NUI Galway President's Awards for Research Excellence 2020


President's Awards for Research Excellence 2021/2022

Exceptional individuals and teams receive University of Galway President’s Awards for Research Excellence 2021/2022

On 6 December 2022 the outcome of the President’s Awards for Research Excellence 2021/2022 was celebrated. The awards celebrate the outstanding contributions of our research community which exemplifies the creative energy and transformative ambition of the university.

Professor Garry Duffy is Professor of Anatomy and Regenerative Medicine within the School of Medicine and leads a research group which focuses on improving drug delivery for chronic diseases. Professor Duffy has supervised numerous research students and guided over 20 to achieve their PhD degrees.

Professor John Cullinan is Professor in Economics with the School of Business and Economics, and Director of the Centre for Economic Research on Inclusivity and Sustainability. He has made a significant contribution to postgraduate research supervision at University of Galway and made important contributions to postgraduate research and development at a wider national level

Dr Arstein-Kerslake, School of Law, is a member of the Irish Centre for Human Rights and has designed and carried out ground-breaking research on the human rights of disabled people. She has been a Principal Investigator on 6 large-scale research projects and has worked on projects where the participatory methodology has been hailed as innovative and world-leading by scholars and government actors.

Dr Emer McGrath, based in the School of Medicine and the HRB-CRFG, has a strong track record in population-health and patient-oriented research with multiple high-quality clinical research outputs in neurovascular cognitive disorders and neurodegenerative disease.  Internationally, she is an investigator with the world-renowned Framingham Heart Study (Boston University) and holds an Adjunct Associate Professor of Neurology position at the University of Texas, San Antonio.

Dr Ted Vaughan, School of Engineering, is Principal Investigator in the Biomechanics Research Centre. Among other areas, his work is providing is providing fundamental insights into the mechanics of bone fragility in type-2 diabetes. He holds a European Research Council Starter Grant and an Irish Research Council Laureate Award, and garnered the “Academic Contribution to MedTech” award from the Irish Medical Devices Association in 2021.

Professor Xinmin Zhan is based in the School of Engineering. His research interests include the development of advanced wastewater treatment technologies, organic waste biorefinery for renewable energy production and technology roadmaps for building a green agriculture industry. Committed to scientific research and technology development, he has achieved world-leading outcomes, which have benefited the fields of pollution control, sustainability, and circular economy.

The Citizen Development Lab
The Citizen Development Lab was established to deliver a body of research which would empower people to develop the skills, competencies, and confidence to work with digital technologies. Citizen Development is a novel process empowering individuals to accelerate and expand digital skills using IT-sanctioned low-code/no-code (LCNC) platforms to create business applications. The team at Citizen Development have collaborated with Microsoft and the Project Management Institute (PMI) to develop the first Citizen Development educational platform in the world, to educate students on digital literacy through their research-led teaching.
Team members include, from the School of Business and Economics Dr Noel Carroll, Dr Matthew Ajimati and Ms Mary Maher, with Dr Cornelia Connolly, School of Education.

Read more about the The Citizen Development Lab here.

COVID-19 Emergency Evidence Response Service (EERS) Team.
In March 2020, in response to the pandemic, the Emergency Evidence Response Service (EERS) was formed. Over twenty people pivoted from their day-to-day jobs at University of Galway to provide research skills to identify and address knowledge gaps from the community as well as decision-makers such as the World Health Organisation. The team worked on dozens of projects, which included the launch of a website ( as a resource for the public to check the reliability of a health claim quickly and easily, empowering the public to think critically about health claims and make well-informed choices with real-time reliable evidence.

Team members: School of Nursing and Midwifery: Dr Claire Beecher, Dr Linda Biesty, Dr Nikita Burke, Prof Dympna Casey, Dr Tom Conway, Prof Declan Devane, Dr Sandra Galvin (HRB-TMRN), Ms Vivienne Hanrahan, Dr Catherine Houghton, Ms Fiona Quirke, Dr Fionnuala Jordan; School of Psychology: Dr Chris Noone, Dr Jenny Mc Sharry, Dr Eimear Morrissey; James Hardiman Library: Mr Mike Smalle Former members of School of Nursing and Midwifery: Prof Valerie Smith, Dr Elaine Toomey, Dr Hannah Delaney, Dr Ciara Keenan, Dr Elaine Finucane, Ms Yvonne Conway.
Read more about the COVID-19 Emergency Evidence Response Service (EERS) Team here.

More information on the President’s Awards for Research Excellence, including past recipients, can be found here