Green Innovator wins NovaUCD Innovation Award 2016

University College Dublin (UCD) has presented Professor Kevin O’Connor, a leading green technologies researcher and innovator, with the NovaUCD 2016 Innovation Award.

 The Award was presented to Professor O’Connor, a professor at the UCD School of Biomolecular and Biomedical Science and a principal investigator at the UCD Earth Institute, by UCD President, Professor Andrew J. Deeks, during an event held at NovaUCD, the Centre for New Ventures and Entrepreneurs.

 Professor O’Connor’s interests include research into the development of biodegradable polymers; methods of improving the recycling of plastic and other materials i.e. upcycling; the transformation of waste products and industrial side streams into value added products. His expertise includes areas such as the bioeconomy, environmental technology, bioprocessing, biocatalysis, and protein engineering.

 Speaking at the event Professor Andrew J. Deeks, UCD President said, “I am delighted to present the NovaUCD 2016 Innovation Award to Professor O’Connor in recognition of the quality and impact of his peer-reviewed research, his technological developments for the production of bio-based products as well as his industrial collaboration and successes in the commercialisation of the intellectual property arising from his research at the University.”

 He added, “This Award also recognises Kevin as an excellent innovation role model.  Since joining UCD in 1999 he has combined excellence in teaching and research with a demonstrated commitment to translating his research outputs into commercial applications.  He is at the forefront of the development of the new bioeconomy which holds great promise for job creation in Ireland. I would like to congratulate him and wish him continued success.”

 Professor O’Connor, who has already secured over €16 million in research funding, is the lead principal investigator in the UCD Biocatalysis Group. This Group is focused on the synthesis of bio-degradable polymers as well as small bioactive molecules. The Group also investigates the ability of bacteria and their enzymes to convert waste or inexpensive starting materials into value added products.