Friday, 23 March 2012

Keynote Speaker at Green City Conference in Taipei

I was asked to represent the European Commission as Director of the European Green Capital Secretariat (www.europeangreencapital.euas one of the two Keynote Speakers at an EcoCities Conference on March 19th / 20th in Taipei which is the capital of Taiwan. The conference was chaired by the Taiwan Government and organised by Professor Tse-Fong Tseng of Kaohsiung University.

As the Asian Tiger grows, all governments are looking more and more to environmental protection as the optimum means of ensuring sustainable urban living. Thus the focus on what they call EcoCities or Green Cities with low carbon objectives to meet the threat of climate change. The Taiwan government are seeking to learn what they can from the experience of the EU Commission initiative on the European Green Capital City project which I have been directing so I was happy to go. Another Keynote Speaker had been invited from Japan - Professor Hikaru Kobayashi who is responsible for Environmental and Information Studies at Keio University in Japan and formerly Chief Environmental Advisor to the Japanese Government.

It was a long but interesting trip via Amsterdam and Bangkok. I took Aer Lingus to Amsterdam and China Airlines brought me the rest of the journey and back. The 'skymap' was a reasonably straight line from Amsterdam to Bangkok roughly along southern Germany, the Carpathian Mountains then onto the Black Sea and across the Caspian Sea north of Iran.  Then across Afghanistan, south of its capital city Kabul, into Pakistan and onto Lahore in India where we veered south along the fertile Ganges Valley, south of Kathmandu and the Himalayas, to the city of Calcutta at the mouth of the Ganges. During the trip we travelled at speeds around 1000 km/hr at average heights of 10,000m or 10km above the earth's surface in a Boeing 747.

After Calcutta we then headed south east towards Rangoon crossing over the delta shaped Mouths of the Irrawaddy then crossing the Gulf of Martiban before heading further south to Bangkok in Thailand. There was the most extraordinary orange sunrise lighting the horizon to welcome us into Bangkok at 36 degree celsius in the early hours of the morning. It was purely an airport stopover but you could sense that the air in Bangkok was very humid.

The trip from Bangkok to Taipei took us over Cambodia and Da Nang in Vietnam and then north over Hong Kong towards Taiwan and into Taipei International Airport on the north of the island. This was my first visit to Taiwan.

Visiting the EcoCity of Tainan inTaiwan -
Professor Tse-Fong Tseng, National University of Kaohsiung Taiwan, 
Professor Hikaru Kobayashi, Keio University Japan, 
PJ Rudden Director of European Green Capital Secretariat, 
Dr Ching-Te Lai Mayor of Tianan and Dr Hwang-Jen Chang Director General 
of the Environmental Protection Bureau of Tainan City Government
The EcoCities Conference was organised by Professor Tse-Fong Tseng from the Institute of Urban Development and Planning at the National University of Kaohsiung. It was opened and chaired by the Vice Chairman of the Taiwan Council for Economic Planning and Development (CEPD) Dr Wan-Hsiang Hwang. The CEPD is the central planning authority in Taiwan and reports to the Prime Minister.

I was grateful that he also hosted myself and the other Keynote Speaker Professor Hikaru Kobayashi former Director General of Environment Management in the Japanese Government to lunch. Also present at the lunch were the CEPD Director General Ms Kuo Fei-Yu, Commissioner of the Taipei City Government Dr Yuh-Chyum Ding, Monica Kuo Chair of Digital Research Centre and College of Environmental Planning and Design. I also met the Associate Professor of Land Economics at National Chengchi University Dr Chen-Yi Sun and Analyst of International Economy at Chung-Hua Institution for Economic Research Ms Pei-Ju Yu at the Conference.

In his opening remarks Dr Hwang explained how Taiwan was looking to best practice in both Japanese and European experience of EcoCities on how to achieve a low carbon response to urban living. He stated that his Council were determined to create economic drivers to make more sustainable cities happen in Taiwan.

Addressing the EcoCities Conference in Taipei were Professor Hikaru 
Kobayashi Keio University JapanDr Wang-Hsiang Hwang Vice Chairman 
of the Taiwan Council for Economic Planning and Development and
PJ Rudden Director of RPS and Director of the EU Commission European Green 
Capital Award Secretariat
Professor Kobayashi in his remarks stated that Japanese policy on climate change was influenced by the need to support the increased seniority of Japan's citizens and also informed by the urgent need to regenerate the city region damaged by the 2011 Earthquake / Tsunami and nuclear disaster at Fukushima.

