Awards & Submissions

Submissions and Nominations for the SFI Awards 2020 are now closed.

Winners will be announced at the SFI Science Summit 2020.


2019 Winner: Professor Kevin O’Connor, BiOrbic SFI Bioeconomy Research Centre, University College Dublin

The Science Foundation Ireland Awards takes place each year to recognise the accomplishments of an SFI-funded researcher who has contributed significantly to the Irish research community in their career and/or who has achieved exceptional research outputs in the last 12 months.

Nominations should be based on:

  • overall research accomplishments which they believe have achieved exceptional scientific and engineering research outputs
  • significant contribution to the Irish research community
  • that the individual has demonstrated a strong ability to communicate their research
  • an active SFI award holder (at time of submission of nomination)


2019 Winner: Dr Han Shau, Tyndall National Institute

The Research Image competition celebrates images captured by Science Foundation Ireland-funded researchers during the course of their research.  This Award is open to active SFI funded team members including PhDs.


Joint 2019 Winners: Assoc. Professor Lydia Lynch, Trinity College Dublin and Dr Orla O’Sullivan, Teagasc, APC Microbiome Ireland & VistaMilk SFI Research Centre

The Early Career Researcher Award is to recognise outstanding early career research talent.

Nominations should clearly demonstrate that the nominee is:

  • a Science Foundation Ireland funded investigator or team member
    in the early stage of their research career
  • making a significant contribution to their field of research
  • able to demonstrate the potential to achieve world-leading status
  • showing excellent ability in the communication of their research
  • an active SFI award holder (at time of submission of nomination)


2019 Winner: Professor Daniel Kelly, AMBER SFI Research Centre for Advanced Materials & Bioengineering Research, Trinity College Dublin

This award is to recognise and celebrate collaboration between academic research groups and industry supported by Science Foundation Ireland. Nominations should demonstrate how the collaboration benefited both the academic research group(s) and the company(s).


2019 Winner: Professor William Gallagher, University College Dublin

This award recognises an entrepreneurial or innovation leadership achievement that has led to a demonstrable commercial impact. The award will be presented to an individual researcher or research group that is currently, or that has previously been, supported by SFI as an SFI award holder.

The award celebrates the important role of entrepreneurship in translating publicly funded research to market and serves to underline the importance of entrepreneurial activity in Ireland’s academic research and innovation ecosystem.

The award will be presented to an individual or group who have:

  • previously been or currently are supported by an SFI award
  • demonstrated innovation and leadership
  • had a clear commercial impact of their business, product or services.


2019 Joint Winners: Dr Muriel Grenon, NUI Galway and Assoc. Professor Eilish McLoughlin, Dublin City University

The Science Foundation Ireland Award for STEM Public Engagement and Communication recognises outstanding contribution to the popularisation of science, in particular, where it raises public awareness of the value of science to human progress. This Award is also open to STEM Communicators that are not directly funded by SFI.


2019 Winner: Professor Abhay Pandit, CURAM Research Centre for Medical Devices, NUI Galway 

This award recognises the accomplishments of a researcher/group specifically in the context of their international activities. The successful nominee(s) will be recognised for their strategic vision and have demonstrated an ability to drive and grow impactful collaborations (industry/academic) between their research team(s) in another country(ies). The nominations are judged on:

  • The clear development of international collaborations (academic/industry) to demonstrable relationships, for example, joint publications, significant team mobility, co-funded projects
  • Their ability to identify and leverage sources of domestic and international funding to support their international activities
  • The researcher’s ability and willingness to work with Ireland’s wider international stakeholder group, for example, Ireland’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Embassies and Consulates based in Ireland, Team Ireland overseas (IDA, Enterprise Ireland, Bord Bia etc.)
  • The success of the nominee in influencing their institutes’ international strategy/engagement policies or processes.
  • an active SFI award holder (at time of submission of nomination)


2019 Winner: Dr Fatima Gunning, IPIC SFI Research Centre, Tyndall National Institute

This award recognises outstanding mentorship provided by a researcher funded by Science Foundation Ireland.

Eligibility criteria

The mentor must be a Principal Investigator (PI), Funded investigator (FI) or a contract research staff member (postdoc/research fellow) funded by an SFI award that was active at the time of submission of nomination.

The mentor must be nominated for the SFI Mentorship Award by two or more individuals, one of which is, or has been, mentored by the nominee. Separate nominations must be submitted. Self-nominations will not be accepted.

Evaluation criteria

The nomination should clearly illustrate how the mentor has:

  • demonstrated a commitment to nurturing the intellectual, creative, scholarly and / or professional growth of their mentees
  • enabled their mentees to become independent and be recognised in their own right as a subject matter expert
  • shown a sustained commitment to a mentoring relationship that has supported the career progression and / or the personal development of mentees.