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The CEO of the Marine Institute, Dr Peter Heffernan, has been appointed to the European Research and Innovation Area Board (ERIAB) by European Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science Máire Geoghegan-Quinn.

The role of the board, which consists of 11 members, is to advise the Commissioner on issues relating to the development of the European Research Area, including the €80bn Horizon 2020 Programme for Research and Innovation (2014-2020) and the Europe 2020 and Innovation Union Strategies. Members of the ERIAB are appointed for a four year term and the mandate of current ERIAB extends to February 2016.

Additional members of the board include: Prof Luc Soete, Chair- Rector of Maastricht University; Dr Barbara Haering, Co-Chair-Chief Executive of econcept Inc., Zürich, Switzerland; Prof Hans-Jörg Bullinger, President Co-Chair-Fraunhofer Gesellschaft, München, Germany; Ms Manuela Arata, TT Manager at CNR and President of the Science Festival, Rome, Italy; Prof Genevieve Berger, Chief Research and Development Officer at Unilever, London, UK; Prof Anna Czlonkowska, Professor at 2nd Department of Neurology, Institute of Psychiatry and Neurology, Warsaw, Poland; Ms Anne Glover, Chief Executive of Amadeus Capital Partners Ltd. London, UK; Prof. Toivo Maimets, Professor of Cell Biology and Director, Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology, University of Tartu, Estonia; Dr Jan-Eric Sundgren, Executive Vice President Public & Environmental Affairs at Volvo Group Headquarters, Göteborg, Sweden; and Prof John Wood, Secretary General, Association of Commonwealth Universities, London, UK.

Welcoming the appointment, Commissioner Geoghegan-Quinn said the  “ERIAB will play a vital role in the development and optimisation of the European Research Area. Members of ERIAB are highly respected scientific and policy advisors who will draw on their extensive experience at national and international level, and I am delighted to have an Irish member of Peter’s calibre on board”.

The Taoiseach Mr Enda Kenny, TD, Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Mr Richard Bruton TD and Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Mr Simon Coveney TD joined Commissioner Geoghegan-Quinn in welcoming Dr Heffernan to the role.

The Marine Institute is the national agency responsible for Marine Research, Technology Development and Innovation (RTDI).