Construct Innovate – Ireland’s first ever National Research Centre for Construction Technology and Innovation, has announced two key appointments.
Paul Keogh has been selected, following an expressions of interest process managed by Enterprise Ireland, as the inaugural Chairperson of the Centre’s Steering Committee. Paul is a business leader with experience spanning a wide range of industries including entertainment, hospitality, construction equipment, construction development, and healthcare. He has considerable international experience in the US, the UK, Central Europe, and Australia. He successfully runs his own management consultancy advising large family-owned businesses, many of whom are in the construction sector. He has worked for well-known blue-chip brands such as Guinness, Budweiser, JCB and Ballymore.
Colm McHugh joins the Construct Innovate team as Centre Manager following a competitive recruitment process managed by the Centre. Colm, who is a chartered Mechanical Engineer with over 17 years’ national and international experience as an engineering consultant, main contractor, and equipment supplier, has seen the industry from most sides and brings a deep understanding of the needs of stakeholders at all levels. His leadership, strategic and operational experience will be critical in ensuring that the Centre will be as impactful as possible in supporting the continued transition of the Irish construction industry into a modern, efficient, and sustainable sector.
Construct Innovate (www.constructinnovate.ie) is Ireland’s national research centre for construction technology and innovation, and is the newest addition to Enterprise Ireland’s industry-led Technology Centres programme. It was launched by the then Tánaiste Leo Varadkar T.D. in December 2022 with initial funding of €5M over 5 years. Hosted at the University of Galway, the Centre leverages the capabilities and facilities and high levels of expertise available across the consortium partners of Trinity College Dublin, University College Dublin, University College Cork and the Irish Green Building Council.
To ensure that it delivers for housing, the Centre will be focused on key industry challenges and innovation in residential construction in its first three years of operation. Construct Innovate will be at the forefront of initiatives to meet the demands of major building and investment programmes as part of Project Ireland 2040 and the National Development Plan 2021-2030; Housing for All; and the Climate Action Plan.
Minister of Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Simon Coveney T.D. said:
“Construct Innovate will play a crucial role in accelerating the widespread adoption of Modern Methods of Construction that will help deliver the Government’s ambition of high-quality affordable housing for everyone, as articulated in the Housing for All plan. I welcome these two key appointments, as the Centre begins to ramp up its research work programme in partnership with the construction industry and promotes innovation, environmental sustainability, and enhanced levels of productivity along the construction value-chain in Ireland.”
Paul Keogh said:
“The construction industry is often seen as a “traditional” industry with low productivity. In reality, there are a lot of very smart things happening. Construct Innovate will crystalise these opportunities and help meet the challenges of building at the pace and volume that is needed. It will also help Irish construction companies to be at the forefront of technological change and enable them to win increased business internationally. Through the work of the Steering Committee, which will set priorities for the Centre and give direction to the Centre’s research, I welcome the opportunity to contribute to this exciting phase.”
Colm McHugh said:
“I’m looking forward to working with our Industry members, our research teams across the Construct Innovate consortium, as well as collaborating with the Build Digital Project, Demonstration Park and Enterprise Ireland’s Built to Innovate programme. Together we can ensure a more competitive, sustainable, and digitally enhanced construction sector to address the urgent areas that make up the Centre’s five key strategic pillars: Productivity, Affordability & Cost; Quality & Safety; Sustainability; Skills & Training; and Collaboration.”
Marina Donohoe, Enterprise Ireland’s Head of Research & Innovation welcomed the appointments saying:
“The industry experience that Paul Keogh and Colm McHugh bring to the Construct Innovate Centre will help accelerate innovation right across the value chain and increase the productivity, sustainability and export potential of Irish construction companies, while helping to reduce costs and build times for Ireland’s housing and infrastructural needs. These appointments are critical to the work of Construct Innovate.”
Prof. Jamie Goggins and Dr Magdalena Hajdukiewicz, Directors of Construct Innovate said:
“The Centre’s awareness of industry needs and its capacity to effectively deliver results for companies depends on the strength of the consortium team. The appointments of Paul Keogh and Colm McHugh are crucial additions to that team and we look forward to working closely with both.”