Talking Irish in terms of Group success

A small but active group, SCI’s Republic of Ireland Group (RoI) organises, and gives, continued support to a wide range of events. These include joint events with the RSC, ICI and other SCI Groups, as well as events organised solely by themselves. Dr Nick Gathergood talks here about what makes it work well.

Is collaboration key to the Group’s success?
NG: Yes, I would say so. For instance, we have co-sponsored a series of organic synthesis meetings in Cork for the last five years, and these are now an important part of the chemistry calendar, attracting international speakers. This year’s speakers included Prof Franklin Davis of Temple University, Philadelphia.

Tell us more about the Group’s main awards
NG: The inaugural presentation of the Wesley Cocker Award was held in DCU INVENT last October. It honours the late Professor Cocker’s long service to the SCI in Ireland, and to further the links between young chemists and the chemical industry in Ireland. The award goes to the best paper or patent on a topic of relevance to industrial chemistry, where the main author is a PhD or BSc student in Ireland, and an SCI member. The 2009 award is sponsored by Mason Technology and we are working closely with students to promote the Wesley Cocker Award throughout Ireland.

The group also enjoyed great success in 2008 with the Lampitt Medal and Distinguished Service Award received by Prabhu Kulkarni and David Birkett, respectively. They are a credit to the group and we are pleased that their great efforts have been recognised.

Are there any interesting moments that have stood out for you?
NG: More recently David and Prabhu organised (with myself and Andrew Rous, our Honorary Treasurer) events to celebrate the 60th Anniversary of SCI in Ireland, including ‘Ireland & Kyoto: a Dragons’ Den debate’ and a celebration dinner, with many key figures from academic and industrial chemistry in Ireland.

Spokespeople for wind power, wave power and nuclear power attended the event. The three dragons were Brian Norton, President of Dublin Institute for Technology, Frank Norton of the EPA and Godfrey Bevan of Sustainable Energy Ireland. For those without entrenched positions the consensus seemed to be that all three alternatives should have a role to play in helping Ireland meet its Kyoto commitments, the nuclear option meaning that Ireland should buy a stake in a UK nuclear power plant.

What do Group members have to look forward to?
NG: The next event we are attending is the annual ‘All Ireland chemistry postgraduate student colloquium’. Postgraduate representatives Shelly Long (DCU) and Elizabeth Dunne (UCD) will be promoting the Wesley Cocker Award, and we aim to recruit several other representatives from other Irish universities. This autumn, our events include cooperation with the Materials Chemistry Group: ‘Advanced materials for sensor design’ on 17 September 2009 in Dublin City University, and, of course, the famous ‘Table quiz’ on 18 November 2009. For more information on the RoI Group’s activities please visit:

David Birkett
Honorary Secretary
Republic of Ireland Group

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