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New guidance on COVID-19 and maternity care issued

By |April 5th, 2020|Categories: News|

Sunday 05 April 2020 The Institute of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists has issued new guidance on COVID-19 and maternity services. The guidance was written by INFANT Centre Principal Investigator Dr Keelin O’Donoghue and Joye McKernan, National Perinatal Epidemiology Centre. COVID-19 infection is a new disease and the impact on pregnancy remains uncertain. Aims of the guidance document: • To outline considerations for care for pregnant women and their infants during the COVD-19 pandemic • To advise maternity units around the provision of safe care to women and infants with suspected/confirmed COVID-19 • To support healthcare staff working in the maternity services • To set out a framework for managing the impact on maternity services • To provide principles to help units develop their own response plans As this is an evolving situation this guidance is subject to ongoing review and will be updated as further information and evidence becomes available. Read the full document here.

INFANT PI chats to BBC World News

By |April 4th, 2020|Categories: News|

Saturday 04 April 2020 We have collaborated with our colleagues in Cork University Maternity Hospital to provide virtual visiting for babies in the hospital's neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). The new initiative allows families to remotely check-in on their baby amid COVID-19 visiting restrictions. The support for this initiative has been wonderful and we are delighted this video technology to support our parents is having such a positive effect!

INFANT Centre providing virtual visitation for families

By |April 2nd, 2020|Categories: News|

Thursday 02 April 2020 The INFANT Research Centre at University College Cork in collaboration with Cork University Maternity Hospital, Ireland South Women & Infants Directorate have introduced a secure video messaging platform called vCreate in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. Under normal circumstances, having a baby in the neonatal unit can be a time of significant emotional distress and anxiety for parents. In these very challenging times, significant restrictions on access to the neonatal unit mean that only mums can visit for limited time periods during the day. These necessary measures, put in place because of the COVID-19 outbreak, have added to the stress parents face when their newborn infant requires neonatal unit admission.  CUMH wants to help provide comfort to parents during this worrying period. “This is a fantastic initiative which we hope will go some way to reducing the significant stress that parents are now facing. Whether it’s for a day or two admission, or indeed many months for our most immature babies, we believe this system, along with its educational material, will alleviate some of the worries that families face in these difficult times,” said Prof Gene Dempsey, Consultant Neonatologist at CUMH and Principal Investigator at INFANT, UCC. The INFANT team supported the rapid introduction of this solution into the NICU which allows staff, coordinated by Neonatal Nurse Manager, Lucille Bradfield, to record short video messages [...]

Brain Awareness Week 2020

By |March 20th, 2020|Categories: News|

Friday 20 March 2020 To celebrate Brain Awareness Week 2020 we asked our INFANT physchologists what a typical working day looks like for them. Meet Leanna - Clinical Neuropsychologist at INFANT Please describe your job: What do you do? I am a Chartered Clinical Neuropsychologist working within the wonderful setting of the INFANT Research Centre, which allows me to be a Scientist and a Practitioner all in one -every Psychologist’s goal and desire! ‘Child Neuropsychology’ is a specialist branch of psychology and neurology that seeks to understand the relationship between the brain and behaviour in children and adolescents. Simply put, it explores how the brain has a direct impact on behavioural, cognitive, and psychosocial adjustment. It attempts to explain the way in which the activity of the brain is expressed in observable and measurable behaviour. I measure this with the help of various specialist assessment tools, diagnostic tools, clinical questionnaires, screeners, parents reports, EEGs, observation and also with the use of novel assessment tools such as ‘Eye-Tracking’. Every day, I am afforded the opportunity to use my training in both Clinical Psychology and Neuropsychology and endeavour to understand why and when something alters, delays or affects brain development during pregnancy, birth and/or early childhood. Thus, I can assess how this may relate to problems exhibited with walking, talking, social and emotional interaction, learning, paying attention, and [...]

