Double Distinction for NUI Galway Climate-Physics Professor

Professor Colin O’Dowd, Director of the Ryan Institute’s Centre for Climate and Air Pollution Studies, NUI Galway receives his President's Award for Research Excellence from Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh, President of NUI Galway.
Oct 22 2018 Posted: 10:45 IST

NUI Galway’s Colin O’Dowd, Professor in the School of Physics and Director of the Ryan Institute’s Centre for Climate and Air Pollution Studies (C-CAPS) was recently elected last week to the Academia Europaea, the pan-European Academy of Humanities and Sciences.

Election to the Academia Europaea is widely considered to be one of the highest honours that a European scientist or scholar may receive and is by invitation only. Its formation was initiated in 1988 by the Royal Society and supported by the key National Academies across Europe. During this announcement Professor O’Dowd was also a recipient of NUI Galway’s 2018 President’s Award for Research Excellence in the Established Researcher category.

Academia Europaea elects into membership scientists and scholars of international distinction and who have demonstrated sustained academic excellence in their field of research. Professor O’Dowd who is only the second NUI Galway academic to be elected, was elected to the Earth and Cosmic Science section and is one of the leading experts in the area of air pollution, atmospheric composition and climate change. He has published extensively on this topic and has been listed as being in the top 1% most cited researchers in his field, a category also regarded as hosting the world’s most influential scientific minds. In addition, he was a contributing author to the last inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change assessment report. 

In addition, Professor O’Dowd has the distinction of being a Member of the Royal Irish Academy, a Fellow of the Royal Meteorological Society and a Fellow of the Institute of Physics. These awards add to his portfolio of previous awards comprising the Royal Meteorological Society’s Mason Gold Medal, the Institute of Physics Appleton Silver Medal, the Royal Irish Academy’s Gold Medal in Geoscience and the German Aerosol Society’s Smoluchowski Award.

Professor O’Dowd is Director of the Centre for Climate and Air Pollution Studies which operates the Mace Head Air Pollution and Climate research station near Carna in Co. Galway along the Atlantic coastline.

Mace Head is one of the most renowned research stations worldwide, having started discrete research campaigns 60 years ago to measure how clean the air entering Europe, or, more precisely, monitoring how polluted the cleanest air in Europe has become. It is a World Meteorological Organisation Global Atmosphere Watch station and provides realtime and webcast data for air pollution and greenhouse gases on a 24-7 basis (see It’s long term (35 year) continuous air pollution, greenhouse gas, and ozone depleting substances records, are critically important for informing clean air and climate change policy.

For more information about Mace Head, visit:


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