Forecast Looks Good for ‘Science Week’

Final preparations are in full swing for IT Sligo’s annual “Science Week” as family groups across the North West look forward to the opening day of colourful and interactive educational shows ahead of the week of public lectures on specialist topics.

This year’s theme for National Science Week, sponsored by Science Foundation Ireland, is “The Power of Science”.

The launch on Sunday, November 9th will see visitors stream through the Institute’s doors from 12 noon to 5pm to take part in fun displays that will illustrate the immense power of science in our day to day lives, for example in areas such as electricity, gravity, flight, waves, conservation and recycling.

National Science Week, which features events across the country, is Ireland’s largest annual promotion of science to the general public. The IT Sligo open day event usually attracts some 3,000 visitors.

The Institute’s multitude of family friendly demonstrations includes: Airmazing- engineering in the future;  Learn Differently-Science Magician; Victoria Walker’s Dance Chemistry Crew: Mad Professor; Scientific Sue: Flight of Imagination: The Wonder of Marine Life: Life on the Seashore; Kelvin Recycle Magic Show: 10,000 Years of Amazing Archaeology.  Sligo Garda Siochana, Sligo Bay Lifeboat Services and the Mountain Rescue Team will be on hand to display equipment and provide advice.

Evelyn Cusack (pictured), one of Ireland’s favourite weather forecasters, will speak about her passion for meteorology on Tuesday, November 11 at 1pm.

Deputy Head of Forecasting at Met Éireann but better known for her role as a weather presenter on RTE, she will give a talk at the Institute entitled “Ireland’s weather: a journey through time”. It will also feature details of the latest high spec methods used by the European Centre for Medium Range Forecasting.

Evelyn’s primary professional role is in communicating the expected weather to the Irish public, and that includes providing timely warnings of severe weather in order to help save lives and property both on land and at sea.

She says that in her talk she will take her audience “through the climate ages, from the very first atmosphere over four billion years ago when there was no oxygen, and show how lucky we are to exist at all on this unique planet and, in particular, what a benign climate we have in Ireland.”

Another headline speaker in the lecture series is Deputy State Pathologist Dr Michael Curtis whose lecture on Wednesday night is entitled “Accident, Suicide or Homicide”. Other lectures include topics as diverse as seabed mapping, bird protection and Botox.

The series begins on Monday 10th November when lecturers Billy Fitzgerald and Noel Connaughton of IT Sligo’s School of Science will explain the costs and operations involved in the treatment of water and wastewater to ensure our water is safe to drink.

The aim of Science Week is to promote the relevance of science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) in our everyday lives and to demonstrate their importance to the future development of Irish society and to the economy. Science Week is coordinated by SFI Discover, the education outreach programme of Science Foundation Ireland.

Dr Jerry Bird, Head of IT Sligo’s School of Science, said: “Science Week is always a great success and thanks to the voluntary efforts of our staff and students I’m sure it will excel again this year. It’s a wonderful opportunity for young people to experience up close the marvels of science. We always hope, too, that it will put many of them on the path to a career in Science, which is an area in which so many of our regional companies require graduates.

“The daily lectures are always intriguing and this year’s line-up of speakers and subjects certainly lives up to the high calibre for which IT Sligo’s Science Week is renowned.”

The series schedule is:

Monday 10th November 7.30pm The Cost of Water and Wastewater Treatment -Noel Connaughton and Billy Fitzgerald

Tuesday 11th November 1pm Ireland’s Weather: A Journey through Time -Evelyn Cusack, Deputy Head of Forecasting, Met Éireann and Radio/TV weather broadcaster:  7.30pm  Botox: One of the World’s Most Versatile Medicines-Carmel Keane, Allergan Ltd

Wednesday 12th November 1-2pm Nature Walk at IT Sligo Campus – Michael Casey, IT Sligo and Michael Bell, BirdWatch Ireland (the Fish Monument at 1pm): 7.30pm Accident, Suicide or HomicideDr Michael Curtis, Deputy State Pathologist

Thursday 13th November 7.30pm Infomar: Mapping our Marine to Manage Our Future -Thomas Furey, Joint Infomar Programme Manager, Marine Institute

Friday 14th November 7.30pm The Reintroduction of Birds of Prey in Ireland - Lorcan O’Toole, Golden Eagle Trust and BirdWatch Ireland.


