The winners of the Irish Research Council 2018 ‘Researcher of the Year’ awards have been revealed.
Now in their second year, the Researcher of the Year awards recognise and commend the very best of the Council’s current awardees or alumni working in academia, industry, civic society or the public sector.
Professor Anna Davies, Trinity College Dublin, was awarded the ‘Researcher of the Year’ award for her research in environmental governance and sustainability. Professor Davies is Principal Investigator at the Environmental Governance Research Group.
Dr. Karen English, Maynooth University, was awarded the ‘Early-Career Researcher of the Year’ award for her research on the translation of cellular therapy for the treatment of inflammatory diseases. Dr. English leads the Cellular Immunology Laboratory at the Institute of Immunology at Maynooth University.
Dr. Brian Egan, Senior Engineer, Wood Plc., was awarded the ‘Alumnus of the Year’ award for making a highly significant contribution in his field, outside of academia. Dr. Egan’s expertise is in the area of advanced structural analysis and engineering design, which is critical to ensuring that heavy industries can meet the challenges of the future whilst remaining financially and environmentally sustainable.
Congratulating the awardees, Minister of State for Training, Skills, Innovation, Research and Development, John Halligan, TD said: “I would like to warmly congratulate Professor Anna Davies, Dr. Karen English and Dr. Brian Egan on receiving their Irish Research Council Researcher of the Year awards.
“Their exceptional careers are a testament to the quality and calibre of people in Ireland’s research sector and I would like to commend them on their hard work and dedication to their chosen field.
“Supporting exceptional researchers from early-career stage and ensuring that we have pipeline for a broad range of expertise, is essential for our research eco-system and future-proofs our higher education sector.”
Chair of the Irish Research Council, Professor Jane Ohlmeyer, congratulated the three awardees: “I am delighted to congratulate Professor Anna Davies, Dr. Karen English and Dr. Brian Egan on receiving their awards.
“Each of the winners represent very different research disciplines, demonstrating the breadth of excellent research that is currently being funded by the Council and underway in Ireland – the impact of which ripples through multiple aspects of Irish life.
“Having a vibrant research community – and strong public support for research – is more important than ever. The Researcher of the Year awards are all about recognising the excellence in the sector and how important research is for society, the economy, and our higher education system.
“We received many nominations of current and previously Council-funded researchers. All three of the awardees were selected for their outstanding track records to date and I would like to wish them all the very best in their future careers.”
Medals of Excellence
In addition to the 'Researcher of the Year' awards, the Council presented ‘Medals of Excellence’ to four early-stage researchers.
Each of the 'Medals of Excellence' have been named after previous Chairs of the Irish Research Council and recognise excellence in the 2018 postgraduate and postdoctoral funding calls run by the Council in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) and the arts, humanities and social sciences (AHSS).
Joanna Poetz, Trinity College Dublin, was awarded the ‘Eda Sagarra Medal of Excellence’ for being the top-ranked postgraduate researcher in the AHSS category. Ms. Poetz’s research is in medieval studies, with her thesis based on the ‘Waldensian’ texts.
Ms. Hannah Prendeville, Trinity College Dublin, was awarded the ‘Jane Grimson Medal of Excellence’ for being the top-ranked postgraduate researcher in the STEM category. Ms. Prendeville’s research investigates the role of different lipid rich diets on anti-tumour immunity.
Dr. Stephen Lucek, University College Dublin, was awarded the ‘Maurice J Bric Medal of Excellence’ for being the top-ranked postdoctoral researcher in the AHSS category. Dr. Lucek’s research is focused on adolescents’ use of language in Irish secondary schools.
Dr. Rohit Sharma, University College Cork, was awarded the ‘Thomas Mitchell Medal of Excellence’ for being the top-ranked postdoctoral researcher in the STEM category. Dr. Sharma’s research is in the design and synthesis of rationally-designed novel antivirals.