2015 – Present
Chair, Irish Research Council (IRC)
The Irish Research Council (IRC) awards competitive funding on the basis of research excellence, supporting c.1,400 early career researchers and over 50 PI-led senior research project-based awards, across 100 different disciplines, from archaeology to zoology. The Council also advises the government on research related policy issues and was the first funding agency in Ireland to publish a gender strategy and introduce gender-blind assessment.
As Chair, I have worked with the Council members and executive to champion frontier research, lobbying ministers in Dublin and Brussels while striving to create a more balanced research ecosystem and secure the additional funding. I also sought to increase the visibility of the Council, holding every other meeting outside of Dublin, and empower Irish researchers to communicate why their research matters through the #LoveIrishResearch campaign.
2015 – 2020
Director, Trinity Long Room Hub Hub Arts and Humanities Research Institute
I was a founding member of the Trinity Long Room Hub in 2008, working with a small group of colleagues to develop the concept and secure funding for the physical building (€10.78M), human infrastructure, and related initiatives.
As Director of the Trinity Long Room Hub from 2015 to 2020, I provided strategic leadership; built and nurtured a strong community drawing on over 20 arts and humanities disciplines and the Library of Trinity College Dublin, particularly amongst early career researchers; advocated for the relevance of arts and humanities research to society today by driving the development of popular public humanities initiatives and innovative research programmes; developed strategic collaborations, raised the institute’s international profile and attracted distinguished visiting research fellows, and worked to ensure financial sustainability through philanthropic fundraising and sponsorship.
2011 – 2014
Vice-President for Global Relations
As the first person to hold this office, I devised Trinity’s ‘Global Relations Strategy’ and developed the business plan that underpinned it. I hired and led the team that delivered the strategy and forged high-level relationships with researchers, leaders of enterprise, policymakers, heads of cultural organisations and alumni and friends of Trinity worldwide.
The Global Relations Strategy has created a more cosmopolitan campus, changed the Trinity culture towards internationalism, and facilitated the development of a curriculum that educates our students to be global citizens.
Co-Chair, Royal Irish Academy’s Brexit Taskforce
Research and education know no national boundaries. Serving as powerful integrators, they have played an important part in the peace processes, and have been fundamental to Ireland’s continued prosperity and competitiveness in Europe and globally.
As co-chair of the Royal Irish Academy’s Brexit Taskforce, I am part of a group of academics from across Ireland assessing the impact that Brexit could have on research and education on the island.
Leadership in a Time of Crisis
When Trinity College Dublin closed its physical campus in March 2020 due to the Covid-19 crisis, my first concern was our community of researchers. I wanted to ensure that the nurturing research environment we provided to 44 early career researchers every year, and to many more in our partner Schools, could help sustain them through these difficult times. Under my leadership, we continued to provide these supports, and our quick adaption to the online space in the initial lockdown phase proved that we could inspire and stimulate our community no matter what the challenge.
I also encouraged colleagues in Trinity’s Arts and Humanities and across the disciplines to highlight how the Covid-19 virus has challenged diverse communities, across Ireland and the world, and impacted those most vulnerable. In addition to establishing a new weekly blog, we organised a six-part online discussion series titled ‘Rethinking Democracy in an Age of Pandemic’ collaboration with the Society of Fellows and Heyman Center for the Humanities at Columbia University looking at democracy and the pandemic, published an online free curriculum as part of the Crises of Democracy project, and launched the EU-funded ‘Human+’ project.