Creative Industries, Innovation and the Smart Economy, 25th November 2009
Speakers Bios

Mr. Ian Brannigan, Regional Development Manager, Western Development Commission

As the WDC’s regional development manager, Ian has, along with his team, further developed the regional promotional platform which has attracted hundreds of thousands of visits to its website which seeks to locate people and businesses in the Western Region.  Other areas of responsibility include renewable energy development, innovation development and creative economy which has led to the design and commissioning of several novel programmes which seek to significantly grow these sectors. 


Ian has held a variety of positions in the UK and Ireland in regional development, and in 2005 led the clusters theme of the innovative pan-regional Northern Way programme in the UK which attempted to close the national north/south productivity gap through growth initiatives in lifesciences, the food industry and creative industries.  Ian’s background is in engineering, management and strategic business development.  He worked internationally for 15 years in the ICT sector.  Ian’s professional qualifications include a Physics degree from Dublin City University and an MBA.


Dr. Patrick Collins, Centre for Innovation and Structural Change, NUI Galway

Patrick is an economic geographer who has published in areas of global and regional development, the Information Society, and the impact of telecommunications provision. More recently he has turned his attention to the development of the Irish economy within a global framework. As part of this work he has explored the potential contribution of culture and the ‘creativity’ discourse to local and regional development. Focused reports have been concerned with the application of the creative city label to Galway and the rise of the audio-visual sector in Ireland.


Mr. Paul Cummins, Chief Executive Officer, Telegael Group

Paul is a founding shareholder and CEO of the Telegael Group, one of Ireland's leading producers and financiers of television and animation content for the global market. Telegael has invested in excess of €8m in a range of studio and production facilities in the Galway region and employs 60 people full-time and in excess of 250 on a contract basis annually. Headquartered in Spiddal, the Telegael Group has offices in Los Angeles and London.  Its productions have been distributed in over 140 territories worldwide including on major TV channels such as BBC, ITV, France 3, Canal J, Super RTL Germany, NBC, Cartoon Network USA and Europe, Disney, Discovery, Nickelodeon, The Learning Channel, ABC Australia and Nick Asia. 


A seven-time EMMY nominee, Paul won an EMMY award in 2004 and again in 2007 as executive producer of the children’s animation series TUTENSTEIN which was co-produced with PorchLight Entertainment, Los Angeles and Discovery Channel US.  Telegael was one of four finalists nominated for the 2009 Distributor/Investor of the Year by the European Association of Animation Film.


A Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Ireland, Paul has served on the Film Finance Committee of IBEC's Irish Audiovisual Federation. He is also a member of the International Academy of Television Arts and Sciences and the Irish Film and Television Academy.


Dr. James Cunningham, Director, Centre for Innovation and Structural Change, NUI Galway

James is the Director of the Centre for Innovation and Structural Change and a senior lecturer in strategic management at the J.E. Cairnes School of Business & Economics at NUI, Galway.  His main research interests are commercialisation, technology transfer, academic entrepreneurship and strategy practice. He has been involved in a number of funded research projects, completed consultancy projects, acted as mentor for start-up businesses and in 2002 held a visiting Professorship at the Department of Management and Organization at Penn State University.


James has published extensively and his publications include five books, book chapters, journal papers, case studies and refereed conference papers. He has presented, given keynote presentations and chaired sessions at academic and practitioner conferences, national and international. He has also received a number of awards for his research while his research on technology transfer was cited in the Government’s Strategy for Science, Technology and Innovation. His next book publication is an international strategy book entitled Strategy and Strategists.


Prof. Robert Huggins, Professor of Management and Policy and Director of the Centre for International Competitiveness at the Cardiff School of Management, University of Wales Institute

Robert is the co-founder of the World Knowledge Competitiveness Index, and is the founder of the European Competitiveness Index and the UK Competitiveness Index.  His key areas of research include the study of competitiveness, business networks, knowledge-based economic development and entrepreneurship. He is an economic development specialist of international standing, and acts as a policy advisor and consultant to a range of organisations.  Robert is committed to furthering research that informs corporate strategy and public policy, especially practical actions aimed at improving the competitiveness of small businesses and the regions in which they are located


Ms. Lisa McAllister, Chief Executive, Western Development Commission

Lisa was appointed Chief Executive of the WDC in 2002.  The function of the WDC is to foster and promote economic and social development in the seven counties of the West of Ireland from Donegal to Clare.  During her period as CEO, Lisa has directed the WDC’s work programme in the areas of: policy research and analysis; strategic development initiatives in renewable energy, rural tourism, organic agri-food and more recently the creative sector; the campaign; and the WDC Investment Fund, a risk capital fund for SMEs in the Western Region.


Lisa has been involved in western development since 1992 with the Developing the West Together campaign and was appointed a member of the first board of the WDC at its establishment in 1997. Lisa previously worked in the private sector as general manager of the Sligo-based hardware wholesale company Herron and Son Ltd.  She also worked in the voluntary and community sector, heading up the Council for the West and the Euro Info Centre (DGXXIII) based at Sligo Chamber of Commence and Industry.  She is a science graduate from UCD and has a Masters in Rural Development.


Ms. Helen Murphy, Head of Education, Training & Development, Crafts Council of Ireland (CCOI)

Helen joined CCoI in May 2009 as Head of Education, Training & Development with key responsibilities including strategy development in craft education, management of education awareness and outreach activities nationally, and enterprise development and training for craftspeople. 


Helen joined CCoI from Waterford IoT where she was a senior manager in the School of Education.  Her role involved managing a national teacher and manager education project.  Prior to this she spent a number of years working with the Irish Management Institute as Open Learning Manager and Management Specialist.  Helen spent the early part of her career working in consulting and international marketing. She holds a B.A. in European Studies (Law) from UL and an MBA from UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School.


Mr. Niall Ó Donnchú, Assistant Secretary General, Department of Arts, Sport and Tourism

Niall’s role as Assistant Secretary General of the Department of Arts, Sport and Tourism involves responsibility for arts, culture and film policy.  He is a Board member of the National Concert Hall, Culture Ireland and the Science Gallery, as well as Energy Action.


Prior to his current position, he was head of E-commerce and Telecoms at the Department of Communications and also head of Renewable Energy Policy at the Department of Energy.  Niall has also worked on energy regulatory and telecoms regulatory dossiers, and was the author of the E-Commerce Bill 2000, Energy 21 and the Energy Technology Foresight Report 1999.  Niall has also worked in the Department of Finance, the Department of the Gaeltacht and is a former Company Secretary of Arramara Teo, the national seaweed company.  Niall is a graduate of Queens University Belfast and of the London School of Economics.


Ms. Pauline White, Policy Analyst, Western Development Commission

Pauline has worked as a policy analyst with the WDC since 2003.  Key responsibilities include analysis of labour market, infrastructure, regional policy and rural issues in the Western Region, as well as preparation of submissions to national policy consultations in these areas.  Pauline oversaw the baseline research on the creative sector in the Western Region and wrote the WDC report Creative West: The creative sector in the Western Region published in February 2009.


Prior to working at the WDC, Pauline was a policy officer with the Ministry of Agriculture in Guyana, specialising in agricultural trade policy.  She holds a B.A. in Economics and Geography from NUI Maynooth and a Masters in Development Studies from UCD.