The winners of the prestigious 2023 iCRAG Awards have been announced at the annual iCRAG Summit. With 100 iCRAG members in attendance, the Centre celebrated the achievement of its researchers.
Acknowledging the award winners Prof. Murray Hitzman, Director of iCRAG, said:
“I want to congratulate all the award recipients. The iCRAG Awards recognise the significant achievements from our researchers, highlighting the impact and the ways in which iCRAG is making a difference on the environment, economy and society. The awards highlight the quality of our research, and the immense talent and dedication of our researchers.”
The awards celebrate achievement across research, impact, EPE, career development and EDI.
The award winners are:
Research Paper of the Year
The Research Paper of the Year Award is given in recognition of a paper that has demonstrated scientific excellence and research impact.
Recipient: Distributed acoustic sensing for active offshore shear wave profiling. Andrew Trafford, Robert Ellwood, Loris Wacquier, Alastair Godfrey, Chris Minto, Mark Coughlan & Shane Donohue. Scientific Reports.
Speaking on receipt of the award, lead author Andy Trafford of iCRAG at UCD said: “I'm delighted to receive this award as recognition of the work carried out by all the people who collaborated on this project, namely Shane Donohue, Mark Coughlan, Loris Waquier at UCD and Rob Elwood and Alastair Godfrey at Optasense. This paper is particularly relevant in a time of energy uncertainty as it focusses on a practical application of exciting new technologies to deliver offshore renewable energy developments.”
EDI Leader Award 2023
The EDI Leader Award is given to an individual that has taken exceptional steps to drive equity, diversity and inclusion, and has shown qualities that encouraged and inspired others.
Recipient: Dr Luisa Andrade, iCRAG at UCC
As co-chair of the EDI committee Luisa demonstrated exceptional initiative in advancing iCRAG’s EDI strategy and led several EDI initiatives.
Speaking on receipt of the award, Dr Andrade said: “I wish to thank iCRAG and its members for this recognition and the Centre’s continuous support of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion. This proactive attitude toward EDI is what we need from research centres to make academia a better place to work in."
Education and Public Engagement Award 2023
The Education and Public Engagement Award is awarded to an individual that has shown dedication to education and public engagement, an ability to engage deeply with their target audience, and through EPE has delivered societal impact.
Recipient: Niamh Faulkner, iCRAG at TCD.
Niamh has demonstrated exceptional commitment to EPE at iCRAG, including co-hosting iCRAGorarma podcast for 2 seasons and took part in the PoRoCLIM expedition, which was selected as part of the Made At Uni Climate Action Campaign, under theme of “Inspiring Next Generation of Climate Champions”. Recently Niamh was invited to present at the SCI:COM conference “Thinking outside the Box” session on her science communication activities.
Speaking on receipt of the award, Niamh said: “I am delighted to accept this award and remain committed to inspiring and empowering others through education and engagement. Engaging members of the public with scientific research is an integral part of being a researcher, and working with so many enthusiastic audiences during my time in iCRAG has been an incredible part of my PhD journey.”
Future Leader Award 2023: Postdoctoral researcher
The Future Leader Award 2023: Postdoctoral researcher is awarded to a post-doctoral researcher that has demonstrated excellence in research and associated activities.
Recipient: Dr Anna Bidgood, iCRAG at UCD.
Anna has shown a commitment to her research, and been awarded a Fulbright scholarship to the Carnegie Institute in Washington DC. Anna was recently selected as an Emerging Leader in the Arctic Frontiers programme.
Speaking on receipt of the award, Dr Bidgood said: “Being considered a future leader is an accolade indeed but being voted for by my friends and peers, many of whom I consider just as inspiring in their research and personalities, means so much more. Many people will know that I really thrive off interactions with my peers and colleagues, so I would like to thank everyone who has been a part of my journey so far.”
Future Leader Award 2023: Postgraduate
The Future Leader Award 2023: Postgraduate is awarded to a PhD or MSc researcher that has demonstrated excellence in research and associated activities.
Recipient: Hannah Binner, iCRAG at UCC.
Hannah has demonstrated excellence in research, education and public engagement and EDI initiatives. Currently chair of the iCRAG EDI committee, Hannah’s work focuses on soil science, pollution/contamination problems, and geohazards in Ireland. Hannah has gone to extensive efforts to communicate her results with the public and writers, helping to break down barriers and advance public understanding of science.
