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UCC/ERI academic receives prestigious award

The winners of the prestigious 2020 Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) Awards were revealed today with Professor Brian Ó Gallachóir receiving the Best International Engagement Award.

This award recognises the accomplishments of a researcher/group specifically in the context of their international activities and was announced today by Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, Simon Harris TD, at the annual SFI Science Summit.

Brian Ó Gallachóir is Professor of Energy Engineering in University College Cork (UCC) and Director of MaREI, the SFI centre for energy, climate and marine. As Centre Director, he oversaw MaREI successfully securing €17m from EU programmes in the past three years. Brian has established new research capacity in Ireland in the area of integrated energy systems modelling. His research has underpinned significant policy developments including Ireland’s Climate Action and Low Carbon Development Act 2015, Energy White Paper 2015, Government negotiations with the EU regarding 2030 climate targets, and recent changes to the public spending code in 2019. Brian’s collaborative research with the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) also underpinned the EU decision in 2018 to increase its target share of energy from renewable resources by 2030 from 27% to 32%. Brian is elected Chair of the International Energy Agency - Energy Technology Systems Analysis Programme (IEA-ETSAP) since 2011. He has significantly consolidated cross-border research by co-establishing the All-Island Climate and Biodiversity Network and by leading the US-Ireland CREDENCE project on decentralisation and electrification of energy systems. He has showcased this research to the US Department of Energy and US State Department at SFI St. Patricks Day events. Brian expanded MaREI relationships with University College London and Loughborough University to jointly lead the Energy Resilience in the Built Environment Centre for Doctoral Training. He provides expert advice to the International Energy Agency and presented at UN Climate conference (COP 21) in Paris and COP 23 in Bonn.

“I am delighted to see Brian’s extraordinary impact on the international landscape in such an important field recognised by this award. Brian’s commitment to excellence in research and equally to communicating the outputs of this research to diverse stakeholders to influence policy is remarkable. This recognition by SFI is very well deserved” commented Professor Anita Maguire, Vice President for Research & Innovation at UCC.

Professor Brian Ó Gallachóir stated, "I am delighted to receive the SFI Best International Engagement Award 2020. This honour recognises the hard work of the entire team within the MaREI Centre for Energy, Climate and Marine, and the 13 institutions in Ireland hosting MaREI researchers, including my own, University College Cork. The award also values the contribution of my own research team, who use energy modelling to inform climate policy in Ireland and in the EU, led by Paul Deane, Hannah Daly, Fionn Rogan and James Glynn."