Athena SWAN (Scientific Women’s Academic Network) recognises and celebrates good practice towards the advancement of gender equality: representation, progression and success for all. Established in 2005, it is a charter managed by the British Equality Challenge Unit. Athena SWAN was established to encourage and recognise commitment to advancing the careers of women in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) employment in higher education and research.




Athena SWAN News

Athena Swan Activity Report - January 2021

Senior Academic Leadership Initiative - SALI Application

The Department prepared an application for a SALI Professor of Biochemical Engineering under the stewardship of Prof Gary Walsh supported by Prof Edmond Magner and Dr Sarah Hudson

Algerian PhD Students

140 PhD students arrived in AHSS from Algeria of these students 95% are female. This is a result of a long term collaboration of Professor Tewfik Soulimane, HoD Chemical Sciences, with the University of Tlemcen through the Erasmus+/ICM and while it does not impact the Department directly it illustrates a major commitment to Athena SWAN outreach.

Staff Awards

Dr Luis Padrela was awarded Bernal Institute Mid-Career Researcher of the Year 2020

Dr Sarah Hudson was also awarded Bernal Institute Senior Researcher of the Year 2020

Dr Shalini Singh was selected as the Science and Engineering Faculty winner in the individual Excellence in Teaching Award and has now been invited to submit her application to the university level panel, which will decide on an overall institutional winner.

Academic Speakers

Prof Gavin Walker, Prof Kevin Ryan and Prof Mike Zaworotko all presented at the Bernal Institute hosted Advanced Structured Materials 2021

Student Awards

Johnson & Johnson  WiSTEM2D Award

10 students from University of Limerick received scholarships as part of Johnson & Johnson Ireland’s WiSTEM2D Award programme, including on Chemical Sciences student, Safaa Mohamed Ikram who is currently studying Chemical and Biochemical Engineering

ILC Dover Journal Article competition

Chemical Sciences graduate Jack O'Callaghan won the ILC Dover Journal Article competition run by Engineers Ireland for his article "Synthesis and Characterisation of Multicomponent Drug-Drug-Co-Crystals. Jack is now pursuing his PhD in University of Limerick.

Regeneron College Awards

Ruth Kearney, BSc. Industrial Biochemistry recently received a Regeneron College Award in Quality Control

Aoife Cotter, BSc. Industrial Biochemistry pictured here with her recent Regeneron College Award for Manufacturing

Finn Hourigan, B.Eng Chemical and Biochemical Engineering who recently received the Regeneron College Award for Engineering

Researcher Awards

Sumair Imtiaz Winner of the Best Poster Award in Materials & Structures area at the #MaREI2020 Symposium.

Bernal Research Day Awards.

Thesis in Three:

First Prize: Maryam Karimijafari

Second Prize: Dylan Storan

Third Prize: Alice Parkes

Best Poster Award:

First place: Aoibhín Ryan,

Second Place: Nilotpal Kapuria

YesBernal Image Competition:

First place: Dr Rodrigo Soto and Laura Gonzales with their image 'Piracetam Kaleidoscope'

Second Place: Dr Shalini Singh with 'Christmas Nano Stocking'

Third Place: Siobhan O'Conner with 'False Colour'

YesBernal illustrations Competition:

First place: Michele Duly with the illustration titled 'Unzipping the lipid cubic phase to release the therapeutic effect'.

Second place: Seamus Kilian with the illustration 'Stages of Heterostructure Nanowire Growth'.

BT Young Scientist 2021

Dr Sarah Hudson was a member of a live panel discussion chaired by Prof Luke O’Neill TCD,

Prof Abina Crean UCC, Dr Anne Moore UCC and Dr. Piotr Kowalski UCC on making vaccines in a global pandemic on Wednesday 6th Jan for the BT Young Scientist Exhibition


Athena Swan Activity Report - February 2021

Marie Curie Scholars

Dr William Cheuquepan Valenzuela, originally from Chile, will develop a novel, disruptive and sustainable approach to photoelectrocatalytic carbon dioxide (CO2) reduction. The aim is to achieve an unprecedented control of the degree of photo-reduction of CO2 to high-value hydrocarbons in a biphasic system. He will join Dr Micheál D Scanlon’s group in the Department of Chemical Sciences and the Bernal Institute.

