Waterford News

John Sheppard FulbrightJohn Sheppard, a Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT) academic from Waterford, has been awarded the inaugural Fulbright TechImpact Cybersecurity Award at Georgetown University in Washington DC.

The Secretary General of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Niall Burgess and Chargé d’affaires of the U.S. Embassy in Ireland, Mr Reece Smyth, announced the 36 Fulbright Irish Awardees for 2019-2020 at a ceremony in Dublin Castle.

Mr Sheppard will go to the U.S. to conduct research into wearable technologies and associated ethical implications and will work with the Massive Data Institute at the McCourt School of Public Policy to study the Application of Cybersecurity Ethics Frameworks in Emerging Technologies.

John Sheppard is a lecturer in the Department of Computing and Mathematics at WIT and is the course leader of the BSc (Hons) in Computer Forensics and Security, Ireland’s first and oldest undergraduate degree in the discipline.

Speaking at the awards ceremony, Mr Sheppard said, "I am delighted to have been awarded a Fulbright TechImpact Scholarship and I look forward to the opportunity of visiting and working with Georgetown University."

The study will investigate how data is managed and handled on wearable technologies. It will look at aspects such as the levels of encryption and surveillance of data residing both on the device and in communications with other devices. The project will also examine the accuracy and the integrity of data on the device, the ownership of this data and the levels of access that third parties are given to such data.

While in Washington DC Mr Sheppard will be based at the McCourt School of Public Policy (MSPP) which focuses on teaching and research in the design, analysis, and implementation of smart policies in the public, private, and nonprofit sectors, in the U.S. and around the world. McCourt’s Massive Data Institute (MDI) focuses on the secure and responsible use of data to answer public policy questions. It develops and supports efforts around the ethical use of data, including highlighting best practices for sharing data, managing concerns around privacy and discrimination, and making sure the of benefits of big data research for the most marginalized or vulnerable populations.

He will join this year's other Fulbright awardees who will spend time at universities across the United States such as Columbia, Stanford, Berkeley and MIT studying a range of areas from Music to Agricultural Science and from Medicine to Irish Literature.

Dr Mark White, Vice President for Research Innovation & Graduate Studies at WIT said “The Institute is delighted that John is one of the 37 people to receive a Fulbright award under the 2019-2020 programme.  WIT would like to thank the Fulbright Commission for its continued support and we wish John the very best of luck with his research in the US.” 

WIT has five previous recipients of the Fulbright scholars award including Dr Jimmy O’Brien-Moran, Prof John Nolan, Dr Thomas O’Toole, Dr Anne Graham and Dr Felicity Kelliher and one recipient of the Fulbright student award Ms Dayna Killian. 

Dr Sarah Ingle, Chair of the Board of the Fulbright Commission in Ireland said: “The excellence and expertise of Fulbright scholars, students and foreign language teaching assistants continues to develop after more than 60 years of the Irish programme.  The new awardees are being provided with a great opportunity, but they also have a responsibility to continue Senator Fulbright’s vision of creating mechanisms for mutual understanding, collaboration and sharing of ideas. The Commission Board congratulates the awardees travelling to the U.S. in the coming year and wishes them a very enjoyable and successful Fulbright experience.”

Dr Dara FitzGerald, Executive Director of the Fulbright Commission in Ireland said: “This year we have seen a surge in applications and awards across all of our Fulbright award programmes, and we hope to see that trend continue to grow. Cultural and academic exchange between the U.S. and Ireland is alive and well. We believe that the Commission has a unique role to play in the Governments 2019-2025 US strategy.

The next round of applications for Fulbright Irish Awards will open on 28 August 2019, interested candidates should visit http://www.fulbright.ie for more information.

1848 Tricolour June 2019This year’s 1848 Tricolour Celebration for Waterford City will take place between Friday 28th and Sunday 30th June. Moved from the traditional date of around the 7th March, to hopefully enjoy better weather, which saw first ever raising of THE Irish Tricolour, on 33 The Mall, by Waterford native Thomas Francis Meagher, in the year 1848.

