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Research Leaders Appointed to Council and School Governing Boards of Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies

Appointment of Chair to Council of DIAS

Dr. Peter Heffernan, former CEO of Marine Institute Ireland, has been appointed as the new Chair of the Council of the Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies (DIAS). The appointment will run from now until 2025.

Prior to his appointment, Dr. Heffernan served as the Marine Institute’s CEO for 27 years, retiring from the role in October 2019. During his tenure, he played a fundamental role in developing Ireland’s ocean research capacity, which included overseeing the arrival of Ireland’s two purpose-built marine research vessels, the RV Celtic Voyager in 1997 and the RV Celtic Explorer in 2003.

Dr. Heffernan was enrolled as a member of the Royal Irish Academy in 2007 and, more recently, was the recipient of the Excellens Mare Award by PwC Portugal, which recognises the excellence of individuals who have performed a remarkable role in sea-related activities. He is Ireland’s only member of the EU Mission Board: ‘Healthy Oceans, Seas, Coastal & Inland Waters’.

Commenting on his appointment, Dr. Heffernan said: “I am delighted to have been appointed by the President of Ireland as Chair of the DIAS Council. It is a privilege to work with an Institute of such a high calibre. DIAS has a long legacy of being a centre of excellence for knowledge discovery and has an excellent international reputation – I look forward to playing my part as Chairperson in the coming years and supporting this work.”

Appointments to School Governing Board at DIAS

DIAS is comprised of three Schools: Celtic Studies, Cosmic Physics and Theoretical Physics. Each School has its own Governing Board and appointments have also been made to each of these. The incoming Chairpersons are:

  • Professor Mary Fowler, appointed as the Chair of the Governing Board of the School of Cosmic Physics. Professor Fowler is based at the University of Cambridge, where she was Master of Darwin College from 2012 to 2020. Prior to her role at Cambridge, she was Dean of Science and Professor of Geophysics at Royal Holloway, University of London. She has been awarded Honorary D.Sc. degrees by the Universities of Edinburgh and Leeds
  • Professor Peter Goddard, appointed as the Chair of the Governing Board of the School of Theoretical Physics. Peter Goddard is a mathematical physicist, whose research concerns string theory and quantum field theory. He is currently an Emeritus Professor at the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, of which he was Director from 2004 to 2012, and a Fellow of St. John’s College, Cambridge, where he was formerly Master.
  • Professor Máire Ní Mhaonaigh, appointed as the Chair of the Governing Board of the School of Celtic Studies. Professor Ní Mhaonaigh is Professor of Celtic and Medieval Studies at the University of Cambridge and a Fellow of St John’s College. She has published widely on the history and literature of medieval Ireland, its connections with Scandinavia and its place in the wider European world of learning.

The complete list of appointees to School Governing Boards is as follows:

School of Celtic Studies
Chairperson: Professor Máire Ní Mhaonaigh, St John’s College, University of Cambridge.

Appointed Members of the Governing Board:
• Professor Robin Chapman Stacey, University of Washington;
• Professor Elizabeth Fitzpatrick, National University of Ireland, Galway;
• Professor Marged Haycock, Aberystwyth University, Wales;
• Professor Joseph F. Nagy, Harvard University;
• Professor David Stifter, Maynooth University;
• Professor Gregory Toner, Queen’s University Belfast.

School of Cosmic Physics
Chairperson: Professor Mary Fowler, Darwin College, University of Cambridge.

Appointed Members of the Governing Board:
• Professor Michael Burton, Armagh Observatory and Planetarium;
• Professor Janet Drew, University College London;
• Koen Verbruggen, Director, Geological Survey Ireland.

School of Theoretical Physics
Chairperson: Professor Peter Goddard, Institute for Advanced Studies, Princeton.

Appointed Members of the Governing Board:
• Professor Aiyalam P. Balachandran, Syracuse University;
• Professor Brian Dolan, Maynooth University;
• Professor Fay Dowker, Imperial College London;
• Professor David Evans, Cardiff University;
• Professor Fedele Lizzi, Universita di Napoli Federico II;
• Professor Patrizia Vitale, Universita di Napoli Federico II.
• Professor Sinéad Ryan, the University of Dublin, Trinity College.

Dr. Eucharia Meehan, CEO and Registrar of DIAS, has welcomed the appointments: “We are delighted to welcome our newly-appointed Council Chairperson, Dr. Heffernan, and equally the new Chairpersons of the Schools’ Governing Bodies. As we celebrate our 80th anniversary at DIAS this year, it is fantastic to see that the Institute continues to uphold its tradition of attracting researchers of the highest calibre to its academic and governance structures.

“I look forward to working alongside all of our new Council and Governing Body members. Their individual track records as leaders in their respective fields, and as champions of fundamental research, will be a great source of insight and inspiration for me and the wider DIAS community as we implement our strategy: ‘Embedded globally, Strength locally’.”

The process for Appointments to the DIAS Council and Governing Bodies is set out in the Institute for Advanced Studies Act, 1940, with appointments made by the President on the advice of the Government.