The EU is committed to transforming its economy from one heavily reliant on imported fossil fuels to a more indigenous low carbon economy centred on energy efficiency, renewable energy and smart networks. The Ryan Institute has a very strong and active team of over 100 researchers working in the area of Energy, with ongoing and planned research organized into the following sub-themes: Bioenergy, Renewable Resources, Energy Efficient Technologies, Energy and Society, and Built Environment and Smart Cities. In 2007, the Energy Research Centre (ERC) was formed to reflect the societal and strategic importance of this research area, and to provide researchers with the strongest possible platform for sharing ideas and sparking innovation. The ERC now boasts 100+ members, and is actively engaging with the national and international energy research community, industry partners, government agencies and NGOs, and the local community.

An exciting development at the Ryan Institute is the establishment of a national Technology Centre for Bio-refining and Bio-energy. The Centre was established in 2010 to bring together industry stakeholders, academic experts and government agencies working in this area to support a sustainable and competitive Irish biomass industry.


Prof. Brown is the Director of the Ryan Institute, and is the Project Manager for the €3.1M Griffith Biogeoscience Project. His research interests include: (i) investigating the structure of the crust (ii) electromagnetic induction methods (iii) acoustic, and seismic, imaging and classification of sediments (iv) marine habitat mapping using remotely operated vehicles.
Click here to listen to an interview with Professor Colin Brown on our Itunes podcast channel:
Ryan Institute Podcast Channel

Dr. Clifford has been involved in the development of a number of water and waste treatment technologies. His research focus is on the development and validation of new environmental and energy efficient technologies for water treatment, wastewater treatment, sludge treatment, and odour & gas treatment.

Frances is the Head of Geography in NUI Galway. She completed her Geography and Sociology degree and Ph.D. in the Department of Geography, Trinity College Dublin. Frances formerly worked as an EPA Post-Doctoral Research Fellow in Geography, NUI, Galway and as a Lecturer in Human Geography in the School of Environmental Sciences in University of Ulster before joining Geography, NUI Galway as a Lecturer in November 2008.

Dr. Collins is Director of the Microbial Ecophysiology Research Group, which is concerned with linking the identity (ecology) and in situ function (physiology) of yet-to-be cultivated microbes. Focus is on populations from natural systems and from engineered biofilms, by adopting a Systems Biology approach. One of his main research interests is the microbial populations underpinning waste-to-bioenergy systems.

Prof. Curran is leader of the Energy priority thematic area is also the Director of the Combustion Chemistry Centre, which is engaged in fundamental research on the combustion of fossil and biofuels. Research interests include the application of combustion research to the design of energy-efficient engine and gas turbine combustion systems and the impact of their use on toxic and greenhouse gas emissions.

Dr. Duffy’s research interests are in magnetic component design, wearable power generators, wireless powering, and sensors. She is based in the Power Electronics Research Centre at NUI Galway. Click here to listen to an interview with Dr. Maeve Duffy on our Itunes pod cast channel: Ryan Institute Pod cast Channel

Dr. Goggins’ research interests linked to the activities of the Institute for Environment, Marine and Energy include the development of sustainable construction technologies, energy efficient buildings, embodied energy analysis, ocean energy, structural control and health monitoring, and computational mechanics.

Dr. Hartnett is the Research Director of the Marine Modelling Centre. Activities within the centre include: deep ocean water circulation modelling; estuarine and coastal circulation modelling; nutrient modelling; water quality modelling; biological modelling; heavy metal modelling; wave climate modelling; and modelling air-sea interfaces.

Barry is a Lecturer in Electrical and Electronic Engineering at NUI Galway. He received the B. Eng. degree in electrical engineering from University College Cork in 2005, a Master's degree from the Maynooth University in 2008, and the Ph.D degree from the University of Edinburgh in 2013.

His research interests are in intelligent systems applied to various engineering problems. He is particularly interested in the electricity grid integration of renewable energy sources and the operation and planning of future energy systems. He has more than 30 peer-reviewed publications in journals, international conferences, and book chapters.

Prof. Hurley is the director of the Power Electronics Research Centre, established in 1992. He has over 30 years experience in the areas of electromagnetics, power electronics, and renewable energy. He has published over 100 papers in journals and at international conferences.

I am a marine ecologist with a particular interest in spatial ecology. I use experiments, survey, computer simulation and data analysis to understand patterns of population abundance and assemblage composition. My experience includes both benthic and pelagic ecology. The different approaches can be applied to address questions in conservation, fisheries, introduced species, monitoring, environmental management and compliance to legislation.

Dr. Keane is the leader of the Sustainability and Built Environment priority research area. He is a lecturer in Civil Engineering, and the founder and NUI Galway Head of the Informatics Research Unit for Sustainable Engineering (IRUSE), which is dually affiliated to UCC.

Dr. Leech is the Director of the Biomolecular Electronics Research Laboratory. Environmental diagnostics research in the laboratory focuses on the preparation and characterisation of electron-transfer catalysts and modified electrode surfaces. A recently awarded sensor technology projects is the SFI-funded “Metals In the Marine Environment” (MIME) project, for the development, validation and deployment of autonomous electrochemical instrumentation for analysis of metals in the marine environment.

Prof. Leen’s main interest is in the development of computational solid mechanics solutions related to the ‘Materials for Energy’ theme. Examples are the: (i) development and analysis of novel floating concepts for offshore wind energy and (ii) development of structural integrity methods for use of composite materials in seawater environments.

Dr. Mingming Tong is a full time Lecture in Mechanical Engineering at the College of Engineering and Informatics of NUI Galway, and he is also the associate member of Brunel Centre for Advanced Solidification Technology (BCAST) in London.

Dr. Tuohy is director of the Molecular Glycobiotechnology Group and has over 15 years experience in the Enzymology, carbohydrate biochemistry, plant biomass conversion and microbial fermentation. Our aim is to harness the full potential of fungi to recover the full energy and biorefinery potential of plant biomass and carbohydrate-rich wastes.

Prof. O’Flaherty is the director of the Microbial Ecology Laboratory. Main interests are in the areas of anaerobic biofilm and microbial ecology research, focused on: anaerobic biofilm reactor technology for energy production and wastewater treatment; and the microbial ecology of anaerobic biofilms and soil ecosystems. Click here to listen to an interview with Professor Vincent O’Flaherty on our Itunes podcast channel:
Ryan Institute Podcast Channel