Seven NUI Galway Researchers Receive President’s Awards for Research Excellence at the Research and Innovation Symposium

Pictured at NUI Galway’s Annual Research and Innovation Symposium were: Back row l-r: Conall Holohan, Professor Colin O’Dowd, Professor Michel Destrade and Dr Caroline Heary. Front row l-r: Professor Lokesh Joshi, Dr Ted Vaughan, Dr Gerry Molloy, Dr Aideen Ryan and Dr Alison Forrestal and President of NUI Galway, Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh. Photo: Aengus McMahon
Oct 08 2018 Posted: 15:09 IST

The Annual Research and Innovation Symposium, which took place on campus recently, featured the President’s Awards for Research Excellence.

The aim of the President’s Awards for Research Excellence is to reward and celebrate the outstanding contributions of academic and research staff to excellent, relevant, and innovative research that enhances NUI Galway’s reputation at an international level.

In the Early Stage Researcher Category, the winners were Dr Aideen Ryan from the School of Medicine for her research in the field of colon cancer immunology and inflammation; Dr Ted Vaughan from the College of Engineering and Informatics whose research focuses on the development of modelling techniques to address problems in areas such as composite materials, bone biomechanics and bone mechanobiology; and Dr Gerry Molloy from the School of Psychology for leading research on describing, understanding and seeking to change medication taking behaviour.

In the Established Researcher Category, the winners were Dr Alison Forrestal from the Department of History for her research on the impact of the Catholic Reformation on early modern society, including clerical culture, missions and charitable welfare; and Professor Colin O'Dowd, Director of the Centre for Climate and Air Pollution Studies for his outstanding and distinguished contribution to atmospheric and climate science nationally and internationally, and is a world-leader in the atmospheric aerosol and climate field.

Research Supervisor Awards went to Dr Caroline Heary from the School of Psychology for her research in the social context of health and illness during childhood and adolescence and a Co-Director on the PhD in Child and Youth Research; and Professor Michel Destrade from the School of Mathematics, Statistics and Applied Mathematics for his research in applying the principles of Continuum Mechanics to the modelling of soft matter, including biological tissues and gels.

Announcing the awards, which are now in their fifth year, NUI Galway President, Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh said: “I congratulate you on this tremendous recognition of your commitment to driving innovation and research excellence. On behalf of the University community, I want to commend you for this commitment, and for the impact your research is having upon society and the economy.”

At the event, the Ryan Award for Innovation in the area of marine, environment and energy was also announced. Now in its fifth year, the award went to PhD researcher, Conall Holohan from the School of Natural Sciences for his research project ‘Fat Anaerobic Digestion to Energy (FADE) Biotechnology’.

Conall Holohan’s project aims to bring a new technology to market to treat fat contained in wastewater, and simultaneously produce renewable energy (biogas). Through utilising the latest breakthroughs in engineering and microbiology the project will work to make the food and beverage industry more sustainable.

The €25,000 Ryan Award for Innovation is aimed at recognising and facilitating the development and translation of innovative ideas in the area of environment, marine and energy, into outputs with societal and economic impact. This initiative has been supported by the Tony Ryan Trust through Galway University Foundation and builds upon past generous support from the Ryan Family.

At the event, Professor Lokesh Joshi, Vice-President of Research at NUI Galway, spoke about the focus of the University’s research: “NUI Galway is committed to engaging in research with impact to address societal challenges. Our research contributes to new breakthroughs, findings, insights and ways of understanding the world. Through collaborations with other universities, companies, non-governmental organisations and citizens our talented research community is driving this impact and with it, our reputation globally.”

The Research and Innovation Symposium also included keynote talks and panel sessions on ‘Open Research’ and ‘Innovation and Collaboration’ featuring Dr Lidia Borrell-Damian, Director of Research at the European University Association (EUA) and Dr Thomas Jørgensen, Senior Policy Coordinator at the EUA.


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