Nanoscience investigator named Young Leader of the Year

15 Dec 2014

Annalisa Montesanti, Programme Manager, Health Research Board presents the award for Young Leader of the Year to Dr. Rachel Evans, Associate Investigator at CRANN, Trinity College Dublin

Dr Rachel Evans, leading investigator at Ireland’s flagship nanoscience research lab CRANN at Trinity College Dublin, has been named Young Leader of the Year at the Irish Laboratory Awards.

The award recognises Dr. Evans as a young lab leader who has the potential to make a significant contribution to science. The award was presented at a ceremony hosted in Dublin, where the best of Ireland’s laboratory industry were recognised.

Dr Evans established the Materials & Device Photochemistry Group in 2011 and her drive and passion for innovative science and fostering the next generation of scientists has seen this grow to a team of ten in just three years. 

This growth is a direct result of successful research funding applications by Dr Evans to Science Foundation Ireland, Enterprise Ireland and the Irish Research Council, which has led directly to the creation of these new research positions.

Evans has raised €700,000 in research funding during her independent research career.

“I am honoured to receive the Irish Laboratory Awards’ ‘Young Leader of the Year’,” Dr Evans said. 

“The aim of our group is to conduct world-class scientific research and academic training in the field of photoactive materials for light emitting displays, sensors and energy applications.”

Lighting up the cloud urban environment

Evans’ current research focus looks to design and develop new materials known as luminescent solar concentrators (LSCs) which may provide a route to more efficient solar cells at reduced cost.

The advantage of LSCs is that they work even under diffuse sunlight conditions and as such are excellent candidates for the development of building-integrated solar cells that function efficiently in the cloudy Irish urban environment.

“Materials chemistry is not always the most easily understood of topics and this award will help draw attention to our achievements in this competitive field. I must thank all my colleagues in CRANN and the School of Chemistry for their continued commitment to research innovations and I look forward to realising a number of our projects over the coming year.”

Women Invent Tomorrow 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 Accenture Ireland, Intel, the Irish Research Council, ESB, Twitter, CoderDojo and Science Foundation Ireland.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years