7 Irish students win big at global ‘junior Nobel Prize’ awards

8 Nov 2016

College classroom. Image: EQRoy/Shutterstock

Seven Irish undergraduate students have joined a band of elite few who have been named as global winners of the Undergraduate Awards 2016, often referred to as the ‘junior Nobel Prize’.

While the majority of awards and citations come towards the end of an academic’s career, The Undergraduate Awards (UA) offer those at the beginning the chance to put their early ideas up for scrutiny, in front of an international team of judges.

Now a couple of years old, UA recognises excellent research and original work across the sciences, humanities, business and creative arts.

Papers from 121 nationalities

Held in Dublin, the awards are open to all penultimate and final year students on a degree course, with applicants split into seven different regions: Africa and the Middle East; Asia; Europe; Ireland; Latin America; Oceania; and the US and Canada.

This year, a record number of submissions were received – totalling 5,514 papers from undergraduates in 244 institutions across 121 nationalities.

25 categories are spread across the UA programme with a ‘global winner’ being named as the highest performing paper among the judges.

Of these winners, seven have been named as Irish undergraduates based in Dublin, Sligo and Belfast including:

  1. Tomas Higgins of Dublin Institute of Technology: Global Winner 2016 of the Computer Sciences category with his paper Identifying Mood by Analysing Keystroke Dynamics.
  2. Mohammed Sami Al Amili of Ulster University: Global Winner 2016 of the Visual Arts & Design category with his submission Paintings.
  3. Wayne Egan of IT Sligo: Global Winner 2016 of the Earth & Environmental Sciences category with his paper To Assess the Impact of the Bellawaddy River on the Microbiological Quality of the Bathing Waters of Enniscrone Beach, Co. Sligo, Ireland.
  4. Stephen Cox of Trinity College Dublin (TCD): Global Winner 2016 of the Literature: Non-English category with his paper Jorge Luis Borges and Translation: A Comparative Study of Translated Borges Stories in English.
  5. Naoise Dolan of TCD: Global Winner 2016 of the Literature: English category with her paper “Too Many for the Jury”: Pip’s Multitudinous Narration.
  6. Shauna Callaghan of University College Dublin (UCD): Global Winner 2016 of the Nursing & Midwifery category with her paper: Does the Utilisation and Knowledge of Fetal Movement Counting Interventions and ‘Kick Charts’ Enhance Maternal Awareness of Fetal Movement Patterns and Reduce Stillbirths in Pregnancies ≥28 Weeks’ Gestation?
  7. Eoin O’Leary of TCD: Global Winner 2016 of the Social Sciences: Anthropology & Cultural Studies category with his paper Political Action from Spaces of Bare Life: Situating the Figure of the Refugee/Asylum Seeker in Power Analysis.

Speaking about this year’s list of winners, managing director of The Undergraduate Awards, Louise Hodgson, said: “This is a huge achievement for the students and their institutions. Only the best papers [were] making it through the UA judging process.

“The competition was extremely tough this year and the judges were astounded at the high quality of undergraduate research in the programme. Congratulations to this year’s successful entrants.”

College classroom. Image: EQRoy/Shutterstock

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic