Professor Máire O’ Neill and Dr. Eucharia Meehan have added to their many honours as inspirational leaders in STEM.

The Royal Irish Academy has welcomed two Donegal women as its newest members this month. Máire O’ Neill from Glenties and Eucharia Meehan from Mountcharles have joined the elite academy in Dublin which is regarded as Ireland’s leading body of experts in the sciences and humanities.

Professor Máire O’ Neill and Dr. Eucharia Meehan are among the six women elected this year out of 18 new members as the Academy strives to celebrate women in STEM.

Membership of the RIA is considered the highest academic honour in Ireland.

Prof Máire O’ Neill is one of Europe’s leading cryptography experts and the youngest ever professor to be appointed at Queen’s University, Belfast at the age of 32. She was still a PhD student when she invented a high-speed silicon security chip that is used in more than 100 million TV set-top boxes.

Prof O’Neill is internationally renowned for her research in novel data security architectures and currently leads a major €3.8M EU project on quantum-safe cryptography. She has received many awards including the 2014 UK Royal Academy of Engineering Silver medal and British Female Inventor of the Year 2007.

Prof Maire O’Neill, School of Electronics, Engineering & Computer Science

Dr. Meehan received the honour of being elected to the RIA after more than 20 years of leadership across a range of public and private research-based organisations.

Professor Peter Kennedy, President of the Royal Irish Academy, said ‘Ireland should be immensely proud of these women and men who have brought international academic distinction to our country. As Members of the Academy, they will strengthen the Academy’s capacity to provide expert advice on Higher Education and Research policy.’

Dr Eucharia Meehan pictured with Prof. Peter Kennedy (President of the RIA)

Dr. Meehan is celebrating another achievement in her field this week, after being appointed as Registrar and CEO of the Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies (DIAS), the internationally renowned institute for world-leading basic research and scholarship.

Dr. Meehan previously held the position of Director of the Irish Research Council, having been appointed as the inaugural leader of the organisation when it was established in 2012.

Commenting on her new role with DIAS, Dr. Meehan said: “It is a privilege to take up this appointment in an institution with such a strong international reputation for excellent work in the pursuit of new knowledge.

“Reflecting its roots and rich legacy, DIAS connects Ireland to international and indeed global research networks. From its inception to the present day, DIAS is a magnet for current and emerging research leaders in each of its specialised branches of knowledge.”

Prior to her role with the Irish Research Council, she was Head of Research and Innovation at the Higher Education Authority and directed the Programme for Research in Third-Level Institutions (PRTLI).

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