Tuesday, 22 December 2015

Merry Christmas one and all

I wish all Corporate and Individual Members of the UCD EGA a Happy and Restful Christmas and a Rewarding 2016.


This is my last Christmas Message as EGA President so I want to thank You our members and our hard working Board a big thank you to you all. You helped us to build the EGA into the resilient force it now is in UCD and assisting economic recovery in the country at large. UCD is Ireland's largest university and the EGA is UCD's largest and most active alumni group. I’m hoping that together we can make 2016 another exciting year for the EGA and raise our profile further as an organisation that debates the issues that concern us all.

2015 has been a momentous year. We had some of the brightest days and some of the darkest nights. Bright days saw us hosting our UCD President, Professor Andrew J. Deeks for our Spring Lecture, award of the Distinguished Graduate Award to Vice President Professor Orla Feely and the Autumn Panel Discussion on our Digital Future with market leaders.

Our darkest night was surely on Bloomsday June 16th when six Irish students including three from UCD were taken from us in the tragic Berkeley apartment balcony collapse and the multiple injuries of many more students all starting on a working holiday in Berkeley California.

Ireland had many highlights in 2105 from the courageous Same Sex Marriage Referendum to the Fresh Start Agreement in Northern Ireland and our second Six Nations Rugby Championship victory in a row.  Internationally, we had a migrant crisis arising from war in Syria and the COP 21 agreement in Paris on Climate Change.

In 2015 UCD held its national placing in the global league table of Universities though slipping slightly together with Trinity both I am sure the victim of third level education cuts during the austerity years.

The EGA increased its Corporate Membership by over 30% and hosted the best ever attended Spring Lecture and Autumn Panel Discussion on Engineering Education and the Digital Future respectively.

The highlight of the year for me and many others was the 'coming home' recognition finally of the University Industry Centre (UIC) founded by Professor John Kelly. The 30th anniversary of the UIC foundation was marked by unveiling of a plaque by President Professor Andrew J Deeks in NovaUCD and in the UIC. This facility built in the mid 1980s is now firmly recognised as the research forerunner of NovaUCD and a future resource facility of great value.

We had our first ever Corporate Members Reception hosted by President Deeks and continued our efforts to encourage greater Gender Balance in Engineering Education and in the Profession. UCD 1st Engineering had an encouraging intake of 27% female this year and we need to build on this success in the years ahead.




Thursday, 10 December 2015

AGM Reflects on Successful Year

Our recent AGM saw 2015 was a year of consolidation for UCD EGA. Most of the objectives in the EGA Strategy 2013 - 2016 had been achieved or under way so we spent 2015 building on the progress made particularly on profile building and as a consequence a value added proposition for Corporate Membership.

The Strategy objectives were to assist UCD in the mission of excellence as Ireland's global university. To do this we had to raise the profile of UCD Engineering through our graduates and act as a host to discuss critical issues affecting the Irish economy i.e. Jobs, Economic Recovery, Water, Food, Energy and Engineering Education. By having these events led by national and international leaders in their respective fields, we raised the EGA and indirectly the UCD profile as thought leaders in these important subjects.

As we look back on a busy and successful year, we recall a number of memorable events - the Annual Spring Lecture by UCD President Andrew Deeks on Engineering Education, the Autumn Panel Discussion on Ireland's Digital Future fronted by leading industry figures. At out Annual Dinner we presented the EGA Distinguished Graduate Award to UCD Vice President Orla Feely and a Lifetime Achievement Award to EGA Founder Professor John Kelly.

We also had further significant growth by 35% in Corporate Membership no doubt helped by our increased public profile. President Deeks also kindly hosted a Reception for EGA Corporate Members in Ardmore House on campus.

