News 2023

UCC celebrates excellence in research and innovation

2 Jun 2023

Climate scientists, the developers of the medicines of tomorrow, budding entrepreneurs and partners with communities were among the researchers to have their contributions to research and innovation honoured at the 2022 University College Cork (UCC) Research Awards, held at Devere Hall on Thursday, June 1.

UCC is an internationally competitive, research-led university that plays a key role in the development of Ireland’s knowledge-based economy and provides the insight and understanding on the challenges facing our society. The UCC Research Awards embrace this excellence in research, innovation and entrepreneurial activity, across the entire university research community and from all disciplines.

The quality and recognition of research success across the University, including outputs from individuals and UCC Research Institutes and Centres, is measured by key research metrics such as publications, citations, collaborative interactions, patents and spin-out companies. Researchers were awarded across 20 categories, five of which recognise specific achievements in entrepreneurship and innovation.

UCC’s first European Research Council (ERC) Advanced award holder, Professor Paul Ross, and Professor Dagmar Schiek, the first legal scholar in Ireland to be awarded an Advanced ERC award, were joint winners of the Researcher of the Year award. UCC’s strong heritage in ribonucleic acid (RNA) research was also honoured. Early-Stage Researcher of the Year, Dr Piotr Kowalski was awarded for the significant contribution he has made to the development of novel biomaterials for messenger RNA (mRNA) delivery, and the ‘Father of RNA recoding’, Professor John Atkins, was the joint recipient of a Career Achievement award.

Professor Hannah Daly is a regular columnist for The Irish Times and has contributed over 100 media pieces in 2022 to explain and contextualise sustainable energy trends and policies, and climate change. Professor Daly actively engages with stakeholders on the topic of sustainable pathways for the energy system, encompassing energy access, climate change and air pollution. She is UCC’s Researcher Communicator of the Year for 2022.

Professor Maggie O’Neill, recently elected to the Royal Irish Academy, was the recipient of the Engaged Research of Year award. Professor O’Neill, director of UCC Futures – Collective Social Futures and director of ISS21 – The Institute for Social Science in the 21st century, has a long research career in Sociology and Criminology. Through her research, she is committed to working with communities and civil society organisations to create change, especially marginalised groups. Her research leadership has been instrumental in moving forward debates, dialogue and scholarship in three substantive areas: forced migration and the asylum-migration nexus; the commercial sex industry, gender-based violence; and arts-based and biographical methods.

Stephen McCarthy, founder of Recruitroo and a graduate of the Ignite Programme at UCC, received the ‘Start-up of the Year’ award for the development of a mock interview simulator for recent graduates. The company is positioned to serve the global market need for international talent recruitment and relocation in 2023 and beyond.

The guest of honour at the awards ceremony was Dr Catherine Day, chairperson of UCC’s governing body.

Professor John F. Cryan, UCC Vice President for Research and Innovation at UCC said: “Congratulations to all awards recipients. This year, the standard of nominations across all award categories was indicative of the exceptional level of research and innovation throughout the University. UCC is a research-intensive University, and the annual Research Awards recognise and celebrate those UCC researchers who have made exceptional and influential research and innovation contributions, pushing boundaries, enhancing knowledge and raising the national and international research profile of our institution.”

Honourees from the School of Chemistry included:

Professor Colm O’Dwyer - In the last 5 years at UCC, Prof. O'Dwyer has published over 160 publications. He has made one of the largest scholarly contributions to the Cork Open Access Repository, with over 200 publications (from UCC and prior appointments) listed in the last couple of years with >133,00 downloads in total that are fully open access. Prof. O'Dwyer is an advocate for open access in all forms, including openness in peer review not just as an author, but as editor, reviewer and policy maker.

Professor Anita Maguire - PI of a research team in Organic and Pharmaceutical Synthesis since 1991, with 56 PhD graduates from the team and attracting €25M in research funding in addition to €13M funding for research infrastructure.


The full list of UCC Research Awards 2022 winners is:



Researcher of the Year

Professor Paul Ross

Professor Dagmar Schiek

Early-Stage Researcher of the Year

Dr Jean O'Dwyer

Dr Piotr Kowalski

Research Support Person of the Year

Martin O’Connell

Dr Seán Lucey

Research Supervisor of the Year

Professor Catherine Stanton

Dr Emanuel Popovici

Research Communicator of the Year

Professor Hannah Daly

Research Award for Open Science

Professor Colm O’Dwyer

Creating a Culture for Responsible Conduct of Research

Dr Aoife Coffey

Innovator of the Year (Life Sciences)

Dr Lucia Santos, Dr Patrick Harrison

Innovator of the Year (Physical Sciences)

Dr Han Shao, Dr Alan O'Riordan, Dr Tarun Narayan

Consultancy Project of the Year

Dr Marguerite Nyhan

Licence of the Year

Applied Mathematics UCC & Mercy University Hospital

Spin-out Company of the Year

Adiso Therapeutics

Start-up of the Year


Best Publication of the Year Involving an Undergraduate Student as an Author

Ruairí McIntyre

Research Team of the Year

UCC Palaeontology

Research Image of the Year

Roksana Niewadzisz

Engaged Research of the Year

Professor Maggie O'Neill

Vice-President for Research and Innovation Award for Interdisciplinary Research

Dr Katharina Becker

Dr James O'Sullivan

Research Collaboration of the Year

Dr Patrick O'Callaghan

Professor Brendan Griffin

The President's Award for Research Impacting SDGs

Dr Alicia Mateos Cárdenas

Career Achievement Research Award

Professor John Atkins

Professor Anita Maguire


School of Chemistry

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