In my remarks on EcoCities I outlined the experience to date with the EU Commission European Green Capital Award (EGCA). The winners for 2010 to 2013 respectively were Stockholm, Hamburg, Vitoria-Gasteiz and Nantes. The winner for 2014 will be announced in June 2012 from a shortlist currently being formulated. The objective is to reward environmental performance, ambition and to create cities as role models of sustainable urban living. The mission of the award is ‘Green Cities – Fit for Life’. The award is based on 12 environmental criteria including climate change, public transport, biodiversity, eco-innovation and sustainable employment - all judged independently by a Technical Evaluation Panel of international experts. Then a final decision is taken based on the expert recommendations by a Jury representative of the EU Commission, the European Environment Agency, ICLEI – Local Government for Sustainability, the European Environmental Bureau (NGO), the Covenant of Mayors and the Committee of the Regions.

There were interesting questions on how to configure and encourage the organisational ecosystem to make such an award operate for cities of Taiwan and possibly elsewhere in Asia where there was no semi-federal grouping like the EU.

Presenting the Keynote Speakers with a framed Lion's Head as a symbol of
Tainan EcoCity were Left to Right: Dr Hwang-Jen Chang Director General of the Environmental Protection Bureau of Tainan City Governmen
t, Professor Hikaru Kobayashi Keio University Japan
PJ Rudden Director of European Green Capital Secretariat,
Dr Ching-Te Lai Mayor of Tianan
Professor Tse-Fong Tseng, National University of Kaohsiung Taiwan
After the Conference we travelled to Tainan, the designated Low Carbon City in Taiwan. There we were given a civic welcome by the Mayor of Tainan Dr Ching-Te Lai and his Director General Dr Hwang-Jen Chang. Dr Lai welcomed us and presented both Prof Kobayashi and myself with a framed ceramic Lion's Head as a symbol of the City. He was very gracious in his welcome which was covered by national and regional TV networks. We were also greeted by the Director of the Tainan City Government Tourism Bureau Chun-An Chen. We visited parts of the old and the new Tianan. It is a very fine city with a population of 1.7 million and is facing the challenge of low carbon with ambition, supported by the University of Kaohsiung which runs the Tainan Low-Carbon City Project Office.

Professor Hikaru Kobayashi, Keio University Japan,
PJ Rudden Director of European Green Capital Secretariat,
Dr Hwang-Jen Chang Director General of the 
Environmental Protection Bureau of Tainan City Government,
Professor Tse-Fong Tseng, National University of Kaohsiung Taiwan

On the following day I joined a National Workshop on EcoCities chaired by the Director General of the Council for Economic Planning and Development Ms Fei-Yu Kuo. This workshop attended by the most senior planning infrastructural and economic heads in Taiwan mapped out a new collaborative approach to the development of EcoCities in Taiwan based on a combination of European and Japanese experience.

Director General of the Taiwan Council for Economic Planning and Development Fei-Yu Kuo 
and PJ Rudden Director of the EU Commission European Green Capital Secretariat 
outside Council Headquarters
Taiwan has annual growth of some 4% in 2012 which is significantly lower than its nearest neighbour China whose annual growth has dropped to a very respectable 7.5% per annum. Taiwan is determined to further develop its links with Europe and with Japan in the years ahead and are going about it in a very strategic way.

Thursday, 15 March 2012

Innovation Ecosystem in CIT

Last Friday I visited Cork Institute of Technology (CIT) who were the winners of two of the Engineers Ireland Excellence Awards in 2011. On arrival I was met by Michael Loftus Head of the Science and Engineering Faculty who was my host for the day. I also paid a courtesy call to Dr Brendan Murphy President of CIT who I had met last month at the Irish Maritime Training College at Haulbowline.

PJ Rudden President Engineers Ireland with 
Dr Brendan Murphy President of Cork Institute of Technology

My visit coincided with CIT Innovation Week which culminates in the coveted overall Entrepreneur(s) of the Year together with a 1st Prize of €4000 sponsored by Cork County and City Enterprise Boards. In all some €10,000 in prizes are awarded to Most Innovative Entry, Best Graduate, Best Business Plan and Best Exhibition Stand. Uniquely for a third level exhibition a parallel exhibition for second level students was interspersed with the third level exhibition in the Nexus Hall. This was to show the CIT ethos that the Innovation Ecosystem starts at second level then graduates to third level and onto fourth level where the leading Entrepreneurs in the Rubicon Centre nurture the CIT Enterprise hub to support and develop innovative knowledge based business. 