Dr Julia Alvarez-Malmagro will develop a prototype 3D printed bio/reactor for the controlled production of pharmaceutical materials in a stand-alone environment. She will join Prof. Edmond Magner and Prof. Vivek Ranade´s groups in the Department of Chemical Sciences and the Bernal Institute. Dr. Alvarez-Malmagro completed her PhD in spectroelectrochemistry at the University of Seville, Spain

Student Awards

Johnson & Johnson  WiSTEM2D Awards

For the J&J WiSTEM2D Programme there were 20 Team Award recipients who received bursaries and a project to work on, students were put in teams of 5 to undertake a project that promotes or researches a chosen WISTEM topic of our choice. The team of Jessica Oo 2nd year Pharmaceutical and Industrial Chemistry and Althea Manalo, 2nd year Chemical and Biochemical Engineering are working on a project titled 'How a WiSTEM2D podcast can inspire, motivate and support women in STEM' and are ecstatic about interviewing Dr Shalini as our first guest. The programme also guides award recipients through career and skills workshops, networking opportunities and a virtual site tour of the Janssen site in Cork.               






Athena Swan Activity Report – March- April 2021

Student Achievements:

Sanober Farheen  Memon A PhD student supervised jointly between Electronic and Computer Engineering (Elfed Lewis) and Chemical Sciences (Tony Pembroke) was chosen to give an early career presentation at the UK Women in Engineering (WIE) Ambassadors Programme 8th April 2021

Fiona Neylon (an Undergraduate in Industrial Biochemistry) and student member of the CS Athena Swan committee was chosen to give a research talk at the Undergraduate Awards  (AICUR) on Comparative Genomics of Emerging SARS-CoV-2.

Brian Gleeson was presented with the Kevin A Hayes Memorial Award for outstanding performance in 1st year LM123 Brian is currently pursuing his BSc in Bioscience


In March Dr Shalini Singh was a panellist for WiSTEM Intervarsity event on 13th March organised by WiSTEM UL, UCC and nuigalway chapters. The topic of the session was Women in Academia  and was also the interviewee for a podcast interview organised by WiSTEM UL undergraduate students for a Johnson & Johnson WiSTEM initiative.

Dr Singh was invited for a talk on her research on 2D material (22nd April) in Trinity College Dublin, School of Chemistry virtual seminar series

Dr Sarah Hudson, Dr Tadhg Kennedy, Prof Kevin Ryan and Prof Mike Zaworotko were recognised at the virtually hosted 2021 UL Innovation Awards, researchers named on patents in 2018-20 were formally presented with a framed patent by President Kerstin Mey to celebrate their achievements.

Dr Sarah Hudson, Dr Shalini Singh, Dr Hugh Geaney, Dr Teresa Curtin and Dr Peter Davern were all nominated for National Forum/USI Teaching Heroes Awards

Dr Vasanth Kanumachy ,Shubhangi Kakkar, WitoldKwapinski, Christopher A.Howard, published the following paper: Deep neural networks in chemical engineering classrooms to accurately model adsorption equilibrium data, Education for Chemical Engineers, doi: 10.1016/j.ece.2021.04.003

Dr Tadhg Kennedy and the UL led TRIDENT consortium was successful in securing €3.65M in funding from the Government's Disruptive Technologies Innovation Fund to develop a sustainable smart battery system for residential energy storage


Maryam Karimijafari presented in SSPC Greener Pharmaceutical Manufacturing event and  published a paper in International Journal of Pharmaceutics (IJP) with Impact Factor 4.845 in April entitled, In-line Raman spectroscopy and chemometrics for monitoring cocrystallisation using hot melt extrusion


Sumair Imtiaz received a Best Poster Award in the MaREI  Awards 2020



Internal MaREI Awards Winners - MaREI

The MaREI Awards are a unique opportunity to highlight the great work being done by talented individuals in our research community. We celebrated the excellent achievements of our community during 2019 and to date in 2020.


