New University of Limerick president announced

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The new president of the University of Limerick will be Professor Desmond Fitzgerald
The new president of the University of Limerick will be Professor Desmond Fitzgerald
Professor Desmond Fitzgerald will take over as the new president of UL next May

PROFESSOR Desmond Fitzgerald, a vice president at UCD is to succeed Professor Don Barry as the President of University of Limerick next May.

The Chancellor of the University of Limerick, Mr Justice John Murray, made the announcement this Thursday at a specially-convened meeting of the Governing Authority of the University of Limerick,.

The nomination was accepted from the Presidential Selection Board this week.

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Professor Fitzgerald is currently Vice President for Health Affairs at University College Dublin as well as Chief Academic Officer of Ireland East Hospital Group.

His term as President of UL will commence on 1 May, 2017 when he will succeed Professor Don Barry whose term of office ends in April 2017.

Speaking of the appointment, the Chancellor of the University of Limerick, Mr. Justice John Murray said: “I am delighted to welcome Professor Fitzgerald as the next President of UL.  He is a widely-respected scholar and leader in the academic world, with an enviable international research reputation and unrivalled experience gained at strategic levels in a number of highly-ranked universities.  I know I speak for the Governing Authority and the broader UL community in stating how much we look forward to working with Professor Fitzgerald to build on UL’s fine foundations as we realise the institution’s vision and objectives for the future”.

Professor Fitzgerald said: “I am delighted. The University of Limerick has had remarkable success in its short history due to its staff, its students and the support it has from the community and the Foundation. I am honoured to lead UL during the next phase. I look forward to working with colleagues and partners to secure a strong national and international academic profile.  UL has unique strengths – its staff, students, alumni and friends; its powerful local, national and international partnerships; its stunning campus and its excellent reputation. I want UL to establish and lead pioneering initiatives that will deliver real impact in a range of important areas that are critical to Ireland’s future and the future of the Mid West”.

Professor Fitzgerald previously served as Vice President Research at UCD (2004 – 2014), playing a pivotal role in the institution’s restructuring and the transformation of UCD’s research performance in competitive, internationally-judged research programmes funded by the EU, PRTLI and Science Foundation Ireland.  Achievements include the establishment of the UCD Science Centre, the National Institute of Bioprocessing Research and Training, the National Digital Research Centre, Systems Biology Ireland, the UCD Precision Medicine Facility and the Charles Institute for Dermatology Research and Training, while also securing UCD the national leadership position in EU FP7 funding.  Professor Fitzgerald has developed a strong range of international networks and collaborative partnerships, in particular in the US, China and Malaysia.

In his role as Chief Academic Officer within the Ireland East Hospital Group (IEHG – UCD’s affiliated hospital group) Professor Fitzgerald has led the Group’s education and training initiatives, with noteworthy successes including the Learning Hospital at the UCD Beacon Hospital Academy and the development of an Academic Health Sciences Centre (AHSC) to align the strategy and mission of the Group with the academic mission of UCD.

Prior to UCD, he also held senior leadership roles in the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, including as Director of Research in recognition of his profound personal commitment to research and education, especially in the medicine and health sciences.

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Professor Fitzgerald obtained his medical degree from UCD, subsequently training in Cardiology and Clinical Pharmacology at Vanderbilt University in the US. He has also held positions as Consultant Lecturer in Medicine and Therapeutics at the Mater Misericordiae University Hospital and UCD, Professor of Clinical Pharmacology at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, Consultant in Clinical Pharmacology at Beaumont Hospital and Visiting Cardiologist at the National Maternity Hospital.  In 2004, he was appointed UCD Vice-President for Research and Professor of Molecular Medicine and he is currently Vice President for Health Affairs and Chief Academic Officer of Ireland East Hospital Group.

With over 450 research publications and an h-index of 57, Professor Fitzgerald is a well-respected clinical academic in translational medicine and founder of two biomedical companies. His research is in Vascular Biology, with a particular focus on platelets and thrombosis in coronary artery disease. He was Chairman of the Health Research Board of Ireland (2004-2007), has held committee positions in the Irish Medicines Board and is a member of several professional bodies, including the American Heart Association and the European Society for Cardiology, where he chaired the Working Group on Platelets and Thrombosis. He is currently a Governor of the Mater Misericordiae University Hospital. He has been a member of the Editorial Boards of several journals, including Circulation. He is Deputy Chairperson of the National Institute of Health Research TCC and is a member of the Scientific Advisory Board of the Institute of Translational Medicine and Therapeutics. He has been an Adjunct Chair in Medicine and Pharmacology at the University of Pennsylvania and was elected to the Association of American Physicians in 2006.