RIA welcomes new members, including 13 STEM experts

26 May 2023

Fengzhou Fang, one of the academy's latest members. Image: Nick Bradshaw/Fotonic

Almost half of the 28 new members of the Royal Irish Academy this year are from STEM. We take a quick look at what they do.

Every year, the Royal Irish Academy admits (RIA) new members to its prestigious roster of researchers from across the island of Ireland for their exceptional contributions to the sciences, humanities, social sciences and public service.

This year, the 238-year-old institution has elected 28 new members from universities and bodies across Ireland and beyond, officially welcoming 24 of them at its Admittance Day event held in Dublin today (26 May). Of the 28 new members, 15 are women.

“These individuals, elected by their peers, have made exceptional contributions in their fields of endeavour,” said Pat Guiry, president of the Royal Irish Academy.

“As members of the academy, they will support the RIA by engaging and leading in activities that strengthen the international recognition of the academy’s scholarship and serve the public good through their knowledge and insight.”

Here we take a quick look at 13 new members who have a background in STEM-related fields.

Andrew Cooper

A professor of coastal studies at Ulster University, Cooper is a renowned geologist specialising in coastal environmental change. He was named winner of the university’s senior distinguished research fellowship champion award in 2020.

Chris Lynch

Lynch is a professor and consultant in restorative dentistry based at University College Cork (UCC) and editor-in-chief of the leading international Journal of Dentistry. In March, he was installed as dean of the Faculty of Dentistry at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI).

Fengzhou Fang

A professor of precision manufacturing at University College Dublin (UCD), Fang is a world-renowned nanoscientist specialising in nanomanufacturing, medical device manufacturing and other ultra-precision metrology. He was chosen to lead UCD’s nanotech manufacturing research following a €6m funding from Science Foundation Ireland.

Gordon Wallace

Wallace is a distinguished professor at the University of Wollongong in Australia who specialises in health technologies aimed at treating disease and repairing injuries. In 2017, he helped launch Ulster University’s Health Technology Research Hub to further research in the area.

James O’Donnell

As director of the Irish Centre for Vascular Biology and RCSI professor, O’Donnell is well known for his contributions to haemostasis research. He was recently the lead author of an RCSI study, the findings of which could lead to new treatments for blood clotting disorders.

John Laffey

Laffey is a professor of anaesthesia and intensive care medicine at the University of Galway and a consultant at Galway University Hospitals. He was part of a team that developed a new ventilator system allowing for two Covid-19 patients to be treated using just one ventilator.

John Walsh

A full professor at UCD’s School of Earth Sciences, Walsh is a founding director of iCRAG, the SFI research centre for applied geosciences.

Louise Allcock

Allcock is a marine scientist at the University of Galway who has explored Ireland’s deep-sea habitats and is an expert in octopuses, squids and cuttlefish, along with sponges and corals. In 2019, she was part of a major exploration mission to delve into the depths of the Indian Ocean, often considered the world’s least-explored but most at-risk ocean.

Mike Lyons

A professor of physical chemistry and senior fellow at Trinity College Dublin (TCD), Lyons also heads the university’s School of Chemistry. He is a leading expert in physical and materials electrochemistry research in Ireland.

Rudolf Krska

Krska is a highly cited professor of biological sciences at Queen’s University Belfast who specialises in the area of mycotoxins and other secondary metabolites of fungi, plants and bacteria.

Sinéad Ryan

Ryan is a professor of pure and applied mathematics at TCD and a former postdoctoral researcher at Fermilab. She is interested in the unexpected discovery of exotic states of matter, formed primarily from charm and bottom quarks interacting under the strong interaction in novel configurations.

Siobhán Clarke

A professor of software systems at TCD, Clarke focuses her research on systems that enable the provision of smart and dynamic software services to urban stakeholders – essentially using IoT to make urban areas more liveable.

Tim Palmer

Palmer is a Royal Society research professor in climate physics and a senior fellow at the Oxford Martin Institute. His area of expertise lies in the predictability and dynamics of weather and climate, including extreme events.

10 things you need to know direct to your inbox every weekday. Sign up for the Daily Brief, Silicon Republic’s digest of essential sci-tech news.

Vish Gain is a journalist with Silicon Republic