Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Christmas Greetings to All!

This blog is wishing Christmas Greetings to all our Corporate Members, Members, Alumni and other friends of the EGA over recent years.

Finally a word of thanks to UCD President Prof Andrew Deeks, Dean of Engineering Prof David Fitzpatrick EGA Administator Fionnuala McGowan and Post Graduate Ian Mulholland for their help, encouragement and support throughout the year. To our hard working EGA Board who assist and support me in all of the difficult decisions and challenges we face from time to time - míle buíochas daoibhse!

Nollaig Shona agus Athbhliain faoi mhaise daoibh go léir!

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Inaugural Lecture by President of UCD, Professor Andrew J Deeks

Last week I was invited to the Inaugural Lecture at the start of Professor Andrew Deeks 10 year term as UCD President. He also published his new Strategy 2015 - 2020.

Andrew is the first ‘non Irish’ President of UCD since John Henry Newman was Founder and Rector in 1854. Newman only spent 4 years as Rector but was a noted educationalist and writer on the role of a university in society. From humble beginnings in UCD he foresaw 'a flourishing University, which for a while had to struggle with fortune, but which, when its first founders and servants were dead and gone, had successes far exceeding their anxieties'.

The passage of time indeed proved Newman right and Andrew Deeks is rightly proud of what UCD has achieved but as he is very ambitious for UCD he states 'we cannot rest on our laurels'. To remain competitive in every sense the new strategy calls for a new genre of interconnection globally at academic level to match the communication that exists between continents, countries and economies.
UCD Campus
Our mission is to flourish in Ireland and in the world 'through the excellence and impact of our research and scholarship'. Our values are excellence, integrity, collegiality, engagement and diversity, the strategy states ‘Our aim must be truly global in our international reach, in our engagement with all levels of society and with all regions of the world and in the quality and extent of our campus and facilities. We will bring the world to Ireland and Ireland to the world’.  This will all be achieved using 10 key objectives and 6 strategic objectives.

In his very entertaining Inaugural Address, Professor Deeks traced the voyage of discovery of mankind from the Industrial Revolution into the current age of The Internet of Things to show the need for interconnecting academic institutions geographically and virtually. This will result in maximum research and innovation impact.

He made a powerful association that made the new UCD Strategy not only an agenda for his term as President but an essential for UCD to become the global world class university he wants UCD to be. If we all pull together around this new Strategy or Growth Engine in UCD I'm sure we will succeed in raising our ambitions to compete with the best on the world stage.

Certainly we in the UCD EGA will continue our current strategy of raising our national and international profile in the issues most concerning the Irish Nation - Job Creation, Austerity, Food, Water, Energy, Economic Recovery, Diaspora, Farming and Gender. These have been the economic and social themes of our principal public events in the past two years. We hope to continue to discuss and debate the burning issues of the day in the years ahead and in that way play our part in ensuring the place of UCD as a creative innovation engine of growth in Irish and international society.

UCD President, Prof. Andrew J Deeks and Minister for Education & Skills, Jan O'Sullivan TD


Wednesday, 26 November 2014

EU Commissioner Hogan leads timely UCD EGA focus on Food Production in Europe

EU Agriculture Commissioner, Phil Hogan gave his first speech in Ireland following his appointment as Commissioner on the subject of Food Production in Europe to the UCD Engineering Graduates Association last Thursday night. He was followed in a Panel Presentation and Discussion by IFA President, Eddie Downey, Director of UCD Institute of Food and Health, Professor Dolores O’Riordan, NESC Director, Dr. Larry O’Connell and Glanbia Director of Strategy, Sean Molloy. As the Commissioner’s full speech by video from Brussels and all of the presentations are now on the EGA website, I will only briefly summarise what they said below.

Front row: PJ Rudden EGA President, Prof Dolores O’Riordan Director of UCD Institute of Food & Health,
Prof Andrew Deeks UCD President and Dermot Ryan Cabinet Member to EU Commissioner Phil Hogan.
Back row: Eddie Downey  IFA President, Prof David Fitzpatrick UCD Dean of Engineering and
Sean Molloy Director of Strategy, Glanbia.

