EUNIS Dublin 2011
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Plenary Speakers

Dr John Hegarty
Provost of Trinity College Dublin

Title of Talk:
Opening session of EUNIS 2011

John Hegarty is the 43rd Provost of Trinity College Dublin, Ireland’s leading and oldest university. Dr Hegarty was born in Co Mayo in 1948. He completed his PhD in Physics at University College Galway. Following a postdoctoral stay at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, he was a Research Scientist at Bell Labs, New Jersey, for six years. He returned to Ireland in 1986 as Professor of Laser Physics in Trinity College.

The focus of Dr Hegarty’s research is the study of light: how it interacts with matter, how it can be used to unveil the secrets of nature, and how it can be harnessed for applications.

Producing over 140 publications, and developing a number of patents, he was a co-founder of Optronics Ireland and of campus company, Eblana Photonics. He was Visiting Professor, University of Tokyo and Sony Corporation Japan (1995). Dr Hegarty is a member of the Royal Irish Academy and a Fellow of the Institute of Physics.

Dr Hegarty became Provost of Trinity College in 2001, following a period as Dean of Research and Head of the Physics Department.

Chris Sexton
Director of Corporate Information and Computing Services at the University of Sheffield, UK

Title of Talk:
Challenges are what make life interesting

Christine has been Director of Corporate Information and Computing Services at the University of Sheffield since 1996. Before that she had a variety of roles in University Administration, including Head of Administration for the Faculty of Medicine. She has been on the UCISA (University and Colleges Information Systems Association) Executive Committee for the past five years, and has spent the last two years as Chair. She has also served as a member of the RUGIT executive, and has been a member of a number of national Steering Groups, including recently the HEFCE Steering Group on Cloud Computing and Shared Services, and the UUK Task Group on Efficiency and Modernisation.

All IT Directors know that change is a constant part of our environment, but now there are other pressures on us, ranging from the consumerisation of IT, to sustainability, to the need to ensure that in a challenging financial climate we are efficient and effective as possible. This talk will look at those challenges and suggest some ways overcoming them.

Paul Rühl
Managing Director of the Bavarian Virtual University (Virtuelle Hochschule Bayern, DE

Title of Talk:
Cooperation in Online-Teaching: Success Factors for Sustainability

Paul Rühl has been Managing Director of the Bavarian Virtual University (Virtuelle Hochschule Bayern; since its foundation in 2000. From 1986 to 2000 he was Chief Editor at Langenscheidt Publishers in Munich, Germany’s leading publishing house for bilingual dictionaries. Until 1986 he worked as a researcher in comparative educational and cultural studies at Ruhr-Universität Bochum, where he obtained a doctoral degree.

In 2006 Paul Rühl was elected Co-Chairman of the Steering Committee of the German Eduserver (

In a keynote for the 2010 EUNIS congress in Warsaw, the principles of the Bavarian Virtual University (BVU) were outlined in some detail. This year’s shorter talk will give an update on the development of the BVU which in the current academic year will see approximately 80,000 course enrolments by more than 30,000 individual students.

With the help of ICT and through the BVU as their common agent the Bavarian universities integrate the distance teaching mode into many of their programmes, thus allowing their students a higher degree of flexibility. The necessity to introduce more flexible study modes is all the more urgent as the proportion of traditional full-time students is declining, and the majority of students have to combine their studies with responsibilities at the workplace, in the family, or other.

The experience of the BVU shows that among the key success factors for the sustainable cooperation between universities in online teaching are

Tim Marshall

Title of Talk:
The difficult we do immediately - the impossible takes a little longer

After graduating from Southampton University in Sociology Tim joined the BBC rising to become Assistant Head of Sports and Events Group. In 1990 he moved to Walt Disney to become Managing Director of Buena Vista Productions, responsible for all international TV production played a leading role in the launch of Disneyland, Paris. In 2000, Tim joined a new dotcom, Wide Learning, as Chief Operating Officer, a company producing online financial and regulatory e-learning content. In March 2005, he became CEO at JANET(UK), responsible for providing JANET, the UK’s powerful world leading research, learning and education network. Tim is an alumnus of Ashridge School of Management, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, Member of the British Computer Society and the Royal Television Society. He was engaged at the Athens and Beijing Olympics, as an international broadcast consultant. He is a non-executive director of several companies, and his charitable activities include producing the annual Festival of Remembrance at the Royal Albert Hall.

