Washington D.C. - 15th March 2023: Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar TD, has presented the prestigious Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) St. Patrick’s Day Science Medal to Dr Paul K. Whelton, Professor of Global Public Health at Tulane University, New Orleans, and to Mr Paul R. Daugherty, Group Chief Executive -  Technology and Chief Technology Officer at Accenture, recognising their outstanding contributions to research and innovation.

The SFI St. Patrick’s Day Science Medal is awarded annually to two distinguished US-based science, engineering or technology leaders with strong Irish connections. It highlights and honours their role in supporting and engaging with the research ecosystem in Ireland and beyond.

At an event in Washington D.C., Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar TD, commended the recipients, saying: “On behalf of the Government of Ireland and Science Foundation Ireland, I am honoured to award the SFI St. Patrick’s Day Science Medal to Dr Paul K. Whelton and Mr Paul R. Daugherty. The Medal recognises their outstanding leadership in their respective fields, particularly in the areas of hypertension research and emerging technologies in artificial intelligence (AI). We are deeply proud of their achievements.

“Irish research is driving transformational discovery and innovation that is aiding our response to global challenges, particularly in the areas of climate change, digitalisation and health. As set out in Ireland’s Research and Innovation Strategy ‘Impact 2030’, the Irish Government is committed to strengthening Ireland’s position as a global innovation leader.

“We pay tribute today to the enormous contribution made by STEM talent in the Irish diaspora in the USA. These important international collaborations continue to forge new opportunities for ground-breaking research, improving our ability to adapt to a rapidly changing world and create a better future for all.”

 Recipient of the SFI St Patrick’s Day Science Medal for Academia, Dr Paul K. Whelton, is Show Chwan Professor of Global Public Health at Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, in New Orleans, and President of the World Hypertension League. A native of Cork City, Ireland, Dr Whelton has served as the principal investigator for a number of high-profile research studies that have informed the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of high blood pressure. He holds degrees from University College Cork, the National University of Ireland, and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. He has authored over 550 peer-reviewed publications, and has received numerous  awards, including the 2018 American Heart Association Hypertension Council Excellence Award.

 On receiving the award, Dr Whelton said: “I am deeply honoured to accept the 2023 SFI St. Patrick’s Day Science Medal for my work in the area of high blood pressure, which is a leading cause of death, taking the lives of 18 million people globally each year. My research in cardiovascular and renal disease epidemiology continues to push for new discovery and improved clinical outcomes for patients. I am very proud to be part of the Irish research diaspora community in the US and to support our Transatlantic partnerships which enable us to further our knowledge, and deliver truly excellent science with global benefits.”  

Recipient of the SFI St Patrick’s Day Science Medal for Industry, Mr Paul Daugherty, Group Chief Executive - Technology and Chief Technology Officer at Accenture, is responsible for leading all aspects of Accenture's technology business, including its technology strategy. With Irish roots tracing back to Donegal, he has been recognized as a leading voice in driving innovation through R&D and leveraging emerging technologies to bring the newest innovations to clients globally. The co-author of two books, Human + Machine: Reimagining Work in the Age of AI and Radically Human: How New Technology is Transforming Business and Shaping Our Future, Mr Daugherty accepted a FASPE Award for Ethical Leadership for his work in developing ethical AI, serves on the board of directors of GirlsWhoCode, and was a key leader in driving the 2017 launch of The Dock – Accenture’s flagship R&D and Global Innovation Hub – in Dublin, Accenture’s first global R&D Lab focused on artificial intelligence.

Mr Daugherty accepted his award saying: “I am honored to accept the prestigious SFI St. Patrick’s Day Science Medal. At Accenture, our mission is to deliver on the promise of technology and human ingenuity, and my work has centered on identifying and scaling amazing innovations in technology, such as cloud computing, artificial intelligence and metaverse, to help drive reinvention for organizations and better outcomes for people and society. And I am especially proud of the success and contributions by our teams in Ireland, where The Dock, our flagship R&D and global innovation centre is based.” 

Prof Philip Nolan, Director General, SFI, said: “I am delighted to congratulate both Dr Paul Whelton and Mr Paul Daugherty on receiving the prestigious SFI St Patrick’s Day Science Medal. Their achievements highlight the far reaching talent of the Irish diaspora in the areas of science, engineering and technology, which will no doubt inspire future generations. They have each had enormous influence in improving societal and economic wellbeing. We honour and recognise them today, as we celebrate US-Ireland research collaborations that create significant value to both countries, across academic communities and industry.”