Dr Paul Connolly has been announced as the Chief Executive Officer of the Marine Institute, Ireland’s state agency for marine research, technology development and innovation. The appointment follows the upcoming retirement of Dr Peter Heffernan after 27 years as CEO of the institute.
Dr Connolly is the current Director of Fisheries and Ecosystems Advisory Services (FEAS) at the Marine Institute, leading a team of more than 80 scientists and staff to provide scientific advice on the sustainable exploitation of Ireland’s fisheries resource and marine ecosystems.
On the announcement Minister Creed said, “Our marine resource offers significant opportunities for Ireland in areas of research and innovation, the sustainable development of our blue economy, and ocean observation to prepare for the impacts of climate change. With Dr Connolly’s extensive experience in sustainable fisheries management, leading innovative and integrated research programmes and driving strategic collaborations nationally and internationally, the Marine Institute will continue to deliver excellent science, advice and technical support to government and industry.”
Dr Connolly said, “Over the next five years, I will be deeply committed to supporting a culture of high performance driven by our people, whose skills, experiences and passion for the marine are central to the work of the Marine Institute. These are very exciting times for ocean science, with the UN Decade of the Ocean beginning in 2021, the anticipated delivery of a new research vessel in 2022 and the need to address the challenges posed by a changing climate.”
Dr Connolly is a former president of the International Council for the Exploration of the Seas (ICES); a network of 20 countries, which aims to advance scientific understanding of marine ecosystems and provides impartial scientific advice for meeting conservation, management, and sustainability goals.
He has chaired the quarterly meetings of the Irish Fisheries Science Research Partnership (IFSRP) since it was established by the Minister in 2008. Dr Connolly led the development of the ICES Strategic Plan (2014-2018) which was adopted by 20 member countries, and worked closely with government, agencies and the Marine Institute team to develop Ireland’s integrated marine plan, Harnessing Our Ocean Wealth. He also led the executive in developing the Marine Institute’s Strategic Plan, Building Ocean Knowledge Delivering Ocean Services (2018 - 2022).
Dr Connolly has a PhD from UCD (1986), an MBA from NUI Galway (2006) and completed the Timoney Advanced Leadership programme in 2016.