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Dr Rick Officer has been appointed as the next Chief Executive Officer of the Marine Institute, Ireland’s state agency for marine research, technology development, and innovation. Dr Officer joins the Marine Institute from the Atlantic Technological University (ATU) where he held the position of Vice President for Research and Innovation.

Charlie McConalogue TD, Minister for Agriculture, Food, and the Marine announced the appointment earlier today.Much like the rest of the world, Ireland is at a crossroads where challenge meets opportunity in marine research and knowledge.  As we tackle national and global societal challenges, our marine resource offers significant opportunities for Ireland to prepare for the impacts of climate change, and food and energy security. With Dr Officer’s extensive experience in sustainable fisheries, leading innovative and integrated research programmes and driving strategic collaborations nationally and internationally, the Marine Institute will continue to deliver the robust science and services to government and industry needed as we work towards delivering a knowledge-based, sustainable blue economy for Ireland,” Minister McConalogue said.

Welcoming the announcement, Dr John Killeen, Chair of the Marine Institute, said“On behalf of the Marine Institute Board, I am delighted to welcome Dr Officer as CEO. He brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to the role, and will be a dedicated champion of the Institute’s values and its mission to promote economic development, create employment, and protect the marine environment.”

Speaking about his appointment, Dr Rick Officer said,“Ireland’s marine environment and industries are under enormous and urgent pressures. The Marine Institute has a vital role to play in providing the evidence-base to enable adaptation to changing social, economic, and environmental conditions. The excellent science and advice produced and supported by the Marine Institute are crucial to Ireland’s successful navigation of the major challenges of food security, climate adaptation and energy transition.  It is a great privilege and honour to lead the Marine Institute through this exciting period of change. I look forward to working with the dedicated team at the Marine Institute as we embrace these challenges and realise the opportunities that the oceans present.”

Dr Officer joins the Marine Institute from Atlantic Technological University (ATU) where he held the position of Vice President for Research and Innovation.  Dr Officer led the integration of Research and Innovation activities at the former Galway-Mayo, Sligo, and Letterkenny Institutes of Technology, through the merger into Atlantic Technological University.  He also led the establishment of the Marine and Freshwater Research Centre, now ATU’s largest Research Centre comprising ~100 people. Dr Officer’s experience of international fisheries and aquaculture was gained through his Fisheries Scientist roles in Victoria and Tasmania, and his role as Science Leader for Fisheries and Aquaculture for the State of Queensland, Australia. He previously led the demersal fisheries research and assessment team at the Marine Institute. As Demersal Fisheries Team Leader Dr Officer’s responsibilities included Chief Scientist roles aboard Ireland’s National research vessels, appointment as National Delegate to the European Commission’s Scientific, Technical & Economic Committee for Fisheries, and Chairmanship of International Working Groups and Expert Groups for the International Council for the Exploration of the Seas (ICES) and the European Commission.

Dr Officer has a Science degree (1990) and PhD in Fisheries Science (1995) from the University of Melbourne, Australia, and a Masters in Business Administration (2019) from University College London. Dr Officer will commence his appointment in early January 2024.