IT Carlow Researcher Wins World’s Largest Agriscience Competition


An Institute of Technology Carlow doctoral research student has won outright the world’s largest agriscience competition - the Alltech Young Scientist Graduate Award 2016 – landing a $10,000 prize and a two-year fully funded postdoctoral contract with global biotechnology company Alltech.  
Richard Lally, from Prosperous Co. Kildare who is a doctoral postgraduate student at Institute of Technology Carlow’s EnviroCORE (Bioenvironmental Technologies Centre of Research and Enterprise), today scooped the top award of Alltech Young Scientist Graduate. The competition took place at ONE: The Alltech Ideas Conference in Kentucky, USA which opened on Sunday and concludes tomorrow. Earlier this year, Richard beat hundreds of other postgraduate students to become Regional Winner for Europe/Africa in the graduate category of Alltech’s Young Scientist Competition 2016.
The Alltech Young Scientist is the world’s largest agriscience competition. It offers the brightest scientific thinkers from colleges and universities across the globe an opportunity to compete at the highest level and be rewarded for their innovative research. Students are encouraged to join Alltech in pursuit of solutions in animal health and nutrition, crop science, agriculture analytical methods, food chain safety and traceability, human health and nutrition and other agriscience-related sectors, while also gaining valuable experience with the company’s global team.
"I was thrilled in the first place that our work was selected over every other entry from the Europe/Africa category to make it to the final stage of the competition in Kentucky. To win the outright award today is just incredible - a remarkable achievement for our research group. I’m so delighted and thrilled - not just for myself but for the EnviroCORE team at Institute of Technology Carlow ”, commented Richard Lally.
The winning entry, Plant growth promoting Pseudomonads, their colonisation dynamics and agricultural potential, is based on research Richard carried out under the supervision of Institute of Technology Carlow academic research staff Dr. David Ryan, Dr. David Dowling, Dr. Kieran Germaine, Dr. Andrew Lloyd and Dr. Thomaé Kakouli-Duarte. It investigates three potential plant growth promoting Pseudomonas fluorescens strains (L321, L111 and L228) for the application in Brassica napus, an important food and biofuel crop.  The research was carried out in conjunction with Teagasc Crop Research Centre at Oak Park in Carlow. The results show that the three strains contained important genes used in the role of plant growth promotion that could be important for use in agriculture.
“We are all bursting with pride for Richard who has made everyone so proud – his parents, supervisors, colleagues, EnviroCORE and the entire Institute. I congratulate Richard and must also say ‘well done’ to Dr. David Ryan, Richard’s supervisor, who encouraged him to enter this competition, the outcome of which will now provide such excellent prospects for him”, commented Dr. Thomaé Kakouli-Duarte of Institute of Technology Carlow’s EnviroCORE.
Richard’s supervisor, Dr. David Ryan, commented, “Alltech is a global leader in crop science, animal nutrition and health and so this is an incredible achievement for Richard and EnviroCORE and an acknowledgment of the world class research being carried out at Institute of Technology Carlow”.
Speaking following the announcement, the President of Institute of Technology Carlow, Dr. Patricia Mulcahy commented, “I offer my wholehearted congratulations to Richard on taking the top award in the Alltech Young Scientist Graduate Competition 2016.  There is great excitement here at the Institute.  Everyone is delighted for him and very proud of his significant achievement.  I also offer my thanks and congratulations to Dr.  David Ryan, Dr. David Dowling, Dr. Kieran Germaine, Dr. Andrew Lloyd and Dr. Thomae Kakouli-Duarte.  It is wonderful to see the talent and excellence of EnviroCORE researchers being recognised on the global stage. I have no doubt that Richard’s success will encourage more of our outstanding researchers to compete and succeed at international level”.