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UCD Geography Students Awarded Research Funding by the Archipelagic and Island States (AIS) Forum

Published: Friday, 06 May, 2022

AIS funded geography students David O’Mahony and Marc Kynes

From UCD Global Engagement:

Students Marc Kynes (BSc joint major in Geography and Politics and International Relations) and David O’Mahony (MSc Geospatial Data Analysis) from the UCD School of Geography have been awarded $7,500 USD in research funding by the Archipelagic and Island States (AIS) Forum for a Student Joint Research Collaboration. 

Together with 4 students from the University of Papua New Guinea, facilitated through UCD Earth Institute member Dr. Tine Ningal, a proposal titled An analysis of access to safe drinking water sources and risk mapping in relation to climate change, Papua New Guinea was submitted on the theme of Disaster Risk Reduction and Management for Coastal Areas in the Pacific.

With regards to the research objective, Marc Kynes said, “We wish to address the problem of freshwater sources being contaminated by seawater, known as saltwater intrusion.” In Papua New Guinea many people source drinking water by drilling their own wells. With sea levels rising, access to clean drinking water sources in coastal communities is diminished.

Over the next six months, the international team of students from the two AIS participating countries will gather data using various research methods, including digital mapping and satellite imagery, guided by a series of mentoring programs.  The research project will culminate with a presentation of the team’s findings at the AIS Forum conference. The gathered data will be shared with local communities and governments, NGOs and charities and, according to David O’Mahony, will support them to “propose ways in which to protect access to clean drinking water sources as well as ways in which access can be improved.” 

Professor Colin Scott, Dean of Social Sciences at UCD commented: "I am delighted to see the initiative demonstrated by our students in developing this outstanding project. The project reflects our ambitions for our students to develop research skills as part of both undergraduate and graduate programmes and the development of global citizenship skills, while at the same time demonstrating the excellent support for student ambitions in UCD School of Geography." 

AIS Forum Student Joint Research Collaboration

The AIS Forum (coordinated by the United Nations Development Programme) is a cohort of 47 archipelagic and island states united in addressing climate change and marine issues. As part of this, the AIS Forum Student Joint Research Collaboration brings together international students to foster collaboration and generate innovative solutions. The collaboration highlights the leading role of the academic community in matters of marine sustainable development. 

According to UCD School of Geography’s Head of Global Engagement and UCD Earth Institute member, Dr Christine Bonnin, “this is a truly fantastic example of student-led and bottom-up Global Engagement from our students. We are very proud of you and look forward to keeping up-to-date on the project as it unfolds!”