SFI director general Prof Philip Nolan sat down to discuss the pandemic, post-punk music and the future of research in Ireland.

“Every generation has its crisis” – and this one’s was Covid-19.

That’s according to Prof Philip Nolan, who is very familiar with the topic as he chaired NPHET’s Epidemiological Modelling Advisory Group during the height of the pandemic.

Since then, Nolan has taken on a new role as director general of Science Foundation Ireland (SFI). As part of Silicon Republic’s Conversations with Leaders series, he sat down with Ann O’Dea to chat about the new direction SFI is going in.

It is merging with the Irish Research Council, which also concentrates on work in the humanities. “In my view, it’s the right decision,” Nolan said, adding that an interdisciplinary approach would prove essential to tackling some of the challenges facing society.

He also discussed narrative leadership, post-punk music and his personal life growing up on the north side of Dublin.


Words by Blathnaid O’Dea