Group photo at NovaUCD (from L to R back row):
Prof. David Fitzpatrick, Prof. John Kelly, Prof. Orla Feely, Prof. Andrew Deeks, PJ Rudden, Dr. Liam Connellan,
Dr. Vincent Hargaden,
(from L to R front row): Sean Murphy, Clodagh O'Donnell, Dr Pat Frain, Dr John Bourke, Dr Tom Hardiman, Eoin O'Cathain

We celebrated the 30th anniversary of the founding of NovaUCD research and incubation centre in the University Industry Centre (UIC). This building was funded and built by UCD EGA founded by then Dean of Engineering Professor John Kelly to create an important link between the university and industry. From early seeds then, NovaUCD went from strength to strength transferring to its current campus on Fosters Avenue from where it is facilitating very significant research and innovation success in terms of funding and job creation for the Irish Economy. Only last month one of the companies there Logentries was sold to a US firm for $68.

First EGA Secretary Clodagh O'Donnell and EGA Founder
Professor John Kelly at EGA Annual Dinner in National Concert Hall

The EGA support for the new 3+2 Masters Programme was recognised in two very tangible ways -transfer of the EGA Gold Medals from the BE to the ME programmes and secondly an intensification of Mock Interviews for students applying for internships on the Masters programmes. The EGA are indebted to the UCD Careers Office under Acting Deputy Director Dr Aisling Harkin for the professional assistance with these interviews.

EGA Graduate Board Members Louise McGuinness and
Killian McKenna at Annual Lecture by President Deeks

The year was also marked with sadness after the Berkeley UCD and other students tragically lost their lives in June while in the U.S. working for the  summer on J1 visas. This evoked the nation's grief as they were brought home to be buried in Ireland. Tributes were led by UCD President Deeks who recalled that they died on Bloomsday  and quoting from James Joyce's Finegan's Wake that they 'had lived and laughed and loved and left ..... we will not forget them'.

The AGM elected new Board Member Harriet Walsh an ME graduate in Energy Systems who currently is Transmission Access Planning Engineer in Eirgrid. We also reelected the current Hon Treasurer Donal Wyse who is Airworthiness Officer with the Irish Aviation Authority for a further 3 years.
New EGA Board Member, Harriet Walsh
We recorded with regret the recent resignations of Robyn Kelly and Louise McGuinness both of whom stepped down from the Board for business reasons. We sincerely thank both of them for their contribution to Board activities over the past number of years. Both were active on various EGA Subcommittees.

We heard reports on the work of two existing Subcommittees - from Michael Loughnane who leads the Gender Balance group and Aisling Harkin who leads the Corporate Membership group. A new Social Media Subcommittee was set up under Chairman Killian McKenna assisted by Katie O 'Neill and Harriet Walsh.

I conclude this yearly review by recapping with photographs on the success of our Annual Spring Lecture on Engineering in the 21st Century and our Annual Autumn Panel Discussion on Ireland's Digital Future.
UCD President Professor Andrew Deeks at EGA Corporate Member
Reception in Ardmore House prior to Annual Lecture.

At Annual Spring Lecture by UCD Professor Andrew Deeks Engineers Ireland Vice President Kieran Feighan,
Engineers Ireland Finance Committee Chairman Murt Coleman, Engineers Ireland Council and Executive
Board Member Cormac Bradley, UCD Engineering Vice Principal Teaching and Learning Dr Amanda Gibney and PJ Rudden
And our Annual Panel Discussion

At the Autumn Panel Discussion were EGA President PJ Rudden, CEO Vodafone Anne O'Leary,
Vice President Google EMEA Ronan Harris  & UCD Vice President Professor Orla Feely.

Q&A at Autumn Panel Discussion CEO Vodafone Anne O'Leary
and CEO Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) Dr Brain Motherway

Autumn Panel Discussion Q&A: Dr Helen McBreen, Dr Eleni Pratsini,
Ronan Harris, Anne O'Leary, Dr Brian Motherway and P.J. Rudden

Monday, 19 October 2015

What does the Digital Future mean for Ireland?

