Science Foundation Ireland

Winners of 2020 CONNECT Awards announced

CONNECT has recognised the achievements of several researchers in the 2020 CONNECT awards. Here are this year’s winners and the accompanying citations.

Prof. Tom Brazil Excellence in Research Award:
Dr Sasitharan Balasubramaniam (Funded Investigator, TSSG)  and Dr Michael Barros (Research Fellow, TSSG)

“Over the past decade Sasi and Michael have been instrumental in establishing molecular communications as one of the most exciting research areas in the communications networking field. The Prof. Tom Brazil Award for Research Excellence is in recognition of a particular strand of research on which Sasi, Michael and their collaborators have published results during 2020. This relates to the application of communications-theoretic techniques to explore the potential to harness engineered mammalian cells to act as Boolean logic gates. One paper explores the manipulation of action potentials for neurons, whilst the other explores the manipulation of calcium signaling between astrocytes, with the latter being demonstrated in wet lab experiments. These breakthroughs point towards the possibility of the development of novel bio-computing applications.”​

The Excellence in Research Award is named in memory of the late Prof. Tom Brazil, a CONNECT Principal Investigator at UCD.

Impact Award:
Michael Guerin (Smart Docklands) and Edward Emmanuel (Smart Docklands)

Smart Docklands has been acknowledged internationally as a bridge between the world of urban innovation and academic research, while meaningfully involving local residents and local workers. ​

It has led to five Targeted Projects in CONNECT in addition to the establishment of five more Smart Districts; it has convened a national 5G working group and published a discussion document on 5G readiness resulting in national media coverage; it has created a full 3D AR/VR model of the Docklands and engaged with school children in the locality. ​

Education and Public Engagement Award:
Daniela Iacopino (Funded Investigator, Tyndall National Institute)

This award is in recognition of Daniela’s work designing bespoke demos showing applications of sensor technology, engaging with significant numbers of secondary school students, and contributing to the SFI Discover project “Invisible Light”, and the new Horizon 2020 project “Supporting Sustainable Institutional Changes to Promote Citizen Science in Science and Technology (TIME4CS)”.​

She has been a strong EPE role model and a powerful advocate for women in STEM.

Congratulations to all the 2020 awardees!

CONNECT is the world leading Science Foundation Ireland Research Centre for Future Networks and Communications. CONNECT is funded under the Science Foundation Ireland Research Centres Programme and is co-funded under the European Regional Development Fund. We engage with over 35 companies including large multinationals, SMEs and start-ups. CONNECT brings together world-class expertise from ten Irish academic institutes to create a one-stop-shop for telecommunications research, development and innovation.


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