Eight female researchers from a variety of scientific disciplines in Trinity College Dublin were honoured by President of Ireland Michael D. Higgins and Mrs Sabina Higgins at a celebration of ‘Women in Science’ in Áras an Uachtaráin recently.
The event was organised to commemorate the women who have recently played a leading role in science research in their discipline.
The women honoured were assistant professor in physics, and director of the Trinity Walton Club, Arlene O’Neill; professor of comparative immunology, Cliona O’Farrelly; professor of mathematics, Sinead Ryan; professor of statistics, and director of WiSER, Eileen Drew; professor of botany, and director of research in the school of natural sciences, Jane Stout; professor of computer science, Siobhán Clarke; professor of geography, Anna Davies; and professor of civil, structural and environmental engineering, Sarah McCormack.
Speaking at the event, President Higgins said: “The contribution of women in science is all the more valuable as we work to locate science within a paradigm of sustainability.” He went on to praise the women’s achievements to date: “They are breaking new ground and paving the way for new generations of women who will also wish to use their talent and creativity to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and maths, and play their unique role in crafting a better world.”
One of the award recipients Cliona O’Farrelly spoke to Trinity News about the award: “It was an honour to be included amongst women from Ireland who had contributed at the highest of levels in mathematics, physics, chemistry and biology. A highlight was that the three girls who won the Young Scientist of the Year were there as well. It’s an exciting time for science across the globe, so we need lots of bright young people – male and female – to help achieve the solutions to the world’s problems that are now within our grasp. Hopefully, events like this will help illustrate to young girls (and their parents!) how diverse, productive, exciting and fulfilling careers in science can be.”
As well as researchers from Trinity, representatives were drawn from all the universities and institutes of technology in Ireland, to be commended for their groundbreaking work.
The honour follows the award of a prestigious Athena SWAN award to Trinity for furthering equality for women in STEMM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine) disciplines last year.
WiSER (Women in Science and Engineering Research) was established in 2006 with the aim of “recruiting, retaining, returning and advancing” women in academic science, engineering and technology (SET) in Trinity.
Additional reporting by Megan Thompson