We had five hugely inspiring speakers at our 2015 Autumn Panel Discussion on 'What will the Digital Future mean for Ireland?'. During and immediately after the event, social media activity across the key accounts continued through the night and into early morning. This was clearly in fitting tribute to our five very learned speakers drawn from innovative and diverse sectors and all fascinating to hear.
L to R: PJ Rudden UCD EGA President, Prof. David Fitzpatrick Dean of Engineering, Anne O'Leary CEO Vodafone Ireland,
Ronan Harris, Vice President Google EMEA, Dr. Helen McBreen, Investment Director Atlantic Bridge,
 Prof. Orla Feely UCD Vice President & Dr. Brian Motherway, CEO SEAI
Truly we did have a star line-up with SEAI CEO Dr Brian Motorway as Keynote Speaker, Vodafone CEO Anne O'Leary, Google Vice President Europe Middle East Asia Ronan Harris, IBM Research Director Dr Eleni Pratsini and Investment Director Atlantic Bridge Capital Dr Helen McBreen.

PJ Rudden, Anne O'Leary & Ronan Harris
We were also very grateful to be joined by UCD Vice President of Research Innovation and Impact Prof Orla Feely and UCD Principal of the College of  Engineering and Architecture and Dean of Engineering Prof David FitzPatrick.

L to R: Brian Motherway, Prof. Orla Feely, Ronan Harris,
Dr. Eleni Pratsini, Dr. Helen McBreen, Prof. David Fitzpatrick, Anne O'Leary & PJ Rudden

Brian Motherway opened with the sustainability of the Digital Future and questioned are our social models ready for this rapid change that it will bring? Huge change is coming. He mentioned the new digital tools which will match supply to demand as is currently increasingly happening in the taxi world with the likes of Uber! Different cultures will react in their own way to this increased connectivity he said.
Dr. Brian Motherway
'There will be 80 billion devices in the world by 2020 in our homes, pockets, businesses - not only iPhones but iKettles and iToothbrushes. We will move from the 'power of capital' to the 'power of knowledge' with all the intellectual property implications that will bring'.

'On sustainability, we import €6.7 billion each year on the import of fossil fuels which is some 89% of our energy costs. What is the biggest environmental challenge on the planet - climate change - is going to become the biggest social challenge we have ever faced. Ireland has one of the largest carbon emissions of greenhouse gases per capita in the world.

Anne O'Leary & Dr. Brian Motherway
Digital technologies can create greatly increased efficiency as in smart energy grids. Consumer choice is increasing in the new digital economy. Fridges in homes can switch on or off to cut costs while maintaining required temperature control. There is a switch to LED street lighting connected to the Internet of Things which can also monitor and control street car parking.

We are therefore in the shift from the 'Age of Carbon' to the 'Age of Silicon'. Goggle Nest technology can control the temperature in your home while monitoring your comings and goings. There therefore needs to be regulation in this area to protect privacy.

On policy the Irish Government has a National Digital Strategy which focuses on the need for further infrastructure throughout the country.

'What does the Digital Future mean for Ireland? Well that's up to all of us!'

Anne O'Leary said firstly that Ireland's digital future presents both challenges and opportunities. Secondly it will create a more inclusive Ireland irrespective of age, background and location. We therefore need to invest in high speed broadband for each household. Our challenges and opportunities are best exhibited through Work, Learning and Health.

Anne O'Leary, Ronan Harris & Prof. Orla Feely
On work, these are Irish companies investing in automation of work and to have a flexible education and to be competitive in the global marketplace. 'We in Vodafone have reduced our cost base by increased home working. Advances in technology mean that the pace of change is unlike anything we have seen before. We find that home working is cheaper than traditional outsourcing and our home workers are 25% more productive than work from the office as long as they have a 5Mbyte connection. We promote this flexibility. As long as the work is done I don't mind if the work is done from the office, the car, the home or the local coffee shop'.

‘On Learning, the classroom will be transformed by Internet enabled devices replacing textbooks but they can't replace teachers as the primary source of learning. Learning analytics will allow teachers to monitor teacher outcomes. Access to numerous resources on the Internet for teachers will allow teachers the opportunity to increase their skills.

Anne O'Leary
We must not however allow the digital classroom to become impersonal. Education is as much about social and cultural interaction is as important as it is about course content. We also should not seek to suppress body language and peer to peer learning which remain integral to the educational process. It must not demote the role of the teacher in the classroom. As Bill Gates said, technology is just a tool but in terms of getting the kids to work together and motivating them the teacher is the most important.'

