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New Year Honours List 2012

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 for 2012.

The distinguished international physicist 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 alsocurrently 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 Isomewhat 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.

He is the co-founder of Intelesens Ltd. (formerly ST&D Ltd.) which specialises in the design and fabrication of wireless vital-signs monitoring systems, as well as incorporating new micro- and nano-scale technologies, thus enabling the miniaturisation and integration of low-cost medical device systems.

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

In July 2011 Judith Hill, a former Chief Nursing Officer for Northern Ireland, received the degree of Doctor of Science (DSc) from the University for services to nursing and palliative care.Professor Hill is part of a consortium which includes the University of Ulster that established in 2010 the All-Ireland Institute for Hospice and Palliative Care with the aim of improving the experience and understanding of these approaches through research, education and policy development.

In2002 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.