As part of Maynooth University’s 20th anniversary celebrations, the University recently honoured exceptional research and service innovation by its faculty and staff with a new set of awards.
The awards were presented at an event on Friday, 20th April, culminating the first-ever Maynoooth Week, a special week of activities and events designed to celebrate the staff, students, alumni and community that make Maynooth University the vibrant, dynamic and distinctive place it is today.
Staff gathered to recognise their colleagues with two new sets of awards—the Maynooth Staff Recognition Awards and the Maynooth University Research Achievement Awards.
Commenting on the awards, President of Maynooth University, Professor Philip Nolan said: “I am constantly impressed by the high calibre of work undertaken by colleagues across this institution—whether it be strikingly original research; innovation and commitment in University support services; or dedicated and engaging teaching practice and development.”
“The awards represent an opportunity to recognise outstanding contributions by our colleagues and to celebrate the work of the University as a whole.”
The Maynooth University Staff Recognition Awards for Administrative, Technical, Professional and Support Staff were designed to recognise outstanding contributions to university life by staff across all departments. Staff were nominated by colleagues in both individual and team categories for service excellence and service innovation.
- The 2018 winners of the President’s Award for Service Excellence (individuals): Elaine Bean, Senior Library Assistant; Elizabeth Murphy, Assistant Librarian; Gemma Middleton, Office of the Dean of Teaching and Learning; and Michelle Finnegan, Department of Biology.
- The 2018 winners of the President’s Award for Service Excellence (team): Catherine Heslin and Ann Donoghue, who manage the administration of Maynooth University’s Department of History; and the entire Maynooth University’s Grounds Staff of Campus Services.
- The 2018 winners of the President’s Award for Service Innovation (individual): Maynooth University Programme Advisor, Catriona Mc Grattan, for her leadership and forward-thinking approach to supporting students as they transition to third-level education.
- The 2018 winners of the President’s Award for Service Innovation (team): The Maynooth University Library Innovation Group, comprised of Laura Connaughton (Chair), Elaine Bean, Carole Connolly, Patricia Harkin, Fiona Tuohy and Lorna Dodd. The group was praised for the way in which it has engaged with and listened to students, including its standout project for the ‘If Students Did Libraries …’ initiative, which has seen student ideas incorporated into Maynooth University’s library, such as Brian Crinion’s Energy Pods.
Maynooth University Research Achievement Awards were presented to members of Maynooth University’s faculty that have demonstrated excellence in different areas of research.
- The 2018 winner of the Early Career Research Achievement Award in Social Sciences: Dr Conor Murphy, Maynooth University Department of Geography, whose research has advanced understanding the historical rainfall climatology of the Island of Ireland by developing a quality assured monthly rainfall network for Ireland from 1850, a drought catalogue from 1766, and a continuous monthly rainfall series that extends to 1711. The latter is one of the world’s longest, quality assured rainfall series and is a new benchmark dataset for understanding the historical climate of Western Europe and variability in the Atlantic Ocean
- The 2018 winner of the Early Career Research Award in Arts, Humanities, Celtic Studies and Philosophy: Dr Deborah Hayden, Maynooth University’s School of Celtic Studies. Dr Hayden recently became one of just 36 academics in Ireland to be awarded with an Irish Research Council Laureate Award to conduct a project on two medieval texts that she discovered, and which alter our understanding of Ireland’s contribution to medieval European scientific literature in the vernacular
- The 2018 winner of the Early Career Research Achievement Award for Science and Engineering: Dr Karen English, Department of Biology, was honoured for her work in leading the Cellular Immunology Laboratory in the Biology Department. Holding six PhDs, her work has been cited nearly 900 times in the past three years. Her most important contribution to date has been to define mechanisms of action by which certain stem cells influence immune responses. Dr English also is the winner of the overall Maynooth University Early Career Research Achievement Award for 2018
- The 2018 winner of the Research Achievement Award in the Faculty of Arts, Humanities, Celtic Studies and Philosophy: Professor David Stifter, School of Celtic Studies, was, in 2015, the first researcher ever to receive an European Research Council (ERC) grant in the field of Celtic Studies, and one of the first ERC award winners in the broader field of historical linguistics
- The 2018 winner of the Research Achievement Award for Science and Engineering: Professor Paul Moynagh, Head of the Department of Biology and Director of the MU Human Health Research Institute. Through his research Prof Moynagh has achieved an international reputation of distinction in understanding the process of inflammation, and he is a recognised world leader in understanding the role of Pellino proteins, which play a key role in it
- The 2018 winner of the Research Achievement Award in Social Sciences: Prof Rob Kitchin, Department of Geography and the MU Social Sciences Institute, was recognised for his role as an academic leader of exceptional standing both nationally and internationally. Prof Kitchin has made a number of highly significant contributions to conceptual thought and empirical research, disciplinary and research leadership, and pedagogy and teaching. In the last five years he has been awarded both a European Research Council Advanced Investigator Award and a Science Foundation Ireland investigator Award. Prof Kitchin also was the winner of the overall Maynooth University Research Achievement Award for 2018.