Pictured at the NUI Galway Research Excellence Awards 2016 were Dr Manus Biggs receiving the Early Stage Researcher Award from Dr Jim Browne, President of NUI Galway.
May 04 2016 Posted: 09:28 IST

NUI Galway hosted the 2016 Research Excellence Awards last Friday, 29 April, when winners of the 2016 Ryan Award for Innovation and the annual President’s Awards for Research Excellence were announced. These awards are made to members of the NUI Galway research community, by the University’s President Dr Jim Browne, in recognition of their outstanding and innovative research. 

The 2016 Ryan Award for Innovation went to the Nucleic Acid Diagnostics Research Laboratory (NADRL) for their RAP-ID (Rapid Aqua Pathogen Identification) project. The team consists of Dr Kate Reddington (Enterprise Ireland Postdoctoral Researcher), Dr Thomas Barry (PI NADRL and Lecturer) and Ms Shannon Fullbrook (Irish Research Council PhD candidate) from the Discipline of Microbiology at the School of Natural Sciences.

The research team have developed novel bacterial culture independent test kits which allows for the very rapid detection and identification of a number of human pathogens that can contaminate water. They aim to launch a spin-out company from NUI Galway focused on the development of these technologies for use in testing building water distribution systems. These innovative technologies address a global unmet market need in the building infrastructure environment bacterial monitoring sector.

Now in its third year, the 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 and builds upon past generous support from the Ryan Family. The Ryan Award is a very prestigious award and €25,000 is a significant amount of funding to make a difference in progressing an innovation, technology or idea to the next level, while delivering impact. 

In addition, the winners of the 2016 President’s Awards for Research Excellence were announced as:

Early Stage Researcher Award Winners
Dr Ekaterina Yahyaoui Krivenko, Irish Centre for Human Rights, School of Law
Dr Eoin Whelan, Business Information Systems, School of Business & Economics
Dr Eva Szegezdi, Biochemistry, School of Natural Sciences
Dr Manus Biggs, Biomedical Engineering, School of Engineering & Informatics and CÚRAM

Established Researcher Award
Dr Gavin Collins, Environmental Microbiology, School of Natural Sciences
Professor Gary Donohoe, School of Psychology

Research Supervisor
Dr Adrienne Gorman, Apoptosis Research Centre, College of Science
Dr Lillis Ó Laoire, Scoil na Gaeilge, College of Arts, Social Sciences & Celtic Studies

Speaking at the event, Dr Jim Browne, President of NUI Galway, said: “At a national level, the higher education sector is in an era of performance-based funding. Consequently, it is important that we continue to support, recognise, and encourage outstanding research by rewarding high performance to promote the continued development of research and innovation excellence across campus. Against an increasingly competitive external environment, I am proud of the consistently high quality of our research here in NUI Galway.

Dr Browne added, “Last year, we launched our new strategic plan, entitled Vision 2020. This ambitious plan aims to bring NUI Galway into the top 200 universities in the world while securing €100 million in competitive funding from the EU under the Horizon 2020 programme. Among the Irish universities, NUI Galway has had the highest success rate and is also among the top 50 best performing universities in Europe for attracting Horizon 2020 funding. Thanks to the commitment of our research colleagues across many areas, from biosciences to the social sciences, we are on track to meet our ambitious target by 2020.”

Professor Lokesh Joshi, Vice-President of Research at NUI Galway, said: “NUI Galway is delighted to celebrate our researchers and the incredible work that they do. The University is committed to producing research that is recognised as being excellent, transformative, and relevant to societal and economic needs. To date NUI Galway has had the highest success rate of all Irish institutions in EU Horizon 2020 funding for research, and among the top 40 in Europe drawing down €30 million. We will continue to support and invest in excellent people to ensure we constantly excel in our achievements, which include: Four Thomson Reuters Highly Cited Researchers in 2015; QS Rankings increase to 250-275 in 2015/2016; and increasing our position in the top 200 of the World University Rankings 2015.”

The awards ceremony included an interactive panel session with four NUI Galway EU Horizon 2020 awardees based on their experiences of the Horizon 2020 process and an interactive panel session entitled ‘H2020 Experiences and Future Opportunities.’

ENDS

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