Irish diaspora leaders honoured with prestigious SFI St Patrick’s Day Science Medal in Washington DC
MIT Robotics Pioneer, Prof Neville Hogan, and Intel Senior Vice President and General Manager, Dr Ann Kelleher, recognised for outstanding contributions to academia and industry
Washington D.C., USA, 11th March 2020: Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) has today presented the prestigious SFI St Patrick’s Day Science Medal at a celebratory event in Washington D.C., to Prof Neville J Hogan, Sun Jae Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Professor of Brain and Cognitive Sciences at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and Dr Ann B Kelleher, Senior Vice President (SVP) and General Manager at Intel, for their significant scientific contributions to academia and industry.
Now in its seventh year, the SFI St Patrick’s Day Science Medal is awarded annually to US-based scientists, engineers or technology leaders with strong Irish connections, as chosen by an independent selection committee. The Medal recognises Prof Hogan and Dr Kelleher’s significant roles in supporting and engaging with the research ecosystem in Ireland.
Recipient of the SFI St Patrick’s Day Science Medal for Academia, Prof Hogan is regarded as the father of rehabilitation robotics. Born in Dublin, Ireland, he graduated from Dublin Institute of Technology (now TU Dublin) in 1970, before going on to receive a degree and an MSc in Mechanical Engineering, and then a PhD in Mechanical Engineering, all from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. As a professor in MIT’s Department of Mechanical Engineering and Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, Prof Hogan is one of the few faculty members at MIT to have appointments both in the School of Engineering and School of Science.
Upon receiving the award, Prof Hogan said: “I am honoured to accept the SFI St Patrick’s Day Academic Medal, which not only recognises my work, but also the strong Irish connections across the research community in the U.S. Working at the forefront of robotics to progress knowledge and discovery with the potential to transform our societies and economies, I am very proud of my Irish roots. The strong Irish commitment to education is a major factor in the success of Irish people everywhere. I hope US-Ireland research collaborations will continue to grow, as it is through these cross border, multi-team partnerships that we will generate greater convergence and new innovations.”
Prof Hogan’s contribution to the area of robotic therapy, to improve movement after stroke, has inspired many researchers worldwide and now extends into rehabilitation for people with spinal cord injury, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis and cerebral palsy. He has an outstanding record of highly influential publications, with over 42,000 citations, and his research has led to eight patents. Prof Hogan heads the Eric P and Evelyn E Newman Laboratory for Biomechanics and Human Rehabilitation and has previously been awarded the Silver Medal of the Royal Academy of Medicine in Ireland, and an Honorary Doctorate in 2004 from TU Dublin. He also serves on the Board of the TU Dublin Foundation.
Recipient of the SFI St Patrick’s Day Science Medal for Industry, Dr Ann B Kelleher, Senior Vice President and General Manager at Intel, has had an outstanding scientific and technical career. Originally from Macroom, Co. Cork, she achieved First Class honours in Engineering in 1987 and a MEng in 1989 from University College Cork. In 1993, Dr Kelleher became the first female to receive a PhD from the National Microelectronics Research Centre (NMRC), the forerunner of Tyndall National Institute. She was the first Irish woman in the history of Intel to be named as a Vice President, and she maintains strong links to Ireland, making significant contributions across several areas.
Welcoming the award, Dr Kelleher, said: “I am honoured to accept the SFI St Patrick’s Day Industry Medal for my work at Intel. I am a firm advocate for industry collaboration between Ireland and the United States, given my career with Intel began in Leixlip. The benefits and positive impact of this collaborative relationship are considerable. This is evidenced by the long and fruitful collaborative research engagement between Tyndall, multiple SFI Research Centres and US multinationals. These relationships present significant opportunities for people in Ireland to work and prosper in major multinational companies such as Intel. I hope that awards such as this will also highlight the career paths available to young women who have an interest in working in STEM.”
Dr Kelleher was appointed to the Tyndall National Institute Board of Directors in 2012 and since 2014 is an Adjunct Professor in the Engineering Department, University College Cork. Dr Kelleher has also been a strong role model and advocate for gender equality, and for women working in engineering roles and senior management positions in the tech industry. She has provided leadership to Women in Science initiatives and in 2015 she was elected as a Fellow of Engineers Ireland. In 2018 she was one of 25 women recognised in the "Ireland's Most Powerful Women Awards."
Prof Mark Ferguson, Director General, Science Foundation Ireland and Chief Scientific Adviser to the Government of Ireland, congratulated the Medal recipients, saying: “The SFI St Patrick’s Day Science Medal shines a light on the incredible achievements and diversity of Irish researchers in the diaspora. As we continue to advance Ireland’s society and economy through excellent ground-breaking research and technology, the forging of strong international collaborations remains vital. US-Ireland research collaborations generate new insights and create significant value to both countries, their academic communities and industry. I am delighted to see two highly deserving recipients in Prof Hogan and Dr Kelleher, whose leadership, vision and passion are helping to address significant national and global societal challenges.”