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Gold for top Queen’s academic

Professor Máire O’Neill has been awarded a Gold Medal in Engineering Sciences from the Royal Irish Academy (RIA).

Máire O’Neill MRIA, 2024 Gold Medallist in the Engineering Sciences. Regius Professor in Electronics and Computer Engineering, Director of the Centre for Secure Information Technologies (CSIT) and Director of the UK-wide Research Institute in Secure Hardware and Embedded Systems (RISE), Queen’s University Belfast.

Professor O’Neill is Director of the Centre for Secure Information Technologies (CSIT), at the School of Electronics, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, Queen’s University Belfast and is also Director, UK Research Institute in Secure Hardware and Embedded Systems (RISE).

The RIA awards two Gold Medals annually to recognise and foster excellence in research which advances the public good, both nationally and internationally. The awards showcase the exceptional research taking place in higher education in Ireland that impacts our lives, benefits society and inspires future generations of researchers. 

President and Vice-Chancellor of Queen's, Professor Sir Ian Greer said: “Congratulations to Professor Máire O’Neill on receiving an RIA Gold Medal for her academic research and achievements in engineering sciences. 

"This is fantastic recognition from the Royal Irish Academy for Professor O’Neill, who continues to lead the way in research into emerging cyber security threats."

The Royal Irish Academy only awards a gold medal in Engineering Sciences every four years.

The medals are awarded to individuals who have made a demonstrable and internationally recognised outstanding scholarly contribution in their fields.

Professor Máire O’Neill said: “I am absolutely delighted to be awarded the 2024 Royal Irish Academy Gold Medal in the Engineering Sciences and to have my work and that of my team at Centre for Secure Information Technologies recognised at this level. 

“Cyber security is more important than ever in our digital world and in all our daily lives. The research that we do at Queen’s University is vital in addressing the security needs of embedded devices and Information and Computer Technology systems.’

Irish Government Minister Simon Harris TD congratulated the winners by saying; “As Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, I wish to congratulate Professor Máire O’Neill and Professor Brigid Laffan on winning this year’s RIA Gold Medal Awards. Their achievements serve as a source of inspiration for current and future generations of researchers. 

“These Medals recognise significant achievements in the areas of cyber security and political science – both areas of ever-increasing importance and relevance. Ireland should be proud of the international impact of the work of these two outstanding academics, and the valuable research that they have carried out in Ireland and with international partners.” 

Professor Pat Guiry, President of the RIA further remarked: “The Academy's Gold Medals are a prestigious honour bestowed to exceptional leaders in Higher Education research across Ireland. Today, our two recipients have been recognised for their pioneering work and their commitment to challenging existing paradigms. Their contributions in engineering sciences and the social sciences are invaluable in pushing the boundaries of understanding in their respective fields.” 

Mr Colin Hunt, CEO of AIB who sponsor the 2024 RIA Gold Medals commented: “I would like to congratulate Professor Máire O’Neill and Professor Brigid Laffan on their achievements. It is heartening to see Irish academics making a global impact in the fields of engineering and social sciences as Irish higher education continues to deliver on its rich potential to energise Irish society, the economy and the wider world.”

Since 2005, a total of 34 Gold Medals have been awarded; notable recipients have included Immunologist, Professor Luke O’Neill, European Central Bank Chief Economist, Professor Philip Lane and historian, Professor Jane Ohlmeyer.


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