SURE Conference showcases the scientists of tomorrow

One hundred recent graduates from Institutes of Technology across the country showcased their expertise at the first SURE Conference, held at AIT, DIT and WIT.

Speakers and conference organisers at the WIT SURE conference outside the WIT Arena.

One hundred recent graduates from Institutes of Technology across the country showcased their expertise at the first SURE Conference, presenting the very best of undergraduate science research on a broad range of topics including the investigation of pathogens in cystic fibrosis, the recovery of phosphorus from disposable nappies, and antibiotic resistance in animals, humans and fish. 

The Science Undergraduate Research Experience (SURE) Conference, Ireland’s first national conference dedicated to promoting STEM research in the technological higher education sector, was held at Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT), Athlone Institute of Technology (AIT), and Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT) simultaneously, attracting crowds of more than 500 third level students.

The conference opened with a keynote address from the Minister of State for the Office of Public Works and Flood Relief, Kevin ‘Boxer’ Moran, TD, held at AIT and live streamed across the three venues.

Highlighting the goals of the event, Dr Julie Dunne, Conference Chair, DIT says, “SURE aims to support and empower students to showcase their dynamic research projects at a national level. It’s a chance for them to learn from their peers, to get valuable experience presenting publicly, and to celebrate what they have learned and contributed to the sciences during their course of study.” 

Commenting on the success of the conference, Dr Therese Montgomery, Co-Chair, AIT said, “SURE provides an excellent platform to highlight the quality and diversity of research being conducted at undergraduate level in our Institutes of Technology. One day this research will lead to significant improvements in our health care systems and quality of life, if not already.”

Aubrey Storey, Co-Chair, WIT said, “The inaugural SURE conference was a fantastic event that was thoroughly enjoyed by all who participated. It will serve as great platform upon which research and learning in the sciences can be developed in WIT and across the Institutes of Technology sector.” 

Awards for the best scientific presentations and posters were presented on the day by guest adjudicators including Dr Joseph Ryan, CEO, Technological Higher Education Association (THEA), and Dr Jennifer Brennan, Director of Research, Development and Innovation, THEA. Using a mobile phone app, the audience in each venue also voted for their favourite presentations. 

The Science Undergraduate Research Experience (SURE) network was established in 2017 by a community of twelve Institutes of Technology with the goal of enhancing undergraduate research in the Sciences. The SURE 2019 Conference will take place on 27 September in IT Sligo, IT Carlow and IT Tallaght, and is sure to be an important date in the undergraduate student calendar!

Students who displayed their knowledge for SURE at WIT (L-R): Mark Armitage WIT,  Anna Karpinska IT Carlow, Sinead Daly WIT, James Cullen WIT,  Rupali Ahashan WIT, Hilkiah Ako WIT, Jessica Murphy WIT, Siobhan O'Neill CIT, Dr. Claire Lennon and Aubrey Storey WIT Conference Organising Committee. 

Photo Credit: Patrick Browne