University College Dublin Researchers and Spin-out Company Recognised Among Ireland’s Champions of EU Research

John Halligan TD, Minister of State for Training, Skills, Innovation, Research and Development, together with Julie Sinnamon, CEO, Enterprise Ireland today presented outstanding achievement awards to academic researchers, companies and research organisations who have reached the pinnacle of European research.

The Awards were presented at the ‘Ireland’s Champions of EU Research’ event which took place in the Royal Hospital Kilmainham, Dublin.

Sixteen individuals, including two UCD researchers, Professor Suzanne Kingston and Professor Fiona Doohan, along with Des O’Leary, CEO, OncoMark, a UCD spin-out company, received Horizon 2020 achievement awards. They received the awards for their projects/company which exhibited outstanding leadership in their respective programme areas.

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Minister John Halligan TD and Professor Fiona Doohan, UCD School of Biology and Environmental Science

The aim of the event was to recognise the immense contribution of the award winners, and all project leaders from Ireland, to the country’s national success in the €75 billion Horizon 2020 EU Framework Programme for research and innovation.

Enterprise Ireland hosted the event on behalf of Ireland’s National Support Network for Horizon 2020.

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Dr Imelda Lambkin, National Director for Horizon 2020, Minister Halligan TD, Julie Sinnamon, CEO, Enterprise Ireland and Des O'Leary, CEO, OncoMark

Minister John Halligan TD said, “I am delighted to be here today among this impressive and diverse representation of the Irish research community. The breadth of projects nominated for awards today inspires confidence in the continued excellence and dedication to research and innovation in Irish society.”

He added, “I was particularly impressed to note the variety of Universities, Higher Education Institutes, agencies and companies that are competing at the highest levels of European research.”

Professor Suzanne Kingston, UCD School of Law, received an Award for her ERC Starting Grant which focuses on legal architectures: the influence of new environmental governance rules on environmental compliance. This grant achieved the highest ranking for an Irish applicant for this grant type.

Professor Fiona Doohan, UCD School of Biology and Environmental Science,  together with Dr Conor O'Byrne, NUI Galway, received Awards for the leadership of their Marie Skłodowska-Curie Innovative Training Networks in the areas of understanding and exploiting mechanisms of sensory perception in bacteria and training in innovative and integrated control of cereal diseases. Both ranked first in their respective calls.

Julie Sinnamon, CEO, Enterprise Ireland said, “Today’s event celebrates the achievements of collaboration between academic research and industry. Horizon 2020 is an important source of funding for research and innovation and provides a mechanism for researchers and Irish enterprise to network and collaborate with the best researchers and leading companies across Europe. These benefits are particularly important for a small, open economy like ours. The award winners here today are a source of inspiration for others and I’d like to wish them every success with their current projects and in their future endeavours.”

Des O’Leary, CEO, OncoMark Ltd received an Award for his leadership of the OncoMasTR project which is developing a novel prognostic assay for early stage breast cancer. This project was the highest scoring Irish project in the Horizon 2020 SME Instrument.

OncoMasTR will help clinicians to decide which patients should receive chemotherapy for early stage breast cancer, which is a pressing clinical and economic issue worldwide. OncoMark plans to release its innovative breast cancer diagnostic test in 2018 following on from its recent €2.1 million investment round.

OncoMark, which is headquartered at NovaUCD, was co-founded by Professor William Gallagher and Steve Penney as a spin-out from UCD’s School of Biomolecular and Biomedical Science.  

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Picturted at the 'Champions of EU Research' are Minister John Halligan TD and Professor Orla Feely, UCD Vice-President for Research, Innovation and Impact

Dr Imelda Lambkin, National Director for Horizon 2020 said, “Today is about recognising what has worked well for Ireland’s researchers to date and applying that knowledge to position Ireland to make best use of the available funding from Horizon 2020 and FP9. We call on our EU Champions to lead this initiative as role models and mentors.”


28 June 2017

For more information contact Micéal Whelan, University College Dublin, Communications Manager (Innovation),  t: + 353 1 716 3712, e: or Grace Labanyi, Communications Officer, Enterprise Ireland, t: +353 1 727 2746 or e:

Editors Notes

Horizon 2020 is the EU Framework Programme for research and innovation.  It runs over the period 2014-2020 and has a total budget of €75 billion. Ireland’s national target of securing €1.25 billion in EU funding is equivalent to 1.67% of the overall Horizon 2020 budget. To date, Ireland has secured funding of €424 million, representing 1.66% of the total EU budget committed.  Enterprise Ireland leads the national support network for Horizon 2020, working to increase participation by Irish companies and academic institutions in the EU’s main instrument for funding research in Europe.

The other Award winners announced today are; Professor Anna Davies, Trinity College Dublin, Professor Poul Holm, Trinity College Dublin, Dr Brian Cahill, Marie Curie Alumni Association, Professor Jane Ohlmeyer, Chair, Irish Research Council, Professor Linda Doyle, Director of CONNECT, Trinity College Dublin, Ms Julie-Ann Walkden, Business Services Organisation, Health and Social Care Northern Ireland, Dr Michaela Black, Ulster University, Professor Chris Elliot, Queen’s University Belfast, Mr Paul Collins, DP DesignPro Ltd, Mr Gal Weiss, IBM Ireland, Ltd, Dr Michael Madden, NUI Galway and Dr Peter O'Brien, University College Cork.