SFI DG to become chief scientific advisor to Government

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30 October 2012 | 0

The Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Richard Bruton TD has announced that Professor Mark Ferguson will take on the role of chief scientific adviser to the Government in addition to his existing role as director general of Science Foundation Ireland.

The announcement comes following a Government decision to abolish the separate Office of the Chief Scientific Adviser (CSA). This decision is part of a wider drive for reform and greater efficiency within the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation. Other measures included are the merger of the National Consumer Agency and the Competition Authority, the reform of the five workplace relations bodies to create a streamlined two-tier mechanism, restructuring the enterprise support model for micro and small businesses, including the dissolution of the CEBs and the transfer of their functions, assets and liabilities to Enterprise Ireland (EI) and the integration of Forfas in to the Department to help drive the Action Plan for Jobs agenda and broaden and deepen the Department’s policy development capability.

"The Director General of Science Foundation Ireland, Professor Mark Ferguson, is particularly well placed to fulfil the role of Chief Scientific Adviser, said Minister Bruton. "This additional role will complement his existing work in Science Foundation Ireland particularly given SFI’s ready access to networks of national and international scientists-access which is crucially important for a Chief Scientific Adviser to be able to draw upon.  I understand that Professor Ferguson will utilise an independent advisory panel of eminent scientists as the need arises".

 

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"The role of the chief scientific adviser to the Government is an important one, particularly given the Government’s stated commitment to research, development and innovation and its importance for Ireland’s economic recovery. This move marks a consolidation of our resources in this area and complements the range of scientific advice that is also available within Government organisations, including in areas such as veterinary science, agriculture, environment and health. "

The contract of the most recent incumbent to the post of chief scientific adviser, Professor Patrick Cunningham, expired at the end of August this year. Minister Bruton paid tribute to Professor Cunningham who held the post from January 2007 until the end of August this year with great distinction. In particular, the Minister thanked him for the expertise, knowledge and commitment which he brought to the post, particularly during the bid phase and indeed the organisation of the prestigious Euroscience Open Forum (ESOF 2012), held in Dublin from July 11th to 15th this summer. Professor Cunningham was the lynchpin and leader of a dynamic team which was put in place to ensure the successful delivery of the ESOF 2012 initiative and it was a major success, with over 4,500 delegates from more than 80 countries attending the 5 days proceedings in the Convention Centre Dublin.

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