Research projects participating in Culture Night

Friday 21 September was Culture Night in Cork, and many venues opened their doors for the evening to show their activities.

The School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences (BEES) in UCC was also open. Some 450 visitors were able to get close to hedgehogs, shark jaws, lava, amazing plants and fossils. Many students explained the research project they are working on.

The display of the AQUASUS project in the glass houses explained how duckweed can be used to treat wastewater from fish farms, after which it can be used as animal feed.

Explaining the circular system of purifying wastewater using duckweed

Indoors the project on the Impacts of Microplastics in Irish Freshwater (IMP) explained the problem of small pieces of plastic. Many people know about plastic in our oceans, but it causes problems in our rivers as well.

Display of the IMP project on the Impacts of Microplastics in Irish Freshwater

Minister visits School of BEES

On Monday 3 September minister John Halligan T.D., Minister of State for Training, Skills, Innovation, Research and Development, visited the School of BEES, UCC. We were delighted to show him details of our research for the AQUASUS project. AQUASUS looks at the natural ability of duckweed and algae to thrive in and purify polluted water, producing both clean water for fish farms and a supply of animal feed, as duckweed and algae are edible and high in protein.

The project is funded by European Maritime Fisheries Fund (EMFF), administered by Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM) on behalf of the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.

Prof. Marcel Jansen in discussion with Minister John Halligan T.D. during his visit to UCC

SFI Investigator Award for Project on UV-emitting LEDs

Professor Marcel Jansen has been awarded a prestigious SFI Investigator award for work on UV‑emitting LEDs.

At a ceremony in Dublin, Professor Mark Ferguson, Director General of Science Foundation Ireland (SFI), formally announced the awards in the presence of Minister John Halligan T.D., Minister of State for Training, Skills, Innovation, Research and Development. The Minister expressed his strong support for Science and Ireland, and in his speech emphasised the importance of teaching the STEM topics across the entire curriculum from primary school on wards.

Prof Mark Ferguson (SFI), Prof Rosemary O’Connor (UCC), Minister John Halligan John Halligan T.D., Prof Andy Wheeler (UCC) and Prof Marcel Jansen (UCC) at the awards ceremony in Dublin
Prof. Mark Ferguson (SFI), Prof. Rosemary O’Connor (UCC), Minister John Halligan T.D., Prof. Andy Wheeler (UCC) and Prof. Marcel Jansen (UCC) at the SFI awards ceremony in Dublin

The project led by Professor Jansen is entitled “Exploiting narrow‑band UV‑LEDs for Sustainable, Innovative, Technology‑Enabled Cropping (UV‑SINTEC)”. UV‑SINTEC is a joint project between Professor Marcel Jansen (School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences -BEES) and Dr Alan Morrison (Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering -EEE). UV‑SINTEC will exploit novel ultraviolet (UV)‑emitting LEDs to pioneer a new form of precision agriculture. UV light can improve crop quality in terms of nutritional quality, plant architecture and resistance to pests. This has positive impacts on the sustainability of food production, and human health and well‑being. The SFI‑funded study will develop state‑of‑the‑art LED technology that will enable manipulation of UV doses and spectra, and advance our understanding of how plants respond positively to UV wavelengths. This has not been possible until now due to the limitations of current UV technologies. The pioneering combination of electronic engineering and plant biology will generate innovative technology enabling the horticultural industry to sustainably grow crops with enhanced quality.

The project which will start 1/12/2017 will initially employ 6 new researchers (post graduate, post doctoral, or research assistant) but further spin‑offs, both commercial and academic, are expected.