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Mr Mikael Fernström
Mr Mikael Fernström MSc '98
2009 Recipient of the Outstanding Contribution to Science & Technology Alumni Award

Mikael Fernström left his native Sweden in 1991 to move to Ireland after fifteen years in industry as an inventor, electronics engineer, industrial designer, manager, composer and company director. From 1996, Mikael was Research Officer at the Interaction Design Centre at UL and in 1998, was awarded an MSc through Research and was appointed Lecturer. He spearheaded the development (and became Course Director) of a new taught Masters Degree in Interactive Media at UL and was also involved in the development of two new undergraduate programmes, a BSc Digital Media Design and a BSc in Music, Media and Performance Technology.

(l-r) Mr Fintan Breen, ULAA Chairperson, Mr Mikael Fernström, Prof Don Barry, UL President and Mr Gerry Reeves, Bank of Ireland Regional Manager (West Munster)A number of collaborations with Sean Taylor of the Limerick School of Art and Design have resulted in Bliain Le Baisteach (1999), Coisir an tSionnan (2002), Common Ground (2003) and TXTULTR (2005). In 2009, they were commissioned to create an exhibit for the Science Gallery at Trinity College in Dublin.

Mikael is also one of the co-designers of the LiteFoot interactive floor and has been awarded research grants for other projects including collaboration with Dr. Joe Paradiso of MIT Media Lab to develop new interactive surfaces in conjunction with Media Lab Europe in Dublin and also an EU Future and Emerging Technologies Grant within the Disappearing Computer initiative on new object models for sound on computers. He also collaborated with UL's Prof. Mícheál O'Suilleabháin on ‘SIONNA' European Festival of World Music, Limerick. Between 2006 and 2008, Mikael did a technology transfer project called MetaMusic, supported by Enterprise Ireland that resulted in the start-up company, based in Spiddal, Co, Galway.

Mr Mikael Fernström with his wife MonaAs the Irish delegate in the European COST Action G6 on Digital Audio Effects, Mikael is one of the initiators of a new European COST action on Control of digital audio effects from human gesture. Currently completing his Doctoral research at UL in Interactive Sound Design in the context of Human-Computer Interaction, he is a Member of the Audio Engineering Society, the International Society of Ecological Psychology, IEEE, Lifetime Member of the Electronic Music Foundation and is one of two Irish delegates on the European COST action IC0601 on Sonic Interaction Design.

Now firmly settled in Limerick with his Swedish wife, Mona, today Mikael is recognised internationally for his artistic work at the intersection between music and technology and his scholarly work has put Ireland firmly on the map of excellence in a range of research fields. Described by his colleagues and students as "a unique talent, a gifted educator, a generous mentor and motivator and certainly, a passionate visionary”, Mikael is widely regarded as someone with the extraordinary ability to achieve excellence and cutting-edge results in every field to which he dedicates himself.


The above text is an extract from the 2009 UL Alumni Awards Souvenir Booklet.
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