A Day in the Life of…

By |March 18th, 2020|Categories: News|

Wednesday 18 March 2020 Meet Triona - Research Psychologist at INFANT   Please describe your job: What do you do? I work as a Research Psychologist with children from birth to 3 years of age. This means that I use lots of research methods to gain a better understanding of children’s development: across their cognition, language, movement, emotions, behaviour and social skills. I use lots of different ways to see this, whether using developmental assessment kits with different games and materials (Bayley, Griffiths), using clinical questionnaires, observing children’s play and interactions, talking to parents, or trialling new innovative assessment tools. Tell us about a typical working day… This can vary massively, which suits me! Some days will be spent conducting assessments with children, whether 4 month old babies or 2 year old toddlers. This can be lots of fun, but also requires lots of energy! I also spend a lot of time writing reports on assessments and discussing clinical cases with my supervising Clinical Psychologist and Clinical Lead Paediatrician. Other days will be spent looking at data that has already been collected, analysing this so that we can publish results. Currently, I am spending time tailoring a novel touchscreen assessment with the aim of using this with toddlers to screen for difficulties in a much quicker and easier way. What do you love about your [...]

Miscarriage Matters – new website launched

By |March 2nd, 2020|Categories: News|

Monday 02 March 2020 The Pregnancy Loss Research Group and INFANT Research Centre at University College Cork today launched www.corkmiscarriage.com, a first-of-its-kind website in Ireland. One in four pregnancies end in first-trimester miscarriage. For many women and their partners, miscarriage is unexpected and can be an upsetting experience. The silence and stigma associated with pregnancy loss can be compounded by the lack of reliable, accessible online information. The new website provides medically accurate, sensitive and user-friendly information for those who experience first-trimester miscarriage. It is designed to guide users through what to expect when a miscarriage happens, what to do and how to access appropriate services while complementing the care and support women receive in maternity hospitals. The website will also be a helpful resource for clinical staff who care for bereaved parents through the difficult journey of miscarriage. The website has been developed by Clinical Bereavement Midwife Specialist Anna Maria Verling, Parent Advocate Rachel Rice, INFANT Public Engagement Manager Caoimhe Byrne in collaboration with Dr Sabina Tabirca and Dr Keelin O’Donoghue, Consultant Obstetrician at CUMH and Principal Investigator at INFANT. Anna Maria Verling, said: “We identified a particular gap in the information and support available to women and their partners who experience first trimester miscarriage. Couples need to have access to reliable, medically accurate information when healthcare professionals may not be available to answer their questions and [...]

Mushrooms may alleviate features of Pre-eclampsia

By |February 5th, 2020|Categories: News|

Wednesday 05 February 2020 New research reveals that a substance, L-ergothioneine, most commonly found in mushrooms, could help alleviate some features of pre-eclampsia. Pre-eclampsia is a complex disorder of pregnancy that can have potentially serious consequences for women and their babies.  There is currently is no cure for pre-eclampsia other than delivery, which can present a major medical problem if the condition results in an extremely premature birth. Now researchers in the Department of Pharmacology & Therapeutics at University College Cork (UCC), the INFANT Centre at UCC and the University of Liverpool, have shown that a natural diet‐derived substance, L-ergothioneine, can alleviate some of the features of this condition. Significant research suggests that pre-eclampsia may be caused by substances released from the placenta that disrupt normal biological processes in the mother. In particular, disruption of mitochondrial function can lead to exaggerated oxidative stress. Ergothioneine is a potent and effective mitochondrial antioxidant. Ergothioneine can be found in a wide variety of foods, but the chief source of ergothioneine in the human diet is mushrooms. “We wanted to see if this natural antioxidant could ameliorate some of the biological features of pre-eclampsia using our model of disease” says Dr. McCarthy at UCC, leader of this research. “Our research shows that treating rats with pre-eclampsia with the natural antioxidant L-ergothioneine reduced blood pressure, prevented fetal growth restriction and [...]

