New Fellows Dinner

Dining Hall

4th October 2018

Good evening, and welcome,

We have arrived again at this important time, early in the new academic year, when we welcome in our new Fellows to the Trinity community.

Traditionally the names of the new Fellows are read out from the steps of the Public Theatre, on Trinity Monday. Then, at this dinner we welcome each new Fellow by name, position, and research specialisation. This is our opportunity to welcome the new Fellows collectively and to get a sense of the distinction each one brings to the College.

As you know, Trinity was founded as a corporation consisting of the Provost, Fellows and Scholars. The singular dignity of Fellowship is as old as the College itself.

Fellows are elected by other Fellows on the basis of scholarly work of international standing, and once elected, they have a central role in the governance of the College. To our Fellows falls the great task of moulding the College’s distinctive traditions in each new generation.

The first three Fellows elected in 1592 were theologians. Over the following centuries, the number and diversity of Fellows increased - as scholarship in Trinity became ever more rich, varied, versatile, and international. From the small, distinctive 17th century college of Irish and British male theologians, Trinity is now a large, global, multidisciplinary university.

Tonight we recognise fourteen new Fellows, and two new Professorial Fellows. That’s high number of new Fellows, four more than last year and it’s a measure of the exceptionally high level of research and scholarship being done here in Trinity.

Yesterday we paid tribute to the four new Trinity MRIAs elected this year to the Royal Irish Academy, again a high number. And at my address to the Provost’s Council in August, I drew attention to Trinity’s remarkable research success.

Last year Trinity won €100.6 million euro in research funding. Four years ago, that figure was €74 million.

In less than five years we have increased our research revenue by one third, and it was already by far the highest of any Irish university.

Trinity has won half of all Irish European Research Council grants – even though we only have 16% of Ireland’s academic faculty. And when it comes to ERC grants per academic staff, Trinity is fourth among LERU members – just behind Cambridge, Oxford and Imperial.

I mention the ERC as an example, because these grants have been measured across Europe. I know there are many more funding bodies and many other indicators of research success, such as publication impact, at which Trinity staff also excel.

Our research success demonstrates the exceptional strength of our Fellowship, particularly since this success comes against the background of an under-resourced Irish higher education system. I would like to take this opportunity to thank and congratulate all Fellows and staff for their tremendous contribution to global scholarship and education and for enhancing the reputation of this university.

Tonight we also welcome two new honorary fellows.

Professor Brian Lawlor is Conolly Norman Professor of Old Age Psychiatry here in Trinity and the Director of the Memory Clinic at St. James's Hospital, Dublin, the co-Director of the Global Brain Health Institute and Chair of the Understand Together National Dementia Awareness Campaign. He is an expert on dementia matters and has published widely in the area of brain health. He is global to Trinity’s remarkable global standing in ageing research. Ladies and Gentlemen, Brian Lawlor

Dr. Michael Longley is a graduate of this college in Classics. He has published eleven collections of poetry including Gorse Fires which won the Whitbread Poetry Award; The Weather in Japan, which won both the Hawthornden Prize and the T. S. Eliot Prize, and The Stairwell which won the Griffin International Prize. He has also won the Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry, the Wilfred Owen Award and, last year, the PEN Pinter Prize. He was appointed a CBE in 2010, and from 2007 to 2010 he was Ireland Professor of Poetry, which meant that he spent a term back in his alma matter. Ladies and Gentlemen, Michael Longley.

It’s now my honour to welcome to the Trinity Community, each new Fellow, by name, position, and research specialisation.

Rhodri Cusack is the Thomas Mitchell Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience. He uses neuroimaging in infants to study how the mind develops and to provide tools for earlier diagnosis in the neonatal intensive care unit. A graduate of Pembroke College, Cambridge and the University of Birmingham, his research has been funded by the IRC, MRC, Wellcome Trust, BBSRC, EPSRC, CIHR, and NSERC, and he recently received the prestigious ERC Advanced Grant. Ladies and Gentlemen, Brian Lawlor.

Aljosa Smolic is the SFI Research Professor of Creative Technologies at Trinity College Dublin. In his time as Senior Research Scientist with Disney Research Zurich, he led over 50 R&D projects in the area of visual computing which resulted in numerous publications, patents, and technology transfers to a range of Disney business units. His research group at Trinity, V-SENSE, combines computer vision, computer graphics and media technology to extend the dimensions of visual sensation, with specific focus on immersive technologies such as AR, VR, free viewpoint video, 360/omni-directional video, and light-fields.]

Giuliana Adamo is an Assistant Professor in Italian. Giuliana is a graduate of the universities of Pavia and Reading, her humanities research is historical and philological with a strong comparative and interdisciplinary outlook. She has published on Vittore Bocchetta, Umberto Eco and Luigi Meneghello, among other subjects and is co-author of L'ultimo dono di Quetzacoatl, Viaggio intorno al cacao e divagazioni (2001) which was awarded the prestigious Angelini Literary Prize in 2002. She is also the author of children’s tales.  

Ruth Barton is Associate Professor in Film Studies and Drama. A graduate of Trinity and UCD, she has previously worked in advertising, public relations and film exhibition. She is the author of a number of publications on Irish cinema including Irish National Cinema in 2004 and Acting Irish in Hollywood in 2006. She has written critical biographies of the Hollywood star, Hedy Lamarr and the Irish silent era director, Rex Ingram, and is a regular contributor to RTÉ's arts programme, Arena.