2019 will see us celebrate the 171st Anniversary of the raising of THE first Irish Tricolour by Thomas Francis Meagher, at 33 The Mall, Waterford City. Now in its 9th year, the 1848 Tricolour Celebration continues to gain momentum on a national and international level.

The 2019 events will take place across the weekend of the 28th, 29th and 30th of June. This was planned to be the nearest weekend date, to the actual death commemoration of Meagher, who died on the 1st July 1867. Visitors will include Members of the 69th Brigade New York, Embassy Representatives and Military Veterans.

It is hoped that the new June dates will become a regular in the calendar of Waterford festivals and that the chance of sunnier, warmer and drier weather, will see crowds returning to The Mall on Sunday 30th June.

A number of exciting events have been planned, including;

1848 Tricolour Celebration Timetable

Friday 28th June

  • From 10am; Citizenship Ceremony in the presence of Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan TD. WIT Arena will see 700 new citizens swear allegiance to the Tricolour. Their journey to Irish Citizenship starting at 33 The Mall, where a shuttle bus will take them to WIT Arena.
  • From 6pm; Thomas Francis Meagher historic walk by Donnchadh Ó Ceallacháin, Waterford Treasures at 6pm, followed by dinner at 7pm in Sabai Restaurant. Sabai is a “Blue plaque” building and the premises where Thomas Francis Meagher was arrested on the 12th July 1848.

Saturday 29th June

  • From 10am; 1848 Tricolour Lecture Series, the Museum of Treasures. Speakers will include Dr Jennifer Kavanagh (Lecturer in Law at WIT), Professor Yvonne McEwan (University of Wolverhampton) & Dr Pat McCarthy (Author of “The Irish Revolution”).
  • From 7.30pm; Gala Dinner in the Granville Hotel. Keynote speaker Professor Willie Donnelly and Minister Paul Kehoe TD, will address the guest. The Island of Ireland Peace Choir will perform at the dinner.

Sunday 30th June

  • From 12:30pm; gathering and march with brass bands, military, veterans and friends from Thomas Francis Meagher’s home place, The Granville Hotel to The Mall.
  • From 1pm; flag raising ceremony on The Mall, outside the House of Waterford Crystal.

MEN ON THE MOVE REPORTAs part of Men’s Health Week, Minister Catherine Byrne TD, Minister of State for Health Promotion launched the Men on the Move Evaluation Report earlier this week.

The Men on the Move programme, a male focused wellness programme, was developed and evaluated to identify how best to engage men in their health and wellbeing through physical activity.

The report was commissioned by the HSE to investigate how Local Sports Partnerships together with the HSE and partners could use physical activity as a hook for engaging with men about their health and wellbeing. This evaluation report highlights how the men who successfully engaged in a 12 week physical activity programme reduced their weight and improved their overall health and wellbeing.

 As a result, the HSE is currently increasing the roll out of the Men on the Move programme in conjunction with Local Sports Partnerships (LSPs) and Sport Ireland to twelve local authority areas and a training programme is being rolled out to support LSPs to deliver on this programme.

Dr Paula Carroll, a lecturer in the Department of Sports and Exercise Science at WIT and Principal Investigator on the project said “It’s evident that Men On the Move appealed to many men in this study and their consistent engagement yielded many significant health and social benefits.  Through increasing their aerobic fitness and reducing their waste circumference in particular, cardiovascular disease risk was reduced by between 8 and 20%.

“Most importantly, men reported that they had fun while participating.  Allowing men to participate at their own pace among a group of male peers in their local community created a good environment where they could learn about physical activity and health and achieve things they never thought they could do.  It’s absolutely fantastic that the HSE and Sport Ireland are supporting the national roll out of this programme for the benefit of all men in Ireland.”

