News Roundup

UL students make a good case in Canada

UL students Eoin Hann (third year Civil Engineering), Darren Feehily (second year Mechanical Engineering), Patrick Lu (second year Electronic and Computer Engineering) and David Monaghan (second year BBS), have become the first team outside of Canada to claim top honours at the International Engineering and Commerce Case Competition (ECCC) in Montreal.

In addition to being crowned overall winner, the UL team won Best Engineering Solution and Best Sustainable Solution awards.

The students were advised and mentored by Dr Vanessa Egan, lecturer in Mechanical Engineering and Dr Briga Hynes, lecturer in Entrepreneurship from the Kemmy Business School. 

ICO hitting all the right notes in Austria

Reformation was the theme of the Irish Chamber Orchestra’s March programme, which saw them dazzle audiences at the University Concert Hall before travelling to the prestigious Vienna Konzerthaus for a two-night appearance. They also performed at Heidelberger-Frühling, one of Germany’s most celebrated music festivals.

Orchestra-in-residence at the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance, the ICO has a full schedule of performances that run from September to April.

No Drought in Nicole’s racing career

UL student Nicole Drought is moving up through the gears in her racing eff orts.

The Roscrea native is firmly in the driving seat as the Irish Sportswoman of The Year 2016, presented by

Making her motorsport debut just two years ago, she became the first woman to be nominated for the Motorsport Ireland Young Driver Award in 2015. Last year, she became the first woman to win an Irish Touring Car Championship (ITCC) race. She was also named as driver of the month by Motorsport Ireland in September.

The former All-Ireland-winning camogie captain is a final year accounting and finance student at University of Limerick. 

Boosting rural Sustainability

More than €1m in EU funding has been awarded to Dr Bernadette O’Regan, senior lecturer and principal investigator working in the Centre for Environmental Research (CER) at University of Limerick, to develop a multi-stage Zero CO2 Emission Certification System, called ZECOS.

The aim of the certificate is to encourage and lead communities towards realising their energy efficiency potential. The project brings together a consortium of partners ranging from public authorities, private sector firms, universities, research institutes, communities and NGOs in Germany, Belgium, the UK and Ireland. 

10 years of Northern Trust

Northern Trust have just celebrated 10 years in Limerick and the Mid-West Region with the announcement of 400 new jobs to be filled in 2017. Pictured are Hayley Munroe and Nidhin Stephen, who completed their co-operative education with Northern Trust in 2016. Northern Trust first partnered with UL on the co-operative education programme in 2007. 

Producing carbon fibre from forestry

Researchers from across Europe, led by University of Limerick, have begun a project to produce carbon fibre from forestry by-products.

The LIBRE project, led by Dr Maurice Collins of the Stokes Labs, Bernal Institute at UL, aims to create carbon fibre materials in a cost-effective and more environmentally-friendly way, by producing them from a naturally derived wood product called lignin.

“Together, the project partners will create innovative materials and manufacturing processes capable of lowering the cost of end products by 30%, while cutting in half the CO2 footprint of carbon fibre production,” Dr Collins says.

The project has been awarded €4.9m from the Bio-Based Industries Joint Undertaking under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 programme.  

Spotlight on pre-World War II sanctuary

The first comprehensive account of German-speaking refugees in Ireland pre-World War II has been compiled by University of Limerick academic Dr Gisela Holfter.

An Irish Sanctuary – German-speaking refugees in Ireland examines the extent the country offered sanctuary from 1933 to 1945. Dr Holfter and German historian Dr Horst Dickel conducted extensive archive research for the study, with unprecedented access to closed files.

German and Austrian perceptions of the country were not encouraging in the 1930s, as it was seen as a “poor and unstable country on the periphery of Europe”, according to the investigation. Some remarkable people arrived on these shores at the time. Erwin Schrödinger, who was head-hunted by Eamon de Valera, became the first director of the newly-founded School of Theoretical Physics at the Dublin Institute of Advanced Studies. Albert Einstein’s first assistant Ludwig Hopf was also among those who moved here.

The researchers were facilitated by the digitalisation unit of the Glucksman Library at UL. Further publications as part of this project will include a book on Irish policy and public opinion about the refugees by Dr Siobhan O’Connor. 

Advancing sensors in radiotherapy

 Dr Sinéad O’Keeffe has secured a prestigious Royal Society-Science Foundation Ireland University Research Fellowship, one of only five awarded.

As part of the Optical Fibre Sensors Research Centre within UL’s Electronic and Computer Engineering Department, Dr O’Keeffe’s research focuses on the development of sensors that will ultimately help radiation oncologists to develop improved and personalised treatment plans for patients.

Postgraduate Open Evening

UL hosted its first Postgraduate Open Evening on March 8, which was attended by over 200 prospective students. A panel of UL representatives, including former Olympian and UL PhD student Jessie Barr and UL faculty members, including Professor Eoin Devereaux and BAFTA award-winner Brenda Romero, were among those who gave students an overview of life as a postgraduate student at UL. The event was also streamed ‘live’ on Facebook, so international students could tune in. 

Changing mindsets in STEM

Celebrating International Women's Day, University of Limerick (UL) collaborated with Dell EMC to host an event exploring the challenges of 'Changing Mindsets' in the working world. The event, supported by Johnson & Johnson, was attended by members of the Mid-West business and education community and focussed on encouraging more females in to science, technology, engineering and maths-related sectors, as part of Engineers Week 2017. Pictured at the IWD 2017 event were, from left, Fiona McCarthy, VP for Human Resources, Dell EMC; Jim Breen, VP Johnson & Johnson; Dr Mary Shire, VP Research, University of Limerick; Joy Neville, former Ireland Rugby captain and Caroline Spillane, director general, Engineers Ireland. 

Countering the software crisis

Lero, the Irish Software Research Centre headquartered at UL, is conducting research designed to counter an identified global software crisis.

Professor Brian Fitzgerald (pictured), director of Lero, notes one way to counter the “Software Crisis 2.0” bottleneck is through the adoption of agile methods to make software development faster, more reliable and higher quality.

“Most of today’s successful companies, from music and booksellers to taxis and travel, are effectively software firms,” says Professor Mike Hinchey, co-author of the Lero report, along with Professors Fitzgerald and Tiziana Margaria (UL) and Professor Brian Donnellan (Maynooth University).