Congratulations to Prof. Frederic Dias and Charlotte O’Kelly

JPEG The European Research Council (ERC) has announced the winners of the latest competition for its top-up funding, ’Proof of Concept’. Among a total of 67 researchers, who already hold ERC grants, 4 winners are from Ireland, and one of them is a French Professor from Ecole Normale Supérieure Cachan, (Paris) who is currently working at UCD, in the School of Mathematical Sciences.

The grantee will receive more than €150,000 to bring his pioneering ’blue sky’ research closer to the market, in cooperation with an Irish SME named TechWorks Marine, a company co-founded in 2002 by French-Irish Charlotte O’Kelly, to provide products and services to a range of sectors including offshore renewable energy, coastal engineering, ports and harbors, oil and gas, aquaculture, water and utilities, academia, research and statutory monitoring.

The objective of their work is to measure ’rogue waves’ in extreme sea conditions: recently, a new type of wave buoy reportedly measured a record wave height of 23.4 meters off the Northwestern coast of Ireland. Prof. Dias and Charlotte O’Kelly aim to produce finely-attuned sensors for a similar buoy specially designed to measure such ’rogue waves’ in extreme sea conditions.

During his previous ERC project Frederic studied the fundamental mechanisms underlying the physics of rogue waves – large coherent structures which emerge from a turbulent background. However, testing his theories about these structures proved more difficult, given the low reliability of conventional buoy measurements, especially in extreme conditions. So Dias has now secured a Proof-of-Concept grant to test his own measurement system, combining his research on the physics of extreme waves with the recent developments in buoy design, in order to optimize the new technology for waves of high amplitude and steepness. Commercial applications, if successful, would include marine renewable energies, shipping, marine forecasting, and ocean observation.

For more information,


Frederic Dias:

Charlotte O’Kelly:

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Published on 17/05/2017

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