Male obesity has more than tripled since 1990 with currently, just 30% of men in Ireland being of ‘normal’ weight. Notably, central or abdominal obesity, which is more specific to men, is linked to a higher risk of cardiovascular and metabolic disease, and some cancers.  The Healthy Ireland Survey 2016 found that over 60% of male respondents aged 35-54 years wanted to increase their physical activity levels.  Strong evidence shows that physical activity promotes health and wellbeing and offers critically important protection against many of these chronic conditions (Source: RCPI).

The HSE funded Men on the Move programme evaluation study sought to compare the health related outcomes of those who took part in the programme and those who had yet to take part in the programme.  For the purposes of the study, the programme was initially delivered in eight local authority areas, culminating in a celebratory 5km event in each county. Participants were evaluated at baseline and twelve weeks and followed up at twenty-six weeks and fifty-two weeks.

Findings indicate the strong positive value the Men on the Move programme has to the health and wellness of those involved, both in the short and longer term. Body weight, BMI and waist circumference were reduced with significant health related risk reduction as a result. 

Launching the report Minister Catherine Byrne TD said “This Men’s Health Week I am delighted to mark the success of the ‘Men on the Move’ initiative and to see the plans for its further development in 2019 with more Local Sports Partnerships coming on board around the country.

“Our aim in Healthy Ireland is to create a place where everyone can enjoy good physical and mental health, and when it comes to acknowledging and focusing on the particular health challenges experienced by men, we are leading the charge. Our National Men’s Health Action Plan commits to supporting and encouraging men in Ireland to be healthier and more active in their community through projects like ‘Men on the Move’.

“I want to commend both the HSE and the research team in Waterford Institute of Technology for their work on this evaluation report, but most importantly I wish to congratulate the men who participated in the programme and took that important first step towards improving their own health and wellbeing.”

Sarah O’Brien, National Lead, Healthy Eating Active Living Programme, HSE, Health & Wellbeing, commenting on the significance of this study said “The HSE commissioned this evaluation to identify the evidence and best practice for the delivery of a community based health promotion programme targeting men’s health. We have been working with Sport Ireland and Waterford Institute of Technology to expand access to the Men on the Move programme on a phased basis across the network of Local Sports Partnerships. All eight local authorities who took part in the evaluation process have continued to deliver the programme with another four local authorities signing up during 2019 to participate.”

WIT Vision aTreatment of diseases of the back of the eye such as age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and diabetic eye disease is set to be improved with a €4m EU-funded project led by Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT).

The project, ORBITAL, will contribute to research which could lead to more widespread use of less invasive drug delivery methods such as eye drops, contact lenses and microneedle technologies, instead of the more traditional injections.

By understanding what patients and clinicians need in practice, the project aims to train researchers to have the skills necessary to develop these patient-friendly drug delivery technologies and ultimately improve patient experiences and outcomes.

Current treatments include injections, which can be unpleasant for patients, and the project has been lauded as a timely new approach to meet the challenges of these devastating eye diseases.

Europe’s ageing population and obesity epidemic means that the numbers living with AMD and diabetic eye disease will continue to dramatically increase in the coming years.

According to WIT researcher, Dr Laurence Fitzhenry, who heads up the project, “There is a clear need for efficient, safe, less-invasive and more patient-friendly strategies for the treatment of AMD and diabetic eye disease”.

“These diseases represent a considerable and growing burden on patients and healthcare systems throughout the world. Given the statistics, there is a lack of researchers being trained with the necessary interdisciplinary skills needed to combat such increasing burdens.”

He explains that engagement with patients, patient groups and clinicians throughout the entirety of the training programme will ensure that patient-oriented solutions are at the centre of all research activity.

Dr Fitzhenry was recently awarded the Horizon 2020 Marie Sklodowska-Curie European Training Network award, worth €4m, for funding of the ORBITAL (Ocular Research By Integrated Training And Learning) European Training Network programme. This pan-European research project, which starts this September, will see academia, industry, clinicians, patient advocacy groups and hospitals working together to create patient-friendly solutions for blinding diseases and recruitment has started for 15 brilliant, early career researchers to work on the project.

