Monday, 5 December 2016

John Power is elected new UCD EGA President

John Power former Director General of Engineers Ireland was last week unanimously elected President of the UCD Engineering Graduates Association in succession to PJ Rudden who has completed his 4 year term.

UCD Dean of Engineering Professor David FitzPatrick with new EGA President John Power
 and outgoing President PJ Rudden
John graduated from UCD with an honours degree in Engineering and gained experience for 3 years with General Electric in US and South America. He then joined the ESB where he held a large number of diverse roles in Sales, Marketing and Corporate Change before becoming HR Manager in ESB Networks, Executive Director International Services, Head of Supply and finally Head of ESB Corporate Affairs in 2004.

In 2007 he was appointed Director General of Engineers Ireland with membership in excess of 22,000 across all branches of engineering. Engineers Ireland is the only body in Ireland who can award professional titles including CEng and MIEI/FIEI and is responsible for the ethical behaviour of its members.

John served with distinction up to 2015 during a severe economic downturn for many in the profession but succeeded in holding the institution together in difficult times. He greatly lifted the profile and importance of the profession in Ireland through raising the reputation of Irish engineering qualifications internationally and the accreditation of all engineering programmes in our Universities and Institutes of Technology.

He maintained the financial integrity of Engineers Ireland and promoted engineering in our primary and secondary schools, lobbying our elected representatives as appropriate. He developed the strategic direction of Engineers Ireland with the Executive Board and the Council.

In nominating John Power, outgoing President PJ Rudden stated that John has had an outstanding career and successfully led Engineers Ireland from 2007 to 2015.  He greatly enhanced the profile of the profession by promoting the title of Chartered Engineer and assisting the introduction of the new Project Maths curriculum in Second Level Schools.  He also showcased the importance and excellence achieved by major infrastrucutural projects which were helping national and regional development.  He stated 'John is in my view the best person to now bring the EGA to its next level' Rudden concluded.

Outgoing EGA President PJ Rudden congratulates incoming President John Power

Professor David FitzPatrick welcomed John Power as new EGA President and assured him of UCD Engineering College staff support to the EGA.  This support now consists of Clare Ryan in overall Administration together with Katie O'Neill Marketing Manager, Leila Shaddadi as Alumni Relations Officer and Nicola Fortune as Careers and Skills Consultant.

Clare Byrne, PJ Rudden and Nicola Fortune
David also gave the meeting an update on UCD Engineering in terms of the growth and quality of new undergraduate entrants (over 25% female again this year), average points in Leaving Cert and general trends for each discipline. He also referred to the UCD Campus Development Plan to include initiatives planned for the future of engineering.

EGA President John Power, EGA Board Member Nicola Fortune, Dean of Engineering Professor David FitzPatrick
 and EGA Honorary Secretary Dr Vincent Hargaden

David also thanked the outgoing President and the Board for their work for UCD Engineering over recent years. This was echoed by the previous Dean of Engineering Prof Gerry Byrne and EGA Founder Prof John Kelly who were present.  Also present was the EGA's First President Dr Tom Hardiman, former  Director General of RTE.

At the AGM we adopted a new EGA Constitution acknowledging the creation of Corporate Membership which now total 30 engineering firms. This means that the EGA now has a sustainable funding base on which to mature and grow into the future.

EGA Founder Professor John Kelly, EGA President John Power, Past Presidents PJ Rudden and Tony O'Brien
We had Annual Reports from our Hon Secretary Dr Vincent Hargaden and Honorary Treasurer Donal Wyse. I also gave a President's Statement on implementation of the EGA Strategy 2013 - 2016 showing how the EGA addressed issues of Education, Membership, Finance and Marketing.  I included reference to the quality and diversity of Speakers at Spring and Autumn Lectures and Panel Discussions over the past four years.  (See attached photographs)

A new Board was elected with John Power as President. Four long standing members have retired - Sean Murphy, Tony O'Brien (President 2001 - 2004), Michael Loughnane (President 2008 - 2012) in addition to our post graduate member Killian McKenna. Michael was Chair of our Gender Balance Conmittee and Killian McKenna was Chair of our Social Media Committee - both critical issues for the EGA and both of these Committees have very strongly performed over the past two years.