Evelyn Cusack, pictured after presenting a lecture at the National Maritime Museum of Ireland, Dun Laoghaire, who will be one of the speakers at the Science Week public lectures at IT Sligo.




1600 New Graduates Conferred at IT Sligo

1631 students are graduating during two days of conferring ceremonies this week at IT Sligo.

Families, friends and other guests joined in the celebrations at the Knocknarea Arena on day one of Graduation as new Institute President Professor Vincent Cunnane presented parchments to the students marking the successful culmination of their years of intensive study, practical research and project work at the Institute.

Degrees are being presented to students who undertook courses at the School of Business and Social Science, School of Engineering and Design and School of Science.

The awards, which include Bachelor of Engineering, Bachelor of Science, Master of Science, Bachelor of Arts, Master of Arts and Doctor of Philosophy as well as Postgraduate Diplomas and Higher Certificates, reflect the range of subjects taught in the Schools’ specialist teaching Departments and their wide variety of research areas.

Among the subjects covered in Thursday’s conferring sessions were awards in Electronic Engineering, Mechatronics, Quantity Surveying, Advanced Wood and Sustainability,  Interior Architecture, Forensic Investigation and Analysis, Biomedical Science, Pharmaceutical Science, Applied Archaeology, Creative Design, Fine Art, Performing Arts and Social Care Practice.

Friday’s ceremonies include Business awards in Accounting, Marketing in Event Management & PR, Applied Tourism, Recreation & Leisure and awards in Computing in Systems and Networks, Computing in Games Development.

play button small Watch Friday’s webcast of Graduation 2014 here

The annual Corn Sheáin Mhic Mhagnais award, established by former IT Sligo Chairman, the late Seán McManus, was awarded to Michael Moffatt, a Lecturer in Engineering.

Friday’s conferring ceremonies begin at 09:30 and 13:00 respectively and can be viewed online by clicking on the link above.

Conferring Sligo (old photo)



Students Attend Launch Of Mary Robinson Centre

Students and staff from the School of Business and Social Sciences at IT Sligo attended the inaugural international Human Rights lecture at The Mary Robinson Centre in Ballina, Co Mayo.

Mary Robinson, former President of Ireland and United Nations Commissioner for Human Rights introduced the guest speaker Nobel Laureate Professor Muhammad Yunus, Chairman of the Yunus Centre and founder of the Grameen Bank, Bangladesh.

The former President’s gift of The Robinson Archive to her home town of Ballina was warmly welcomed by Mayo County Council and Ballina Town Council.  Ireland’s first Presidential Library will be housed in the home she grew up in on the banks of the River Moy, with the incorporation of a purpose-built museum, research facility and events venue.

The aim of The Mary Robinson Centre is to foster and promote the study of themes, such as, Ireland’s role at international level, its links with the Irish Diaspora, empowering women in leadership at all levels and on a global scale, international human rights and climate justice.  It is supported by the Centres for Human Rights and Women’s Leadership at the National University of Ireland Galway and the Climate Justice Centre in Dublin.

The theme of the lecture was that ‘we can create a world without poverty, if we only want it’.  The lecture took place on ‘The International Day for the Eradication of World Poverty’ on the 17 October 2014 and coincided with the launch of The Mary Robinson Centre.

Professor Yunus spoke about the need for education systems in mainstream society to focus on the ‘social dividend’ as well as the ‘profit dividend’ and to begin engaging in social business education. This, he said would help enable ordinary people to attain greater benefits from their work and enterprise efforts.

Mary O’Keeffe a lecturer in the Department of Marketing, Tourism and Sport found the talk very inspiring.  ” This concept could be introduced in third level education to complement modules like Not for Profit Marketing and Management and Community Development,” she said. “I believe it could introduced earlier in the educational system also, for example, in Transition Year where students are asked to investigate a social business in a community context.”

IT Sligo students on the four-year degree programme in BA in Social Care Practice and BA in Early Childhood Care and Education, study equality, social inclusion and Human Rights as an integral part of their programmes.

