Irish Research Council announce 2018 Researchers of the Year



Posted: 7 December, 2018

Professor Anna Davies

The winners of the 2018 Irish Research Council 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.

 

Dr Karen English, Professor Anna Davies and Dr Brian Egan

Professor Anna Davies, Trinity College Dublin, was awarded the Researcher of the Year award for her work in environmental governance and sustainability.

Dr Karen English, Maynooth University, was awarded the Early-Career Researcher of the Year award for her work on the translation of cellular therapy for the treatment of inflammatory diseases.

Dr Brian Egan, Senior Engineer at Wood, 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 ecosystem 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-career 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 and the arts, humanities and social sciences.

 

From left: Professor Eda Sagarra, Dr Stephen Lucek, Professor Maurice J Bric, Hannah Prendeville, Professor Thomas Mitchell, Joanna Poetz, Professor Anita Maguire (accepting on behalf of Dr Rohit Sharma), and Professor Jane Grimson.

Joanna Poetz, Trinity College Dublin, was awarded the Eda Sagarra Medal of Excellence for being the top-ranked postgraduate researcher in the arts, humanities and social sciences category. Ms Poetz’s research is in medieval studies, with her thesis based on the Waldensian texts.

Hannah Prendeville, Trinity College Dublin, was awarded the Jane Grimson Medal of Excellence for being the top-ranked postgraduate researcher in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics 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 arts, humanities and social sciences 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 science, technology, engineering and mathematics category. Dr. Sharma’s research is in the design and synthesis of rationally-designed novel antivirals.