'On Healthcare, the digital economy will bring remote treatment to patients at home and thus avoid overcrowding in hospitals. We have a lot of problems in the Irish health system while the Digital Future will help us navigate this perfect storm. It will bring world class healthcare to peripheral areas through ehealth systems. Connectivity will allow for remote monitoring and diagnosis so that hospitals become a last resort rather than the first port of call'.

Anne O'Leary
Like the role of the teacher in the classroom we also need to provide basic medical care where technology cannot provide so we need an integrated healthcare approach combining the best medical and technology skills.'

A major challenge to Ireland's Digital Future is inclusivity. 'In my view it must be a shared future as innovation can often widen the gap between urban and rural rather than narrow it. There is the potential to have a two speed Ireland across urban and rural which we must avoid. Rapid innovation has the potential to leave people behind. In my mind Ireland cannot afford to have a digital divide to further increase the divisions already created by the economic turmoil of the past number of years'.

'There is one Ireland which is the poster boy of economic rebound and another Ireland which still bears the scars of economic crisis and poor access to credit. There is therefore the danger of two Irelands unless there is access to universal high speed broadband to all homes and businesses. Connectivity is the key to consistent economic recovery across Ireland. Vodafone and ESB are partnering to provide 'fibre to the home' which is 4 times faster than what is currently available.'

Ronan Harris who now runs the Irish Google operation talked of the primitive digital world when he was a UCD student in the early 90s. 'Convergence only happened in the UCD bar and search engines only had two feet venturing into the UCD library' he said.

Ronan Harris
Now Google technology particles can be injected into your blood cells which can monitor your health and wellbeing transmitted to a 'wearable' and then transmitted to the cloud.

‘In UCD I learned Moore's Law and other laws that define the digital transformation. We are only at the dawn of this transformation and innovation, only starting to get a glimpse of what the day ahead looks like and the next 20 years will bring huge changes. These changes will be driven by computer technology, connectivity and storage'.

We are looking at technologies that would not have been possible 5 years ago. Google can use large 'Lunar  Balloons' 19km into stratosphere to provide access to Internet at low cost in remote rural areas not previously capable of being served e.g. Africa, Asia and South America.

There is 100% penetration of mobile phones in Ghana as a result thus creating new industries and a new generation of competitive entrepreneurs.

Ronan Harris
What is the opportunity for us? Innovation and Digital Transformation will drive our future through Big Data. Innovation in the world of data happens very rapidly. We need to learn to fail as well as succeed. Companies with digital technology will compete better in the future.

What can Ireland do? We have to build the digital ecosystem to consolidate our European beachhead in Ireland. We also need to have world leading research in our third level colleges and a strong workforce with start-up interface.

We need to learn how to use data to give better insight into business. The businesses that will succeed are the ones who will interrogate data better than anybody else.

Dr Eleni Pratsini leads the IBM Research Lab in Dublin working on Smart Cities. One third of food is wasted across the world while others starve. Europe wastes 20% of energy due to inefficiencies. The US wastes 58% of their energy produced. Water wastage varies from 5% in Northern Europe to over 30% in Ireland and 60% in some US States. The number of cars will double from 2010 to 2020.

Prof. David Fitzpatrick, Dr Eleni Pratsini Director IBM Research Ireland, PJ Rudden & Prof. Orla Feely
70% of people will live in cities by 2020. By 2020 an extra billion citizens will be middle class. By 2025 the top 600 cities will account for 25% of global population and 60% of global GDP.

Can the Digital Future help the challenges in these cities? What is a 'smart city'? There is one common denominator across all smart cities and that is that they embrace ICT to enhance its deliverability and sustainability.

Smart cities need to collect data from sensor technology to predictive statistics to prescriptive statistics and then suggest corrective actions to be taken. It is a closed loop controlled by the Internet of Things.

Can you imagine life without a smart phone? We have 35% penetration of mobile devices in Ireland currently expected to increase to 50% by 2020. 90% of data was collected in the past 2 years and some 90% of collected data is never used or analysed!

Dr Eleni Pratsini
'In the past the citizen adapted to the city but in the future the city will adapt to the citizen. Citizens now have a lot of choices. We have to have demand management to satisfy the supply-demand needs. Regulations can play a role in managing expectations of the citizens.

