Prof. Orla Hardiman, Trinity College Dublin, winner of the SFI Researcher of The Year 2022 is pictured with, Prof Peter J. Clinch, Chairman of the Board of SFI, Prof. Wolfgang Schmitt, Trinity College Dublin and Director General of Science Foundation Ireland (SFI), Prof Philip Nolan. Picture: Alan Place


The prestigious awards held by Science Foundation Ireland (SFI), which were attended by over 500 members of the Irish research community honour the dedication and contributions researchers make to Irish society.

Prof Orla Hardiman was named as Researcher of the Year 2022 for her “outstanding contribution” to  understanding of motor neurone disease and treatments. Accepting the award,  Prof Hardiman said  “I am greatly honoured to receive this prestigious award, which is a reflection of the hugely talented individuals with whom I have had the privilege of supervising, mentoring and collaborating over the years,  I am also aware of the enormous benefits of being in a position to engage in international collaborations with like-minded clinician scientists. Understanding the processes that drive neurodegeneration is the “final frontier” in neuroscience. As clinician scientists, we seek to unravel the complexity of neurodegenerative disease in humans, and our work in Ireland has focussed on how best to enable the successful translation of laboratory discoveries to new drugs for those with different subtypes of disease.

“Our ultimate collective objective is to ensure that we provide the right drug for the right patient at the right time. I am particularly conscious of my privileged position as a female leader in science, and of the importance of mentoring from experience other younger women as they juggle careers, family life and research. I am enormously grateful to both SFI and the HRB in enabling my scientific career over the years, and of course to my husband Gerry and my children for their ongoing love and support.”

SFI director general Prof Philip Nolan said “these awards reflect the dedication and determination of our researchers as they work to discover new knowledge, to innovate, and to make the world a better place.

I would like to congratulate Prof Orla Hardiman as the 2022 SFI Researcher of the Year. She has made an outstanding contribution to our understanding of, and the treatment and care of people with motor neurone disease.”