In order to help catapult Irish innovation to the world stage, and effect change globally, Science Foundation Ireland have launched the Future Innovator Prize. With €4m available across two challenges – AI for Societal Good and Zero Emissions – this competition offers Irish science the money to match its ambition.

Challenge-based funding is a solution-focused approach to research funding that uses prizes, strict timelines, teamwork and competition to direct research activities at ambitious societal problems

Science To The Rescue is an hour long documentary, presented by Trevor Vaugh (Big Life Fix),that got up close and personal with some of the challenge teams trying to win the prize funds. As the clock ticks down, we learn about the motivation behind their work and meet some of those who will benefit from their breakthroughs.

From a chance discovery in the lab which could lead to Ireland's first fully green battery, to a lifesaving blood test for the diagnosis of preeclampsia, a condition that affects one in ten women in pregnancy, it’s a tough ask for the international panel of judges. One of Ireland’s biggest carbon offenders, agriculture, is also tackled, as well as climate change adaptation in the developing world.

C-MINUS: Low energy carbon capture devices to enable on-site carbon capture and net negative carbon technologies. Enable low-energy carbon-capture and negative-carbon technologies.

Challenge: Carbon capture, removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, is technologically feasible, but not commercially viable, except for situations where carbon dioxide concentrations are high. The main reasons for this are that most current approaches use chemical capture, which have high energy costs associated with regeneration of the active material, and alternative physical capture processes are less energy intensive but suffer from poor performance. Carbon capture will have important future roles in industry, energy, negative emissions technologies such as bioenergy carbon capture and storage, as well as air quality and agriculture.

Solution: The C-MINUS team aims to develop a disruptive solution using advanced physisorbents that capture carbon even at low concentrations. These materials will form the basis for the design and manufacture of devices to be field tested with multiple end users. Ultimately, net decarbonisation of electricity generation, transportation, agriculture and commercial/residential sources of greenhouse gas emissions will be enabled. The team will work with industry partner, MoleculeRnD Ltd. to develop a prototype and field testing will be conducted in arid regions in South Africa as well as in other application areas.