Day 1: Thursday 4th November 2021


09:00 Delegate Networking and Virtual Poster Showcase


Opening & Welcome by Prof Mark Ferguson, Director General, Science Foundation Ireland

Reflections on ten years of Irish research and future opportunities Prof J. Peter Clinch, Chairman of the SFI Board will introduce a fireside conversation between Dr Claire O’Connell (Irish Times) and Director General, Science Foundation Ireland and Chief Scientific Adviser to the Government of Ireland, Prof Mark Ferguson.

Keynote:Creating Our Future’ – An address from Julie Byrne, Chair of the Creating Our Future Advisory Forum and Head of External Collaborations at Nokia Bell Labs


Panel Discussion: Creating Our Future – a national conversation on research in Ireland

Creating Our Future is a government-led national brainstorm that involves the people of Ireland in a conversation on the role research can and should play in addressing opportunities, challenges and hopes for the future. During this session, you will hear from those closest to the campaign on why this is being done now, why you should get involved and also what happens to the submissions received. The session will also include an interactive segment where we will ask all attendees to submit their own, personal ideas to the campaign through a guided ‘Creating our Future’ brainstorm.

Chair: Dr Ciarán Seoighe, Deputy Director General, SFI, with guests:

  • Prof Linda Hogan, Creating Our Future Expert Committee Chair
  • Prof Luke O’Neill, Campaign Ambassador, Trinity College Dublin
  • Julie Byrne, Chair of the Creating Our Future Advisory Forum and Head of External Collaborations at Nokia Bell Labs
  • Jack O’Connor, University Limerick, Enactus social enterprise.



An overview of the SFI led COVID-19 Rapid Response Research and Innovation Programme Awards by Dr Darragh O’Neill, Challenge Research Manager, SFI.

Break: Delegate Networking and Virtual Poster Showcase


Introduction from Prof J. Peter Clinch, Chairman of the Board of SFI followed by an opening address by Simon Harris, TD, Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science.

Announcement of the recipients of the Annual SFI Awards with Minister Simon Harris and Dr Ruth Freeman, Director of Science for Society, SFI.


Lunch Break: Delegate Networking and Virtual Poster Showcase
VideoCarrie Ann Moran discusses Creating our Future and the Challenge of ‘Depeche Mode’: The environmental impact of the clothing industry and creating sustainability through circular design.
Keynote & Panel Discussion: Ireland’s role in the research towards a global climate response

Jan-Justus Schmidt, co-founder and general manager of Enapter, a green-technology start-up that recently won £1 million through the Earthshot Prize, will present on their AEM Electrolyser Green Hydrogen Device, the first scalable electrolyser that replaces fossil fuels with green hydrogen, turning water electrolysis into a universal and affordable product.

Folowed by a panel discussion covering how the global academic community worked with policy makers and industry at unprecedented speed to deliver a global COVID-19 vaccine programme – how can we take these learnings and apply them to addressing the climate crisis? This discussion will focus on the vital role of international collaboration, as well as key climate and energy issues facing Ireland in moving to a sustainable green future.

Panel chair: Dr Siobhan Roche, Director of Science for the Economy, SFI.  Co-Chair: Dr Kevin Walsh, Head of SFI Research Centres, SFI.
  • Laura Burke, Director General of the Environmental Protection Agency.
  • Prof Frank O’Mara, Director, Teagasc – Agriculture and Food Development Authority
  • Prof Brian Ó Gallachóir, Director of MaREI SFI Research Centre and Professor of Energy Engineering at University College Cork.
Break – Delegate Networking and Virtual Poster Showcase.


Workshop 1: Science policy research – a future perspective

SFI’s Science Policy Research Programme supported five projects in 2018, to build further knowledge to enable Ireland to develop effective policies on how we fund, evaluate, and disseminate scientific research to create a better future for all. This workshop session will bring together four of the teams awarded under the programme to present some of their work and provide an opportunity for discussion.

The projects that will be presented are:

Science Technology Space, led by Professor Dieter Franz Kogler, University College Dublin

The Impact of International Star Scientists on Irish Science, led by Professor John McHale, National University of Ireland, Galway

Evaluating the impact of science policy on the economy and society: A national evaluation and international benchmarking of science policy in Ireland, led by Professor Helena Lenihan, University of Limerick

A Mixed-Methods Examination of Reviewer Recruitment, Assessment Criteria, and Workflow in the Peer Review Process, led by Professor Kalpana Shankar, University College Dublin

Workshop 2: An overview of research programmes for early career researchers

This workshop will provide PhDs, postdocs, and early career researchers with a good overview of the STEM research programmes on offer to them in Ireland via the new Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science.