Before the Panel Discussion Professor Colm O'Donnell, Head of UCD Biosystems Engineering briefly outlined the scale of the research priority on Food in UCD. The Institute of Food and Health headed by Professor Dolores O'Riordan combines Agriculture and Food Science, Biosystems Engineering and Public Health Departments into one integrated Institute carrying out global leading research for multinationals. UCD is cited as 7th in the world globally for Research Impact which is remarkable and also something that UCD can truly be proud.

Prof Colm O’Donnell UCD Head of Biosystems Engineering School
on Food Science Research in UCD.
Commissioner Hogan outlined the scale of the challenge facing us 'to feed 9 billion people by 2050 world agricultural production will have to exceed its 2005 by 60%. There are also rising public expectations in the EU accompanied by issues of safety, quality, value, traceability and diversity of food...there are also serious strains on natural resources and the environment resulting from recent gains in food production.  There are also concerns on climate change....the challenge we face is to increase productivity based on a finite resource such as land so we need to do more with less' he said 'all of this must be achieved with limited public support in the wake of the financial crisis and a growing social pressure to justify maintaining such a large share of the EU budget for the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). To address this the current time restrictions on production will end. The current restrictions on sugar production will end in 2017 and milk quotas will end next Spring. In the coming months I will be keeping a close eye on rural development programmes for investments, business startups and local development in rural areas'.

'The Commission will work to opening up new markets. In Ireland our recovery has been driven by food exports particularly in the Agrifood sector. In 2013 alone 63,000 new jobs were created in Ireland and agriculture forestry and fisheries contributed 30% of these.  The EU is adapting well to the Russian Food Embargo helped by the new EU Research and Innovation Fund to allow the farm sector to adapt new trends and become more resource efficient.  2015 will be a turning point for the dairy sector.   Medium term prospects are favourable driven by a steady world demand. The main driver will be demand for increased proteins by middle class households worldwide. The main challenge for the sector will be market volatility. There may be oversupply at times as at present’ he said.
EU Commissioner Hogan addresses the UCD EGA Panel Discussion from Brussels.
'I know how important agriculture is for our society, how important it is to provide sustainable jobs in rural areas for investment in the future and producing food to feed the world', the Commissioner concluded.

It was a thoughtful speech addressing the key challenges up front and setting out an agenda to ensure that EU Agriculture will remain a competitive, efficient and sustainable sector. We are most grateful to the Commissioner for giving his time for this Keynote Speech as he faces into his new role.  The Commissioner’s Speech was beamed to us from Brussels due to unforeseen circumstances as he could not be with us in person.  His full speech is available here on the homepage of the EGA website.  In addition, he sent one of the Senior Cabinet Members, Dermot Ryan to be here in UCD in person and to respond to the Q&A.

EU Cabinet Member Dermot Ryan responds to questions on behalf
of the EU Commissioner Hogan
Following the Commissioner, IFA President, Eddie Downey addressed the challenges to food production as the IFA see it.  Over 300,000 individuals are employed in farming, the agri-food sector and related service sectors. Farming underpins economic activity across all parts of the country, and has a particularly important role to play in the economic recovery outside of the main urban areas. Agri-food exports have grown by almost 50% in the last five years, and in 2014, with further growth of 8%, will exceed €10.5b.   Underpinning the agri-food sector is the primary agriculture sector. This remains a low-income sector, with average farm income in 2013 of €25,000.

