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Vice-President for Science and Innovation visits Ireland

9 May 2022

IOP delegation led by eminent nuclear physicist meets with key political figures, members and business leaders in three-day tour. 

Professor Martin Freer, Vice-President for Science and Innovation, visited Ireland last week to hear the experiences of local IOP members of studying and working in physics.

During a visit to Dublin and Limerick, Professor Freer also met with political leaders and students.

The visit kicked off with a tour of the Oireachtas (National Parliament) in Dublin, where Professor Freer met members of the education committee and Minister Niall Collins, Minister of State at the Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science.

The meetings covered a wide range of issues, from support for diverse students studying physics to Ireland’s proposed membership of CERN. The IOP's Irish team will now follow up the relationships built with decision-makers in Dublin.

Limerick hosted the second half of the visit and Professor Freer met students and academics at the University of Limerick physics department.

Professor Freer heard presentations from the department on its approach to teaching, research, innovation, industry and public engagement in promoting physics in Ireland along with its record of recruiting female and diverse students recognised in its Athena Swan Silver Award.

The visit finished with a tour of the department’s facilities, including its Bernal Institute research infrastructure, hosted by Head of Department Professor Tofail Syed.

And the final part of the vice-presidential tour took the group to Ei Electronics, a global leader in the manufacture of residential fire and carbon monoxide detection products. Professor Freer met with founding director, Mick Guinee, and discussed the crucial role physics graduates had in supporting research and development at the company followed by a tour of the manufacturing facility.

We are planning further regional and national member engagement visits for our vice-presidents over the course of 2022.

Institute of Physics delegation arrive at the Oireachtas. Left to right: Elora McFall, Programme Officer (Ireland); Dr Yvonne Kavanagh, IOP Ireland Chair; Professor Martin Freer, VP for Science and Innovation; James Pritchard, IOP Communications; Rachel Youngman, IOP Deputy Chief Executive; Lee Reynolds, Acting IOP Head, Northern Ireland and Ireland.

Deputy Paul Kehoe TD, Chair of the Oireachtas Committee on Education, Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science discusses future of physics education with IOP delegation.

Senator Aisling Dolan, Fine Gael Seanad spokesperson on Education, Innovation and Science listens to the IOP delegation discuss inclusion and access to physics issues.

Professor Martin Freer meets members of the Oireachtas education committee.

Dr Yvonne Kavanagh, IOP Ireland Chair, makes a point to members of the Oireachtas education committee.