Pocket-sized brain injury monitor could be a game-changer for infant health

By |January 31st, 2020|Categories: News|

Friday 31 January 2020 INFANT PhD Mark O' Sullivan in conversation with Jane Haynes, UCC Office of Marketing and Communications. Featured in INDEPENDENT THINKING - The University College Cork Magazine. ---- A pocket-sized medical device that monitors and diagnoses brain injury in newborns could prove to be a game-changer for infant health. Mark O’Sullivan, a UCC PhD researcher, is in the process of developing a small, portable, battery-operated device which could in the future replace the more heavy-duty EEG machines currently used in hospitals. Mark, who studied Electronic Engineering at undergraduate level and completed an MSc in Music Technology, specialising in Audio Signal Processing, is undertaking his PhD with the INFANT Research Centre and the Embedded Systems Research Group in UCC’s School of Engineering. The idea behind the Neurobell device evolved while Mark was researching EEG (electroencephalogram) signals (the signals produced in the brain) and how, through monitoring and processing them, he could come up with better methods of detecting brain injury. Mark and his colleagues realised pretty quickly that there was huge potential for designing a device that could be ‘a disruptive technology in the field’. “Currently, EEG monitors are large machines that are rolled into wards. It can take up to an hour to apply dozens of electrodes across the baby’s head and then set it up on a laptop or PC,” he explains. “We figured out [...]

INFANT competing for SFI Future Innovator Prize

By |January 30th, 2020|Categories: News|

Thursday 30 January 2020 INFANT team announced as one of eleven competitors in the SFI Artificial Intelligence for Societal Good Challenge. The prize offers €2 million each in funding to teams that win competitions in the categories of AI for societal good and zero emissions. AI-4-LIFE - led by Prof Geraldine Boylan, Prof Liam Marnane and Societal Champion Dr Mairead O'Riordan - will focus on the challenge of reducing neonatal morbidity and mortality. Lack of oxygen at birth is responsible for 23% of all deaths in full-term infants and approximately 1.15 million infants survive with significant disability. The team plan to develop a new, easy to interpret, fetal monitoring system that will use artificial intelligence (AI) assisted interpretation to monitor the vital signs of mother and baby during labour to quickly identify any issues. The AI-4-LIFE project has the potential to impact current clinical practice and improve the lives of families, their babies and international society. Eleven teams have received initial funding from SFI to work on their challenges. At the end of April, they will be short-listed to go through to the second seed phase following pitches at Futurescope in the Convention Centre Dublin. The final prize of €1 million will be awarded at the end of this year.

GCP training for INFANT staff

By |January 6th, 2020|Categories: News|

Monday 06 January 2020 Good Clinical Practice Course   Refresher GCP Course – INFANT 2020 (2.5-hour course) Please note, there must be a minimum of 5 participants for the course to be run. 15 JAN 2020 Morning Session (10:00 – 12:30) 12 MAR 2020 Morning Session (10:00 – 12:30) Seminar Room B 20 MAY 2020 Morning Session (10:00 – 12:30) Prof Room 14 JUL 2020 Morning Session (10:00 – 12:30) Prof Room 14 OCT 2020 Morning Session (10:00 – 12:30) Prof Room 15 DEC 2020 Morning Session (10:00 – 12:30) Prof Room     Full GCP Course – INFANT 2020: (4-hour course) Please note, there must be a minimum of 5 participants for the course to be run. 13 FEB 2020 Morning Session (09:00 – 13:30) Prof Room 16 APR 2020 Morning Session (09:00 – 13:30) Prof Room 11 JUN 2020 Morning Session (09:00 – 13:30) Prof Room 15 SEP 2020 Morning Session (09:00 – 13:30) Prof Room 10 NOV 2020 Morning Session (09:00 – 13:30) Prof Room  