Eddie Downey IFA President outlines the IFA position on future food challenges.
2014 has been a particularly difficult year for beef producers, as evidenced by the anger and frustration expressed by farmers at the countrywide beef protests of recent weeks. Since August there has been a strengthening of prices in Ireland’s main export market the UK, as evidenced by the increased price paid to UK producers. There has also been an increase in the price consumers are paying for beef products, both in Ireland and the UK. However, this has not been passed back to farmers, who are supplying a high quality premium product.  The future of beef production in Ireland is far from certain unless there is a viable price returned to the primary producer. In 2013, the average income for cattle farmers ranged from €9,500 for suckler farmers to €15,500 for beef finishers. This is clearly an unsustainable and unviable return for farmer’s labour and investment.
The abolition of the milk quota provides, for the first time in a generation, dairy farmers with the opportunity to increase production and scale. Our grass-based production system has the potential to increase output by 50% over the coming decade, contributing to economic growth through increased employment and export earnings.
The expansion of the dairy herd will result in an increase in dairy beef production. I believe we will see diversification within some beef enterprises whereby there will be movement towards supporting other production systems, through rearing of dairy herd replacements.   There is a critical need for all stakeholders to engage to manage the dairy expansion, its impact on land use and the changes that will affect the beef industry.  Support for the suckler beef herd must remain a priority; however there must also be a coherent plan to adapt to the changes in the supply of beef that will arise due to the expansion of the dairy herd.
Eddie Downey IFA President, Prof Dolores O’Riordan UCD Professor of
Food and Health and PJ Rudden EGA President.
There are many reasons to be positive for the future of food production in Ireland. However, we must work to firstly identify and then tackle the challenges, whether in the market place or due to policy decisions, that will undermine the potential of the primary agriculture sector. It is in all of our interests, both economically and socially, that Ireland has a viable and growing farming sector, underpinning a world class agri-food industry.
There then followed a very interesting presentation on Food Manufacture by UCD Professor Dolores O'Riordan Director of the UCD Institute of Food and Health. Dolores set out the global challenges to ensure 'healthy, tasty, affordable and safe foods with consumer appeal balancing health and sensory attributes'.
The practical design approach is based mostly on 'clustered dietary advice' while 'safety is a prerequisite for healthy foods' she said and illustrated that a long food chain is only as strong as its weakest link. The food chain is therefore only as secure as the standards of the weakest supplier'.

Prevention of contamination is critical together with traceability and authenticity with increased need for real- and rapid time detection. There is need for a holistic approach to provide healthy solutions across all life-stages. We need to shorten our food chains, enhance consumer communications and understanding.

Prof Dolores O’Riordan on food science and technology challenges.
Dr Larry O'Connell of National Economic and Social Council dealt with the climate aspects of food production placing enormous demands on finite resources such as energy, land, water and biodiversity. Emissions trading will be the main policy instrument with overarching global agreement on targets and timetables to manage and limit impacts on climate change.

‘With the world population set to increase to almost nine billion by 2050, coupled with an estimated 6˚C rise in temperature based on current energy usage and CO2 emissions, the planet faces food shortages on a major scale unless we make changes now’ he said.

'We need a guiding vision towards a carbon neutral society based on an approach to economic development that is socially and environmentally sustainable' he said and pointed to the leadership shown towards the 2030 goals for climate and energy in Brussels in October 2014 by the European Heads of State Agreement.

Dr Larry O’Connell NESC on climate change challenges of food production.

Sean Molloy's presentation traced the development of Glanbia to become a global player in nutrition and food ingredients with a 2013 revenue of €3.3billion and 5,200 employees across some 29 countries and 130 export markets.
Glanbia is number 1 Irish diary processor, number 1 European producer of enriched milk powders and number 3 indigenous Irish exporter. They collect milk through Leinster and East Munster from Dundalk to Cork substantially. Five processing centres are Virginia, Ballyragget, Wexford, Belview and Carrick-on-Suir.


Sean Molloy Glanbia Director of Strategy on global market challenges.

Internationally Glanbia have a global reach through Europe Middle East China Japan North and West Africa US Mexico and North West countries of South America. Well known world brands include Kerrygold butter, Kilmeaden cheese, Baileys Irish Cream, SMA baby food and Walker biscuits.

A long term growth in dairy products worldwide of 2.3% per annum is predicted with growing urbanisation, Westernisation of diet and a growing global middle class. There needs to be forensic attention to quality and supply chain integrity in terms of food safety while market volatility remains another major challenge.

Glanbia is focussed on tackling the critical global issues for customers - volatility, supply security, quality assurance, brand protection and sustainability.