ORBITAL is made up of a consortium of 23 members from Europe, Canada and the US and will be led by researchers in Waterford. Also involved are University College Dublin, Queen’s University Belfast, the charity Fighting Blindness, and a Kilkenny-based consultant eye surgeon, Mr David Kent of The Vision Clinic.

€1m of the €4m funding will come directly to WIT, and almost half in total will come to the island of Ireland.

Fighting Blindness is Ireland’s only charity funding research towards the development of treatment and cures for sight loss.

Dr Laura Brady, Head of Research at Fighting Blindness, says, “Fighting Blindness champions the need for meaningful involvement of patients in research. Often the only sight-saving treatment available for those living with AMD requires invasive and frequent injections into the back of the eye. Addressing this burden on both the individual and clinical community, ORBITAL holds the potential to develop technologies that are relevant, safe, cost-effective and patient-friendly. We welcome this opportunity to engage with early-stage scientists and ensure our next generation of leaders commence their research careers with the patients’ needs at the forefront of their minds.”

Mr David Kent, consultant eye surgeon, welcomes the formation of the pan-European research group saying it is an exciting time for Irish vision research. “It is my firm belief that collaboration between laboratories is the key to genuine research breakthroughs rather than individual groups working in isolation.”

“To give you an idea of the therapeutic challenge facing the vision research community, AMD in the eye is a form of neurodegeneration that is highly prevalent, hugely challenging and currently only around 10% of patients can be treated, and not all effectively. ORBITAL is a timely approach to meet the challenges of these ever increasing and devastating eye diseases,” he adds.

NDRC at Arclabs

On Wednesday, 19th June 2019 ArcLabs Research and Innovation Centre will host an open night to give ambitious entrepreneurs an opportunity to learn about the NDRC at ArcLabs accelerator programme.

The focus of the event will be for budding entrepreneurs to hear about hear about the real-life experiences of past participants of the programme as well as one of the investors.

Aisling O’Neill, ArcLabs Manager, commented, “We are so excited to meet all the ambitious entrepreneurs who are ready to drive their businesses to the next level on the NDRC at ArcLabs accelerator programme. It is fantastic for the South East to have the NDRC accelerator here with programmes like this instrumental to driving the entrepreneurial pipeline for the region and ensuring we have a strong ecosystem of innovative companies here”.

This is the second year of the programme and the NDRC at ArcLabs is seeking early-stage digital technology businesses who are motivated to accelerate their businesses to the next level. This is a very competitive programme and companies who are awarded a place on the programme receive the following:

  • Investment of €75,000, €50,000 of which is cash
  • Three months working alongside startups, innovators and investors
  • Expert mentorship from industry experts
  • Weekly workshops and networking
  • The opportunity to build your connections with the investment community

Register here for your free place: https://www.ndrc.ie/news-events/event/ndrc-at-arclabs-open-night

Don’t worry if you can’t attend the open night. You can book a meeting with the venture leads during their ‘Office Hours’ which are being held all over the region. To learn more, book Office Hours slots and apply for the NDRC at ArcLabs accelerator, check out the website: https://www.ndrc.ie/looking-for-investment/what-we-offer-startups/regional-accelerators-waterford-arclabs

Waterford AirportThe chairman and board of Waterford Airport today (11th June 2019) warmly welcomed the announcement of funding approval by Government for the lengthening and widening of the airport’s runway.

This investment will secure the future of Waterford Airport and allow it to compete for international carriers using jet engine aircraft.

Work will commence immediately on progressing the runway extension and a planning application will be lodged for the extension of the northern end and the runway widening. Planning permission is already in place for extension of the southern end.

Funding from a combination of private investors, local authorities and the Government will deliver the additional infrastructure subject to the agreement of existing airport shareholders at an EGM to be held shortly. The proposal is also subject formal approval by the local authorities in Waterford, Wexford and Kilkenny.