As the effects of the global economy hit universities and colleges across the world reductions in investment and operating budgets will surely follow. Those in leadership will be faced with tasks which initially seem impossible. Things often appear impossible, however, arguably because the assumption is that there are no alternative to the way in which we have always acted in the past. When there is more focus on what benefits customers actually require rather that the features we think they need it becomes clear that achieving the desired outcome may not be so impossible after all. Such an outcome-based approach combined with free and adventurous thinking is one component of moving forward successfully. At the heart of a vibrant international collaborative knowledge economy are enabling technologies which if they are to be effective need to be organised and managed based on sound business principles. Some consider such an approach as constricting and contrary to the core values of academic and creative activity while others regard it as a liberating force. Organised common sense still has great value and this presentation outlines five factors - which while easy to understand may be more a little more challenging to achieve. The legendary ice hockey player Wayne Gretzky said ‘A good hockey player plays where the puck is. A great hockey player plays where the puck is going to be.’ The challenge for all of us is to be where the action is going to be tomorrow and not just where it is today.

John Dyer
Business and Technology Strategist at TERENA, NL

Title of Talk:
The evolution of Research and Education Networks

John Dyer is the Business and Technology Strategist at TERENA. His tasks include trying to understand the how Research and Education networking will develop in the coming decade and developing strategic initiatives to underpin these findings. He has worked in the Education and Research sector for 25 years and is the author of “The Case for NRENs” Currently he is managing the GN3 foresight study.

John studied Physical Sciences at Oxford Polytechnic, undertook research on Microelectronic Sensors at Oxford University. In 2001 he completed a Master’s degree in Business Administration (MBA).

For the last twenty-five years networked services and facilities have been almost exclusively provided to educational and research institutions by the National Research and Educational Networks (NRENs). Typically each European country has just one NREN that is interconnected to a European backbone known as the GÉANT network. The facilities offered by this combination of providers typically outperformed anything available on the commercial market at an economic price. Breakthroughs and advanced service from this community then trickle down to the commercial Internet Service Providers market a few years later.

During the last two or three years much of what was regarded as cutting edge have started to become commodity services. Large-scale mail and storage facilities are now offered to students by commercial cloud providers such as: Google, Microsoft; Amazon and a whole host of other providers. Until recently 10Gbps networking was regarded as something only requested by the bandwidth hungry academics. 10Gbps is also becoming a commodity product available on the market.

This presentation will discuss the changes and ask the question where is all this going?

How will educational and research institutions obtain their networking services in future?

Keri Facer (BA (Cantab), M.Litt (Strathclyde), DPhil (Bristol))
Professor of Education at Manchester Metropolitan University, UK

Title of Talk:
Building Sustainable, Democratic and Fair Futures ? Challenges for Education

Keri Facer is Professor of Education at the Education and Social Research Institute, Manchester Metropolitan University where she leads the Create Research Group in digital cultures, informal learning and educational change. Keri was Research Director at Futurelab from 2002-2008 where she directed over £6m of research projects related to innovation in education across formal and informal learning settings. From 2007-2009, Keri led the Beyond Current Horizons Programme, a 2 year strategic futures project tasked by the UK government with developing long term scenarios for the future of education in the context of social and technological change and in the light of environmental and economic challenges. Keri is currently working on grassroots learning cultures, digital technologies and questions of social justice, examining the emergence, for example of Really Free Schools and open learning cultures. Her latest book Learning Futures: Education, Technology and Social Change, is published by Routledge

This presentation will explore major demographic, technological, economic and environmental challenges facing both society and education institutions over the coming 20-30 years and ask how education might need to change to tip the balance of current trajectories in favour of equity and sustainability. It will make the case that those with an interest in technology and innovation will need to address wider questions of social justice and environmental responsibility if we are not to embed radical inequalities in our education institutions.

