News & Events

New Institute Members, March 2021

Published: Wednesday, 31 March, 2021

The Earth Institute welcomes three new members this month: Dr Paul Ennis, Dr Simon Hodge, and Associate Professor Jennifer Symonds!

Paul Ennis (School of Business) works on contemporary forms of financial activism and how such activism tends to arise due to a sense of exclusion from the traditional financial system. His work looks to explain the sense of financial exclusion felt at the individual, familial, social, cultural, etc. levels. Understanding this exclusion is crucial because such exclusion can drive people toward reactionary politics. Paul's work broadly looks at alternative forms of economic organisation as positive models for how to unlock one’s own economic disadvantage.

Simon Hodge (School of Agriculture and Food Science) works on a wide range of topics, from sustainable and organic agriculture, to investigating the ecology of coastal insect communities. Current projects include investigating pollinating insects in farmland and suburban habitats, the use of seaweed-derived fertilizers in organic agriculture, and the use of non-chemical approaches to control pests of field crops and glasshouse vegetables. Simon's work into more sustainable agricultural approaches also involves research into botanically-derived insect repellents, the use of plant defence primers as a means of reducing inputs of conventional biocides, and the potential of beneficial microorganisms such as rhizobia and mycorrhiza to reduce the need for synthetic fertilizers. Some of this research has now diversified into examining business and economic components of farming. 

Jennifer Symonds (School of Education) is a lifespan developmental psychologist of engagement and wellbeing and is the Director of Research on the Doctorate in Educational Psychology programme at UCD, Director of the Centre for Longitudinal Studies in Ireland (, Executive Committee Member of the European Association of Research on Adolescence and Co-Chair of the Work and Career Network for the Society for the Study of Emerging Adulthood. Jennifer is interested in the psychology of why people engage with or disengage from environmental actions, the impact of environmental change (and environmental activism) on people's wellbeing, and education programmes for children and youth on environmental sustainability and activism and would welcome with people looking for expertise in this area.