We have examples of close collaboration with cities in the case of the current Dublin City Council - IBM relationship especially in the transport and traffic area.

We have also working with UCD on collaboration consumption or the ‘sharing economy’ on electric cars, parking etc. e.g. GoCar. Cars can be idle 90% of the time so can we not use it more efficiently and more collaboratively?

The Digital Future has both challenges and opportunities. We need to consider privacy law. 'Data is the new Oil' so we need to gain a closer understanding as to how the Digital Future will develop to enable us to exploit it fully.

Dr Helen McBreen of Atlantic Bridge Capital looked at Ireland entrepreneurial spirit. She puts an investors lens on People, Technologies and Markets.

Dr. Helen McBreen
80% of the world's digital investment deals happen in Silicon Valley as the principal world investment hub in California USA. That led to the formation of Atlantic Bridge Capital to 'bridge' Silicon Valley to Europe headquartered in Dublin. 'We have $450 million under management across offices in Dublin, Silicon Valley, London, Beijing and Hong Kong’ she said.

'This business runs 24/7. It has a track record of investing locally but scaling globally from university spin outs to seed rounds to further expansion incl. companies like IONA and Parthus as successful examples.

We grow into markets in US and China and seek to invest in brilliant people in the disruptive technologies that they invent and scale them into global markets.

Entrepreneurs will have a deep curiosity and will search and search to get to the root of the problems. These are particularly in global challenges like Healthcare, Climate Change, Education, Energy and Computing.

We challenge the traditional way of doing business. Yet in this business there are more often failures than there are successes. That's why there is a star quality to the profession of entrepreneurs who eventually succeed.

These people look for sustainable growth. They produce products that people want to purchase over and over again. The dynamics of the venture capital asset class are a little strange. We look for decent valuations, disruptive technologies so we seek entrepreneurs who can build businesses of scale in a short timeframe.

The technologies that we seek are disruptive becoming cheaper and faster e.g. drones and robots.

We have strong innovation hubs in London, Stockholm, Berlin and other European companies. There is also the fantastic performance of the UCD company spin out Logentries sold today!

This is an extraordinary time for early space investment. Ireland is becoming very strong with incubators and accumulators. We need to encourage angel investing and look again at the tax regime though the changes in yesterday's Budget.'

We will share the planet with 9 other billion people in 2050. It will be a planet that will be climate constrained but one where technologies will help to solve problems in Healthcare, Education and Energy.

Dr. Helen McBreen, Dr Eleni Pratsini & Ronan Harris
There followed a Question and Answer session with very interesting questions from Dr Brian Sweeney ex President EGA and Engineers Ireland ex Chairman Siemens,  Dr Liam Connellan UCD Distinguished Graduate and ex President EGA and Engineers Ireland ex Chairman RDS, NRA and Voelia, Vincent O'Doherty UCD Distinguished Graduate and ex Chairman Superquinn, Des Green ex EGA President and ex Chairman Indaver, Mark Grennan CEO BT Networks, Liam Breslin ex Telecom and Tony Alright Consultant.

Prof. Orla Feely
UCD Vice President Prof Orla Feely thanked the speakers stating that UCD are mobilising in all of the important areas mentioned like Big Data and Internet of Things and also in Agrifood, Energy and Environment and Health sectors all of whom interact with the ICT team to provide creative solutions to global problems. These in turn interact with UCD's strengths in Humanities and Social Sciences and with our Industrial Partners.

PJ Rudden, Anne O'Leary, Ronan Harris & Prof. Orla Feely
UCD she said was also very proud of NovaUCD spin out company Logentries just sold to a US firm for $68 million by the founders who were UCD electronics graduates. 'NovaUCD' she reminded us 'grew out of the UCD EGA enterprise set up in this building'. She also thanked UCD EGA for organising such a fine panel of speakers on a very relevant topic.

A short wine and food reception followed the event.  Many thanks to Fionnuala McGowan for all of the detailed arrangements for this wonderfully well attended and appreciated event.