Outgoing EGA Board Member Sean Murphy with outgoing EGA President PJ Rudden

Killian McKenna, PJ Rudden and John Fleming

Also retiring was Dr Aisling Harkin  Career and Skills Consultant for Engineering who was Chair of our Corporate Membership Committee. Aisling who has moved to NUI Maynooth has been replaced by Nicola Fortune who we welcome onto the EGA Board and who will now chair the Corporate Membership Committee which is also doing great work (see EGA Member Corporate logos).

EGA Corporate Members Donal Rigney Roadstone and Cormac Mannion  Energia

Other Board Members reelected were Brendan Butler, Cormac Mannion, Eoin O'Cathain, George Young, Tina Pittock, Marian Ryan, David Timoney, Harriet Walsh and George Young.

EGA Board Members Marian Regan and Tina Pittock with Outgoing EGA President PJ Rudden
In conclusion I sincerely thanked the two Deans David FitzPatrick and Gerry Byrne  and college for their support to the EGA and to me over the past four years. I also mentioned praise for President Andrew Deeks, Vice President Orla Feely and the entire staff of UCD Engineering. I wished all of them and the College of Engineering continued success in the future.

This is my final blog as EGA President.   Thank you for your 'follows' over the past four years.  At the event the Dean of Engineering very kindly presented me with a bronze replica of  'Theatre 53' from the old School of Engineering in Merrion Street which is now the Taoiseach's office.  I was very humbled and grateful for this wonderful gesture.

Dean of Engineering Professor David FitzPatrick presents bronze replica
of Theatre 53 Merrion St. to PJ Rudden

Monday, 10 October 2016

UCD EGA Autumn Panel Discussion on 'Engineering Research and Job Creation'

Last Thursday night the UCD EGA Autumn Panel Discussion 2016 explored the roadmap from research to job creation. The discussion on 'Engineering Research Innovation and Job Creation' was to be led by Jobs Enterprise and Innovation Minister Mary Mitchell O'Connor.

Professor Eoin Casey, Dr Helen McBreen Atlantic Bridge, PJ Rudden EGA President, Minister Sean Kyne,
Professor Orla Feely Vice President UCD and Professor David FitzPatrick UCD Dean of Engineering

However the impending Budget 2016 intervened requiring her attendance at a Cabinet Meeting last Thursday evening and her speech was very ably read by Sean Kyne TD Minister of State for the Gaeltacht and Natural Resources. Minister Kyne, like the Minister is a native of Co Galway and is a UCD Masters Graduate in Agricultural Science. He too is interested in the innovation and jobs area where he recently participated in a similar event with Minister Mitchell O'Connor to launch CURAM -  a joint Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) research project on medical devices led by NUIG with partners UCD and other third level institutions.

UCD EGA President PJ Rudden introduces the Minister and Panel of Speakers
The Minister's speech was full of reference to the national importance of engineering research now substantially funded by SFI. 'Engineers make the world go round' he stated 'from the creation of everyday things like buildings, transport, water supply, iPhones and medical devices like artery stents and the means of keyhole surgery'.  He also placed the evening’s event firmly in the context of  Enterprise 2025 – the Government’s plan for enterprise and job creation over the coming decade.  This advocates a ‘whole of Government’ approach to drive sustainable employment and higher standards of living for all.  Our successful enterprises will be competitive, productive and globally connected, enabled by our entrepreneurial and innovative culture that is embodied in people, place and Government he stated.

Minister Sean Kyne sets out Government policy on research innovation and enterprise

UCD EGA President PJ Rudden, Minister of State Sean Kyne TD and Vice President Professor Orla Feely

The Panel Discussion was led by UCD Vice President for Research Enterprise and Innovation Prof Orla Feely who outlined the current research landscape in UCD. She also traced the history of economic development from the founding of the Irish State linking to the development of UCD Engineering to the Royal College of Science in Merrion St which became the UCD School of Engineering in the 1920s following the formation of the Irish Free State. Thereafter the State and the UCD School of Engineering developed in parallel from what is now the Taoiseach's Office in Merrion St. There UCD engineers like Dr Thomas McLoughlin was one its first graduates who set up the Ardnacrusha Hydroelectric Scheme on the River Shannon which also led to rural electrification transforming Ireland into the 40s and 50s. Another example in the 60s and 70s Professor Seamus Timoney led the Dept. of Mechanical Engineering with important research on combustion engineers.  Today’s research is focused on Food, ICT, Energy and Environment, Health, Culture, Economy and Society.

