Thursday, 19 September 2013

UCD launches new Energy Institute with Taoiseach

The Taoiseach, Enda Kenny, has formally launched a new UCD Energy Institute which will bring together energy researchers from industry and academia.The UCD Energy Institute has received donor funding of €5 million and further seed capital funding from industry.

UCD President Dr. Hugh Brady, An Taoiseach Enda Kenny & Dr. David O'Rielly, Chair, UCD Energy Advisory Board

The Institute will focus its research on Energy Systems Integration which provides the basis for improved energy performance, reduced cost and minimises environmental impact – a challenge across the world.

The Institute is developing a major national initiative Future Grid Test Bed – Ireland in collaboration with EirGrid and the ESB. This activity feeds into a further collaboration with the US National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and Danish Technical University (DTU) in the area of Energy Systems Integration. The integration of renewable energy to electricity grids is a strategically important research area for Ireland given its wealth of renewable energy resources and Ireland’s electricity grid is uniquely positioned to be utilised as an international location for testing new technologies.

The new Institute will host over 200 world class energy researchers working in partnership with industry and the energy policy community and builds on prior research investments by Science Foundation Ireland, Enterprise Ireland, Irish Research Council, the EU and importantly, industry in this area.

An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny TD said, "We are at an exciting juncture in energy research. With the right ideas, talent and support, the next decade has the potential to be transformative in how Ireland produces, uses and transmits energy. UCD’s new Energy Institute will prove an invaluable resource in solving our energy challenges and realising new opportunities. This initiative clearly demonstrates the ability of our public institutions to work together and with other stakeholders in pursuit of common goals and scientific excellence. The Government will continue to support investment in science, technology and innovation through our Action Plan for Jobs."

Dr Hugh Brady, President, UCD said, “Energy research is a strategic priority for UCD and establishing the UCD Energy Institute reflects of our ongoing commitment to this important area. It will supply a critical mass of world class researcher’s multidisciplinary engineers and scientists trying to bring that research and working collaboration with the industry to ensure that Ireland will absorb the new technologies. This is a highly competitive field internationally and we are proud of our research leaders who have built a strong reputation for research excellence on the world stage that can now realise benefits for Ireland.”

The UCD Energy Institute will be led by Professor Mark O’Malley, UCD School of Electrical, Electronic and Communications Engineering as Scientific Director and Paddy Teahon as Executive Director.

UCD students Shaun Sweeney, Lucy Van Djik, Meadbh Ní Chéirigh with An Taoiseach Enda Kenny at the launch of UCD Energy Institute
 The Strategy for the Institute was developed by the UCD Energy Advisory Board led by Dr. David O’Reilly, UCD graduate and former CEO of Chevron. It builds on the reputation of UCD as a leading centre for energy research, in particular UCD’s Electricity Research Centre supported by leading energy companies and its Petroleum Geosciences research supported by Tullow Oil and other oil industry companies and groups.

Dr. David O’Reilly, Chair, UCD Energy Advisory Board, added, “I am delighted that the Institute is now up and running. I am confident that it will attract high calibre researchers who will help propel Ireland to a leadership position in energy research.”

Jerry O’Sullivan, Managing Director ESB Networks Ltd said, “ESB is delighted to be involved with the new UCD Energy Institute which we know will transform energy research here in Ireland and internationally. As a leading destination for energy researchers the Institute will capitalise on UCD’s academic expertise across Engineering, Science, Business, Law, Economics and Behavioural Sciences. ESB is committed to the development of Smart Electricity Networks which will implement Smart Grid initiatives and enable the development of renewable technologies capable of making a substantial contribution to transforming and decarbonising the energy industry. We are delighted to be involved in a number of research projects which will enable this to happen and to position Ireland as a leader in the energy field.”

Michael Walsh, EirGrid’s Executive Director for Corporate Affairs, Planning and Strategy said, “EirGrid shares UCD's strong commitment to ensuring that Ireland plays a leading role in the world of energy research. Already Ireland and Northern Ireland’s power system has higher levels of instantaneous wind penetration than any other synchronous system in the world. This creates a unique opportunity to develop new world leading technologies and UCD's Energy Institute will play a crucial role in delivering the cutting edge research to support this.”

He added, “EirGrid is committed to working with all our partners including the UCD Energy Institute to deliver a Smart Grid that will continue to providing secure, sustainable and competitive power for consumers and making sure that the island of Ireland is well placed to attract high-technology employment.”

