Minister announces Inaugural Science Awards at NUI Galway

Tuesday, 12 March 2002

Release date: 12 March, 2002

Minister announces Inaugural Science Awards at NUI Galway

A new awards scheme funded by Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) and aimed at attracting international researchers to Ireland for a period of up to one year will be announced in NUI, Galway this evening (6.30 p.m., Tuesday, 12 March), by Mr. Noel Treacy, T.D., Minister for Science and Technology and Commerce.

The Walton Visitor Awards are named in honour of Ernest T. S. Walton, who with his colleague, John Cockcroft, was awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1951. Walton s son, Professor Philip Walton, is Professor of Applied Physics at NUI, Galway.

In making the announcement, Minister Treacy will be joined by Dr. William C. Harris, SFI director general, Professor Walton, and members of the Walton family. Dr. Harris called the Walton Visitor Awards "a new bridge between Ireland and the international scientific community". He pledged that SFI would fund each Walton Visitor Award with up to €200,000 per year, including salary and laboratory and moving expenses.

When Walton and Cockcroft split the atom in 1932, it ushered in a new era in scientific research and is regarded as one of the great landmarks in the history of science. SFI's decision to name the new awards after Ireland s greatest 20th century scientist is an appropriate way of fostering research and collaborative links with the International scientific community.

The specific aims of the Walton Visitor Awards are:

  • To bring international researchers to Ireland for periods normally ranging up to one year
  • To strengthen Ireland s connections to and collaborations with the international research community
  • To enhance Ireland s reputation and culture as a home of first-class research
  • To foster the recruitment of excellent undergraduate, graduate and post-doctoral students

The Walton Visitor Awards programme is one of a number of new initiatives from Science Foundation Ireland to support a strong scientific research base and attract and retain excellent researchers to create a critical mass of world-class research excellence in niche areas of Information Communication Technologies and Biotechnology.

Ends

Information from: Máire Mhic Uidhir, Press Officer, NUI, Galway. Tel. 091 750418

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