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Learn more about some of our guest speakers who will contribute during the online 2023 National Energy Research and Policy Conference.

Dr. Vahid Aryanpur

Senior Post-Doctoral Researcher, MaREI, University College Cork

Dr. Vahid Aryanpur, a Senior Post-Doctoral Researcher at MaREI, University College Cork, specialises in energy systems modelling for informed policymaking. He develops and applies simulation and optimisation models at both national and international levels, analysing long-term transition scenarios, particularly within the power and transportation sectors. Vahid’s published research covers the entirety of the interconnected energy system, including energy, economy, societal, and climate aspects. His current research focuses on decarbonising passenger and freight vehicles through advanced technologies and alternative fuels, along with their broader energy system impacts. With over 12 years of experience in examining low- and net-zero carbon pathways across developed and developing countries, he has provided consulting services to international organisations, government bodies, academic institutions, utilities, and suppliers. These efforts encompass rigorous evaluations of the costs and benefits associated with mitigation strategies, while identifying optimal technologies and investments. His comprehensive approach provides valuable insights for policymakers in designing effective energy strategies, achieving mitigation goals, enhancing energy security, and fostering long-term benefits.

Dr. Morgan D. Bazilian

Director, Payne Institute and Professor of Public Policy, Colorado School of Mines

Morgan D. Bazilian is Director of the Payne Institute and Professor of Public Policy at the Colorado School of Mines. 

Previously, he was Lead Energy Specialist at the World Bank. He has over two decades of experience in energy, natural resources, and environmental policy and international affairs. He holds a Ph.D. in energy analysis and was a Fulbright Fellow. 

He is a Member of the Council on Foreign Relations, and Ireland’s National Climate Council. He is a Global Fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center, and an adjunct professor of thermal physics at University College Cork. 

He has published over 180 papers in learned journals, and his 2008 book: “Analytical Methods for Energy Diversity and Security” is a seminal work in the field. His work has appeared in Nature, Science, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, WSJ, Washington Post, New York Times, FT, and Foreign Affairs. 

Dr. Bazilian was a member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Advisory Council on Energy, and served as an advisor to the International Energy’s World Energy Outlook, for many years, as well as Bloomberg New Energy Finance’s Global Energy Outlook. 

He holds (or has held) academic affiliations at The Royal Institute of Technology of Sweden, Columbia University, Cambridge University, Oxford University, and IIASA. 

Dr. Bazilian was the European Union’s lead negotiator on technology issues at the UN’s climate change negotiations, and a member of the UN Expert Group on Technology. He was the first Chair of the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Partnership Programme Board, and a founder of the UNEP Public Finance Alliance steering group. He was a contributing author to the IPCC and the Global Energy Assessment, and served as an advisor to a €200M cleantech venture capital fund. 

Previously he was a Deputy Director at NREL. Prior to that, Morgan worked as a senior diplomat in the UN. Prior to this post, he worked in the Irish Government as Chief Advisor for the Energy Minister, and was the Deputy CEO of the Irish National Energy Agency. 


Paul Bonnetblanc

Project Manager - Energy Efficiency, French Ministry of Energy

Paul is currently part of the task force team in charge of drafting the French National Sufficiency Roadmap (2022-2024) and ensuring its wide dissemination: he works closely with the Energy Efficiency team at DGEC. Previously, he was the DGEC's expert on geothermal energy and carbon capture, use and storage, and then the national contact point for the EU Innovation Fund managed by DG CLIMA. Prior to entering public administration, he worked as an energy project manager in various contexts: Northern Saskatchewan, North Africa, the Middle East and the Caribbean. Paul holds a Masters Degree in Mining Engineering and a Certificate in Finance.