The degrees also incorporate a practical work based semester of 3 months in both year 2 and year 3 and placements have taken place in Ireland, Europe, South Africa, Ghana, Vietnam, Ethiopia, America and Canada.

Mary Robinson & Erin McLoughlin

Mary Robinson, former President of Ireland and UN Commissioner for Human Rights and Erin McLoughlin a Social Care Practice student at IT Sligo at the launch of The Mary Robinson Centre in Ballina, Co Mayo.

Samuel Adeyinka & Muhammad Yunus

Samuel Adeyinka Ayorinde a student of Social Care Practice at IT Sligo and Professor Muhammad Yunus the guest speaker Nobel Laureate and Chairman of the Yunus Centre and Founder of the Grameen Bank, Bangladesh at the launch of The Mary Robinson Centre in Ballina.

staff and students

Dave Bruce, Lucy Guerin, Erin McLoughlin and Samuel Adeyinka Ayorinde students of Social Care Practice at IT Sligo with lecturer Marie McGloin, IT Sligo and St Angela’s College, NUI Galway.


IT Sligo MOOC Nominated in Excellence Awards

IT Sligo is in the running for a national award for a pioneering free online course known as a MOOC, which is attracting record numbers of students at home and abroad.

Engineers Ireland has shortlisted it in its prestigious Excellence Awards next month.

The Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) teaches a process-improvement concept called Lean Sigma Quality which is especially applicable in industry, services and the public sector.

The nomination coincides with the Institute’s decision to run the MOOC for a second time due to high demand in Ireland and some 50 other countries. Registration closes on October 31st.

IT Sligo broke new ground with the MOOC last year. It is Ireland’s first Engineering MOOC.

This is the second year in a row that Engineers Ireland has nominated IT Sligo in the Engineering Education category of its annual awards.

IT Sligo’s “Online Labs” project, developed by staff at the School of Engineering & Design with the aid of EU-INTERREG funding, won Engineers Ireland “Best in Class 2013”.

The MOOC in Lean Sigma Quality is nominated in “Best in Class 2014”.

John Power, Engineers Ireland director general and chartered engineer, said: “Congratulations to IT Sligo for being nominated in this category for the second consecutive year. It shows a commitment from the Institute to provide programmes that serve the needs of both the student body and industry in an innovative and current format.”

Brian Coll, who jointly delivers the course with Dr John Donovan from the School of Engineering & Design, said: “The introductory week of this year’s MOOC is now under way but I would be confident that we’ll have around 2,000 signing up when registrations close on October 31st.”

The November 7th awards night will be memorable also for IT Sligo students Ruairi McGee, Anthony Mannion, Gary Lyons and Niall McHale as they will be presented with Engineers Ireland Innovative Student Engineer of the Year Award.

They won the prize in June for their prototype “Willow Harvester” which is designed for whole stem harvesting of biomass crops.

Mr Power said: “This group of students are an example of young Irish engineering talent in Ireland and I wish them the best of luck with their future careers.”

Brian Coll said: “We’re delighted to be on the shortlist. Feedback from last year’s students has been hugely positive. At the close of registration last January, we already had 500 wanting to pre-register for this year’s MOOC and by the start of September we had 1,800 signed up.

“We have a big representation from local industry as well as the multi-national sector and SMEs. We’re finding that it’s particularly popular with people in manufacturing and the healthcare sector.”

The MOOC represents a new operational dimension for the Institute’s Centre for Online Learning which provides some 40 internet-based courses to students across the world.

IT Sligo received a prestigious “Taoiseach’s Public Service Excellence Award” in 2012 in recognition of its role in increasing access to higher education for part-time and distance learners  through online delivery

Brian Mulligan, Online Learning Programme Manager, said: “For IT Sligo to win Best in Class last year and be on the shortlist this year is validation of our determination to be continuously innovative.”

The MOOC in Lean Sigma Quality shows how productivity can be improved and costs reduced through new approaches to cutting wasteful processes such as needless duplication.

MOOCs originated in top American universities including Harvard, Stanford and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and have become a global phenomenon in internet-based learning.

