Brendan Smith was honoured as winner of the Cairdeas Award at the inaugural American Chamber of Commerce West Northwest US Ireland Business Conference held at NUI Galway last week. Mr Smith, of the SFI Insight Centre for Data Analytics at NUI Galway, received the award for his outstanding contribution to enabling people, in particular young people and minorities in the west of Ireland, to develop skills in technology, coding, and science.
“I was so deeply honoured to accept the award as it was a recognition of how Insight, NUI Galway, SFI, and the members of the American Chamber of Commerce Ireland now value the importance of engaging with and empowering individuals and communities from all backgrounds, ages, traditions, and across all regions, both in Ireland and across the world, in developing creative skills in and an awareness of science, technology, engineering, and maths,” Mr Smith said. “I accepted the award in that context as I am only a small part of a new wider collaborative movement that wants to enable people to use STEM and scientific research to improve their quality of life and to solve the increasing problems caused by climate chaos.”
Themes covered at West Northwest Conference included innovation, collaboration, and macro-trends for the region. An emphasis was placed on furthering FDI collaboration in the region with the SME community, local government and the opportunity to innovative with third level institutions.
A highlight of the conference day was the second annual US-Ireland Business Series lecture given by James Lyons, VP operations at Boston Scientific.
Other areas of focus during the day included opportunities and scalable solutions for physical and digital infrastructure needs including road, rail, and broadband. The requirement to focus on quality of life factors and cultural facilities to attract and retain talent in the west and northwest was noted as a priority.
The inaugural west-northwest region Créafóg Award for sustainability was given to AbbVie Sligo.
“I congratulate Brendan Smith on receiving his Cairdeas Award for outstanding community impact in the west-northwest region and we present our Créafóg Award to Abbvie to honour the strong environmental impact of US companies, at a time when the Irish Government has released its new Climate Action Plan 2019,” Mark Gantly, president of the American Chamber, said at the event.
“I can’t overstate the value of bringing the wider regional membership of the American Chamber together here in Galway to discuss key business issues in inward investment, when the economic relationship between our two countries sits at an all-time high.”