Ideas Worth Spreading Contemplated at University College Dublin’s 2016 TEDxUCD Event

University College Dublin (UCD) held its fourth annual TEDxUCD event yesterday (9 December) in the UCD Dramsoc Theatre in the UCD Student Centre.

The 10 speakers who took part in TEDxUCD 2016 were members of the UCD community of researchers, students, alumni and friends who spoke on a wide range of ideas worth spreading on the overall theme of ‘contemplation’.

Among the speakers were Dearbhla Burke, a chartered physiotherapist and a PhD student at UCD’s School of Public Health, Physiotherapy and Sports Science; Duncan Lennox, a UCD graduate, and CEO and co-founder of Qstream, a software spin-out company from Harvard Medical School which last week secured $15 million in funding; and Professor Michaela Higgins, a consultant medical oncologist at the Mater Misericordiae University Hospital and UCD School of Medicine.

Speaking after her TEDxUCD 2016 talk, entitled ‘The insult added to injury’, Dearbhla said, “I was delighted to take part in this year’s TEDxUCD event to highlight the significant problem of chronic or long lasting pain for patients who have survived the life changing event of a spinal cord injury.”

 Dearbhla Burke TEDxUCD 2016
TEDxUCD 2016 speaker, Dearbhla Burke

She added, “Pain can be extremely distressing and have an all-encompassing effect on mood, quality of life, sleep and participation in daily activities. Forty percent of those with a spinal cord injury have pain presenting in areas where they have no feeling or movement, this is the insult added to their injury. Such patients require additional support to improve their coping with pain and to help improve their quality of life hopefully enabling them to more successfully re-integrate back into society after their injury.”

Speaking after his TEDxUCD 2016 talk Duncan Lennox said, "It's an honour to be included among this select group of visionaries speaking at TEDxUCD 2016. My time at UCD launched my career as engineer-turned-entrepreneur and it's very gratifying to return for this exchange of thought-provoking ideas designed to broaden and impact our world view."

Duncan Lennox - TEDxUCD 2016
TEDxUCD 2016 speaker - Duncan Lennox

He added, “During my TEDxUCD 2016 talk entitled ‘The Misunderstood Brain’, I delved into some of the scientific methodologies behind behaviour change and how they can be used to help businesses better compete in a global economy.”

Speaking after her TEDxUCD 2016 talk entitled ‘The cancer story you haven’t heard’, Professor Michaela Higgins said, “We are seeing an exponential increase in cancer cases in the developing world as we improve the control of infant mortality rates and infectious diseases. 70% of all cancer deaths are occurring in Africa, Asia, Central and South America, yet nearly 90% of the $100 billion currently being used to treat cancers is spent in Europe, USA and Japan.”

Prof. Michaela Higgins - TEDxUCD 2016
TEDxUCD 2016 speaker - Professor Michaela Higgins

“As I outlined in my TEDxUCD 2016 talk to reduce this imbalance, and taking into account that most cancers have a lifestyle or environmental cause, we need to stop smoking, eat healthily and vaccinate against common cancer-causing viruses.”

TEDxUCD 2016 was organised by volunteers from the UCD Research and Innovation team based at NovaUCD.

At TEDxUCD 2016 a combination of live speakers and a selection of TED Talks videos were combined to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group of 100 attendees. The TED conference provides general guidance for the TEDx programme, but individual TEDx events, including TEDxUCD, are self-organised.

Opening this year’s event, Professor Orla Feely, UCD Vice-President for Research, Innovation and Impact said, “Following the success of our previous TEDxUCD events I am delighted that we are hosting our fourth annual TEDx event at University College Dublin. Organising and running TEDxUCD is an excellent example of how we engage with the general public, not only in Ireland but across the world, to share the ideas, knowledge and expertise emanating from members of the UCD community.”

Wiebke Preuss, a Masters student at the Stockholm School of Economics, and currently an Erasmus Exchange Programme student at the UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School, was the MC for TEDxUCD 2016.



10 December 2016

For further information contact Micéal Whelan, University College Dublin, Communications Manager (Innovation), e:, t: + 353 1 716 3712.

Editors Notes
The complete list of TEDxUCD 2016 speakers and the titles of their talks are as follows:

Dearbhla Burke, a chartered physiotherapist and a PhD student at the UCD School of Public Health, Physiotherapy and Sports Science: ‘The insult added to injury.’

Dr Sandra Collins, Director of the National Library of Ireland: ‘Memory keepers.’

Professor Ron Davies, a specialist in international trade and foreign direct investment, at the UCD School of Economics: ‘The true trouble of tax trickery.’

Dr Susan Delaney, a clinical psychologist and Bereavement Services Manager at the Irish Hospice Foundation: ‘Grief, it's complicated.....10% of the time.’

Professor Michaela Higgins, a consultant medical oncologist at the Mater Misericordiae University Hospital, and an Associate Clinical Professor at the UCD School of Medicine: ‘The cancer story you haven’t heard.’

Dr Andrew Hogan, a senior scientist with the obesity immunology research group at St. Vincent’s University Hospital, and a research scientist at the UCD School of Medicine: Losing weight - why is it so difficult ?’.

Duncan Lennox, CEO and co-founder of Qstream, a software spin-out from Harvard Medical School: ‘The misunderstood brain.’

Associate Professor Patricia Maguire, associate Professor of Biochemistry, UCD School of Biomolecular and Biomedical Science and UCD Conway Institute: ‘Tiny bubbles to clean up disease.’

Dr Conor Mulvagh, a specialist in Westminster politics and Irish constitutional nationalism in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, UCD School of History: ‘Partition, where to draw the line.’

John Sloan, an MSc student in Computational Linguistics, UCD School of Computer Science: ‘Learning languages emotionally.’

Further information on all of the TEDxUCD 2016 speakers is available via  

About TEDx
In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TED Talks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized. (Subject to certain rules and regulations.)

About TED
TED is a non-profit organization devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading, usually in the form of short, powerful talks (18 minutes or fewer) delivered by today's leading thinkers and doers. Many of these talks are given at TED's annual conference in Vancouver, British Columbia, and made available, free, on TED speakers have included Bill Gates, Jane Goodall, Elizabeth Gilbert, Sir Richard Branson, Monica Lewinsky, Philippe Starck, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Sal Khan and Daniel Kahneman.

TED's open and free initiatives for spreading ideas include, where new TED Talk videos are posted daily; the Open Translation Project, which provides subtitles and interactive transcripts as well as translations from thousands of volunteers worldwide; the educational initiative TED-Ed; the annual million-dollar TED Prize, which funds exceptional individuals with a "wish," or idea, to create change in the world; TEDx, which provides licenses to thousands of individuals and groups who host local, self-organized TED-style events around the world; and the TED Fellows program, which selects innovators from around the globe to amplify the impact of their remarkable projects and activities.