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Eight Appointments to the DRI Board

We are very pleased to announce eight appointments to the DRI Board. The appointments follow a call for nominations that was open to all DRI Members. Appointees were ratified by the Executive Committee of the Royal Irish Academy, and serve 3-year terms.

DRI Director, Dr. Natalie Harrower, said: 'I would like to thank everyone who nominated themselves to the DRI Board. The field of candidates was absolutely excellent, and we are grateful for the time and effort individuals put into their nominations. The nominations process highlighted the talented and growing community in Ireland that collectively supports the advancement of digital archiving, digital preservation, and open access, and points to a bright future for research and cultural heritage collections across various sectors. I would also like to formally thank those who served on DRI's Founding Board - the Management Board that guided DRI through its first 5 years as a PRTLI Cycle 5 consortium project. Their guidance and support has helped DRI to achieve its new status as a long-term, core-funded, trusted digital repository."

The eight appointees are (in alphabetical order):

Peter Brown, Irish Research Council
Sandra Collins, National Library of Ireland
Michael Peter Kennedy, Royal Irish Academy
Rob Kitchin, Maynooth University
Muirne Laffan, RTÉ Digital
John McDonough, National Archives of Ireland
Orla Murphy, University College Cork
Jane Ohlmeyer, Trinity College Dublin

The CEO of the Royal Irish Academy, Laura Mahoney, and the Director of DRI, Natalie Harrower, are members of the Board ex-officio.

The Digital Repository of Ireland looks forward to working with its new Board.


Peter Brown


Peter Brown is currently the Interim Director of the Irish Research Council. The Council is an associated agency of the Department of Education and Skills and is charged with funding excellent research across all disciplines, enabling a vibrant research community and the development of diverse expertise for academia, the economy and society. He joined the Council as Deputy Director in early 2015. Prior to this he held a number of different positions in the Higher Education Authority going back to 2003. In addition to research, his work in higher education has spanned access and widening participation, skills and labour market initiatives and enterprise engagement. He is currently the National Delegate for Ireland for Horizon2020 Societal Challenge 6 – ‘inclusive, innovative and reflective societies’.

His early career was spent in the industry in the UK, and following return to Ireland worked in the field of local enterprise development. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree and MSc., both from University College Dublin.

Sandra Collins


Dr Sandra Collins is the Director of the National Library of Ireland. The NLI collects and makes available the recorded memory of Ireland, caring for more than 10 million items, including books, newspapers, manuscripts, prints, drawings, ephemera, photographs and digital media. Sandra is originally a mathematician and has worked in digital innovation and cultural heritage over 20 years in the public and private sectors. She was previously the founding Director of the Digital Repository of Ireland in the Royal Irish Academy, with prior roles in Science Foundation Ireland and Ericsson Telecommunications. In 2014 she was named as one of Silicon Republic's Top 100 Women in Technology.

She serves on many international and national committees including the Council of the Research Data Alliance, two European Commission Expert Advisory Groups, the Irish Government's Open Data Governance Board, the Irish Government’s Expert Advisory Group on Commemorations and the Irish National Steering Committee on Open Access Policy. She is a member of the Chester Beatty Library Board of Trustees, the Board of the Irish Manuscripts Commission, the Consortium of National and University Libraries, and the Council of the Library Association of Ireland. 

Michael Peter Kennedy


Professor Michael Peter Kennedy is the current President of the Royal Irish Academy (elected 2017) and Professor of Microelectronic Engineering at University College Cork (UCC). He joined UCC as Chair of the Department of Microelectronic Engineering in 2000.

His research publications are in the fields of oscillator design, hysteresis, neural networks, nonlinear dynamics, chaos communication, mixed-signal test, and frequency synthesis. He has worked as a consultant for SMEs and multinationals in the microelectronics industry and is founding Director of the Microelectronics Industry Design Association (MIDAS Ireland) and the Microelectronic Circuits Centre Ireland (MCCI).

Professor Kennedy has received many prestigious awards including Best Paper (International Journal of Circuit Theory and Applications), the 88th IEE Kelvin Lecture, IEEE Millenium and Golden Jubilee Medals, the inaugural Royal Irish Academy Parsons Award in Engineering Sciences, and the IEEE Solid-State Circuits Society Chapter of the Year Award 2010. In 2004, he was elected to membership of the Royal Irish Academy and was made a Fellow of the Irish Academy of Engineering in 2014. He was elected to membership of Academia Europaea in 2015. He served as RIA Policy and International Relations Secretary from 2012 to 2016.

Rob Kitchin


Rob Kitchin is a professor and ERC Advanced Investigator in the National Institute of Regional and Spatial Analysis (NIRSA) at Maynooth University, for which he was director between 2002 and 2013. He is currently a principal investigator on the Programmable City project and the Building City Dashboard project, and for over a decade was PI of the All-Island Research Observatory. He was a founding PI of the Digital Repository of Ireland. He has published widely across the social sciences, including 25 authored/edited books and over 180 articles and book chapters, and has delivered over 200 invited talks at conferences and universities. He is managing editor of the international journal, Dialogues in Human Geography, and has been an editor of Progress in Human Geography and Social and Cultural Geography, and was the editor-in-chief of the 12 volume, International Encyclopedia of Human Geography. He was the 2013 recipient of the Royal Irish Academy's Gold Medal for the Social Sciences, received the Association of American Geographers ‘Meridian Book Award’ for the outstanding book in the discipline in 2011.

