The 2023 President’s Awards for Research and Impact were presented to recipients from across the university who have been involved in ground-breaking research in areas ranging from revolutionary laser technology to in depth research of online misogyny.

Recipients announced for 2023 DCU President’s Awards for Research & Impact

Annual awards are given to university researchers whose work is shaping society, industry, the economy and culture

The 2023 President’s Awards for Research and Impact were presented to recipients from across the university who have been involved in ground-breaking research in areas ranging from revolutionary laser technology to in depth research of online misogyny.

Recipients of the DCU President’s Awards for Research & Impact were announced at a ceremony held in The Helix at the University’s Glasnevin campus this week.

The awards are separated into two categories: Awards for Research, which recognise outstanding achievements and research excellence over an extended period of time, and Awards for Impact, which cover research work, often a single project, which has significantly impacted society.

At the ceremony, Dublin City University President Professor Daire Keogh said:

“Research is the engine driving our vision for DCU as ‘a leading innovative European University’. The work of this year’s awardees truly exemplifies our ongoing strategic commitment to advancing the reputation and impact of DCU research. I congratulate them on their well-deserved awards.

The award winners and their categories are listed below. 

Early career academic and research staff

Dr Jennifer Gaughran
Dr Jennifer Gaughran.

Dr Jennifer Gaughran receives this year’s award for her outstanding academic research for which she has received a combined €2.3 million in awarded funding. Dr Gaughran has developed a new concept, brought together an interdisciplinary team, and secured funding to establish and lead the Grain-4-Lab project. Dr Gaughran led research on an open-source paper examining the potential commercial use of bioplastics which was crucial to securing funding for the project.

Dr Gaughran’s first research contribution to the scientific community, completed during her PhD, demonstrated for the first time the potential use of Graphene Oxide membranes in point-of-care biomedical diagnostics.

Dr Gaughran has also produced ground-breaking research as a principal investigator, supervising research that would significantly reduce costs related to disease detection in DNA.

Natural Sciences, Health, Engineering and related areas

Dr Andrew Kellett
Dr Andrew Kellett.

Dr Andrew Kellett has led multiple research projects spanning chemical sciences and biotechnology. He co-ordinates research clusters including collaborators from the University of Oxford, LMU Munich and the National Research Council of Italy. Between 2020 and 2021 he wrote the entire syllabus for a Graduate Diploma in Industrial Biopharmaceuticals, which he now chairs at DCU. 

Dr Kellett is the leading co-ordinator of the NATURE_ETN Project which seeks to extend the boundaries of molecular medicine and provide new tools for treating cancer and monogenetic diseases. The network includes ten beneficiaries and seven partner organisations, including nine leading research institutions, five cutting-edge SMEs and three multinationals.

Dr Andrew Kellett’s work has also been recognised externally with prestigious prizes from Enterprise Ireland and the Science Foundation Ireland Research Centre for Pharmaceuticals.

Humanities and Social Sciences, Business, Education and related areas

Professor Maura McAdam
Professor Maura McAdam.

Professor Maura McAdam receives the President’s Award for her work in establishing the field of entrepreneurship research, covering topics such business incubation, women’s entrepreneurship and family business. In addition to her own work, Prof McAdam has launched the careers of fellow academics as a sought after PhD supervisor, and generated over a million euro in research funding.

In addition to an extensive publication record, she has made significant contributions to the research profile of the university. Between 2016 and 2019, she served as Research Director for the National Centre for Family Business, a highly successful research group at DCU. In 2016 she launched a knowledge exchange with the Princess Norah bint Abdulrahman University in Saudi Arabia.

Prof McAdam frequently features as a keynote speaker at conferences hosted by leading Irish enterprises such as Bank of Ireland, Skillnet Ireland and PWC, as well as events in Europe and the United States.

Dr Debbie Ging
Dr Debbie Ging.

Dr Debbie Ging has conducted innovative and definitive research into the misogynist radicalisation of young men and boys. Before the issue gained widespread attention, Dr Ging published work theorising its origins and characteristics. This work included the first study of the ‘manosphere’, a term referring to the ideological framework of alpha and beta males, and ‘incels’. Subsequently, Dr Ging secured funding to work with international experts in political science, terrorism studies and computer science to further advance this field of study.

In addition, Dr Ging has also developed counter measures and interventions to tackle misogyny. Between 2019 and 2022, she played a leading role in developing GenTOPIA, a digital game resource for 14-16 year-olds to tackle sexism and gender-based and sexual abuse and harassment.

Dr Ging is a prolific contributor to national print and broadcast media, regularly commenting on the manosphere, incels, online misogyny, gender-based and sexual abuse.

Early Stage Research Impact Award

Dr Prince Anandajarah
Dr Prince Anandajarah.

Dr Prince Anandajarah is recognised for his development of the ground-breaking gain switched optical comb technology. First developed and patented ten years ago, the comb allows a single laser to create multiple outputs as opposed to using several lasers.

Aside from generating potentially significant savings, the comb is an example of ‘platform technology’, where a single patented product creates multiple commercial opportunities. The comb’s potential applications include reducing the energy consumption of telecoms and data networks and the detection and measurement of greenhouse gases.

Dr Catherine Maunsell and Dr Ashling Bourke
Dr Ashling Bourke and Dr Catherine Maunsell.

Dr Catherine Maunsell and Dr Ashling Bourke are recognised for conducting the TEACH-RSE study on the preparation of Irish teachers to teach Relationships and Sexuality Education. The first of its kind in Ireland, the study makes significant contributions to global and national targets for sexual health and wellbeing.

This research led directly to the design and development of the innovative DCU Graduate Diploma in SPHE/RSE programme. The programme is the first professional development qualification in this area for post-primary teachers in Ireland. It addresses a long-standing need identified in governmental, educational, and academic contexts.

Professor Noel O’Connor, Dr Nathan Gavigan, Dr Stephen Behan and Dr Johann Issarte
Professor Noel O’Connor, Dr Nathan Gavigan, Dr Stephen Behan and Dr Johann Issarte.

Dr Stephen Behan (and team of Dr Sarahjane Belton, Dr Johann Issartel, Dr Nathan Gavigan and Professor Noel O’Connor) receives the award for his work in studying children’s motivation to exercise, in the face of growing physical inactivity. The project focuses on examining ‘the motivation, confidence, physical competence, knowledge and understanding to take responsibility to be active for life.’ The team assessed all of these factors in over 2,100 children, using an innovative app and built a representative dataset of Irish children.

The second phase of the programme enacted change in participating primary schools. Through rigorous analysis of the initial data, an intervention was developed and piloted in over 30 schools in Dublin. This included teacher upskilling, in class activity, and home activities for parental involvement.