Minister O’Keeffe announces team to run industry-led research centres

'Technology Centres will link business and academia to produce innovative new products' - Minister

The Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Innovation, Batt O’Keeffe TD, today [Thursday 9 September, 2010] announced the team of technology leaders that will run eight research centres timed at linking industry and academics to work on market-focused innovative products.


The Government’s Technology Centre programme is a joint initiative between the job creation agencies, Enterprise Ireland and IDA Ireland, which will generate new ‘smart’ jobs by turning ideas into marketable products.

Minister O’Keeffe has set aside €37 million in extra funding over the next six years for investment in the new research - or ‘technology’ - centres. The extra funding will boost investment in the programme to over €90 million over the next six years.

The appointments are:

  • Dr Alan Hynes, Technology Centre for Applied Nanotechnology, Tyndall National Institute in Cork, co-hosted by TCD CRANN;
  • Bart Bonsall, Technology Centre for Biorefining and Bioenergy, NUI Galway, co-hosted by UL and UCD;
  • Dr Terry McGrail, Technology Centre for Composite Materials, University of Limerick, co-hosted by UCD;
  • Barry Kennedy [Acting Director], Technology Centre for Manufacturing Research and Technology Centre for Energy Efficiency;
  • Martin Delaney, Technology Centre for IT Innovation, NUI Maynooth;
  • Mark Barry,  Technology  Centre  for  Microelectronics,  Tyndall  National Institute, co-hosted by UL;
  • Jens Bleiel, chief executive, Food for Health Ireland, Cork.

Minister O’Keeffe said: ‘These appointments mark a significant step in the development of Ireland’s first technology centres - industry-led platforms for market-focused strategic research and development which can be translated into high-tech products.

‘If we want to produce next generation high-tech products and services, we must get academic researchers working more closely with industry so thattheir expertise can be pooled and tailored for the market.

‘The €37 million six-year investment boost I announced last month will underpin the development of an environment that allows academics and business people to work together in producing products, services and efficiencies that meet consumer demand and create high-quality jobs.’

The number of technology centres will rise from six this year to 15 in 2016 with two more planned for this year.

About the technology leaders

Dr Alan Hynes: Alan has 16 years’ experience in technology commercialisation with global customers of start-up, SME and multinational firms. He has developed, sold and delivered new technology products to customers in microelectronics, solar energy, functional fabrics, semiconductor device and medical device markets. He was previously managing director of Dow Corning Ireland.

Bart Bonsall: A graduate of the University of Illinois, Bart has been the Operations and Finance Director in Biodiesel Production Ireland Ltd for the past six years. There, Bart designed a state-of-the-art biodiesel production facility to be developed in Greenore Port, Co Louth, and he has spent time examining best international practice for the conversion of biomass into forms of energy. Bart’s role will principally be focused on commercialising the research being undertaken at a number of Ireland’s universities.

Dr Terry McGrail: During a long career with Imperial Chemical Industries plc, Terry held such positions as company research associate and research and development group manager for polymers and composites. In 2001, he joined Cytec Engineered Materials - a global leader in the manufacture of composite pre-impregnated carbon-fibre and structural adhesives – as director of strategic science and technology. In 2007-2008, he was technical director of the composites centre, AMRC with Boeing, in the University of Sheffield.

Barry Kennedy: Barry qualified with an MSc from Trinity College Dublin (TCD) in 1996. He worked in a research environment in TCD for 10 years before starting work  with Intel. There, he has held a number of senior management roles in engineering. More recently, Barry has worked as new business and strategic programme  manager for Ireland Fab Operations in Intel. He is now on secondment as chief executive of two new cross-sector research centres for manufacturing productivity set up in partnership with multinational and national indigenous firms.

Martin Delaney: Martin has worked in the information technology industry for 25 years. Most recently, he was chief operating officer for Original Solutions which has been acquired by Perot Systems. Since 2000, Martin has held c-level positions with several firms through his involvement with venture capitalists. These firms include FPS Voyager, Norkom Technologies and Iona Technologies. Martin is former regional vice-president in the Northern European region of DMR Consulting, now trading as Fujitsu Services.

Jens Bleiel: Jens is an economist who has worked in Germany, the Netherlands and Argentina. After five years in a management consultancy in Germany, Jens joined Dutch company Numico where he held several management and executive functions in Cow&Gate, the baby food branch of the firm. After 10 years, Jens joined Dutch multinational DSM, a market-leader in vitamins and other food ingredients, where he built up the functional food business.

Mark Barry: Most recently, Mark was Technology Innovation Manager with S3 Group in Cork where he was responsible for the incubation of all new silicon products and services. Mark has served as chairman of the Irish Microelectronic Industry Design Association high-potential start-up committee. He has held international management positions in large multinational companies such as Lucent Bell Labs.

Bernard Mallee

Special Adviser on Press and Communications
Minister Batt O'Keeffe TD
Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Innovation
Department of Enterprise, Trade and Innovation
Kildare St
Dublin 2

Tel: +353 1 631 3944
Fax: +353 1 631 2828
Mobile: +353 87 9173022

Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it