Leading Irish science and education policy advocate joins SFI board

24 Apr 2018

From left: Prof Mark Ferguson, SFI; Máire Geoghegan-Quinn; Minister John Halligan, TD; and Ann Riordan, SFI. Image: Jason Clarke

One of Ireland’s biggest visionaries for science policy, Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, has joined the board of Science Foundation Ireland.

Few Irish people have been as influential in guiding scientific advancement in Europe as Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, who served as EU commissioner for research, innovation and science from 2010 to 2014.

During that time, she proved instrumental in the set-up of the Horizon 2020 research funding programme, which has led to Irish researchers securing nearly €3m per week since it was established, out of a total fund of billions of euro allocated by the EU.

This led to her being awarded the Légion d’honneur by former French president François Hollande before going on to chair an independent expert group examining gender equality in Irish higher-education institutions.

It has now been confirmed that Geoghegan-Quinn has been appointed to the board of Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) to continue her efforts to advise on Irish scientific policy and collaboration with industry.

“I am delighted to join the board of SFI, and look forward to working closely with the chair, my fellow board members and the SFI executive,” she said in a statement.

“[SFI] has been at the forefront of driving and supporting Ireland’s competitive research ecosystem across our higher-education institutions. SFI is an ambitious organisation and I look forward to engaging with the board to support these plans.”

SFI’s current chair, Ann Riordan, welcomed the news by saying: “Máire’s extensive knowledge of the European research ecosystem and experience in examining gender equality in our higher-education system will no doubt prove invaluable to the ongoing success and progressive direction of SFI.

“This appointment will enable us to leverage international advantage in the areas where Ireland has research and innovation strengths, both in academia and industry.”

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic