Monday, 22 January 2018

First year students from Coláiste Iognáid in Galway win two BT Young Scientist awards for their project, ‘Think Before You Drink: Microplastics’  Three young Scientists Aoibhe Briscoe, Ellie Concannon, and Kate Owens, first year students at Coláiste Iognáid in Galway, competed for this year’s BT Young Scientist and Technology Awards in the Category Biological and Ecological Sciences with their project ‘Think Before You Drink: Microplastics’. Mentored by NUI Galway, the students won first place in their category and a special award issued by the Environmental Protection Agency for Best Environmental Project presented at the BT Young Scientist 2018. For their project they investigated over 40 tap water samples from 23 primary schools in County Galway for microplastic contamination. They found that 96.9% of all tested samples were contaminated with microplastics and that the level of contamination for drinking water from Galway classrooms (2.7 per 500ml) exceeded the European average of 1.9 per 500ml. The analysis of the samples took place in the lab facilities of the School of Geography and Archaeology at NUI Galway under the guidance and supervision of Dr Audrey Morley a lecturer in Physical Geography and member of the Ryan Institute for Environmental, Marine and Energy research. Dr Morley advised and trained the young scientists on sample collection and analysis and ensured that all procedures followed previously published protocols for microplastic extraction from tap water samples from a global study commissioned by  the journal Orb in 2017*. In addition to the analysis of the tap water samples, contamination controls were measured at regular intervals throughout the experiment to assess and assure the validity of the results. Speaking about the young scientists work on the project, Dr Audrey Morley at NUI Galway, said: “The identification of microplastic using a microscope can be tedious and time consuming, requiring focus and concentration by the analyst. I was very impressed with the level of dedication and persistence that Aoibhe, Ellie, and Kate brought to the project. It is great to see young women so excited about science and determined to bring about change.” BT Young Scientist winner, Kate Owens, said: “The BT Young Scientist experience has inspired me to be part of solving the problems of the future. President Michael D. Higgins spoke to us about Africa being the largest populated continent in the world and the need for young people to be part of developing solutions for the challenges this presents.” “It was a revelation to us that our love of fast fashion is polluting our drink water, simply by washing the clothes we wear. 77.8% of the contamination we detected in the schools water supply were microfibres. Synthetic fabric fibres that are so small that they could not be filtered by the public water works. Plastic bags and bottles, you can actually see and remove, but you cannot see these tiny, almost invisible microfibres that are bio-accumulating in our bodies, now that is truly scary.” Kate added: “Aoibhe, Ellie and I are a great team and we work well together. Audrey’s guidance and patience gave us a solid, scientific method to undertake our testing and that was the key to our credibility. We were total beginners and she was so incredibly generous with her time. We learned so much from her! We felt that our findings were important and that with our presentation ‘sizzle’, we could get politicians to listen, so we practiced our pitch, over and over until we could say it in our sleep and fine-tuned it over the four days at the RDS. Dressed in our lab coats, no-one was safe and we cornered many politicians including Richard Bruton, Micheál Martin and Heather Humphreys. Leo Varadkar got away but we will be looking for him at the Mansion House in May 2018.” Fellow BT Young Scientist winner, Aoibhe Briscoe, said: “I think the BT Young Scientist competition was an amazing experience, we got to meet so many new people and had the chance to learn so many new things. Working in the lab with Audrey was really fun and I enjoyed it so much, it was very time consuming and tiring but every second put into our project was worth it in the end. It has definitely made me more interested in science and I will definitely do it again next year.” BT Young Scientist winner, Ellie Concannon, added: “I would like to do something that makes a change, I would like to speak out for the people who don’t have a voice. I want to have fun, face challenges, and realise my potential in life. The BT Young Scientist competition was an amazing experience, we were able to share our project with lots of people and educate people about our project who had never heard about microplastics, and we were also able to influence people’s choices for the better. We had such a good time we met loads of new people and got to meet people who could really help us with our project. I absolutely loved it.”

