The South East Technological University (SETU) Research Excellence Awards took place on Friday 29 September, with the winners announced at a public ceremony at the Cork Road campus in Waterford.
The annual awards recognise the outstanding contributions of SETU academic and research staff to high-quality, innovative research that enhances the reputation of the University both locally and internationally.
This year saw 26 nominees across a variety of disciplines from engineering and chemistry to business management and health sciences.
Five winners were each presented with a plaque commemorating the occasion by SETU President, Prof Veronica Campbell. An additional President's Award was presented for the Advancement of Research and Supervision at SETU.
Dr Zeta Dooly, Lecturer in the School of Education and Lifelong Learning, leading the PG Cert in Technology Enhanced Learning and Researcher at SETU, was presented with the Early Career Researcher award.
The Established Researcher award was presented to Dr Laurence Fitzhenry. Dr Fitzhenry is a Lecturer and Researcher in Pharmaceutical Science at the Department of Science, and Principal Investigator of the Ocular Therapeutics Research Group (OTRG) at the PMBRC.
The winner of the Research Impact award for Industry and Commercialisation was Dr Niall O’ Reilly, Centre Manager of PMBRC. Dr O’Reilly has overseen the development of the centre since 2009, including the coordination of projects with over 100 industry partners totalling over €4m.
Dr Imelda Casey, a Lecturer with the Department of Land Sciences, was presented with the Research Impact Policy and Practice award.
Dr Larry Stapleton was honoured to be presented with the SETU Research Supervisor award. Dr Larry Stapleton is senior academic and international consultant in advanced digital systems, organisational transformation, and leadership working with private and public sector organisations, governments, and international agencies across the world.
Speaking at the event, Prof Veronica Campbell warmly congratulated all recipients of this year’s Research Excellence Awards.
Acknowledging the significance of the awards to SETU and its researchers, Prof Veronica Campbell continued, “The University is extremely fortunate to have such high calibre researchers, postgraduate supervision, and teaching excellence across our faculties. Researchers from SETU occupy board-level membership on over 22 European cluster groups that will set the standards for research in Europe for the next 10-15 years.
“With awards of approximately €20 million in research funding every year, today offers us an opportunity to recognise the impact of our researchers on the world stage, to thank our research community, and acknowledge those who have excelled in their field contributing both financially and reputationally to SETU. I wish them the best as they continue to push the boundaries of their disciplines.”
Separate to the Excellence awards the President's Award for the Advancement of Research and Supervision at SETU was awarded to Dr Thomae K. Duarte. This award recognises excellence in contribution to the development of research and supervision at the University.
Speaking at the awards, Ms Amy Brennan, Sanofi Site lead said, “I am delighted I can be here today to acknowledge the high calibre of researchers at SETU. The winners demonstrate SETU’s range of impactful, multi-disciplinary research activity to the region, to industry, and to the economy. I know the links that Sanofi Waterford has built with SETU have helped us to grow innovation and stretch our capabilities as we build for the future.”
Dr Geraldine Canny, Head of Research who oversaw the awards evaluation process, and Dr Thomas O’Toole, Acting Vice President of Research, Innovation and Graduate Studies, would like to congratulate all the nominees and winners of this year’s awards and look forward to another year of research excellence.
As the event drew to a close, the university community left the auditorium inspired, ready to embark on new journeys of discovery, and eager to contribute to the ever-expanding realm of human knowledge.