Cohort 10 visit UCD – December 2023

03 Jan 2024

Back in December 2023, Cohort 10 students travelled to Dublin for a jam-packed week of activities with our partner CDT students at University College Dublin (UCD) for the annual Atoms-2-Products Winter School.

Spirits were high as the minibus departed from the Carbon Neutral Laboratory, bound for Birmingham airport on Monday afternoon. Following a late arrival and some rest, the programme of events kicked off the following day.

 After some confusion regarding the Irish bus system (exact change only!), students were welcomed by Professor Pat Guiry at UCD and given presentations on the work of BiOrbic and the nature of the bioeconomy in Ireland. The ice-breaker activity involved a series of questions to get to know each other within the cohort, followed by an insightful talk on sustainability. The first day was rounded off with lab and campus tours, with UCD boasting one of the largest urban campuses in Europe!

Wednesday’s activities involved several fantastic presentations from current CDT students, followed by a Dublin city bus tour with a particularly comical bus driver, thankfully the open top had some shelter from the rain!

The fun continued with a meal as a cohort and a ‘Literary Pub Crawl’ was the grand finale where an actor lead students through the works of James Joyce and Oscar Wilde, and several pints of Guinness! In an intense tie breaker, Joseph managed to clinch the win, and the t-shirt prize.

The activities continued into Thursday, where students got to learn about the research of the academic supervisors in UCD, followed by a guest lecture from Professor John Stephens (Maynooth University) thanks to UCD’s Chemistry Society. Festive cheer was in the air after a wonderful Chemistry Society Christmas dinner on the Cohorts final evening in Dublin.

Finally, the last day of the trip involved the annual ‘Recent Advances in Synthesis and Chemical Biology’ Symposium, which entailed talks from national and international early and established career researchers. After a fun-filled week of activities and socials, the cohort headed back to the airport for their flight home, a lot sleepier than the outbound journey!

Adeife’s highlight was the talk by Professor Nick Holden on sustainability, particularly the corporate social responsibility (CSR) perspective and the ‘triple bottom line’. The talk incited thoughts into how we can think about our role in ensuring a sustainable future within our own research. Emily’s highlight was hearing about the work of the current CDT students and how this may inspire her own research.

A huge thank you to Louise and Mandy at UoN and Grace from UCD for organising the trip!