Jackie Gorman, CEO of Midlands Science, which is based in Tullamore, proudly holds aloft her award for Outstanding Contribution to STEM Communication which she was the recipient of at the Science Summit 2022 in Limerick this week.

CEO of Midlands Science wins prestigious award

The CEO of Midlands Science, which is based in the Central Business Park in Clonminch, Tullamore, was the recipient of a prestigious award from Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) at their annual Science Summit in Limerick this week.

Jackie Gorman received the SFI Outstanding Contribution to STEM Communication award at the event, which was held in-person for the first time in two years and was attended by over 500 leading members of the Irish research community.

The awards were presented by Professor Philip Nolan, Director General of Science Foundation Ireland who said they recognise “exceptional achievements” within the research community, and the ways in which research contributes to our “wellbeing and our environmental, social and economic development and sustainability.”

He also said the awards reflect the “dedication and determination” of the researchers who were chosen in the nine individual categories as they work to discover “new knowledge, to innovate, and to make the world a better place.” Each awardee was described as being “truly inspiring.”

In her citation, Jackie Gorman was described as being a researcher who has been “engaging and educating” people from a wide range of backgrounds in the areas of science education since 2008. These include young people, parents, youth groups and leaders, schools, industry representatives, local government and key stakeholders.

The citation added that she has been steering Midlands Science, through “impactful, creative and innovative work in promoting STEM” which impacts over 16,000 people directly every year and with specific efforts to engage with those from lower socio-economic backgrounds."

The Tullamore-based Midlands Science CEO has 30 years of experience working in local development including working in education programmes with the long-term unemployed, rural enterprise and community. development. She spent a number of years working as a Technical Assistant with the Government of the Gambia as part of the Ireland Aid Programme, working with communities living in and near National Parks to develop rural enterprise and eco-tourism projects. She is a graduate of TUS, DCU and NUIG in Business, Literature and Community Development. She is passionate about how engagement with science can transform communities, creating economic growth, engaged citizens and better choices for everyone.

In a Facebook post, Ms. Gorman spoke of her delight at being selected for the Outstanding Contribution to STEM Communication award and described it as being “a particularly humbling day in work.”

“I am really honoured to be part of this,” she added. Previous recipients of the award include Professor Luke O’Neill, Dr. Niamh Shaw and Dr. Aoibhinn Ní Shuilleabháin. “I am hugely honoured and grateful” said Ms. Gorman.

The winner of the SFI Researcher of the Year 2022 was Professor Orla Hardiman for her “outstanding contribution to our understanding of, and the treatment and care of people with motor neurone disease