News and Views

UCC cuts the jargon in new Instagram campaign

14 Aug 2018
Cork or the Caribbean? Dr Fiachra Long, Head of the School of Education. Photo: Clare Keogh.

University College Cork has launched a new Instagram campaign aimed at presenting complex ideas and research in a straightforward way to a general audience.

Developed by UCC’s Office of Media and PR, the campaign features attention-grabbing portraits of researchers taken by Cork-based photographer Clare Keogh, accompanied by accessible explanations of their work and ideas.

The campaign, which will be rolled out on the @universitycollegecork account throughout this week, is focused on encouraging great communication from researchers tackling the world’s grandest challenges.

 

“I’ve been lecturing and researching in the area of cereal science, as well as malting and brewing, for the past 20 years. One of my main areas of interest has been the understanding and development of gluten-free cereal products, in addition to lactic acid bacteria and their role in cereal products and beverages. Three years ago, I got involved in a huge EU project called PROTEIN2FOOD, which aims to develop innovative, cost-effective and resource-efficient, healthy plant proteins for human consumption. It's a specific challenge to meet the increasing global demand for high quality, protein-rich food that satisfies the needs of a growing world population while taking care of environmental sustainability, sustainable land-use practices and food security. Europe currently has a massive consumption of animal-based proteins for food, and most plant proteins on the European market are used for that purpose. The EU now provides only 30% of the EU's plant protein needs, and the homegrown part of plant proteins is decreasing. The imported 70%, mainly soybeans, comes mostly from Brazil, creating substantial environmental problems as the production results in the cutting down of trees in the Amazon rainforests. The deficiency in protein sources also creates price volatility and trade distortions. Our role in the project is to characterise the plant proteins isolated by our partners and convert them into consumer products such as plant milk alternatives and yoghurts and increase the protein content of a wide range of cereal-based products. The focus of the project is on a wide range of crops such as the pseudocereals quinoa, amaranth and buckwheat, as well as legumes including lupins, faba beans, chickpeas and lentils. We're hoping this project will have a positive impact on food security, biodiversity, the environment, bioeconomy and human health, and increase the product range containing plant proteins.” Professor Elke Arendt, School of Food and Nutritional Sciences and APC Microbiome Institute, at UCC, who was listed as one of the most highly-cited researchers in the world last year. #UCCOurCampus Photo: @clareflash

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Dr Orla Lynch, Head of Criminology, talks about her recent research into how people become involved in political violence, but also how and why they disengage from violent organisations.

“This work involved conducting interviews with over 100 members of terrorist organisations with the aim of trying to understand their journey into and out of violence. Other research I recently carried out concerned the victims of terrorism and attempted to understand how victimhood is understood and experienced in the case of political violence but also sought to pick apart the complex relationship between victimhood and involvement in retaliatory violence.”

Her most recent work examined the issues surrounding European children who were brought to and grew up in ISIS-held territory in Syria and Iraq and the implications of their experiences for reintegration back into their home country.

Professor Elke Arendt, School of Food and Nutritional Sciences and APC Microbiome Institute, UCC, refers to the specific challenge of meeting the growing demand across the globe for high quality, protein-rich food that satisfies the need of a growing world population while taking care of environmental sustainability, sustainable land-use practices and food security.

“Europe currently has a massive consumption of animal-based proteins for food, and most plant proteins on the European market are used for that purpose. The EU now provides only 30% of the EU's plant protein needs, and the homegrown part of plant proteins is decreasing. The imported 70%, mainly soybeans, comes mostly from Brazil, creating substantial environmental problems as the production results in the cutting down of trees in the Amazon rainforests. The deficiency in protein sources also creates price volatility and trade distortions.”

Professor John Sodeau, Director of the Centre of Research into Atmospheric Chemistry (CRACLab) at UCC, pictured hugging trees, comments in his post about how “Cobh’s Air Quality is in the news at the moment because of the 94 cruise ships coming to call this year, the proposed incinerator and the Haulbowline Island clean-up.”

 

“I love trees. I hate trees. Here are the reasons why. Air pollution and climate change are two sides of the same coin. That coin is made from carbon, and by spending (burning) it we get the energy we need to live. But the price is the release of carbon dioxide and small particles into our air and they are the root of our problems. Which brings me to trees. They do our planet enormous good by taking in carbon dioxide, but when we use their wood in our new trendy stoves at home, we release small, harmful particles. These are not good for our health (or our climate) and long enough exposure indoors or outdoors can lead to heart failure or strokes, especially for the young, old and asthmatics. Cobh’s Air Quality is in the news now because of the 94 cruise ships coming to call this year, the proposed incinerator and the Haulbowline Island clean up. So, the CRACLab did an Air Pollution walk there in June, just like the PANA ban 96FM walk we did in April. The results were, to say the least, interesting especially when a big ship is in town. The plume values would not be out of place in the world’s most polluted cities (from WHO data)! But you’ll have to visit crac.ucc.ie to see the full story.” Professor John Sodeau, Director of the Centre of Research into Atmospheric Chemistry (CRACLab) at UCC. Photo: @clareflash

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“So, the CRACLab did an Air Pollution walk there in June, just like the PANA car ban 96FM walk we did in April. The results were interesting especially when a big ship is in town. The plume values would not be out of place in the world’s most polluted cities (from WHO data)!" 

In his photograph, Dr Fiachra Long, Head of the School of Education, is posed taking a selfie on his smartphone in Cork City in front of a backdrop, which gives the impression he is in the Caribbean. He comments: “Nanotechnology now allows people to see themselves as minds floating above their bodily conditions. Instead of living in a dull world, they can live in an exciting world of action, convenience or leisure simply by wearing a casket on their heads. Casket indeed! A smartphone will do.”

Arno Fricke, a PhD student in the School of Microbiology and Environmental Research Institute (ERI), UCC, discusses the Newtrients project at UCC, which is advancing the technology of using bacteria to produce bioplastic from dairy processing wastewater.

This technology could help to use waste materials instead of fossil fuels for plastic production, and provide a degradable bioplastic, which can be composted to fertilise the next generation of the material.

 

Turning dairy wastewater into bioplastic “Ireland is currently the EU’s top plastic waste offender per capita, with each inhabitant producing 61kg of plastic waste each year. Until recently this problem wasn’t as apparent since 95% of recyclable plastic waste was exported to China. However, earlier this year China banned the import of mixed plastic waste, resulting in waste to pile up in Ireland and elsewhere in Europe. In the short term, it's critical to reduce and re-use plastic. In the future, this effort can be complemented by a transition towards sustainably-produced, degradable bioplastic alternatives. With the Newtrients project at UCC, we are currently advancing the technology of using bacteria to produce bioplastic from dairy processing wastewater. This technology could help to use waste materials instead of fossil fuels for plastic production and provide a degradable bioplastic which can be composted to fertilise the next generation of the material." Arno Fricke is a PhD student in the School of Microbiology and Environmental Research Institute (ERI), UCC. Our campaign on Instagram this week features UCC academics talking about complex ideas and research straightforwardly. #UCCOurCampus Photo: Clare Keogh @clareflash

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For more on this story contact:

Lynne Nolan, Media & PR Officer, UCC: 087 210 1119 or lynne.nolan@ucc.ie

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