The annual awards recognise the outstanding contributions of SETU academic and research staff to
high quality, innovative research that enhances the reputation of the Institution both locally and
Awardees were nominated by their colleagues and peers across a number of categories: Early Career
Researcher, Established Researcher, Research Impact, and Research Supervisor. This year saw 27
nominees across a variety of disciplines from engineering and chemistry to business management
and health sciences.
During the ceremony, the five winners were each presented with a plaque commemorating the
occasion by SETU President Prof Veronica Campbell. SETU was also honoured to have Director
General of Science Foundation Ireland, Prof Philip Nolan, in attendance to congratulate the
Acknowledging the significance of the awards to SETU and its researchers, Prof Veronica Campbell
said, “I warmly congratulate all recipients of this year’s Research Excellence Awards. It is important
that SETU recognises the achievements of our vibrant research community and I look forward to this
event being a regular part of our calendar. We are fortunate to have such enthusiastic research staff
who are engaged in innovative and impactful research, and I wish them the very best as they
continue to push the boundaries of their disciplines.”
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.
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.
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.
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
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.