L to R: Michael Higgins Secretary Irish Academy of Engineering,
Terry Nolan former Shell CEO, PJ Rudden & Tony Alright, Consultant

UCD Vice President Prof. Orla Feely & UCD Director of Research Triona McCormack

 Fionnuala McGowan UCD and EGA Board, PJ Rudden,
Roisin Bradford Irish Water & Robyn Kelly, Murphy Group & EGA Board


Monday, 12 October 2015

UCD Digital Event previews a Connected New World

A record crowd has registered for the Digital Future event in UCD Clinton Auditorium next Wednesday evening at 6pm. It's little wonder with the theme of Ireland's Digital Future and the top ranking Speakers from SEAI, Vodafone, Google, IBM and Atlantic Bridge. It's therefore promising to be a fascinating evening. Below are some snapshots of what the CEO Speakers will be saying.

Dr Brian Motherway CEO of Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland will look at how digital innovation can support a transition towards sustainability particularly on the issue of climate change. Brian will also examine the progress of digital technology and policy in Ireland and ask how is this best governed by society to ensure the best outcomes. 'It is therefore essential that national policy and governance models recognise the pace of change and encourage both public and private sectors to make energy and environmental sustainability a reality in our lives' he said.

Anne O'Leary CEO Vodafone Ireland believes that 'we can create the conditions for a sustainable national recovery - leaving no person or region behind - by harnessing the power of connectivity. Just like rural electrification in the 40s in today's digital world, access to universal high speed broadband is the great enabler to help people and communities to achieve their potential. It will unleash new creativity to communicate and socialise, new business models and industries. It will change the way our public services, healthcare and education are provided. It strengthens communities by offering alternatives to young people who otherwise may migrate to cities or immigrate'.

"With the convergence of technology, information and human ingenuity, innovation is happening at a pace today that could not be imagined ten or even five years ago" said Ronan Harris, VP, Google.

"In this age of convergence, digital transformation is no longer an option but an imperative to meet the needs of today's users and consumers. Organisations in Ireland that innovate and transform the way they operate can take advantage of new opportunities not only in this market but internationally also".  

Dr Eleni Pratsini Director of IBM Research will address the Smart Cities challenge. 'It is expected that by 2050, seventy percent of the world population will live in cities. Through cross-disciplinary research and development efforts we can help cities to better understand, interconnect and manage core operational systems in transport, communications, water and energy'. She will define a 'smart city' and the role of digital technology and through the use of examples will discuss how the intersection of mathematics, information technology, economics and engineering is used to address some of the challenges in the area of citizen care and mobility. She will also cover Smart Travel and driverless cars!

Dr Helen McBreen Investment Director of Atlantic Bridge Capital will explore three key factors that underpin Ireland's entrepreneurial future - people, technologies and market conditions. She will bring an investor perspective to the opportunities and challenges faced by today's indigenous technology companies. 'From an investment perspective there are many great Irish entrepreneurs founding companies with superb technologies but an international outcome is needed from the outset' she said 'International companies from Ireland are great success stories so we are well placed to see even more successes emerge' she concluded.

UCD EGA President PJ Rudden stated that 'We must prepare our educational commercial and industrial worlds to use digital technology to create more jobs and assist in making Ireland more competitive and a better place to live work and play'.

Wednesday, 30 September 2015

EGA Panel Discussion on Digital Future for Ireland

On October 14th next at 6pm we are hosting our Autumn Panel Discussion on 'What will the Digital Future mean for Ireland?' in the Clinton Auditorium, Belfield. To see a copy of the event brochure link here.

Our Keynote Speaker this year is the Chief Executive of the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) Dr Brian Motherway.   SEAI is the state body charged with transforming Ireland into a society based on sustainable energy structures, technologies and practices.

This year, we are privileged to have as Expert Panel Anne O'Leary CEO Vodafone, Ronan Harris Vice President Google Europe, Middle East & Asia, Dr Eleni Pratsini Director IBM Research and Dr Helen McBreen Investment Director at Atlantic Bridge Capital.  

According to the World Economic Forum, Ireland’s digital economy is expected to be worth €21.1bn by 2020, making up some 10% of GDP and creating 150,000 jobs.  It is clear that no sector of the Irish economy and no profession or job will remain untouched by the future digital advance.