Dr. Noreen Brennan

Postdoctoral Researcher, Cairnes School of Business and Economics, University of Galway

Noreen is an environmental economist with a special interest in community engagement in renewable energy and sustainability initiatives. She is a Post-Doctoral researcher in the University of Galway conducting research on both the Green Hysland project; which aims to deploy a green hydrogen ecosystem in Mallorca; and the STEPS project, which aims to assist energy storage providers identify novel markets and provide support to SMEs in developing energy storage solutions. She has worked as a researcher on projects related to public preferences for wind energy, public acceptance of hydrogen-powered transport; stakeholder engagement in peatland restoration projects, the impact of farmer interaction with education programmes on farm outputs and assessing bioenergy analysis models. She has previously been employed in research positions with the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland and Teagasc as well as in the transportation industry producing business analytics and forecasts.

Justina Corcoran

Head of Retail Energy Policy and Regulation Division, Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications

Justina is the Head of Retail Energy Policy and Regulation Division in DECC, which is primarily consumer focused.  Justina has recently joined the Energy team from the Climate side of the house and is excited to bring her learnings and experience from leading on the National Dialogue on Climate Action and the Sustainable Developments Goals to the Energy Agenda. In order to ensure a just transition, which is fair and equitable to all in society, the voices of those most vulnerable to change must be listened to, understood and reflected in policy.  Justina is currently leading on the National Energy Poverty Action Plan. 

Professor Claire Dupont

Associate Research Professor, European Governance and Sustainability transformations, Ghent University

Claire Dupont is an Associate Research Professor at Ghent University. Claire carries out research on the politics, policy and governance of the transformation to climate neutrality and sustainability, looking across climate, energy and environment governance. Claire is interested in the interactions between such policies and politics and democratic governance more broadly, especially in the European Union and its member states. Her research also focuses on how external dynamics influence EU policy and politics and how the EU itself interacts externally. 

Claire is Chair of the Scientific Committee of the European Environment Agency. Claire is also a member of the Observatoire de la Politique Climatique (‘Climate Policy Observatory’) of Luxembourg, which is an independent scientific advisory body established under Luxembourg’s Climate Law. 

Dr. Clare Guy

Programme Executive, Research, Development and Demonstration, SEAI

Clare joined the SEAI Research, Development & Demonstration team in 2022. Prior to this, she worked as a Programme Executive in the SEAI Market Surveillance team. Clare supports the SEAI National Energy Research, Development and Demonstration Funding Programme Calls. In addition, Clare coordinates the National Energy Research and Policy Conference and Connecting Energy Research and Policy Seminar Series.

Clare holds a bachelor’s degree in Botany from Trinity College Dublin and a PhD in Grassland Science from Queen’s University Belfast.

Dr. Alan Henry

Managing Director, Rockall Research

Alan Henry is an experienced project manager having led various large and multidisciplinary projects including experimental and numerical programmes; such as determining load cases for Wave Energy Converters in extreme seas and the SEAI-funded WEC.0 and SIMREI projects which focus on the I,O&M of Marine Renewables.
Alan is currently Managing Director of Rockall Research which provides a wide range of research and technical services to the Marine Renewables Industry, working with technology developers and leading and collaborating on publicly funded research projects. The company is founded on ten years of experience in the development of the Oyster wave energy converter with Aquamarine Power. This experience ranges from the original concept development, assessment and optimisation through to the design, deployment and operation of two full-scale prototypes at EMEC in Orkney. Rockall specialises in physical, numerical and cost modelling of Wave, Tidal and Floating Wind technologies to predict power output, optimise key dimensions and specify loads for engineering design. Rockall has worked with partners MMCC Port Marine and Ocean Wave Venture to develop I,O&M models which have been used to determine the needs of the marine renewables sector in Ireland in terms of ports, vessels and workforce. 

Dr. Muireann Lynch

Senior Research Officer, ESRI

Muireann Lynch is a Senior Research Officer in the Economic Analysis division of the Economic and Social Research Institute. Muireann holds a degree in Mathematics and Economics from Trinity College Dublin and a PhD from the School of Electronic and Electrical Engineering in UCD. She has published numerous research articles in diverse areas of energy economics and has co-authored submissions to various public consultations and Government Departments. Muireann is Research Area Coordinator for Energy in the ESRI, a funded investigator with the MaREI SFI Research Centre and is Deputy Director of the SFI-funded NexSys Partnership. Muireann’s research interests include electricity market regulation, power system economics and renewable generation integration and her research methodologies include stochastic mathematical programming, optimisation and game theory. Her research is funded by the ESRI’s Energy Policy Research Centre, Science Foundation Ireland, the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland, the European Commission and the Gas Innovation Fund.

