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SETU Research Excellence Awards

The aim of the annual SETU Research Excellence Awards is to recognise the outstanding contributions of academic and research staff for excellent and innovative research that enhances SETU’s reputation. The process is run by the Research office. The Research Excellence Awards are an essential event of the Universities culture of research and innovation where we celebrate the impactful research developments at SETU by our engaged community. 


Research Excellence Awards 2024

Research Excellence Awards 2024

The awards take place annually in September/ October each year. The call for nominations will open in due course, follow the research office X account to receive updates @SETU_Research.

Previous Awardees

Early Career Researcher - Dr Zeta Dooly

Dr Zeta Dooly, Lecturer in the School of Education and Lifelong Learning, leading the PG Cert in Technology Enhanced Learning and Researcher at SETU, was presented with the Early Career Researcher award. 

Established Researcher - Dr Laurence Fitzhenry

The Established Researcher award was presented to Dr Laurence Fitzhenry. Dr Fitzhenry is a Lecturer and Researcher in Pharmaceutical Science at the Department of Science, and Principal Investigator of the Ocular Therapeutics Research Group (OTRG) at the PMBRC. 

Research Impact award for Industry and Commercialisation - Dr Niall O’ Reilly

The winner of the Research Impact award for Industry and Commercialisation was Dr Niall O’ Reilly, Centre Manager of PMBRC. Dr O’Reilly has overseen the development of the centre since 2009, including the coordination of projects with over 100 industry partners totalling over €4m. 

Research Impact Policy and Practice - Dr Imelda Casey

Dr Imelda Casey, a Lecturer with the Department of Land Sciences, was presented with the Research Impact Policy and Practice award.  

Research Supervisor - Dr Larry Stapleton

Dr Larry Stapleton was honoured to be presented with the SETU Research Supervisor award. Dr Larry Stapleton is senior academic and international consultant in advanced digital systems, organisational transformation, and leadership working with private and public sector organisations, governments, and international agencies across the world. 

President's Award for the Advancement of Research and Supervision - Dr Thomae Kakouli-Duarte

Separate to the Excellence awards, the President's Award for the Advancement of Research and Supervision at SETU was awarded to Dr Thomae Kakouli-Duarte. This award recognises excellence in contribution to the development of research and supervision at the University.

Early Career Researcher - Dr Rebecca Power

Dr Rebecca Power, Marie Sklodowska Curie Action Research Fellow, and Postdoctoral Researcher at SETU Waterford, was presented with the Early Career Researcher award. Dr Power is primarily interested in the role of dietary patterns and specific nutrients in maintaining brain health, improving cognitive performance, and reducing the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. 

Established Researcher - Dr Lee Coffey

The Established Researcher award was presented to Dr Lee Coffey. Dr Coffey is a Lecturer and Researcher in Molecular Biology with Biopharmaceutical Science at the Department of Science, SETU Waterford and is a Principal Investigator at the PMBRC where he is leading the Molecular Biotechnology and Biopharmaceutical Research Group. 
Due to the variety of nominations received for the Research Impact Award, the decision was made to split it into two categories 1) Industry and Commercialisation and 2) Policy and Practice. 

Research Impact award for Industry and Commercialisation - Dr Patrick Lynch

The winner of the Research Impact award for Industry and Commercialisation was Dr Pat Lynch, Director of RIKON, a business innovation research centre in SETU Waterford. Patrick manages a team of researchers who are recognised for making real transformational change in business and re-imaging how companies can identify tactical market opportunities to grow business volume and develop breakthrough strategies and innovative business models to transform their organisation. 

Research Impact Policy and Practice - Dr Noel Richardson

Dr Noel Richardson was presented with the Research Impact Policy and Practice award. Dr Richardson is Lecturer and Director of healthCORE at SETU Carlow. He has extensive experience in the area of men’s health at a research and policy level.  His current research interests include men, masculinities, and mental health; and health promotion interventions targeted at ‘hard to reach’ groups of men in community and workplace settings. He is also a passionate advocate for men's health. 

Research Supervisor - Professor Gillian Gardiner

Finally, Prof Gillian Gardiner was honoured to be presented with the Research Supervisor award.  Prof Gardiner leads a successful multi-disciplinary agri-food research group within the Eco-Innovation Research Centre at SETU Waterford.  She has supervised 13 PhD students to completion and is currently supervising four and one Masters student. Prof Gardiner has obtained >€7.2 million in research funding since joining SETU and is Principal Investigator/Co-Investigator on a number of projects, many with industrial partners 

Early Career Researcher - Dr Kate McCarthy

Dr Kate McCarthy, Department of Arts, School of Humanities, won the Early Career Researcher award category. Kate’s teaching, research, and practice explores and challenges exclusionary and gendered narratives. Her research outputs take many forms including theatre practice, workshops, community engagement projects, public talks, podcasts, as well as publications. As a practitioner, Kate has facilitated and devised numerous contemporary performance projects in Ireland and in the UK, ranging from youth theatre to site-responsive and street theatre to drama and theatre education projects. 

Established Researcher - Dr Patrick Lynch

The Established Researcher award was presented to Dr Patrick Lynch, Department of Management and Organisation, and Co-founder and Director of RIKON.  Patrick has been researching and teaching innovation management and market analysis for over 15 years in WIT. As Director of RIKON, Patrick has amassed considerable industry, consultancy and applied innovation research experience in both management and delivery capacities spanning innovation processes and framework development, market and business research and analysis, new product and service development and business modelling and development and market development. 

Research Impact - Dr Ramesh Raghavendra

The winner of the Research Impact award is Dr Ramesh Raghavendra of WIT’s School of Engineering, SEAM Centre Director & Founder of 3DWIT. Dr Raghavendra has been a Principal Investigator on numerous Advanced Manufacturing related industrial projects including two large Enterprise Ireland Innovation Partnership projects to the value of €1.1m and €400,000 with MNC, SME and LEO companies based in Ireland. In his present role as SEAM Director, Ramesh is responsible for overall operational aspects and was instrumental in relaunching the centre in 2009.  Within ten years of launching of SEAM, Ramesh has established collaborations with over 235 Irish based industries and successfully managed to deliver over 3000 directly funded Industrial projects. 

Research Supervisor - Dr Brendan Jennings

The award for Research Supervisor went to Dr Brendan Jennings, Department of Computing and Mathematics. In his 15+ years in Waterford, Dr Jennings was instrumental in delivering a vibrant, well-regarded research programme on communications network management. He has been Principal Investigator on research grants totaling €9m+. From 2014 to 2019 he was WIT’s first Head of Graduate Studies, leading the introduction of Structured PhD programmes and research student structures and supports across WIT. During 2020 Brendan was the Interim Director of CONNECT, the SFI Research Centre for Future Networks and Communications. Brendan has recently joined Technological University Dublin (TU Dublin), as the university’s first Vice President for Research and Innovation.