Skip to Content


Queen's cybersecurity expert Professor Máire O'Neill wins prestigious Blavatnik Award

Queen's University Belfast cybersecurity expert Professor Máire O'Neill has been awarded US$30,000 in the second annual Blavatnik Awards in the UK, which honour outstanding young scientists under the age of 42.

Maire O'Neill

The Blavatnik Awards, established by the Blavatnik Family Foundation and administered by the New York Academy of Sciences, recognise and support exceptional young scientists and engineers aged 42 years or younger.

Professor O'Neill, Professor of Information Security in the School of Electronics, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at Queen's; Principal Investigator at the Centre for Secure Information Technologies (CSIT) at Queen's; and Director of the UK Research Institute in Secure Hardware and Embedded Systems (RISE) at CSIT, has been awarded a finalist title in the Physical Sciences & Engineering category.

She has been awarded the prize due to her world-class reputation for research and invention in the field of hardware security, in particular for her work developing attack-resilient computer hardware platforms and chip designs.

Speaking about the award, Professor O'Neill said:

"It is an honour to be recognised by the Blavatnik Family Foundation for my work in hardware security.

"The increase in the number of connected devices through both cloud and Internet of Things technologies has led to growing security and privacy concerns. A strong hardware security foundation is essential in realising effective security in these ICT systems.

"My research seeks to provide practical and effective hardware security solutions that meet the real-time computation and resource-constrained requirements of ICT systems, services and applications."

Professor O'Neill was the youngest engineering professor in Queen's University history; the youngest Irish Academy of Engineering fellow; and is a former UK Female Inventor of the Year.

Now in their second year in the UK, the 2019 Blavatnik Awards for Young Scientists received 83 nominations from 43 academic and research institutions across England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales. A distinguished jury of leading senior scientists and engineers from throughout the UK selected the Laureates and Finalists.

Professor O'Neill will be honoured at a gala dinner and ceremony at the prestigious Victoria and Albert Museum in London on Wednesday 6 March 2019.

Professor Máire O’Neill