Environmental geographer appointed director of the Ryan Institute

Prof Frances Fahy currently leads several international research teams on sustainable consumption and energy citizenship research.

The University of Galway has today (9 July) announced that Prof Frances Fahy will be the new director of the Ryan Institute.

Fahy, a Fulbright scholar, was previously head of geography at the university as well as president of the Geographical Society of Ireland.

The Ryan Institute is involved in research and partnerships that contribute to the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals – a list of objectives that aim to tackle issues such as global poverty and the climate crisis, both on a national and international level by 2030. Currently Fahy oversees a number of international research teams focused on topics like sustainable consumption and energy citizenship research. 

She has more than 100 publications to her name, has coordinated more than 20 funded research projects, obtained competitive research funding totalling more than €36m and has been the recipient of a number of prestigious awards, such as the President’s Award for Research Excellence in 2017. 

“It is a great privilege to be given the opportunity to lead the largest research institute in University of Galway and to support all of our colleagues who pursue breakthroughs in science, sustainability, the marine, the environment and in so many fields of the natural sciences,” said Fahy.

She also acknowledged the significant work of the Institute’s outgoing director, Prof Charles Spillane, who has held the position since 2017. The current president of University of Galway, prof Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh, praised Fahy as an accomplished researcher in her field and an exemplary colleague, who will excel in the role as she builds upon the work of her predecessor. 

According to a Times Higher Education ranking, University of Galway places first out of Irish universities for impact in support of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, which Ó hÓgartaigh noted.

“This work carries a particular resonance in Galway, given our location and the Ryan Institute is a fulcrum of this work,” he said.

“We look forward to a deepening of the interdisciplinary research that happens at the institute thanks to our academics and the postdoctoral fellows, PhD students and research assistants and the stories of their impact on the world.”

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