There is a necessary focus on innovation from pre-cow to post-customer. Sean quoted Winston Churchill in this regard 'The empires of the future are the empires of the mind'.

Panel responds to Q & A
A lively Question and Answer followed led by Dermot Ryan Cabinet Member to Commissioner Hogan. He displayed his total grasp of the EU Agriculture brief and indeed was well known and respected by all the Panel Speakers from his previous work in the Irish Department of Agriculture and on CAP Reform during the Irish Presidency in 2013.
This was a remarkable event which could have occupied a full or half day conference. It was also noteworthy how the challenges mentioned by the Commissioner had resonance in the presentations of all of the Panel Speakers showing that in this area of public policy at least the main players are agreed on the problems and on the possible solutions for the future benefit of Ireland and of the EU.  It also showed a EU Commissioner who is superbly on top of his brief even after a few weeks in office.

UCD President Andrew Deeks thanks EU Commissioner Hogan,
Cabinet Member Dermot Ryan and Speaker Panel.
The event concluded by UCD President Andrew Deeks who thanked the Commissioner, Cabinet Member Dermot Ryan and the Speaker Panel for a superb evening focussed on the challenges of food production in Europe.  He undertook to ensure that UCD will continue to be a world class centre of excellence for Food Research.

Ciaran Dolan Agrifood Consultant, National Statistics Board (Former Secretary ICMSA),
Paul Kelly Director Food and Drink Industry, IBEC and Aidan Cotter CEO An Bord Bia.

PJ Rudden EGA President, John Stack ex CEO Murphy Group, Louise McGuinness
and Killian McKenna EGA Board Members, Domhnall Blair EGA Member.

Eoin Gill Lecturer Waterford Institute of Technology, PJ Rudden EGA President,
Prof Andrew Deeks UCD President, Ryan Byrne PM Group, Martin Hogan EPA Advisory
Committee and Mary Anne Carrigan Editor Engineers Journal.




Friday, 31 October 2014

Successful Launch of the UCD EGA Report on "Towards Gender Balance in Engineering"


In this morning's Irish Times Supplement 'The Future of Engineering' Taoiseach Enda Kenny tells us 'We are surrounded by great Irish engineers everyday. Engineering is for everyone. The creativity and problem solving that form the core of engineering benefit society as a whole'.
Its great to hear this appreciation from our head of government and that's why yesterday's launch of our EGA Report 'Towards Gender Balance in Engineering' was such an important national event. I found the occasion a hugely optimistic and uplifting event thanks to our three outstanding Speakers Michael Loughnane Main Author of EGA Report, Regina Moran President of Engineers Ireland and Professor Orla Feely UCD Vice President of Research Innovation and Impact.
At the launch of UCD EGA Report on Gender Balance in Engineering were front row:  PJ Rudden, UCD EGA President,
Regina Moran, President Engineers Ireland, back row: John Power, Director General Engineers Ireland, Professor Orla Feely,
Vice President UCD, Michael Loughnane, Author EGA Report and Professor David Fitzpatrick, UCD Dean of Engineering

Each speaker laid the challenges and the opportunities in the current gender issue in engineering firmly on the line for the large attendance at our Business Breakfast in the UCD Engineering and Materials Centre.
Michael Loughnane outlined the stark facts in the Report of his EGA Board Subcommittee. He quoted Warren Buffett business guru in the US 'The key to America's future success lies in helping women achieve as much as their male counterparts'.
Senior Water Engineers with RPS Roisin Doherty and Fionnuala Coonan
In UCD we have the international norm of approx 20% females which we know drops to slightly less than 10% in professional career roles. In the US research has shown that female engineers leave their professional role at a rate four times that of doctors, three and half times that of lawyers and judges and 15 - 30% more than nurses and college teachers. 30 - 35% is the critical tipping point which if reached in an organisation can be more easily built upon. Motivation appears to be the primary factor that determines entry by females into and indeed exit from the profession.