FILMCÚRAM SFI Research Centre + Science on Screen Film Festival presents Cooked: Survival By Zip Code
In 1995, Chicago was hit by an extreme, record-breaking heat wave, so hot that roads melted, rail lines warped, and the lives of 739 residents were lost in a single week; mostly poor, African-American, and elderly residents. Using this tragedy as a springboard, this searing, offbeat doc connects the dots to more recent natural disasters, provocatively exploring the ways in which class, race and zip code predetermine our chances of survival during environmental crises and asking why we don’t treat that as a disaster.
To view the trailer click here


Day 2: Friday 5th November 2021

09:00 Delegate Networking and Virtual Poster Showcase

Opening & Welcome by Prof Mark Ferguson, Director General, Science Foundation Ireland

Keynote Address: Dr Kongjian Yu – ‘Healing the world’s cities through nature based solutions’

In 2016, Turenscape Academy was founded by Dr Kongjian Yu, founding dean of the Peking University College of Architecture and Landscape Architecture, Professor and Honorary Foreign Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and PhD from Harvard Graduate School of Design. Dr Yu’s pioneering research on Ecological Security Patterns and Sponge Cities has been adopted by the Chinese government as the guiding theory for national land use planning, eco-city campaigns, and urban ecological restoration. Turenscape has planned and designed over 300 ecological cities and 1000 landscape projects in China and internationally. This will be followed by a Q&A session with Prof Mark Ferguson, Director General of SFI.

10:35 Video: Creating Our Future and connecting with nature. A reading from poet, STEM advocate and communicator, Jackie Gorman.

Dr Lynette Keeney, Tyndall National Institute, University College Cork, gives a video overview of her research carried out under the SFI-Royal Society University Fellowship Programme, with an introduction by Dr Ekaterina Nesterenko, Scientific Programme Manager, Science Foundation Ireland.

10:50 Break – Delegate Networking and Virtual Poster Showcase
11:05 Video: Future Innovator Prize Challenge Funding Projects introduced by Dr Stephen O’Driscoll, Challenge Research Manager, Science Foundation Ireland

Keynote & Panel Discussion: EU Missions to Grand Challenges: Creating our Future and opportunities for Irish-based researchers

A keynote address by Matthew Baldwin, Manager of the European Commission’s Mission for 100 Climate Neutral Cities followed by a panel discussion providing an overview of the EU Missions and grand challenges funding opportunities. It will provide researchers with insights to catalyse their creative thinking and encourage submissions, driving world-leading inclusive research and innovation that everyone can benefit from.

Panel chair: Dr Lisa Higgins, Head of Challenge Research, SFI.  Co-Chair: Dr Stephen O’Driscoll, Challenge Research Manager, SFI.

  • Dr Peter Heffernan, Member of the EU Mission Board for ‘Healthy Oceans, Seas, Coastal and Inland Waters’ and former CEO of the Marine Institute Ireland.
  • Dr Linda Doyle, Provost of Trinity College Dublin.

Workshop 3: Peer Review Process and the Gold Standard Practices

Led by the SFI Individual-led Research Team.

This workshop will bring together experts in the field of research assessment to discuss the latest developments in international peer review and to open a discussion on ways in which these new processes have been or could be implemented, including examples from SFI, such as the use of the narrative CV, using strategic tiebreakers in the event of a tie and the potential use of a lottery – type process.

Workshop 4: “Seeding, Scaling and Diversifying Partnerships”

Led by the SFI Enterprise Partnership Team.

This workshop will focus on business development and partnership opportunities available to researchers in Ireland, as well as showcasing co-funded programmes.


 13:15 Lunch Break: Delegate Networking and Virtual Poster Showcase

Keynote & Panel DiscussionAntibiotic resistance – a post-pandemic crisis

Prof Matthew Avison, Professor of Molecular Bacteriology, School of Cellular and Molecular Medicine, Infection and Immunity at University of Bristol will deliver a keynote on the global problem of the prevalence of antibiotic resistance, and an interdisciplinary approach to solving it.

Panel Chair: Ruth Kelly, Strategy & Transformation Lead, SFI  Co-Chair: Dr Finnian Hanrahan, Scientific Programme Manager, SFI

  • Prof Paul Ross, Centre Director of APC Microbiome Ireland SFI Research Centre
  • Dr Karen Burns, Consultant Clinical Microbiologist, Beaumont Hospital and Honorary Clinical Senior Lecturer, RCSI

CÚRAM SFI Research Centre + Science on Screen Film Festival Screening of “Science in Exile” | TWAS with an introduction from Prof Mark Ferguson, Director General, SFI

This short documentary follows the stories of four scientists in developing countries, committed to a life of research. Focused on fields ranging from agriculture to climate change and medical care to economics, they are pursuing discoveries and innovations that will improve life for the people in their countries, and their regions. It explores how recent violence in Syria, Yemen and Iraq has threatened the lives of these researchers, forcing them to suspend their work and flee their homelands. The same decision has confronted uncounted thousands of their colleagues globally – scientists, engineers, doctors and medical researchers, advanced science students.

Panel chair: Dr Gemma Irvine, Vice-President for Equality and Diversity at Maynooth University, will chair a discussion on ‘Excellence in Exile’.   She will be joined by Dr Joel Hanisek, Policy & Programme Manager at the Scholars at Risk programme and fellow guests Pamela Uba, Trinity College Dublin and Mansoor Al-Waeel, CÚRAM.

To view the trailer – please click here


 16:45  CLOSE
Please note that Science Foundation Ireland reserves the right to update or make changes to this agenda.