Scientist Sónia Negrão, professor at University College Dublin and collaborating member of the ITQB NOVA research center GREEN-IT, receives this Monday, March 2, in Dublin, the SFI President of Ireland Future Research Leaders Award by the hands of the President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins.
The prize is awarded by the Science Foundation Ireland - SFI, together with the President, with the aim of distinguishing and retaining 10 young scientists who have achieved exceptional results in the area of science and engineering.
The biologist completed her Ph.D. at ITQB NOVA in 2008, in the area of plant breeding. In 2018 she moved to Ireland, where she develops the now awarded project. «It is a great honor to receive this award from President Michael D. Higgins. I am very grateful for the recognition of the potential of my investigation», said the researcher.
The award, worth around 1.5 million euros, will support her strategy development project to ensure more sustainable barley production. The intense rains resulting from climate change are severely affecting the production of this cereal, with a significant impact on the malt industry. This ancient culture is a key ingredient for the production of beer and whiskey, important products for the Irish and world economy. Through the development of technology that combines genetic techniques with the use of drones and artificial intelligence, the researcher intends to recover characteristics that the older varieties of barley had and that made them more resistant to these environmental conditions. «I hope to continue to contribute to the production of barley capable of tackling climate change, and to strengthen Ireland's international image in Plant Research», explained the scientist.
The SFI President of Ireland Future Research Leaders Award distinguishes early-stage researchers working in Ireland who stand out for their research and excellence in scientific and technological advances.
ITQB NOVA - Sónia Negrão awarded by the President of Ireland