IRC Researcher of the Year 2022 winners

Professor Robert Gerwarth named Irish Research Council Researcher of the Year

Posted: 6 December, 2022

Dr. Edoardo Celeste wins Early Career Researcher of the Year, with Professor Judith Harford named as Impact Award winner

Modern history expert and author, Professor Robert Gerwarth, University College Dublin, has won the distinguished Irish Research Council Researcher of the Year Award for 2022.

Now in their sixth year, the Researcher of the Year Awards commend the exceptional Irish Research Council funded researchers making considerable contributions to knowledge, society, culture, or innovation. The winners announced today were selected by an independent expert panel, chaired by Professor Áine Hyland.

Winner of the overall Researcher of the Year Award, Robert Gerwarth, is Professor of Modern History at University College Dublin and Director of the UCD Centre for War Studies. His field of expertise is 20th-century Europe, with a particular emphasis on the history of political violence and armed conflict.

While Professor Gerwarth’s principal area of interest lies in World War I, World II and German history, one of his main objectives as a scholar has been to connect different national experiences in European countries. His research has seen him examine how the Irish War of Independence and Irish Civil War relate to other examples of extreme violence in Europe, in particular in the first half of the twentieth century.

Professor Gerwarth is the author of several acclaimed popular history books, and his work has been translated into 30 languages.

Professor Gerwarth says that his first IRC award, a 2008 Major Thematic Research Grant held jointly with Professor John Horne (Trinity College Dublin), helped establish the UCD Centre for War Studies, and led to his 2009 ERC Starting Grant, the first for a humanities scholar in Ireland. He has had many funding successes subsequently, including further IRC funding, and in 2022 was awarded a highly prestigious ERC Advanced Grant.

Highly commended in the Researcher of the Year category were Professor Maria Baghramian, University College Dublin, and Professor John Atkins, University College Cork.

Professor Robert Gerwarth

In addition to the overall Researcher of the Year Award, winners of the Early Career Researcher of the Year and the Impact Award were also announced today.

Dr. Edoardo Celeste, Dublin City University, won the Early Career Researcher of the Year Award. He is Assistant Professor of Law, Technology and Innovation at DCU.

His research expertise is in the new field of data law, with a special focus on the impact of the digital revolution on legal systems. He studies how fundamental rights are evolving to face the challenges of the digital age.

Among all digital rights, he specialises in the analysis of the rights to privacy and to data protection, and the regulation of mass surveillance and data retention in Europe. One of his projects involved investigating the impact of Covid-19 tracker apps on privacy rights.

He further specialises in the law and governance of social media platforms. To date, he has investigated what the constitutional rules are that can bind the actions of private multinational organisations, such as social media companies.

Highly commended in this category were Dr. Madhusanka Liyanage of University College Dublin, and Dr. Giovanni Di Liberto of Trinity College Dublin.

Dr. Edoardo Celeste

Professor Judith Harford, University College Dublin, was awarded this year’s Impact Award. This award is given to a current or former Irish Research Council awardee who is making a highly significant impact outside of academia.

Professor Harford is Professor of Education and Deputy Head of the School of Education, UCD. Her research focus is on gender, social class and inequalities in relation to education, particularly in the Irish context.

She has applied her research to raise awareness at national level of gender and social class inequalities in education, working with policy makers to achieve greater equity in and through education.

Her most impactful public projects include a study into the under-representation of women in senior positions in higher education, funded by the IRC, which led to a symposium on gender equality in higher education held in the Royal Irish Academy.

She is leading a project called Power2Progress which is providing a dedicated programme to more than 600 senior cycle students in 21 designated disadvantaged schools nationally. She has also led a study into the participation of girls in STEM subjects in DEIS Schools.


Professor Judith Harford

Director of the Irish Research Council, Dr Louise Callinan, congratulated this year’s winners, saying: “The Researcher of the Year Awards provide an important opportunity to recognise the very best of the excellent researchers supported by the Irish Research Council and to highlight the tangible impact of public investment in research across all disciplines. The Irish Research Council is very proud to have provided vital support to the work of our awardees at various stages of their research careers. We extend our congratulations to each of our awardees as we acknowledge their significant contributions to the understanding of our shared past, present, and future from a diversity of perspectives.”

Medals of Excellence

As well as the Researcher of the Year awards, the Irish Research Council also announced today the four early career researchers who have won Medals of Excellence. The medals recognise excellence in the 2022 Government of Ireland postgraduate and postdoctoral funding calls run by the Irish Research Council in the arts, humanities and social sciences (AHSS) and science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). The medals are named for former IRC Council Chairs.

Dr Claudia Dellacasa (UCD) is the winner of the Maurice J. Bric Medal for her AHSS postdoctoral proposal: ‘Intersectional Eco-Polyphony: Cross-Cultural and Cross-Species Dialogues in Contemporary Women’s Writing (1960s-2020s)’. Dr Amiya Pandit (UCD) was awarded the Thomas Mitchell Medal for his STEM postdoctoral project: ‘A Novel Combination of Tuned Mass Dampers and Sloped Wall Tuned Liquid Dampers for Vibration Control of Offshore Wind Turbines.’


The Eda Sagarra Medal was awarded to Charitha Marcus (Technological University Dublin) for her planned AHSS doctoral work on ‘Women’s Political Identity Construction through Social Media’. Finally, the Jane Crimson Medal was won by Jack Murray (UCC) for his STEM doctoral proposal on ‘Applying AI Tools in Drug Formation Development’.


Government of Ireland medal winners

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