The Rubicon Building at CIT 
The keynote speaker at the Awards Ceremony was Bill Liao. Bill is a Serial Entrepreneur and Co Founder of the Coder Dojo Movement to assist young people to learn how to programme. His vision is captured in his book 'Stone Soup: a Secret Recipe for Making Something from Nothing'. He has previously spoken at the London School of Economics, the Global Forum in Stockholm and at Technology Entertainment Design (TED) Conference at Long Beach California. Having heard him speak, I can confirm that he is an inspiring motivator for young people though somewhat unconventional in his approach.

With Michael Loftus I toured many of the stands where there was an interesting mix of mostly CIT Third year Mechanical and Biomedical Students competing for the main Innovation Awards and secondary pupils competing for the Cork Schools Enterprise Programme Regional Finals. Two entries from these schools in particular caught my eye - Retrospekt from St Vincent's School Cork, X-Sellerate Tag Hoodies from Scoil Mhuire gan Smal in Blarney and BinCeption from St. Colman’s College, Midleton. This competition offers second level students in Cork the opportunity to set up and run their own business experiencing all the ups and downs of entrepreneurship.

Overall winners of the CIT Prize for Innovation – Cool Counter – left to right Daniel Goulding, Shane Fogarty, Cian O’Leary, PJ Rudden President of Engineers Ireland, Darren Dawson, Cian Harley, Ann-Marie Cullinane, Mohammed Slimane and Michael Loftus Head of Faculty CIT
The overall winners of the CIT Entrepreneurs of the Year worth €4000 were Cool Counter from a combination of the Business Mechanical and Biomedical Schools in CIT. Cool Counter is a cooling device for beverages that can be integrated into a bar top and keeps drink cool. The Most Innovative Award of €2000 went to the Muscle Stress Indicator which provides real time analysis that correlates the relationship between a muscle that is under stress and the resulting heat that is generated because of this. Prize for the Best Stand went to Road Network Solutions a project examining road junction safety.

Winners of the Best Exhibition Stand with Michael Loftus Head of Faculty CIT, Evan Collins 3rd Year Mechanical Engineering, Agnieszka Leja, 3rd Year Biomedical Engineering 
and PJ Rudden President of Engineers Ireland
As mentioned already the CIT Rubicon Centre is an enterprise hub which is home to some 44 knowledge based start-up companies. The centre is jointly financed by CIT and Enterprise Ireland. Clients based at the Rubicon are at different stages of development from concept stage to completing their first customer orders and many are already trading on the international market. Company names currently there are Treemetrics, Radisens Diagnostics and Kernel Capital Partners in addition to Entrepreneur in Residence Kieran Moynihan. The CIT Innovation Ecosystem comprises Research Clusters which feed into Technology Centres which feed into the Rubicon Incubator Centre of Commercialisation.

While at CIT, I visited the 2020 Zero Energy Centre with Daithí Fallon Head of Department of Manufacturing, Biomedical and Facilities Engineering where a model passive building is under construction to include a new insulated curtain wall on the external façade of the building.

PJ Rudden with Daithí Fallon visiting the 2020 Zero Energy Project
Together with Des Walsh, Head of Civil Structural and Environmental Engineering, I also met two student classes in both Structural and Energy Engineering where we briefly discussed their project work and likely future work opportunities.

Structural Engineering Class with Lecturer Kieran Ruane, President of Engineers Ireland PJ Rudden, Lecturer Leonard O’Driscoll and Des Walsh Head of Civil Structural & Environmental Engineering
As I left Cork, it was very obvious that CIT is a major force in engineering education in Ireland. 20% of Institute of Technology students around Ireland are engineering students while only 7% of Irish university students do engineering. Little wonder then that the unique Innovation Ecosystem in CIT is making such waves nationally in the technology job creation area in terms of new companies, services and products.

Thursday, 8 March 2012

Visiting Yeats Country 'The Land of Heart's Desire' at the North West Region Ball

Our North West Region comprising Counties Sligo and Leitrim is probably our smallest region in Engineers Ireland but certainly one of our most active. They recently hosted their Annual Ball in Sligo. At the suggestion of the very active North West Chairman Seamus Lee we visited The Model Niland Art Gallery in Sligo town where we found a display of works that included Jack B. Yeats, Paul Henry, George Russell (AE) and other national and international artists. Of course the association of Sligo with the poet William Butler Yeats and his painter brother Jack B Yeats is very strong. More of that later.

