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Marine Researcher Among Women For ‘Soapbox Science’ In Galway Tomorrow

14th July 2017
Soapbox Science comes to Galway for the first time featuring participating scientists from NUI Galway, GMIT, Marine Institute and IT Sligo to promote the visibility of women in science Soapbox Science comes to Galway for the first time featuring participating scientists from NUI Galway, GMIT, Marine Institute and IT Sligo to promote the visibility of women in science

#MarineScience - A postdoctoral researcher with the Marine Institute will join a group of female scientists as they take take to their soapboxes and bring science to the streets of Galway tomorrow lunchtime.

Soapbox Science takes place from 11am to 2pm at the Spanish Arch on Saturday 15 July, with participants sharing with the public their passion for all things science.

This is the first time that Soapbox Science, founded in the UK seven years ago, has come to Galway, with the initiative also set to reach Belfast in 2017.

The event has two aims: to bring science to unexpected locations to give a broader sector of society the opportunity to meet and interact with scientists, and to promote the visibility of women in science.

This year’s talks will cover diverse subjects such as how to make stars, building your own body parts and sustainable fisheries. 

Representing the Marine Institute is Dr Debbi Pedreschi, a marine scientist working on finding ways to implement the ecosystems approach to fisheries management.

Speaking ahead of her talk, Dr Pedreschi said: “I appreciate all events that promote science, and women in science, but that most importantly, engage the public. 

“Soapbox Science literally ‘takes it to the streets’ and I think that is an amazing initiative and opportunity. It removes all barriers allowing curiosity to peak and conversations to flow.”

Dr Jessamyn Fairfield, Soapbox Science organiser and a physicist at NUI Galway, added: “When many people think of a scientist, they think of a man in a white coat. Soapbox Science aims to challenge this perception by showcasing the work of female scientists in a fun and friendly way. 

“In order to keep up with the need for a skilled STEM workforce, the scientific community must continue to attract the best talent, and be open and inclusive. We hope that this event can inspire people to look at science in a different way.”

Soapbox Science speakers and their topics include:

  • Prof Laoise McNamara, NUI Galway: Close to the bone: Engineering research into the biology of osteoporosis and implants.
  • Dr Rachel Cave, NUI Galway: Help, help, I think my house is dissolving! How ocean acidification works and why it matters. 
  • Dr Rachel Quinlan, NUI Galway: How to make stars (in two and three dimensions).
  • Dr Marie Coggins, NUI Galway: Are you breathing clean air indoors?
  • Dr Sharon Glynn, NUI Galway: A new dimension to ancient enemies: What are these hidden viruses in our DNA and how do they contribute to cancer development?
  • Dr Heather Teresa Lally, GMIT: How do creepy crawlies adapt to living in a watery underworld?
  • Dr Debbi Pedreschi, Marine Institute: The story of sustainable fisheries: solving ‘wicked problems’ and other tales.
  • Juhi Samal, NUI Galway: Biomaterial pills for Parkinson’s: saving cells to stop shaking?
  • Kirsten Fossum, NUI Galway: Clouds: where do they come from, where do they go?
  • Adele Gabba, NUI Galway: The sweet universe of carbohydrates chemistry!
  • Fiona Malone, GMIT: Biomedical engineering: build your own body parts.
  • Dr Caroline Sullivan, IT Sligo: The Wild Atlantic Way: why it’s so beautiful and how farmers helped create it.

Over 350 women have taken part in Soapbox Science since 2011, with a further 220 participating in the 19 events taking place during 2017. 

Over 55,000 people attended Soapbox Science events in 2016, with 85 per cent rating them as enjoyable or extremely enjoyable, and over a third stating it had an effect on their awareness of women in science.

The event is free and open to the public. For more information about Soapbox Science visit

Published in Marine Science
MacDara Conroy

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MacDara Conroy

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MacDara Conroy is a contributor covering all things on the water, from boating and wildlife to science and business

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Marine Science Perhaps it is the work of the Irish research vessel RV Celtic Explorer out in the Atlantic Ocean that best highlights the essential nature of marine research, development and sustainable management, through which Ireland is developing a strong and well-deserved reputation as an emerging centre of excellence. From Wavebob Ocean energy technology to aquaculture to weather buoys and oil exploration these pages document the work of Irish marine science and how Irish scientists have secured prominent roles in many European and international marine science bodies.


At A Glance – Ocean Facts

  • 71% of the earth’s surface is covered by the ocean
  • The ocean is responsible for the water cycle, which affects our weather
  • The ocean absorbs 30% of the carbon dioxide added to the atmosphere by human activity
  • The real map of Ireland has a seabed territory ten times the size of its land area
  • The ocean is the support system of our planet.
  • Over half of the oxygen we breathe was produced in the ocean
  • The global market for seaweed is valued at approximately €5.4 billion
  • · Coral reefs are among the oldest ecosystems in the world — at 230 million years
  • 1.9 million people live within 5km of the coast in Ireland
  • Ocean waters hold nearly 20 million tons of gold. If we could mine all of the gold from the ocean, we would have enough to give every person on earth 9lbs of the precious metal!
  • Aquaculture is the fastest growing food sector in the world – Ireland is ranked 7th largest aquaculture producer in the EU
  • The Atlantic Ocean is the second largest ocean in the world, covering 20% of the earth’s surface. Out of all the oceans, the Atlantic Ocean is the saltiest
  • The Pacific Ocean is the largest ocean in the world. It’s bigger than all the continents put together
  • Ireland is surrounded by some of the most productive fishing grounds in Europe, with Irish commercial fish landings worth around €200 million annually
  • 97% of the earth’s water is in the ocean
  • The ocean provides the greatest amount of the world’s protein consumed by humans
  • Plastic affects 700 species in the oceans from plankton to whales.
  • Only 10% of the oceans have been explored.
  • 8 million tonnes of plastic enter the ocean each year, equal to dumping a garbage truck of plastic into the ocean every minute.
  • 12 humans have walked on the moon but only 3 humans have been to the deepest part of the ocean.

(Ref: Marine Institute)

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