Minister of State Sean Kyne TD and Vice President Professor Orla Feely
She stated that it was important to consider both 'pure or basic research' and 'applied research' as part of the same continuum. 'They are part of a process to benefit both the economy and society' she told the packed auditorium. She explained how UCD is playing its part in fostering what she called the 'Irish technology ecosystem' not only nurturing talent but also providing support at all stages of the commercialisation process. In addition NovaUCD is the university's home for new ventures and entrepreneurs while NexusUCD is a new development offering office space to established innovation led companies who are collaborating with the UCD research base.

'Through our ideas and our graduates we support innovation success stories such as Enbio, BiancaMed, Dairymaster and APC Ltd. We also support innovation in multinationals through partnerships such as the two IBM-UCD 'co-labs' on our campus'.

Orla used the example of the closure of Digital in Galway, a sad story when it happened but transformed the initial loss of jobs into a series of innovative new job creating firms in West of Ireland and elsewhere.

Professor Orla Feely giving her address on the Research Ecosystem
UCD she said 'with its ambitious capital development plan will yield many more engineering jobs in Ireland in artificial intelligence, Internet of Things and cyber security' to name but a few and will transform how we live' she concluded.

Dr Martin Curley Professor of Innovation at NUI Maynooth - on pre-recorded video - echoed Prof Feely's thoughts on the importance of the research ecosystem for nurturing innovation and growth. He went on to explain the concept of Open Innovation 2.0 which encompasses intelligent, profitable and sustainable solutions.

Helen McBreen, PJ Rudden, Sean Kyne, Eoin Casey and David FitzPatrick listen to Martin Curley on Innovation
Dr Curley traced the history of Innovation. 'Closed innovation is centralised and inward looking , while open innovation is externally focuses and collaborative' he stated. He described the Internet of Things Systems Research Lab in Intel at Leixlip which is used to validate research 'by developing open innovation ecosystems and partnerships to validate research through real world deployments and test beds. When high ambition and disruptive technology intersect, we get 'high expectation entrepreneurship' which when start-ups expect to employ at least 20 staff within five years. These companies create 80% of all jobs'.

He concluded 'Engineers are the wealth creators in society and digital is colliding with all types of engineering. Digital technology is ready but are we?' he asked in conclusion.

Prof Eoin Casey dealt with the commercialisation of university research. He said that a university can do the type of frontier/curiosity research that industry does not typically do, does not want to do or cannot do. However, partnership with industry are crucial and delivers enormous benefits for the economy. Both options can lead to very successful options in terms of job creation' he stated.

Professor Eoin Casey outlines the lessons learned from the commercialisation of OxyMem startup from UCD

 “The right team is also critical for success and it must be borne in mind that academics are not always cut out for the business end, even if they are company founders. This might sound a bit controversial. Some professors can become entrepreneurs, but only if they leave the university. Some can be successful chief technology officers or chief scientific officers, however.”

Professor Eoin Casey, Sean Kyne and Dr Helen McBreen
Casey went on to stress the importance of credibility in order for a spinout to raise money. Investors look for credibility in the team, market and product. “It’s also worth noting the timescales involved in developing a product – especially in capital-intensive technologies – and securing patents, which are a necessary evil in order for investors to take you seriously,” he said. 

The OxyMem co-founder elaborated on the importance of getting the right support, from organisations like Enterprise Ireland and from the university. “Education drives innovation,” he concluded, “and we’re very grateful for all the support we received right from the beginning throughout the entire commercialisation process.”

Tom Kelly Head of Manufacturing and Competitiveness Division in Enterprise Ireland contributes to the debate at Q&A 
Dr Helen McBreen, Investment Director of Atlantic Bridge, spoke about how the global growth equity fund focuses on technology investments and helps Irish tech companies conquer international markets.