Dan Browne, chairman of Waterford Airport, said: “The extension of the runway at Waterford Airport is a game-changer for the future of Waterford Airport and the southeast region we serve. It represents a departure in regional aviation in Ireland with the private sector and local authorities acting in partnership to bring a new commercial focus to airport operations.

The investment by the private sector of €5m is also a first in regional aviation in Ireland and the bringing together of aviation and construction expertise in the form of Conor McCarthy of Leadcom Ltd and Noel Frisby of Frisby Construction, along with strong international enterprises from the region in the form of Glanbia, Coolmore Stud, Waterford Distillery, Dawn Meats and Stafford Wholesale represents a new focus on the future commercial viability of the Airport.”

Cllr John Pratt, Mayor of Waterford, also welcomed the announcement: “Waterford, Kilkenny and Wexford local authorities have long argued that a viable regional airport is vital for the region. The funding of the runway extension is a further boost to the momentum being generated in the economy of Waterford and the southeast as a whole.

“We can now look forward to the airport contributing positively to economic activity in the region, through its services to the public and business alike. We especially welcome the contribution the airport can make to inbound tourism and believe the new entity can bring further exposure and access for visitors to the wonderful landscape, heritage assets and  amenities available in this beautiful corner of the world.”

 

WIT Part TimeWaterford Institute of Technology’s new Part-time/Flexible Handbook 2019 will be launched at the institute’s Springboard, Part-time & Postgrad Information Evening.

The handbook lists course options available in BioPharma Manufacturing, Computing, Childcare, Further Education, Social Studies and Humanities amongst other areas. Information will also be available on the range of new Springboard courses on offer at WIT for 2019/2020 as well as a range of postgraduate courses – many available to study part-time or with flexible ways of learning.

People interested in changing their careers or upskilling have a choice of night courses, online courses, and blended courses to choose from the Springboard, Part-time & Postgrad Information Evening at WIT on Wednesday, 12th June from 5pm-7pm is the perfect chance to explore the options.

Courses include: Business Systems Analysis, the online Computer Science programme, Fire Engineering; Construction Site Management; Pharmaceutical Technology; Advanced Drug Formulation Science (Postgraduate), Automation Engineering, Biomedical Engineering, Data Analytics (Postgraduate), NZEB Design (Postgraduate), Lean Fundamentals, Supervisory Practice, Digital Marketing Practice, and Culinary Arts.

Neil Quinlan, Head of the Department of Lifelong Learning at WIT welcomed the recent Springboard announcement of courses which focus on future-proofing the skills of people already in employment.

“Ireland is investing heavily in adult education and upskilling the workforce. With the march of technology and Ireland’s commitment to UN sustainable development goals (one of which is inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all) the Government’s continued support in the funding of Springboard programmes is very welcome. Springboard has broadened eligibility criteria beyond jobseekers to people returning to work outside the home and people in employment. It gives people interested in upskilling or changing career a chance to do so for free.”

The Minister for Education and Skills Joe McHugh T.D. and the Minister of State for Training, Skills Innovation, Research and Development John Halligan T.D. launched the new suite of courses under Springboard+ 2019 in May.

Minister McHugh said: “Springboard+ training programmes provide people who are unemployed, those looking to return to the workforce and those in employment with a great opportunity to upskill or reskill in areas in which employers need skilled workers.”

Minister Halligan commented: “I am particularly pleased to see that almost 90% of the courses provided under Springboard+ 2019 will be delivered in a more flexible format, which aligns with the continued opening-up of courses to learners, irrespective of their employment status. As well as aiding participation for those in employment, increased provision will allow people from all across the country to access programmes in regions other than where they reside.”

Candidates who wish to participate in Springboard+ 2019 will find full details on the approved courses on the dedicated information and applications website www.springboardcourses.ie

Springboard+ courses are free for people who are unemployed, those who were previously self-employed and returners to the workforce. Courses are also free for people in employment, on NFQ Level 6 courses. For employed participants on courses NFQ level 7 – 9, 90% of the course fee is funded by the Government, with participants required to contribute just 10% of the fee.