Conall Mahon

Programme Executive, Decarbonised Heat, SEAI

Conall Mahon is a Programme Executive in the Decarbonised Heat team in SEAI since 2021. Conall specialises in Sustainability and Life Cycle Assessment for Irish heating options. Conall’s role involves developing the evidence base to inform policy makers and to help drive market development of both District Heating and Bioenergy.

Conall holds a Degree in Earth & Ocean Science from NUI Galway as well as a Masters in Sustainable Energy & Green Technologies from UCD. He has previously worked in Energy Efficiency quality inspections and published academic research on District Heating in Ireland.


Dr. Fiona Devoy McAuliffe

Research Fellow, MaREI, University College Cork

Fiona Devoy McAuliffe is a research fellow at the ERI, MAREI centre, University College Cork. She has over 10 years’ experience in modelling and analysing the logistics (installation, Operations and Maintenance (O&M), and decommissioning) and costs of offshore renewable energy (ORE) devices and farms including offshore wind, wave and tidal energy technologies. Her main research activities involved developing logistics simulation and decision-support tools for ORE arrays and conducting logistics optimisation and LCoE analysis. She has worked on a number of EU and national projects including LEANWIND; OPERA; EirWind; OPFLOW; SEKLIE; X-Rotor; and LiftWEC. Fiona is an experienced project manager and served on the management team for the H2020 MARINERG-i project, preparing the necessary documentation and successfully leading the application to place the MARINERG-i Distributed Research Infrastructure of ORE testing facilities on the 2021 ESFRI roadmap. She is currently managing and contributing expertise to the industry and SEAI funded project IDEA-IRL. In collaboration with the International Energy Agency Task 49 (IDEA), IDEA-IRL is developing Integrated Designs of Floating Wind Arrays, specifically focusing on scenarios and deployment pathways for Ireland.

Margie McCarthy

Director of Research and Policy Insights, SEAI

Margie is Director of Research and Policy Insights, with key responsibilities for analytical and research functions within SEAI including the development and delivery of energy data and insights to support policy decisions, and investment in innovative energy research which contribute to Ireland’s energy transition.  As a member of the Executive Leadership Team of SEAI contributing to the development and implementation of organisational strategy and operationalising that strategy for optimal delivery of results.

Margie is a Chartered Engineer and Fellow of Engineers Ireland.  She joined SEAI from Science Foundation Ireland (SFI), where she served as Head of Education and Public Engagement and as Interim Director of Science for Society.  Margie has served on several national education and skills policy groups and is currently Chairperson of the Gender Balance in STEM Education Advisory Group to the Department of Education.


Professor Barry McMullin

Professor of Engineering and Computing at Dublin City University

Barry is a Full Professor in the Faculty of Engineering and Computing at Dublin City University. He has worked and published across a wide variety of fields, with a special focus on the interdisciplinary application of complex systems science. He has recently led research projects investigating the potential role of negative emissions technologies in Ireland, the application of multi-gas greenhouse gas budgets in national climate action scenarios, and the use of open access software and datasets in developing deep decarbonisation scenarios for the Irish energy system. He has held various senior roles in DCU including serving as Faculty Executive Dean, and as a member of DCU’s Academic Council, Senior Management Group, and University Executive Committee. He is a member of the Engineers Ireland Energy, Environment and Climate Action Division, serving as Division Committee Chair for 2021-2023. He is a current member of the Board of SEAI.

