MaREI wins at the Science Foundation Ireland 2022 Awards

Science Foundation Ireland 2022 Awards recognise key leaders in the Irish research community 
MaREI wins the ‘SFI Engaged Research of the Year Award 2022’ for the Dingle Peninsula 2030 initiative 

The winners of the prestigious 2022 Science Foundation Ireland Awards were revealed at the annual SFI Science Summit, held in person for the first time in two years. Joined by over 500 leading members of the Irish research community, SFI celebrated the contribution researchers have made to our society and economy.

It’s a real honour to receive this award and I congratulate SFI for recognising and valuing engaged research in this way. Collaborating with our partners on the Dingle Peninsula has been such a privilege in building a new understanding of the technical and societal elements of sustainability transitions, as well as highlighting the role of multi-stakeholder collaborations. Integral to all of this has been hugely valuable community participation across all stages of the research cycle, which we were humbled by and are especially grateful for.

We found evidence of a rich diffusion of sustainability on the Dingle Peninsula and we were really anxious to share this with the outside world. By co-producing learning briefs we were able to document and share the learnings that are informing research, policy, state agencies and community groups working on climate action initiatives.
Prof Brian Ó Gallachóir

SFI Engaged Research of the Year Award 2022

Recipients: Ms Aoife Deane, Public Engagement Manager and Prof. Brian Ó Gallachóir, Director, MaREI  the SFI Research Centre for Energy, Climate and Marine Research, UCC and the Dingle Peninsula 2030 team

MaREI’s transdisciplinary research group at the University College Cork is harnessing the community spirit on the Dingle Peninsula to advance a groundbreaking engaged research initiative called Dingle Peninsula 2030. This initiative is co-producing solutions with the community to address critical energy and climate challenges while also building societal resilience and capacity. MaREI has established a diverse multi-disciplinary research team combining expertise from energy engineering (Prof. Brian Ó Gallachóir, Dr Connor McGookin), sociology (Dr Clare Watson, Dr Evan Boyle), and community engagement (MaREI Public Engagement Manager, Aoife Deane), who work in a deeply embedded way with the community partners in the Dingle Peninsula 2030 team.

I want to congratulate all the award recipients. The SFI Awards recognise exceptional achievements within our research community, and the ways in which research contributes to our wellbeing and our environmental, social and economic development and sustainability. These awards reflect the dedication and determination of our researchers as they work to discover new knowledge, to innovate, and to make the world a better place. The awardees are truly inspiring.
Prof Philip Nolan
Director General
Science Foundation Ireland
Feature Project

Dingle Peninsula 2030

Dingle Peninsula 2030 is a multi-partner initiative based on the Dingle Peninsula, in Co. Kerry. It involves the Dingle Creativity and Innovation Hub, ESB Networks, the MaREI Centre, and North East West Kerry Development (NEWKD).

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SFI Early Career Researcher of the Year 2022

Recipient: Dr Claire Gillan, Trinity College Dublin

Dr Gillan is an internationally renowned expert on mental illnesses, and was the first to show that patients with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) have tendencies to form habits, a ground-breaking discovery in OCD that features in several undergraduate textbooks today.


SFI Commercialisation Award 2022  

Recipient: Dr Alison Liddy, University of Galway

Dr Liddy and her team are developing a novel, disruptive, treatment for chronic pain without the usual addictive side-effects current treatments possess. This advancement has the potential not only for a transformative impact on the lives of those suffering from chronic pain but also has the potential to reduce the significant negative societal impact associated with prescription drug addiction.


SFI Best International Engagement Award 2022  

Recipient: Prof. Michael Morris, Trinity College Dublin, AMBER, the SFI Research Centre for Advanced Materials and BioEngineering Research

In recognition of his long-standing association and engagement with international companies, researchers, and policy makers, Prof. Morris is the winner of the 2022 SFI Best International Engagement Award.

Prof Morris is a professor of Surface and Interface Chemistry at Trinity College Dublin and the director of AMBER, the SFI Research Centre for Advanced Materials and BioEngineering Research, who has spearheaded the facility for the last 7 years. Prof. Morris is the first European scientist to be awarded three or more awards from the Semiconductor Research Council in the United States He has promoted the circular economy internationally and has engaged with researchers and policy makers in the United States, Turkey, Switzerland and the UK and is a member of the European Materials Characterisation. He is the lead PI on DeMANS, an MSCA programme on developing printable biopolymers which involve companies and universities across Europe as well as New Zealand and Australia.


SFI Outstanding Contribution to STEM Communication Award 2022  

Recipient: Ms. Jackie Gorman, CEO, Midlands Science

Ms. Gorman has been engaging and educating young people, parents, youth groups and leaders, schools, industry representatives, local government and key stakeholders since 2008. Jackie has been steering Midlands Science, through impactful, creative and innovative work in promoting STEM and impacts over 16,000 people directly every year and with specific efforts to engage with those from lower socio-economic backgrounds.

SFI Industry Partnership Award 2022  

Recipient: NexSys led by Prof. Andrew Keane, University College Dublin

The core mission of NexSys, is to decarbonise our energy system. Importantly, NexSys brings together researchers from across the island, with key industry partners, policy-makers and communities to resolve the challenges of a just transition to a decarbonised system. EirGrid and ESB have partnered with NexSys with a commitment to research and innovation for over 15 years.


SFI Mentorship Award 2022

Recipient: Prof. Walter Kolch, Director of the Systems Biology Group, University College Dublin

Through Systems Biology Ireland (SBI), Prof Walter Kolch has built a highly interdisciplinary and multinational research environment. Ever since its inception in 2009, SBI has hosted over 260 team members including 105 researchers, 63 postgraduate students, 12 clinician scientists, 36 management and admin staff, and 46 research support staff from over 35 countries. Prof. Kolch has supervised over 50 postdocs and over 40 doctoral students providing his team with the tools and infrastructure to develop their independence at early in their careers several of whom have secured various positions in academia and industry, some even starting their own companies.

SFI Research Image of the Year Award 2022:  

Image title: A spring garden of griseoflowers

Recipient: Mariana Oliveira Diniz, PhD student, SSPC, SFI Research Centre for Pharmaceuticals, University of Limerick

Description: Griseofulvin is a drug with wide interest in the pharmaceutical field as it is used as an antifungal antibiotic to treat skin infections. Griseofulvin was first isolated from Penicillium griseofulvum in 1939 and became the first clinical oral antifungal approved to be used in 1950. For its relevance, griseofulvin is listed on the List of Essential Medicines of the World Health Organization (WHO). In my PhD research, I investigate the nucleation kinetics of griseofulvin in different solvents and different scales. These crystals were formed when a solution of griseofulvin in acetonitrile was left to evaporate at room temperature on a fume hood for 3 days. This image was captured by a phone camera without any further treatment.