Minister Mitchell O’Connor announces new Senior Academic Leadership Post for Engineering Research and Innovation at Institute of Technology Carlow under Phase 1 of the National Senior Academic Leadership Initiative


Mary Mitchell O’Connor T.D. Minister of State with special responsibility for Higher Education, today (3rd January 2020) announced a new Senior Academic Leadership Post for Engineering Research and Innovation at Institute of Technology Carlow under Phase 1 of the Senior Academic Leadership Initiative. 

This is one of twenty such posts awarded across twelve of Ireland’s higher education institutions following a competitive process and recommended by an international assessment panel chaired by Professor Lesley Yellowlees, Professor in the Chemistry Department of Edinburgh University. This is a targeted positive action initiative, which aims to accelerate gender balance at senior positions in Irish higher education institutions.

Minister Mitchell O’Connor said: “This is a great start to 2020 and is truly a game-changing moment in Irish academia. I am incredibly proud that this intervention will ensure a swifter gender re-balance, addressing the current-representation of women at the highest levels of our institutions.   I am delighted to be able to announce that 12 of our institutions have been successful under Phase 1 of this initiative. I was truly inspired to see the calibre of the 20 successful posts that are being awarded.  

“We know that the excellence of our female academics and their vast contribution to research and education has not yet resulted in an appropriate level of representation of women at the highest levels. This initiative is supporting higher education institutions that are already taking proactive steps to address gender imbalance to take a leap forward in this area, always with ‘excellence’ at the heart of recruitment and promotion policies.

“I would like to thank all those who have participated in this initiative from its earliest inception, who have supported me in my drive to make this happen, particularly those across the higher education system who have recognised the urgent need for this essential measure.

“I now wish all 12 institutions the very best of luck in the recruitment of their female professors. I have no doubt that the Senior Academic Initiative will attract outstanding applicants from within the higher education sector in Ireland and internationally. These posts will be subject to the same high standard and rigorous assessment processes as currently used for prestigious posts at this level.  To all the female academics who will be competing for these positions, may I wish you the very best of luck.”

Commenting on today’s announcement Dr Patricia Mulcahy, President of Institute of Technology Carlow, said:  “This announcement is very welcome and will further strengthen our strategic approach to engineering research and education encapsulated in our new Strategic Plan for Research and Innovation Impact and rooted in our steadfast commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion in all our endeavours.  This achievement builds upon the excellent work of our Faculty of Engineering to-date, the considerable achievements of our Centre for Research and Enterprise in Engineering (engCORE) and the success of our cross-institutional team whose work recently secured the international Athena SWAN Bronze Award for our Institute under the Athena SWAN extended charter.  I acknowledge and commend all colleagues for this.   I also thank the Minister for this farsighted initiative and look forward to working with the new HEA Centre of Excellence for Gender Equality on this and related developments.

Commenting on the announcement, Dr Frances Hardiman, Head of Faculty of Engineering at Institute of Technology Carlow said “We are delighted to receive this high level support to further develop world class engineering research, education and innovation critical to the development of our regions and our move towards Technological University designation.'

Minister Mitchell O’Connor concluded: “This initiative is one of a number of actions in the 2018 Gender Equality Taskforce Action Plan. It is contained within a suite of initiatives to bring about sustainable organisational change and to empower a culture of gender equality in higher education institutions. In particular, I am pleased that the Centre of Excellence for Gender Equality in the HEA has now been established.   It will be a key enabler to ensure sustainable change, by providing centralised support for the institutions, sharing of good practice, and funding for innovative organisational and cultural change initiatives nationally.  Another call will be announced in Q2 of 2020.”





Dublin City University

Professor in Computer Science (Natural Language Processing)

Technological University Dublin

Professor of Public Trust in Media, Arts and Technology

Trinity College Dublin

Chair in Mathematics

Institute of Technology, Carlow

Director of Engineering Research and Innovation

University College Cork

Professor of Irish Gender History

Technological University Dublin

Professorship in Inclusive Computer Science

Dublin City University

Professor of Plasma Physics

National University of Ireland, Galway

Professor of Engineering

University College Cork

Professor of Microbiome and Health Science

National University of Ireland, Galway

Professor of Older Adult Health

University of Limerick

Professor of Data Science and Statistical Learning

Maynooth University

Professor in Physical Geography in the area of Climate Science (Adaptation and/or Mitigation)

Athlone Institute of Technology

Dean of Graduate Studies and Research

University of Limerick

Professor of Genomics and Biomedical Sciences

University College Dublin

Professor of Biomedical Engineering

Trinity College Dublin

Chair in Political Economy

Maynooth University

Professor in Computer Science in the area of Software Platform Architecture and Society

Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies

Senior Professor (Physics)

University College Dublin

Professor of Materials Chemistry

Cork Institute of Technology

Chair of Cyber Security