Professor Kitchin was a founding PI of DRI and co-wrote the original application to the HEA for PRTLI funds. He worked on the project until March 2017, mainly with respect to overseeing Maynooth's contribution to the project, the funding work package, and serving on the management board. Professor Kitchin has an active interest in data infrastructures and has active projects with the CSO, OSI and local authorities, and is the author of the book 'The Data Revolution'.

Múirne Laffan


As RTÉ's Chief Digital Officer, Múirne Laffan drives digital product development and innovation for RTÉ. Múirne leads RTÉ’s digital division, responsible for the strategic development of a stable of industry-leading digital platforms and services such as RTÉ.ie, RTÉ Player, RTÉ News Now, GAAGO and RTÉ Player International. Strategic development is a key element of her role. In addition Múirne has executive responsibility for RTÉ Archives, Ireland’s largest collection of audio visual material.

As Chief Digital Officer, Múirne champions RTÉ’s leadership role in the digital media environment, digital economy and digital community. As a result, RTÉ has established a strong programme of support for events, organisations and initiatives which are focused on either driving innovation, accelerating the startup ecosystem or advancing the agenda for the digital education of young people in Ireland.

Múirne also chairs the European Broadcasting Union’s Digital Committee and is a member of the Executive of the Dublin Chamber of Commerce. She was recently named as one the top Global Chief Digital Officers’s by the international CDO club. Múirne first joined RTÉ in 2001, as General Manager of RTÉ Commercial Enterprises and then as Executive Director of RTÉ Publishing. In 2011, Laffan was appointed Managing Director of RTÉ’s newly formed digital division. Prior to joining RTÉ, Laffan spent ten years in New York in senior executive roles with the advertising agency McCann Erickson Worldwide.

John McDonough


John McDonough was appointed Director of the National Archives in December 2014. Prior to his appointment, he worked as Head of Collections in the Library & Research Service of the Irish parliament supporting and delivering online research outputs and information services to Deputies. He holds post graduate qualifications in Archival Studies and an MSc in ICT Systems. John has previously worked as project manager of University College Dublin’s Digital Library which developed a pilot repository infrastructure for digital humanities content, and in RTE where he established a digital repository for radio content.

Orla Murphy


Orla Murphy is Director of the innovative BA in Digital Humanities and Information Technology at University College Cork, a unique, new collaboration between the sciences and the humanities; the first degree of its kind in UCC shared by two colleges. She also co-coordinates two MA programs: the MA in Digital Arts and Humanities and the MA in Digital Cultures. Recently appointed the Irish National Coordinator for the EU DARIAH ERIC, a European Research Infrastructure Consortium, she is active in a number of EU research projects, notably the Cooperation in Science and Technology COSCH project. She leads a team of researchers comprising 15 PhDs, and a postdoctoral researcher in state-of-the-art digital pedagogy facilities at UCC.

Named one of the inaugural Fulbright Techimpact scholars (2015) she is a National Teaching Expert awardee from Ireland’s National Forum for Teaching and Research in Higher Education(2015). Named Digital Champion at University College Cork, she is the chair of the University’s E-Learning Strategy sub-committee, and serves on the Academic Board, and Academic Council, and recently serves on its newly constituted Data & Records Management committee.

Her current work focuses on embedding semantics in 3D cultural heritage objects, including ontologies for better understanding and sharing of resources.

Jane Ohlmeyer


Jane Ohlmeyer, MRIA, is Erasmus Smith's Professor of Modern History at Trinity College Dublin and the Director of the Trinity Long Room Hub, Trinity’s research institute for advanced study in the Arts and Humanities. Since September 2015 she has served as Chair of the Irish Research Council, an agency that funds frontier research across 70 disciplines. A passionate teacher and an internationally established scholar of early modern Irish history, Professor Ohlmeyer is the author/editor of 11 books. She was the first Vice-President for Global Relations (2011-14) at Trinity and developed high-level relationships with researchers working in some of the most prestigious universities across the world and with company leaders, policy makers and the heads of cultural organizations, especially in Asia and North America.

At the level of the European Commission Professor Ohlmeyer was one of the Irish representatives on the European Strategic Framework for Research Infrastructures (ESFRI). She took the lead in promoting research infrastructures in the humanities including DARIAH (Digital Research Infrastructure for Arts and Humanities, and sits as a member of the DARIAH.EU Scientific Board, along with the European Holocaust Research Infrastructure Advisory Board. She has held various positions of trust and served on a wide variety of review, editorial and advisory boards. She is currently a non-executive director of the Sunday Business Post, a member of the Irish Manuscripts Commission, of the National Archives Advisory Council, and of the Royal Irish Academy, where she chairs the Brexit Taskforce.