And published the following article

Progress and perspectives on alloying-type anode materials for advanced potassium-ion batteries



Progress and perspectives on alloying-type anode materials for advanced potassium-ion batteries - ScienceDirect

PIBs use a similar “rocking-chair” working principle to that of LIBs, in which K + shuttle between the anode and cathode via either a non-aqueous or an aqueous K + electrolyte during the charge/discharge process , .A schematic of the components in an alloying anode based PIB and its operation is illustrated in Fig. 2.Electrical energy is stored/released through a redox reaction at the ...


Post Graduate Students

Mariana Silva contributed to the UL Postgraduate Podcast (her episode hasn’t been launched yet) and is a member of the organizing committee for the Shannon Region Postgraduate Research Conference 2021 on the program and content and design and marketing teams. Mariana also took part in the Janssen Career Event a Job Market for Young Researchers, answering questions about being a PhD student in industry. Mariana is a member of the Steering committee of the PhD and Postdoc community at Janssen Pharmaceutica which organises training for students and scientists every month (Bioanalysis and the specific issues of quantifying biomarkers April 20th; Medical Writing, April 26th). Mariana also presented at the IEEE EMBS ISEL (Portugal), sharing her career experience since finishing her Master’s Degree in Biomedical Engineering.




Athena Swan Activity Report – May 2021


Ahmad Ziaee, Postdoctoral Researcher contributed to the SSPC  Valuing Diversity event sharing his personal experiences. Ahmad told how he and his wife Maryam Karimijafari a Postgraduate Student also in CS, studied and started a family as PhD students, which included maternity leave for Maryam.

Post Graduate Student Achievement

Mariana Silva contributed to the University of Coimbra, Portugal Alumni Event  on May 9th sharing her career path to date.

The 18th May saw Mariana give a presentation to the Pint of Science Limerick event on long-lasting injectable drugs as replacements for daily medicine

Mariana chaired the panels of Science and Engineering in the SRPRC 2021 on 18-19th of May and made a presentation at the SRPRC 2021 – The unique side of being a postgraduate industry.

On 24 May Mariana took part in a panel discussion as part of Limerick Lifelong Learning  Festival – The Future of Medicine

Mariana won 1st Prize and audience prize in FameLab Limerick competition

Mariana featured in the UL PhD Research Podcast 31 May speaking  about her career path and PhD project

Fernando Otero and Kim Shorthall  recently published the following paper, Electrochemical biosensor for the detection of a sequence of the TP53 gene using a methylene blue labelled DNA probe. Electrochimica Acta, 138642. Otero, F., Shortall, K., Salaj-Kosla, U., Tofail, S. A., & Magner, E. (2021).

Fernando also gave a talk on "Electrochemical Detection of DNA-conjugated Methylene Blue: Optimization of DNA Probe Surface Coverage, Hybridization Time and Length of Target DNA Sequences" at the XXVI International Symposium on Bioelectrochemistry and Bioenergetics (http://www.bes2021.org)

Staff :

Dr Micheal Scanlon gave an oral presentation at the 239th ECS Meeting

Dr Shalini Singh won the University of Limerick Individual Teaching Excellence Award

Prof Edmond Magner acted as judge for the Regeneron International Science Fair, judging 12 individual and team projects in materials science.

Athena SWAN Activity Report: June-July-August  2021 

Staff : 