Patrick Cunningham
Chief Scientific Adviser to the Irish Government

Title of Talk:
Investing in the Knowledge Economy. Why? Who? How Much? What Benefits?

Patrick Cunningham is Chief Scientific Adviser to the Irish Government and Professor of Animal Genetics in Trinity College, University of Dublin. He holds degrees in Agricultural Science and Animal Nutrition from the National University of Ireland and a PhD in Animal Genetics from Cornell University. He was formerly Deputy Director (Research) in the Irish National Agriculture and Food Research Institute (1980 - 1988), visiting Professor at the Economic Development Institute, World Bank (1988) and Director of the Animal Production and Health Division, Food & Agriculture Organisation of the UN, Rome (1990 - 93). He has published extensively on the genetics of domesticated animals. He is co-founder of the biotechnology company IdentiGEN. He has been President of the European and World Associations of Animal Production, and served on the European Life Sciences Group which advised Commissioner Busquin. In 2008 he led the Irish team behind the successful bid to host the “European City of Science (ESOF)” event in Dublin, in 2012. He holds honorary doctorates from three universities, and in 1996 was awarded the Boyle Medal, Ireland’s premier award in science.

Starting in the late 1990s, Ireland became very serious about science. In the subsequent decade, public investment in research increased at about 14 % per year, twice the rate of growth in GDP. In the last five years, publication rates have doubled, and citation of Irish science output is now above US and EU average levels. Business R&D investment increased in parallel, and last year nearly half of foreign direct investment was in R&D projects. These investments create real and enduring value, and will now play a central role in our economic recovery.

William Florance
Head of Enterprise for Education, EMEA | Google UK Ltd.

William joined Google in January, 2011 and is responsible for driving Google’s Enterprise engagement with the Education Sector across Europe, Middle East and Africa. Today this role is primarily focused on promoting sustainable adoption of Google Apps for Education within both the schools and post-secondary education sectors, but also includes other forthcoming Google offerings such as Chrome OS. Prior to joining Google William was Head of International Sales and Marketing for Elluminate, Inc. (now Blackboard Collaborate). With Elluminate William and his team were intimately involved with the growth and widespread use of real-time collaboration solutions around the world with leading institutions such as The Open University in the UK, the National eLearning Centre in Saudi Arabia, and Ministries of Education. In his 20 year career, William has had experience providing IT solutions for a broad range of industries.

Professor Tom Cochrane
Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Technology, Information and Learning Support), Queensland University of Technology (QUT)

Professor Tom Cochrane is the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Technology, Information and Learning Support) at Queensland University of Technology (QUT).  The position heads a Division which combines the services of the Libraries, Information Technology Services, Learning Environments and Technology Services, eLearning Services and a number of other areas in the one structure. 

In his current role Professor Cochrane's external duties include Chair, Australian eResearch Infrastructure Council; Director, Australian Digital Alliance; Chair, Australian Libraries’ Copyright Committee; and Director, Queensland Cyber Infrastructure Foundation. He is also a member of the National Research Infrastructure Council, a member of the Publications Board of CSIRO, and is on the Board of The Queensland Museum. Professor Cochrane is also a Director on the Board of the University’s commercialisation company, QUT bluebox

He was co-leader of the Creative Commons project for which QUT is the institutional partner for Australia and lead the approach mandating open access for refereed research produced by the University into formal policy in 2003.

Gerry Quinn
Chief Operations Officer, Central Bank of Ireland

Gerry joined the Central Bank of Ireland in May 2010 as Chief Information Officer and was subsequently appointed as Chief Operations Officer in March 2011. Gerry has over 25 years of IT experience and joined the Central Bank from Eircom (Ireland’s largest Telco) where he spent the previous 7 years as Chief Information Officer/IT Director. Gerry has wide ranging senior management experience complemented by a breadth of experience in all the strategic and operational aspects of the management of a large IT organisation.

Gerry has held a number of non-executive director positions and holds an MSc Management (Organisational Behaviour) from Trinity College.