ICYMI: 8 must-read stories from Thursday’s science and tech news

22 Oct 2015

If you’ve been busy all day, catch up on what you might have missed with our round-up of the day’s science and tech news.

1. 140 science jobs in Dublin as Grifols invests €90m in new facility

Grifols is investing around €90m in a new operations facility in Dublin, bringing 140 jobs to the region. The facility, situated in Grange Castle Business Park, will ‘come on stream’ in a few months.

In what is the first investment by a Spanish life sciences company in Ireland, plasma product manufacturer Grifols is opening a new global operations centre for its bioscience division.

The 140 jobs will be housed in a facility focused on commercial policy, R&D and supply chain needs.

2. Dublin ranks 8th in European Digital City Index

A new European Digital City Index compiled by the Nesta foundation has ranked Dublin eighth out of 35 European cities that are considered attractive cities to establish a start-up, with London ranked No 1.

The European Digital City Index (EDCI) covers all capital cities in the 28 European Union (EU) member states (and seven other major tech hubs).

Dublin ranked eighth in both the start-ups and scale-ups categories.

3. Scientists shell-shocked after finding new tortoise species on Galapagos Islands

A new species of giant tortoise has been discovered on the biological wonder that is the Galapagos Islands.

The new tortoise species was discovered by an international team of scientists, as well as Ecuadorian researchers, who for years had believed that the two large giant tortoise populations on the island of Santa Cruz were one and the same.

However, it was only after undergoing detailed genetic tests that the giant tortoises living on the eastern side of the island were discovered to be entirely different to their fellow tortoises.

4. Apple upgrades: iOS 9.1 released with more emojis than ever

Apple’s latest suite of OS upgrades has just been released. Desktop and watches have gotten improvements but mobile users are the real winners, with iOS 9.1 offering people what they have always craved, yet more emojis.

Alongside a watchOS update, and an El Capitan update, iOS 9.1 is the eye-catching development, with Live Photos a new addition to Apple’s mobile arsenal. Included amongst the raft of Unicode-approved new emoji (the first time that the full suite has ever been included) are the likes of champagne bottles, tacos, turkeys, lions and middle fingers.

5. EBay’s first post-PayPal financials above average

EBay posted Q3 profit and good sales, with rising numbers of active buyers all adding up to an encouraging first set of financials since the company split from PayPal.

Revenues of $2.1bn helped eBay to this promising position, a full three months after the PayPal separation was completed, although original estimates were already looking at a rather average result.

Profits reached 43c a share on that revenue (revenue, it must be said, that was slightly down on last year), almost 8pc higher than expected, but overall profit actually dropped 25pc ($673m down to $539m).

6. 10 new IT jobs in Galway as TitanHQ expands

TitanHQ is expanding its operations in Galway, adding 10 new IT staff just a month after rebranding the company from SpamTitan.

Technical support engineers, software developers, web developers and testers will be sought as TitanHQ grows its workforce to 40 in total.

7. Let’s get physical: City of Physics 2015 launches for Dublin

Following on from the success of the DART of Physics campaign, today marks the launch of City of Physics, a new interactive and inclusive campaign to encourage everyone across Dublin to explore the beauty of physics around the city.

The City of Physics campaign will be running across a four week period, from 26 October to 19 November, with the expectation of turning notices on buses, the DART and on the street into a vibrant celebration of physics.

8. Slingshot Academy returns to boost students into third-level education

Slingshot Academy aims to build a bridge from secondary to third-level education. The first Slingshot Academy in February this year attracted 180 second-level students. This is now expected to grow to 2,000 between the new programmes in Dublin and Galway. Monthly academies will continue throughout the academic year for 15 to 19-year-olds, featuring the opportunity to hear from speakers and talk to mentors.

Main image via Shutterstock


Brigid O Gorman is a former sub-editor of Silicon Republic.