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UCD appoints Professor Tasman Crowe Vice-President for Sustainability

Posted 26 April, 2023

Professor Tasman Crowe has been appointed the Vice President for Sustainability at UCD, a new top level role placing sustainability at the heart of the University's education, research, governance, operations and engagement activities.

An expert in marine ecology in the UCD School of Biology and Environmental Science and Director of the UCD Earth Institute, Professor Crowe will take up the post on 1 June 2023.

Expressing his belief that UCD has demonstrated “its commitment to sustainability” with the new Vice-President role, he said the University was in the position to “show leadership in the transition to a more sustainable and fairer society.”

“I’m under no illusions that while creating a sustainable global society is one of the most pressing needs of our time, it is also one of the most challenging and will require innovative and sometimes unpalatable solutions. UCD will need to demonstrate that it is prepared to make some difficult decisions to emerge as a world leader in thought and action on sustainability.

"We will need to embrace change in all aspects of university life, encompassing and combining new approaches in research, education and operations.

"I have always found UCD’s staff and students to be full of ideas, enthusiasm and collegiality.As such, I am very much looking forward to engaging across the university and with a wide range of other institutions and stakeholders to explore and implement the best ways forward.”

Professor Crowe added that a substantial body of consultation to develop recommendations for the future had already been undertaken by the steering group for UCD’s strategic priority 'Creating a Sustainable Global Society', which he co-chairs.

Welcoming the appointment, UCD Acting President Professor Mark Rogers said: “As a matter of urgency, humanity must learn to live sustainably without degrading our shared planet. We all have a role to play in and UCD can and will take a leadership position in order to drive the changes we need to make in society as well as within our own ecosphere.

"In his new role, Professor Crowe will provide this leadership and, as a member of UMT, will ensure that we insert sustainability into our curriculum and engage with students so that their voice on climate change is heard and that they are actively included in the UCD sustainability agenda.

Adding: "Professor Crowe brings vast experience and expertise in education, research, and policy advice to the role. Combined with his energy and ambition, I believe his leadership will inspire innovation and real impact in this critical agenda.”

Welcoming Professor Crowe to the new position, incoming UCD President, Professor Orla Feely said: “UCD has a long-standing commitment to sustainability. Members of the UCD community have been to the fore in shaping the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

"We have led in research areas such as the bioeconomy, agri- food and renewable energy and have developed education programmes in sustainable development and humanitarian assistance. We will now build on this expertise to deliver a holistic response to the challenges of sustainability that spans and unifies our activities in this area.

"As Vice-President for Sustainability, Professor Crowe will enable the University to develop, communicate, implement and adapt its ambitions to the challenges faced by the world. This will ensure that our campus demonstrates the principles of sustainability across policies and operations in respect of estates, energy, technology, procurement, HR, governance and partnership with our neighbours and wider community. The University will set ambitious targets and will report annually against these targets, becoming a ‘living lab’ for a sustainable community.”

Professor Tasman Crowe: Background

With a degree in Zoology from Bristol University, Professor Crowe undertook his PhD in marine ecology at University of Sydney before carrying out postdoctoral research in northern Australia, Indonesia, Vanuatu and Southampton ahead of joining UCD in 2001 as a member of what is now the School of Biology and Environmental Science.

Alongside his directorship of the UCD Earth Institute, he has co-founded and co-directs UCD’s BSc in Sustainability and has served on a wide range of university level committees. He also chairs the Marine Protected Areas Advisory Group, which supports the State's development of Marine Protected Areas.

In 2021, Professor Crowe was named as the chair of the National Biodiversity Forum, an independent expert group that monitors Ireland's approach to biodiversity protection.

He has addressed the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Housing, Local Government and Heritage several times to advise on environmental protections aimed at safeguarding the biodiversity of Irish waters.

A member of the expert advisory group for the Citizens’ Assembly on Biodiversity Loss, he has also served on the councils of the Environmental Sciences Association of Ireland and Future Earth Ireland, as vice chair of a European Marine Board working group on ocean observation, and as President of the European Marine Biology Symposium.

He is a co-founder of the All-Island Climate and Biodiversity Research Network and is a member of the World Universities Network working group on Responding to Climate Change.

Widely collaborating on national and international research projects, Professor Crowe has published over 110 research papers and book chapters, and has received more than €4.25 million in research funding from agencies including the HEA, Marine Institute, EPA, NPWS, the EU and Science Foundation Ireland.

He has supervised 24 PhD students to completion and mentored 21 postdoctoral researchers and served on the editorial boards of PLoS ONE, Journal of Experimental Marine Biology, Hydrobiologia and Cambridge University Press’s Ecology Biodiversity and Conservation Series.

By: David Kearns, Digital Journalist / Media Officer, UCD University Relations

To contact the UCD News & Content Team, email: newsdesk@ucd.ie