Regional Innovation: A Catalyst for Sustainable Economic Growth in the BMW Region, November 4th 2011
Speakers' Bios

Keynote Speaker

Dr. Gerhard Fuchs, University of Stuttgart


Dr. Gerhard Fuchs works at the University of Stuttgart (Department of Social Sciences). Before that he acted as a Deputy Director of the Department Technology, Organization, Work of the Centre for Technology Assessment in Baden-Württemberg, Stuttgart. His research interests concentrate on the study of innovation especially in the fields of New Information and Communication Technologies, Regional Innovation Systems and the development of new industries (e.g. ICT, Biotechnology, Renewable Energies). His research interests have found its imprint in the development of several long term research programmes, a wide variety of publications as well as the involvement in various international projects.


Dr. Fuchs started his scientific career as a research assistant with Prof. Hans Jonas (New School for Social Research, New York) and with Prof. Heinz Laufer (University of Munich) and worked as a Research Fellow for the Sonder­forschungsbereich 333 at the university of Munich „Entwicklungsperspektiven von Arbeit“ (Special Research Unit on the Future of Work). After staying for two years as a Visiting Associate Professor at Northwestern University, Evanston (USA), he became a scholarship holder at the Max-Planck-Institute for the Study of Societies in Cologne before joining the Center for Technology Assessment. Dr. Fuchs has been an editor/ co-editor of several books on the issues of the information society, technology and regional innovation. Dr. Fuchs has worked as an expert for the European Commission, the state government of Baden-Württemberg as well as different regional authorities.

Dr. Patrick Collins, Centre for Innovation and Structural Change, National University of Ireland, Galway

Patrick graduated with a PhD from the Department of Geography at the University of Hull.  His thesis was concerned with regional development in Ireland, with a particular focus on the software industry there.  Since returning to Galway, Patrick has focused on the areas of socio-economic embeddedness of MNC's in Ireland and their contributions to the local economy as well as policy approaches in dealing with local and foreign industries.  His work has attempted to ground 'fuzzy concepts' in geography through the use of case studies and quantifiable techniques enabling a better understanding of key areas of interest concerning the information-driven economy.  More recently, Patrick has turned his attention to the Creative Economy, carrying out research and publishing works on the impact of the Creative/Cultural production and consumption in Galway city and peripheral regions in Europe.  Patrick has extensive experience in teaching undergraduate Economics and all areas of Human Geography, with a particular focus on Economic Geography at undergraduate and postgraduate levels.


Research interests: Economic Geography, Cultural Production, Regional Development, Creative Industries, Information Society/Experience Economy, Irish Technology Industry


Dr. Kieran Moylan, BMW Regional Assembly


Dr. Kieran Moylan is the Assistant Director of the Border Midland and Western Regional Assembly, appointed in June 2000.  Kieran’s responsibilities within the Assembly largely relate to the management, financial control and monitoring of the €458m Regional Operational Programme. Kieran has contributed to several policy submissions on behalf of the Assembly including submissions on regional investment priorities, research and innovation policy and the future of EU Cohesion Policy.  Kieran completed a Doctoral Thesis on the Coherence of Irish Regional Policy in 2009.


Mr. Peter Reilly, Valeo Vision Systems

Peter Reilly is the Research and Development Director at Valeo Vision Systems and has worked with the company for 19 years. He has been involved in numerous major projects carried out at the company including:

- Lead design of Upper Electronic Module for Volvo P2X platform (1997)

- Lead development of first Vision products at CEL à JLR (2002)

- Lead Technology elements related to sale of CEL / acquisition by VALEO (2007)

- Launch of TRVC at BMW (2008); Surround View at JLR (2009); and Area View at VAG (2010)


In 2011 he supported the Product Line expansion in Technology & Market Footprint


Valeo Visions Systems is one of the world's leading manufacturers of automotive vision systems. The company based in Tuam consists of an R&D centre and production site which forms part of the Comfort and Driving Assistance Business Group of Valeo. Originally established in 1982 as Connaught Electronics Ltd. (CEL) as a manufacturer of automotive security products, it diversified into camera systems and was acquired in 2007 by Valeo. CEL was a strategic acquisition for Valeo as it complemented Valeo’s existing detection technologies for vehicle parking and manoeuvring. Valeo Vision is an independent industrial Group fully focused on the design, production and sale of components, integrated systems and modules for the automotive industry. Valeo ranks among the world's top automotive suppliers. The Group has 120 plants, 21 Research centres, 40 Development centres, 10 distribution platforms and employs 52,200 people in 27 countries worldwide. The Connaught Automotive Research (CAR) Group at NUI Galway announced a strategic research agreement with Valeo Vision Systems in April 2011.

Professor Terry Smith, NUI Galway 

Terry Smith is the Vice President for Research at NUI Galway, with responsibility for overseeing the university’s research, innovation, and technology transfer strategies.  He has a BSc. from Trinity College Dublin and a Doctor of Philosophy degree from Oxford University.  Terry was a founder member of the National Centre for Biomedical Engineering Science (NCBES) at NUI, Galway and Directed the NCBES from January 2002- July 2008.  Terry has co-authored 110 peer-reviewed papers, and is co-inventor of two granted patents and 12 filed patents.