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Experiencing ENVIRON 2023

by Grace O'Sullivan

At the beginning of April, I had the opportunity to attend Environ 2023, an environmental research colloquium held at ATU Letterkenny, Donegal. The conference's theme, "Evidence and Plans Towards Transitions to a Sustainable Future", aimed to bring together academics, researchers, and policymakers to discuss and exchange ideas on the latest trends and developments in environmental research and sustainable solutions.

View of Lough Beagh from Glenveagh Castle.

Environ provided an excellent opportunity to meet and network with other interdisciplinary academics and researchers. The conference featured a diverse range of talks, workshops, and panel discussions on various topics, including “The implications and solutions of future climate change actions on agriculture” and “Understanding, predicting, and mitigating human impacts for a sustainable future”. As part of the conference program, I presented my research thus far, entitled "An Engineering Approach to Designing Pilot-Scale Outdoor Duckweed Cultivation Systems". I gave the talk as part of the circular economy group, sponsored by AMBER. My presentation focused on using computational fluid dynamics (CFD) and wet lab experiments to inform the design of an optimal growth system for duckweed production.

My presentation focused on using computational fluid dynamics (CFD) and wet lab experiments to inform the design of an optimal growth system for duckweed production

My presentation was part of Circular Economy session 2.


Presenting at the conference was a unique and enriching experience, allowing me to share my research with a wider audience, receive feedback from experts in the field, and learn about other innovative ideas from academics across Ireland. The circular economy group's discussions were particularly engaging. I really enjoyed a talk focused on the circular economy within furniture making, titled “European Furniture Product Design in the Circular Economy: What are the Circular Design Considerations?” by John Hewer.

Tropical plants and trees in Glenveagh Castle Gardens.





One of the highlights of the trip was the opportunity to visit Glenveagh National Park, located in the heart of the Derryveagh Mountains. The park boasts a vast expanse of rugged wilderness, with stunning views of lakes and mountains. The tour included a hike on the viewing trail overlooking Lough Beath, and a guided tour of the castle gardens. During my visit, I learned about the future of Irish peatlands and their importance in the fight against climate change, as well as conservation methods in place at the park. This was complemented by the numerous talks given throughout the conference by academics involved in the RePEAT project.

Hike at Glenveagh National Park to the viewing point.






Attending Environ was a valuable and rewarding experience. It allowed me to gain insights into ongoing research across Irish universities, connect with like-minded individuals passionate about sustainability, and the opportunity to present my work to a large audience. I look forward to continuing my MEngSc over the course of the year, and I am grateful for the opportunity to have participated in this inspiring event.

Grace is a postgraduate research student at University College Cork, working on the Duck-Feed project.

Plants for Sustainability

School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences | University College Cork | Distillery Fields | North Mall | Cork T23 TK30 | Ireland,