Pictured: Dr Michael Madden, College of Engineering and Informatics and Dr Conor O’Byrne, Microbiology, School of Natural Sciences
Jul 12 2017 Posted: 09:47 IST

John Halligan T.D., Minister of State for Training, Skills, Innovation, Research and Development with Julie Sinnamon, CEO of Enterprise Ireland has presented two outstanding achievement awards to NUI Galway for reaching the pinnacle of European research. The ‘Ireland’s Champions of EU Research’ event took place in the Royal Hospital Kilmainham in Dublin recently.

In the category ‘Recognising the career development of our next generation researchers’, NUI Galway’s Dr Conor O’ Byrne, received an award for his leadership of the project *PATHSENSE (Understanding and Exploiting Mechanisms of Sensory Perception in Bacteria). This €3.4 million project will recruit 13 PhD fellows in a collaboration involving eight universities and four companies, located in seven different countries around Europe. The overall goal of the project is to identify vulnerabilities in pathogenic bacteria that can be targeted with next generation antimicrobial treatments.

In the category ‘Collaborative Research’, Dr Michael Madden at NUI Galway, received an award for his leadership of the *ROCSAFE project, a €4.7 million 13 partner project with Irish partners Reamda Limited, Scorpion Networks Ltd, UCC, Department of Defence and the Health Service Executive. The overall goal of ROCSAFE is to fundamentally change how CBRNe events are assessed, in order to ensure the safety of crime scene investigators by reducing the need for them to enter high-risk scenes. For this, ROCSAFE will make use of cost-effective remotely-controlled robotic air and ground vehicles that are designed for use in rain, wind, and challenging ground surfaces.

Sixteen individuals received Horizon 2020 achievement awards for their projects which exhibited outstanding leadership in their respective programme areas, ten of whom were from higher education institutes.

The aim of the event is to recognise the immense contribution of the award winners and all project leaders from Ireland to our national success in the €75 billion Horizon 2020 EU Framework Programme for research and innovation. Enterprise Ireland hosted the event on behalf of Ireland’s National Support Network for Horizon 2020.

Speaking at the awards Minister John Halligan, T.D., said: “I am delighted to be here today among this impressive and diverse representation of the Irish research community. The breadth of projects nominated for awards today inspires confidence in the continued excellence and dedication to research and innovation in Irish society. I was particularly impressed to note the variety of universities, Higher Education institutes, agencies and companies that are competing at the highest levels of European research.”

Julie Sinnamon, CEO of Enterprise Ireland, added: “Today’s event celebrates the achievements of collaboration between academic research and industry. Horizon 2020 is an important source of funding for research and innovation and provides a mechanism for researchers and Irish enterprise to network and collaborate with the best researchers and leading companies across Europe. These benefits are particularly important for a small, open economy like ours. The award winners here today are a source of inspiration for others and I’d like to wish them every success with their current projects and in their future endeavours.”

Dr Imelda Lambkin, National Director for Horizon 2020 reiterated: “Today is about recognising what has worked well for Ireland’s researchers to date and applying that knowledge to position Ireland to make best use of the available funding from Horizon 2020 and FP9. We call on our EU Champions to lead this initiative as role models and mentors.”

-Ends-

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