Category Archives: Zone Reports

Red Zone Report – November 2020

Read the report: Red Zone – November 2020 [PDF]

The Red Zone was a general science-themed Zone, which ran from 2 to 27 November 2020.

The activity ran for longer than previous I’m a Scientist Zones (4 weeks instead of 2). It also featured more scientists (over 30 instead of 6). This was to offer greater flexibility to teachers in how, and when, they can take part in I’m a Scientist.

The Red Zone was funded by the Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) Discover 2019 programme.

Scientists

  • 32 scientists created profiles in the Zone.
  • 30 engaged with students through live Chats and/or Ask questions.
  • Scientists from a broad range of fields and career stages took part. For example:
    • Aisling O’Connor – Research Officer at the VistaMilk SFI research centre
    • Ayesha Sharif – PhD student studying nanoparticle conduction at NUI Galway
    • Boris Galkin – postdoctoral researcher at the CONNECT telecommunications research centre in Trinity College Dublin

Students

  • 1,145 students from 31 schools across Ireland logged into the Zone.
  • Turnout was 76% of the 1,500 capacity.
  • 55% of active students were from target schools (DEIS and/or U).
    • 43% were from target county (U) schools.
    • 17% were from Delivering Equality of Opportunity in Schools (DEIS) schools.

Live Chats and Questions

  • 53 live Chats took place took place during the activity.
  • 90 live Chats were booked (1.5 times the expected number), but dropout was higher than usual, with 24 cancellations and 13 ‘school no shows’.
  • On average, 3 scientists attended each live Chat session.
  • 4 teachers typed questions in a live Chat on behalf of their students, so the number of students engaged may be higher by up to 100.
  • 654 student questions were approved. Scientists responded with 903 answers
Posted on January 18, 2021 modtom in 2020 | Comments Off on Red Zone Report – November 2020

Green Zone Report – Stay at home 2020

Read the report: Green Zone Report – Stay at home 2020 [PDF]

In March 2020, schools were closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, creating uncertainty in education. Many STEM enrichment activities for students were cancelled.

The Green Zone (green.imascientist.ie) was part of the I’m a Scientist, Stay at home event.

The Zone ran over 6 weeks and was funded by Science Foundation Ireland.
■ 80 scientists created profiles in the Zone, and 66 engaged with students in live chats and answering questions. 40 of these were new to the I’m a Scientist activities.
■ Scientists from a broad range of areas and career stages took part. For example, Roisin Jones is a chemistry researcher at ThermoFisher Scientific, Simon Spichak works at University College Cork as a Neuroscientist, and Dimitar Shterionov is an assistant professor in computing at ADAPT Centre in Dublin.
■ 191 students from 15 schools all over Ireland logged into the Zone. 12 of these schools had taken part in a previous I’m a Scientist activity.
■ 82% of participating students came from DEIS or underserved schools.
■ 25 live chats took place during the event. 147 posted questions were approved and sent to the researchers who responded with 896 answers.
■ On average, 6 researchers attended each live chat session, providing students with a wide variety of roles and people to learn about.
■ Each week, students voted for their favourite Scientists of the Week, with four scientists announced as winners during the event.

Posted on September 24, 2020 modem in 2020, SFI, Zone Reports | Comments Off on Green Zone Report – Stay at home 2020

Water Zone Report – November 2019

Read the report: Water Zone Report – November 2019 [PDF]

The Water Zone was a themed zone supported by Science Foundation Ireland. It featured six scientists:

  • Philip Schuler investigates groundwater flow in ‘karst’ and uses this information to understand and simulate water flow dynamics.
  • Maxime Savatier investigates where water and nutrients flowing to the Irish sea comes from, and what happens when they mix with sea water.
  • Jake Cunningham, who won this zone, is a PhD student looking at using ocean waves to generate electricity.
  • Annette Wilson works with marine and environmental scientists from across Europe to communicate their research and results.
  • Ann Reen takes water samples from houses, rivers, lakes, and the sea, to test them for bugs that cause disease.
  • Amy Heather Fitzpatrick is finding new ways to detect the winter vomiting bug, norovirus, in water, sewage and shellfish.
Posted on January 15, 2020 in 2019, SFI, Zone Reports | Comments Off on Water Zone Report – November 2019

Sodium Zone Report – November 2019

Read the report: Sodium Zone Report – November 2019 [PDF]

The Sodium Zone was a themed zone supported by Science Foundation Ireland. It featured five scientists:

  • Souvik Kundu, the winner of this zone, is a research student working with VR and haptics to create robots with real-world applications in healthcare and cars.
  • Sabine Giron works with factory workers to develop robots that can help solve their problems in the work environment.
  • Maria McNamara is a paleobiologist studying preserved colours and biochemicals in fossils.
  • John Butler is a neuroscience researcher building mathematical models to help understand how our brains work when we walk.
  • Armin Shams is a research fellow trying to build smart and sustainable cities through digital transformation.
Posted on January 15, 2020 in 2019, SFI, Zone Reports | Comments Off on Sodium Zone Report – November 2019

Food Zone Report – November 2019

Read the report: Food Zone Report – November 2019 [PDF]

The Food Zone was a themed zone supported by Science Foundation Ireland. It featured six scientists:

