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Learn more about some of our guest speakers who contributed during the online 2022 National Energy Research and Policy Conference.

Dr. Noreen Brennan

Post-Doctoral Researcher, NUI Galway

Noreen is an environmental economist with a special interest in community engagement in renewable energy and sustainability initiatives. She has worked as a researcher on projects related to public preferences for wind energy, 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. She is currently employed as a Post-Doctoral researcher in NUI Galway as part of both the Green Hyland 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 also currently conducts research for Natural Capital Ireland, a not-for-profit organisation which aims to value, protect and restore Ireland’s natural capital and ecosystem services.

Ruth Buggie

Sustainable Energy Communities Programme Manager, SEAI

Ruth Buggie is the Sustainable Energy Communities Programme Manager with SEAI. She joined SEAI in 2005 and has managed a number of national grant programmes including the SEAI Energy Poverty programme, the Better Energy Homes Scheme and the Area Based programme.  

Ruth is responsible for the development and deployment of the Sustainable Energy Communities programme to support the development of a community approach to energy and to stimulate a national move towards sustainable energy practice through demonstration in exemplar communities. More recently this role has extended to include the energy in education and youth engagement programme areas. 

Ruth holds a Degree in Building Services and a Masters in Energy Management from the Dublin Institute of Technology. 

Dr. Brian Caulfield

Associate Professor, Department of Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering, Trinity College Dublin

Dr Caulfield is an Associate Professor and Head of Discipline in the Department of Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering. Since joining the Department Dr Caulfield has embarked on an intensive research program addressing global issues such as the environmental impacts of transport and methods to reduce the carbon impacts of transport and in 2017 he addressed the Irish Citizens Assembly on this topic. He recently provided advice to the Climate Change Advisory Council on pathways to decreasing transport emissions by 2030. Dr Caulfield is currently a member of the Steering Group for the review and update of the GDA Transport Strategy with the National Transport Authority.  

Dr Caulfield has published over 180 papers in these areas in high impact international journals and international conferences and to date has been awarded approx. €4.9 million in research funding (from EPA, SFI, FP7, CEDR, TII, DoT, RSA, SEAI and HORIZON Europe). He currently has 7 PhD students and 7 postdoctoral researchers in his research group.  

Dr Caulfield also a member of a number of National and International research groups and is the former Chair of the Irish Transportation Research Network and was a member of the executive committee of the Universities Transport Studies Group as well as several committees at the Transportation Research Board in Washington D.C.  

He is a Senior Editor of Renewable & Sustainable Energy Reviews (impact factor: 14.982) and an Editor of Transport Policy (impact factor: 4.674). He is a member of the International Editorial Board of Transportation Research Part D: Transport and Environment (impact factor: 5.495), Case Studies on Transport Policy (impact factor: 1.038), and the Journal of Transport Geography (impact factor: 4.986). 


Dr. Lucy Corcoran

Programme Manager, Research, Development & Demonstration, SEAI

Lucy Corcoran works on delivery of the SEAI National Energy Research, Development and Demonstration (RD&D) Funding Programme, which supports innovative energy RD&D projects that contribute to Ireland’s transition to a clean and secure energy future. Lucy represents Ireland on Europe’s Strategic Energy Technology Plan (SETPlan) Steering Group, and represents SEAI on the National Climate Research Coordination Group. Lucy is also the National Contact Point for the European Commission co-funded ERA-Net Smart Energy Systems initiative.

Lucy is an engineer with ten years’ experience in the energy sector, across industry and academia. She holds a BAI (Engineering) and PhD (Hydropower Energy Recovery) from Trinity College Dublin, and is a graduate of the UCD-TCD-QUB Innovation Academy (Innovation and Entrepreneurship).

