One of NUI Maynooth’s most respected and esteemed academics, Professor Martin Downes, retired from the University at the end of September. His retirement was marked by a reception on Wednesday 27 September.
Professor Downes joined St Patrick's College Maynooth in 1973, having previously developed his research in the ecology of plant diseases. He had also spent time as Assistant Head of Agricultural Programmes in RTÉ, broadcasting on the state of agriculture in Europe and at home, as Ireland entered the Common Market.
Pictured are (l-r): Professor Jim Walsh, Vice-President; Professor Martin Downes, Department of Biology who retired; Professor Kay Ohlendieck, Head of Department of Biology; Dr Bernard Mahon, Dean of Faculty of Science and Engineering.
During the past 37 years, Professor Downes has been a major contributor to the development of Maynooth, as a dedicated and skilled teacher and an administrator. He was Acting Head of Biology on a number of occasions, served on the Senate of the National University of Ireland, and served several terms as Dean of Science at the time when the Faculty undertook its early building expansion programme.
His core research at Maynooth has been on the control of pest and disease populations by natural enemies. In 1989 he combined with three NUIM colleagues (Ann Burnell, Barbara Dowds, Christine Griffin) to bring almost Ir£1 million research funding to Maynooth, the largest sum that had ever come to Ireland for Biology from the European Union.
Professor Downes was a major collaborator in a proposal which ultimately led to the establishment of the Institute of Bioengineering and Agroecology, which he directed until he stood down as Director last year to allow a smooth transition for the new Director, Professor Philip Dix.
His interests have been extraordinarily varied as is demonstrated by his contribution to courses in Adult Education, Economics, Geography and Bioethics, and by his bogland research and the promotion of Céide Fields in North Mayo.
Alongside this extremely busy and productive career, he has still found the time to be Santa in the Crèche and Pudding Bearer at the Staff Christmas dinners!
Further information: Communications Office, NUI Maynooth 01-7086160.