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UCC engineer elected Royal Irish Academy president

Prof Michael Peter Kennedy succeeds first woman president Prof Mary E Daly

Prof Michael Peter Kennedy elected 56th president of the Royal Irish Academy

University College Cork (UCC) academic Prof Michael Peter Kennedy has been elected the 56th President of the Royal Irish Academy.

Mr Kennedy was elected unopposed, succeeding historian Prof Mary E Daly who was elected as the academy’s first female president in 2014.

Professor of Microelectronic Engineering at UCC, and considered a world expert in wireless communications, Mr Kennedy is the academy’s first president from UCC.

Mr Kennedy said he was honoured to be elected and that he saw the academy as “playing a key advisory role in Ireland’s response to the challenges and opportunities of Brexit”.

A graduate of UCD and the University of California at Berkeley, Mr Kennedy is one of Ireland’s leading engineers whose research has been funded by Science Foundation Ireland and the Irish Research Council, the academy said.

He received the inaugural Parsons Award in Engineering Sciences in 2001 and was elected as a member of the Academy in 2004. He won UCC’s Invention of the Year Award in 2011 and led the development of the US-Ireland Research Innovation Awards in 2014/15, a joint initiative of the Royal Irish Academy and the American Chamber of Commerce Ireland.

Mr Kennedy will serve a three-year term as president of the academy, seen as Ireland’s leading body of experts in the sciences and humanities.

Prof Patrick M Shannon was also elected as academy secretary. Mr Shannon is the founder of the Marine and Petroleum Geology research group in UCD. His main research is in the areas of basin analysis and marine and petroleum geology, with special reference to the Irish offshore.

Past presidents of the academy include economist TK Whitaker (1985-7) and politician and climatologist James Dooge (1987-90).

Members include President Michael D. Higgins, and past presidents Mary McAleese and Mary Robinson. Historian Roy Foster, political scientist Louise Richardson, economist and former governor of the Central Bank of Ireland Patrick Honohan, and economist and former director of the Economic and Social Research Institute Frances Ruane are also among the members.