Dr. Christina Demski

Reader in Environmental Psychology, University of Bath

Dr Christina Demski is a Reader in Environmental Psychology at the University of Bath. She is also Deputy Director of the Centre for Climate Change and Social Transformations (CAST) leading theme 1 of the research programme, which investigates the feasibility and social desirability of low-carbon futures. She has also researched the design and impact of climate assemblies and has recently completed a secondment with the UK Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy as Net Zero Public Engagement Advisor. 

Her general research interests cover issues within risk perception and communication, specifically public engagement with complex socio-technical and environmental issues (e.g. climate change, energy transitions). Her work is shaped by a strong interdisciplinary perspective and the utilisation of mixed-methods to investigate public acceptance of environmental risk issues. 

Her most recent energy research has examined public values and acceptability of whole energy system transformations, perceptions of costs associated with energy transitions, perceptions of energy security, and the role trust. 

Prof. Patrick Devine-Wright

Professor in Human Geography, University of Exeter

Patrick Devine-Wright is an environmental social scientist with a primary interest in social acceptance of energy transitions, community engagement and place attachment. With expertise spanning human geography and environmental psychology, he was cited in the top 1% of social science scholars globally by Web of Science in 2019, 2020 and 2021. He is an IPCC Lead Author on social aspects of climate change mitigation, member of IEA Task 28 on social acceptance of wind energy, Chair of the Devon Net Zero Task Force, sits on the National Advisory Group for EirGrid, and is a Director and former Chair of Exeter Community Energy. He received a Distinguished Visiting Scientist award from CSIRO, Australia (2012-2013) and is Adjunct Professor in Geography, Trinity College Dublin. He is an editorial board member of journals including Global Environmental Change, Energy Research and Social Science, and the Journal of Environment Psychology; acts as an advisor to the UK government, and has collaborated with energy companies in the UK and Ireland. He is Director of the new £6.25m ACCESS (Advancing Capacity in Climate and Environment Social Science) leadership team for environmental social science funded by the Economic and Social Research Council.  ACCESS will increase the co-ordination and visibility of social science research through outreach and close relationships with stakeholders and policy makers across the UK and internationally. 

Marie Donnelly

Chairperson, Climate Change Advisory Council

Marie is the Chairperson of the Climate Change Advisory Council. She spent thirty years with the European Commission, ultimately as Director for Renewables, Energy Efficiency and Innovation, and was a leading advocate of future oriented policies and strategies: providing a fair deal for consumers; putting energy efficiency first; and achieving global leadership in renewable energies.

Marie is a member of the Governance Committee of MaREI, and an Advisory board member of UCD Energy Institute.
Marie was the first Chairperson of Renewable Energy Ireland - an open partnership of sustainable energy associations working collectively to support the energy transition in Ireland.

She was also a non-executive director of Tipperary Energy Agency – a social enterprise for energy efficiency; and E3G, a European climate change think tank operating to accelerate the global transition to a low carbon economy.

Marie is a Senior Advisor in Brussels to Hume Brophy, a global Communications Agency.

Before joining the Commission, Marie was a Director of the Federation of Irish Chemical Industries, prior to which she was an executive with the Kerry Group.

Sinead Dooley

Head of Public Engagement, EirGrid Plc

Sinead joined EirGrid at the end of 2020 as Head of function, bringing together Community and Agricultural Liaison Officers, Engagements Specialists, Planners and Ecologist as the newly establish Public Engagement team. EirGrid are passionate about the need for substantive engagement with all citizens and civil society to ensure their voices are at the core of decision making and policy as we transition to a low carbon energy future by 2030. The Public Engagement team have introduced new initiatives, partnerships and deliberative dialogue as part of their engagement strategy over the past few years and are committed to bringing communities with them on this journey.

Prior to working in EirGrid Sinead was Deputy Chief Executive of Irish Rural Link leading out on many programmes around Peat Restoration as part of the Just Transition, Deep Retrofit Programme public awareness campaign for SEAI, Cross border EU PEACE IV project working with women in communities transitioning out of conflict.

