Operations Team

Helping achieve Digital Manufacturing Excellence in Ireland

Conor McCarthy

Centre Director & Principal Investigator

Having grown up in Glasnevin, Dublin, Professor Conor McCarthy has spent the best part of the last 20 years in the Mid-west region carrying out research into joining dissimilar materials for high-end industrial applications. Now residing in the lakeside town of Ballina, Co Tipperary, Professor McCarthy is the Centre Director for CONFIRM– Smart manufacturing, a new major national SFI research centre focused on Smart manufacturing technologies.

+353 61 234302

Padraig McPhillips

General Manager

Mr Padraig McPhillips is acting GM of CONFIRM. Prior to joining CONFIRM in September 2020, he served for five plus years as CEO of the Enterprise Ireland Technology Centre, DPTC. Throughout his career, Padraig has worked in senior leadership roles the multi-national pharmaceutical sector including in operations, process development and engineering.

+353 61 202713

Trish Bourke​

Reporting, Compliance & Finance Manager​

Having joined the University of Limerick in 2002 coming from Industry Trish Bourke has worked in the Research Finance Department of the University of Limerick for the past 16 years where she provided a range of financial services, support and advice to the Research community within UL and also externally to the funding agencies, HEI’s and Industry partners to the University.

+353 61 202647

Patrick Reidy

Business Development Manager.

Patrick Reidy is the CONFIRM Business Development Manager. Patrick is degree qualified with a postgrad in Business Admin and a technical background in manufacturing and materials. He has worked in BD across industries nationally and internationally and built the network in his role with Tricel close to 40 engaged customers.

+353 61 202712


Strategic research manager

Niall is our Strategic Research Manager with over 10 years of experience spanning across third-level research, IT, pharmaceutical and clinical trial industries. He has held a wide variety of technical, advisory and management roles; including a support officer role in the Research Office at University of Limerick affording a knowledge of the national and international funding landscape. Niall also has experience of business development and commercialisation of digital products for business excellence and sustainability. Niall holds a PhD in Pharmaceutical Chemistry from Trinity College Dublin, MA in International Entrepreneurship Management from UL, HDip in Systems Analysis from NUI Galway, and BSc in Industrial Chemistry from UL.

+353 61 234693

Sylvia Keane

Marketing & Communications Manager

Sylvia Keane is the CONFIRM Marketing & Communications Manager. She is an experienced senior Marketing & Communications Specialist with more than 9 years’ international experience with a proven record of accomplishment in account management, marketing strategy and business development. Sylvia has a diverse range of sector experience within manufacturing – medical device, supply chain, & semiconductor/aerospace. Qualifications include Bachelor of Business, Master of Science in Marketing, Consumption & Society and a Postgraduate in International Business Development.

+353 61 234302

Sean O'Brien

Education, Public Engagement & Training Manager

Sean O’Brien is the CONFIRM Education, Public Engagement & Training Manager. Sean is a science education graduate with 7 years’ experience coordinating and developing STEM education, outreach & public engagement projects in Limerick, particularly aimed at engaging disadvantaged communities.

+353 61 202713



Susan brings a wealth of experience spanning both academia and industry to CONFIRM. Over the last 10+ years, she has enjoyed an evolving and expanding repertoire of skills in areas such as NPD, research strategy, cross-functional project/program management, and has held roles of increasing scope and responsibility (EMEA, US) in life science businesses, addressing both research and regulated markets. Susan has a proven track record of achievement through the currency of publication, recognition from awarding bodies, and project/program milestone delivery. She is an effective people leader, communicator and team player. Susan holds a BSc. (1st Hons) in Applied Physics, a Ph.D. in Biomedical Optics and Optical Coherence Tomography (both UL), and is a certified Scrum Master.

+353 61 234302

Sean Nolan

Funding Manager

Sean has 15+ years’ experience working in applied research at University of Limerick and Trinity College Dublin in the areas of sensor system development, process monitoring in machining, automation & robotics, and energy monitoring for Industrial manufacturing. Sean began his early career working in electronic manufacturing and Semiconductor industries, later moving into the research sector where he held the roles of Lead R&D Engineer and Research Fellow. He has a wealth of experience in the sourcing, execution and delivery of exchequer and non-exchequer funded research projects. Sean’s educational background is in Electronic Engineering and he holds a PhD in the area of ultrasonic sensor development and an M.Eng in the design and development of underwater robotic vehicle platforms.

+353 61 233781

Gillian O' Sullivan​

Senior Administrator​

Gillian is CONFIRM Senior Administrator and is responsible for overseeing day to day operations of the CONFIRM office, liaising with our various RPOs as well as coordinating events. Gillian brings a vast amount of knowledge and experience to the team from her history working with industry.

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