Strategic Research Areas

The Bernal Project is focused on generating real impact for Ireland in three strategic areas, namely:

  • Pharmaceutical Science & Engineering;
  • Modern Materials, Biomedical Materials and Engineering;
  • Energy and Sustainable Environment.

The Bernal Project has enabled the creation of new Professorships to lead research activity in these areas.  As Bernal Professors, these senior academic appointees have the ability to motivate, attract, mentor and work with a larger cohort of emerging academic staff as well as researchers and postgraduate students, building a critical mass of research activity at the University of Limerick.

Meet the Bernal Professors

Ursel Bangert
Ursel Bangert

Professor Ursel Bangert was appointed as the Bernal Chair of Microscopy and Imaging in January 2014.  Ursel obtained her PhD in Physics from the University of Cologne, Germany and has held academic posts at the University of Surrey, UMIST, as well as Reader in the School of Materials in the University of Manchester in 2004.

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Harry Van den Akker
Harry Van den Akker

Professor Harry Van den Akker was appointed the Bernal Chair of Fluid Mechanics in September 2013. He was previously Professor in Transport Phenomena at Delft University of Technology. Prior to this Professor Van den Akker was a research engineer at Shell Research in Amsterdam and has held visiting appointments in Princeton and at King’s College London.

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Michael Zaworotko
Michael Zaworotko

Professor Michael Zaworotko was appointed to be the Bernal Chair of Crystal Engineering in November 2013. Michael was previously based at the University of South Florida and is among of the top 20 research chemists in the world.  He was awarded the SFI Research Professorship in November 2013.

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Bartek A. Glowacki
Bartek A. Glowacki

Professor Bartek Glowacki was appointed as the Bernal Chair of Energy in January 2013. In addition to receiving his PhD in the Polish Academy of Science, Bartek has also been awarded the title of Professor from the President of Poland and serves as an expert in Energy at the Institute of Power Engineering in Poland. He has received a Professorship of Energy and Materials Science in the Department of Materials Science and Metallurgy of the University of Cambridge. He is also a Fellow of the Institute of Physics and the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining, and a Chartered Engineer.

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Paul Weaver
Paul Weaver

Professor Paul Weaver was appointed as Bernal Chair of Composite Materials and Structures in April 2016.  Paul is an authority in the field of structural mechanics for composite materials, a pioneer in the emerging field of morphing composite structures, and an expert in the structural mechanics of buckling and postbuckling of optimised composite structures. He has also contributed to the development of a novel manufacturing technology for composites (Continuous Tow Shearing). He was awarded SFI Research Professor in 2016 leading the VARICOMP project.  In addition, Paul holds the title of Professor of Lightweight Structures at the University of Bristol; Director of Advanced Composites Centre for Innovation and Science (ACCIS) Centre for Doctoral Training; Director of the Vestas Wind Systems Preferred Partnership in Composites; Director of the Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult’s Wind Blade Research Hub and a current Royal Society Wolfson Merit Award holder.

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Jacques Hughes
Jacques Hughes

Professor Jacques Huyghe took up the post of Bernal Chair in Biomedical Engineering in September 2014.  Professor Huyghe obtained an M.Sc. in civil engineering from the University of Ghent and his PhD in mechanical engineering from Eindhoven University of Technology. Prior to coming to Limerick, Professor Huyghe held academic posts at the University of Maastricht and at Eindhoven University of Technology.  Professor Huyghe is a world-leader in the field of porous media mechanics. He has pioneered the development and application of porous media theories for biological, medical and geoscience applications, publishing over 100 papers.

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Gavin Walker
Gavin Walker

Professor Gavin Walker who is a Visiting Research Professor at Queen’s University Belfast (UK), took up the Bernal Chair in Pharmaceutical Powder Engineering in July 2012. Professor Walker’s particular expertise is in pharmaceutical process engineering and in chemical engineering of particulate systems.

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