10 new research positions for both PhD students and postdocs are to be created after two UCD researchers, Dr Barry Molloy and Professor Susi Geiger received European Research Council (ERC) Consolidator Grants worth €2 million each. The grants will be distributed over 5 years and will be used to pursue ground breaking new research into business and archaeology.

Dr Molloy was awarded the grant for his project entitled ‘The Fall of 1200 BC’. This project will explore the collapse of Europe’s first urban civilisation in the Aegean and proto-urban groups of the Balkans at the end of the Bronze Age (ca. 1300-1000 BC). In particular it will focus on the role of migration and conflict as factors shaping rapid social change and so the project aims to uncover the human face of this turning point in European prehistory. The Fall research team, led by Dr Molloy, will examine the remains of the people who experienced that crisis first hand and their material world to better understand the effects that the movement of people, and the spread of new traditions, had on their social worlds.

Dr Barry Molloy, whose research focus is on Mediterranean and European prehistory said, “I am delighted to receive this prestigious ERC Consolidator Grant which will enable me to build a new research team of 5 PhD students and post-docs to carry out cutting-edge social science research at University College Dublin.”

He added, “The funding for this project will allow us to explore historic realities behind hotly debated ancient tales of migrations for the first time by using recent advances in genetic and isotopic methods that can measure human mobility. Looking at how the dead were honoured – or not – by the people who buried them will be a key factor that will enable cutting edge science to help define relations between personal mobility and status, gender, identity and health. This will provide new insights into social scenarios in which people moved between groups.”

Professor Geiger will receive her funding for a study entitled, ‘Misfires and Market Innovation’. The Misfires project refocuses the issues of market failures and market design from economic principles of supply and demand towards collaboration and participation. It will investigate problems and concerns in biomedical markets, such as overpricing, limited access to medicines and data privacy issues, and establish how alternative market instruments could be conceived to solve these problems.

The project will first ask how market failures in biomedical markets can be identified and diagnosed and secondly how government bodies, medical and pharmaceutical industries, patient groups and other actors can work together to solve these market failures. The overall objective of the project is to guide new academic and policy thinking by establishing what research can do to make markets more inclusive and to open them up to the concerns of those who are let down by them. The project has a collaborative design, and Professor Geiger and her team hope to work closely with all stakeholders in healthcare markets, in particular patient groups and representatives.


Professor Geiger said “This prestigious ERC Consolidator Grant will enable me to hire 5 new researchers including PhD students and post-docs to open the ‘black box’ of market design and perform societally relevant research at University College Dublin.”

“We need new conceptual frameworks to understand how to re-organise societally significant markets such as healthcare from the inside to give voice to otherwise disadvantaged groups within these markets, and we urgently need empirical insights into how collaborative action in markets with social and political stakes may translate into market innovation.”

ERC Consolidators Grants are awarded under the ‘excellent science pillar’ of Horizon 2020, the European Union’s research and innovation programme. Researchers of any nationality with 7-12 years of experience since completion of PhD, a scientific track record showing great promise and an excellent research proposal can apply for an ERC Consolidator Grant.

Rachel O’Neill – Editor