Vice Admiral (Rtd) Mark Mellett

Board Chair of the Maritime Area Regulatory Authority

Vice Admiral Mellett was Ireland’s highest ranking military officer, Government’s principal military adviser and member of the National Security Committee and the EU Military Committee. He has served as a specialist Naval Diving Officer, Seagoing Commander and also served in Afghanistan and Lebanon. He led the COVID-19 military response. He is recipient of two Distinguished Service Medals and on behalf of the President of the French Republic he was appointed to the rank of Commander in the National Order of the Légion d’Honneur. Appointed by Government as Board Chair of the Maritime Area Regulatory Authority, he is also Council Chair and Board Member of the IMI, Deputy Chair of Sage Advocacy and an Adjunct Professor at UCC. Holder of a PhD in Ecosystem Governance and founder of ‘Green Compass’ he provides strategic advice to governments, industry and ENGOs. He speaks about courageous leadership, climate change and sustainability.

Cathal Ó Cléirigh

Senior Energy Analyst, Energy Statistics Team, SEAI

Cathal is a Senior Energy Analyst with the Energy Statistics team at SEAI, which collects, analyses and disseminates national and sectoral statistics for energy production, supply transformation and end use. The teams also fulfils many of Ireland’s international reporting obligations relating to energy. 

Prior to joining SEAI, Cathal worked as a consultant with Byrne Ó Cléirigh, where he provided services to clients in the public and private sectors in the areas of energy policy and management, environmental protection, and risk management. He holds a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering. 

Issy Petrie

Research and Policy Officer, the Society of St Vincent de Paul

Issy Petrie is a Research and Policy Officer at the Society of St Vincent de Paul in the Social Justice Team, focussing on energy poverty and income policy. The Social Justice team draw on the experience of SVP members’ work supporting people facing poverty and social exclusion in order to advocate for practical change and policy solutions. Prior to working at SVP, Issy worked at the Carnegie UK Trust based in Scotland and the New Policy Institute and the Living Wage Foundation in London. 


Dr. Jan Rosenow

Principal and Director of European Programmes, Regulatory Assistance Project

Dr Jan Rosenow is a Principal and Director of European Programmes at the Regulatory Assistance Project (RAP), a global team of highly-skilled energy experts advising policy makers across the world on clean energy. Jan has several board appointments including the European Council for an Energy Efficient Economy and the Coalition for Energy Savings. Jan also has a passion for energy research. He is an Honorary Research Associate at Oxford University’s Environmental Change Institute. In recognition of his work within the field, Jan was named one of the world’s top 5 energy influencers and has been appointed Special Advisor to the House of Commons as part of their inquiry into decarbonising heating. He is a regular commentator in the national and international media and has been an expert witness to the European Parliament and the House of Commons on many occasions. 


Minister Eamon Ryan TD

Minister for Transport, Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications

Eamon Ryan TD is the Minister for Transport and the Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications. He was appointed to these roles in June 2020. Eamon Ryan was elected to represent Dublin Bay South in the 2020 general election. He was born in Dublin and raised in Dundrum and Dartry. He studied commerce in UCD before taking a job managing a marketing course in the university’s School of Business. He went on to found a cycling tourism company, Irish Cycling Safaris, in the late 1980s and in 1996 won the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year award. He was the founding chairperson of the Dublin Cycling Campaign and began his political career as a Dublin City Councillor for the Rathgar-Rathmines ward. He then went on to serve both as a TD for Dublin South and as a Government Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources. In recent years he has worked for a European climate organisation and chaired the digital policy group in the Institute of International and European Affairs. He is currently leader of the Green Party/Comhaontas Glas.

Dr. Yamina Saheb

Lecturer and researcher at Sciences Po (Paris), a lead author of the IPCC report on climate change mitigation, Senior fellow at OpenExp

Yamina Saheb is a lecturer and researcher at Sciences Po (Paris), a lead author of the IPCC report on climate change mitigation and a Senior fellow at OpenExp.

Prior to this position, Yamina was a Senior Fellow Researcher at the University of Münster and previously a Senior Researcher at the University of Lausanne. In 2018, Yamina was the head of energy efficiency unit at the Energy Charter Secretariat. Before that, she was a Policy and Scientific Officer at the Renewables and Energy Efficiency Unit at the Institute of Energy and Transport of the Joint Research Centre (JRC) of the European Commission (EC). She also worked as senior buildings energy efficiency policy analyst at the IEA.