So proud of our growing INFANT

By |December 18th, 2019|Categories: News|

Wednesday 18 December 2019 Taken from UCC's Independent Thinking Magazine. Professor Geraldine Boylan tells Michelle McDonagh how the inspiring team at the Irish Centre for Maternal and Child Health Research is continuing to make a name nationally and internationally for its groundbreaking work.   INFANT is the wonderfully appropriate name for the leading research centre focused entirely on pregnancy, birth and early childhood – and which is perched in a bright and colourful facility on top of the Paediatric Day Unit at Cork University Hospital. As Ireland’s only dedicated research centre spanning maternal and child health, it is a hub that houses a passionate and enthusiastic team of close to a hundred, led by one of its two co-founders and now sole director, Professor of Neurophysiology, Geraldine Boylan. Although it’s only six years old, INFANT is already firmly placed on the global map as a world leader in its field, as a result of breakthroughs in neonatal seizure detection, pre-eclampsia, neonatal brain injury, maternal nutrition, and childhood allergy. For example, the ANSeR (Algorithm for Neonatal Seizure Recognition) study, headed up by Geraldine, created an algorithm that can detect seizures in newborn babies, alerting the healthcare team that the baby may need help. This enables the team to treat seizures promptly and improve the long-term outcomes for children who have had a difficult start in life. The centre has licensed the algorithm to a [...]

Give a gift to INFANT this Christmas

By |December 18th, 2019|Categories: News|

Wednesday 18 December 2019 The birth of a baby is a wonderful occasion. Too often, babies are born too soon or very sick and mothers can suffer severe complications. The INFANT Research Centre is committed to understanding how to reduce these risks and give all babies a healthy start to life. By making a donation today you can shape the future of INFANT.  Enabling us to continue our valuable and ground-breaking research for women and children and funding solutions for those that need them most. Your donation, whether large or small, will be hugely appreciated and we are very grateful for your support. DONATE NOW!  

BNF award for INFANT Researcher

By |November 25th, 2019|Categories: News|

Monday 25 November 2019 Last week, INFANT postdoctoral researcher Dr Elaine McCarthy was presented with her British Nutrition Foundation (BNF) Drummond Early Career Scientist Runner-up Award in London. Earlier this year, the BNF announced the recipients of the 2019 BNF Drummond Early Career Scientist Award – recognising early career excellence in nutrition science. Elaine has been recognised for her work in the field of paediatric and neonatal nutrition, with iron nutrition in young children being the focus of much of her research. The BNF Drummond Early Career Scientist Award is an annual scheme run by the BNF. Applicants are judged on their contributions to nutrition science to date, their potential to become future leaders in the field, and the scientific merit and clarity of communication in their work. Elaine’s invited review entitled “the neonatal period: a missed opportunity for the prevention of iron deficiency and its associated neurological consequences?” is now published in the Nutrition Bulletin. Well done Elaine!

INFANT wins 2nd AI Award

By |November 21st, 2019|Categories: News|

Thursday 21 November 2019 INFANT wins 2nd national award for digital diagnostics research – AI powered decision support tool to identify brain seizures in newborns recognised. INFANT was named winner of 'The Best Application of AI in an Academic Research Body. INFANT PhD student Alison O' Shea and the INFANT Engineering team were recognised for their use of AI to diagnose brain injury in infants. The team has developed an algorithm that detects seizures in newborns and alerts the healthcare team that the baby may need some additional support.  Currently, seizure detection is only possible through analysing EEG and under normal neonatal intensive care conditions, less than 10% of seizures are detected. Now in its second year, the AI Awards are run by AI Ireland, a non-profit business with backing from Microsoft Ireland and Alldus International. Congratulations to the AI Ireland team, sponsors, nominees and awardees on such a successful event.

