This week’s science and technology news tackled broadband, Budget 2019, climate change and mental health.
This week’s big breaking news moment came with the resignation of Communications Minister Denis Naughten, TD, amid controversy over the National Broadband Plan and his contact with the head of the National Broadband Ireland consortium, David McCourt from Granahan McCourt. Today (12 October), Minister Seán Kyne, TD, took his opportunity at the second National Mobile Phone and Broadband Stakeholder Forum in Co Galway to reassure stakeholders that a digitally connected society is still on the roadmap. Our editor John Kennedy was a keynote speaker at this event and will have more to come on this story. Make sure you’re caught up as this one continues to develop.
Before this Government scandal hit the headlines, we started the week with a look at how Budget 2019 will impact employees, entrepreneurs, higher education, Brexit and even the climate. Reporter Ellen Tannam produced the final analysis of Budget 2019 with a look at the need-to-know details for Ireland’s small-to-medium businesses.
As well as the Budget and a watershed moment for this Government, this week marked World Menth Health Day on Wednesday (10 October), prompting our Careers editor Jenny Darmody to take a look at why it’s important to think about mental health in your working life as well as your personal life.
Speaking of maintaining our mental health, we could all do with referring to this infographic, spotted by Careers reporter Eva Short, from time to time. Tips on combating workplace stress include being prepared and remembering to take a breath.
Feeling nice and relaxed? How about your immune system? This week, our Women Invent series profiled Maynooth University’s Dr Karen English, who is improving cellular therapies to calm the immune system. She spoke to Dr Claire O’Connell.
Another researcher in our spotlight this week was Henny Admoni of Carnegie Mellon University, who wants to build the next generation of assistive care robots – but she’s not trying to make them ‘smart’.
A final research-themed shout-out has to go to the last of this year’s Nobel Prize winners, this time in Economics. With this week’s reporting from the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change spelling out disaster (even though some climate scientists claim it didn’t go far enough), acknowledging the work of William D Nordhaus in climate change policy rings as particularly timely.
Another person we’d like to introduce you to this week is Sam Young, senior director of content business unit operations at Spotify. Sharing with us her journey from investment banking to a dream role, Young said: “I always knew that, as a queer feminist, I wasn’t on the same wavelength as most of the people that I worked with in banking. That was bearable for the first few years, but over time it wore me down.” Find out how she made the change.
Advice for CIOs this week came from Vodafone Ireland’s Edel Briody. As head of corporate security, risk and compliance at the company, Briody discussed security culture and keeping up with the threat landscape. “I place a lot of emphasis on security culture and embedding it within an organisation. Our recent Cyber Ready Barometer highlighted that the more cyber-ready a business becomes, the better its overall business outcomes,” she told John Kennedy.
The final highlight from this week’s collection of stories is my own visit to Belfast for the 2018 Invent Awards. With 12 innovative early-stage start-ups showcased on the night, this event was an impressive celebration of Northern Ireland’s STEM solutions.