GMIT’s new president has strong record in securing research funding

Dr Fergal Barry

Dr Fergal Barry

The new president of GMIT, 41-year-old Dr Fergal Barry will start a five-year term in the role in October, bringing with him a wealth of experience in securing funding for international research projects.

Dr Barry is currently Vice President of Limerick Institute of Technology(LIT ) — he holds a PhD in Physical Chemistry from University of Limerick and an Executive MBA from University College Cork.  

He will succeed Mr Michael Carmody who retired recently. In his current role in LIT, Dr Barry has responsibility for Research, Enterprise and Development.  He has indicated that he looks forward to working with the Governing Body, staff, students and stakeholders of GMIT and building on its excellent educational history.”  

Mr Des Mahon, Chairman of GMIT Governing Body, congratulated Dr Barry on his appointment and offered him every help and support in achieving the further development of GMIT. 

Dr Barry has led Limerick Institute of Technology (LIT ) in the senior executive management post of Vice President of LIT for Research, Enterprise and Development from 2005-to-date, reporting to Dr Maria Hinfelaar President of LIT. 

He has also and served in the Senior Academic Management position of Head of Applied Science and a Senior Lecturer from 2003-2005 and hasserved in the Senior Administrative Management post of Industrial and External Services Manager at LIT. 

Dr Barry has built up teams with a wealth of knowledge and experience across a range of student teaching, scientific and business areas. DrBarry has held several non-executive directorships. Dr Barry, still personally research active, leads LIT’s Research,Enterprise and Development Strategy (2008-2025 ) and LIT has secured competitive funds, awards, grants and benefaction in excess of €100M todate. 

Through the implementation of this strategy of leading activeengagement with business, the public sector and community organisations,16 research centres and groups have been established, LIT has secured €35M research funding and helped enterprise clients raise in excessof €25M Seed/Venture Capital funding. 

Over 520 organisations havebenefited from knowledge transfer and innovation through collaborativeresearch projects with LIT. Included in these projects are a number of experiments by the CELLS Research Group to the International SpaceStation in partnership with Kennedy Space Centre NASA. Dr Barry is thefounder of and a Principal Investigator in Shannon Applied BiotechnologyCentre, LIT’s main research Centre established in partnership with theInstitute of Technology Tralee.In addition to a scientific background Dr Barry’s academic expertisecovers specific areas such as market analysis, entrepreneurship,governance, leadership and strategic planning. 

Dr Barry is a founder of the Shannon Consortium, the Mid West Cluster of Higher Education Institutions (University of Limerick, Limerick Institute of Technologyand Mary Immaculate College of Education ). This consortium secured €22.5M under the National Strategic Innovation Fund for initiativesto increase access to higher education, enhance the teaching andlearning experience and develop research postgraduate studies. 

He is oneof three LIT Senior Executive Members on the HEA Mid West Cluster /Shannon Consortium (UL/MIC/LIT ) Implementation Board continuing to leadmajor change initiatives. He also has significant experience of publicsector integrations and mergers having been part of the LIT executiveteam that oversaw the changes incorporating the former TipperaryInstitute into LIT operations in 2011 – one of the most significantamalgamations in Irish Higher Education in recent years.

As Vice President of LIT for Research, Enterprise and Development, DrBarry has particular expertiin promoting the start-up and SME sector. He has been an active boardmember of Limerick Chamber serving as both Vice President (2012 ) and President (2013 ) during a key juncture in Limerick City’s development.

During this time he led the merger of Limerick Chamber and Limerick City Business Association. He is a founding member of the Limerick Economic Forum leading the changes under the Limerick 2030 Economic and SpatialDevelopment Plan.Dr Barry is the founder of seven business incubation centres. His drive and innovation was central to the establishment of LIT’s unique“Enterprise Ladder” of incubation centres and business developmentprogrammes across the Mid-West Region. 

The first of these centres is the Hartnett Enterprise Acceleration Centre at LIT’s Moylish campus, which was developed in 2003 with €3.1M capital expenditure funding securedfrom Enterprise Ireland. 

Dr Barry was also instrumental in establishingEurope’s first third level franchise centre, the National Franchise Centre in Limerick in 2011, a unique partnership between Chambers of Commerce and higher education. The latest centre under planning at LIT is the International Fashion Incubator Limited (IFIL ), which will capitalise on the strengths of LIT’s Limerick School of Art and Design.

Across LIT’s campuses, these ‘incubation centres’ have secured capital funding of €12M, supported over 150 start-up companies and the creationof nearly 700 jobs returning €130M in salaries per annum.

He has been to the forefront of establishing LIT’s Enterprise Advisory Boards, LIT’s Thought Leadership Team and the LIT Foundation establishedin 2011 comprising senior National and International business peoplewhich has delivered significant philanthropic benefaction.

Before joining LIT in 1996 as a member of the lecturing staff, he worked as an analyst with Molex. He is currently Vice President, PresidentElect and a Fellow of the Institute of Chemistry of Ireland (FICI ), he holds membership of several esteemed national and international professional bodies, he is a registered European Chemist, an Irish-American Partnership Scholar, he was awarded a Doctor of Philosophy(Ph.D. ) in Physical Chemistry from the University of Limerick and an Executive Masters in Business Administration (MBA ) from University College Cork. 

He graduated with an honours degree in science from Cork Institute of Technology in Analytical Chemistry with Quality Assurance. He was awarded Associate Degrees in Chemistry from Limerick Institute of Technology and from the University of Greenwich. 

As an undergraduate he was awarded a gold medal in Chemistry and was Institute and National Student of the Year.

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