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Teagasc awards the Walsh Scholars Gold Medal to Lorna Twomey

The Teagasc Walsh Scholars Gold Medal was awarded to Lorna Twomey from Teagasc’s Animal & Grassland Research and Innovation Programme. The Gold Medal, which is the Programme’s highest accolade, was presented at an awards ceremony at Teagasc Ashtown today, Wednesday, 8th May 2024.

Teagasc awards the Walsh Scholars Gold Medal to Lorna Twomey
Pictured (from left): Jane Kavanagh, Head of Research Development and Walsh Scholarships at Teagasc; Pat Dillon, Director of Research, Teagasc; with the winner of the Teagasc Walsh Scholars Gold Medal Lorna Twomey and her mother Mary Twomey.

The Teagasc Walsh Scholar Gold Medal Award is now in its 30th year of celebrating scholarly excellence at Teagasc. It is a competitive award for Teagasc Walsh Scholars nearing the end of their PhD scholarships. Congratulating the finalists for showcasing their exceptional talents and commitment to excellence, Jane Kavanagh, the Head of Research Development and Walsh Scholarships at Teagasc, said: “The Walsh Scholar of the Year Awards ceremony not only celebrates the outstanding achievements of our finalists but also underscores their pivotal role in shaping the intellectual landscape of the agri-food industry. Through their innovative research and dedication, these scholars have not only contributed to advancing knowledge but have also developed invaluable transferable skills essential for their future endeavours.”

Chlorate residues in milk products threatens consumer confidence and the reputation of the dairy industry. As a means of minimising chlorate, a harmful, chlorine-based residue in milk and its derivatives, Irish farmers and milk processors have replaced chlorinated cleaning protocols with chlorine-free alternatives. Lorna Twomey’s PhD project set out to evaluate the effectiveness of these ‘minimum chlorate technologies’ in terms of dairy product quality and safety. 

Lorna’s PhD forms part of vital work by Teagasc in partnership with dairy industry processors to reduce chlorate levels in dairy processing. Teagasc Director of Research Professor Pat Dillon said: “Lorna met the two key objectives of a very successful PhD - increased the scientific knowledge on reducing chlorate levels in Irish dairy products and increased her skills through learning research methods and collaboration with academic and industry stakeholders”.

Lorna is from a dairy farm in West Cork and has many years of experience working on her home farm and has also worked in New Zealand as part of her undergraduate degree. Lorna’s PhD supervisors are David Gleeson (lead supervisor), Tom Beresford and Bernadette O’Brien, Teagasc; and Ambrose Furey (academic supervisor), Munster Technological University.

Other Walsh Scholars recognised at today’s event included:

  • Rachel Irwin, Walsh Scholar of the Year for the Crops, Environment, and Land Use Programme
  • Niranjana Rose Edwin, Walsh Scholar of the Year for the Food Programme
  • Clarissa Leydon, Walsh Scholar of the Year for the Rural Economy and Development Programme

Teagasc Director, Professor Frank O’Mara, congratulated the other Walsh Scholar finalists (listed below): “Completing a PhD is a great achievement, and will be a major milestone for all the finalists here today. They were all excellent, and I congratulate them on getting to this level. Regardless of what direction the next step of their career takes them, I have no doubt they will make a major contribution, and their PhD will stand to them throughout their career”.

  • Sarah Woodmartin
  • Emily Roskam
  • Joy Clarke
  • Yahaya Jebril Amanor
  • Fatma Koc
  • Sara Perez Vila
  • Shefali Pardeshi-Dhokale
  • Lori-Rae van Laren

The 12 finalists of the Walsh Scholar of the Year Awards 2024

Further details on all the finalists’ research projects can be found on the Teagasc website: www.teagasc.ie/wsawards