Adrian Bracken is an Associate Professor in the School of Genetics and Microbiology. His research – which is funded by SFI, the Worldwide Cancer Research Fund and the Health Research Board - focuses on the field of epigenetics and its relevance to stem cells and cancer. His lab regularly publishes in Nature and Cell. He has translated his lab's basic research findings, including developing a new diagnostic tool called OncoMasTR, designed to aid oncologists determine the best treatment options for breast cancer patients.

Ruth Britto is Associate Professor in Theoretical Physics. A graduate of MIT and Harvard, she is best known for her work on scattering amplitudes, which describe the production and decay of elementary particles. She made seminal contributions in recursive constructions, which bypass traditional Feynman diagrams to yield surprisingly elegant formulas efficiently. She is currently probing deep mathematical structure in these functions, with the aims of developing powerful computational algorithms for high-energy collisions and revealing hidden principles of quantum field theory.

Matthew Campbell is assistant professor in Genetics and leads the Neurovascular Genetics Research group. He has published extensively on the use of novel technologies to enhance drug delivery to the brain. His research focuses on understanding the molecular pathology of diseases such as age-related macular degeneration, Alzheimer's, Schizophrenia and chronic traumatic encephalopathy. He is recipient of the President of Ireland Young Researcher Award and the Genentech/ARVO fellowship, and is co-founder of two companies, established to commercialize research outputs from his group.

Norah Campbell is Assistant Professor in the Trinity Business School. Her research is on extreme risk, including nano-bio-info-cogno markets and climate change. Her most recent projects are on the ontology of climate change and public understanding of nanotechnology. As a marketing expert, she educates and advises on the ways in which contemporary marketing multiplies desire, stimulates invidious social comparison and manipulates vulnerability. She works with others in the field to propose alternative pleasures, pursuits and principles to market-based logics.

Eleanor Denny is Associate Professor of Economics and Director of Trinity Research in Social Science (TRiSS). Her research in energy and behavioural economics has a strong policy component and she has published for, and contributed to, the International Energy Agency and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.  She is the lead academic for the Irish Research Council NEEPD project and coordinator of the Horizon 2020 project, CONSEED, and she sits on the advisory boards of ESRI and the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland.

David Finlay is Ussher Assistant Professor in Immunometabolism in the School of Biochemistry and Immunology and the School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences. His research team are revealing novel strategies to modulate immune cell function through targeting cellular metabolism, while exploring new therapeutic opportunities. A graduate of Trinity and the University of Dundee, he is the recipient of awards including an SFI Career Development Award and, last year, an ERC Consolidator Award.

Sarah McCormack is an Associate Professor in Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering. Her research is on Sustainable Energy with a focus on Solar Energy and Energy Storage for application in the built environment. The author of over a hundred papers, she has led national and EU projects as well as COST Action. A graduate of Ulster University, she has recently been awarded a prestigious ERC Starter Grant for her project PEDAL – investigating plasmonic enhancement for luminescent devices for solar application in buildings.

Tristan McLoughlin is Associate Professor in the School of Mathematics. His research is in the areas of Quantum Field Theory, Quantum Gravity and String Theory, with a focus on using mathematical models to understand the underlying structure of theories describing elementary particles and their interactions. A graduate of Trinity and the California Institute of Technology, he has been funded by the German Science Foundation and the IRC and is currently principal investigator of an SFI award aimed at developing theoretical methods for studying strongly coupled systems.

Marco Ruffini is assistant professor in computer science and an SFI principal investigator. In the CONNECT centre for future networks and communication, he leads the Optical Network Architectures laboratory. His main research area is 5G optical networks: he works on the convergence of fixed-mobile and access-metro networks and the virtualisation of next generation networks. A graduate of Polytechnic University of Marche (Università Politecnica delle Marche) in Italy and Trinity, he has worked as a research scientist for Philips R&D and has authored over 100 publications and over 10 patents.

Desmond Ryan is an Associate Professor in Law, where he is the Convenor of the Private Law Research Group. A graduate of Trinity, Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto; Balliol College, Oxford, and the Honourable Society of the King’s Inns, his principal areas of research are Employment Law and Tort Law and he has published widely in leading international peer-reviewed journals. He is the Convenor for Ireland of the Society of Legal Scholars.

David Shepherd is Assistant Professor of Hebrew Bible/Old Testament and the director of the Trinity Centre for Biblical Studies, which he helped to establish in 2016. His research ranges widely in biblical studies and includes work on the Hebrew Bible in its literary and theological context, its ancient versions and in the arts. He co-adapted Bertolt Brecht’s The David Fragments for the stage in 2017, showing in Dublin and London. He is Secretary of the Society for Old Testament Studies (UK and Ireland), and co-editor of the Journal for the Study of the Old Testament.

Benjamin Wold is Assistant Professor in the discipline of ancient Judaism and Christianity, and has published widely on the Dead Sea Scrolls, exploring their significance for the study of multiple religious traditions in the Ancient Near East. His research has focused on the reconstruction and translation of second century BCE scrolls composed in Hebrew. A graduate of the American Institute in Jerusalem and of Durham University, he has received research awards from the Alexander von Humboldt-Foundation and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

I congratulate all our new Fellows. Each of you has achieved so much – both here in Trinity, and elsewhere. We are very proud that you have chosen to enhance this university through your research and teaching and we look forward to the continuance and deepening of our relationship with you.

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