Students from across science courses at WIT were recognised for their outstanding projects throughout the year at the Science Industry Awards
The BSc (Hons) in Pharmaceutical Science programme was delighted to present two industry-sponsored Awards at the Department of Science Industry sponsored Awards held on 4 June 2020.
The first Award was the ‘Undergraduate Research Project Literature Review Presentation Award’ which was kindly sponsored by Sofrimar.
The award was presented to two students for excellence in the presentation and understanding of their research project literature review which was carried out in Semester 1.
The winners were Róisín O’Brien whose project title was the 'Development of contact lenses for the controlled delivery of ocular therapeutics' and was supervised by Dr Laurence Fitzhenry, and Megan Murphy whose project title was 'Evaluation of naturally derived, reusable and environmentally friendly materials as catalysts in pharmaceutically relevant chemical reactions' and was supervised by Dr Mike Kinsella.
Links with industry
On presenting the award to the students Lorcan Barden, Director, Sofrimar outlined the links between the two organisations: “Sofrimar is delighted to be working in partnership with WIT on a number of projects, collaboration between local industry and WIT is extremely beneficial to both parties.”
He included that this year Sofrimar has agreed to sponsor an award for the Best Literature Review for Pharmaceutical Science Year 4.
“We would like to congratulate the joint winners Roisin O’Brien and Megan Murphy on their outstanding achievement. Today is a great day for all students who have won prizes and are being recognized for their exceptional work, the past few months have been difficult for all students as they worked remotely without the normal interaction with fellow students and lectures, congratulations to all students who are receiving prizes today, while there may be uncertainty in the jobs market at present there will always be a demand for quality people with higher level qualifications like todays prize winners.”
One of the winners is Róisín O’Brien, a past pupil of Coláiste Bríde, Enniscorthy, Wexford. Róisín was presented with awards for Best Literature Review Presentation, sponsored by Sofrimar, Kilmore Quay, and Best Undergraduate Research Project, sponsored by Sanofi, Waterford. Both awards were presented for her work in her final year research project, entitled ‘Development of Contact Lenses for the Controlled Delivery of Ocular Therapeutics.’
The final year student has just completed her degree in BSc (Hons) Pharmaceutical Science.
Róisín explains the awards she was presented with: I am delighted to be recognised for the work I have undertaken in my final year research project and would like to thank Sofrimar and Sanofi for sponsoring these awards. Out of an undergraduate group of about 1,000 science students, I am blown away that I was presented with both awards, considering how hard working and dedicated my class group were. I would like to thank my class group for always being so helpful, as well as the lecturers and supervisors in the science department at WIT, especially Dr. Laurence Fitzhenry and Dan Chau Thuy Nguyen, who supervised my project this year. Our final year together was tougher than most, with the Covid-19 pandemic causing an abrupt end to our final semester, and only allowing us to complete half of our project work and leaving us to complete our studies remotely. Hopefully, we will be able to celebrate all of our achievements as a class group soon!"
Interest in research
In terms of her future endeavours, Róisín wishes to travel at some stage, but intends to remain local for the time being: "Although stressful at times, I thoroughly enjoyed the project and it has helped me decide that I would really like to pursue further studies in the research sector. The need for research in the pharmaceutical industry has been ever more prevalent in the context of the current pandemic. My research has also shown me the need for alternate treatment strategies for ocular diseases in the ageing world population, as more and more people are subject to blindness caused by age-related ocular diiseases. I hope to complete my postgraduate studies at some stage, but for now I will stay in Waterford and hope to pick up some additional industry experience in the next couple of years."
Passion for science
"I have thoroughly enjoyed my studies for the past four years at WIT. I am so glad that I chose WIT and this course, the science department has excellent lecturers that were always available to help out. The fact that the course provides six-month’s placement in industry is also an added bonus. Having not studied chemistry in the Leaving Certificate, I was apprehensive about undertaking the degree, but smaller class sizes and attentive lecturers greatly shaped my understanding of the subject. I would recommend this course to anybody with a passion for science, who wants to enter the STEM field."
About the awards
The Department of Science at Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT) recently held its Industry Sponsored Awards Ceremony for 2020 via Zoom.
These awards were sponsored by Source Bioscience, Environmental Science Association of Ireland, Sanofi, Bausch & Lomb, Sofrimar, Dawn Meats, Comeragh Veterinary practice, Dairymaster, AIB and for the first time Trivium Vet.