INFANT research raises questions about current medical approach

By |November 11th, 2019|Categories: News|

Monday 11 November 2019 PRESS RELEASE Newborns who suffer mild oxygen deprivation impacted in later life Research raises questions about the current medical approach during birth Babies who suffer mild oxygen deprivation at birth have impaired cognitive outcomes compared to children with uneventful deliveries, joint Irish and Swedish research reveals today. Lack of oxygen to the newborn brain affects almost 200 babies in Ireland each year and results in death or disability in over 1 million infants each year globally. The condition, known as Hypoxic Ischaemic Encephalopathy (HIE), causes brain injury due to lack of oxygen and can leave newborns with permanent neurological damage or cerebral palsy. Researchers at the Irish Centre for Maternal and Child Health Research (INFANT) at University College Cork (UCC), along with colleagues at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden joined together to examine the outcome in a large number of babies with this condition. Combining data from infants in Cork and Stockholm, this study found that a significant number of children who suffer mild HIE at birth have impaired cognitive outcomes compared to children with uneventful deliveries. These early delays can herald learning or behavioural difficulties which become more significant over time. HIE in children is graded as mild, moderate and severe. The only proven treatment for HIE is Therapeutic Hypothermia (known as cooling therapy) if introduced within the first six [...]

New Research: Iron deficiency in newborn infants and its potential health consequences

By |November 1st, 2019|Categories: News|

Friday 01 November 2019 New research by INFANT researcher, Dr Elaine McCarthy and INFANT PI Prof Mairead Kiely has been published in leading nutrition research journal, Nutrition Bulletin. Iron deficiency is the most common micronutrient deficiency worldwide. Iron is essential for the development of multiple organ systems, most especially the developing brain. Iron deficiency, particularly during sensitive periods of brain development, such as in early childhood, is associated with long‐lasting adverse consequences for cognition, motor function and behaviour. Little consideration has been given to iron deficiency in newborn infants and its potential health consequences. The team highlighted potential strategies for the prevention of neonatal iron deficiency and its long-term health consequences. READ THE FULL REVIEW HERE: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/nbu.12407

INFANT represented at GHC 2019

By |October 29th, 2019|Categories: News|

Tuesday 29 October 2019 Earlier this month, our PhD student Alison O 'Shea attended the Grace Hopper Celebration in Orlando, Florida. Read all about Alison's experience below. - The Grace Hopper Celebration is a yearly event which invites technologists from all over the world to come together and celebrate women in computing. This year’s celebration was the largest yet, with an attendance of 25,000 people. It was held in Orlando, Florida and I was honoured to be able to attend on a Google Travel Scholarship. The theme for GHC 2019 was ‘We will Change the World’, this message of hope and empowerment was reflected in the opening keynote address. The keynote highlighted inspiring women from a variety of backgrounds in different stages of their careers. Each speaker told their personal and professional stories in front of a captivated crowd of 25,000 attendees, with a background of inspirational quotes and dazzling lighting. Aside from the spectacle of GHC, there is a sense of community and positivity that permeates all aspects of this event. Every person you speak to at GHC is friendly, an exemplar in their field and believes in the power of diversity. Attending advanced technical panel discussions with representatives from major companies and noticing that everyone on the panel was a woman with a different background and a different journey is something I haven’t [...]

Success for INFANT team at ISA 2019

By |October 17th, 2019|Categories: News|

Thursday 17 October 2019 Congratulations to our PhD researcher Anne Helps who won runner up prize for her poster ‘Analysis of Irish Inquiry Reports relating to Pregnancy Loss Services'. She received the award at the International Stillbirth Alliance's 11th Annual Conference in Madrid, last week. ISA’s annual conference is one of the most important events of the year for a global community of scientists, mothers, fathers and health professionals who work continuously to reduce the 5 million deaths that occur annually around the world. In addition to Anne's achievement, the Pregnancy Loss Research Group, led by PI Dr Keelin O' Donoghue contributed to the conference further, delivering seven oral presentations, one plenary, one workshop and twenty-one posters (six of which were highly commended). Congratulations to all the team!

