International Women’s Day 2022

Posted: 8 March, 2022

To mark International Women’s Day 2022, we are celebrating the successes of women researchers across all career-levels in the Irish Research Council (IRC). Throughout this blogpost we have highlighted a selection of the women researchers who are being supported by the IRC.

The IRC Researchers of the Year Awards for 2021 were awarded to three outstanding women researchers. Winner of the overall Researcher of the Year award, Professor Yvonne Buckley is Professor of Zoology at Trinity College Dublin. An expert ecologist and champion of biodiversity, her work is focused on the growth, reproduction and survival of plant and animal species.


Dr. Kathy Ruddy, Research Assistant Professor in the School of Psychology and Institute of Neuroscience at Trinity College Dublin, was named the Early-Career Researcher of the Year for her work on brain-computer interfaces.

Professor Michelle Norris, University College Dublin was awarded the Impact Award. Professor Norris is the Director of the Geary Institute for Public Policy and Professor of Social Policy at University College Dublin. Her research interests focus on housing policy and urban regeneration.

Also, at the Researcher of the Year Awards 2021, Michelle O’Driscoll, University College Cork, was awarded the ‘Jane Grimson Medal of Excellence’ for being the top-ranked postgraduate researcher in the STEM category, while Dr. Sara Delmedico, University College Dublin, was awarded the ‘Maurice J Bric Medal of Excellence’ for being the top-ranked postdoctoral researcher in the AHSS category.

Dr Tatiana Vagramenko, from Ukraine, is a senior postdoctoral researcher in the Study of Religions Department, UCC. Her current research project is funded by the Irish Research Council and Science Foundation Ireland Pathway Programme, exploring the KGB and religious underground in Soviet Ukraine.

Dr Tatiana Varamenko, UCC, Photo by Tomas Tyner

Dr Lijuan Qian is a postdoctoral researcher at the Department of Music, UCC. A former Irish Research Council Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions COFUND Postdoctoral Fellow (CAROLINE) and a Government of Ireland Postdoctoral Fellow, Lijuan has recently won €1.5m in European Research Council funding for her research project on indigenous cultures  and the threat of imperialism, technological change and political and economic disadvantage.

Dr Lijuan Qian, UCC

In the USI-IRC ‘Why Research Matters’ 2021 competition, Lilian Nwanze, a PhD researcher at the Department of Adult and Community Education, Maynooth University, was the overall winner of the competition. Now in its second year, Why Research Matters is a joint campaign by the Union of Students Ireland and the Irish Research Council that invites postgraduate students to submit a video explaining their research and why it matters.


Lilian’s video, ‘The Invisible Burden: The Impact of Racism on Black Students in Irish Further Education,’ explains her doctoral project. The video weaves together Lilian’s formative early experiences of teaching practice with the personal stories of her students to argue for a more cultural inclusive and racially appropriate curriculum and pedagogy in Irish Further Education

Mary E. Davis and Niamh O’Callaghan were awarded the two runner-up prizes. Mary E. Davis, a PhD researcher at the Centre for Translational Pain Research, University College Dublin, was awarded the ‘Most Informative’ prize. Niamh O’Callaghan, a PhD researcher at the Institute of Technology, Sligo, took home the prize for ‘Most Creative’.

Brakemi Egbedi, a third-year doctoral student at WIT’s Department of Science, was awarded a Government of Ireland Postgraduate Scholarship in 2021. Her research explores whether novel antimicrobial compounds can be extracted from seashell waste for use as pharmaceuticals, addressing the current global issue of antimicrobial-resistance.

Brakemi Egbedi, WIT

Dr Kathryn Schoenrock, Postdoctoral researcher with the Marine Biology and Sustainable Fishers research group at NUI Galway, featured in the RTÉ One series 10 Things to Know About (Series 7, Ep 3), which highlighted the researchers monitoring and preserving the health and biodiversity of seaweed forests in Irish waters. Kathryn was also named the 2020 IRC Early-Career Researcher of the Year.

Dr Kathryn Schoenrock (pictured right) with Kathriona Devereux, RTE presenter.

Finally, we want to acknowledge the fantastic women who are members of the Irish Research Council. Our Council members do great work in supporting the work of the Irish Research Council.


They include: Professor Claire Connolly, who is Professor of Modern English and Head of the School of English and Digital Humanities at University College Cork; Professor Catherine Godson, who is Professor of Molecular Medicine and Director of the Diabetes Complications Research Centre at University College Dublin; Professor Patricia Kearney, who is Professor of Epidemiology in the School of Public Health at University College Cork and Professor Orla Muldoon, who is Founding Professor of Psychology and leading member of the Centre for Social Issues Research at the University of Limerick.

Irish Research Council Board Members


The researchers in this blogpost provide a snapshot of some of the outstanding women who are being supported by the Irish Research Council. The Irish Research Council has demonstrated international leadership on promoting gender equality in research and we are committed to continuing to be a leader in this area to support women researchers across all career-levels.



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