Science Foundation Ireland

CONNECT’s Ivan O’Connell wins US-Ireland funding award

Dr Ivan O’Connell, CONNECT Funded Investigator and Head of Precision Circuits at the Microelectronic Circuits Centre Ireland (MCCI) in Tyndall National Institute, has won a funding award in the US-Ireland R&D Partnership Programme.

Partner agencies in the funding scheme include Science Foundation Ireland, the Department for the Economy in Northern Ireland, and the National Science Foundation in the United States.

Ivan is the lead applicant on a project entitled “Enabling next generation integrated optoelectronics with free-form metamaterials based on graphene”. Tyndall National Institute is the lead institution. The total value of the award is €442,860, and the co-applicants are Dr Hamza Shakeel (Queen’s University Belfast) and Prof Berardi Sensale-Rodriguez (University of Utah).

The project will enable next-generation optical communications, extending the reach and capability of existing fibre optical communication networks. In particular, the team will develop optical components which are compact, energy-efficient, silicon-compatible, and reconfigurable, for use in communication and sensing applications. The researchers will also explore the integration of 2-D materials with nanophotonic structures designed through the recently proposed free-form metamaterials concept.

It is one of only four awards announced as part of a joint investment of €12 million through a tripartite research and development partnership between the United States of America, Ireland and Northern Ireland.

Prof Mark Ferguson, Director General of Science Foundation Ireland and Chief Scientific Adviser to the Government of Ireland, welcomed the announcement: “I would like to congratulate all of the award recipients and their collaborators, who are forging innovation and discovery across the Atlantic, with the potential to greatly benefit our collective societies and economies. The continued success of the US-Ireland R&D Partnership Programme demonstrates the strong open relationship between our countries and highlights Ireland’s scientific standing internationally.”

The US-Ireland Research and Development Partnership, launched in July 2006, aims to increase the level of collaborative R&D amongst researchers and industry professionals across the three jurisdictions. It uses a ‘single-proposal, single-review’ approach, focuses on prioritised thematic areas, including sensors, telecommunications, energy and sustainability, health and agriculture.

For more information on the programme, visit

Press release from SFI:


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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