There is little doubt that The Internet of Things (IoT) will represent a paradigm shift in our way of living by 2020 and beyond when some 35 - 50 billion devices will be connected and an entirely automated and interconnected world by 2050. Urban populations are predicted to grow by an estimated 2.3 billion people over the next 40 years and as much as 70% of the world population will live in our cities and towns.

The business areas most impacted by this transformation will be Communications, Energy, Buildings, Commerce, Healthcare, Food, Entertainment/Music, Transport, Water, Environment and Manufacturing. The integration of all of these systems will represent the Smart City model. In fact it is predicted that there will be more devices connected than there are people on the planet.

We need to prepare ourselves, our families and our businesses for this digital future and the smarter systems and cities that will be transformed. On October 14th next we are pleased to have in UCD some of the leading Irish and global players in the ICT business to give their take on the dynamic and fascinating future that we face.  At the same time, our world will still be run by humans who strive for sustainable employment, a high quality environment and healthy lifestyles assisted by tools of the digital age.

What is the Internet of Things? What are ‘wearables’? What will future Smart Cities resemble? What is Big Data? What is Cloud Computing? How critical are sensor devices to monitor behaviour? What is Assisted Health? What is an Ambient Assisted City? What are Digital traces of human/city interactions?  What is the Sharing Economy?  Collaborative Consumption?

All these questions and more will be answered at this ambitious event in UCD next month. 

This live topic is expected to attract a large audience so please register on ega@ucd.ie to secure your place.  Please note you do not have to be a graduate of UCD to attend this event but you do need to preregister with us.



Thursday, 17 September 2015

UCD Engineering Class of 1975 Celebrate

The UCD Engineering Class of 1975 celebrated their 40th reunion in the Shelbourne Hotel on Friday night last.  There were 65 former classmates in attendance from all over the world some of whom travelled from UK, other parts of Europe, Middle East, North America and Australia. Many had not seen their colleagues since graduation day on July 14th 1975! That was in Earlsfort Terrace for conferring at the time and when the UCD School of Engineering was then in Merrion St. - now the Taoiseach's Office in Government Buildings.

Ed Hanlon - Principal Organiser

The Reunion event was judged by attendees to be a great success organised to a huge extent by Eddie Hanlon supported by Colm Bannon and to a lesser extent myself.

We had the dinner tables in the Shelbourne appropriately named after former Professors and Lecturers in each discipline - Dooge, de Courcy and Dowley for Civil, Morrissey for Electrical, Timoney and McCabe for Mechanical and O'Donnell for Chemical.

I would not normally post an EGA blog on a particular UCD Engineering Class Reunion but this one was fairly unique in lots of ways - firstly 4 of the 12 UCD EGA Presidents to date came from the Class of 1975 - Colm Bannon Civil (1999 - 2001), Simon Kelly Mechanical (2004 - 2008), Michael Loughnane Electrical (2008 - 2012) and myself Civil (2012 - 2016).
4 EGA Presidents from Class of 1975
L to R: Simon Kelly, Michael Loughnane, PJ Rudden & Colm Bannon
Because we were all taught in UCD Merrion St, by kind permission of the Department of the Taoiseach we were given a specially organised guided tour of Government Buildings prior to dinner in the Shelbourne. We were very privileged that our guide for the tour was Marc McManus who has been in the Taoiseach's Office since 2001 and is highly informed on the recent history of Government Buildings.
Department of the Taoiseach, formerly UCD School of Engineering
We marvelled at the iconic refurbishment of the building that was once our UCD School of Engineering, now transformed by the OPW to meet the needs of Ireland's Head of Government, where Taoiseach Enda Kenny greeted Queen Elizabeth in May 2011. This was very fitting as the then Royal College of Science (later UCD) was opened in Summer 1911 by her grandfather King George V almost exactly 100 hundred years earlier.
The building was integrated into UCD in the 1920s. It became Irish Government Buildings in 1991 after UCD Engineering moved to Belfield (and partly back to Earlsfort Terrace for Civil Engineering and then later to Newstead Clonskeagh close to Belfield Campus where Civil currently remains).

