Marine Institute welcomes appointment of new CEO

Dr Paul Connolly has been appointed as the next Chief Executive Officer of the Marine Institute, Ireland’s state agency for marine research, technology development and innovation. He succeeds Dr Peter Heffernan who retires from the post tomorrow (Friday )

Dr Connolly is the current Director of Fisheries and Ecosystems Advisory Services (FEAS ) at the Marine Institute, leading world-class staff to provide scientific advice on the sustainable exploitation of Ireland’s fisheries resource and marine ecosystems.

Welcoming the announcement, Chairman of the Marine Institute Dr John Killeen said, “On behalf of the board, I congratulate Dr Connolly on his new appointment as CEO. He brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to the role, and will be dedicated to positioning the Marine Institute as a global leader in ocean knowledge and empowering Ireland to harness our marine resource.”

Dr Paul Connolly said that 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, and the need to address the challenges posed by a changing climate,” he said.

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. The IFSRP discuss the latest scientific advice and research gap areas related to sustainable fisheries. Dr Connolly also co-chairs quarterly meetings with the environmental NGO’s which discuss ocean sustainability issues.

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 also led the development of strategy for the Marine Institute’s Newport Research facility which has led to an increase in research programmes in fisheries, aquaculture, genetics, climate and ecosystem science.

Dr Connolly has a PhD from UCD (1986 ), a Masters in Business Administration from NUI Galway (2006 ) and completed the Timoney Advanced Leadership Programme in 2016.

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