President's Biography

‌Professor Patrick O’Shea became the 15th President of University College Cork on 1st February 2017.

A UCC Physics graduate and former Vice President and Chief Research Officer at the University of Maryland in the US, Professor O’Shea was at the helm of a $500 million (€470m) per annum research and innovation enterprise. His academic, political and business acumen helped the University to become one of the leading research universities in the world.

He is a Fellow of the American Physical Society, the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and is a University of Maryland Distinguished Scholar-Teacher.

Under Prof. O’Shea’s leadership, the University of Maryland has forged strong national and international research partnerships.  He is a strong advocate of cross disciplinary work in universities, highlighting the importance of humanities studies and their interaction with science and other technical disciplines. 

Professor O'Shea served as Chair of the Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering, and Director of the Institute for Research in Electronics and Applied Physics, at the University of Maryland. He played a leading role in the founding of the Maryland NanoCentre and the Maryland Cyber Security Centre.  He also served as a project leader at the University of California Los Alamos National Laboratory, and as a faculty member at Duke University.

Professor O’Shea’s area of expertise is in electromagnetics, and he is best known for his pioneering work on electron-accelerators and free-electron lasers. He has played a leading role in several large research programs, and supervised the work of over two dozen doctoral students. His other interests include history, linguistics, athletics and cycling. 

On his appointment last June Professor O’Shea said: “My physics degree from UCC laid the foundations for a successful academic career in the US culminating in my current leadership role at the University of Maryland. I am delighted to return to lead my alma mater, a university of ancient heritage and modern focus.  I thank outgoing President Dr Michael Murphy and the staff of UCC for the amazing job they have all done in securing our future.  UCC’s students and staff have impressed me with their enthusiasm and commitment to excellence in education, scholarship, research and service. Through their dedication, passion, and achievement, UCC will continue its rise among the great universities of the world.”

He is married to UCC graduate and scientist Miriam Smyth Ph.D., who works in clinical and biomedical research administration. They have one son.

Professor O’Shea attended secondary school at Coláiste Chríost Rí in Cork, and holds an M.S. and a Ph.D. in Physics from the University of Maryland.

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