News Release

Irish universities in €4.7 million global drive to train data analysts for neuroscience

NeuroInsight Fellowship research programme aims to improve quality of life for people with neurological conditions including motor neuron disease, epilepsy and Parkinson's disease

Grant and Award Announcement


Wednesday, 5 May 2021: NeuroInsight, a new research training programme led by RCSI University of Medicine and Health Sciences, has been awarded a Marie Sk?odowska-Curie Actions (MSCA) COFUND worth €4.7 million. The programme will see scientists, from around the world, working in Ireland to develop advanced data skills for research into neurological conditions including motor neuron disease, epilepsy and Parkinson's disease.

The NeuroInsight Fellowship programme has been established by RCSI-hosted FutureNeuro, the SFI Research Centre for Chronic and Rare Neurological Disease, in partnership with Insight, the SFI Research Centre for Data Analytics. The two centres will deliver an integrated and applied training programme for research fellows, building upon respective health and data analytics expertise available across the two SFI centres. Collectively, FutureNeuro and Insight already support over 500 researchers who are working on a new generation of neuroscience and data analytics technologies.

The voice of people living with neurological conditions will be at the core of the programme, with all projects under the scheme designed with input from patients at the outset. The researchers will also be seconded to hospital and industry settings during their fellowships, to ensure their findings are transferable to devices, diagnostics or treatments that ultimately improve the lives of people impacted by neurological disease.

NeuroInsight will offer 24-month fellowships to 33 experienced researchers from around the world who will work on projects across the FutureNeuro and Insight centres. The programme will equip this future generation of research leaders with competencies in fields such as precision medicine and artificial intelligence.

NeuroInsight programme lead, Prof. Gianpiero Cavalleri, Deputy Director of FutureNeuro and Professor of Human Genetics at RCSI School of Pharmacy and Biomolecular Sciences said: "As a society, and particularly in our healthcare systems, we are generating more and more data, insights from which can help us better understand and treat neurological disease. This programme is about training and equipping the next generation of researchers to safely and effectively engage with these datasets in a manner that positively impacts on the lives of people with neurological conditions."

"NeuroInsight is a significant programme that will bring together Ireland's leading researchers in the fields of neurosciences, e-health and data analytics. Partnering with the Insight Centre, we will work to create a culture of patient-centric entrepreneurship that will ultimately transform the patient journey for people with chronic and rare neurological conditions."

Prof. Alan Smeaton, Academic Lead for NeuroInsight from the Insight Centre said: "Data analytics and Artificial Intelligence are now at the core of much of our work, our leisure and our health activities though it is not always obvious and apparent that they are being used in our day-to-day lives. There is huge opportunity to work with our colleagues in FutureNeuro and with patient organisations to apply such techniques to improve the lives of people living with neurological conditions and we look forward to meeting the challenges and making an impact."

Prof. Fergal O'Brien, Director of Research and Innovation at RCSI said: "As a university with a singular focus on health sciences, we are proud that our FutureNeuro centre will lead and co-fund the NeuroInsight Fellowship programme in partnership with Insight. I look forward to seeing the outcomes of these important research projects that will address some of the healthcare challenges arising from neurological conditions across the globe."

Prof. Mark Ferguson, Director General of Science Foundation Ireland and Chief Scientific Adviser to the Government of Ireland, said "The NeuroInsight Fellowship programme confirms Ireland's position as a European leader in advanced research training. The significant funding that the NeuroInsight programme has attracted is a testament to the critical mass of expertise brought together by FutureNeuro and Insight and highlights the world class standard of our SFI Research Centres. This collaboration will influence the lives of many people living with neurological conditions for years to come."

For expressions of interest in the NeuroInsight programme, please visit

This project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Sk?odowska-Curie grant agreement No 101034252.


About FutureNeuro SFI Research Centre

FutureNeuro is the SFI Research Centre for Chronic and Rare Neurological Disease, hosted by RCSI University of Medicine and Health Sciences. Its partner institutions are Trinity College Dublin, Dublin City University, National University of Ireland, Galway, Waterford Institute of Technology, University College Cork and University College Dublin.

The FutureNeuro objective is to change the patient journey through research informed by the needs of both patients and neurologists. This includes developing rapid and accurate tools for diagnosis, the development of therapies to correct damaged brain networks, technologies to enable patients to monitor their own health and well-being, and linking this to Ireland's national imaging, diagnostics and eHealth infrastructure.

FutureNeuro connects national and multinational industry with key academics and clinicians based in Ireland's leading hospitals to provide diagnostic, therapeutic and eHealth solutions. Its projects with industry partners bring diagnostic supports to market, a pipeline of new drugs, and connected health solutions that enable patients to monitor and report their health better than ever before. Visit to learn more.

About Insight SFI Research Centre for Data Analytics

Insight SFI Research Centre for Data Analytics is a joint initiative between researchers at Dublin City University, NUI Galway, University College Cork and University College Dublin, as well as other partner institutions. It brings together a critical mass of more than 400 researchers from Ireland's leading ICT centres to develop a new generation of data analytics technologies in a number of key application areas. Visit to learn more.

About RCSI University of Medicine and Health Sciences

RCSI University of Medicine and Health Sciences is a world-leading university for Good Health and Well-being. Ranked second in the world for its contribution to UN Sustainable Development Goal 3 in the Times Higher Education Impact Rankings 2021, it is exclusively focused on education and research to drive improvements in human health worldwide.

RCSI is an international not-for-profit university, headquartered in Dublin. It is among the top 250 universities worldwide in the World University Rankings (2021) and its research is ranked first in Ireland for citations. RCSI has been awarded Athena Swan Bronze accreditation for positive gender practice in higher education.

Visit the RCSI MyHealth Expert Directory to find the details of our experts across a range of healthcare issues and concerns. Recognising their responsibility to share their knowledge and discoveries to empower people with information that leads them to better health, these clinicians and researchers are willing to engage with the media in their area of expertise.


Co-funding of regional, national and international programmes (COFUND) provides organisations with additional financial support for their own researcher training and career development programmes.

The extra funds are available for new or existing schemes for training researchers abroad and across various sectors. COFUND supports doctoral programmes for PhD candidates, as well as fellowship programmes for experienced researchers.

Experienced researchers and doctoral candidates apply directly to the relevant funding organisation through vacancies for co-funded programmes on Euraxess, which is a jobs portal for researchers.

Participating organisations receive a fixed amount for each supported researcher, as a contribution to their living allowance and for the programme's management costs. Selected programmes will receive co-funding for up to five years, for a maximum total amount of EUR 10 million. See more here.

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