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UCC alumna and Tyndall board member receives prestigious science award

11 Mar 2020

An Adjunct Professor of Engineering Department at University College Cork and member of the board of the Tyndall National Institute has been presented with a prestigious award at a ceremony in Washington DC.

Intel Senior Vice President and General Manager, Dr Ann Kelleher was today presented with Science Foundation Ireland’s St Patrick’s Day Science Medal for Industry.


Dr Kelleher was one of just two recipients of an SFI St Patrick’s Day Science Medal at today’s ceremony.


Now in its seventh year, the SFI St Patrick’s Day Science Medal is awarded annually to US-based scientists, engineers or technology leaders with strong Irish connections, as chosen by an independent selection committee. The Medal recognises Dr Kelleher’s significant roles in supporting and engaging with the research ecosystem in Ireland.


Dr Kelleher has had an outstanding scientific and technical career. Originally from Macroom, Co. Cork, she achieved First Class honours in Engineering in 1987 and a MEng in 1989 from University College Cork. 


In 1993, Dr Kelleher became the first female to receive a PhD from the National Microelectronics Research Centre (NMRC), the forerunner of Tyndall National Institute. She was the first Irish woman in the history of Intel to be named as a Vice President, and she maintains strong links to Ireland, making significant contributions across several areas.


Welcoming the award, Dr Kelleher, said: “I am honoured to accept the SFI St Patrick’s Day Industry Medal for my work at Intel. I am a firm advocate for industry collaboration between Ireland and the United States, given my career with Intel began in Leixlip. 


“The benefits and positive impact of this collaborative relationship are considerable. This is evidenced by the long and fruitful collaborative research engagement between Tyndall, multiple SFI Research Centres and US multinationals. These relationships present significant opportunities for people in Ireland to work and prosper in major multinational companies such as Intel. 


“I hope that awards such as this will also highlight the career paths available to young women who have an interest in working in STEM,” she said.


Dr Kelleher was appointed to the Tyndall National Institute Board of Directors in 2012 and since 2014 is an Adjunct Professor in the Engineering Department, University College Cork. 


Dr Kelleher has also been a strong role model and advocate for gender equality, and for women working in engineering roles and senior management positions in the tech industry. 


She has provided leadership to Women in Science initiatives and in 2015 she was elected as a Fellow of Engineers Ireland. In 2018 she was one of 25 women recognised in the "Ireland's Most Powerful Women Awards."


President of University College Cork Professor Patrick O’Shea attended the medal ceremony and welcomed Dr Kelleher’s recognition.


“As a University, we are extremely proud of our alumna Dr Ann Kelleher. She is a great inspiration to the UCC community and we value her on-going commitment to UCC and Tyndall,” Prof O’Shea said.


Dr Kelleher was nominated for the recognition by the Tyndall Institute.

"Ann is well known as an international technology executive and is very focused on ensuring Ireland remains globally competitive in advanced manufacturing, research and development," said Prof William Scanlon, CEO, Tyndall National Institute.

"We value her advocacy for Ireland and her sustained leadership on the Tyndall Board. We were very proud to nominate her for this prestigious award, and pleased she’s been recognised for her outstanding career and significant contributions to academia, research and industry,” he said. 


Prof Neville J Hogan, Sun Jae Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Professor of Brain and Cognitive Sciences at Massachusetts Institute of Technology was the recipient of the SFI St Patrick’s Day Science Medal for Academia.


Prof Mark Ferguson, Director General, Science Foundation Ireland and Chief Scientific Adviser to the Government of Ireland, congratulated the Medal recipients. 


“The SFI St Patrick’s Day Science Medal shines a light on the incredible achievements and diversity of Irish researchers in the diaspora. As we continue to advance Ireland’s society and economy through excellent ground-breaking research and technology, the forging of strong international collaborations remains vital. 


“US-Ireland research collaborations generate new insights and create significant value to both countries, their academic communities and industry. I am delighted to see two highly deserving recipients in Prof Hogan and Dr Kelleher, whose leadership, vision and passion are helping to address significant national and global societal challenges,” he said.

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