A World Leading SFI Research Centre - Science Foundation Ireland - For What's Next

APC News

APC Director Prof Paul Ross announced as SFI Researcher of the Year 2023

20 Nov 2023

Monday, 20th November 2023 (Cork) – Professor Paul Ross, APC Microbiome Ireland SFI Research Centre (APC) and University College Cork (UCC) was today announced as SFI Researcher of the Year 2023 at the Research Summit, a joint Summit hosted by Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) and the Irish Research Council (IRC).  

A native of Cork, Paul Ross graduated from UCC with a B.Sc. in Biochemistry and Microbiology, and a Ph.D. in Microbiology. He had a number of roles in Teagasc until 2014 when Paul moved to UCC to become the Head of College of Science Engineering & Food Science in UCC and in 2016 also took up the position of Deputy Head of APC Microbiome Ireland. In 2019, Paul became the Director of APC Microbiome Ireland.

He is a widely recognised researcher who has received international acclaim for research on antibacterial peptides. He is a current European Research Council (ERC) Advanced Awardee. Paul Ross's research is in the field on human microbiome, with a focus on bacterial competition, physiology and genetics.  Applications of this research lie in the generation of novel biopreservatives and  alternatives to antibiotics..  The award coincides with World Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) Awareness Week which runs from the 18th to the 24th of November annually. AMR is one of the key focuses of Prof Ross’ research, according to the World Health Organisation it contributes to almost five million human deaths from bacterial infections alone each year.

Commending the award winners, Prof. Philip Nolan, Director General, Science Foundation Ireland, said: “Through their innovation, creativity and tireless work, these researchers have striven to improve the world around them. SFI is delighted to recognise their efforts and achievements with these prestigious accolades. I want to offer my sincere congratulations to all the award recipients. I would like to congratulate Prof. Paul Ross, University College Cork, for winning 2023 SFI Researcher of the Year. Paul Ross has been an outstanding researcher in the field of food health and gut health for many years, both in previous roles and in his current position as director of the SFI Research Centre APC Microbiome Ireland.” 

Commenting on receiving the award, Professor Ross stated: “I am truly honoured and humbled to receive this prestigious research award, it is great acknowledgement of the significance of microbiome research as we are about to celebrate our landmark 20th year here at APC. For me it’s always about the people. I have been just so fortunate to have worked with really brilliant scientists down through the years – great collaborators, researchers and students – and it is really on their behalf that I accept this award.  I have always been fascinated by the microbial world in which we live and depend on so much.  Most of this world is inhabited by diverse communities of microorganisms or microbiomes, as exemplified by the trillions of bacteria that live in our gut. Our research strives to find microbiome-based solutions to address some of the grand challenges society is facing right now. One example is the build-up of antimicrobial resistance in harmful bacteria; to this end, our lab has had some success in finding antibiotic alternatives. There is huge excitement in our ranks, as we can see that we are at the precipice for what microbes and microbiomes can offer in this huge challenge. Our lab is currently working on a €2.5m European Research Council project exploring the potential for naturally occurring antimicrobial peptides, specifically bacteriocins, for the development of new therapies to tackle infectious disease.” 

Professor John Cryan, UCC Vice President for Research & Innovation, said: “I wish to extend the warmest congratulations to Professor Paul Ross on receiving this prestigious national award from SFI. Professor Ross is a world leading researcher in the field of food, microbiome and health, a key thematic area of UCC Futures, and is a worthy recipient of the SFI Researcher of the Year award.



For more on this story contact:



Media Contacts

Tina Darb             APC Microbiome Ireland    087 7826500        tdarb@ucc.ie


Host Institution

Host Logos - UCC and Teagasc

Partner Institutions

APC Microbiome Ireland

Biosciences Building, University College Cork, Ireland,