  • Min Yap is researching how bacteria grows and interacts in the dairy production environment.
  • Marcello Valente is a PhD student developing a sensor to detect dangerous mutation in living organisms.
  • Katie Starsmore, the zone winner, is a technician researching how much methane gas cows burp, and how we can reduce this.
  • Dheeraj Rathore is working on improving crops to suit changing climates and fight disease.
  • Israel Ikoyi looks at microbes in the soil to understand how they can help plants grow better, and how farmers can create the conditions for them to do so.
  • Aoife McHugh is looking at microbes that can survive dairy processing, from milk collected on the farm through processing to dairy powder.
Posted on January 15, 2020 in 2019, SFI, Zone Reports | Comments Off on Food Zone Report – November 2019

Energy Zone Report – November 2019

Read the report: Energy Zone Report – November 2019 [PDF]

The Energy Zone was a themed zone supported by Science Foundation Ireland. It featured six scientists:

  • Jessica Franklin, the winner of this zone, a geologist looking for new ways of predicting the location of oil and gas reservoirs.
  • Jenny Andreasson is a technology analyst whose job is to look for new technologies and smarter ways to use energy.
  • Jason McGuire is a PhD student working with the government to change policies that will help Ireland reduce its greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Janis Aleksans models geological processes in the Earth’s crust and finds out what implications this could have for geothermal energy applications.
  • Mohamed Daoud is an electrical engineer who converts energy from one form into another.
  • Catriona Sheridan is a researcher who helps plan the electricity network for future generations, and investigates how to make it more sustainable.
Posted on January 15, 2020 in 2019, SFI, Zone Reports | Comments Off on Energy Zone Report – November 2019

Drug Discovery Zone Report – November 2019

Read the report: Drug Discovery Zone Report – November 2019 [PDF]

The Drug Discovery Zone was a themed zone supported by Wellcome. It featured six scientists:

  • Sudhin Thampi is a gastroenterologist researching new implant materials with different shapes/structures to help suit individual patient conditions.
  • Sergio Saldana is an immunology researcher trying to develop a device to help treat MS.
  • Katie Fala investigates how bacteria communicate through chemical signals, and how drug treatments can interrupt this communication.
  • Frances Shiely is an epidemiologist looking at ways to improve the way we conduct and communicate about clinical trials.
  • Diarmuid Kenny works with proteins to see how medicines work and try to find new ones.
  • Aoife Campbell, who won this zone, researches how different parts of the brain connect with each other, and what happens when it goes wrong.
Posted on January 15, 2020 in 2019, WT, Zone Reports | Comments Off on Drug Discovery Zone Report – November 2019

Neon Zone Report – November 2018

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The Neon Zone was a general zone supported by Wellcome and involved five scientists:

  • Tiernan Henry is researching how water and the Earth interact, particularly the water just below the Earth’s surface
  • Sonia Lenehan, the zone winner, studies how the brain grows in the first two years of life
  • Mossy Kelly studies how students learn physics and is also a lecturer at the University of Hull
  • Maureen Williams studies the parasites that controls the behaviour of their hosts; fish, corals and other animals
  • Bernard Leddy is a drug information pharmacist and consultant in toxicology, writing reports on drugs for lawyers

This zone was very busy in ASK with over 700 questions sent to scientists, who between them gave over 1,000 answers. Sonia and Maureen were the most active scientists, making up 90% of all chat lines between them.

Posted on January 14, 2019 in 2018, WT, Zone Reports | Comments Off on Neon Zone Report – November 2018

Smart Data Zone Report – November 2018

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The Smart Data Zone was a themed zone supported by Science Foundation Ireland and involved five scientists:

  • Sheila Castilho, the winner of the zone, is a postdoctoral researcher, teaching computers how to translate
  • Piyush Arora is also a postdoctoral researcher, trying to make learning and searching through the internet more convenient and easy
  • Natalia Resende is looking at translation systems such as Google translate and analysis data to discover ways in which they can be improved
  • Gary Munnelly teaches computers how to read books and other text-based resources to help historians study the past
  • Dimitar Shterionov is a postdoctoral researcher at ADAPT Centre working on machine translation between different languages

Students in this zone showed a general interest in the zone’s theme, asking questions about data but also discussing more widely computers, languages and coding. Nearly a third of the questions put to scientists in ASK concerned careers and education.

Posted on January 14, 2019 in 2018, SFI, Zone Reports | Comments Off on Smart Data Zone Report – November 2018

New Materials Zone Report – November 2018

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The New Materials Zone was a themed zone supported by Science Foundation Ireland and involved six scientists:

  • Triona Kennedy works for Stryker, a 3D-printing factory making hips, knees and parts of the spine
  • Simone Iadanza designs and build small structures that trap or reflect light so they can work as small lasers
  • Kieran Joyce is making new materials that can be used in spinal surgery for people with lower back pain
  • Julia Savioli is a computational chemist who uses simulations to understand the behaviour and chemistry of different materials
  • The zone winner, Hugh Manning, researches nanomaterials, particularly nanowires to conduct electricity for display screens and touch screens
  • Emily Growney Kalaf is a biomedical engineer working on nanowires that an act like neurons to understand neurogenic and neuropathic pain

Students in this zone were particularly interested in finding out what it was like being a scientist, and over 40% of the questions in ASK were on careers and/or education topics. Hugh, the zone winner, was very active in the live chats, with his chat lines making up nearly half of all those sent by the scientists over the activity.

Posted on January 14, 2019 in 2018, SFI, Zone Reports | Comments Off on New Materials Zone Report – November 2018