New SFI director appointed


Prof Mark Ferguson has been appointed as the next director general of Science Foundation Ireland.

A native of Northern Ireland, he takes over from Dr Graham Love on January 16th for a five-year term.

A graduate of Queens University Belfast, Prof Ferguson has been a research academic and professor of life sciences for 30 years at the University of Manchester. He is also an entrepreneur as co-founder of Renovo, a biotechnology spin-out company.

The Foundation Board announced the appointment this afternoon. It has taken about a year to find a full-time replacement after the departure of Dr Frank Gannon as DG at the end of 2010.

Dr Love now returns to his position within the Foundation as director of policy.

Prof Ferguson’s mix of academic and commercial experience would have been a factor in his appointment given the current Government push to win a commercial return on the State investment in research and development.

“I am passionate about science, its commercial exploitation and its societal and economic benefits,” Prof Ferguson said on the announcement of his appointment.