PJ Rudden EGA President with Roisin Bradford Irish Water, AnnMarie McCague, Commission for
Energy Regulation and Robyn Kelly, Murphy Group

Michael's recommendations are wide ranging incl working in close cooperation with Engineers Ireland, awarding engineering student highest Leaving Cert marks in Maths Physics and Chemistry with UCD EGA Gold Medals, presentations to secondary schools to create better subject choice and broadening the appeal of engineering as a rewarding career. He also recommended creation of a new "Getting More Women into Engineering @ UCD" initiative by the UCD EGA supported by a poster campaign around schools.
Dr Patricia Kieran, UCD Chemical and Bioprocess Engineering responds to
a question on female engineer internships
Regina Moran stated 'Girls can change the world through engineering' and instanced all of the global challenges we face that females engineers could assist in resolving incl water, energy and biomedical engineering. 'We need to run an unyielding campaign' she said 'at least until we reach the 35% tippling point and we are a long way off currently'. There was also until now at least a lack of female role models to whom young girls can aspire, she added.

The three Speakers with EGA President

Orla Feely was equally inspiring 'with more female engineers we need to capture the social dimension for the good of society - we are losing out on what can be achieved. Women are not properly represented in areas of engineering that are so important to our economy. It comes down to fairness  - if we don't convey the attractiveness and importance of engineering, we are failing young girls. We are also failing women if they are not being supported to stay with the sector'.

Catherine Lynch, UCD Gender Equality Officer and Jilli Reilly, UCD Engineering

Feely pointed out current role models like Regina Moran, Ann Kelleher of Intel and Dr Patricia Kieran of Chemical Engineering in UCD who are now in a position to influence and inspire young women. 'We have a window of opportunity just now. Even over the past 12 months we have an extraordinary array of Irish women appointed to senior positions in Ireland and internationally. I think we should be able to make considerable headway' she concluded.

UCD Dean of Engineering, Professor David Fitzpatrick responds to the discussion
UCD Dean of Engineering then committed UCD Engineering to addressing the issues raised to explore how best to raise gender balance and to work with the EGA and Engineers Ireland towards that goal.

Deputy Mary Mitchell O'Connor TD, Professor David Fitzpatrick UCD Dean of Engineering
and Tina Pittock, ESBI Senior Consultant

It was a fanastic event with an impressive turnout. Though it was not held at an ideal time for second level schools I spotted the Principal of Loreto Abbey Dalkey Robert Dunne as was the newly appointed UCD Gender Equality Officer Catherine Lynch. Local TD former Principal of Harold NS Glasthule and educationalist Mary Mitchell O'Connor attended and showed huge interest in the subject. Also present was Director General of Engineers Ireland John Power Editor of the Engineers Journal Mary Anne Carrigan and Kelley Cousins Press and PR Officer.

Kelley Cousins and Mary Anne Carrigan of Engineers Ireland with Cormac Bradley, RPS

In the midst of all the youthful faces I felt deeply honoured to see the attendance of Dr Tom Hardiman former Director General of RTE who was the first President of UCD Engineering Graduates Association in 1983 - 1985. Tom was and still is a high profile figure obviously carefully chosen at the time by the EGA Founder Professor John Kelly. I won't hazard a guess at Tom's age but was very impressed to see that he recently addressed the Asia Pacific Ireland Business Forum in Dublin last year!

Engineers Ireland Director General, John Power and President Regina Moran

Thursday, 9 October 2014

We Need More Female Engineers!

Last year the UCD EGA were concerned  that in 2013 the number of females entering First Engineering had fallen below the average 20% which had become the recent norm.