Thursday, 18 January 2018

Dr. Mary Greene expands her research to explore the lived experience of energy transitions in Global South contexts As a successful applicant of the H2020 SHAPE ENERGY Research Design Challenge, Dr. Mary Greene, collaborating with Dr. Anne Schiffer (Leeds Beckett University), travelled to Africa over the Christmas break to conduct novel ethnographic research on past and ongoing energy transitions in The Gambia. During the duration of their field research stay, Dr. Greene immersed herself in the local culture and life of the community of Kartong to investigate the intersections of energy systems change and the performance of daily life. Kartong is a village located in the South coastal region of The Gambia that recently underwent electrification in 2013. However, some sections of the community continue to remain unconnected to the fossil fuel powered grid system. Employing an immersive ethnographic methodology, the two researchers lived with a local family, participated in local daily practices and conducted a series of biographic interviews with elderly local residents of Kartong to explore how life has changed over time. They supplemented this data with visual photographic and audio-visual ethnographic accounts of local ways of performing energy practices and the material landscapes and infrastructures which frame these performances. During their stay, Dr. Greene and Dr. Schiffer also travelled to Serekunda to meet with governmental officials at the Ministry for Petroleum and Energy and participated in a meeting focused on curriculum design for sustainable energy practices. This meeting was also attended by UNESCO and staff from The University of The Gambia. The fascinating narratives, images and accounts of change emerging from this research is revealing crucial insights into the ways in which human-environment and community relations and traditional social practices are being transformed in light of energy transitions, development and change. This research will be disseminated through a number of means, including a coauthored paper that will be published with high visibility and sent to the EC’s strategy for research and innovation in March 2018 as part of the H2020 SHAPE ENERGY Research Design Challenge. For further information see

Tuesday, 16 January 2018

In 2017 Dr. Patrick Collins received and Aarhus University Visiting Fellowship. The Fellowship supported a four month research visit to Aarhus, Denmark where Patrick worked with colleagues in the Department of Culture and Communications. Patrick also worked closely with the team tasked with the monitoring and evaluation of Aarhus 2017 European Capital of Culture.During his sabbatical Patrick also spent a short research visit in Hull, the 2017 UK City of Culture.In December 2017, Patrick launched his new book “Creative Economies in Peripheral Regions” the first book to explore the nature and extent of creative economic activity in Europe’s northerwestern periphery,. Detail:

Tuesday, 16 January 2018

Congratulation to Dr Frances Fahy pictured here receiving her Presidents Award for Research Excellence 2017 from the President, Dr Jim Brown

Tuesday, 16 January 2018

The cruise aboard the #CelticVoyager for the incoming MSc class of 2018/19 has been scheduled for October 4th to 7th 2018

Tuesday, 9 January 2018

The School of Geography and Archaeology is running another Spring Lunchtime Lecture Series this year, with the first lecture starting on Monday, January 15th.  The lectures this year will take place in the Town Hall Theatre, Woodquay, Galway.  Please note, while the event is free it is advisable to come early to ensure a seat as pre-booking is not available.  Download full programme here:  Spring Lunchtime Lecture Series (PDF)

Thursday, 11 January 2018

Pictured at the launch of NUI Galway’s Sustainability Strategy are l-r: Professor Pól Ó Dochartaigh, Registrar and Deputy President, NUI Galway, Dr Frances Fahy, School of Geography and Archaeology, NUI Galway, Senator Alice-Mary Higgins, Seanad Éireann and Professor Colin Brown, Ryan Institute, NUI Galway. Photo: Paul Fennell

Wednesday, 10 January 2018

The Carl von Ossietzky Universität in Oldenburg, Germany hosted a talk by Geography’s Dr Kevin Lynch in December 2017. The talk outlined challenges faced by Ireland in planning for climate change. The seminar series being run by Prof. Dr. Ingo Mose is funded through the EU’s Erasmus programme and has proved to be an excellent platform for international exchange of good practices. Recent developments in Ireland as outlined at a recent EPA event were also discussed during Dr Lynch’s talk. 

Thursday, 11 January 2018

Dr Eimear Heaslip receiving her PhD award from GMIT in November 2017. Her research supervised by Dr Frances Fahy and Dr Gabriel Costello, employed A Transdisciplinary Approach to explore Low Carbon Energy Transitions in Irish Islands

Friday, 8 December 2017

Eight Geography Postgraduate students, representing the MSc – Coastal and Marine Environments, MA – Environment, Sustainability and Development, and Geography Doctoral Programme, were selected to attend the 2017 EU Youth Seminar on Environmental Sustainability at the EU Parliament in Brussels, Belgium. The Delegation, comprised of 100 students from Ireland, Czechia, and the Netherlands, interacted with Members of the EU Parliament, presenting their ideas on how best to address pressing issues surrounding EU fisheries, urban renewal, and climate action.

