Dr Ciarán Seoighe

Acting Director General

Dr Ciarán Seoighe joined SFI as Deputy Director General in January 2018 and became Acting Director General in May 2024. He leads SFI’s Strategy and Transformation Directorate which includes International Engagement, Corporate Communications and Strategy.

Since joining SFI, Ciarán has led the development of SFI’s new strategy and been a regular contributor to national strategies such as Quantum 2030 and government initiatives like the Disruptive Technologies Innovation Fund Advisory Board, the Public Service Innovation Advisory Board,  and the Creating Our Future public consultation initiative. Ciarán is currently Ireland’s representative on the Expert Panel for the International Scientific Report on the Safety of Advanced AI.

Ciarán joined SFI after nearly two decades working globally with some of the world’s largest and most successful organisations across a range of industries in the private sector. Industries included ICT, retail, manufacturing, pharmaceutical, automotive and financial services. He brings a wealth of experience across a variety of sectors executing large-scale transformation, innovation, strategic and change initiatives. This global experience includes 8 years in the emerging markets based in Johannesburg and working across Sub-Saharan Africa.

Ciarán holds a BA (Mod) in Natural Science and PhD in Quantum Physics from TCD.


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Dr Abigail Ruth Freeman

Director of Science for Society

Dr Abigail Ruth Freeman was appointed Director of Strategy and Communications in 2013, and following department restructure in 2018, became Director of Science for Society. Prior to her current appointment Ruth has held a series of positions at Science Foundation Ireland, including Director of Innovation, Communications & Education and Director of Programmes, Enterprise and International Affairs, with responsibility for overseeing all Science Foundation Ireland research funding programmes and management of funded awards, as well as the Foundation’s activities in conjunction with industry and international partners. Ruth joined Science Foundation Ireland as a Scientific Programme Manager in November 2006. Prior to joining the Foundation, Ruth worked as a researcher at Trinity College Dublin (TCD). She holds PhD and Bachelor degrees in Genetics from TCD, where she was awarded a Trinity scholarship, the Eli Lilly Chemistry Prize and the Roberts prize for Biology. Ruth’s PhD research, on population genetics in hybrid zones, was funded by a prestigious studentship from the Wellcome Trust and was carried out at TCD and ILRI, Nairobi.




Dr Siobhan Roche

Director of Science for the Economy

Dr. Siobhan Roche was appointed SFI Director of Science for the Economy in 2018.

Siobhan will be responsible for developing and implementing SFI’s strategies on competitive funding programmes, working closely with industry partners, including large and small, multinational and indigenous companies, academic researchers and other external stakeholders, on collaborations and the co-funding of programmes.

Siobhan has been working with SFI for a number of years, most recently as Head of Post Award and SFI Research Centres. Previous to this role, Siobhan was Head of Partnerships and Scientific Programme Manager with SFI.

Siobhan brings experience as a research scientist from both the private sector, where she worked with US-based Exelixis Inc. and a former Irish human genome start-up company, Hibergen Inc., and academia where she was a Research Fellow and Group Leader at Trinity College Dublin and St Patrick’s Hospital. Within these roles, she focused on the application of genetics and genomics technology to deciphering the biological causes of illnesses such as cancer, cardiovascular disease and mental health disorders. Siobhan has authored publications in leading, peer-reviewed journals and holds a number of international patents.

Siobhan holds a B.A. Mod in Genetics from Trinity College Dublin and a PhD in Molecular and Cell Biology from the University of California at Berkeley (USA).




Mr Donal Keane

Chief Operations Officer

Mr Donal Keane, B.Comm FCA

Mr Donal Keane was appointed as Chief Operations Officer at Science Foundation Ireland on 1 November 2005. He has responsibility for Financial Control, Financial Management of Grants, Information Systems, IT Networks, Data Protection/GDPR and liaison with the Internal Audit Coordinator with respect to internal audits and external grant audits. Donal joined SFI from IADT Dun Laoghaire, where he held the position of Secretary/Financial Controller from 1997 to 2005. Prior to that Donal held senior management positions at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital Drogheda, GE Capital and Wang Finance in both Dublin and Toronto, Canada. Donal has also been a member of the European Science Foundation (Strasbourg) and BBSRC (now part of UKRI) Audit Committees in recent years. Donal holds a Batchelor of Commerce degree from University College Dublin and is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Ireland.