As a response we decided to commission a Report on Better Gender Balance chaired by my EGA predecessor Michael Loughnane who is also ESB Manager of Organisation Development. Indeed 20% in itself is too low a figure to service our modern growing economy. While the gender balance in UCD First Engineering has recovered somewhat in 2014, nevertheless we decided to complete and publish our Report with Recommendations towards raising gender balance in UCD Engineering.  Assisting Michael with the Report were Ann Fingleton, Dr. Aisling Harkin, Killian McKenna and Louise McGuinness.
Michael Loughnane
A low gender balance in Engineering is not confined to UCD or to Ireland. It is a worldwide phenomenon. Engineers Ireland is also very engaged on this subject currently as it is a major theme of Regina Moran current President and CEO of Fujitsu Ireland. Yesterday Engineers Ireland staged a major interactive event 'Engineering Your Future: Women in Engineering' to inspire young women to consider engineering as a career led by Regina.
Regina Moran

'With Ireland facing a shortage of skilled engineering talent and with a ratio of 9:1 men to women in the industry, women remain an untapped resource in our profession' said Moran who is a chartered engineer.

To help inspire both males and females towards engineering as a profession, it is no coincidence that in today's fast moving high tech world, that the current Presidents of UCD, TCD, NUIG, DCU and DIT are all engineers.
Around 118,000 people are working in jobs that use the STEM skills but the proportion of women employed is less than 25% according to the Central Statistics Office. That's further proof of this tremendous national resource loss to the economy.

UCD EGA will be launching our new Report on Better Gender Balance at a Breakfast Briefing in Belfield at 8am on October 30th next. We are pleased to have as speakers the Main Author of the Report Michael Loughnane, Regina Moran President of Engineers Ireland and UCD's Vice President for Research Innovation and Impact Professor Orla Feely.
Orla Feely
All three speakers have a tremendous reservoir of practical knowledge in the whole sphere of gender balance in engineering and will draw a large audience.

All Second Level School Principals and career guidance teachers from the Greater Dublin region will be invited to attend together with EGA members, UCD staff and students. Continential breakfast will be served on the top floor of the Engineering Building from 7.45am and all are welcome. Both Professor David Fitzpatrick Dean of Engineering and myself will attend and take part in the proceedings.

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

New EU Commissioner Hogan to address UCD EGA on first Official Visit to Ireland

UCD EGA are delighted we are hosting EU Agriculture and Rural Development Commissioner Phil Hogan's on his first official visit to Ireland as Commissioner on November 20th next.
EU Commissioner Phil Hogan
He has agreed to lead our Autumn Panel Discussion on "Future Challenges to Food Production in Europe" together with a Panel of Experts drawn from the various stakeholders in the Irish Food Industry.

The Panel will include Professor Dolores O'Riordan Director of the UCD Institute of Food and Health, Eddie Downey IFA President, Dr Larry O'Connell Senior Economist National Economic and Social Council  Author of NESC Report on Climate Change and Transition to a Low Carbon Economy for the Irish Government and Seán Molloy Glanbia Director of Strategy.

Dolores O' Riordan, Director,
UCD Institute of Food & Health

Eddie Downey,
President IFA

Larry O' Connell, Senior Economist,
National Economic & Social Council (NESC)

Seán Molloy, Glanbia Director
of Strategy

At his very successful confirmation hearing last week in the European Parliament Commissioner Designate Hogan stated that 'Farming in Europe presents many challenges not least in terms of ensuring food security, preserving the environment and protecting the countryside but also dealing with climate change and the need to provide a fair and stable standard of living for farmers'.

In addition the new Commissioner will have to consider the planned Mid Term Review of the revised Common Agricultural Policy (adopted in 2013 under the Irish Presidency), the current Russian food ban against EU sanctions over Ukraine, the ongoing EU-US trade talks under the TransAtlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) and many other issues.

While each Commissioner Designate is currently before European Parliament Hearings the entire Commission as a whole must resubmit to a EP plenary for a vote approving of the Commission College on October 21st followed by approval vote of the European Council on October 23rd next. The new Juncker Commission will then assume office on November 1st 2014.

For that reason there can be no 'events' involving Commissioners until November 1st after which each Commissioner will then settle into their new roles and familiarise themselves with the staff and workings of the Commission.

We are therefore extremely fortunate and grateful to Commissioner Designate Hogan for agreeing to lead the UCD EGA Panel Discussion on November 20th next on his first visit to Ireland post appointment. We look forward to an excellent attendance in the Clinton Auditorium on this critical European topic for the Food Industry and Consumers alike.

