Marine Institute CEO appointed to European Research & Innovation Board


(LtoR): Dr. Peter Heffernan, CEO Marine Institute, Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, European Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science and  Taoiseach Mr. Enda Kenny


Dr. Peter Heffernan, CEO of the Marine Institute, has been appointed to the European Research and Innovation Area Board (ERIAB) by European Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science Máire Geoghegan-Quinn. The 11 member board advises the Commissioner on issues relating to the development of the European Research Area, including the €80 billion Horizon 2020 Programme for Research and Innovation (2014-2020). Members of the ERIAB are appointed for a four year term and the mandate of current ERIAB extends to February 2016.  

 "I look forward to working with Dr. Peter Heffernan as a member of the European Research and Innovation Area Board, ERIAB,” said Commissioner Geoghegan-Quinn. “In the coming years, ERIAB will play a vital role in the development and optimisation of the European Research Area. Members of ERIAB are highly respected scientific and policy advisors who will draw on their extensive experience at national and international level, and I am delighted to have an Irish member of Peter's calibre on board".  

The Taoiseach Mr Enda Kenny, TD said the appointment represented an important recognition not only of Dr. Heffernan's own contribution but also of the work of the Marine Institute over the years.  "Ireland and Europe share many objectives in supporting sustainable ocean economic activities as an important engine of growth in our recovery. I have no doubt that Peter's contribution to ERIAB will be very beneficial in this regard".

Welcoming the announcement, Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Mr Richard Bruton, TD, congratulated Dr. Heffernan on his appointment which he said not only reflected Dr. Heffernan’s standing in the European research community, but also that of Irish science, technology and innovation.

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Mr Simon Coveney, TD, joined in congratulating Dr Heffernan, and noted that this appointment also acknowledged the importance of marine science, technology and innovation for the European Research Area, a topic Dr Heffernan has championed both in Ireland and in Europe.

The ERIAB plays a key role in developing, promoting and evaluating EU research, development and innovation policy initiatives and actions, including the further development of the European Research Area (ERA), the implementation of the proposed €80 billion Horizon 2020 Programme (2014-2020) and the Europe 2020 and Innovation Union Strategies. Europe 2020 is a 10-year strategy aimed at reviving the economy of the European Union through "smart, sustainable, inclusive growth, with high levels of employment and living standards”.

In July 2012, the Irish Government, through the interdepartmental Marine Co-ordination Group, launched Harnessing Our Ocean Wealth – An Integrated Marine Plan for Ireland, setting out a roadmap to harness the potential of Ireland’s marine resource. This plan, part of the marine sectors contribution to the Europe 2020 Strategy, will contribute to the development of the Action Plan of the European Union Strategy for the Atlantic (EUSA) which will have a major bearing and influence on the topics to be supported by EU Structural, Regional, Research and Environment Funds between 2014 and 2020.



Members of ERIAB

Prof. Luc Soete - Chair- Rector of Maastricht University

Dr. Barbara Haering - Co-Chair-Chief Executive of econcept Inc., Zürich, 

Prof. Hans-Jörg Bullinger - President Co-Chair-Fraunhofer Gesellschaft, München, Germany.

Ms Manuela Arata - TT Manager at CNR and President of the Science Festival, Rome,Italy

Prof. Genevieve Berger - Chief Research and Development Officer at Unilever, London, UK,

Prof. Anna Czlonkowska - Professor at 2nd Department of Neurology, Institute of Psychiatry and Neurology, Warsaw, Poland

Ms. Anne Glover - Chief Executive of Amadeus Capital Partners Ltd. London, UK

Dr. Peter Heffernan - Chief Executive of the Marine Institute, Galway, Ireland

Prof. Toivo Maimets - Professor of Cell Biology and Director, Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology, University of Tartu, Estonia

Dr. Jan-Eric Sundgren - Executive Vice President Public & Environmental Affairs at Volvo Group Headquarters, Göteborg, Sweden Prof.

John Wood - Secretary General, Association of Commonwealth Universities, London, UK  

For more information on:  

ERIAB and its high level membership;

Harnessing Our Ocean Wealth;

The European Union Strategy for the Atlantic and Atlantic Action Plan ;

Tasks of ERIAB:

1. To advise the European Commission on European Research Area Issues, to provide recommendations on priorities and actions and in particular on how to increase the innovation impact and to evaluate the relevant part of Innovation Union Flagship initiatives on a continuous basis;

2.  To deliver opinions on the development and realisation of the European Research Area and the Innovation Union at the request of the Commission, or on the Board’s own initiative;

3.  To provide the Commission with an annual report on the development of the European Research Area and of the Innovation Union;

4.  To reflect on new trends in the European Research Area and the Innovation Union.

Profile of ERIAB Members and criteria for their nomination and appointment by the European Commission:

  • Prominent research and/or innovation profile, including expertise in non-technological innovation 
  •  Experience in the design, management and implementation of research and/or innovation policy 
  •  Advisory experience on a European or international level 
  •  Balance among research and technology disciplines including persons with specific university-industry experience  
  • Geographical balance  
  • Appropriate gender balance