Image: Dr Johnny Ryan speaking at the World Association of Newspapers in Bangkok, 2014

Dublin, 8 April 2014, 2014: The Innovation Academy, UCD, today announced that it has appointed Dr Johnny Ryan as Executive Director. In his new role Dr. Ryan will take responsibility for the execution of the strategic mission and expansion of the Academy, and management of core operations including staff, programmes, and commercial operations. Dr. Ryan joins the Innovation Academy UCD from The Irish Times, where he held the position of Chief Innovation Officer.

Professor Suzi Jarvis, founder and Academic Director of the UCD Innovation Academy said , “The purpose of the UCD Innovation Academy is to provide a transformational educational experience for the betterment of Irish society and economy. Johnny has an excellent international reputation for innovation and flexible strategic decision-making. We are delighted that he is joining the Academy at this critical time as we rapidly expand our entrepreneurial activities both here and abroad.”

Since joining The Irish Times in late 2011, Dr Ryan established a multi-million euro Big Data R&D program intended to give The Irish Times’ newsroom a competitive edge in delivering insight to the reader. This programme sees the newspaper work with the Insight Centre for Data Analytics, UCD, NUIG, Science Foundation Ireland, and Enterprise Ireland to push the boundaries of data science. He also introduced tech startups inside the 156 year old newspaper to develop new digital experiments. These initiatives have since been duplicated by other media leaders around the globe.

The Editor of The Irish Times Kevin O’Sullivan paid tribute to Johnny Ryan, noting he “has had a transformative effect in changing and broadening digital thinking across our entire organisation”, and wished him well in his new role.

Dr Ryan said “In the two and a half years with The Irish Times I have had the privilege to work on, as well as lead projects that introduced radical change. I now have the opportunity to bring the incredible dynamism of the Innovation Academy to help businesses to tackle the changes needed to further provide the Irish economy with a competitive edge in the global market.”


Notes for the Editor

The UCD Innovation Academy was established in 2010 to transform education on campus, and to play a leading role in the wider innovation ecosystem. Since its opening over 600 students from every discipline have participated in the Academy to develop their creativity and to apply innovative approaches to tackle real world problems. The Academy is currently working with many leading multinationals, SMEs, charities and Government agencies and recently commenced a major partnership with the GAA to ignite community entrepreneurship across the entire nation.

Dr Ryan’s second book “A History of the Internet and the Digital Future” is on the reading list at Harvard, Stanford, and other top tier institutions. As a thought leader on innovation his writing has appeared in Fortune, BusinessWeek, Contagious, NATO Review, ArsTechnica, and The Irish Times.

His PhD at the University of Cambridge, where he was an O’Reilly Foundation Scholar at Magdalene College, examined how terrorist memes proliferate online.

His previous research, as a Senior Researcher at the Institute of International & European Affairs, was the most cited source in the European Commission’s official impact assessment that decided against pursuing an EU-wide system of Internet censorship. He is an associate on the emerging digital environment at the Judge Business School of the University of Cambridge.