We were delighted that the North West Region Ball was attended by the Mayor of Sligo Cllr Rosaleen O'Grady and the Vice Chairman of Sligo County Council Cllr Matt Lyons. John Power Director General of Engineers Ireland also attended with his wife Mary.

Seamus Lee North West Region Chairman, Cllr Rosaleen O’Grady Mayor of Sligo,
PJ Rudden President Engineers Ireland
and Cllr Matt Lyons Vice Chairman of Sligo County Council
There was a huge attendance at the event for a Region of its size. Most noticeable were the number of young engineers and even a few students from Sligo IT. I can recall last attending this event some 10 years ago after we opened the RPS office in Galway with the same enthusiastic cross section attending the North West Ball. A very young Emer Concannon was Chairman of the West Region back then and it was great to meet her again last weekend. I’m glad to see that she is still active as PRO on the Region Committee which is still a very active mix of young and some very experienced people. There is also a good mix of private and public sectors, local authority and industry people. This winning formula can also be seen in the other more active regions around the country and is clearly missing in the less active regions.

North West Region Committee – At back left to right Joe Healy, George Chadda, Gerard Scott, Rowan O'Callaghan, Anthony Skeffington, Deirdre McNulty,Emer Concannon, Geraldine O'Gorman, Pal Hardiman, Micheal O'Halloran, Francis Fidgeon,  front row Seamus O'Toole, Seamus Lee, Darragh O'Boyle, Michael Walsh.
The Mayor in her remarks spoke kindly of the contribution that Engineers have made and continue to make to the development of the Region and spoke of the welcome that all visitors get and will get in the 'The Land of Heart's Desire' as Yeats called Sligo in one of his famous plays.

Responding to the Mayor my speech was short - trusting that brighter days lie ahead for the engineering industry especially in construction and drawing on the tremendous contribution that our export industries in Pharma, Computing and Biomedical engineering are making towards national recovery.

The North West Region certainly doesn’t hang around 'cursing the darkness' as they staged a Las Vegas Casino event between dinner and dancing. Though unusual at an Engineers Ireland dinner the casino had the intended effect of getting everybody into groups together actively and quickly getting to know everybody and clearly having fun too!

Having fun at the Las Vegas Casino at North West Region Ball in Sligo
There was also Engineers Ireland business to be done. I conferred Titles on one new Fellow William Brennan and a number of newly qualified Chartered Engineers from the Region. I also had the pleasure of presenting the local pharmaceutical industry Abbott with their Employers Accreditation from Engineers Ireland. This is a mark of their Continuing Professional Education (CPD) that they continue to give to their engineering employees to compliment their own professional development as individual engineers.

North West Region Chairman Seamus Lee and Engineers Ireland President PJ Rudden
pictured with the staff of CPD Accredited Employer Aboott Pharmaceuticals
The North West Region Ball was a credit to the organising Region Chairman Seamus Lee Secretary Rowan O'Callaghan (who acted MC on the night) and Region PRO Emer Concannon. This Region appears to have insulated itself from the effects of the recession by the sheer determination to unite and make the very best of the great human resources that they possess as they clearly showed on the night. I wish the Region continued success in the years ahead.

Before I leave Sligo I have to tell you about the The Model Niland Art Gallery.  This is another example of some of the fantastic artistic facilities built around Ireland over the past decade similar to The Visual that I toured in Carlow at the end of January. Nora Niland was Sligo County Librarian in the 50s 60s and 70s and Founder of the Sligo Municipal Art Collection. She started the collection by borrowing five works by Jack B Yeats to exhibit for the first Yeats Summer School in 1959. It has grown to some 300 works. On the tenth anniversary of her death in 1998 the collection was named after her and moved to The Model School on the Mall in Sligo. Thus the Model Niland Gallery was born.

Viewing Jack B Yeats works in The Model Niland Gallery in Sligo with Curator Lara Byrne
We toured the gallery in the company of the Curator Lara Byrne who gave us a potted history of the Yeats family in Sligo not only WB and Jack but their talented father John B also. There are a number of Jack B Yeats works on display. The one that caught my eye was the one of Red Hanrahan standing on Ben Bulben looking across at its sister mountain Knocknarea. Jack painted this at the request of his older brother William Butler to accompany his poem 'Red Hanrahan'. The painting certainly depicts the scene described in the poem 'The wind has bundled up the clouds high over Knocknarea and thrown the thunder on the stones for all that Maeve may say'. The Maeve in question was Queen Maeve of Connacht who is reputed to be buried at the top of Knockarea mountain at Strandhill west of Sligo town.

