Portstewart professor awarded OBE for research and economic development

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PROFESSOR Jim McLaughlin heads the list of people with strong connections to the University of Ulster who have been honoured in the New Year Honours List.

The distinguished international physicist (pictured) receives an OBE, while honorary graduate Judith Hill, Chief Executive of the NI Hospice becomes a Dame, and international golfer Darren Clarke receives an OBE.

Professor McLaughlin, 51, is Professor of Advanced Functional Materials and has been honoured for his services to research and economic development in Northern Ireland. He is also currently the Director of the Engineering Research Institute (ERI) and Director of NIBEC at Jordanstown.

A native of Portstewart, now resident in Belfast, his present research interests address nanotechnology and its application in areas such as point-of-care sensors and medical diagnostics.

Reacting to the announcement, Professor McLaughlin said: “The ‘phone hasn’t stopped ringing with friends and family calling to offer their congratulations. I haven’t done any celebrating yet, but I might do a little this evening.”

Modestly, he continued: “I still don’t know who nominated me, or how the process works, but I must admit was I somewhat shocked to learn that I was to receive the honour – as there are so many others who are deserving of this recognition.”

And he paid a special tribute to his colleague Professor John Anderson, who has been a major influence throughout Professor McLaughlin’s career at the University. He also acknowledged staff, researchers and students who have all contributed to the success of the Engineering Research Institute within the School of Engineering.

Professor McLaughlin has led key developments in the technology of sensor materials and in particular its impact into the connected health industry. His work has had a strong influence on the University’s commercialisation of IP relating to Connected Health companies, as well as providing the basis for a range of new biomedical sensing platforms.

With over three hundred publications and numerous successful patents, Professor McLaughlin has built an outstanding international reputation in his field.

Professor McLaughlin is also a Director with Noribic, SiSAF (Chief Scientific Officer) and the European Connected Health Campus (Chair).

In in 2002 golfer Darren Clarke received the degree of Doctor of the University (DUniv.), in recognition of his services to Irish and international sport. This year, he won the British Open in July 2011 at Royal St George’s in Sandwich, Kent, the 54th time he had contested for a Major trophy.