Over 20 years’ experience working across various Government Departments as a personal assistant to a Government Minister and Taoiseach and as an elected member of a local authority gives her a rather unique insight into turning policy into practice. 

She was a member of the Midlands Just Transition Retrofitting Steering Committee, Chair of the Local Authority Planning and Economic Development Special Policy Committee, non-executive board member of the local development committee and is currently a member of DECC’s RESS Community Energy Steering Board,  DHLG’s Seafood/ORE Working Group and a non-executive Director of Social Finance Foundation.

Dr. Niall Dunphy

Senior Research Fellow, School of Engineering and Architecture, University College Cork

Dr Niall Dunphy is a Senior Research Fellow in the School of Engineering and Architecture and the Environmental Research Institute at University College Cork, Ireland. He leads a multidisciplinary research group working at the intersection of the social sciences with science and engineering, conducting engaged research on the theme of Society, Sustainability and Energy. Niall’s scholarship has a particular emphasis on people’s relationship with energy and the energy system.  

Currently, Niall is Principal Investigator on multiple EU- and national-funded research projects on energy-related topics including: ideas of (energy) citizenship, energy communities, fuel poverty, societal readiness, public acceptability, education and public engagement. Additionally, he is the lead Irish participant on the IEA task, Empowering all: Gender in policy and implementation for achieving transitions to sustainable energy, and a member of the COST action, SHiFT: Social Sciences and Humanities for Transformation and Climate Resilience. 

Niall is the PI on two SEAI-funded research projects EnergyPolities: Politico-institutional framing of collective engagements with the energy system, and CrowdPower: Support tools for community renewable energy. He was also co-PI on the recently completed EPA/ SEAI funded project, Imagining 2050, which explored and co-developed visions of, and pathways to, a low carbon and climate-resilient future. 


Mark Foley

Chief Executive Officer, EirGrid Plc 

Mark Foley joined EirGrid Group as Chief Executive in June 2018, having held the role of Managing Director of Land Solutions/ Coillte Enterprise in Coillte since August 2008 where e he led the development of new businesses in renewable energy, telecommunications, land development and land sales. 

Before that, from November 2000 to August 2008, Mark was Director of Capital Programmes at Dublin Airport Authority. In this role he was responsible for master planning, permitting, planning and delivery of c. €1.5bn in airport infrastructure at Dublin, Shannon and Cork airports. Prior to that Mark held a number of senior executive roles with multinationals in the Speciality Chemicals and Electronics sectors over an 18 year career. Mark has a Bachelor of Chemical Engineering Degree from University College Dublin, a Masters in Industrial Engineering from University College Dublin and has attended Executive development courses in Penn State University and IMD Business School in Lausanne. 

Mark was recently appointed to the rank of Chevalier in the Ordre national de la Legion d’Honneur by the President of the Republic of France for his role in leading and supporting collaboration between Ireland and France in the field of energy. 

Dr. Gary Goggins

Public Awareness Manager, Wild Atlantic Nature

Gary is the Public Awareness Manager for Wild Atlantic Nature with primary responsibility for communication and dissemination activities and stakeholder engagement. He previously worked as a Senior Research Fellow at NUI Galway, a project manager in the construction industry and in the NGO sector in Ireland and Zambia. He holds a PhD in Environmental Social Science, an MA in Community Development and a degree in Business Studies. His work has been published in several leading international peer-reviewed journals. His main research interests are in relation to sustainable development and just transitions. He is also concerned with how knowledge is communicated with policy makers, civil society and industry. 


Dr. Claire Haggett

Senior Lecturer, School of Social and Political Science, University of Edinburgh

Dr Claire Haggett is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Social and Political Science at the University of Edinburgh.  For the last 20 years, she has conducted research on public responses to renewable energy developments, focusing on community engagement, community benefits, landscape change, and the role of social and environmental assessment. Claire has recently led a series of research projects for the Scottish Government on communities and offshore energy, as well as research funded by the Economic and Social Research Council, the UK Energy Research Centre, Scottish Natural Heritage, and the European Union. Claire is the author of a number of widely cited publications on these topics.

