Since the 2020 Spring issue of UL Links, the world has changed dramatically as we deal with the COVID-19 pandemic, with its disruptive impact but also as a catalyst of change.

Many stories from members of our community both on and off campus, draw a vivid picture of how initiatives in research and teaching have responded to the health crisis, how our members have given their all in front-line services and through civil engagement during the past months. 

For the Vice President Research, Professor Norelee Kennedy, her first year in office coincided with directing UL’s research response to this highly infectious disease.

The Interim Provost, Professor Nigel Healey is rethinking global engagement post pandemic, while the Director of UL Global, Josephine Page, reports on the international student experience on campus during COVID.

Students and staff share their experience of ‘civil defence’.

For instance, a Q&A with Professor Liam Glynn and Dr Mike O’Callaghan gives insights on COVIDWATCHIRL and the frontline of GP care and research.

Dr Patrick O’Donnell talks about his work with the marginalised in society during the pandemic, and students from Allied Health report about their involvement in interprofessional education at the Intermediate Care Facility that was located on campus.

Professor Stephen Kinsella considers how UL can help build a post COVID future and John Slattery, President and CEO of GE Aviation and UL Alumnus, shares his thoughts on the pandemic, the aviation industry and UL’s relevance to its rebirth. Dr Tadhg MacIntyre also offers lessons on a COVID paradox.

During this challenging time, it is important that we remember our strengths, focus on our community and share our inspiration. Links features an extensive interview with Loretta Brennan Glucksman, the outgoing Chair of the UL Foundation and philanthropist, which offers a rich account of her time and associations with this institution down through the years. 

The launch of the Confirm HQ signals UL’s lead role in the smart revolution of manufacturing and Professor Michael Zawarotko provides an update on his C-Minus project. This issue also reports that UL’s collaboration with industry has led to Europe’s largest battery-powered electricity grid stabilisation facility.  

A range of Links stories recognise success, for instance researcher Michelle Conroy, who is the sole Irish recipient of a Royal Society Fellowship; UL graduate Niamh Damery’s Econoc beehive design that received a James Dyson award and 

Professor Ann MacPhail’s induction into the National Academy of Kinesiology in the United States. The issue also contains profiles of our eight new Marie Curie Fellows, and three leading members of the Bernal Institute: Professor Gavin Walker, Professor JJ Leahy and Dr Sarah Hudson. 

Education in the arts, humanities and social sciences plays an essential role in the affirmation of human values, no more so than during a pandemic. 

In this spirit, Course Director Dr Diane Daly talks about the MA course in Classical Strings performance; Simon Thompson, lecturer in the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance, addresses the serious business of taking performance skills to the virtual world; Professor Shane Kilcommins shares insights on the educational relationship between UL and An Garda Síochána and Dr David Fleming highlights the attraction of local history to young and old. UL’s civil mission is also embodied in Professor Maura Adshead’s initiative to change the face of local government as well as in the update on Moyo Nua – the student led initiative helping farmers in Malawi. 

There are many more stories in this edition of UL Links that look at how the many members of our wonderful community are playing their part to make the world a better place in challenging times. Locally, nationally and globally; I invite you to read them, to share them and to become inspired by them.

Professor Kerstin Mey
President, UL