Two NUI Galway Students Win ‘Making an Impact 2014’

Making an Impact 2014 Winners pictured left to right: Killian O’Brien, NUI Galway and Robert Mooney, NUI Galway, pictured with Katherine Donnelly, Education Editor, Irish Independent and Tom Boland, Chief Executive, Higher Education Authority.
Mar 13 2014 Posted: 10:52 GMT

NUI Galway students win top awards for breast cancer research and measuring the performance of elite swimmers at the Irish Independent/HEA Making an Impact 2014

Two NUI Galway students have claimed the prizes at this year’s Irish Independent/Higher Education Authority (HEA) Making an Impact 2014 competition. An award of €2,500 sponsored by the Irish Independent was made to each of the two winners.

The Higher Education Authority (HEA) and the Irish Independent had invited postgraduate research students in any discipline at an Irish higher education institution on the island of Ireland, to make a short submission on the difference that their research work would make to a particular aspect of Irish life, to the country as a whole or in a global context.

Robert Mooney (33) from Salthill in Galway was The Judges Choice Winner for his research project 'Movement and Performance in Elite Swimming'. The PhD student is working under the supervision of Professor Gearóid Ó Laighin (Electrical and Electronic Engineering) at NUI Galway.

Mr. Mooney’s award-winning research is based on the development of a novel method using sensor technology to measure the performance of elite swimmers. Traditional methods of monitoring a swimmers performance are based on video. Mr. Mooney is looking at using inertial sensors that can be worn by swimmers that will track their movements through the water.

Killian O’Brien (24) from Bishopstown in Cork was The Student’s Choice Winner for his research project 'Blood May Hold the Key to the Riddle of Cancer'. The PhD student completed a Masters Degree in Regenerative Medicine at NUI Galway and is currently carrying out his research in the Discipline of Surgery, Clinical Sciences Institute at NUI Galway, working under the supervision of Professor Michael J. Kerin and Dr. Róisín Dwyer.

Mr. O’Brien’s award-winning project is funded by the Irish Cancer Society and is part of the BREAST-PREDICT initiative. His work is looking at the levels of biomarkers in the blood of patients with breast cancer, with the aim of earlier detection.

Runners up were NUI Galway student Linda Connor for her project 'Improving Honey Bee Health', Diana van Doorn, IT Carlow and Martin Holmes from Trinity College Dublin.

For further information on the Making an Impact 2014 competition visit


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