Professor Aisling McMahon (pictured) of Maynooth University’s School of Law and Criminology has won the ‘IRC [Irish Research Council] Early Career Researcher of the Year’ award for her work in health and intellectual-property law.
The council’s research awards celebrate IRC-funded researchers who are seen as making highly significant and valuable contributions to knowledge, society, culture and innovation.
The winners were announced at a ceremony yesterday evening (21 November), having been selected by an independent expert panel.
The category of early-career researcher recognises a current or previous IRC awardee, who is within eight years of award of their PhD, and who has demonstrated an exceptional level of achievement in their field at this stage in their career.
Prof McMahon has led pioneering research on the impact of intellectual-property (IP) rights on people’s access to healthcare, and on the development and delivery of health technologies.
A 2020 article by Prof McMahon examining the impact of patent rights on which countries could access COVID-19 vaccines, medicines and diagnostics first, and on what terms, was cited as an information source for a House of Commons briefing in November 2020.
In 2022, she was awarded a European Research Council starting grant for the PatentsInHumans project. Her research is focused on the regulation of emerging health technologies and biotechnologies, and the relationship between IP law and bio-ethics in the context of health-related technologies.
Accepting her award, Prof McMahon said: “My research is driven by building understandings of the role that legal and regulatory mechanisms can play in fostering the development of cutting-edge ethically responsible health technologies; and alongside this, developing understandings of how legal tools can facilitate and ensure equitable access to such health technologies for all those who need them."
Dr Ian Marder, also of the School of Law and Criminology, received an ‘Impact Award’ commendation for his research work in restorative justice.