Environ 2020 - 30th Annual Irish Environmental Researchers Colloquium

30th Irish Environmental Researchers Colloquium

Ireland's Water, Energy & Environment in a Climate and Biodiversity Emergency


The 30th Irish Environmental Researchers Colloquium (Environ 2020) was hosted online by Dublin City University Water Institute from October 20th to October 22nd 2020. This was the first time Environ went virtual and feedback to date is that it was a great success.

The 300 attendees had the opportunity to choose from 17 oral presentation sessions and six poster sessions over the three days of the colloquium, covering topics from Climate Change, to Ecotoxicology to Water Resources all contributing to the theme of the colloquium, Ireland's Water, Energy & Environment in a Climate and Biodiversity Emergency.

In addition to the parallel sessions, delegates could attend a plenary session each day. The first plenary session on Tuesday included a welcome address from the Director of DCU’s Water Institute, Professor Fiona Regan, the Chairperson of the ESAI, Dr. Liam McCarton, and from The President of Dublin City University, Professor Daire Keogh, who formally opened the colloquium. The keynote address was delivered by Mr. Gilles Gantelet of the EU’s DG Environment who spoke about the EU’s Green Deal and what this means for Irish researchers among other things.

In the 17  concurrent sessions that followed over the next three days, over 70 papers and 80 posters were presented under the following thematic areas: Biodiversity and Ecosystems Water Quality and Resources, Climate Change, Marine and Coastal, Waste Management, Energy, Wastewater and Water Reuse, Environmental Policy and Communication, Sustainable Infrastructure & The Built Environment, Urban Development & Air Quality, Human Health, Ecotoxicology, Sustainable Land Use and Agriculture and Technology and the Environment.


These parallel sessions were interspersed with 6 poster sessions, a panel discussion on Wednesday, the aim of the panel was to add to the growing awareness of what needs to be done to mitigate and adapt to the impacts of Climate Change & Biodiversity. The panel discussing the conference theme were Dr Tara Shine, UN Environmental Scientist, Vincent Cleary, Managing Director, Glenisk and Henry Smyth, Head of Market Development at Ervia followed by Q&A from the audience made up of conference delgates and the public.

Other events over the three days included workshops: on Tuesday evening CIEEM Workshop ‘Where Could Ecology Take You?’ a Careers Q&A session with experts working in ecology & environmental management lead by CIEEM and one on Thursday morning to stimulate discussion on the United Nations Sustainability Goals. In this interactive workshop, Riccardo Mastini, a policy advisor for the Green New Deal for Europe, and Liam McCarton, Chair of ESAI and Director of Engineers Without Border Ireland challanged participants to question if the SDGs really are a blueprint to meet the needs of the present generation without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

The ESAI also held their AGM and invited ESAI Postgraduate of the Year Molly-Ann Williams from DCU to give a short talk about the award and her research. The Environmental Quiz on Wednesday night provided an evening of social entertainment and was thouroghly enjoyed by all who joined in.

Environ 2020 concluded with a prize giving ceremony with the various winners listed below. Congratulations to all. The prizes and winners this year are:

ESAI Best Oral Presentation (€500) sponsored by Environmental Sciences Association of Ireland
Merissa Cullen, NUI Maynooth - Comparison of active ingredient and commercial formulated glyphosate on the brain and digestive tract of the bumblebee Bombus terrestris

ESAI Best Poster Presentation (€250) sponsored by Environmental Sciences Association of Ireland
Tristan Nolan, UCD – Antibiotic resistance genes in bacteria and bacteriophages: A land use study of rivers

Best Social Engagement Presentation (€250) sponsored by Environmental Services Ireland
Eithne Davis, IT Sligo – Horizon scan of invasive alien species - Predicting the next invasions for the island of Ireland

Best Analytical Chemistry Poster (€250) sponsored by Eurachem Ireland
Stuart McMichael, University of Ulster – Evaluation of a photoelectrocatalytic reactor for water remediation

Best Natural History Presentation sponsored by Irish Naturalists Journal (€250 & 12 month subscription to the Irish Naturalists Journal)                                                                                                                                       Kerry Ryan, Teagasc Research Centre & NUI Galway – Understanding the effects of multi-species grasslands on the diversity and function of the soil microbiome for improving resource use efficiency and mitigating the effects of climate change

Best Water Related Presentation (€250) sponsored by Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management (CIWEM)
Ruben De la Torre Cerro, UCC – Quantifying phenological mismatches: Climate change drivers and their impacts on biotic interactions through different trophic levels in Ireland

Best Wastes & Resources Management Presentation (€250 & 12 month CIWM student membership) sponsored by Chartered Institution of Wastes Management (CIWM)
Ross O’Sullivan, CIT – The Challenges of Beneficially using Dredged Sediment in Ireland

Richard Fitzgerald Prize for Best Aquatic Environment Poster (€250) sponsored by AquaTT
Jayne Stephens, UCD – Tide: A driver of faecal indicator bacteria levels in bathing waters

Finally, Environ 2021 will be hosted by Environmental Research Institute, UCC 16th-18th June 2021 so watch this space for further details or follow us on Facebook | LinkedIn | Twitter for regular updates on Environ 2021 and all other ESAI events and activities.

Dr Anne Morrissey, Dr James Carton, Dr. Jenny Lawler
Environ 2020 Conference Co-Convenors, Dublin City University Water Institute


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