Yamina holds a Ph.D in Energy Engineering, Master’s degrees on Landscape Architecture and Development Economics and an Engineering degree in Building technologies.


Jim Scheer

Head of Data and Insights, SEAI

Jim has over 20 years’ experience working in the field of policy analysis and development related to environmental issues. He joined SEAI in 2007 and is currently Head of Department (Data and Insights) responsible for energy statistics, modelling, behavioural economics and finance at SEAI. He holds a Professional Diploma in Advanced Management Performance (Smurfit Business School), MSc. Economic Policy Studies (Trinity College Dublin), BSc. Environmental Science (Flinders University, South Australia). Jim is passionate about getting people connected to the need for climate action now.

Dr. Matthijs Soede

Senior Policy Officer, European Commission

Matthijs Soede studied at the Delft University of Technology and has a PhD in Chemical Engineering. He began his career at the Ministry of Economic Affairs in the Netherlands, as specialist in international research cooperation. In 2008 he joined the European Commission in DG Research and Innovation as policy officer in Industrial Technologies and moved to Clean Energy Transition being responsible for offshore renewables. He followed several eranet and cofund actions and from the start the Clean Energy Transition Partnership.

Kerrie Sheehan

Head of Research and Technology, SEAI

Kerrie is currently Head of Research and Technology Department in Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI). The SEAI Research & Technology Department coordinates Ireland’s energy research funding programme, National Contact Point for EU Horizon Europe, and houses technology research areas of offshore/ocean, onshore electricity/wind and renewable heat (bioenergy and district heating).

Kerrie has over 17 years’ experience in management of funded research, with the last nine within sustainable energy. The roles have spanned central university functions, research performing teams and national energy research funding agency, covering programmatic development & management, finance and governance.  She holds a BA in Mathematics and Geography, a Master’s in Environmental Public Policy and is an FCCA accountant.

She is active across several EU coordination committees and initiatives such as representing Ireland on the EU SET-Plan, Horizon Europe Programme Committee and the Atlantic Strategy Plan, and nationally includes participation on steering and working groups relating to offshore, district heating, hydrogen and funded research. She is committed to bridging the policy/education/research/industry interface and is a non-executive board committee member of Kildare Wicklow ETB.

Sarah Stanley

PhD Researcher, UCD

Sarah Stanley is a part-time PhD student, based between UCD’s School of Electrical Engineering and School of Economics. She has an academic background in Economics, and Economic and Environmental Modelling, and has worked in energy modelling for the SEAI, ESRI and the Irish Branch of the UK’s Energy Institute prior to starting her PhD. Her research interests include power system modelling to test the feasibility of medium-term policy scenarios, system security, and evolving electricity markets. She is funded by the Department of Environment, Climate and Communications under the EMPowER project. 

William Walsh

Chief Executive Officer, SEAI

William Walsh is Chief Executive Officer in SEAI, having previously held the position of both Chief Operations Officer and Chief Financial Officer. William joined SEAI in 2013. Prior to joining SEAI he worked for IFI where he held a number of roles including Assistant Chief Executive Officer and Director. Prior to that he held senior management positions in the private sector. William is a Chartered Accountant, holds a Bachelor of Business Studies from Dublin City University, holds a Graduate Diploma in Strategy, Innovation and Change from UCD and holds a Diploma in Company Direction from the IOD.

Irene Ward

Programme Manager, Research, Development and Demonstration, SEAI

Irene joined the SEAI RDD team in 2021 as a Programme Executive. Prior to this she worked in Research Project Management roles based in UCD for national and international funded projects for 12 years. She has also held roles as a Centre Manager for in an International Centre for Mathematical Sciences at Heriot Watt and University of Edinburgh and a Community Education Manager in Cambridgeshire. Irene is committed to lifelong learning and research and has a BSc in Geography (Ulster), a PGCE (Leeds), an MSc in Management (UCD Smurfit) and is currently in the latter stages of an MSc in Environmental Sustainability (UCD).