There is an Exhibition of John Butler Yeats and Jack B Yeats called ‘Father and Son’ on in The Model Niland in Sligo from May 12th until September 2nd this coming summer. There is also an Artist in Residence quarters, a series of individual and fully occupied Artists Studio Centre, a substantial cinema and even a restaurant in the new Niland. Well done Sligo Borough Council, Sligo County Council and the Arts Council!

Monday, 5 March 2012

Exciting New Future beckons for UCD Engineering Schools

I recently visited each of the 5 new Engineering Schools in UCD now reconstituted into a new College of Engineering and Architecture under Professor Gerry Byrne as College Principal and Dean of Engineering. UCD has always been Ireland’s largest engineering college in terms of student numbers and is likely to remain so.

The UCD College of Engineering did not realise its full potential in the reorganisation of UCD some years ago but now has the opportunity to really shine in terms of national development and recovery. I'm confident that the newly reorganised College will be a greater national and international force in Engineering than the sum of its parts. All 5 branches of Engineering have now been brought together as 5 new Schools. They have been appropriately renamed to reflect their skills and current market demands. Having visited each of them recently and having met the 5 distinguished and enthusiastic Heads of School and many of their staff I don't hesitate in saying that no Third Level Engineering School in Ireland has as much depth and diversity of expertise across all of the engineering disciplines as UCD. The 5 new Schools are School of Biosystems Engineering, School of Chemical and Biochemical Engineering, School of Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering, School of Electrical, Electronic and Communications Engineering and School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering.

UCD College of Engineering Belfield
(Image courtesy of
The School of Biosystems Engineering is headed by Professor Francis Butler. This is a most diverse School covering Food, Agriculture, Environment and Sustainable Energy. It has three major research areas - Food & Process Engineering, Biomass to Energy and Bioenvironmental Engineering. Apart from the BE leading to ME, it has MSc degrees in Sustainable Energy and Green Technologies, Bioresource Technology, Public Health Engineering Technology and Food Safety and Risk Analysis. This School previously headed by Professor Shane Ward takes a very holistic approach to industrial needs and has a multidisciplinary approach feeding into the UCD Institute of Food Science which is a campus wide initiative. The School also hosts the Bioresources Research Centre (BRC) run by Dr Kevin O'Donnell at UCD which seeks to deliver innovative solutions in the 'biomass to energy' domain and is the recipient of the Charles Parsons Energy Research Award for biomass research. In the environmental area Professor Nick Holden is very active in Life Cycle Analysis as is Dr Enda Cummins in Food Safety and Risk Analysis.

The School of Chemical and Bioprocess Engineering is headed by Professor Don McElroy. Graduates of the School today are engaged in technologies such as synthetic pharmaceuticals, fuels (incl renewable energy resources), polymeric and inorganic materials, fine chemicals, processed foods and beverages. Currently the UCD chemical engineers go 25% to pharma, 15% to general process, 25% to chemical processing, 20% into consulting, 15% into business. Major areas of research currently in UCD are Solar Energy Nanotechnology and Biopharma Engineering. In 2011, a pharmaceutical research and technology company APC Ltd a spin off company owned by Professor Brian Glennon and Dr Mark Bennett of the UCD Chemical and Bioprocess Engineering School won the Nova UCD Start Up Award. This company already has many of the top 10 of the world's Pharma companies on its client list. They plan to create 20 new jobs by 2013. Another lecturer in the School Dr Eoin Casey has been awarded a European Research Council (ERC) grant to undertake ground breaking research in emerging technologies for nano filtration of drinking water.

The School of Civil Structural and Environmental Engineering is headed by Dr Mark Richardson. This School has an interesting organisational structure with a Head of School, Head of Discipline (Professor Eugene O'Brien), Head of Teaching and Learning (Dr Bill Magette) and Head of Research (Dr Yaqian Zhao). It also has a number of Programme Heads and Year Heads. While this School on the Richview Campus is physically separated from the other UCD Schools of Engineering it has always struck me that there is a very close rapport and social relationship between the students and staff - much to the student benefit! In addition the School has a close affinity as it should with the School of Architecture. Professor Michael Bruen heads the Centre for Water Resources Research which has an international reputation. Michael is also Assistant Dean of the Engineering College and is heading up the Technical Committee on the International Water Association World Congress on Water, Climate and Energy in Dublin in May. In the School also is an interesting new 5 year Masters in Structural Engineering with Architecture. There has always been a heritage of innovation in the school led in recent years by Professor Eugene O'Brien and Dr Amanda Gibney who is now overall College Vice Principal Teaching and Learning supported by Teaching Fellows Dr Patricia Kieran from Chemical and Bioprocess together with Dr Aoife Ahern and Dr P J Purcell from Civil Engineering. I was also given a tour of the extensive Structures Laboratory by Dr Debra Laefer.

