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AMBER announces return of Mary Harney as Chairperson of Board

16 October 2023

AMBER, the SFI Centre for Advanced Materials and BioEngineering Research hosted by Trinity College Dublin (TCD) is delighted to announce the return of Mary Harney as Chair of the AMBER Board from 12th October 2023.

Mary Harney originally served as Chair of the AMBER Board during its first phase from 2013 with Ruairí Quinn taking over from 2019 until 2022. Mary Harney’s has a political career spanning five decades and highlights including the longest serving female Government Minister and TD in the state’s history, Leadership of the Progressive Democrats Party and Tánaiste. A Galway native she is also a graduate of Trinity College Dublin, the host institute of AMBER. Mary Harney’s list of achievements in her political career alone contribute towards a unique expertise which will guide AMBER for the next 5 years:

  • Pioneered the first ever major programme of investment in basic research in Ireland through Science Foundation Ireland based on internationally peer-reviewed projects.
  • As Minister for Environmental Protection she founded the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) and established the first recycling initiative in the country.
  • Notably Mary Harney has always had a passion for science engagement with policy makers, having established when Minister for Enterprise, the Friends of Science Cross Party Oireachtas Group in 2002.


Speaking just following her first Board meeting back as Chair of AMBER Mary Harney said “I am honoured to return as chair of the AMBER Centre. AMBER is involved in world leading advanced materials research in the areas of BioEngineering, ICT, Sustainability, and Energy which will play an increasingly important role in Irelands future economic growth and addressing National challenges in the areas of Health, Housing, Renewable Energy and Climate Change.


Professor Mick Morris, Director of AMBER said of Ms Harney’s appointment as Chair, “Firstly we would like to thank Ruairí Quinn for his vast contributions to AMBER during his time as Chair since 2019. We are delighted to welcome Mary back at the helm of AMBER, this is a significant period as our Centre prepares its submission for the next Science Foundation Ireland Centre Call. Strong leadership and the wealth of experience that Mary brings on policy, science engagement, academia, business and innovation will steer us toward success as a world-renowned Advanced Materials Research Centre and place Ireland on the research and innovation map.


Dr Lorraine Byrne, AMBER’s Executive Director said of the appointment, “Advanced Materials have been at the forefront of technological and societal progress throughout history from early stone age tools to the development of quantum computing. It is vital that Ireland has a strong Materials Science research presence as Advanced Materials feed modern technologies and all manufacturing industries, they are intrinsically linked to economic growth, they are a driver for innovation and industrial competitiveness. With Mary’s extensive political, business and recent academic leadership experience at University of Limerick we are confident of the success of the centre for the benefit of people, planet and prosperity in years to come.”

Image Credit: Mark Maxwell, Maxwell Photography

Image L-R: AMBER Director Prof Mick Morris, AMBER Executive Director Dr Lorraine Byrne, AMBER Board Chair Mary Harney, CRANN Director Stefano Sanvito, AMBER Deputy Director Prof Fergal O’Brien, AMBER General Manager Colm McAtamney

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