New Research: Caesarean Section Delivery & Childhood Obesity

By |October 14th, 2019|Categories: News|

Monday 14 October 2019 Babies born by planned caesarean are more likely to be obese in early childhood The research, published in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health, discovered that planned caesarean birth was a significant predictor of obesity at age two, however this association was not apparent by the time children were four-and-a-half years old. The international comparative study examined data collected as part of this country’s largest longitudinal study, the University of Auckland’s Growing Up in New Zealand. The study examined data collected for more than 6,000 children born in 2009 and 2010.  Researchers cross referenced delivery data with height and weight measurements for the same children when they were aged two and four-and-a-half years old. Lead researcher, Dr Gwinyai Masukume says the findings highlight the potential impacts on infant growth of different delivery choices. Gwinyai says "the results show that the type of delivery may have an impact on infant growth rates, at least in the short term and I hope this latest research will feed into discussions between mothers and their medical professionals about delivery options". This research was carried out in conjunction with the Centre for Longitudinal Research at the University of Auckland, University College Cork, University of Leicester and the University of Liverpool. READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/jech-2019-212591

New Research: The effect of short‐term breastfeeding on long‐term IQ

By |September 25th, 2019|Categories: News|

Wednesday 25 September 2019 New research by INFANT PhD candidate, Sonia Lenehan and team has been published in a world-leading paediatric research journal, Acta Paediatrica. Sonia's research examined the effect of short-term breastfeeding on long-term IQ. Breastfeeding has many health benefits for infants, including the prevention of infections. It also has a positive impact on IQ and school attendance. However, despite the known benefits associated with breastfeeding the rate of exclusive breastfeeding up to 6 months is low globally, and Ireland is no exception. Using data from the Cork BASELINE Birth Cohort Study, the Kaufmann Brief Intelligence Test (a neurodevelopmental assessment) was administered to all children in the study. The results demonstrate that predominately breastfeeding, even for a short duration in early infancy, has a positive impact on the cognitive development of a child. While not all mothers can breastfeed for extended periods, all should be encouraged by the findings. READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/apa.15014#.XYpx_GDwBaM.twitter

INFANT researcher finds link between pregnancy and heart disease

By |September 24th, 2019|Categories: News|

Tuesday 24 September 2019 Research published today in the journal Circulation has found that women with high blood pressure in pregnancy, including conditions such as preeclampsia, have an increased risk of developing cardiovascular disorders later in life, including stroke and heart failure. INFANT Researcher Dr Fergus McCarthy, while working at King’s College London, led a team of researchers that studied electronic UK health records from 1997 to 2016 to recreate a UK population-based cohort of 1.3 million women covering nearly 1.9 million completed pregnancies. They used statistical analysis to determine the associations between hypertensive disorders of pregnancy, such as preeclampsia with 12 cardiovascular disorders. They found that during the 20-year study period, 18,624 cardiovascular events occurred (such as heart attacks, stroke, heart failure), of which 65% occurred in women under 40 years of age. High blood pressure in pregnancy affects up to 10% of pregnancies often causing complications in the woman and requiring early delivery of their baby. Women who had one or more pregnancies affected by preeclampsia or other types of pregnancy hypertension were more likely to have a stroke, heart attack, heart failure, or similar event. Women with pregnancy high blood pressure had twice the number of deaths in this follow-up period from cardiovascular disease compared with women without pregnancy high blood pressure. These women also developed chronic hypertension 4.5 times faster than women without [...]