For more information:

Katie Harrington

Energy and Climate Awareness Officer, Codema

Katie joined Codema in July 2020 and is Codema’s Energy and Climate Awareness Officer. Prior to this, Katie worked primarily in FMCG executing numerous marketing campaigns for domestic and global CPG brands, including one of Ireland’s fastest growing start-ups, where she worked as Regional Brand Manager for the UK and Ireland. She holds a BSc in Marketing from Dublin Institute of Technology, a postgraduate diploma in Digital Marketing from the Digital Marketing Institute and a MSc in Climate Change from DCU. Katie is the ambassador for the Home Energy Saving Kit scheme, driving awareness and delivering training and workshops to relevant stakeholders. She is the lead for the Zero Together initiative which brings together diverse perspectives and experience from businesses, communities, transport groups, academia and local authorities to build a shared vision and work towards the same goal of moving Dublin away from fossil fuels as soon as possible; with the ultimate aim of developing the county into a clean and healthy region to live, work, study and visit.  

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.


Dr. Daire McCoy

Programme Manager, Behavioural Economics Unit, SEAI

Daire is Programme Manager of the Behavioural Economics Unit at SEAI. The focus of unit is to use insights from behavioural science and economics to help consumers and businesses reduce emissions. The unit conducts trials and interventions aimed at reducing energy consumption and encouraging the adoption of energy saving measures, with a particular focus on interventions which can be measured and robustly evaluated. Current projects include field trials aimed at encouraging heat-pump adoption in oil-heated homes, assessing the performance of heat pumps in Irish homes, and an evaluation of Community-Based Social Marketing to encourage home retrofit. 

Prior to joining SEAI he spent several years at the ESRI and at the Grantham Research Institute at the London School of Economics, where he lead on energy efficiency and behavioural economics projects. He has also consulted for the OECD, the European Commission and was recently a member of the EEFIG working group examining the relationship between energy efficiency and credit risk in multiple European countries.  

Daire is also a Research Affiliate at the ESRI and is on the Editorial Board of the journal Energy Efficiency. 

Dr Rob Mooney

Environment and Climate Division – Engagement and Adaption, Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications

Dr Rob Mooney works at the Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications and has responsibility for the National Dialogue on Climate Action, Local Authority Climate Action Plans, and Community Engagement. Rob is a social and behavioural researcher and prior to his current role held positions in research and academic institutions working on citizen engagement in the environment, and more recently played a leading role in the Covid Communications and NPHET Policy.



Dr Róisín Moriarty

Senior Researcher in Climate and Policy, University College Cork

Róisín is a Senior Researcher in Climate and Policy at University College Cork. While her research has focused on the carbon cycle and climate change, it is the synthesis and communication of scientific data for policy and other decision-makers that has shaped her career. Her research interests are focused on mitigation and adaptation solutions that move us from imagining a climate-neutral and resilient future to realising that transition and its benefits. Róisín has co-authored numerous academic papers and was a lead author on several Climate Change Advisory Council reports. 




Dr. Bernadette Power

Lecturer in Economics, Cork University Business School

Dr. Bernadette Power is a lecturer in Economics at Cork University Business School. Her principal research interests are in the areas of small business economics, entrepreneurship, and business sustainability. She has published in these areas in the following journals: International Small Business Journal, Urban Studies, Managerial and Decision Economics, Review of Industrial Organization, The European Journal of Finance, The Irish Journal of Management, The International Journal of the Economics of Business, Applied Economic Letters and Economic and Business Letters. She has received many awards for her research including a Transeo Academic Best Paper Award by the European Association for SME Transfer.  She has a consistent record in securing competitive funding from bodies such as the EPA, SEAI, the IRC and Enterprise Ireland. Her work has been presented at several policy forums including the Welsh Economic Assembly, a Policy Forum on Rethinking Irish Economic Development, West Cork Development Partnership Conference, EU ETS, Climate Change and Brexit Conference and at other academic institutions and conferences in Ireland and internationally. 