Friday, 5 September 2014

UCD Honorary Doctorate conferred on Liam Connellan

The conferring of an Honorary Doctorate of a University on any graduate is a singular honour which is deservedly treasured by the recipient and his or her family. Each year UCD awards a limited number of these distinctions only to graduates who have made an outstanding contribution to society in their chosen profession.

There was no award made to an Engineer in 2013. In 2014, UCD decided to honour an exceptional Engineer - Dr Liam Connellan. I first got to know Liam in Engineers Ireland as a very active senior engineer in the late 1990s as an active contributor to lectures and debates long after he retired as Chief Executive of IBEC (formerly the Confederation of Irish Industry when Liam joined). His committment to helping to grow the Irish economy and create jobs was obvious. He also appeared to have boundless energy and abiding interest in a whole range of engineering endeavours.
UCD President, Dr. Andrew Deeks presenting Dr. Liam Connellan with the award

It was only when he became President of Engineers Ireland (then the Institution of Engineers of Ireland) in 2001 that I learned of his leadership skills and his motivational speeches to a wide audience quoting the global greats like JFK to great effect. I recognised an exceptionally gifted communicator whose passion and commitment for his message engaged easily with his audience.

Liam Connellan, President of Engineers Ireland (2001-2002)

He then became in turn and sometime simultaneously President of the Irish Academy of Engineering, President of the Royal Dublin Society, Chairman of the National Roads Authority and Chairman of Voelia (Transport Energy Water) who built and run the Luas light rail network. He is an active member of the Board of the Peter McVerry Trust which assists homeless young men. The common thread running through all of this is his committment to an efficient but just society and to a growing Irish economy through the provision of essential public infrastructure in transport, energy and water.
On the international front he was on the Board of the Irish College in Paris and President of the German Irish Chamber of Industry and Commerce. In terms of kinship with both of the great European powers there are few Irish people (if any) who have been awarded Knight Commander's Cross of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany and also Chevalier of the Order of Merit of the Republic of France! Liam has both distinctions but they sit lightly on his shoulders for Liam is a humble man always concerned about everyone else's well being and not his own.

Incoming Dean of Engineering (post September 1st 2014), Prof. David Fitzpatrick,
UCD President, Prof. Andrew Deeks, Dr. Liam Connellan and
UCD Dean of Engineering (pre September 1st 2014), Prof. Gerry Byrne
After I became EGA President I was pleased to award the 2013 UCD EGA Distinguished Graduate Award to Liam Connellan which had been long overdue in my view.  Looking back now over the years, I don't believe that I ever sought any other role model in my career other that the example of public service and the care of others that Liam sought. I was therefore deeply honoured to have been personally invited to his Conferring last Monday and to the celebratory dinner hosted by the President in his honour in Ardmore House Belfield. There I sat with his wife Marie and his lovely and talented family who rightly feel so proud of him as all members of the profession also feel those who are privileged to know him.  He is a true icon of Irish Engineering.

Changing Dynamics as EGA Gold Medals Presented on Conferring Day

Last Monday was Conferring Day for this year's UCD Engineering Graduates. This event on a bright sunny September was preceded by an EGA Business Breakfast to award Gold Medals and Prizes to our brightest and best students in each discipline of engineering.
At the presentation of EGA Gold Medals L-R: Front Row, Joseph Thompson (Mechanical), Grace Brennan (mother of Karl) (Chemical)
and Rhona Wade (Electronic).  Back Row, EGA President PJ Rudden, Jason Hannon (Engineering with Business),
Padraig McDonald (Biosystems), Éadaoin McLoughlin (Electrical), Mark Gilsenan (Civil), Peter Landy (Biomedical) and
Principal of College of Engineering and Architecture/Dean of Engineering Prof. David Fitzpatrick

What was especially striking about this year's graduates was not only the large number of Masters Degrees awarded in the principal engineering disciplines but the array of niche areas where UCD now offer a Masters is highly impressive eg Biomedical, Engineering with Business, Structural Engineering with Architecture, Electronic and Computer Engineering, Materials Science and Engineering, Energy Systems - all designed and geared for the changing dynamics of current and future engineering employment.

