Research 2019-2020

DCU’s research activities continue to address a whole range of key challenges facing the world today. From cancer research to sustainable energy, the University’s researchers are having an impact.

One of the major developments of 2020 was the official launch of Biodesign Europe - a new applied research centre at Dublin City University, created in partnership with Arizona State University’s Biodesign Institute. The new centre will focus on the discovery and translation of knowledge and the development of scientific innovations specifically in the areas of human health, community safety and global sustainability. 

There was more good news for DCU Research with the confirmation of new funding worth €43 million for the INSIGHT centre. Led by DCU’s Prof Noel O’Connor, this SFI centre is focused on data analytics research, and is jointly hosted by DCU, NUIG, UCC and UCD. In its first seven years, Insight produced over 2,000 publications, trained 184 postdoctoral graduates, established 11 spin out companies, and delivered an economic impact of €593m to the Irish economy.

In the area of Health Research, there were a number of key developments. Researchers at the National Institute of Cellular Biology began trials of a new treatment for breast cancer. DCU was announced as the lead partner for the €4m NATURE network - a major European project to support the development of new treatments for genetic diseases, based on research into nucleic acids.

In line with DCU’s mission to “transform lives and societies'', DCU researchers are also making a difference in the field of the environment and climate change. A team from the University published new data that shows how waste materials from the brewing industry can be harnessed to create energy. A group based in the DCU School of Physical Sciences  began research into chemical-free methods for cleaning wind turbines, while the DCU Water Institute published the results of its first Water Blitz - a project that enlisted the help of “citizen scientists” to test for pollution in Irish waterways. 

The University’s research is diverse. DCU researchers have been picking up unusual radio waves coming from a distant star, while in a separate DCU study it was found that Artificial Intelligence is not good at picking up on human emotions. Meanwhile, historical and literary researchers got access to the diaries of Sean Lester at DCU library. The papers had a remarkable journey to DCU, having been buried in a metal case next to a park bench in Geneva during World War II. They include correspondence between Sean Lester and James Joyce.