The Science Foundation of Ireland (SFI) announced its 2021 award winners at the annual SFI Science Summit last month. This year, Professor William Gallagher from the UCD School of Biomolecular and Biomedical Science was awarded SFI Researcher of the Year. 

Other UCD faculty to have received awards include Dr Dara Stanley, UCD School of Agriculture and Food Science for Early Career Researcher of the Year; Professor Helen Roche, Director of UCD Conway Institute for Biomolecular and Biomedical Research was awarded the SFI Mentorship and Dr Aileen Doran for the SFI Science Image of the Year. 

The Summit took place virtually for the second consecutive year where awards were presented by Professor Mark Ferguson, the Director-General of SFI and Chief Scientific Adviser to the Government. The summit is an annual gathering of Irish scientists, researchers and academics to celebrate significant achievements made in STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths).

Gallagher is a cancer biologist and the Deputy Director of Precision Oncology in Ireland. He is the former Director of UCD’s Conway Institute of Biomedical and Biomolecular Research. He is currently leading the SFI Investigator Programme which is exploring and identifying prognostic biomarkers for early-stage prostate cancer and breast cancer. 

Speaking to Silicon Republic, Gallagher stated that he is “indebted to other researchers and colleagues”. He went on to note that “practically every family in the country is being or has been affected in some way by this complex collection of diseases, including my own”. 

Ferguson congratulated winners, stating that “the annual SFI Science Awards is an opportunity to recognise some of the very best outputs and achievements of our research community”. He said he is “confident that their [the winners’] success will be a source of inspiration to their peers and, more importantly, to the next generation of researchers in Ireland.” 

Professor Orla Feely, UCD’s Vice President for Research, Innovation and Impact congratulated Gallagher, saying that he is a “highly deserving recipient of the SFI Researcher of the Year award, based on his many achievements in the field of cancer research that reflect a rounded academic career of the highest quality.”

Mahnoor Choudhry – Co-Editor