Speaking on receipt of the award, Hannah said: “I sincerely thank my colleagues and peers for nominating me, and iCRAG for awarding me, the iCRAG Future Leader Award 2023: Postgraduate. All my work is driven by caring for people and for our natural planet, and I am honoured that my efforts have been recognised at such a scale. I truly believe that by active listening, treating each other with respect and dignity, and by creating environments of open conversation, we can find the best solutions.”
iCRAG Impact Award 2023
The iCRAG Impact Award 2023 is awarded to a researcher(s) whose work has made a demonstrable impact on society, policy, economy, businesses, environment, and/or international engagement.
Recipients: Dr Jennifer Keenahan, iCRAG at UCD, and Dr Mark Coughlan, iCRAG at UCD.
The Climate Action Plan and National Marine Planning Framework, recognises the potential of Irelands marine resource in creating jobs and transitioning to a low carbon economy through renewable energy development. Mark and Jennifer have identified scour of the foundations systems as a significant geohazard and key challenge in the safe and sustainable deployment of infrastructure in the Irish offshore, particular related to wind energy. In response to this key challenge, they have been developing state-of-the-art tools, methodologies and expertise that can be applied in an Irish context to de-risk and mitigate this geohazard. Their work has potential impacts in a range of areas including Economic Impact, International engagement impacts, Policy impacts and Environmental Impact.
Speaking on receipt of the Award, Dr Keenahan said, “I’m extremely grateful to those who nominated us for this award. Supporting the decarbonisation of Ireland’s electricity network through developing offshore wind is critically important and it’s wonderful to feel like myself and Mark are making even the smallest impact in this space.”
Dr Coughlan said: I'm humbled to receive this recognition and would like to thank all my colleagues at iCRAG. As an early career researcher, iCRAG gave me the opportunity to establish myself, develop collaborations and carry out independent research. As my career progressed, the iCRAG team was there to help me in making my research impactful, either by working with industry or supporting policy, for which I'm very grateful.”
iCRAG Industry and Entrepreneurship Award 2023
The iCRAG Industry and Entrepreneurship Award 2023 recognises dedication to industry collaboration and entrepreneurship.
Recipient: Dr Koen Torremans, iCRAG at UCD.
Dr Torremans’ research is truly collaborative, his focus on connecting research and industry has been instrumental in the development of numerous national and international industry partnerships for the Centre, and has resulted in the establishment of several iCRAG collaborative research agreements on projects focussed on the supply of raw materials and metals. His passion for integrating research with real world problems is energising and inspiring for our entire team.
Speaking on receipt of the award, Dr Torremans said: “Our societies face several big challenges in which the earth sciences have a central role to play. By collaborating so closely with industry we can make sure the solutions and adaptations we are developing to the energy transition and climate crisis are implemented quickly and efficiently, backed by the best possible innovation."
iCRAG Mentoring Award 2023
The iCRAG Mentoring Award 2023 recognises mentoring skills and achievements.
Recipient: Dr Paul Slezak, iCRAG at UCD.
Dr Slezak is recognised for his excellence in mentoring new researchers to iCRAG, with a particular emphasis on skills development in geochemistry and the use of laboratory equipment, which underpins many areas of iCRAG research.
Speaking on receipt of the award, Dr Slezak said: “Critical raw materials research is vital for technology and the green revolution. I wish to thank those that have nominated me for this award, many of whom have become collaborators as we work together towards decarbonising and the digital transition.”
iCRAG Image of Research Award 2023
The iCRAG Image of Research Award 2023 celebrates images captured by iCRAG researchers during the course of their work.
Recipient: Dr Aileen Doran, iCRAG at UCD for image entitled: “Cathodoluminescence Zoning in Irish Carbonates”
Speaking on receipt of the award, Dr Doran said: “I am delighted to win iCRAG's first Research Image of the Year award for the image 'Cathodoluminescence Zoning in Irish Carbonates'. This image shows the intricate nature of carbonates associated with Zn-Pb ore deposits in Ireland, and it records the complex hydrothermal history that led to metal deposition. Thanks iCRAG for this award and for showcasing this image!”
Image description: This photomicrograph shows hydrothermal dolomite crystals captured using cathodoluminescence imaging, from the Lisheen Zn-Pb mine, in southern Ireland. The image reveals complex zoning patterns (red) within dolomite crystals that are closely associated with metal formation and reflect early hydrothermal activity at Lisheen. Lisheen is Ireland's second largest known base metal deposit, closing in 2015. The image was taken at the Imperial College London, during Dr Doran's PhD research under the supervision of Assoc. Prof Julian Menuge and Dr Steven Hollis. Field of view: ~2 mm.