  • Professor Kevin Ryan, Dr Shalini Singh and Dr Hugh Geaney  organised and hosted the very successful 72nd Irish Chemistry Colloqiuim virtually on 17 and 18 June. With an attendance in excess of 200 and presenters, chairs and prize winners from Higher Education Institutes across the island.   
  • Dr Hugh Geaney Course Director LM123 presented at Biological and Chemical Sciences Career Information Evening on 3 June. 
  • Dr Emmet O’Reilly delivered an informative post graduate options talk at the same event. This was very successful with approximately 30 students from year 3 attending and there was a lengthy Q&A afterwards which proved very helpful.  
  • Chemical Sciences Department Coordinator Ciara Tuohy received the Northern Trust sponsored Kemmy Business School Outstanding Student/ Graduate Award 2021 in the BA in Management Practice 
  • Prof Mike Zaworotko reached an h-index of 100 being cited over 50,000 times on 16 June. 
  • Prof. Zaworotko gave the Spiers Memorial introductory lecture on “Why crystals (including MOF crystals) will save the world” at the Faraday discussions on MOFs for Energy and the Environment on June 23 
  • Prof Mike Zaworotko spoke at the XXIX International Materials Research Congress on 17 August and the Department was alos represented by postgraduate student Amin Koochaki and Dr Matthias Vandichel  
  • Dr Shalini Singh was interviewed by Silicon Republic about next-generation energy technologies and fully sustainable global energy landscape 
  • In June Prof. Edmond Magner was Reviewer for L’Oreal Foundation Women in Science UK and Ireland Rising Talents Awards. 


    Dr Matthias Vandichel has secured funding awards  for 3 Fellowships  

    • IRC-PG-fellowship: Computational study of hydrogen vacancies in metal-hydride nanoparticles; Apinya Ngoipala 

    • IRC-EPS-PG-fellowship: Long term ionic corrosion modelling of a dynamic electro-fluidic system for a long-term implantable device; Pedram Vousoughi 

    • EI-CareerFIT-PLUS Marie Curie Fellowship; Computational Design of Zwitterions as Hormone Delivery Capsules ; Sousa Javannikkhah 



  • Dylan Storan received the 2021 BOC Gases Postgraduate Bursary  
  • Fernando Otero Diaz attended the 72nd Irish Chemistry Research Colloquium and participated in the thesis in 3 "Electrochemical biosensor for the detection of the TP53 gene using methylene blue labelled DNA probe". Fernando was awarded with the best thesis in 3 of the session 4. ​​

    Kim Shorthall published the following paper: Kim Shortall, Ahmed Djeghader, Edmond Magner, Tewfik Soulimane, Insights into Aldehyde Dehydrogenase Enzymes: A Structural Perspective, Frontiers in Molecular Biosciences Structural Biology 2021, DOI: https://doi.org/10.3389/fmolb.2021.659550 

    And presented, Kim Shortall, Tewfik Soulimane, Edmond Magner, Immobilization of aldehyde dehydrogenase employing cofactor regeneration for use in biocatalysis at the 72nd Irish Chemistry Colloquium winning Best presentation award, biochemistry section 

    Mariana Silva organized training for Janssen scientific community entitled ‘AcademicLabs – New homepage for ambitious scientists that have no time to lose’ and became a founding member of the European Janssen Postdoc and PhD student community 9 June. On 15 June Mariana organised training for Janssen scientific community entitled ‘ Basics of Microbiological Control and its role in Manufacturing of Clinical Products’. On 18 June an event was organised for interns from Janssen Benelux entitled ‘What about your career?’, was mostly a Q&A session focused on why to do a PhD and main differences of doing a PhD pure academical and one that has industry. Mariana participated in the Mental Health First Aid Workshop provided by Janssen. 

    On 10 June Mariana participated in a panel discussion during the ISPhD Summer School.  

    Mariana organised and advertised the talk for the LongActNow Technical Meeting and invited the Senior Program Officer at Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the invitation was extended to SSPC, Bernal, J&J Global and Trinity College students and scientists on 17 June. 

    Mariana also attended  the RNA Therapeutics & Delivery Congress 29-30 June. 

    13 and 14 July Mariana attended the 2021 Janssen R&D Data Science Symposium 

    25-28th July Mariana attended the CRS (Controlled Release Society) annual event and gave an 10min oral presentation and on 19 August organized training together with YesBernal community about the platform ‘AcademicLabs’ 





The Chemical Sciences department is committed to promoting gender equality and to identifying and addressing gender-related challenges within the department. This includes implementing a four-year action plan to ensure an inclusive culture where all staff and students feel valued, welcome, integrated, and have equal access to opportunities. The CS Athena Swan committee includes a well-rounded group of representatives from all roles and career grades within the department.