Marine Institute CEO Honoured by NUI Galway


Dr. Peter Heffernan, Chief Executive of the Marine Institute, was honoured with the Seavite Alumni Award for Natural Science by NUI Galway last night (Saturday 1st March) at their Ninth Annual Gala Banquet. The event was attended by leaders from the world of politics and sporting luminaries such as Ronnie Delaney, Eamonn Couglan and Mick O'Connell and the broadcaster Micheal O Muircheartaigh. 

The award was presented “In recognition of his achievements in leading Ireland’s national agency for marine research and development from its infancy to an organisation with a staff of over 200 and a budget of €45million.”  

Since he became CEO of the Marine Institute, Dr Heffernan has commissioned two custom built multi-purpose research vessels, the Celtic Voyager and the Celtic Explorer, for the Institute, and overseen the design and construction of its new world class headquarters at Rinville, Oranmore, Co Galway.

Dr Heffernan holds an NUI Galway BSc degree from 1981 and PhD from 1986. He is Adjunct Professor in Marine Science at NUI Galway and a Member of the Royal Irish Academy.  

“I would like to think that Ireland has qualified for the champions’ league of international marine research and innovation and that is down to the really excellent team in the Institute and the sustained support of successive governments and stakeholders in the marine sector,” said Dr Heffernan at the ceremony. “The next phase is to get to the knock-out stages and to push on from there ensuring Ireland’s rightful place among the leading maritime nations of the world which is especially important given that over 90% of the land of Ireland is under the Atlantic Ocean.”  

Dr Heffernan acknowledged the importance of the award and thanked NUIG Galway for recognising the efforts of the Marine Institute over the years.  


For further information, please contact:  

Dr. John Joyce, Communications Manager, Marine Institute: 087 2250871  

Notes to Editor  

Dr. Peter Heffernan

Dr. Heffernan is a native of Ballina, Co. Mayo. He was awarded his BSc (Hons) Degree and PhD in marine science from the National University of Ireland, Galway, and obtained a post-doctoral position at University of Georgia in 1985, where he became an Associate Professor/Research Scientist. On his return to Ireland in 1992 he was manager in the Martin Ryan Institute in National University of Ireland, Galway.  

Dr Heffernan has been a member of the Irish Council for Science, Technology and Innovation (ICSTI), a Board member of the Ireland-Newfoundland Partnership and was host of the very successful EurOCEAN 2004 Conference (May 10-13th 2004).  In October 2003 he was awarded the RNLI Maritime Person of the Year Award.    

The SeaVite Awards  

The SeaVite awards are sponsored by the Galway-based SeaVite Bodycare Ltd., which was founded by Kaye Mulrooney, herself a graduate of NUI Galway.  She formerly taught with The Dominican’s in Taylor’s Hill, Galway and became Vice-Principle in 1975.

She resigned from her post in 1994 to concentrate on developing Seavite Bodycare with her late husband Patrick, a marine scientist.  

Previous NUIG alumni honoured by the SeaVite award include:  

2006 - Dr Reg Shaw BSc 1971, PhD 1974 Managing Director of the Wyeth BioPharma Campus in Dublin  

2005 - Professor Frank Gannon BSc 1970 Executive Director of the European Molecular Biology Organisation (EMBO)

2004 - Professor Frank Imbusch BSc 1956, MSc 1958 Senior Vice-President of the Royal Irish Academy and former Professor of Experimental Physics, NUI Galway

2003 - Professor Emer Colleran BSc, PhD 1967, 1971 Professor Microbiology, Director ECI - NUI Galway