Jul 05 2019 Posted: 00:00 IST

NUI Galway’s third annual Soapbox Science Galway returned recently when twelve female scientists took to their soapboxes to talk about their groundbreaking research in the areas of science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine. The event took place at the Spanish Arch, Galway on Saturday, 29 June.

Soapbox Science is a novel global public outreach platform for promoting women scientists and the science they do. Events transform public areas into an arena for public learning and scientific debate and they follow the format of London Hyde Park’s ‘Speaker’s Corner’, which is historically an arena for public debate. Soapbox Science 2019 is taking place in several countries around the world including Ireland, Australia, Canada, Argentina, South Africa, Sweden, Germany, Brazil, Belgium, Ghana, Nigeria, Tanzania, the UK and US.

Soapbox Science Galway ensures that everyone has the opportunity to enjoy, learn from, question, probe, interact with and be inspired by some of our leading female scientists who will share their latest discoveries and answer the science questions people have been burning to ask.
Talks covered a diverse range of topics ranging from: Enhancing farming using insects; The marvels of human milk; Monitoring our oceans from space; How past climate can help prepare us for the future; The Internet as a force for good; Statistical thinking for real-life questions; and Natural Gas – the cleaner fossil fuel into the future.

Soapbox Science Galway 2019 participants were selected from a competitive pool of researchers, and this year’s speakers from NUI Galway joined forces with colleagues from the Marine Institute to showcase research talent in the West of Ireland, with speakers including:

– Dr Dara M Cannon (@daracannon), NUI Galway – “The Brain You Are”


– Dr Eimear Dolan (@eimearbdolan), NUI Galway – “Designing Medical Devices of the Future”


– Dr Nicola Fitz-Simon (@NicolaFitz), NUI Galway – “Statistical thinking for real-life questions”


– Ms Ann O’Brien (@anncarlowgirl), Trial Methodology Research Network – “Better Together – ‘The People’s Trial’ and the Internet as a Force for Good”


– Dr Anna Patricya Florentino, NUI Galway – “Superhero Microbes: contaminated environments mission!”


– Ms Allison Bistline-East (@ABEentomology), NUI Galway – “Slimy yet satisfying: Enhancing farming using insects”


– Dr Sarah Brennan (@stabrennan), NUI Galway – “The Marvels of Human Milk”


– Ms Catherine Jordan (@jorrrdy), Marine Institute and NUI Galway – “Monitoring our Oceans from Space!”


– Ms Anuja Gadekar (@AnujaRGadekar), CÚRAM, NUI Galway “Can sugars help in healing a diabetic wound?”


– Ms Devasanthini Devaraj (@DevaSanthini), UCD – “Natural Gas – The cleaner fossil fuel into the future”


– Ms Michelle Curran (@PalaeoShel), NUI Galway – “How past climate can help prepare us for the future”


– Dr Fearon Cassidy (@FearonCassidy), NUI Galway – “Stem cells in your bones?!”

Soapbox Science Ireland events are organised by Dr Jessamyn Fairfield at NUI Galway and Dr Dara Stanley, UCD (formerly NUI Galway). Jessamyn is a nanoscientist and comedian, whose research is focused on building electronics like the brain. She is a lecturer in the School of Physics and CÚRAM (SFI Centre for Research in Medical Devices) at NUI Galway.

Dara is a scientist interested in ecology and biodiversity, and in particular in plants and the insects that pollinate them. She is a lecturer in applied entomology at the School of Agriculture, UCD (formerly NUI Galway). Soapbox Science will also run in Dublin on Sunday, 30 June and in Cork on Saturday, 6 July.

Dr Fairfield and Dr Stanley said: “We both independently wanted to run a Soapbox Science event, and it was through this initiative that we initially met at NUI Galway. We had seen the need for a positive and fun way to engage with the issues around gender and STEM in the west of Ireland and in Galway in particular. We’re both also really interested in public engagement with science, and knew Soapbox Science was a great vehicle for bringing science to a public audience.”

Soapbox Science Galway is sponsored by NUI Galway’s Office of the Vice President for Research.
For more information about Soapbox Science, visit: http://soapboxscience.org/ or follow @SoapboxSciIRL on Twitter.

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