The Marine Institute in Oranmore, Ireland’s national ocean research centre, has had a historic changing of the guard this week with the first appointment of a new CEO since it was founded in 1991.
Minister for Agriculture, Food, and the Marine Michael Creed announced yesterday that Dr Paul Connolly has been appointed as the next Chief Executive Officer of the Marine Institute.
Dr Connolly is replacing Dr Peter Heffernan who is retiring after serving as CEO of the Marine Institute for its entire 27 year history.
Dr Connolly is currently serving as Director of Fisheries and Ecosystems Advisory Services at the Institute which focuses on providing scientific advice on the sustainable exploitation of Ireland’s fisheries resource and marine ecosystems.
He is also a former president of the International Council for the Exploration of the Seas (ICES) and has chaired the quarterly meetings of the Irish Fisheries Science Research Partnership (IFSRP) since it was established by the Minister in 2008.
The ICES is a network of 20 countries which aims to advance scientific understanding of marine ecosystems and provides impartial scientific advice for meeting conservation, management, and sustainability goals.
Working with government agencies as well as his team at the Marine Institute, Dr Connolly led the effort to shape Ireland’s integrated marine plan, Harnessing Our Ocean Wealth.
He has also led the development of strategy for the Marine Institute’s Newport Research facility which has led to an increase in research programmes in fisheries, aquaculture, genetics, climate and ecosystem science.
“On behalf of the board, I congratulate Dr Connolly on his new appointment as CEO,” said Chairman John Killeen.
“He brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to the role, and will be dedicated to positioning the Marine Institute as a global leader in ocean knowledge and empowering Ireland to harness our marine resource.”
Speaking about his appointment Dr Connolly said that over the next five years he will be focused on working with staff at the Marine Institute to deliver a culture of high performance.
“These are very exciting times for ocean science, with the UN Decade of the Ocean beginning in 2021, the anticipated delivery of a new research vessel in 2022 and the need to address the challenges posed by a changing climate.”
Minister Michael Creed said, “Our marine resource offers significant opportunities for Ireland in areas of research and innovation, the sustainable development of our blue economy, and ocean observation to prepare for the impacts of climate change.
“With Dr Connolly’s extensive experience in sustainable fisheries management, leading innovative and integrated research programmes and driving strategic collaborations nationally and internationally, the Marine Institute will continue to deliver excellent science, advice and technical support to government and industry.”
image: Andrew Downes/Xposure