WIT StudentPadA competitive rental market means that there is once again a demand for ‘digs’ where homeowners rent out rooms to students.

Householders with a room to rent are invited to advertise early on the Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT) StudentPad platform.

WIT Novus, which runs WIT’s student accommodation has invested in a new website to help connect people who want to rent rooms as well as landlords wishing to advertise directly to students.

Derek Delaney, WIT’s Accommodation Manager says that there is a demand for lodging and digs in Waterford – including students who want a room weeknights while their course runs, international students here for one semester, and apprenticeship students.

While college doesn’t start back till September people are exploring accommodation options ahead of 1 July CAO deadline.

“We invite both landlords with properties to rent and individuals with a room to rent to sign up and advertise their properties earlier rather than later over the summer.”

He adds that international students like to have accommodation booked before they arrive in Ireland, and returning students often like to have their accommodation confirmed over the summer.

“There will be huge interest by the time of the Leaving Cert results in mid-August,” Darren Malone, Welfare Officer at Waterford Institute of Technology Students' Union (WITSU) says. “The StudentPad website gives homeowners, landlords, and people looking for a flatmate or housemate a chance to avail of the country’s rent a room scheme which allows people to rent a room in their home and earn €14,000 a year tax free.”

“It could also be a great way to have company if you’re on your own or have a large, empty house. Many international students are here for just a semester, and this is a great way to introduce your family to different cultures, and make new friends,” Malone explains.

Homeowners who would like to try out renting a room can give it a go for one semester – orientation for first year and international students is from the start of September onwards. There’s a one-week study break in October, and classes traditionally finish in early December before exams. It’s mid-January before semester 2 begins.

People with a room to rent in Waterford can advertise on WIT’s newly-launched website witstudentpad.ie.

Students can also register and get property alerts emailed directly to them whenever accommodation becomes available that matches what they are looking for.

Traditionally two thirds of WIT graduates hail from the south east, with many commuting by public transport or by car. Still there is demand from different types of students seeking to rent a room for short periods of time: first years finding their feet, international students studying for a semester in Ireland and apprentices on block study at WIT.

“If you let a room in your home, the income you receive may be exempt from tax. The annual exemption limit for 2019 is €14,000. The relief can apply to lettings to students for an academic year or semester, including traditional ‘digs’ lettings,” Malone says.

The next steps for anybody interested are to look at the rent-a-room-relief on the Revenue website and start adding their room/property to https://www.witstudentpad.ie/Landlords

Robert Boyle Summer School 2019Superhuman: genetic modification, designer babies, bionics, prolonging life and accelerating evolution under the microscope for Robert Boyle Summer School June 20 to 23

The centuries-old fascination with prolonging human life and today’s technologies and science that allow greater health, strength and mental function will be under the microscope as researchers and medical experts gather with members of the public for a lively discussion about the opportunities and problems of what was once science fiction but is now becoming possible.

‘Superhuman’ is the theme for this year’s Robert Boyle Summer School which runs in Waterford city and Lismore from June 20 to 23. It will demonstrate how Science and Technology is catching up with mythology and we are now poised to create Superhumans.

The gathering will consider the possibilities and perils of human modification and performance enhancement. Leading experts will also explore genetic modification, designer babies, bionics, prolonging life and implications for humanity.

Among this year’s expert contributors and participants are Prof Niall Moyna, known for his work with television shows, Operation Transformation and Doctor in the House, as well as regular radio show contributor, Prof Luke O’Neill.

“The Robert Boyle Summer School celebrates the life and work of Ireland’s most important scientist, Robert Boyle, and is Ireland’s only summer school for adults addressing science and culture, organiser, Eoin Gill, says.

“We have a major crisis in today’s world with misinformation, fake news and populism drowning out evidence and reason. Society was happy to leave science to the scientists and scientists were quite happy with that too.

“Now, the public want to know more about science and what it will deliver for them and scientists want to engage with the public in an accessible way. The Robert Boyle Summer School was established as a meeting place where experts and the general public can meet and learn from each other. It is the only festival of its type in Ireland.”

