In an era of unparalleled advances in science, combined with the innovative use of new and existing technologies, society is struggling to provide the necessary legal frameworks for the future.

Ray Friel is at the forefront in finding solutions to these problems, linking the future development of the law with new scientific advances and the consequent social changes that are emerging. Recently, in collaboration with colleagues from KBS, he was part of one of the first major successes by UL in the EU Horizon 2020 programme. The CLOUD-LSVA project was awarded over €4 million for a multi-disciplinary proposal to develop advanced driver safety technology as an intermediate step towards autonomous vehicles. Ray will contribute to the project through researching and developing the law surrounding this new technology in a global context. He is also engaged in cutting edge legal research on the implications of commercialising other technological innovations such as Drones, 3D printing and data manipulation.

“As Director of the International Commercial and Economic Law Group at the School of Law, I am committed to integrating legal research into both scientific research and commercial innovation. This is a unique space, not only nationally but internationally as well. I established a monthly IP Café, the first of its kind in Ireland, which links our Law faculty to scientists, innovators and entrepreneurs and provides a crucible for new and innovative research collaboration across disciplines and between academia and industry.
Much of this innovation is also driving social change faster than we have ever experienced before and I am conscious of the need for robust legal protection for society. Thus my new research project on controlling business activities and protecting individuals through a regulatory criminal process must be seen as complementary to my legal research on facilitating and protecting innovation for commercial purposes.

What’s really exciting about working in UL is the ability to work with colleagues in the Law School, and in other Faculties, who share that passion about breaking the traditional constraints on research and who are committed to working together in the context of pursuing legal research on real problems for the real world. My research, mirroring the ethos of UL, is about a holistic approach that talks to integration not segregation, to opening minds not compartmentalising them.”