24 November 2020 - Dr Peter Heffernan, the former CEO of the Marine Institute, has been appointed as the new Chair of the Council of the Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies (DIAS). As the world's second, and Ireland's only, Institute for Advanced Studies, DIAS leads Ireland's participation in a number of international research endeavours that focus on big unanswered questions for mankind.
Dr Heffernan served as the Marine Institute's CEO for 27 years, retiring from the role in October 2019. As Chief Executive, he played a fundamental role in developing Ireland's ocean research capacity, which included overseeing the arrival of Ireland's two purpose-built marine research vessels the RV Celtic Voyager in 1997 and the RV Celtic Explorer in 2003.
Dr Heffernan instigated the development of the Inter-Department Marine Coordination Group in 2009, which led to Ireland's first integrated marine plan, Harnessing Our Ocean Wealth. Dr Heffernan acted as an inspiration and Irish EU Presidency Ambassador for the creation of the Atlantic Ocean Research Alliance (AORA) with the signing of the Galway Statement on Atlantic Ocean Cooperation between Canada, the European Union and the United States of America. AORA has been recognised as an outstanding success story in the Atlantic area and an exemplar of international science diplomacy. Dr Heffernan is Ireland's only representative on the European Union's Mission Board for Health Oceans, Seas, Coastal and Inland Waters.