Director, Irish Photonic Innovation Center

  • 2018 International Research Conference at UC Davis Speakers
  • 2018-19
  • Ireland

Paul Townsend has more than 25 years of experience as a scientist and research leader. He is an internationally recognized expert in advanced photonic communication systems. Specifically, he is known for his pioneering work on quantum key distribution in optical networks, and his work in world-leading demonstrations of high-capacity broadband access networks. 

Townsend has worked in leading international research laboratories including at Bell Communications Research, British Telecommunications and Corning, Inc. He is currently head of the Photonics Centre at Tyndall—a company which comprises approximately150 researchers who work on many of the key aspects of photonics. At Tyndall, he also is head of the 25-person Photonics Systems Group. 

Townsend is involved in many external activities. For example, he currently serves as an elected member of the Photonics21’s Board of Stakeholders, a reviewer of the European Research Council Senior’s grant award, a member of the Fraunhofer Heinrich Hertz Institute 2017 strategic review panel, and conference co-chair of the European Conference on Optical Communications in 2019.

He is currently a research professor in the Department of Physics at University College Cork, Ireland and a fellow of the Institute of Physics in U.K. and Ireland. His work has led to approximately 200 peer reviewed journal and conference publications including 40 invited contributions and 30 registered patents in 16 different families. He holds a Ph.D. in physics from the University of Cambridge in the U.K.

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