Prof Maire O’Neill was born in Glenties and attended St Conal’s Comprehensive in the town. She went on to Queen’s University in Belfast where she now works and became at the age of 32 the youngest professor of engineering in the history of that University and also the youngest fellow elected to the Irish Academy of Engineering. She was still a PhD student when her research was first exploited commercially. She has won the “British Female Inventor of the Year” award for her work on high-speed data security. Prof O’Neill is Professor of Information security in the School of Electronics, Electrical Engineering and computer Science at QUB and is also Director of the UK Research Institute in Security Hardware and Embedded Systems. She has recently been appointed to the UK Artificial Intelligence Council. Prof O’Neill is regarded as one of Europe’s leading cryptography experts and has an international reputation for her work on cyber security.