Prof Jonathan Coleman, a Science Foundation Ireland (SFI)-funded researcher from Trinity College who has achieved international success in the area of nanostructures, was named the ‘Science Foundation Ireland Researcher of the Year’ for 2011.
Minister for Research and Innovation Seán Sherlock, TD, made the announcement last night at the SFI Science Summit in Athlone, attended by 300 researchers.
The theme of this year’s summit is ‘Shaping the Future Now: New Horizons for Science and Society’.
In presenting Coleman with his award, Sherlock said: “It is an extraordinary feat to be responsible for the development of the toughest materials known to man, but this is a feat that Jonathan has achieved.
“His work has been published in prestigious international journals, such as Science, Nature, Nature Nanotechnology, and Advanced Materials, as well as featuring in New Scientist, The New York Times and on CNN. Within the last year, Jonathan has been recognised as one of the top 100 material scientists of the last decade – the only Irish representative and one of the youngest on the list.”
The knowledge society
Addressing the theme of the Science Summit, Sherlock said: “I’m greatly encouraged that the theme for this year’s summit is ‘Shaping the Future now – New Horizons for Science and Society’. Very often, when debate in politics and among the general public centres around the economy – especially in times such as now – society can sometimes find itself consigned to the margins.
“We hear of Ireland Inc … but what of Ireland Soc?” He added that research with consequences is what is required that will impact and support Ireland’s economic, social and reputational recovery, as well as reaffirming Ireland’s position as an emergent force in science on the global stage.
Sherlock highlighted the Government’s commitment to scientific R&D as featured in the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform’s Capital Expenditure framework for 2012-1216.
He said the SFI 2012 capital allocation of €156m would ensure continued support for its current cohort of 3,000 researchers and 28 large research groups.
“I think everyone can be reassured by the framework’s very clear statement that: Developing a modern knowledge-led economy requires that creativity and innovation are centre stage.
“Measures to support, apply and leverage potential in this regard are indispensible in ensuring our future prosperity,” Sherlock said.
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