The engaging Robert Boyle Summer School programme, which is booking up fast on here and on www.robertboyle.ie, includes the perfect mix of interesting talks, panel discussions and debate as well as social events. The highlight will be a garden party in stunning Lismore Castle, the birthplace of Robert Boyle with baroque music, local artisan food by Eunice Power and Robert Boyle Gin cocktails from the local Blackwater Distillery.

“Our Summer School is a must for adults interested in engaging with new ideas in history, science and culture and in discussion in a friendly, relaxed setting. Human evolution by natural selection is a long and slow process. But we now have knowledge and technologies that can enable us to make greater advances in human health, intelligence, performance and longevity than ever before.

“Robert Boyle was the most influential scientist of his time back in the 17th Century. He compiled a list of things that he thought science might deliver. Many of the items on the list have been delivered by science. Many represent the interest of the times and many are related to enhancement of human life and performance. The first on his list is the ‘prolongation of life’– a preoccupation of sentient humans through history. Even though average life expectancy has doubled since Boyle’s time, it is still a preoccupation,” Gill revealed.

The four day programme opens with a fascinating talk by Prof Annraoi de Paor on Superhumans in Ancient Irish folklore: the career of Lugh Lámhfhada. It also includes a talk with Dr Natalie Kaoukji, Cambridge University, on what prolonging life might have in common with mechanical flight or breathing under water. Artist Nuala Clarke will relate how her latest exhibition was inspired by Boyle’s writing and experiments on colour.

Prof Luke O’Neill, author of critically acclaimed book “Humanology”, will explain how a new technique CRISPR can alter the genes in a cell making it possible to change traits in human embryos to eliminate genetic defects but also makes it possible to select for other “desirable” traits.

The title of Prof. Niall Moyna’s talk is ‘Stone Age Genes and Space Age Technology – the Impact on Human Health’ and he will examine how despite extended longevity and medical advances our lifestyles are making us sick and explain how advances in smart phone technology have the capacity to deliver a new medical revolution.

Prof Tomás Ryan will probe the future of human evolution, while Dr Oliver Feeney will look at the ethical, legal and societal issues involved in genetic engineering. Robotic limbs, bionic eyes, exoskeletons, electronic nerve implants and brain-computer interfaces are being developed to assist the ill and infirm. Prof Madeleine Lowery will look at these technologies and consider what they will deliver.

The coordinators, Calmast, Waterford Institute of Technolgy’s science engagement centre, will also continue the school’s tradition of recreating Boyle’s original experiments.

The annual cultural Summer School was established in 2012 and is organised by Calmast at Waterford Institute of Technology and Lismore Heritage Centre, with support of Lismore Castle, the Robert Boyle Foundation, interested groups and professional bodies and industry in the region.

VirtualVet NEA AwardOne of Waterford’s best small businesses, VirtualVet, was awarded the accolade of being the overall Regional (South) winner at the National Enterprise Awards which took place on May 29th at Dublin’s Mansion House.

Run by the 31 Local Enterprise Offices in the local authorities nationwide, the National Enterprise Awards are in their 21st year and offer an investment prize fund of €40,000 and featured businesses from a variety of sectors.

VirtualVet, an innovative GDPR compliant data management company, founded by Sinead Quealy, was named as Waterford’s Enterprise winner in March and represented the county at the recent National Enterprise Awards.

In 2017, the WIT graduate, after observing the implications and increased risks posed to human health by the overuse of antibiotics in animal farming, established VirtualVet.

The company tracks drug usage in animals in the food chain and reduces the risk of misuse and overuse of animal remedies in food production. The data management company records dosages for famers, reports to the agri-food and animal health industries and monitors for agencies such as Bord Bia and the Food Safety Authority.

Richie Walsh, Head of Enterprise at Local Enterprise Office Waterford, congratulated VirtualVet on their national win. “The National Enterprise Awards are very much a benchmark for excellence for small businesses across the country. Sinead and the team at VirtualVet have demonstrated their calibre, innovation and resourcefulness and are very deserving winners of the national title.”

