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Excellence in research and innovation celebrated at UCC awards

Photo (L-R): Research & Innovation Awards 2023 winners Dr Aaron Lim, Professor Louise Crowley, and Professor Elke Arendt. Photo credit: Ger McCarthy Photography.
Photo (L-R): Research & Innovation Awards 2023 winners Dr Aaron Lim, Professor Louise Crowley, and Professor Elke Arendt. Photo credit: Ger McCarthy Photography.

One of the top 10 Food Scientists in the world, researchers in the area of dementia palliative care, and the team behind the development and delivery of bespoke in person Sexual Ethics and Respectful Relationships training to personnel of the Irish Defence Forces across the country, were among the awardees to have their contributions to research and innovation honoured at the 2023 University College Cork Research and Innovation Awards, held at Devere Hall on Wednesday, May 29th.

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 and Innovation Awards embrace this excellence in research, innovation, and entrepreneurial activity, across the entire university research community and from all disciplines. Researchers were awarded across twenty-two categories, six of which recognise specific achievements in entrepreneurship and innovation.

Cork University Business School’s Professor Thomas Garavan was the winner of the Researcher of the Year award. Professor Garavan is recognised for research excellence throughout his career, including being ranked in the top 2% of researchers in the Stanford University annual research ranking for 2023. His research excellence was further recognised in 2023 by, an international ranking organisation, which placed Thomas as the number 1 researcher in Business and Management in Ireland for a third consecutive year.

Professor Elke Arendt is the recipient of the Research Career Achievement award. Based in UCC’s School of Food and Nutritional Sciences, Professor Arendt’s research areas include gluten-free bakery products, plant-based proteins, and fermentation technology. She is a globally recognised leader in industrial innovation and was listed as one of the most highly cited researchers in the world in 2017, 2019 and 2021. Professor Arendt has been listed as one of the top 10 Food Scientists in the world and has generated research project income of over €180 Million for 107 projects.

Joint winners of the Early-Stage Researcher of the Year award were Dr Tatiana Vagramenko, for her work on preserving endangered archives in war-torn Ukraine, and to Dr Aaron Lim, who was awarded eight research grants, totalling €1.5 million, in 2023 in marine geoscience research.

The award for Research Team of the Year was presented to UCC’s Dementia Palliative Care Research Team. The team, comprising of members of UCC academic staff, researchers and clinicians from the School of Nursing and Midwifery, School of Medicine, Centre for Gerontology and Rehabilitation, Department of General Practice, Cork University Business School, South-Southwest Hospital Group, and St. Luke’s Nursing Home have collaborated on dementia palliative care research to improve quality of life and of end-of-life care for those in the advanced stages of dementia.

UCC’s Bystander Intervention engagement with the Irish Defence Forces, delivered by Professor Louise Crowley and Bystander Intervention Program Manager, Celine Griffin, in the School of Law, was awarded Consultancy Project of the Year. The UCC Bystander Intervention programme is well recognised nationally as a meaningful response to the issue of sexual misconduct and violence. The specialist expertise and knowledge of UCC’s Bystander Intervention team were used to develop and deliver bespoke in person Sexual Ethics and Respectful Relationships training to personnel of the Irish Defence Forces across the country.

The guest of honour at the awards ceremony was Dr. Mairéad O’ Driscoll, CEO of the Health Research Board (HRB).

Professor John F. Cryan, UCC Vice President for Research and Innovation at UCC said: "Congratulations to all awards recipients at this year’s UCC Research and Innovation Awards. The standard of nominations across all award categories was indicative of the exceptional level of research and innovation that takes place throughout the University. Our annual Research and Innovation Awards celebrate those who have demonstrated exceptional creativity, pushed boundaries, and raised the national and international research profile of our institution."

The awards are sponsored by PurdyLucey, one of Ireland’s top European Intellectual Property (IP) firms working across Irish, UK, European, US and international markets, and specialising in Life Science, Food Tech, Med Tech, High-Tech and Engineering projects.

The full list of UCC Research & Innovation Awards 2023 winners is:

Award Category



Researcher of the Year Professor Thomas Garavan Cork University Business School
Early-Stage Researcher of the Year

Dr. Tatiana Vagramenko


Dr. Aaron Lim

School of Society, Politics & Ethics


Department of Geography

Research Career Achievement Award Professor Elke Arendt School of Food & Nutritional Sciences
Research Team of the Year UCC Dementia Palliative Care Research Team School of Nursing & Midwifery, School of Medicine, Centre for Gerontology & Rehabilitation, Department of General Practice, Cork University Business School, South South West Hospital Group, St. Luke’s Nursing Home
Research Collaboration of the Year Professor Maria Cahill School of Law
Research Supervisor of the Year Dr. Helena Buffery Department of Spanish, Portuguese & Latin American Studies
Research Communicator of the Year Dr. Olive McCarthy Centre for Co-operative Studies; Cork University Business School
Research Image of the Year Dr. Richard Unitt and Ms. Emma Murphy School of Biological, Earth & Environmental Sciences
Research Support Person of the Year Dr. Sonia Monteiro Environmental Research Institute
Research Support Team of the Year Office of Research Grants & Contracts UCC Finance Office
Vice President for Research & Innovation Award for Interdisciplinary Research Professor Ciara Heavin Department for Business Information Systems; Cork University Business School
Best Publication of the Year Involving an Undergraduate Author Ms Allanah Neff School of Mathematical Sciences
Research Award for Open Science The Scenario Project - Performative Teaching, Learning & Research Department of German and Department of Theatre
Creating a Culture for Responsible Conduct of Research

Professor Christian Waeber


Biological Services Unit

Department of Pharmacology & Thereapeutics


The President's Award for Research Impacting the Sustainable Development Goals CEAB Project led by Professor Nuala Finnegan, Escudero Fontán, Dr. Céire Broderick, Dr. Carlos Garrido Castellano and Dr. Cara Levey School of Languages, Literatures & Cultures
Engaged Research of the Year Dr. Katharina Swirak

Professor Patricia Leahy-Warren
Department of Sociology & Criminology
School of Nursing & Midwifery
Innovator of the Year Professor Holger Claussen, Dr. Senad Bulja, Dr. Lester Ho Tyndall National Institute
Licence of the Year Dr. Conor O'Mahony, Carlo Webster, Andrea Bocchino, Ryan Sebastian, Fjodors Tjulkins Tyndall National Institute
Spin-out of the Year CergenX (Professor Geraldine Boylan) INFANT Research Centre
New Spin-out of the Year David Cashman, The WellSchools Network School of Education
Consultancy Project of the Year Professor Louise Crowley School of Law
Start-up of the Year Shannen O'Reilly TrustDish