President's Address

Professor Orla Feely delivered her Presidential Address at 6:30pm on Thursday, 30 September, 2021. 

Saints, Scholars and Engineers: How engineering transformed a nation

Ireland’s economic transformation over recent decades has been extraordinary in its scale, nature and impact.  Around thirty years passed from TK Whitaker’s 1958 Economic Development, laying the foundations for this transformation, to Intel’s bellwether decision in 1989 to locate in Ireland.  About the same amount of time has now passed since that Intel investment.  

This talk will consider the many factors that supported Ireland’s transformation through sectors such as technology, pharmaceuticals and medical devices.  It will focus in particular on the role of engineers and engineering.

In 2022 we will mark the centenary of the foundation of the State.  This comes at a time of disruption, as we seek to navigate the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic, geopolitical shifts, climate change and other global factors. As we reflect as a country on where we have come from, where we are and where we are going, we must include consideration of the role of engineering in shaping modern Ireland, and of how we now build on this.

Biography of Professor Orla Feely, President of Engineers Ireland


Orla Feely is Vice-President for Research, Innovation and Impact and a Professor of Electronic Engineering at University College Dublin (UCD). She holds a BE degree from UCD and MS and PhD degrees from the University of California, (UC) Berkeley, where her PhD thesis won the David J Sakrison Memorial Prize for outstanding and innovative research.  While at UC Berkeley, she also won the Outstanding Graduate Student Instructor Award. Her research is in the area of nonlinear circuits and systems, and she has been awarded research grants and prizes from a number of national, international and industry sources. 

Orla is a Member of the Royal Irish Academy and a Fellow of the IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers), Engineers Ireland and the Irish Academy of Engineering. She has served as Chair of the Irish Research Council, the EU Advisory Group on Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions, and the IEEE Technical Committee on Nonlinear Circuits and Systems, and as a member of a number of Editorial Boards. She is a Director of the Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition and Deputy Chair of the Higher Education Authority.  Orla became a Fellow of Engineers Ireland by Presidential Invitation in 2012. She was inaugurated as Vice-President of Engineers Ireland in May 2019. 

Networking opportunities
Engineers Ireland offers lots of networking opportunities for members on both a local and national level.