Jean-Pierre Roux

Early Stage Researcher, University of Exeter

Jean-Pierre is a PhD candidate at the University of Exeter and Project Executive (part time) at SEAI. His academic research focuses on the governance of offshore wind energy in Ireland and preferences for different policy and legislative alternatives. At SEAI, he assists with evaluating the impact of community benefit measures in the RESS policy. Prior to his interest in wind energy in Ireland, he worked for a South African climate change NGO where he designed and implemented projects in several African countries to progress climate science, climate change adaptation and low-carbon development policies.

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 Michael Ryan

Executive Director, WHO Health Emergencies Programme

Dr Mike Ryan has been at the forefront of managing acute risks to global health for nearly 25 years. He served as Assistant Director-General for Emergency Preparedness and Response in WHO's Health Emergencies Programme from 2017 to 2019. 

Dr Ryan first joined WHO in 1996, with the newly established unit to respond to emerging and epidemic disease threats. He has worked in conflict affected countries and led many responses to high impact epidemics. He is a founding member of the Global Outbreak Alert and Response Network (GOARN), which has aided the response to hundreds of disease outbreaks around the world. He served as Coordinator of Epidemic Response (2000-2003), Operational Coordinator of WHO’s response to the SARS outbreak (2003), and as WHO’s Director of Global Alert and Response (2005-2011), 

He was a Senior Advisor on Polio Eradication for the Global Polio Eradication Initiative from 2013 to 2017, deploying to countries in the Middle East. 

He completed medical training at the National University of Ireland, Galway, a Master’s in Public Health at University College Dublin, and specialist training in communicable disease control at the Health Protection Agency in London and the European Programme for Intervention Epidemiology Training. 


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. Geertje Schuitema  

Associate Professor in Consumer Behaviour and Technology Adoption, School of Business, University College Dublin

Dr. Geertje Schuitema is an Associate Professor in Consumer Behaviour and Technology Adoption at UCD's College of Business. Prior to joining UCD, she received her research degrees from the University of Groningen (Netherlands). Dr. Schuitema was a Research Fellow at the University of Aberdeen (UK) and at Aarhus University (Denmark). She is an environmental psychologist who researches the psychological processes that underpin behavioural change, such as emotions, trust, fairness and social norms. Dr. Schuitema studies if and how these psychological factors can be used to design interventions or policies. In particular, she studies how the public accepts technologies and environmental policies in areas like energy, transportation, raw materials, water, and food. 


Jessie Sheehan

Youth Voice

Jessie is 18 years old and currently lives in Dublin, Ireland. She first got involved in climate activism almost 3 years ago when she joined Fridays for Future and Extinction Rebellion Youth. She was a member of the youth advisory group who worked on the creation of the Junior Cycle 'Climate Action' short course. She recently joined 'Young Friends Of the Earth Ireland'  and is excited to work with them this year. She loves spending time in nature and with friends.

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.

Dr. Bríd Walsh

Climate Policy Coordinator, Friends of the Earth

Dr. Bríd Walsh is the Climate Policy Coordinator with Friends of the Earth. She works as part of the Policy Team to drive climate policy development and advocacy in support of faster and fairer climate action. She is also responsible for coordinating the policy and advocacy work of the Stop Climate Chaos Coalition. She has a background in in renewable energy, climate science, and international environmental law, and she has a PhD in Geography focused on the role and function of citizen engagement in wind energy planning and development. Over the past years, she has been involved in research projects and published on subject areas such as the transition away from natural gas in the Netherlands, energy citizenship, community renewable energy, sustainable food consumption, and the impact of continued fossil fuel use on water supplies.

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 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 and a Graduate Diploma in Strategy, Innovation and Change from UCD.