New Research: The association between preeclampsia and autism spectrum disorder

By |September 19th, 2019|Categories: News|

Thursday 19 September 2019 New research by our Sphere Programme PhD candidate, Gillian Maher and team, has been published in the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry today. The work is exploring the association between preeclampsia and preeclampsia coupled with small gestational age (SGA), and autism spectrum disorder (ASD). This study is the largest epidemiological study to investigate the association between preeclampsia and ASD. While there is conflicting evidence regarding a preeclampsia‐ASD relationship, pooled estimates from epidemiological research suggest preeclampsia is associated with a 50% increase in odds of ASD. Therefore, the objective of this study was to examine the association between preeclampsia and ASD, while addressing the key limitations in the literature. Using data from the Swedish Medical Birth Register, the sample cohort consisted of 2,842,230 children, with 54,071 cases of ASD. Making this study the largest epidemiological study to investigate the association between preeclampsia and ASD, with data on over 2.8 million births. The apparent preeclampsia/SGA‐ASD relationship suggests that placental pathology may be a common factor increasing the likelihood of ASD. Further research is needed to investigate the role that maternal inflammation may play, as well as the potential impact of pharmacological treatments used during pregnancy on likelihood of ASD. FULL PAPER HERE: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/jcpp.13127

Stryker raise funds for INFANT

By |September 16th, 2019|Categories: Uncategorised|

Monday 16 September 2019 A special thank-you to Marcus, Steven and all the team at Stryker who kindly donated €1, 231 from a recent fundraising event. The event in question was a penalty shoot-out, and by all accounts, was highly competitive! When asked why the team chose INFANT as the lucky recipient of the funds, Steven explained: "A number of staff, myself included, have had premature babies who spent time in the neonatal intensive care unit in CUMH and experienced first hand the great work that the INFANT Research Centre is doing". Stryker's contribution will allow the centre to purchase new equipment for the NICU, enabling us to continue our research for the most vulnerable in our society. Thanks again to all involved. For further information on how you can support INFANT please contact Ms Eimear Keohane via email eimear.keohane@ucc.ie or by phone +353 21 4205409.

INFANT researchers ‘Stand up for Science’

By |September 9th, 2019|Categories: News|

Monday 09 September 2019 Last Friday, INFANT had the pleasure of hosting Cork's first ever 'Standing up for Science' workshop. Standing up for Science is a programme created by the team at Sense about Science, a charity empowering the public to critically analyse evidence supporting scientific claims and discoveries. Over 45 Early Career Researchers from across UCC heard from various experts on how to effectively stand up for science and communicate their work to journalists, policy makers, and the general public. The day began with Fiona Malone, a postdoctoral researcher from GMIT and UCC researchers Prof Alan Kelly and Dr Emmanuelle Schon-Quinlivan sharing their experiences of engaging with the media and the public. Next up, Sean Sherlock TD, Prof Brian O Gallachoir, MaREI Centre Director and Dulce Boavida, Chief Scientific Advisor at the European Commission provided their insight and explained how exactly evidence is used in policy and how best to contact your local government representative to get your voice heard. After lunch, The Echo reported  Darragh Bermingham and 96FM newsreader Pearse McCarthy gave an entertaining "insider perspective" on how journalists report science in an era of fake news. The final session of the day involved an honest group discussion on how researchers can take responsibility for the public discussion of science and evidence from the beginning of their careers. The Sense about Science team encouraged the researchers to stand up [...]

INFANT PhD student making science accessible to all

By |August 22nd, 2019|Categories: News|

Thursday 22 August 2019 Last November, Our PhD researcher, Sonia Lenehan, was voted the winner of Neon Zone’s I’m a Scientist, Get me out of here! Sonia won €500 to be used for a public engagement project of her choice. I’m a Scientist is an online STEM engagement event where students chatted and interacted with scientists through online chats and forums. The students then voted for their favourite scientist. Keep reading for an update on what Sonia has been up to! Pictured: Sonia and her workshop participants. I have always loved science and am a firm believer that everyone should do science for a few years so that they have a basic understanding of how their body works and how the world around them works. As I grew older, I realised that some people were not being given this chance simply because they had a disability. From personal experience, I know that children with sight loss were told that they were not able to do science because of their disability. Unfortunately, children with disabilities are often excluded from subjects in school because of their disability rather than their ability. I have always wanted to do something about this because I believe with a little imagination on our parts - and some funding - we can develop a school system that is inclusive of everyone and is a better learning environment [...]