Speakers at Innovation Showcase


Prof. Mark Ferguson

Director General, Science Foundation Ireland and Chief Scientific Adviser to the Government of Ireland

Mark Ferguson

Professor Mark W.J. Ferguson commenced as Director General of Science Foundation Ireland in January 2012 and as Chief Scientific Adviser to the Government of Ireland in October 2012.  Previously he was Professor in Life Sciences at the University of Manchester (since 1984) and co-founder, CEO and Chairman of Renovo Group plc (1998-2011).

He is the recipient of numerous international research awards including the 2002 European Science Prize (jointly), and is the author of 327 research papers and book chapters, 60 patent families and author / editor of 8 books.

Mark graduated from the Queens University of Belfast with degrees in Dentistry (BDS 1st class honours), Anatomy and Embryology (BSc 1st class honours, PhD) and Medical Sciences (DMedSc), holds Fellowships from the Royal Colleges of Surgeons in Ireland (FFD), and Edinburgh (FDS) and is a Founding Fellow of the UK Academy of Medical Sciences (FMedSci). He is a member or Fellow of a number of learned Societies, and was made a “Commander of the British Empire” (CBE) by the Queen in 1999 for services to Health and Life Sciences.


Gareth Hall

Director - WorldWide Health Mobility, Microsoft (United States)

Gareth Hall

Having run a large IT team in the UK National Health Service (NHS) for several years as CIO of Warwickshire Health Authority, Gareth joined Microsoft in 2002 to work with the UK NHS account team, then moved to run the Windows Server business in the UK, launching multiple versions of Windows Server. Since December 2010, he has been at Microsoft HQ in Seattle, and he leads the global health mobility business for Microsoft.


Joe Haslam

Associate Professor, IE Business School (Spain)

Joe Haslam

Prof. Joe Haslam is an Associate Professor at the IE Business School in Madrid which is ranked as the 5th in Europe, according to the Financial Times 2015 European Business School Ranking.  In the MBA program, he teaches an elective called Trillion Dollar Opportunities which focuses on the impact exponential technologies are having in fields such as Energy, Telecoms, Agriculture, Heath and Education. In addition, he is the Executive Director of the Owners Management Program an Executive Education Program designed for startups that want to scale. 

Born in Limerick, Joe has a B.Comm and an MSc from University College Cork as well as an MBA from IE Business School. He has lived in Madrid for the last 12 years.


Erik van Ommeren

Research Director, Gartner - Office of the CIO research (Netherlands)

Erik Van Ommeren 

Erik van Ommeren is a Research Director in Gartner's "Office of the CIO" Research team. His broad international background in innovation and technology makes him a valuable conversation partner for anyone faced with the challenges of keeping up with technology or looking to radically accelerate business innovation. He helps clients understand trends, innovation and transformation.  Mr. van Ommeren has a 20-year fascination for the user and marketing side of technology. He has written several business-IT and strategy books, and can also speak from hands-on experience as a manager, programmer and architect. Over the years, he has covered the many strands that make up the technology landscape of today: open innovation, cloud, service-oriented architecture, mobile, big data, cybersecurity, collaboration, DevOps and lean-startup, blockchain and machine intelligence.  A true technology optimist, Mr. van Ommeren brings new insights, new ideas and a human-centric view on technology that anyone can relate to. 

He was responsible for the innovation network of the company, organising the exploration of new technologies, helping clients understand the impact and formulating the vision and strategy that follows.


Gareth Presch 

Founder, World Health Innovation Summit CIC (United Kingdom)

Gareth Presch

Mr Gareth Presch, holds a BA Hons in healthcare management. A problem solver and healthcare strategist who has experience working in public, private and voluntary healthcare settings in the NHS and abroad. Patient focused and quality driven. Having previously worked as the Chief Officer of the National Haemophilia Council a statutory body in Ireland. Gareth has also managed National Clinical Programmes on Blood Transfusion (Establishment of the National Blood Transfusion Committee), Haemochromatosis and the Endoscopy improvement programme. He has advised and been a member of a number of successful charity fundraising campaigns (Kops 4 Kidz, Great Garda Run, Tania McCabe Foundation etc)  in the past and continues to support charitable causes locally, nationally and internationally. 

He has advised businesses in marketing, social media strategies and governance successfully in the past. He previously worked in the NHS in eHealth and as a District Nursing Service Lead and was a Member of the Cumbria Rural Health Forum, Steering Group Member of CPFT Good Causes and is an active member of the Carlisle Ambassadors community. 

Winner of the Carlisle Living Innovation Award 2016 & special recognition award Zenith Global Healthcare 2016.


Donncha Ryan

Learning Technology Manager, RCSI

Donncha Ryan

Donncha Ryan has 24 Years' I.T. experience in areas including Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, 3D Engines, Real Time Systems, Encryption, Physics and Robotics and Video Games.

Started work in the financial sector before moving to Video Games Development, with a particular interest in 3D engines. Went on to work in Surgical Simulation for nearly 10 years before joining the Royal College of Surgeons being given the opportunity to look for applications for new technology in surgical training.