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Academy Discourse: The future of higher education


Thursday, April 28, 2022, 18:00 - 19:30




Free online event: booking essential

Professor Sir Adrian Smith, President of The Royal Society talks with Orla Feely MRIA about higher education and research.

The future of higher education is the subject of much discussion at this time of great disruption. In this Discourse, Professor Sir Adrian Smith will share his thoughts on the subject in conversation with Professor Orla Feely. He will draw on his leadership experience within universities, a major research institute and a learned society, as well as his involvement in policy formulation.

The conversation will examine the impact on higher education of digitalisation and globalisation. It will also consider the funding and organisation of higher education and of research, the nature and role of leadership in higher education, the relationship between higher and further education, and how higher education can most effectively engage with the policy system.

Our Speakers:

Sir Adrian Smith became President of the Royal Society on 30 November 2020. He is also Institute Director and Chief Executive of The Alan Turing Institute. He is a mathematician with expertise in Bayesian statistics. This branch of mathematics represents uncertainties in the form of probabilities, which are then modified through the mechanism of Bayes theorem as new information becomes available. Adrian's comprehensive publications on diverse areas of Bayesian statistics have had a major impact on statistical practice in a wide range of disciplines and application areas. Between 2008-2012, he was Director General, Knowledge and Innovation in BIS (now BEIS) and has previously worked with the UK Higher Education Funding and Research Councils. Adrian is Chair of the Board of the Diamond Light Source and is also a board member of the UK Atomic Energy Authority. In 2017, he carried out a review of the maths curriculum for 16-18 year olds for the Treasury and Department for Education. In the 2011 New Year Honours list, he was awarded the title of Knight Bachelor.

Orla Feely MRIA is Vice President for Research, Innovation and Impact and a Professor of Electronic Engineering at University College Dublin. She holds a BE degree from University College Dublin and MS and PhD degrees from the University of California, Berkeley, where her PhD thesis won the DJ 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. Professor Feely 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. Professor Feely is the President of Engineers Ireland. She is a director of the Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition and Deputy Chair of the Higher Education Authority.

The 2021/22 Discourse Series is sponsored by Mason, Hayes & Curran LLP.

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