Séamus Timoney (1926-1991) joined the academic staff of UCD's department of mechanical engineering in 1955 and proceeded to establish a substantial research activity focused mainly on internal combustion engines. He supervised a large number of postgraduate research projects and maintained strong relationships with the automotive industry in the USA, obtaining substantial funding from General Motors for his work. His efforts were later recognised by his election to fellowship of the US-based Society of Automotive Engineers.
Séamus Timoney's academic achievements were matched by his ability as an innovator, vehicle designer and industrial entrepreneur. He was awarded a number of US and European patents based on his work on engines, combustion systems and heavy vehicle design. His innovative concepts for independent suspension in heavy vehicles were incorporated into the armoured personnel carrier he and his brothers designed and built for the Irish army in the 1970s. This design, which was later used under license internationally to manufacture substantial numbers of military and other vehicles, was later applied to airport rescue fire tenders and to many other specialist rough-terrain vehicles.
Professor Timoney founded several Irish companies, including Innill Dóiteáin Teo. in Spiddal, Co. Galway, and the Timoney Technology Group, based in Trim, Co. Meath. The latter has had international success in the design and manufacture of heavy-duty emergency vehicles, armoured cars and armoured personnel carriers.