Friday, 6 September 2013

Joy for Students and Parents at Annual Gold Medal Ceremony

This week we had the UCD BE Conferrings in O'Reilly Hall. Prior to the Conferrings, the EGA and our sister organisation, the Architecture Graduates Association (AGA) hosted the Annual Gold Medal Ceremony for those who obtained 1st place in each of the branches of Engineering and Architecture.

The 7 Engineering Gold Medals were awarded to Claire Dunne, Ian Kenny, Eoghan Power, Conor O'Malley, Raymond Carley, Robert O'Donoghue and Brian Kealy in Biosystems, Chemical, Civil, Electrical, Electronic, Mechanical and Structural Engineering with Architecture respectively. These Gold Medals were sponsored by GEA, Helsinn, RPS, Airtricity, S3, CRH and ARUP respectively. ARUP also sponsored the EGA Architecture Gold Medal awarded to Andras Dankhazi. All were present to accept the Medals except Brian Kealy who is currently working in the US and was represented by his parents at our event.

(L–R) UCD Dean of Engineering Prof. Gerry Byrne, Ian Kenny (Chem), Robert O'Donoghue (Mech), Andras Dankhazi (Arch), Claire Dunne (Biosystems), Raymond Carley (Electronic), Eoghan Power (Civil), Conor O'Malley (Electrical), EGA President PJ Rudden.

In addition, there were a number of additional Prizes awarded for Civil, Chemical & Bioprocess, Electrical, Electronic and Mechanical Engineering sponsored by Roughan O'Donovan, Pat McAdam, PM Group, Mark Carthy, Cylon and Institution of Mechanical Engineers (Rep of Ireland Branch). Prize winners here were Eoghan Power, Sharon Quigley, Aisling Brazel, Sheila Courtney, Donal Finegan, Killian McKenna, Adrian Walsh, Claire Lambe, Philip Flahavan, Fionnan McNamara and Robert O'Donoghue.

In my Welcome Speech, I emphasised the importance of engineering to everyday life in terms of energy, water, transport and communications. That 'engineering genius' is not celebrated in Ireland as much as literary genius as it is not as well known. That is not surprising given our national reputation for winning Nobel Prizes in Literature by Yeats, Beckett and Heaney.

On the day of the prize giving, the funeral of the late and great poet Seamus Heaney who died suddenly at age 74 from a short illness was taking place a few hundred metres further up the Stillorgan Road at Donnybrook Church. Later that day he was buried in his native Derry. His poetic talent was legendary across the English speaking world as he was a very sensitive yet very graphic communicator with his imagery. Engineers need to be graphic also in our use of the English language and other communications tools to show our relevance in society.

Seamus Heaney
As a profession we need to celebrate our engineering skills on a wider stage where it is not realised that it is engineers who are driving our national recovery in terms of the manufacture and export of biopharma, ICT, biomedical and other engineering products.

From the moment we waken each day to the moment when we fall asleep engineers have created the products and services we use from electricity to clean water to safe roads, rail and airports to buildings where we work and go to school, to the cars we drive, the Internet, iPods and iPhones we use to stay in touch.

In job creation announcements we are told that new jobs are being created in 'Life Sciences' when in fact they are jobs in engineering and that is where many of the future jobs in a growing Irish economy lie - career guidance teachers, parents and Leaving Cert students need to be aware that it is an Engineering Degree that will lead them into these exciting new careers that will nurture, support and save human lives. I visited the fabulous new UCD Science Centre last year and found that many of the researchers working there were engineers as well as scientists.

Edwina White, Airtricity presenting the EGA Gold Medal in Electrical Engineering to Conor O'Malley

Arthur Rogers, GEA Tuchenhagen presenting the EGA Gold Medal in Biosystems Engineering to Claire Dunne

Eimear O'Flynn, CRH presenting the EGA Gold Medal in Mechanical Engineering to Robert O'Donoghue

Eileen Lee, Project Management Group presenting the PM Group Design Award to Shelia Courtney

Padraig Somers of Helsinn Birex Pharmaceuticals presenting the EGA Gold Medal in Chemical Engineering to Ian Kenny

Mike Murray of S3 presenting the EGA Gold Medal in Electronic Engineering to Raymond Carley

Larry O'Toole, RPS presenting the EGA Gold Medal in Civil Engineering to Eoghan Power

Rory Mc Gowan, ARUP presenting the EGA Gold Medal in Structural Engineering with Architecture to father of Brian Kealy

Tony Dempsey, Roughan O'Donovan presenting their prize to Sharon Quigley

Professor Don Mac Elroy presenting the Pat Mc Adam Scholarship in Chemical Engineering to Aisling Brazel