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Taoiseach Micheál Martin and Minister Simon Harris award over €37m under Shared Island North-South Research Programme

Taoiseach Micheál Martin T.D. and Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science Simon Harris T.D. today awarded sixty-two collaborative research projects between academics and institutions in Ireland and in Northern Ireland a total of €37.3 million under the first funding call from the North-South Research Programme.

The North-South Research Programme is a collaborative scheme funded through the Government’s Shared Island Fund. It is being administered by the Higher Education Authority (HEA) on behalf of the Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science.

The awards ranging in value from €200,000 over two years to €4 million over four years are to be made to successful collaborations under three strands – Strand I: Bilateral researcher-researcher projects, Strand II: Emerging hubs of excellence and Strand III: Partnerships of scale.

Among the successful projects are:

  • All-Island Cancer Research Institute – a collaboration between University College Dublin and Queen’s University Belfast, the project brings ten academic institutions and their associated teaching hospitals across the island of Ireland together to examine the area of precision cancer medicine;
  • The All-Ireland Cancer Liquid Biopsies Consortium (CLuB) - a collaboration between Trinity College Dublin and Queen’s University Belfast will bring cohesive leadership, insights, novel approaches, excellence in research, training, and teaching collectively and on the individual components of Liquid Biopsies, feeding back into teaching North and South;
  • Atlantic Innovation Corridor - a collaboration between the National University of Ireland, Galway and Ulster University which will address how a complex distributed and multi-city region can foster sustainable innovation. Other partners in this project include Galway Mayo Institute of Technology and University of Limerick;
  • Stable Lives Safer Streets – a collaboration between the University of Limerick and Queen’s University Belfast looking at youth justice, community and youth work, trauma studies and community safety;
  • All-island Vaccine Research and Training Alliance – a collaboration between University College Dublin and Queen’s University Belfast examining the rise of antibiotic resistant bacteria (AMR).

Announcing the awards, Taoiseach Micheál Martin, said: “I’m delighted to see such substantial funding being awarded to researchers and Higher Education institutions from the North South Research Programme. 

“These awards will support the Government’s Shared Island vision by bringing researchers from all corners of the island together to work on pioneering projects over the next four years, and is not only strengthening existing relationships, but is fostering new research partnerships.

“I’m particularly impressed by the high level of interest and the calibre of the proposals, and I am confident that these cross-border collaborations will further strengthen the island’s reputation for innovation and research excellence".  Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, Simon Harris, said: “Research, science and innovation are invaluable tools in helping us understand the challenges facing us and identify solutions to them. “Today, we are announcing 62 new research projects developed by researchers across the island on our shared challenges. “This will deepen relationships between North South and help create and build new ones. I want to thank An Taoiseach for his support and the funding secured through the Shared Island Fund.” Higher Education Authority CEO, Dr Alan Wall, said: “The North-South Research Programme provides an opportunity for researchers work to combine knowledge, expertise and skills, to work collaboratively to address global, national and regional challenges and to deepen the relationships between researchers and the impact of their research on how we share this island.”

Last year, €40m was allocated from the Shared Island Fund over five years for the North-South Research programme. This significant development is aimed at supporting the deepening of links between higher education institutions, researchers and research communities on the island of Ireland, delivering all-island approaches to research and innovation.  As previously announced and agreed by Government there will be a second call under the Programme in 2023.  The scope and scale of the second call is currently under active consideration. The full list of North South Research Programme awardees under the first call can be found here. -Ends-


The Programme for Government includes a commitment to “support a North/South programme of research and innovation” and the North-South Research Programme is a significant step in the implementation of that commitment.

The programme will support research which will be of economic and social benefit to the island of Ireland. The key principles of the programme are as follows:

  • Strengthen research, innovation, development and collaboration in and between individuals and higher education institutions by rewarding innovation and excellence thereby enhancing the higher education sector, North and South;
  • Enhance the research, teaching and learning continuum and the skills, quality and relevance of graduate output;
  • Promote networks of excellence and partnerships of scale for research, innovation and development;
  • Contribute to policy development relevant to the Shared Island initiative and benefiting enterprise and communities, north and south;
  • Contribute to capacity building, place-making/innovation districts.


The Programme is being managed by the Higher Education Authority on behalf of the Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science.

The Programme is structured along the following three strands:

  1. Bilateral researcher-researcher projects

This will support individual researchers based in an Irish higher education institution (HEI) collaborating with a researcher in a HEI in Northern Ireland on an identified research project. 

  1. Emerging hubs of excellence

This strand supports research teams collaborating on an agreed work programme. 

III.           Institutional strategic research engagement 

Higher education institutions are supported to collaborate with each other on the basis of their respective institutional strategic research priorities.