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US-Ireland R&D Programme celebrates 17 years

The Health Research Board is delighted to support the latest round of awards under the programme in a joint investment worth almost €21 million between the partner agencies*.

Ireland-USA flags held over head in a jigsaw puzzle concept

The HRB is co-funding a University College Dublin (UCD) research group led by principal Investigator Professor Catherine Godson. This is their third US-Ireland award. The group, whose work aims to develop improved treatments for kidney disease, have been collaborating with Prof Peter Maxwell’s group in Queen’s University Belfast, and were the recipients of the first US-Ireland award ever made in 2008. 

HRB Chief Executive, Dr Mairéad O'Driscoll said:

“We are delighted to support Professor Godson’s work in kidney disease which represents a major public health problem worldwide. The HRB is committed to supporting highly innovative international collaboration through the US-Ireland R&D Programme to generate health benefits in Ireland and internationally.”

The project** will be co-funded by the Health Research Board (HRB) and Health and Social Care (HSC) Research and Development, Northern Ireland.

12 awards have been announced spanning 27 research institutions and supporting more than 35 research positions in the Republic of Ireland, and over 25 research positions in Northern Ireland, for three to five years. 

The funded projects include research in the areas of energy storage and conversion, wearable health diagnostics, 5G/6G communications and quantum networks.

Full details are available from the press release on the SFI website at


*The programme partners are the Health Research Board, Science Foundation Ireland, the National Science Foundation and National Institutes of Health in the USA; and the Department for the Economy (DfE) and the Health & Social Care R&D Division in Northern Ireland.

**Title: A functional genomics pipeline for genetic discovery in diabetic kidney disease.

Lead applicant: Prof Catherine Godson 

Co-applicants: Dr Eoin Brennan (RoI); Prof Peter Maxwell and Prof Amy Jayne McKnight(NI); Prof Jose Florez and Dr Gareth McKay as another NI co-investigator; and Prof Joel Hirschhorn (US)

Lead RoI institution: University College Dublin

Kidney disease is a common and devastating complication of diabetes, and represents a major public health problem worldwide. We have previously discovered inherited factors that influence risk of this complication in type 1 diabetes; in this cycle we propose to expand our approach to type 2 diabetes, increasing sample size seven-fold to augment the opportunities for genetic discovery.

In addition, by combining and integrating data from several complementary approaches (genomics, epigenetics, gene expression analysis and functional studies in model systems) we hope to identify genes and biological processes that impact the development of diabetic kidney disease, and may help guide the development of improved treatments and preventive measures.

Value of award including overhead: €908,860 (Direct: €700,000+ Overhead: €208,860) 50/50 co-fund with HRB
HSC R&D NI funding £517,493 d+o/h
NIH funding $3,214,863 d+o/h
Partner institutions:
NI: Queen’s University Belfast
US: Harvard Medical School and Mass General Hospital