Professor Conchúr Ó Brádaigh honoured as RSE Fellow

Professor Conchúr Ó Brádaigh has been elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh (RSE), in recognition of his place among leading thinkers and practitioners in Scotland today.

The RSE Fellowship comprises around 1,800 people recognised as some of the brightest and best in their fields – across sciences, education, the arts, business, sports, and public life.

Professor Ó Brádaigh joins 90 new RSE Fellows in this cohort, and is one of 18 leading academics from the University of Edinburgh to make the prestigious list this year, alongside public figures such as Olympian Dame Katherine Grainger; cardiovascular specialist, Professor Lis Neubeck; and former CEO of Wood Plc, Robin Watson CBE.

Those elected to the Fellowship undergo a rigorous assessment of their achievements, professional standing and the contribution they and their work make to wider society.

Research and impact

Professor Ó Brádaigh is a leading international authority on composite materials. Specialising in research in the design and manufacture of fibre-reinforced composite materials, he has developed innovative materials and processes for use in the aerospace and renewable energy sectors, including cryogenic fuel tanks and blades used in wind turbines and tidal stream turbines.

Professor Ó Brádaigh was instrumental in creating FastBlade, the world’s first test facility using regenerative hydraulic technology to offer high-quality, efficient fatigue testing for composite structures such as those used in wind tidal turbine blades, based at the Arrol Gibb Innovation Campus (AGIC) in Rosyth, Fife.

Professor Ó Brádaigh’s impact spans industry and academia, having founded and developed the only aerospace composites company in the Republic of Ireland. Over his career, Professor Ó Brádaigh has been awarded several patents and his status as a leading technologist was recognised by the inaugural Sir Bernard Crossland Medal for Engineering Innovation, presented by Engineers Ireland.

Alongside his research and commercial activities, Professor Ó Brádaigh is actively involved in developing the School of Engineering’s curriculum, teaching courses in composite materials and polymers, and supervising many research students.

"Best minds”

Professor Sir John Ball, President of The Royal Society of Edinburgh, said:

“It is a great privilege to welcome our new Fellows – they represent outstanding commitment and achievement at the highest level across a diverse range of sectors. From scientific advancement that changes lives to leading business innovation recognised across the world, the RSE welcomes the best minds to harness their unique insight and make knowledge useful for the greater good.”

“Harnessing our Fellows’ talents and ideas allows us to mobilise a wide range of expertise to tackle some of the most complex challenges society faces. In welcoming our new Fellows, I look forward to seeing the positive effect they will have on society in Scotland and beyond”.

Reacting to his election to the RSE, Professor Ó Brádaigh said:

“It’s a great honour to be elected to the Royal Society of Edinburgh – it's a recognition of our composites research and impact at the University and of my own industrial impacts and commercialisation, both in Scotland and Ireland. I look forward to getting involved in the activities of the RSE, a society with a long history of scholarship in science, engineering and other areas.”

Professor Peter Grant, former Head of the School of Engineering at the University of Edinburgh, said:

“We are extremely pleased that our Head of School, Professor Conchúr Ó Brádaigh, who has pioneered many technical innovations in lightweight composite materials for the design, manufacture and testing of blades for renewable energy wind and tidal turbines, has been recognised by his personal election to Fellowship of the Royal Society of Edinburgh in addition to his 2022 award of Fellowship of The Royal Academy of Engineering.”

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Professor Conchúr Ó Brádaigh
Professor Conchúr Ó Brádaigh