28 Jun 2022

Three WIT faculty members awarded prizes in recognition of their research

Three WIT faculty members awarded prizes in recognition of their hard work

Waterford Institute of Technology's research community has been honoured with three prizes.

Three members of the research community at WIT have earned an Irish Research Council (IRC) Research Ally Prize.

Josephine (Jo) Holohan who works with the research support unit, Prof Felicity Kelliher from the school of business and Prof Gillian Gardiner who works in the school of science and computing were awarded an IRC research ally prize in recognition of the work they carry out. 

All three women were presented with the accolades as part of the IRC Researcher of the Year 2021 awards.

WIT said a supportive academic environment is imperative for researchers to grow and to thrive.

The Research Ally Prizes are a new national award category to celebrate the role of supervisors, mentors, and research officers in supporting and sustaining the Irish research community.

The awards help to foster a positive academic culture based on equality, inclusivity, and respect.

Vice President of Research, Innovation and Graduate Studies at WIT, Dr Mark White said it was such an honour to have WIT and esteemed members of the research community recognised through these awards.

"We pride ourselves in the way that we promote research as an integral part of all that we do in WIT and supporting our research community is a key element of that.

"Jo provides an excellent, unparalleled level of service and support through our Research Support Unit.

"I was not in the least surprised that Prof Kelliher and Prof Gardiner are being recognised for the energy, enthusiasm, and professionalism that they bring to their research supervision. We are really lucky to have all three prize winners working with us in WIT." added Dr White.

Jo, Felicity and Gillian were nominated for the Research Ally prize for the positive impact and vital role they play in WIT’s research environment, Jo was in the Research Officer category, and Felicity and Gillian were in the Supervisor and Mentor category.

Jo Holohan

Jo graduated from WIT in 2009 with a Research Masters in Business. Jo has worked in Academic and Applied Research for 12 years, including ten years with WIT research group RIKON, where she worked on commercial innovation projects with a key focus on lean initiatives for SME’s. 

She is now currently working as Projects Manager for the RSU overseeing all national and EU funding programmes and funded research projects.

Felicity Kelliher

Felicity is a founding member and senior researcher at RIKON, which has secured over €10m in funding and has engaged with over 1200 SMEs.

Felicity has been Principal Investigator, country lead, and senior academic on research projects focused on management capability development in SMEs, representing over €1m in direct research funding and a further €1m in funded student research projects.

Publications include 40+ peer-reviewed journal publications, 21 book chapters and three co-authored books. She has supervised 21 research students to successful completion and is currently on the supervisory team of six doctoral candidates.

Gillian Gardiner 

Gillian is a Microbiologist with more than 20 years of teaching and research experience.

She leads a successful multi-disciplinary agri-food research group within the Eco-Innovation Research Centre at WIT. 

Gillian has published papers in peer-reviewed scientific journals, four book chapters, and numerous papers in conference proceedings.

She has obtained over €7.2 million in research funding since joining WIT and is Principal Investigator/Co-Investigator on a number of projects, all of which have national/international collaborators and many of which have industrial partners. 

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