Professor Michelle Norris wins Irish Research Council’s 2021 Impact Award

Posted 3 December 2021

In recognition of her distinguished career, the Irish Research Council (IRC) has named Professor Michelle Norris the winner of this year’s 'Impact Award’ at the 2021 Researcher of the Year awards.

Presented to those who have made a highly significant impact outside of academia, the award was presented to the UCD researcher for her significant contributions to housing policy and urban regeneration.

Director of the UCD Geary Institute for Public Policy, and the Professor of Social Policy at the UCD School of School of Social Policy, Social Work and Social Justice, Professor Norris has led over 20 research projects on housing policy since 2000 and produced over 170 publications on the results.

Professor Norris is an adviser, both domestically and internationally, on housing policy; and currently is a member of the National Economic and Social Council and chairperson of the Housing Finance Agency.

In 2020, she was appointed as an expert advisor to #Housing2030 – a joint international initiative that aims to improve the capacity of national and local governments to formulate policies that improve housing affordability and sustainability.

Now in its 5th year, the Research of the Year Awards commend the very best of current IRC awardees or alumni working in academia, industry, civic society or the public sector.

Ecologist and expert on plant and animal populations, Professor Yvonne Buckley, from Trinity College Dublin, was named Irish Research Council Researcher of the Year at the 2021 awards for her modelling of plant and animal populations, helping to determine conditions that may lead to a change in population size over time.

UCD Chair of Critical Care Medicine, Professor Alistair Nichol received a special commendation at this year's awards for his ‘exceptional contribution’ in the field of medical research, specifically in critical care clinical trials and especially in the global fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

Postdoctoral researcher Dr Sara DelmedicoUCD School of Languages, Cultures and Linguistics, was awarded the IRC Maurice J Bric Medal of Excellence, as the top-ranked Postdoctoral Fellow of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences under the Council’s 2021 Government of Ireland funding programme.

Postdoctoral researcher Dr Marco Timpanella, UCD School of Mathematics and Statistics, was awarded the IRC Thomas Mitchell Medal of Excellence, as the top-ranked Postdoctoral Fellow in the domain of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) in the Government of Ireland scheme.

Also receiving a commendation at this year's awards were 15 UCD supervisors, mentors and research officers – who were awarded the IRC’s new ‘Research Ally’ prize, out of a total of 72 such awards given, in recognition of their work in supervising and supporting research.

The 15 UCD ‘Research Ally’ prize recipients:

  • Associate Professor Elva Johnston (Supervisor), UCD School of History.
  • Professor Fengzhou Fang (Supervisor), UCD School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering.
  • Assistant Professor Gráinne O’Donoghue (Supervisor), UCD School of Public Health, Physiotherapy and Sports Science.
  • Assistant Professor Jennifer Keenahan (Supervisor), UCD School of Civil Engineering.
  • Professor Joe Carthy (Supervisor), UCD School of Computer Science.
  • Professor Judith Harford (Supervisor), UCD School of Education.
  • Professor Keith Murphy (Supervisor), UCD School of Biomolecular and Biomedical Science.
  • Assistant Professor Madhusanka Liyanage (Supervisor), UCD School of Computer Science.
  • Associate Professor Philip Cottrell (Supervisor), UCD School of Art History & Cultural Policy.
  • Assistant Professor Ross D Neville (Supervisor), UCD School of Public Health, Physiotherapy and Sports Science.
  • Professor Aoife Gowen (Mentor), UCD School of Biosystems and Food Engineering.
  • Professor William Gallagher (Mentor), UCD School of Biomolecular and Biomedical Science.
  • Ms Hilary McDonald (Research Programme Manager), UCD School of Computer Science.
  • Ms Máire Coyle, (Research Programmes Manager), UCD Research.

"We wish many congratulations to all our recipients in this year's Irish Research Council 'Researcher of the Year' awards, particularly Professor Michelle Norris on winning the IRC Impact Award for her far-reaching work in the field of housing finance and policy,” said Professor Orla Feely, UCD Vice-President for Research, Innovation and Impact.

“Her work on social housing, welfare states and counterbalancing housing market cycles has important implications for housing policy in Ireland and internationally.

"We join the Council in also recognising the work of Professor Alistair Nichol through special commendation, which acknowledgement is thoroughly deserved. His contribution to critical care medicine over the last two decades has been outstanding, especially during the course of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Adding: "Congratulations also to Dr Sara Delmedico, who was awarded the Maurice J Bric Medal of Excellence as the top-ranked postdoctoral researcher in Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences under the IRC’s Government of Ireland funding programme, and to Dr Marco Timpanella, who received the Thomas Mitchell Medal of Excellence as the top-ranked postdoctoral researcher in STEM. These awards to Marco and Sara reflect the outstanding postdoctoral talent that is a vital element of our research community in UCD.

"Lastly, it is a great pleasure to congratulate and celebrate our IRC ‘Research Ally’ awardees, the supervisors and research support staff without whose work much of our proposal success and academic impact would not be possible."

Peter Brown, Director of the Irish Research Council, said the standard of nominations for 2021 “was extremely high, and each of the winners should be immensely proud of their achievements.”

“It is great to see this year’s winners representing a diverse range of research interests, which reflects the creativity and dynamism of the research community here in Ireland.

He added: “[The 2021] winners demonstrate how research helps society answer some of the big questions of our time and can make a significant and lasting impact. We look forward to continuing to cultivate a vibrant research community in which there are world-class researchers across disciplines.”

By: David Kearns, Digital Journalist / Media Officer, UCD University Relations