James (Jim) Dooge (1922 – 2010) combined a career of great distinction in engineering research and scientific leadership with one of political service at the highest level. A graduate of UCD in science and civil engineering, he returned to Merrion Street in 1970 as professor of civil engineering. He is recognised as one of the founding fathers of the modern engineering science of hydrology, and he also made important contributions to the fields of meteorology and climate. He chaired the International Conference on Water and the Environment in 1992 that produced the Dublin Statement on Water and Sustainable Development, with its four enduring major principles, and served as president of the Royal Irish Academy.
Jim Dooge also enjoyed a long political career as a member of Seanad Éireann. In 1981, although a member of the upper house rather than the Dáil, he was appointed Minister for Foreign Affairs. Many of the recommendations of the Dooge Committee on institutional reform of the EEC (now EU), which he chaired in 1984, were reflected in the Single European Act and the Treaty of Maastricht. He later commented on the value of an engineering background in politics, based on the engineer's ability 'to assess problems, to focus on detail and work constructively towards a solution, despite setbacks.'
Professor Dooge was the recipient of many international awards and honours. He received the 2001 IMO prize, the highest honour of the World Meteorological Organisation, and the 2005 Prince Philip Medal of the Royal Academy of Engineering in the UK, awarded to 'an engineer of any nationality who has made an exceptional contribution to engineering as a whole through practice, management or education'. He received the gold medal of the Royal Irish Academy in 2006, 'for a life that has been marked by extraordinarily distinguished public service and by scholarship of the highest quality and originality.'