Eight researchers in Ireland bag Lero Director’s Prizes

8 Sep 2020

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Lero has presented eight awards to researchers, academics and support staff from institutions around the country.

Today (8 September) Lero, the Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) research centre for software, awarded eight researchers from five Irish universities with Lero Director’s Prizes at an online ceremony.

This is the second year of the awards presented by Lero, which honours members working across its 11 academic partner institutes in Ireland. The prizes were awarded during the annual gathering of Lero members, which was held online this year for the first time in the centre’s 15-year history.

Awards were presented to academics, researchers and support staff from NUI Galway, University College Dublin (UCD), University of Limerick (UL), Maynooth University and Dublin City University (DCU).

The winners

Lero presented the Prof Rory O’Connor Prize for Outstanding Service, in memory of the late Lero and DCU researcher, to two members: Lero principal investigator Prof Kieran Conboy of NUI Galway; and Dara O’Connor, a member of the centre’s support team based in UL.

The Lero Director’s Prize for Research Excellence was awarded to Dr Jim Buckley of UL. Earlier this year, Buckley received SFI Covid-19 Rapid Response Funding for Covigilant – a research project in collaboration with colleagues in UL and NUI Galway to gather evidence informing and optimising Ireland’s digital contact-tracing strategy and practice.

Awards for education and public engagement were awarded to Dr Darragh Mullins of NUI Galway and Prof Markus Helfert and his team at Maynooth University.

Prizes for diversity and inclusion were presented to PhD students Abeba Birhane of UCD and Mairead O’Connor of NUI Galway. The Director’s Prize for Entrepreneurship was awarded to Dr Paul Clarke of DCU.

Prof Brian Fitzgerald, director of Lero, told members that their resilience and dedication has meant that the research centre has continued and expanded its work during the Covid-19 pandemic.

“I am constantly impressed by the women and men who are the backbone of our world-leading research centre. Their resilience, ingenuity and ambition to provide research-based solutions and insights to resolve problems have not been derailed by a pandemic that has transformed so many other facets of modern living,” Fitzgerald said.

Kelly Earley was a journalist with Silicon Republic