The School of Electrical Electronic and Communications Engineering is headed by Professor Tom Brazil. The School has two components Electronics/Communications under Prof Orla Feely and Electrical Power Systems under Prof Mark O'Malley. Prof Tony Fegan is Vice Principal Research and Innovation. There is a strong upward trend in graduate numbers in recent years with some 62 in Second Year in 2011/2012. There is an outstanding record of international research in electrical and electronic engineering. The UCD Electricity Research Centre (ERC) run by Prof Mark O'Malley is an SFI approved Research Cluster. There is a shortage of power systems engineers currently in the Western World even in Ireland to meet the challenges of the EirGrid 'Grid 25' project to upgrade the national network. Therefore the ERC is a critical national resource currently. There are a range of spin out companies set up in the last 10 years by this School - Massana, Cylon Controls, InTune Networks to name a few. A new ME in Biomedical Engineering is being run by Professor David Fitzpatrick of Mechanical Engineering and Dr Madelaine Lowery of Electronic Engineering connecting the disciplines of medical device design, physiology, fluids, electromagnetic and wireless systems. Many of these subjects together with biomechanics form the basis for Rehabilitation Engineering. There is an emphasis on independent learning and research with the opportunity to participate in a work placement with the medical technologies industry.

The School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering is headed by Professor Michael Gilchrist. This is another diverse School with many research specialisations. The principal four research areas are Energy, Bioengineering, Materials and Design/Manufacturing. The ME in Energy Engineering run by Dr David Timoney is truly multidisciplinary with inputs from electrical, mechanical, civil, chemical, geology (oil/gas), business and economics. There's a separate ME in Materials run by Dr Ken Stanton and uniquely an ME in Engineering with Business run by Dr. Eamonn Ambrose. Many of Eamonn’s students are BE (Civil) in fact. With all of this emphasis on business it is no surprise that this is the School who leads the traditional MIE Degree course now renamed Master of Engineering Management (MEM). This is now run by Dr Vincent Hargaden who has taken over from Dr Donal Hughes. This course has always been a national enabler to bridge engineering and business and thus to fastrack career development in industry. In addition the School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering deals with research in Building Energy and Transport Energy including refrigeration, emissions and fuel efficiency. In the design and manufacturing area there was a recent spin out industry BiancaMed led by Dr Conor Hanley and Dr. Conor Heneghan. BiancaMed is a world leader in devices for contact free sleep and breathing monitoring. Uniquely the School of Mechanical & Materials Engineering has employed 2 business development managers to seek out and create greater partnership with business leading to job creation.

'The Building of the State' model in UCD
UCD Dean of Engineering and College Principal Professor Gerry Byrne with PJ Rudden President of Engineers Ireland with replica model of Old UCD School of Engineering Merrion Street now Department of the Taoiseach.
In my view with all the foregoing expertises and marketing strengths the stage is now set for UCD Engineering to become a leading European Centre of Engineering Research and Learning. If this is achieved the College will continue to contribute significantly to 'Building the State' as it always has done in a unique way. I recall being invited by An Taoiseach Enda Kenny and UCD President Hugh Brady to celebrate 100 years of the Old UCD Engineering Building which is now the Taoiseach's Office in Government Buildings. That night last July there was a lot to celebrate not least 'The Building of the State' a parallel process in terms of the new emerging state in the 1920s and 1930s building it's strength economically from the Shannon hydroelectric scheme, rural electrification and the setting up of Aer Lingus, the Irish Sugar Company and Bord na Mona together with the Irish engineering graduates who populated these new state companies (from all colleges in Ireland and some from abroad.)

We are now in a new era and new challenges face us as a nation to rebuild our economy and our place in the world. The Engineering profession in Ireland is already leading that recovery in commercialisation of Mathematics and Science into products for export in terms of computing, pharma, biomedical and manufacturing products and services.