President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins, yesterday received three recipients of the Science Foundation Ireland, President of Ireland Young Researcher Award (PIYRA) at Áras an Uachtaráin. Our vision researcher Dr. Matthew Campbell of the Smurfit Institute, Trinity College Dublin along with Professor Carel le Roux of University College Dublin and Professor Valeria Nicolosi of Trinity College Dublin were presented with the prestigious accolade which acknowledges cutting-edge research in fields considered critical to Ireland’s economic and social prosperity.
The President said, “This award recognises the ongoing contribution of Irish scientists to internationally respected research activity in areas of fundamental relevance to society and the economy. The work being carried out by Dr. Campbell, Professor le Roux and Professor Nicolosi is indicative of the ground-breaking research now being undertaken in Ireland. I am delighted to receive them at Áras an Uachtaráin today. It is the dedication and pioneering results of these researchers which continues to position Ireland as a leader in scientific research.”
PIYRA is Science Foundation Ireland’s most esteemed award for researchers who have shown exceptional promise as possible future leaders in international research and are known for excellence in their fields. Awardees are selected on the basis of exceptional accomplishments in science and engineering and on the basis of creative research projects that have attracted international acclaim.
Commenting on the awards, Professor Mark Ferguson, Director General of Science Foundation Ireland and Chief Scientific Adviser to the Government of Ireland, said: “PIYRA recognises outstanding researchers who, early in their careers, have already demonstrated or shown exceptional potential for leadership in their fields of research. Through this programme SFI is supporting a new generation of top-tier scientific researchers in Ireland.”
Dr. Campbell who is being recognised for his research into eye conditions including age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and a range of other neurological disorders said: “PIYRA has allowed me to recruit some exceptionally talented individuals to work as both PhD and postdoctoral researchers at the Smurfit Institute of Genetics, where I now lead the Neurovascular Genetics Research Laboratory. In addition, I have been afforded a platform to establish a programme of research into the complexities of the blood-brain barrier, which can prevent the delivery of potentially therapeutic agents to the brain”.