Irish university research to take centre stage in new RTÉ series

23 Dec 2021

Image: © ronstik/

A six-part documentary series called Change Makers will celebrate innovative research projects from Ireland’s universities starting in January 2022.

The Irish Universities Association has teamed up with national broadcaster RTÉ and New Decade TV to make a six-part documentary series exploring university research projects.

The series will give the public a glimpse of 15 different research projects in areas such as children’s health, health technology, education, youth justice, gender equality and inclusion, and the environment.

Called Change Makers, it will kick off on RTÉ One from 3 January 2022 at 8.30pm.

Viewers can expect to learn about research from University College Cork and MaREI, the Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) research centre for energy, climate and the marine, which looked at how citizen science can halve Dingle’s emissions in less than a decade.

The series will also feature the PREMie project at University College Dublin, which is using AI to help save the lives of newborn babies and their mothers at risk of pre-eclampsia. It’s a project that has received awards from SFI and NovaUCD.

Also featuring will be brain health app Neureka, which was developed by the Global Brain Institute at Trinity College Dublin.

The SI Drive project at University of Limerick will feature in the second episode, which deals with climate and the environment. Funded by the EU’s Horizon 2020 initiative, this project aims to increase uptake of electric vehicles by lowering the cost. It is also working on increasing vehicles’ range, as well as enabling fast charging using new nanoscale silicon-based batteries.

Dublin City University’s Backdrop project, which focuses on engaging water users and citizens in general to monitor the water quality of our rivers, will also be showcased.

The series will offer viewers intimate access into the medical research projects happening across Ireland’s universities. This will include NUI Galway’s Health Innovation via Engineering (HIVE) Project, which identifies problems that patients are having and uses state-of-the-art technology to solve them.

Also at NUI Galway, the Health Promotion Research Centre will give viewers insight into health behaviour in school-aged children as part of its latest report.

Another project to feature is Maynooth University’s STEM Passport initiative, led by Dr Katriona O’Sullivan, which encourages girls from working class communities across Ireland to move into STEM courses and careers.

Meanwhile the Moving Well, Being Well project, a partnership between DCU, the Insight SFI research centre for data analytics and the GAA, wants to get Irish children moving and involved in sport.

Researchers at TU Dublin will also showcase their project Happy Maths, which aims to reduce maths anxiety in primary school students using game-based learning.

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Blathnaid O’Dea was a Careers reporter at Silicon Republic until 2024.