Dr Helen McBreen outlines the route for research commercialisation
An engineer herself, McBreen explained how Atlantic Bridge has over $500 million assets under management across five Funds and has an international investment platform that has been applied to build global companies from Irish start-ups such as Movidius, Metaio, Swrve, 3DR Robotics and Fieldware.

“I manage and operate the most recent high profile investment fund at Atlantic Bridge, which was just launched in July: the University Bridge Fund,” she explained. “This is a €60 million fund specifically for early-stage companies with global potential that are built from world-class research generated at UCD, Trinity and all third-level research universities and institutions.”

Over the next five years, she said, the University Bridge Fund will invest in high potential spin-outs and start-ups emerging from the third-level ecosystem to build global companies of scale across key growth sectors.

“Engineering research is a core part of the disruptive change that’s happening in key sectors and we want to put Irish engineers at the forefront of areas like life science and personalised medicine,” she concluded.

UCD Dean of Engineering, Prof David Fitzpatrick, wrapped up the evening’s presentations by extending his thanks to the Minister and all the speakers.

Professor David Fitzpatrick thanks the Minister, Panel Speakers, audience and event organisers
The Panel Discussion was followed by a very lively Q&A and short reception afterward.

Professor David Browne UCD Vice Principal for Research,
Innovation and Impact and PJ Rudden EGA President

Dr Kieran Feighan Vice President Engineers Ireland, Nicola Fortune UCD Careers
 and Skills Consultant, Dr Amanda Gibney UCD Associate Professor in
Civil Engineering and PJ Rudden, EGA President
Emma Fagan Eirgrid, Ellen Le Bas UCD and PJ Rudden EGA President

UCD Staff Clare Ryan, Gillian Reilly and Leila Shaddadi

Former Presidents of Engineers Ireland Bill Grimson and Professor
Jane Grimson Trinity College with current Engineers Ireland
Vice President Dr Kieran Feighan
EGA President PJ Rudden with President of the Association of Consulting Engineers of Ireland (ACEI) Richard Crowe and Senior Adviser in the Dept. of Housing Planning and Local  Government Ed Hanlon

Professesor David FitzPatrick UCD Dean of Engineering, Dr Martin Curley
Professor of Innovation Maynooth University and PJ Rudden EGA President

Neasa Fine-Kane RPS Roisin Bradford Irish Water and
Evan Hughes BAM
The large attendance in Clinton Auditorium
Minister Kyne arrives at UCD before the event.  Thank you for coming to speak at our event.

Monday, 19 September 2016

EGA Gold Medal Ceremony honours Outstanding Graduates

Monday September 5th was Conferring Day for UCD College of Engineering and Architecture. Earlier that day the Engineering Graduates Association (EGA) co-hosted our Gold Medal Ceremony for Outstanding Graduates in each discipline with the UCD Architecture Graduates Association.

There was a record attendance this year of 123 including 91 students and their families, 19 sponsors and 11 UCD academics.  It was especially the start of a very proud day for the awarded students, their parents and families. It was also the first year where we saw Gold Medals presented exclusively to 5 yr Masters students in accordance with revised requirements by Engineers Ireland for Chartered Engineers in Ireland.

Gold Medals were awarded for the highest marks in the Masters (ME or MArch) Degree to Roisin McHugh (MArch) for Architecture, Minjie Lu for Civil Engineering, Caitlin McDonnell for Structural Engineering with Architecture, Art O'Connor for Chemical Engineering, Muyang Liu for Electrical Engineering, Gerald Murphy for Electronic Engineering, Robert Brennan for Biomedical Engineering, Keith O'Donovan for Mechanical Engineering, Michael Murphy for Biosystems Engineering and Christopher Bohane for Engineering with Business.

