Eight researchers from five leading Irish universities were presented with Lero Awards at an online ceremony on 8 September 2020.
The annual awards are presented by Lero, the Science Foundation Ireland Research Centre for Software, to honour researchers and academics from Lero’s eleven academic partner institutes nationwide.
At this year’s Awards presentation, which was held online, Lero Director Professor Brian Fitzgerald told members that their resilience and dedication have meant that Lero has continued and, in many cases, has expanded its ground-breaking work despite the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I am constantly impressed by the women and men who are the backbone of our world-leading research centre. Their resilience, ingenuity and ambition to provide research-based solutions and insights to resolve problems have not been derailed by a pandemic that has transformed so many other facets of modern living.
“This year, Lero celebrates the 15th anniversary of its foundation. Since 2005, Lero has established itself as one of the top software research centres in the world and this is because of its people.
“2020 has brought unique challenges to our members and our world. Today we recognise the resilience and ingenuity of Lero’s academics and researchers in providing scientific and technological solutions to global issues. We also acknowledge their dedication to the centre, to engaging the public and industry, and to diversity and inclusion in our work and in our world,” Professor Fitzgerald said.
Dr Jim Buckley, University of Limerick, was awarded the Lero Director’s Prize for Research Excellence. Earlier this summer, Dr Buckley received a Science Foundation Ireland COVID-19 Rapid Response Funding award for COVIGILANT, a research project with colleagues in UL and NUI Galway to gather evidence informing and optimising Ireland’s digital contact-tracing strategy and practice.
Dr Darragh Mullins of NUI Galway and Professor Markus Helfert and his team at Maynooth University were awarded Lero Director’s Prizes for Education and Public Engagement.
PhD students Abeba Birhane of University College Dublin and Mairead O’Connor of NUI Galway were awarded Lero Director’s Prizes for Diversity and Inclusion.
Dr Paul Clarke of Dublin City University was awarded the Lero Director’s Prize for Entrepreneurship.
The winners were selected by a specially constituted awards committee, chaired by Lero Director, Professor Fitzgerald.
Professor Rory O’Connor Prize for Outstanding Service to Lero
The Professor Rory O’Connor Prize for Outstanding Service to Lero was presented to Professor Kieran Conboy, Lero Principal Investigator at NUI Galway, and Dara O’Connor, a member of the centre’s support team based in the University of Limerick.
This is the first year that the Professor Rory O’Connor Prize for Outstanding Service to Lero was awarded, in memory of the late Lero and DCU researcher.
“The Professor Rory O’Connor Prize for Outstanding Service to Lero is a highlight of the Lero Director’s Prize programme and we are very grateful to the family of our late colleague Rory for allowing us to name this prize in his honour,” Professor Fitzgerald said.