They are short and require no formal course entry qualifications yet they provide high level personal professional development which participants and employers find beneficial.

Further information and registration details are available at


School of Engineering & Design lecturers Dr John Donovan and Brian Coll
who jointly deliver IT Sligo’s Ireland’s first Engineering MOOC.

IT Sligo Sports Scholar Wins National GAA Award

IT Sligo student Ryan McHugh was named Young Footballer of the Year for 2014 at the GAA/GPA awards ceremony in Dublin.

The 20-year-old Kilcar clubman scored two goals in a superb display against Dublin in the All-Ireland semi-final. And while Donegal’s All-Ireland final appearance against Kerry ultiimately ended in disappointment, McHugh’s contribution to his county’s run to the decider earned him widespread praise from GAA commentators.

Ryan, who is into his third year of study for a Bachelor of Business degree, is heavily involved in GAA at IT Sligo. He is a member of the Sigerson Cup team, which is currently being managed by his dad Martin. His elder brother Mark and cousin Eoin are also students at the Institute.

He produced “Man of the Match” performances against Dublin the All-Ireland semi-final in August and against Monaghan in the Ulster final the previous month.

Ryan McHugh with his UGAAWA July Merit Award
IT Sligo student Ryan McHugh
GAA/GPA Young Footballer of the Year 2014.

Students Have A Ball At IT Sligo Open Day

More than 1700 secondary school students visited the IT Sligo on Wednesday for Open Day 2014.

From Omagh to Castlerea, they came by the busload  to get a proper insight into what the Institute has to offer. There were workshops and exhibition stands spanning more than sixty degree and diploma programmes. These ranged from a BA (Hons) in Performing Arts to a Master of Arts in Leadership in Early Childhood Care and Education – the only Masters programme of its kind on the island of Ireland.

Kerry gaelic footballer Colm ‘The Gooch’ Cooper was also on campus for Open Day.  He was acting as Youth Ambassador for AIB. The bank officially opened its new student branch on campus this week.

Here’s a gallery of IT Sligo’s Open Day 2014:

Students Encouraged to ‘Mind Their Heads’

Former Armagh All-Ireland winning gaelic footballer Oisín McConville delivered a powerful talk to students of IT Sligo as part of the Institute’s Mental Health Day on Wednesday.

McConville, who lifted the Sam Maguire with the Orchard County in 2002, shared some very personal mental health experiences on and off the field of play.

The Crossmaglen native is one of the country’s most decorated footballers at both club and intercounty level. But during that illustrious 19-year playing career, McConville went through a turbulent period in his life off the pitch.

In his book ‘The Gambler’, McConville detailed how a gambling addiction took hold of him and threatened his life itself. He eventually dealt with his addiction, and is now a trained counsellor, specialising in CBT and suicide prevention.

“The more we take the stigma away from talking about mental health, the better people will feel about coming forward,” says the 39-year-old father of two.

“They realise there is help there and I think, to be honest, I always say there is an onus on us as sportspeople to lead from the front. With mental health issues, you do need to deal with them and deal with them properly, or else they will come back to haunt you.”

Mental Health Day is an initiative developed by the Student Counselling Service at IT Sligo with the aim of promoting, and raising awareness of the importance of mental health and general well-being. It’s estimated that at least one in five adults experience mental health issues at some time in their lives.

McConville had one key piece of advice for anybody who feels at rock bottom. “Find the courage to talk to ONE person.”

This event was  coordinated by Dr Siobhan McNally, counselling psychologist at the Institute’s Student Counselling Service in conjunction with IT Sligo Students Union (ITSSU).

“We were delighted that such an inspirational figure as Oisín, a talented and extremely successful athlete, came speak to our students about the challenges he has faced, and how he effectively coped with these challenges,” she said.

“The feedback from both students and staff who attended was extremely positive.”


Pictured (L-R) Cillín Folan – ITSSU , Oisín McConville, Stephen Doak – ITSSU President,
Helen Campbell – ITSSU, & Dr Siobhan McNally – Counselling Psychologist at IT Sligo.


IT Sligo Signals New Roads Direction

Government, county councils and IT Sligo have unveiled a joint initiative that will benefit the long-term quality and management of our roads.

