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First ever female recipients of the Researcher of the Year accolade at the SFI Science Summit

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First ever female recipients of the Researcher of the Year accolade at the SFI Science Summit

November 04
16:39 2015

The annual Science Foundation Ireland Science Summit begins today in Kilkenny. Taking place over two-days (2th-3th November) with the theme For What’s Next,  the summit provides a platform for 300 members of Ireland’s research community to discuss Ireland’s science policy, programmes and progress. The summit will feature keynote speakers including Mr Chris Lewicki, President and Chief Engineer at Planetary Resources, a USA based asteroid mining company whose vision is to do the impossible now by developing a space economy through Asteroid mining. Picture Jason Clarke.

Professor Geraldine Boylan and Professor Louise Kenny have been announced as the Science Foundation Ireland Joint Researchers of the Year 2015.

Minister for Skills, Research and Innovation, Damien English TD made the announcement at the SFI Science Summit, to an audience of 300 researchers in attendance.

Professor Geraldine Boylan and Professor Louise Kenny the joint Directors of INFANT, are global leaders in reducing the burden of disease and disability associated with the period just before and after birth.

Professor Mark Ferguson, Director General of Science Foundation Ireland and Chief Scientific Adviser to the Government of Ireland explained why this year’s award was particularly significant,”We are delighted to recognise Professor Boylan and Professor Kenny as our first ever joint and first female recipients of the Researcher of the Year accolade.  It is particular apt that they are the first female recipients; INFANT is unique in that it’s being led by two women and encouraging junior female faculty at the centre is a priority for both of them.”

Accepting their award, Professor Geraldine Boylan and Professor Louise Kenny welcomed the award and said, “We are delighted to receive this award.  Every single day, somewhere in the world over 800 young women die as a direct result of pregnancy or childbirth, and in the same 24 hour period over 15,000 babies will be stillborn or will die within days of birth. Many millions more who survive will live with long-term disability. Perinatal research has lagged behind other research areas both in terms of investment and consequently in terms of progress. The support of Science Foundation Ireland, University College Cork, and the Irish government is helping our outstanding team at INFANT to reverse this trend.”

Geraldine Boylan is a scientist, Professor of Neonatal Physiology and a world-leading expert in newborn brain function. Her pioneering work in this area has been instrumental in developing the first ever medical device for automated seizure detection in newborns.

Professor Louise Kenny is Professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology and a consultant obstetrician & gynaecologist.  She has a long standing clinical and research interest in disorders of pregnancy and is a world-leading expert in pre-eclampsia, a major killer of pregnant women.

Both Louise and Geraldine are passionate about attracting women to science and hope that their success will  inspire young women contemplating a career in science or medicine.

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