Researchers from MaREI at UCC win award to address climate and environmental challenges

The EPA Research Call provides support for innovative research projects that will support policy and decision making, while also addressing environmental, climate change and sustainability challenges.

The new MaREI at UCC research projects to be funded by the EPA include: 

Professor Edmond Byrne (School of Engineering and Architecture and the Environmental Research Institute/MaREI)
Project Title: Deep Societal Innovation for Sustainability and Human Flourishing (DSIS).
Project Co-Leads: Professor Maggie O’Neill (Department of Sociology and Criminology and ISS21), Dr Ian Hughes (Environmental Research Institute/MaREI)
Funding amount: €593,519

The accelerating impacts of climate change, allied to the challenges of meeting 2030 goals (and beyond), has stirred a sense of urgency for policy responses and societal and behavioural changes needed to embark upon the structural transformations required to tackle pressing global challenges. DSIS seeks to develop a methodological basis for conceptualising the deep whole of society transformation required to engage on a trajectory towards authentic sustainability and human flourishing, which can create narratives for deep, rapid, whole of society transformation, and employ those narratives to inform policy making and public discourse on climate change and sustainability. DSIS is an inter- and transdisciplinary, inter-institutional, and international initiative, anchored at, and emanating from a well-developed research base in this area at UCC, and includes researchers and academics from MaREI and ISS21.

Dr Niall Dunphy (School of Engineering and Architecture and the Environmental Research Institute)
Project Title: JustCities Hub
Project Co-Leads: Dr Alexandra Revez (MaREI), Professor Brian Ó Gallachóir (Associate Vice-President of Sustainability at UCC and Director of the Environmental Research Institute), Dr Gerard Mullally (Department of Sociology and Criminology)
Funding amount: €593,579

JustCities Hub encapsulates a combined concern for embracing the challenges of climate action and promoting stable, just, and healthy urban environments. It adopts a nested research design with emphasis on the connection between scientific knowledge and practice. On the one hand it seeks to capture and explore timely knowledge on enabling climate justice change in the city and on the other it seeks to engage in problem-solving and evaluating solutions for climate change from a transdisciplinary and multi-stakeholder perspective. The project also explores and evaluates mechanisms for mobilising the development of micro-interventions, in a manner that supports, encourages, and empowers the potential and the diverse spaces of civic engagement within the city. Furthermore, it provides a strategic plan to bolster climate justice in the city through co-creation and foresight activities.

Dr Archishman Bose (School of Engineering and Architecture and the Environmental Research Institute/MaREI)
Project Title: Mapping the Role of End-of-Life Tyres for a Sustainable Circular Economy in Ireland (ENTYRE)
Project Co-Leads: Dr Gillian Collins (School of Chemistry) and Dr Richard O’Shea (School of Engineering and Architecture)
Funding amount: €143,071

Tyres are the wheels of modern civilisation. In the European Union (EU), over three hundred million units of tyres are sold annually. These tyres, evidently reach their end of life (EOL) and requires disposal, reuse, or repurposing. Upcoming local and EU regulations will severely limit the current uses of EOL tyres and would require critical analyses of the alternative pathways of use and repurposing of waste tyres in Ireland. Accordingly, this project, Mapping the Role of End-of-Life Tyres for a Sustainable Circular Economy in Ireland (ENTYRE), is aimed at performing a deep review of existing practices and literature regarding utilisation pathways of waste EOL tyres in terms of their techno-economic and environmental impacts as well as from the light of current and upcoming local (Irish) and international (EU) policies. Through the interaction with relevant stakeholders, industries, and decision makers using questionnaires and workshop (s), this 12-month project will aim to produce industry and policy papers and briefs for valorisation of EOL tyres in Ireland.

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.
Laura Burke
Director General
I would like to thank the Environmental Protection Agency for continuing to award talented researchers that 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.
Professor John Cryan
Vice President for Research and Innovation