The transition from the traditional BE degree is moving quite fast as the vast majority of graduates were awarded a 5 year Masters Degree or a transitionary 3 year Bachelor of Science Degree leading to a 5 year Masters. This is driven by the requirement of Engineers Ireland from 2013 onwards to only award the title of Chartered Engineer to those engineers who have a 5 Year Masters or equivalent together with adequate professional training and experience.

There was not only a 'changing of the guard' on Degree types but this year in UCD a total change of leading academic personnel on the podium. New President Dr Andrew Deeks awarded the degrees accompanied by the newly appointed Principal of the College of Engineering and Architecture and Dean of Engineering Prof David Fitzpatrick. I also spotted new UCD Vice President for Innovation Research and Impact Prof Orla Feely on the podium. All three are engineers and living proof of the 'new order' where economic growth based on research innovation and manufacturing is driving Ireland's recovery. As my past blogs (UCD EGA and Engineers Ireland) in recent years have repeatedly stated, this underlying technological driver of growth has been obvious to a few since the Celtic Tiger died but is only becoming increasingly accepted now in the industrial, media and political worlds.

All of this change in my view and UCD's rapid response to this evolving 'new order' will place UCD on the cusp of competitive excellence among global Engineering Schools and Colleges world wide. The new UCD Strategic Plan to be unveiled later this year by President Deeks will set UCD on an ambitious new growth path of academic excellence and internationalisation to compete on the world stage.  A subset of that will be the new College of Engineering Development Plan.
Larry O'Toole presenting the RPS Civil Engineering
Gold Medal to Mark Gilsenan

Padraig Somers presenting the Helsinn Birex Pharmaceuticals
Chemical Engineering Gold Medal to Karl Brennan's mother, Grace

Peter Cunningham presenting the SSE Airtricity Electrical
Engineering Gold Medal to Éadaoin McLoughlin
Mike Murray presenting the S3 Electronic Engineering Gold
Medal to Rhona Wade
The winners of 2014 UCD Engineering Gold Medals were Mark Gilsenan, Karl Brennan, Éadaoin McLoughlin, Rhona Wade, Joseph Thompson, Padraig McDonald, Jason Hannon and Peter Landy in Civil, Chemical, Electrical, Electronic, Mechanical, Biosystems, Engineering with Business and Biomedical Engineering respectively sponsored by RPS, Helsinn, SSE Airtricity, C3, CRH and Crospon. The 2014 Gold Medal for Architecture sponsored by Arup was awarded to Sarah Doheny.

There were also a growing number of specialist prizes for Scholarships, Travel Bursaries, Awards and Certificates. Sponsors were Roughan O'Donovan, Martin McAdam, PM Group, Cylon and Institution of Mechanical Engineers. Deserving winners were Nora Gyetvai, Eoin McMullan, Kevin O'Toole, Michael Halton, Andrea Doherty, Sean McLoughlin, Darren Roche, Thomas Gallagher, Seamus O'Keeffe, Joe Flanagan, Michael Clancy, Anton Katayev and Tom Keane.

UCD and the EGA wish to especially thank our various sponsors without whom this Gold Medals and Prizes event would not be possible for the deserving students who have worked so hard to obtain these sought after accolades.
Jack Golden presenting the CRH Mechanical Engineering Gold Medal
to Joseph Thompson
Prof. Colm O'Donnell presenting the EGA Biosystems
Engineering Gold Medal to Padráig McDonald

Dr. Eamonn Ambrose presenting the EGA Engineering with Business Gold
Medal to Jason Hannon

Dr. John O'Dea presenting the EGA Crospon Biomedical Engineering
Gold Medal to Peter Landy

Also the EGA Board decided last year that one years free membership post graduation of the Engineering Graduates Association would apply to all engineering graduates in a particular year. No need to apply - the UCD Alumni Office will write to each new graduate this Autumn.