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Winner of Science for All Competition 2017 announced!

6 Apr 2017
Pictured L-R: Dr. Fergus McAuliffe (MC), Mr. John Nolan (Judge), Mr. Darren Reidy (Winner), Ms. Liz Dooley (Judge) and Ms. Donna O'Driscoll (Judge).

Listowel student Darren Reidy wins UCC Science communication competition  

Darren Reidy, a PhD student at UCC’s School of Biological, Earth & Environmental Sciences (BEES), has emerged as the winner of the thirteenth annual UCC Science for All competition.  

Born and raised in Listowel, with a love for the lakes and mountains, Darren’s huge desire to understand how the natural world worked led him to becoming an ecologist. He is currently completing the final year of his Ph.D. in the School of BEES, University College Cork, with funding from the Environmental Protection Agency.  Darren’s research interests are in the fields of conservation biology, invasion ecology and habitat management.  He spoke about his research which focuses on aspects of the ecology and ecophysiology of aquatic invasive plant species in Ireland, with the aim to elucidate potential management strategies for combatting alien species invasions.

Darren is passionate about environmental conservation, sustainable development, community engagement and science communication. “I firmly believe that scientific research will only achieve its full potential if communicated to the correct audience in the correct manner. By doing this, as scientists, we can affect change, inform social behaviour and guide policy” he commented.  Prior to commencing his Ph.D., he worked for a number of years as an education officer in Killarney National Park, and as a science/nature broadcaster with Radio Kerry.

The science communication competition, now in its 13th year, challenges young scientists to share the excitement of their research with the general public in an easily understandable manner, without using jargon.

MC for the final was Dr Fergus McAuliffe, TV presenter on "The Science Squad", and "10 Things to Know About...",  and Education, Public Engagement and Communications Manager at the Science Foundation Ireland-funded iCRAG - Irish Centre for Research in Applied Geosciences.  McAuliffe himself has been the recipient of many science communication awards.

The panel of judges was chaired by Mr John Dolan, Features Editor, Evening Echo, and also included Ms Liz Dooley, Director Operations (Biologics) Janssen and Ms Donna O’Driscoll, Director of Marketing & Communications, UCC.

Professor Paul Ross, Head of the College of Science, Engineering and Food Science, UCC said “The Science for All Competition is a great medium for students to acquire or enhance their communication skills and competencies.  It provides them with a wonderful platform to showcase their research and relay their passion and knowledge on their subject matter to the general public in a relaxed and educational manner”.

The competition is organised jointly by the College of Science, Engineering and Food Science and two Science Foundation Ireland funded Research Centres: the APC Microbiome Institute and the Irish Photonics Integration Centre.

Snatch Comedy provided a dose of their fabulous unpredictable Improv-sketches for the intermission. 

For more on this story contact:

For further information please contact Dr Catherine Buckley, Communications & Outreach Manager, APC Microbiome Institute 086 8554744;

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