The Science Undergraduate Research Experience (SURE) network, an award-winning academic partnership of eight Irish Higher Education Institutes, is empowering undergraduate science students to present their thought-provoking research projects to audiences of academics and industry practitioners.
Last Friday, 91 final-year students presented their research at three simultaneous conferences hosted by Institute of Technology, Carlow, Technological University Dublin and Institute of Technology, Sligo.
In her closing remarks at the SURE Conference in TU Dublin, Tallaght, Minister of State for Higher Education, Mary Mitchell O’Connor T.D. said, “The SURE Network and conferences are making a substantial contribution to higher education practice in Ireland. In providing yet another platform for the student voice to be heard, this academic initiative complements my ambition to put the student and their experience at the epicentre of everything that we do.”
During the Opening Ceremony on Friday in TU Dublin, SURE Chairperson, Ciaran O’Leary highlighted the ambitions of the SURE Network to grow and further enhance its impact upon higher education policy and practice in Ireland. “The strength of the SURE network is due to the institutional partnership upon which it was formed and the commitment of the lecturers from the partner organisations throughout the country who drive the activities of the network, and engage their undergraduate students in the research process.”
Reflecting on the value of industry collaboration, Dr Fiona McArdle, IT Sligo said, “Our guest speaker from the Food Safety Authority of Ireland was blown away with the quality of research in the presentations and posters saying it was on a par with any postgraduate conference he attended. The sponsoring companies also expressed their amazement at the quality of the presentations and were delighted to attend. ”
Highlighting the value of the SURE Network to students, Conference organiser in Carlow IT, Dr Carloalberto Petti, said, “The developmental potential can be enormous and the learning output for the students simply unanticipated.”
Carol Hunt, Talent Development with DPS, “We were delighted to participate in the 2nd SURE Conference which provided a great platform for graduates to showcase their final year projects. Well done to all who participated on the day, there was an impressive array of topics covered and some really interesting scientific research discussed which I’m sure will provide a platform for further inquiry. Overall a great event, inspiring to see so much enthusiasm and passion for science.”
This year’s conference was also an opportunity to introduce the SURE Undergraduate Research Journal, a compilation of undergraduate research and writing edited by Dr Barry Ryan, Editor-In-Chief. “The excellent standard of student research and writing, complemented by rigorous peer review, has resulted in an exceptional first issue covering a broad range of topics across the Sciences. Subjects covered in the first edition include novel antimicrobial compounds isolated from seaweeds, through to investigating novel breast cancer maker genes and onto nutritional knowledge within the vegetarian community.”
The SURE network, which won Best Academic Partnership at the Education Awards 2019, will return next year with conferences taking place in Cork, Dublin and Galway while a further edition of the SURE Undergraduate Research Journal is also planned for 2020.
Further information about the SURE network is available here.
Minister of State for Higher Education, Mary Mitchell O’Connor T.D. with Thomas Stone, Principal of TU Dublin, Tallaght, members of the SURE Network Committee and student presenters from the SURE 2019 Dublin Conference.