Prof Philip Nolan, SFI

Science Foundation Ireland announces Prof Philip Nolan as new director general

Prof Nolan will take up the appointment in January 2022
Prof Philip Nolan, SFI

20 October 2021

Prof Philip Nolan has been appointed the new director general-designate of Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) – the state agency responsible for investment in research in the areas of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

Prof Nolan, who will take up the appointment in mid-January 2022, has experience in several senior leadership roles in higher education and research and is a trusted advisor to government. Prof Nolan recently completed his 10-year term as president of Maynooth University, during which time he instigated major campus developments, including a university-wide investment in research capacity, Maynooth University’s largest capital project, a €57 million ‘Technology Society and Innovation Project’, the development of a 20-year campus master plan, and the opening of the International College of Engineering at Fuzhou University in China.

At the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, Prof Nolan was asked by government to chair the National Public Health Emergency Team’s (NPHET) Irish Epidemiological Modelling Advisory Group, which has played a critical role in controlling the spread of Covid-19 in Ireland.




“On behalf of the Board, I am delighted to welcome Philip, as director-general designate, to SFI,” said Prof Peter Clinch, chairman of SFI. “A distinguished researcher in his own right, Philip has a proven record of achievement as a leader in research and innovation as director of the UCD Conway Institute for Biomolecular and Biomedical Research, deputy president of University College Dublin, Ireland’s largest university, and as president of Maynooth University, Ireland’s fastest growing and most diverse university. Over the past two decades SFI has played a central role in building a strong, sustainable, economy and society, through supporting the development of a world class research and innovation system. Philip’s role will be to build on this success to position Ireland as a Global Innovation Leader for the advancement of Ireland’s economy and society.”

Prof Nolan said: “SFI has led the transformation of Ireland’s research landscape, sponsoring outstanding research with global impact. The opportunity now is to build on this success, focusing on excellence in research and its translation into tangible benefits for our economy and society, to secure our position as a global innovation leader in science and engineering, and to ensure Ireland plays its part in addressing the complex challenges that face our society. The insights of research, and the energy of innovation, can help us shape a future that is healthier, more equal, and inclusive, and sustainable. I look forward to working with the Board, colleagues in SFI and other research and enterprise agencies, and our research, higher education, enterprise, public sector and civil society partners towards this ambitious goal.”

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