The Dean of Research, Prof John Boland, is resigning from his post. He is the second high-profile College executive officer to step down in only a matter of weeks.
Last month, Trinity lost its third HR director in three years, with a former Aer Rianta Director appointed as her replacement. Kate Malone, one of the most senior officers in the College, stepped down amidst an ongoing industrial dispute with the college’s three trade unions.
The loss of Boland will be a blow to College, forcing Provost Patrick Prendergast to find a new dean.
Prof Peter Gallagher, a professor in astrophysics, who is currently serving as Associate Dean of Research, confirmed that Boland had stepped down after two years in the role.
Speaking to The University Times about Boland’s resignation, Gallagher stated: “He’s done a wonderful job. I’m sorry he had to resign.”
Gallagher ruled himself out as the next Dean of Research, citing his research work. Gallagher’s solar group recently developed the Heliophysics Integrated Observatory and he is extensively involved in the European Space Agency (ESA) as well as the Low Frequency Array (LOFAR) telescope.
Commenting on the reasons Boland left his post, Gallagher suggested he had stepped down to focus on his research, after he was among nine awardees of a €14 million Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) fund to Trinity last month. “His group has grown as a result of his successes in research”, Gallagher said.
In his term as Dean of Research, Boland faced criticism when, in March 2016, he sent out emails appealing to Trinity graduates and academics to fill in online reputation surveys about the College for the QS World University rankings. This was seen as an attempt to influence the rankings and a breach of the rules and led to threatened sanctions from the organisation, with the College’s exclusion from the rankings suggested.
Boland’s research, which had a breakthrough in July of this year, has the potential to change how we design, manufacture and use materials, including for electronics and medical tools.
Boland is based in the SFI centre in Trinity, specifically Advanced Materials and Bio-engineering Research (AMBER), and is one of their Principal Investigators. Commenting on a recent discovery, Boland said he believed it placed “Ireland yet again at the forefront of material innovation and design”.