Gold Medalists
Front Row: Muyang Liu (Electrical Engineering), Gerard Murphy (Electronic Engineering), Anna McHugh, mother of Rosin McHugh (Architecture), Caitlin McDonnell (Structural Engineering with Architecture), Michael Murphy (Biosystems Engineering).  Back Row: Art O'Connor (Chemical Engineering), Keith O'Donovan (Mechanical Engineering), Minjie Liu (Civil Engineering), Christopher Bohane (Engineering with Business) and Robert Brennan (Biomedical) with EPA President PJ Rudden and Dean of Engineering Professor David FitzPatrick

The companies who sponsored Gold Medals were Arup, RPS, BMS, SSE Electricity, S3, Crospon, CRH, FDT and Abbvie to whom both UCD and the EGA are extremely grateful.
Mary Moran Director of Manufacturing Science and Technology at Bristol Myers Squib (BMS)
presents EGA Gold Medal in Chemical Engineering to Art O'Connor
Padraic Brennan RPS Regional Director presents EGA Gold Medal
in Civil Engineering to Minjie Lu

Ronan Brady Head of Marketing and Digital at SSE Electricity presents
EGA Gold Medal in Electrical Engineering to Muyang Liu

Mike  Murray Manager of Semiconductor Solutions Business Unit at S3
 presents EGA Gold Medal in Electronic Engineering to Gerald Murphy

                                        Prof David Fitzpatrick Dean and Principal UCD College of Engineering and Architecture presents the
                                        EGA Gold Medal in Biomedical  Engineering on behalf of John O'Dea CEO of Crospon to Robert Brennan

Eimear O'Flynn CRH Group Corporate Affairs presents EGA Gold Medal
in Mechanical Engineering to Keith O'Donova

Michael Clancy Director of FDT Consulting Engineers and Project Managers Ltd presents the EGA Gold Medal in Biosystems Engineering to Michael Murphy
There was a large number of other prizes presented also by sponsors Roughan O'Donovan, Pat McAdam Scholarship and Travel Bursary, PM Group Kevin Kelly Design Award, Carthy Research Project and Travel Award, Deloitte Masters in Engineering Management Medal, Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE) Awards, Cylon Awards for Excellence in Electrical and Electronic Engineering Projects and the James G. Lacy Award for Project Excellence in ME Programmes sponsored by Dr Liam Madden of Xilinx.

                                                                David Hearn Managing Partner Deloitte presents Dylan Nolan with                                                
                    Deloitte Masters in Engineering Management Medal

Paul Dillon Republic of Ireland branch of Institution of Mechanical Engineers
presents Certificate for Best Student to Benjamin Mangan

Karen Moloney presents Cylon Excellence 
Award in Electrical Engineering to Michael Heslin

Alice Brennan winner of Pat McAdam Scholarship to US Colorado School
of Mines with Sponsor Martin McAdam

Alex Sweeney Process Group Manager PM Group with winner of Kevin Kelly
Design Award Amy O'Keeffe with parents

Husband and wife winner team in Electrical Engineering Junra Chen (winner James G. Lacy Award
sponsored by Liam Madden of Xilinx) and Munyang Liu (Gold Medal) with UCD
Professor Emeritus James Lacy and Professor of Electronic Engineering Dr Tom Brazil

The recipient graduates for these awards were Daniel Keating, Niamh MacPherson, Alice Brennan, Katie Kilcoyne, Amy O'Keeffe, Art O'Connor, Stephen Jones, William Denning, Dylan Nolan, Benjamin Mangan, Joseph Eftamandilos, Stephen Duke, James Farrell, Jordan Pendleton, Michael Heslin and Jenru Chen.

Louise Clarke Senior Talent Acquistion Specialist with Abbvie with winner of
Abbvie Achievement Award in Chemical and Bioprocess Engineering Practice

This event was a tremendous celebration of Engineering and Architecture with very talented new graduates emerging into the Irish growth economy where engineers continue to be in great demand.
UCD Engineering is also in greater demand nationally this year where the average Leaving Certificate CAO points for entry was at 560 in addition to Grade C or greater in Leaving Certificate Honours Mathematics.

There is a particular shortage of students opting for Civil Engineering still impacting from the construction recession in Ireland since 2008 and now only slowly growing again. A further real concern is the low gender balance in engineering, though it was up at 27% for last year's UCD entrants.

