Science Foundation Ireland

CONNECT researchers win Charlemont Awards

Dr Rachel O’Dwyer and Dr Andrei Marinescu, CONNECT Research Fellows at Trinity College Dublin, have received Charlemont Awards from the Royal Irish Academy. The Charlemont Award is a travel grant to support short overseas visits to advance primary research in a particular subject area.

Here is a summary of their research projects:

How to make the best use of renewable energy for charging electric vehicles (Andrei Marinescu)

Andrei will travel to Transilvania University of Brasov in Romania this summer to research ways of reducing the cost of charging electric vehicles for residential users while also decreasing the demand on the electricity grid at peak times. He will use machine learning to forecast daily household energy usage, predict the availability of renewable energy, and facilitate the creation of accurate schedules for dispatching renewable energy to electric vehicles.

Peak-time energy usage is expected to grow by 30% by 2030 due to the rise in popularity of electric vehicles. Traditional grids will not be able to handle this increase without either significant upgrades in infrastructure and generation facilities, or advanced demand response programs.

Andrei will use specialist hardware at the POWERELMA Research Group, which is part of the Advanced Electrical Systems Research Centre in Transilvania University of Brasov. This laboratory equipment includes generation facilities for renewable energy (solar, wind, hydro), a 19.2kWh battery energy storage unit, and access to an electrical vehicle. In addition, the host researchers have expertise in microgrids, power electronics, renewable energy and energy storage systems.

How are blockchain technologies transforming the art market? (Rachel O’Dwyer)

Blockchains are increasingly being used to disrupt business models in the creative and cultural industries, including how artworks are funded, sold, and copyright protected. A clear understanding of the implications of this technology for the creative industries is extremely important, particularly while such innovations are still nascent. While numerous journal articles, releases and industry whitepapers are available on the subject, it is difficult to separate the hope from the hype.

This research aims to explore and analyse the state-of-the-art in the application of blockchains to physical artworks. It also aims to map the ecosystem of key stakeholders at the intersection of blockchain technologies and the creative/cultural industries in Ireland and the UK. These include fintech companies, art-trading platforms, artists and gallerists currently experimenting with the use of blockchains for the sale of contemporary art.

Rachel will travel to the UK to interview these stakeholders. She is well placed to pursue this interdisciplinary work as she is a graduate of fine arts who has since turned to social studies and technology research.


CONNECT is the world leading Science Foundation Ireland Research Centre for Future Networks and Communications. CONNECT is funded under the Science Foundation Ireland Research Centres Programme and is co-funded under the European Regional Development Fund. We engage with over 35 companies including large multinationals, SMEs and start-ups. CONNECT brings together world-class expertise from ten Irish academic institutes to create a one-stop-shop for telecommunications research, development and innovation.

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