No doubt like all of you, I celebrated the arrival of 2021 with the strong hope that we would all be together and have returned to our lovely campus by now. Little did we know then that we were headed for further lockdowns and public health restrictions.

The reunion of our community this year is still a very real aim for us all at UL and I really look forward to welcoming all the new members of our community both staff and students who have yet to have a physical inperson experience of UL.
This past 18 months has been relentless. It has tested every member of our community. Colleagues and students have lost loved ones, and have had to bear that grief in many cases cut off from family and friends. Parents and caregivers found themselves with the hugely difficult task of simultaneously caring for young children, home schooling and working.

Young people were isolated from their friends, their sport, their social circle and their wider families. The way we teach, learn, research, support and work has had to become agile and responsive to an ever-changing set of circumstance.

Yet what the UL community has achieved is simply extraordinary. Staff and students have volunteered to support front line workers, our researchers have provided solutions, innovations and expert guidance, our academic staff have reimagined course work and teaching materials to keep students engaged online and our students have excelled.

Within the pages of this Links magazine, we highlight a wide variety of some important stories from our community while also looking outside to the wider landscape.

UL has been at the forefront of many developments at home and abroad and in this edition, we look at the next steps following
the announcement of our new Immersive Software Engineering (ISE) programme.

Partnerships with industry leaders such as Stripe and Analog have been added to and in all we note the addition of 36 partners and sponsors in total.

Stripe co-founder and president, John Collison also offers his thoughts on the programme and its need for industry.
Analog Devices CEO and president, but most of all UL Alum, Vincent Roche offers his viewpoint on the new ISE programme
as well as his belief that the wider collaborations of research, education and industry will lead to the development of solutions
to the world’s biggest problems.

UL PhD student Mamobo Ogoro who is leading a national awareness campaign, talks to us on founding a multimedia platform to ‘dissect’ the social issues facing Ireland’s multicultural generation.

We read about Dr Sean Redmond and the REPPP Greentown project based out of UL’s School of Law that is getting global

The online world has created ‘access to more affordable, equitable and timely’ treatment provision, according to Dr Pepijn van de Ven. He talks to us about the future of internet interventions.

In this edition, we can also read about research that allows cars to be made from paper waste.

Partnerships with industry to allow students recreate a lab environment is the story behind the collaborative work done between UL’s Department of Science and Engineering and Analog Devices to create the digital home lab for 400 first year engineering students.

Extensive coverage is also given to UL Global’s engagements in Africa and the potential for further collaborations as well as the international alumni ambassadors promoting UL to the world.

We hear from Wafa Rougab, a 26-year-old Algerian PhD student who is excelling on her own educational journey despite the challenges of a visual impairment.

Professor Eoin Devereux writes about how we are singing our cares away and later highlights the work of UL’s MA in Creative

Dr Catherine Norton talks about COVID and our love of food while Dr Aileen Dillane and Dr Sarah Raine talk about recalibrating music festival research during a pandemic.

There is so much more to talk about but I will let you discover these gems for yourself.

I hope that between the covers of this quality publication, you get a sense of what we are in UL, dynamic, cutting edge and always innovative.
Professor Kerstin Mey
President, UL