Dublin’s third-level institutions are home to research faculties that are on the cutting edge of innovation across various disciplines. Individual researchers within these institutes are integral to driving innovation, and here we spotlight their work and showcase the most exciting research-led projects.

Ruth Johnson – Dublin City Archaeologist

Dr Ruth Johnson is City Archaeologist for Dublin city and is charged with protecting, managing and investigating our oldest heritage, much of it underground. As well as conservation projects, Ruth has input to new development projects across the city and a role in policy development advocacy. We sat down for a chat to find out how she works and what’s going on across the city, under the ground, in our oldest graveyards, our buried monasteries and in half-hidden, forgotten houses. How did you first become an archaeologist Ruth? I worked on a community excavation project in Yorkshire while doing my A-levels after which I did a Primary Degree in archa

Read More

Experimental Archaeology

In a corner of University College Dublin’s suburban campus, archaeologists are building houses using thousand-year-old methods and casting bronze tools in fire pits using moulds they’ve made themselves. Brendan O’Neill, a PhD student in UCD’s School of Archaeology, has built a wooden roundhouse as part of his research. It took him about thirty days’ work over the course of ten months to complete. He wove hazel rods from a managed forest in the Irish midlands to create walls and a roof, which is topped with heather to help waterproof the structure. Inside the house, there’s a surprising amount of space. A central fireplace surrounded by s

Read More

Science in the City

Recently, astronomers at the Alma telescope in Chile discovered a supermassive black hole near the centre of the Milky Way. It is said to be one hundred thousand times more massive than the sun and roughly 1.4 trillion kilometres in length. When we read a science story, it is almost always sensational news. However, a lot of science stories go under the radar of the ordinary non-scientist, primarily because we simply don’t understand it; it’s too complex unless it’s a news story on a topical subject that we can relate to, like space or cancer research. A number of outreach programmes set up by 

Read More

Building the Dublin Dashboard

Imagine if Dublin had an instrument panel: a set of gauges and graphs that revealed to its residents the precise current state of their home town. Professor Rob Kitchin and his team at Maynooth did exactly that. And they built it, online. It’s called Dublin Dashboard. Dublin.ie: What’s on Dashboard right now that the ordinary person might be interested in? Robin Kitchen (RK): Probably the real time page where you can see how many spaces there are in the car parks or what the sound levels are or what the pollution levels are or how many bikes are in the bike stand, that kind of thing. The city is increas

Read More

UCD’s Irish Folklore Centre

Folklore: leprechauns, legends and fireside stories, right? Not quite. If you go down to UCD today, you’ll find a very different story. From its origins with Irish folklore collectors who, from the 1920s, scrambled around the country on a mission to record traditions, the National Folklore Collection (NFC) has grown into one of the biggest and most impressive collections of folklore and oral traditions anywhere in the world. The collection itself consists of almost 4,000 volumes of bound folklore, much of it handwritten and a substantial portion of it collected by schoolchildren during a spec

Read More

DCU’s Water Institute: Solving global problems

The water wars have begun. At Dublin City University, researchers are stepping up. Fiona Regan, professor of chemistry at DCU, is founder and director of the Water Institute which, in 2015, brought together researchers across a range of disciplines to carry out research on a wide range of national and global water problems. Many of these researchers are also lecturing both undergraduates and postgraduates. The devastating conflict in Syria was sparked by a water scarcity that pushed people into the cities and provoked unrest, the unrest in Yemen is rooted in a water crisis. Large parts of America and Australia

Read More

Degrees of Research

What’s being discovered at Dublin’s third-levels? Postgraduate degrees are increasingly useful for people who want to stand out in the jobs market. Much of the focus here has tended to be on taught masters programmes, but the skills picked up during a masters by research or a doctoral (PhD) programme are invaluable: you will learn about how to research and evaluate information and then effectively communicate what you have learned. We spoke to four students about their research projects and what’s next for them. Lisa Koep, PhD candidate at the school of marketing in

Read More

NovaUCD: Cool Ideas, Hot Tech

It’s an economic truth, universally acknowledged, that innovation is at the core of most successful businesses. Actually being innovative, however, is easier said than done. Which is why centres of incubation are so necessary. Ireland can proudly boast nine university incubation centres, six university bio incubation centres and 15 Institute of Technology incubation centres, all contributing to making this country one of the globe’s most exciting places for both research and development, and in which to do business. At the heart of all this, you’ll find NovaUCD. Located on the

Read More

How Dublin Works: DCU Alpha

If you’re not entirely sure what the Internet of Things (IoT) is, or if you haven’t even heard of it yet, that’s alright. Essentially, the IoT is a connection of devices to the internet, whether that’s your washing machine or your house alarm and everything will be ‘talking’ to the other. On a micro level, that might mean that your alarm clock will tell your coffee machine that it’s time to start brewing a pot when you get up; on a macro level the possibilities are infinite, including making cities smarter.

Read More

CONNECT: Dublin’s Research Renaissance

What CONNECT does has the potential to impact on all of us. As well as the intellectual and academic importance of the research done here, its practical application is just as relevant. According to CONNECT's Andrew O’Connell, there is a strong culture here of commercialising the research, taking it from the lab and turning it into a commercially viable product or service.

Read More