Starting a blog is a little bit like walking into a room full of strangers. There maybe some friendly faces in dark corners but many people that you meet are new contacts. It is appropriate to give a little introduction, therefore, to this initial contribution to communication through blogs.
Currently, I am the Director General of Science Foundation Ireland. SFI is the major funding agency in Ireland with our funding going to researchers in the higher education institutes. We support top quality research that falls into areas of strategic relevance for Ireland’s economic future.
Prior to that, I was Executive Director of EMBO (European Molecular Biology Organisation) in Heidelberg, Germany and in addition to running and developing that organisation I also had an active Research Group. Previously I have worked in France (in Strasbourg in the laboratory of Pierre Chambon), Madison, Wisconsin in the USA (with Jack Gorski, now deceased) and Leicester in the UK, where I did my PhD. I also spent a number of years in the University in Galway, Ireland with responsibilities for biotechnology and, as Director of the National Diagnostic Centre.
From all of that, you can deduce that my areas of interests range from real science (particularly in the area of cancer research), the linkage between research and the economy, the world in which scientists work and live, and European strategy and policy. In the latter context, I am currently one of the 22 members of an advisory group to the EU Commissioner (ERAB), and a member of EUROHORCs (the heads of the European Research Councils).
For those who wish to make a quick assessment of my views and interests, I should direct you to the EMBO reports website. I was Senior Editor of EMBO Reports from 2000 until recently, and perhaps it is the gap in my life left by not writing editorials that has prompted me to start this blog. There are over a hundred editorials available on this site:
Outside the scientific professional world, I am very interested in sport and try to suppress using too many sporting analogies when I am talking. Music also figures highly in my life as does travel, politics in a non-aligned manner and, based on the training I obtained in France, a great interest in food and wine with the emphasis on enjoyment rather than analysis.
I want to keep the content of this blog focused on all the above and to avoid any conflict of interest I will not comment on specific proposals submited to SFI for funding, etc.
More blogs will follow when inspiration flows!