Highly qualified engineers, consultants and contractors are responsible for the roads network, from the lay-out of footpaths to multi-lane motorways.

Now they will be offered the opportunity to improve their expertise by accessing latest research, developments and innovations.

IT Sligo in collaboration with the Local Authority Services National Training Group (LASTNG) has developed a programme comprising five key modules that will provide a significant upgrading of practitioners’ current knowledge of best practice nationally and internationally.

The new online part-time course, to be delivered by IT Sligo, is tailored to address current civil engineering skills shortages in the areas of road maintenance engineering and network management.

Completion of the course will lead to the conferral of a Post Graduate Certificate in Road Maintenance Engineering and Network Management (Level 9).

Local authority applicants will have 80% of their course fees funded by the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport and 20% by local authorities.

Individual or combined modules may be taken leading to the award of Post Graduate Certificates in the specialisms covered.

The modules are: network management and contracts; transportation planning; traffic control and safety; road pavement design and management; structural assessment and inspection; geotechnical engineering and drainage systems.

Participants must have a BSc (Hons) Civil Engineering or equivalent.

Mr Seamus Neely, CEO, Donegal Council, speaking at the signing of the collaboration agreement ahead of the expected validation of the new course, thanked all involved in the initiative.

He said: “This programme has developed as a result of a collaboration between the Institute of Technology Sligo and the LASNTG, and in particular the Roads Services Training Group, and I would like to congratulate all concerned with its development.

“I also thank the representatives of the Dept of Transport, Tourism and Sport who have agreed to contribute towards the course fees for Local Authority staff.

“I am confident that this is just the start of further collaborations between the LASNTG and IT Sligo and indeed I can identify areas in the water services and environmental areas for further expansion.”

Mr Trevor McSharry, Head of Department of Civil Engineering and Construction at IT Sligo, said: “This new collaboration has significant potential and we are currently looking at developing progression options to Post Grad Diploma and Masters level in this area.”

LASNTG co-ordinates the delivery of comprehensive training to the best international standards for all staff involved in the provision of services in water supply, waste water, roads and the environment.

Roads Services Training Group (RSTG) was set up to meet the developing requirements of the Roads Services sector through the provision of new and existing courses at the Regional Training Centres.

LASNTG Launch Photo

(L-R) Dominic Mullaney, Principal Officer Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport; Tom Reilly, Head of Strategy IT Sligo; Seamus Neely, Chairman LASNTG and CEO Donegal County Council; Trevor McSharry, Head of Department of Civil Engineering and Construction IT Sligo; Ciarán Hayes, CEO Sligo County Council.


IT Sligo Graduates Host New Media Conference

Two IT Sligo graduates are bringing together some of Ireland’s most creative practitioners for the Rough Draft Design and New Media Conference in Sligo this Saturday (October 18th).

Paul McNama, a graduate in Industrial Design, and Shane Finan who studied Fine Art at the Institute, are organising the event.

Rough Draft is a day-long design and new media conference being held this Saturday in the chapel building of The Clarion Hotel, Sligo.

The inaugural event was held in November 2013 with a sell-out audience and an inspiring line-up. This year’s conference will feature ten speakers from the design and new media industry giving stories about their successes and failures in past projects.

Tickets are being sold online and are available via the booking link.

Key speakers have been selected from various design trades throughout Ireland. Attendance is limited to 230 people in total, and pre-booking is recommended.

The full list of speakers and  conference details are available on the Rough Draft website.

Rough Draft

Jobnet at IT Sligo

Jobnet is a programme designed to help job-seeking professionals or graduates to market themselves confidently and network effectively to find employment.

The Programme has been running successfully in Dublin for the last 10 years and is currently being rolled out to the regions.  The North West version of the programme will launch later this month with the support  of IT Sligo, CIPD and regional employers.

Following two open evenings held at IT Sligo’s Innovation Centre and the Bush Hotel, Carrick-on-Shannon the programme is now ready to commence on Friday 24th of October.

There are still a few remaining places for the six-week programme and will kick start recruitment of our first intake of 15 clients.  For more information, click here.



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