Tuesday, 5 December 2017

A team of scientists on board the RV Celtic Voyager during a recent survey to understand the habitat use of elusive beaked whales, got more than they bargained for when they encountered four separate groups of breaching whales within a couple of hours survey effort near the Rockall Trough.  Congratulations to Dr Patricia Breen, Discipline of Geography, NUI Galway, Chief Scientist on the survey.Media Articles:    

Tuesday, 5 December 2017

Comhghairdeas to Dr Frances Fahy on her appointment to the Board of the European Roundtable on Sustainable Consumption & Production #ERSCP17 General Assembly /

Tuesday, 5 December 2017

Congratulation to MSc graduate Jake Martin and Dr Audrey Morley on publishing their research in Scientific Reports (an online open access scientific journal published by the world’s leading scientific journal - Nature).  Jake Martin, Amy Lusher, Richard C. Thompson & Audrey Morley.The Deposition and Accumulation of Microplastics in Marine Sediments and Bottom Water from the Irish Continental Shelf

Tuesday, 5 December 2017

Congrats to Dr Audrey Morley (+ MSc staff) on receiving a Marine Institute award to purchase specialist research equipment. We welcome a Particle Size Analyser (with all the bells and whistles) to our research inventory in 2018.      Download Article:

Thursday, 30 November 2017

Professor Niamh Moore-Cherry, President of the GSI, presenting the Award to Professor Mary Cawley, Adjunct-Professor of Migration and Rural Societal Change in the Whitaker Institute and SoGA, at NUI Galway, on the 3rd November

Thursday, 30 November 2017

Vittoria Semplici graduating with First Class Honours on the MA in Environment, Society and Development. Pictured with Programme Director, John Morrissey, and NUIG President, Jim Browne. Vittoria now works for the UN in Bonn.

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Richard Scriven, lecturer in Geography, is leading a project with artist Vicky Lanagan involving a series creative workshop series exploring holy wells with primary schools and heritage groups. It is being funded by the Creative Ireland County Cork Grant Scheme under the community participation strand of the Creative Ireland Programme 2017-2022.

Monday, 13 November 2017

This year’s celebration of Geography Awareness Week is upon us. It runs from 12-18 November 2017. It promotes what geography is, why it is important, and the relevance of a geographic education in preparing citizens to understand and debate pressing social and environmental issues and problems. A list of events that are taking place across Galway and the country can be seen on the GSI website:

Monday, 13 November 2017

John Morrissey, Senior Lecturer in Geography and Associate Director of the Moore Institute, has published a new book critically telling the story of repeated US military interventions in the Middle East and Central Asia over the last 30 years. Entitled The Long War, the book focuses on the archives of US Central Command, and engages a wide range of scholarship on imperialism, geopolitics and neoliberalism, in critiquing the US military’s role in enacting US foreign policy in the most energy-rich region on earth, and in documenting the profound human consequences of military violence.

Monday, 13 November 2017

During 21-23 August, 2017, the Overseas Chinese Affairs of the State Council of China established a new Advisory Committee as a think-tank of Chinese government for the development of China in the areas of culture, policy, and science & technology. This committee comprises about 300 experts in various fields from all over the world, with nearly 200 of them in the Science & Technology sector. The inauguration ceremony was held in the People’s Congress Hall in Beijing. Three NUI Galway staff members, Sanbing Shen (Regenerative Medicine Institute), Xinmin Zhan (Civil Engineering) and Chaosheng Zhang (Geography) have been appointed as members of the committee. Afterwards, the Chinese Ambassador to Ireland, Mr. Xiaoyong Yue welcomed the members from Ireland at the Chinese Embassy in Dublin.

Tuesday, 5 December 2017

NUI Galway was confirmed as the host for the EUGEO 2019 conference at the recent EUGEO conference held in Brussels in September 2017. The conference theme for the 2019 EUGEO conference is "Re Imagining Europe's Future Society and Landscapes" The theme focuses on the centrality of the concepts of society and landscape within the Discipline of Geography and will be CoChaired by Dr Kathy Reilly and Dr Frances Fahy.