Also notable visitors to the building in recent years were US President Clinton, South African President Nelson Mandela, British Prime Ministers Major, Blair and Cameron and other world leaders.

We greatly admired the Evie Hone window depicting 'The Four Green Fields' up the steps inside the front door, the Sycamore Meeting Room and the Government Press Centre where all major press conferences are held. We visited the once well-frequented canteen down the steps from the foyer which is now the Press Briefing Room. Oh the memories came flooding back ... 
Morrissey Table: (Front Row L-R) Paddy Cully, John Power and Brian Fitzsimons.
(Back Row L-R) Michael Loughnane, Paul Murphy, Niall O'Reilly and Niall Lynch.
Eddie Hanlon welcomed all his colleagues and especially thanked our Sponsors.  This were in alphabetical order - CRH, Clifton Scannell Emerson, ESB, FIMAK, Dirk Folens, Irish Cement, Mott McDonald, Nicholas O'Dwyer, O'Dwyer  Wines and RPS.  On behalf of UCD EGA, I thanked and congratulated Eddie Hanlon in particular and proposed a toast to UCD to which Professor Michael Bruen, School of Civil Engineering responded.

de Courcy Table: (Front Row L-R) Sean McCarthy, Colm Bannon and Gerard Dalton.
(Back Row L-R) Gerard McGuire, Peter Fagan, Gerry Noonan, Frank McGovern, Michael Bruen and Tom Duffy.
Michael thanked the organising committee and briefed us on developments in UCD College of Engineering since we graduated including the many organisational and accommodation changes affecting Civil and Biosystems Engineering in particular.

O'Donnell Table: (Front Row L-R) Ed Simpson, Chris Kelly and Alan Barrett.
(Back Row L_R) James O'Brien, Joe Watson, Aidan Daly, Joe Huggard, Derek O'Neill and Alan Dixon.
In my few words I addressed the variety of enterprise and events undertaken by the EGA.  We also cooperated with Engineers Ireland on launch of our Gender Balance Report last Autumn. The need for greater gender balance was not recognised in the 1970s and it still needs awareness raising with students, teachers and parents though the gender balance improved greatly in the 80s and 90s.   Only now do the public appreciate the critical role that Engineers play in 'making the world go round' in every sense from waking in the morning to day's end in terms of services we now take for granted -iPhones, Water, Energy, Transport, quality of Environment and so on.
Timoney Table: (Front Row L-R) Paddy Callaghan, Pat Connolly and Pat Murphy.
(Back Row L-R)  Donal Waddell, Simon Kelly, Declan Williams, John Finn, Henry Morris and Richard Berney.
I mentioned that for the first time UCD has a civil engineer President Professor Andrew Deeks and an electronics engineer as UCD Vice President Professor Orla Feely responsible for Research Innovation and Impact. I spoke briefly about the slow but sure economic recovery now impacting positively on job creation in engineering especially in the civil and construction areas which suffered severe recession until recently.
Dooge Table: (Front Row L-R) Joe Collins, Bernard Murray and David O'Flaherty.
(Back Row L-R) Tom Beglin, Ciaran de Bhaldraithe, Larry Wolohan, Ed Hanlon, Donal O'Dwyer and Jim Hayes.
We were very grateful to our many sponsor firms but special thanks goes to colleague Donal O'Dwyer who supplied the red wine from his Clara Valley vineyard in Adelaide, Southern Australia.
McCabe Table: (Front Row L-R) Liam Nugent, Dirk Folens and Russell Kelly.
(Back Row L-R) Pearse Buckley, Kevin Barry, Iggy O'Kane, Paul O'Duffy, Joe Byrne, Conor O'Donovan and Paul Dolan.
There was a further social event with partners on Saturday night in Oil Can Harry's in Mount Street and golf in Woodbrook on Monday.

Dowley Table: (Front Row L-R) PJ Rudden, Seamus O'Sullivan and Damien Treanor.
(Back Row L-R) John O'Rourke, Rick Crowe, Ciaran McGill, Martin Kelly, Frank Clarke and Sean Carey.