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University of Limerick president announces outstanding research collaboration winner

Mon, 14 Dec 2020

A decade long partnership between the University of Limerick and the HSE has won the first ever outstanding research collaboration award, President Kerstin Mey has announced.

Following the establishment this year of the President’s Research Excellence and Impact Awards, Professor Mey announced the winner this Monday of the inaugural Outstanding Research Collaboration award.

The award recognises the long-standing partnership between UL and the HSE which has benefited patients dealing with multidrug-resistant infections, patients with cystic fibrosis and those with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

Led by Professor Colum Dunne, Director of Research at University of Limerick’s School of Medicine, the collaboration involves a truly transdisciplinary team of microbiologists, designers, engineers, nurses, physiotherapists, paediatricians, respiratory specialists (see below for full list).

The powerful collaboration involves strong links between UL and UL Hospital’s Group as well as an array of partners and collaborators in the UK, across Europe and the United States.

“The President’s Research Excellence and Impact Awards recognise outstanding contributions which are making a real difference in the world,” said Professor Mey.

“The Outstanding Research Collaboration Award acknowledges research partnerships across all disciplines, career stages, organisations and countries.

“Understanding infectious disease outbreaks and the microbial causes of infection leads to new prevention and control interventions, education programmes and innovations in medical device and testing technologies.

“Collectively, this team has delivered research findings that would not have been possible except for their shared aspirations, multidisciplinary knowledge and resources. It is in forging partnerships such as this where real innovation will be found and the University of Limerick is at the forefront of this nexus of discovery and impact.

“It gives me great pleasure to announce the winner and my sincere congratulations go to Professor Dunne and the team,” she added.

The awards were organised and adjudicated by the Research Impact Committee chaired by Professor Helena Lenihan, Kemmy Business School. The committee were impressed with the quality of the applications, however, one clear winner emerged.

Professor Dunne said: “The establishment of the School of Medicine in UL brought new and innovative resources to Limerick. These included new ways of teaching, and new research capabilities. Amongst these were new research-active leaders, Professors and Lecturers, like myself who provided a diversity of views and expertise that complemented those of clinical colleagues in Limerick’s hospitals.

“Since 2010, I’ve been privileged to have the support of the University of Limerick and HSE in building a hugely interactive team of clinical, scientific and engineering researchers in the University Hospital Limerick Group and UL, all searching for solutions to real-world infection prevention challenges.

“This has resulted in support for early career doctors, PhD and Masters students whose diligence and enthusiasm have improved protection for patients, in Limerick and elsewhere, at risk of infection while in hospital, new ways of working and novel medical devices.

“This President’s Medal is very much recognition of teamwork, and that team’s members are based in universities, hospitals, and industry located in Ireland and internationally. What’s most exciting is that this is an ongoing programme of work and the Award will encourage us to continue in our efforts,” he added.

Collaboration team members:

Professor Colum Dunne, Foundation Chair and Director of Research, School of Medicine, UL

Professor Nuala O’Connell, Consultant Clinical Microbiologist, UHL

Professor Barry Linnane, Consultant Respiratory Paediatrician, UHL

Professor Calvin Coffey, Consultant Surgeon UHL and School of Medicine, UL

Professor Leonard O’Sullivan, Science & Engineering, UL

Professor Deirdre McGrath, School of Medicine, UL

Kevin O’Sullivan, Senior Research Fellow, Rapid Innovation Unit, UL

Dr Miranda Kiernan, Technician team, School of Medicine, UL

Dr Liz Kingston, Nursing and Midwifery, UL

Dr Ciara O’Connor, Clinical Microbiologist RCSI and MD graduate, UL 

Barbara Slevin, Assistant Director of Nursing, Infection Prevention & Control for CPE Management, ULHG

Dr Lorraine Power, Consultant Clinical Microbiologist, UHL

James Powell, Surveillance Scientist, UHL

Dr Magda Milligan, Postdoctoral Scientist, School of Medicine, UL 

Maureen O’Hara, Clinical microbiology laboratory team, UHL 

Paediatric and adult respiratory nursing and physiotherapy teams, UHL and St John’s Hospital, Limerick

AMiCI COST Action Management Group members across Finland, The Netherland, UK, Germany, Italy, Portugal, Greece, Belgium, Estonia, and the US.

Listen to our in-depth podcast to hear more about this research and how it can lead to new prevention and control interventions, education programmes and innovations in medical device and testing technologies.