Friday, 28 April 2017

Congratulations to Geography PhD student Daithi Maguire on winning the Richard Fitzgerald Poster Prize for Best Aquatic Environment Presentation, (prize sponsored by AquaTT) at the  ENVIRON 2017, 27th Irish Environmental Researchers Colloquium, Environmental Sciences Association of Ireland conference held at the Athlone Institute of Technology, 10-12th April 2017. The title of his poster was “The Application of Copernicus Satellite-Borne Remote Sensors for Monitoring Coastal Erosion and Ecosystems in Ireland“

Monday, 13 November 2017

Staff members of NUI Galway’s Discipline of Geography have been shortlisted in the ‘Excellence in Marine Education and Training Award’ category for their MSc in Coastal and Marine Environments course.  Best of luck to the team: Dr Eugene Farrell and Dr Kevin Lynch, and Drs Frances Fahy, Aaron Potito, Audrey Morley, Terry Morley and Chaosheng Zhang.   Full Article: [HERE]

Thursday, 21 July 2016

Dr Aaron Potito and three Geography undergraduates just returned from a 10-day field class in Chengdu, China, with Sichuan University’s University Immersion Program. The field course in Environmental Change and Sustainability included students and teachers from China, Italy, Australia, United States and Ireland.

Tuesday, 3 May 2016

Spatial Justice and the Irish Crisis, co-edited by Gerry Kearns, David Meredith and John Morrissey, and published by the Royal Irish Academy, has been shortlisted for the GSI Book of the Year Award. ( Book reviews of Spatial Justice and the Irish Crisis: "To counteract global capitalism’s tendency to run roughshod over the planet - uprooting communities and destroying environments - it is vital that we construct an embedded understanding of place as well as a concept of justice that defends the earth as our only home. This book and the idea of ‘spatial justice’ is a triumphant step toward that goal" - Dr David Nally, University of Cambridge"Spatial Justice and the Irish Crisis is more of a complete project than just a book, with excellent essays from noted scholars in Irish Geography and Irish Studies. It includes an essay by Danny Dorling, one of the best known geographers of his generation, and the triumph of the interview with David Harvey, the best known urban and geographical scholar of the generation" - Prof. Stephen Royle, Queen's University Belfast"This book bravely provokes debates on the questions and issues it is addressing concerning the Irish financial crisis. It is an admirable attempt to speak truth to power in regards to the Republic’s need to focus on social and environmental justice, health care, education and the marginalized" - Dr Charles Travis, Trinity College Dublin  For details on the book, please see the RIA website here (

Wednesday, 23 March 2016

Aoife Ní Fhlatharta, PhD Geography candidate and recipient of the Dr Patrick Commins Rural Research Award was recently awarded the Rural Policy Studies Scholarship Fund to attend the 13th International Comparative Rural Policy Studies (ICRPS) Summer Institute, which is being hosted by the University of Alaska Fairbanks from the 14-26th July 2016. The funding which is supported by The Rural Policy Learning Commons project will cover the institute fee of $2000. The ICRPS Summer Institute provides a unique opportunity for students from a range of OECD countries to meet and work together on comparative rural policy issues. Participants of the Summer Institute will be exposed to the challenges of the rural North, and will have the opportunity to experience Alaska’s diverse interior. 

Thursday, 21 April 2016

The humanitarian crisis in the Mediterranean, gender-based violence in Malawi, and the role of music in the lives of children in direct provision are amongst the research topics being funded by the Irish Research Council this year under its New Foundations programme. Details of the programme – which supports research on civic society and public policy issues – were announced today (23.03.16). In total, the Irish Research Council is providing €1 million to researchers across Ireland, on a range of projects involving collaboration between higher education researchers and NGOs. One of the projects is being led at NUI Galway by Dr John Morrissey, Senior Lecturer in Geography and Associate Director of the Moore Institute for Humanities. John’s project was initially developed during a recent research fellowship at the University of Cambridge. Entitled ‘Haven’, it is focused on the biggest humanitarian crisis in Europe since the Second World War, the Mediterranean refugee crisis, and has two core aims: to develop a collaborative body of research that addresses the root causes of the crisis and progressively offers an alternative envisioning of Western interventionism via the UN concept of ‘human security’; and  to initiate a series of public events where these vital perspectives can be constructively disseminated to key stakeholders, including the Department of Foreign Affairs, the Irish Naval Services and Irish Aid.For further information, please see the Haven Project’s website:

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

Geography staff and students at the end of year EXPLORE awards lunch. EXPLORE is where NUI Galway students and staff partner up and deliver their innovative ideas.  It is a proven model for co-creation, co-design and co-delivering - both on and off campus. The Discipline of Geography hosted 3 of the 19 University awards for the 2014/15 academic year. The 3 projects were: The Aether Drone Project (Dr Eugene Farrell), Geo-Bogs: Conserving Ireland’s Natural Heritage (Dr Terry Morley and Dr Audrey Morley) and YOLO (YOung peoples’ Life Opportunities) (Dr. Kathy Reilly). The EXPLORE programme also got coverage in the local newspaper The Galway Independent