Celia Gallagher, 1967-2010

September 2, 2010

A leading figure in the planning and funding of the Irish university sector has died.

Celia Gallagher was born in Donegal on 24 April 1967 and spent her childhood on Arranmore Island.

After a first degree at the National University of Ireland, Maynooth, she studied at Dublin City University for a PhD in organometallic chemistry, which was completed in 1993. She held a number of voluntary and temporary positions in both Ireland and the US, including a spell at Loyola University in Chicago, before finding permanent employment between 1997 to 2003 as training coordinator and then revenue and profit project manager for the Schulze and Burch Biscuit Company, also in Chicago.

In 2003, Dr Gallagher returned to Ireland for good and took up a series of posts at the Irish Universities Association, overseeing a number of pivotal projects.

As manager of Expertise Ireland, she developed a searchable online database of Ireland's research expertise. It brings together thousands of up-to-date expert profiles as well as information on funding, technology transfer and commercial applications.

This led to an even more important role when, following the Irish government's creation of a Strategic Innovation Fund, Dr Gallagher became project manager of the National Research Platform in 2008.

The aim was to raise the visibility of Irish research, preserve it, organise it and structure it for benchmarking, bibliometric analysis and quality assessment.

After scoping the project proposal and assessing the information requirements, Dr Gallagher delivered a report with strategic recommendations to government and made presentations to Pharmachemical Ireland as well as to Jimmy Devins, who was then the minister of state for science, technology and innovation.

In 2009, she became the national contact for the Marie Curie programme, part of the European Commission's Framework Programme 7, which acts as a major funder of research in Ireland. The job required her to provide advice and support to researchers, research organisations and companies in the preparation of proposals and the management of their Marie Curie contracts.

Ned Costello, chief executive of the Irish Universities Association, recalled a "valued colleague who worked closely with me on groundbreaking projects that required vision, foresight and tenacity.

"Even more than her technical expertise, what distinguished Celia was the enormous enthusiasm which infused everything she did. She always had a ready smile and quick wit which touched everyone she worked with."

Dr Gallagher died on July of leukaemia and is survived by her husband Paul Smith.


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