Science Squad and Prof Louise Kenny recognised at European science media festival

8 Dec 2015

From l-r: Zach Coffey with The Science Squad TV presenter Katherine Deveraux, Prof Louise Kenny from INFANT and Ryan Coffey who starred in The Science Squad. Image via Michael Mac Sweeney/Provision

There has been high praise for the producers of the Irish science educational show, The Science Squad, which has won a prestigious award at The European Science TV and New Media Festival 2015 for highlighting the work of Prof Louise Kenny and INFANT.

The Science Squad, currently airing on RTÉ, is highly-regarded for helping younger people connect with science and technology, and for its efforts it has won the Best Presentation of Women in Science Award, alongside a number of other winners.

The episode cited as being the reason for the win featured Kenny, who spoke of her research on complications in late pregnancy, including preeclampsia, foetal growth restriction and spontaneous preterm birth, with the INFANT centre.

As many familiar with her following her talk at Inspirefest earlier this year will know, up to 70,000 women die each year as a direct result of preeclampsia, a life-threatening condition that occurs during pregnancy, and premature babies are 10 times less likely to survive than full-term infants and also more likely to suffer brain injury.

‘Highlights important roles that female scientists are playing in Irish research’

It’s not the first time that the work Kenny and her team at INFANT does has been associated with awards, with it having won a major award from the American Heart Association (AHA) for its work last September.

The award-winning episode featured in series three of the The Science Squad, currently airing on RTÉ as 10 Things To Know About…,  it was produced by New Decade TV, which sent over its series producer, Nuala Cunningham, to attend the award ceremony in Lisbon.

“New Decade is delighted and honoured to win this award and we share it with the wonderful presenters and sponsors of the show but also of course with the researchers without whose cutting-edge work [without whom] we would have no show to make,” she said.

Adding his congratulations to New Decade TV and Kenny, director-general of Science Foundation Ireland (SFI), Prof Mark Ferguson, said: “I am particularly pleased that this award highlights the important roles that female scientists are playing in Irish research – the award-winning episode featured Prof Louise Kenny, co-director of the SFI Research Centre INFANT at University College Cork (UCC). I hope this acts as an inspiration to Irish schoolgirls to pursue a career in science.”

Prof Louise Kenny speaking at Inspirefest 2015

Women Invent is Silicon Republic’s campaign to champion the role of women in science, technology, engineering and maths. It has been running since March 2013, and is kindly supported by Intel, Open Eir (formerly Eircom Wholesale), Fidelity Investments, Accenture and CoderDojo.

Inspirefest is Silicon Republic’s international event connecting sci-tech professionals passionate about the future of STEM. Join us again from 30 June to 2 July 2016 for fresh perspectives on leadership, innovation and diversity. Get your Super Early Bird tickets now.

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic