Trinity researchers win 2020 Science Foundation Ireland Awards

Posted on: 05 November 2020

Three researchers from Trinity—Professor Kingston Mills, Dr Matthew Campbell and Professor Luke O’Neill—have won prestigious 2020 Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) Awards. Their successes were celebrated with the announcement made at the annual SFI Summit, which precedes Science Week.

Kingston Mills, Professor of Experimental Immunology and Director of the Trinity Biomedical Sciences Institute (TBSI), won the SFI Researcher of the Year award, which recognises his accomplishments and significant contributions to the Irish research community in 2020, and throughout his career.

Professor Mills, who heads an active research team focusing on T cells in infection and autoimmunity, said:

“I am absolutely delighted to receive this prestigious award from Science Foundation Ireland. I have been committed to the fascinating field of immunology for nearly 40 years, but my research achievements would not have been possible without the financial support from SFI, the commitment and dedication of my research team and the support of colleagues, especially those at Trinity College Dublin.”

Matthew Campbell, Assistant Professor in Genetics at Trinity, is the joint winner of the SFI Early Career Researcher of the Year award, which recognises researchers who have made outstanding early career contributions to their field.

Dr Campbell, an international leader in the field of neurovascular barrier biology, said:

“I’m delighted and honoured to be awarded SFI’s early career researcher of the year award for 2020.  This award is a testament to the group of scientists I work with and I’m delighted to accept it on their behalf.

“SFI funding was fundamental in allowing me to set up my lab here in Trinity and their continued support has allowed me to consolidate my research and conduct research at a level comparable to any of the major institutes in the world.”

Luke O’Neill, Professor of Biochemistry at Trinity, won the SFI Outstanding Contribution to Stem Communication award, which recognises his significant efforts in the popularisation of science and his success in raising public awareness of the value of science to human progress.

The award is particularly noteworthy given the COVID-19 pandemic and the public appetite and need for accurate scientific information on the course of the crisis over the past year.

Professor O’Neill, a globally recognised expert on innate immunity and inflammation and a passionate science communicator, said:

“I am very pleased to win this award. It’s the first I’ve won for science communication making it especially important. I encourage all scientists to engage with the public at whatever level they feel most comfortable. It is tremendously rewarding and worthwhile.”

Professor Mark Ferguson, Director General of Science Foundation Ireland and Chief Scientific Adviser to the Government of Ireland, congratulated the award winners, saying:

“I am delighted to congratulate this year’s award winners on their inspiring success and dedication. The Science Foundation Ireland Awards recognise the expansive contribution that scientists make to our society and economy through innovative breakthroughs, industry collaborations, entrepreneurship, public engagement, and mentorship of the next generation.

“This year has been an eventful and challenging one for our research community. I would particularly like to congratulate Prof Kingston Mills as our 2020 SFI Researcher of the Year. Well done to all, working closely together, the Irish research community continues to be impactful, inspirational and world-leading.”