“Since VirtualVet was established only a few years ago it has made massive inroads in reducing the overuse of animal remedies in food production. This is a huge advance as the risks posed to human health by overuse of antibiotics in animal farming can be quite significant.”

“As part of the National Enterprise Awards, VirtualVet availed of mentoring and guidance to generate connections and leads from other businesses along the way. They also receive signposting for their business helping them to move their company forward. Those who do take part always see the benefit, with previous winners employing over 830 people and exporting across the world with annual revenues in excess of €130million.”

The National Enterprise Awards are one of several initiatives that the Local Enterprise Offices run, to foster entrepreneurship across the country. Others include Local Enterprise Week, the Student Enterprise Programme, National Women’s Enterprise Day and Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur (IBYE). The Local Enterprise Offices in local authorities are funded by the Government of Ireland through Enterprise Ireland.

Established in 2014, the Local Enterprise Offices are the essential resource for any entrepreneur looking to start a business or any small business that is looking for support or advice to help them grow. Since their inception five years ago, the Local Enterprise Offices have helped create over 18,000 jobs across the country.

If your business in pre-start, start-up or established business phase and would like to find out more about what business support services are available from LEO Waterford visit www.localenterprise.ie/Waterford/

Green Acre Marketing teamGreen Acre Marketing, a Waterford-based marketing, advertising and PR agency has announced a major expansion with the opening of a new office in Dublin.

This has been facilitated by a significant investment in the business by the founder of Dublin-based media company, AgriLand. The aim is now to expand the team and open an office in Dublin in 2019.

Green Acre Marketing has developed into a substantial business over the last five years, providing marketing services specifically to the agribusiness sector.

Commenting on the move, Green Acre Marketing’s Waterford-based founder and managing director Aileen Barron said: “An exciting future lies ahead for Green Acre Marketing and its people. Growing a business is never without its challenges, but I am excited about entering this new chapter.

“We have had amazing support from our current clients, some of whom have been with us from the beginning. The future is about adding more value and resources to these clients, while looking to the future within the agribusiness and food industry,” she said.

It was also recently announced that Kilkenny native, Lisa Dunphy, has returned to Green Acre Marketing as its senior account director.

“We are delighted to have Lisa back on the team. After gaining substantial experience and insight in the FinTech industry, Lisa will bring a whole new outlook and vision to the future of Green Acre Marketing.

Over the coming weeks Green Acre Marketing will open a new office in Blanchardstown, Dublin 15, with key personnel set to be located between its capital-based and Waterford offices.

“Strategic marketing planning, offline marketing, PR and event management will continue to be the core services provided at Green Acre Marketing - however, digital marketing and content creation will now also be a strong focus for the business.

“This means that Green Acre Marketing will be the only agency in the country with the ability to provide digital marketing to the agri sector at such a level,” said Aileen.

Commenting on his move to back Green Acre Marketing, Cormac Farrelly stated: “I have huge admiration for the work that Green Acre Marketing has carried out for many agribusinesses - both in Ireland and further afield.

“The professionalism and knowledge displayed by its team over the last five years is unparalleled in my view.

“Farming and farmers have evolved. Many businesses that provide services to both farmers and consumers are responding to that shift.

“This has put a renewed focus on marketing and branding for these companies. Aileen and the team are leading this evolution with their intimate understanding of both traditional and digital media,” he said.

Farrelly is otherwise known as managing director at AgriLand; Ireland’s largest agricultural news publisher.

With expertise at farm and corporate level, Green Acre Marketing has an extensive understanding of the agribusiness sector and its target market.

“We are a fully-integrated agency with a strong team of marketing and media experts, all with one passion in common - our love of agriculture and food.

“Over the years, we have had the pleasure of working with companies that are at the backbone of the Irish agribusiness landscape, while also supporting some of the largest international brands across the globe,” Aileen concluded.

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