Prizewinners in Civil Engineering Daniel Keating (Roughan O'Donovan Prize, Caitlin McDonnell (EGA Gold Medal in Structural Engineering
sponsored by Arup), Minjie Lu (EGA Gold Medal in Civil Engineering sponsored by RPS) and EGA President P.J. Rudden
The EGA together with Engineers Ireland continue to promote the importance of STEM subjects in all secondary schools leading to careers in Engineering and Science. The lower numbers of female engineers is a tremendous loss to the Irish economy in creative talent in a profession which is a real driver of economic growth and offers very rewarding and challenging careers.

Friday, 15 July 2016

Fun and Learning at UCD festival

Just before I went on annual leave I was very happy to take part in the inaugural UCD Festival on Saturday June 18th last. One month later I now get to give you a sample of the many 'treats' experienced by those attending - food, music, debates, talks, chats and memories of yesteryears in UCD.
Some of the crowds attending UCD Summer Festival 2016

With over 235,000 alumni in 165 countries, 31,802 students from 120 countries, 3,500 staff and over 250,000 people living locally the UCD Festival had some activity for everyone interested enough to attend.

There was a special welcome there from UCD President Professor Andrew Deeks - 'the Festival is intended to engage, connect and inspire pride in all of us with a connection to this great institution and I hope that you will enjoy'.

The lectures and panel discussions from the College of Engineering and Architecture were really topical - Water and the Housing Crisis, two very active subjects of particular relevance to Irish society currently.  Next week in fact a new report on dealing with the Housing Crisis will be published by Government and the future of water charges is now in the hands of a new Government Commission.

A big social topic this year is the issue of the Housing Crisis. Speaker to this topic was Father Peter McVerry on the housing and homelessness issue organised by the UCD School of Architecture.

Father Peter McVerry who spoke on Housing Crisit with UCD President Prof. Andrew Deeks
and Dean of Architecture Prof. Hugh Campbell

Sir Ciarán Devane UK based inspirational leader spoke on 'Leadership for Impact'. Also in O'Reilly Hall was another topical debate 'Women in Leadership' involving Dr Rhona Mahony Master of Holles St Hospital, Miriam O'Callaghan RTE Presenter and lawyer, Senator Alice Mary Higgins and UCD Vice President Professor Orla Foley. This discussion was chaired by Dr Aoibhinn Ni Shuilleabhain of UCD School of Mathematical Sciences.

Women in Leadership Debate: Senator Alice Mary Higgins, Miriam O'Callaghan RTE, Dr Aoibhinn Ní Shuilleabhain UCD,
Dr. Rhona Mahony, Master of Coombe Hospital and UCD Vice President Professor Orla Feely

The presentations were excellent as was the audience engagement later on in terms of questions on highly topical subjects of great public and political concern. A further topic of great interest to civil engineers was an exhibition on 'Bridges of Dublin' in the Richview based School of Civil Structural and Environmental Engineering.

Other highlights included 'Remembering Maeve Binchy', the Growth of Food Nutrition, Life After Sport, Campus Woodland Walks and a host of Village Markets offering food spread around the campus.

Each college had their own combination of food music and entertainment to welcome back their alumni. The UCD College of Engineering had a number of events. I was privileged to be asked to chair the Discussion on 'Water - An Engineer's Perspective'. Our panel of experts were Michael Phillips former Dublin City Engineer, Damien Owens Registrar of Engineers Ireland and UCD Professor of Water Engineering Micheal Bruen.

Shown below are the speakers and a couple of slides they each presented.  The presentation was video'd and can be seen here.

Great credit is due to Rebecca Patterson, Marketing and Engagement Manager for College of Engineering and Architecture for organising the Engineering aspects of the Festival.

PJ Rudden introducing the Speakers at Water Debate

Engineers Ireland Registrar Damien Owens presenting on Water debate
Water usage 
Michael Phillips on planning future water supply to Dublin Region
Most of our rain falls on the West coast but most people live on East coast

Route of Submarine Pipeline linking Sutton to Ringsend Wastewater Treatment Plant

Professor Micheál Bruen on water and climate change

Climate Change
Racing Car built by UCD Mechanical Engineering Students!