartilage repair to prevent development of osteoarthritis. It will develop a manufacturing pipeline composed of automated regulatory-compliant robotic systems for the production of adult mesenchymal stem cells to treat established disease. The project has nine partners in total. Valitacell and Pintail are the Irish partners. This project will bring €2.4 million to Ireland and has a total funding allocation of €7.5 million.

4. Malcolm McLachlan and Michael Cooke, Maynooth University, ALL (Assisting Living & Learning) Institute, and Department of Psychology. SHAPES. Smart and healthy ageing through people engaging in supportive systems.

This project aims to create the first European open Ecosystem enabling the large-scale deployment of a broad range of digital solutions for supporting and extending healthy and independent living for older individuals who are facing permanently or temporarily reduced functionality and capabilities. There are 36 partners in total. The Irish partners are University College Cork, Access Earth Limited and Maynooth University (Coordinator). The project will bring  €3.3 million to Ireland and has a total funding allocation of €18.7 million.

5. Gary McManus and Jim Clarke, Waterford IT, TSSG, FAITH. A federated artificial intelligence solution for monitoring mental health status after cancer treatment.

The aim of the project is to apply the latest artificial intelligence and big data analytics techniques to better model and predict disease/treatment trajectories of cancer patients with the goal of improving their quality of life and aftercare. The project will be applying the concept of federated machine learning. The project has nine partners including ones from Spain, Portugal, Italy and Cyprus. The Irish partners are Euro Care Healthcare Ltd, TFC Research & Innovation Ltd and Waterford IT (Coordinator). The project will bring €1.7 million to Ireland and has a total funding allocation of €4.8 million.

The other projects which involved Irish partners were:

  1. Appropriate use of Caesarean section through QUALIty DECision-making by women and providers, QUALI-DEC, Michael Robson, National Maternity Hospital, University College Dublin.
  2. Big data models and intelligence tools for quality of life monitoring and participatory empowerment of head and neck cancer survivors, BD4QoL, IBM Ireland.
  3. Brain Involvement iN Dystrophinopathies, BIND, Vincent Kelly, Trinity College Dublin and Transpharmation Ireland Ltd.
  4. Cancer Long Survivors Artificial Intelligence Follow up, Clarify, Vit Novacek, Insight, NUI Galway and Dirk Fey, Systems Biology, University College Dublin.
  5. Computational biomechanics and bioengineering 3D printing to develop a personalised regenerative biological ventricular assisted device to provide lasting functional support to damaged hearts, BRAV3, Boston Scientific.
  6. Development, diagnostic and prevention of gender-related Somatic and mental COmorbitiEs in iRritable bowel syndrome In Europe, DISCOvERIE, John Cryan, University College Cork.
  7. Digital, risk-based screening for atrial fibrillation in the European Community, Affect-EU, Claire Buckley, University College Cork and Breda Smyth, Health Service Executive.
  8. Flagellin aerosol therapy as an immunomodulatory adjunct to the antibiotic treatment of drug-resistant bacterial pneumonia, FAIR, Aerogen.
  9. Magnet4Europe: Improving Mental Health and Wellbeing in the Health Care Workplace, Magnet4Europe, Jonathan Drennan, University College Cork.
  10. MiCrovasculaR rarefaction in vascular Cognitive Impairment and heart failure, CRUCIAL, Crowdhelix.
  11. Smart living homes – whole interventions demonstrator for people at health and social risks, Gatekeeper, ECHAlliance Company Ltd.
  12. Up-scaling the global univocal identification of medicines, Unicom, Department of Health, Health Products Regulatory Authority and the Irish Pharmacy Union.
  13. Value-based methodology for integrated care supported by ICT, Valuecare, Aine Carroll, University College Dublin.
  14. Widening Sino-EU policy and research cooperation in Personalised Medicine, SINO-EU-PerMed, Mairead O’Driscoll, Health Research Board.

Ms Kay Duggan-Walls, the National Contact Point for Health, HRB, can give an insight into what Irish researchers are working on in health research in Europe and is available to help and advise on your application for EU funding. She can be reached at:

e KDugganWalls@hrb.ie
t +353 1 2345187
m + 353 85 8868183