The Asthma Society, The Irish Thoracic Society And Novartis Announce Asthma Research Bursary Worth €10,000

09 Dec 2020

Asthma Research Bursary Application deadline extened to March 31st

Dr. Laura Walsh announced as recipient of Asthma Research Bursary 2020

(2021 Project Criteria at bottom of page)

The Asthma Society of Ireland, the Irish Thoracic Society and Novartis today announced Dr. Laura Walsh as the winner of the 2020 Asthma Research Bursary worth €10,000.  Dr. Walsh is a second year Specialist Registrar in Respiratory Medicine in Cork University Hospital. Her project entitled; “A study to assess the impact of airway virus on asthma control in non-exacerbating patients,” will examine the lung virome to identify how viral colonisation contributes to asthma control and whether or not there is seasonal variation in the airway viral burden.

Describing her research project, Dr. Laura Walsh explained: “It is well known that asthma exacerbations are often triggered by viral infection[1]. It has also been postulated that recurrent exposure to viral infections such as respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) in childhood increases the risk of later developing asthma particularly if there is a significant family history of asthma[2].

There is emerging evidence that anti-viral activity is altered in those with asthma, making those with asthma more susceptible to infection including superimposed bacterial infection and exacerbations[3].

Despite this, little is known about the lung virome and the role viruses plays in non-exacerbating asthmatics. This research project aims to examine the lung virome to identify how viral colonisation contributes to asthma control and whether or not there is seasonal variation in the airway viral burden.”

A call for applications for the2021 Asthma Research Bursary is now open.

The bursary, which is a joint collaboration between the Asthma Society of Ireland, the Irish Thoracic Society and Novartis Ireland, will see the successful applicant(s) granted €10,000 to fund an asthma focused research project that aims to improve the lives of people with asthma and their families.

More information on the Asthma Research Bursary and the application form can be found on and

Emily Blennerhasset, interim CEO of the Asthma Society said: “We would like to wish the 2020 Asthma Research Bursary recipient, Dr. Laura Walsh, the best of luck with her research project and we are looking forward to seeing the findings of her research. 

This bursary is an important initiative to help improve asthma care in Ireland and we are delighted to once again partner with the Irish Thoracic Society and Novartis Ireland to provide an Asthma Research Bursary for 2021.  We look forward to welcoming applications that will further improve our understanding of asthma as a condition.”

Dr Aidan O’Brien, President of the Irish Thoracic Society, said: “The Irish Thoracic Society is delighted to jointly open the call for applications for the Asthma Research Bursary 2021, in what will be the 10th year since the establishment of this important initiative.  In its role of administering the bursary the Irish Thoracic Society research review panel has noted the high standard of research applications submitted in each round of the bursary scheme and successful projects have contributed significantly to knowledge and the clinical care of people with asthma in Ireland.  We know that Dr Walsh’s project will be no exception.”

Audrey Derveloy, Managing Director, Novartis Ireland said: “Novartis are delighted to collaborate with the Asthma Society of Ireland and the Irish Thoracic Society to support the Asthma Research Bursary. This bursary facilitates crucial research in the area of asthma, ultimately improving outcomes for patients in the long-term. We are sure Dr Walsh’s research will be no exception to this, and wish all applicants for the 2021 bursary the very best of luck.”

Applications for the 2021 Asthma Research Bursary are due by 18-01-2021 and should be submitted by email to: 

Asthma Researhc Bursary Criteria 

Applications are invited for the ASI / ITS Asthma Research Bursary. The focus of the 2021 awards is to support a new research project which when implemented will improve the quality of care delivered to people with asthma and/or their families. This competition is open to all medical and allied healthcare professionals in the Republic of Ireland who are members of the Irish Thoracic Society. The bursary is supported by Novartis through an unrestricted educational grant.


Proposals must comprise a research project which will have a defined benefit for people with asthma and/or their families.

To be eligible; applicants must:

Be a registered medical or allied health professional and a member of the Irish Thoracic Society.
Be employed in the Irish health services, whether public or private, or alternatively be an academic in an Irish research institution.
Have support/approval from the employer/department head in which the research is being carried out.
Conform to the ethical requirements of best research practice.

The successful candidate will be announced in April 2021. The successful applicant will be required to present their work at the ITS Annual Scientific Meeting 2021 through submission of an abstract.

Selection will be made on the basis of scientific and expert evaluation of the application and the proposed work as set out in the project description. The scoring criteria are as follows: clarity of hypothesis, innovation, feasibility, candidate eligibility and research track record, wider asthma research and implications for patient quality of life.

Independent reviewers will be selected by a Joint Committee of the Asthma Society of Ireland and the Irish Thoracic Society to carry out this task and the final decision will be

made by this Committee with the assistance of the reviewers’ assessments. Reviewers’ assessments are strictly confidential and cannot be divulged outside the ASI/ITS, or to the candidates themselves. Early career researchers are encouraged to apply.

The successful applicant will be required to submit reports at regular intervals throughout the duration of the research and an end-of-project report within a month of the end of the project. This report will be published on the ASI and ITS Websites.


A detailed Project Description is required that does not exceed 1500 words (excluding references). It must contain in sufficient scientific, medical and/or technical detail all of the following points:

  • Introduction
  • Objectives and underlying hypothesis;
  • Material, methods, procedures;
  • Relevance to asthma patients and/or their families;
  • Relationship to your past, current and future professional activities;
  • Reason(s) for choice of host institution;
  • Reference to recent work/publications in the field.
  • Current Curriculum Vitae, including publications and presentations
  • One page summary of how you propose to use the funding.
  • Letter of support from intended supervisor of project (if applicable).

Applications are due by 31/03/2021 and should be submitted by email to:

For further enquiries contact:

Suzanne McCormack, CEO The Irish Thoracic Society, Tel - 01 5677201

Email -