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Posted 05 July 2013

First TEDxUCD event available to watch on YouTube

For the first TEDx event at University College Dublin, 12 speakers gave talks on a topic of particular importance to them under the broad theme of Foresight - predicting what will happen or be needed to happen in the future.

TED, the non-profit organisation devoted to ‘ideas worth spreading’, which started as a conference in California 26 years ago, has created a programme called TEDx, where x = independently organised TED event. TEDx is a programme of local, self-organised events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience.

At TEDxUCD a combination of live speakers and a selection of TEDTalks videos were combined to spark a discussion and connection among the viewers. The TED conference provides general guidance for the TEDx programme, but individual TEDx events, including TEDxUCD, are self-organised.

One of the TEDxUCD speakers, Dr Rhona Mahony, Master, National Maternity Hospital, Holles Street said: “As a UCD graduate I am delighted to be involved in the first ever TEDxUCD event. It’s a great platform for people to share ideas and it offers me an opportunity to meet the UCD community and listen to the reflections of the other guest speakers.”

Another of the speakers, Claire Lambe, the Irish international lightweight rower and a UCD Ad Astra Academy, Elite Athlete, said: “I’m thrilled to have been asked to give a TEDxUCD talk. I have recently sat my final exams so it is a great way to finish off my last year as an undergraduate engineering student at UCD. I am looking forward to talking today about my ambition to make the Irish squad for the Rio 2016 Olympics.”

“In a world where jargon and technical language is everywhere I think it is worth gathering people together for a day to examine our Foresight theme by exploring the breadth and depth of ideas worth spreading from our speakers who include researchers, students and graduates from UCD,” said Professor Peter Clinch, UCD Vice-President for Innovation who hosted the TEDxUCD event.

“Organising TEDxUCD is part of UCD Innovation’s commitment to share UCD knowledge and expertise with a wider community both in Ireland and across the globe.”

TEDxUCD took place at the FitzGerald Chamber in the UCD Student Centre, a purpose built debating chamber which resembles a mini-parliament named in honour of the late Dr Garret FitzGerald who studied and lectured at UCD and who was twice leader of Ireland as Taoiseach between 1981 and 1987.


Overview of each individual TEDxUCD Talk.

Senator and Professor John Crown, a UCD graduate, is a Professor and consultant medical oncologist at St. Vincent’s University Hospital and is a Senator in Seanad Éireann.

In his TEDxUCD talk, John talks about the need to encourage thoughtfulness and critical faculties in society.

He outlines why it is so important to encourage people to develop a skill set which enables them to totally suspend those prejudices which have come to them by virtue of tribe, religion, national identity etc.


Tom Doorley, a master flautist, is a member of the acclaimed Irish traditional music group Danú.

In his TEDxUCD talk, Tom shares some stories of his musical journey, from Ireland to Canada, and around the world. He also performs some traditional Irish tunes on the flute and reflects on how lucky he has been, to be free to share his love of music with the world and the next generation.


Professor Michael Gibney is Director of the UCD Institute of Food and Health and is Chairman of the Food Safety Authority of Ireland.

In his TEDxUCD talk, Mike talks about hunger as a global problem and how important the “first 1000 days” of life are. The 1,000 days, between the start of a woman’s pregnancy and her child’s 2nd birthday, offer a unique window of opportunity to shape healthier and more prosperous futures for our children.


Professor Conor Heneghan is Chief Engineer at ResMed Sensor Technologies Ltd and Associate Professor at the UCD School of Electrical, Electronic and Communications Engineering.

In his TEDxUCD talk, Conor talks about the importance of sleep as part of the troika of health, alongside food and exercise. Conor explores the ubiquity of sleep in the natural world and some of the health impacts (physical and psychological) of sleep problems including sleep apnoea.


Dr Nora Khaldiis a bioinformatics postdoctoral researcher in the UCD Conway Institute and in UCD CASL.

In her TEDxUCD talk, Nora talks about discovering the power of food using bioinformatics and mathematical models. Nora talks about her research in the area of functional foods and in particular in milk, and how it presents great opportunities to treat global health problems.

What if you could buy a yogurt drink that was specially designed to treat your diabetes, or a pizza which could reduce your cholesterol?


Claire Lambe is a UCD engineering undergraduate student who has just completed her final year in mechanical engineering. She is also an international lightweight rower and is a member of the UCD Ad Astra Academy, Elite Athlete Programme.

In her TEDxUCD talk, Claire talks about the challenges she faced in the lead up to London 2012 Olympics and the importance of channelling your energy, even in the face of disappointment, to the next big goal.

While Claire just missed out competing at London 2012, her ambition and focus for the next four years is to make it to the Rio Olympics in 2016. 


Dr Rhona Mahony, a UCD graduate, is Master at the National Maternity Hospital, Holles Street, Dublin.

In her TEDxUCD talk, Rhona talks about courage and outlines a history of people who have shown courage in various walks of life, from the Suffragettes to President John F. Kennedy.

Rhona also shares her personal story of family loss and urges people to have courage to live life to the full.


Professor Jennifer McElwain is an Associate Professor of UCD’s School of Biology and Environmental Science and is a member of UCD’s Earth Institute and is Director of UCD’s Programme for Experimental Atmospheres and Climate Facility.

In this insightful and thought provoking TEDxUCD talk, Jenny opens with the fact that on 9 May 2013, the carbon dioxide concentration of the atmosphere passed 400 parts per million (0.04%) for the first time in approximately 15 million years.

In her TEDxUCD talk Jenny urges us to strongly consider the future consequences of this and of what we are currently doing to the earth system.


Dr Gary O'Reilly is a Senior Lecturer in UCD's School of Psychology.

In his TEDxUCD talk, Gary talks about clinical psychology interventions with children and young people. He discusses how using computer games has proven to be very successful in helping children learn to cope better with their mental health challenges.

Gary talks about generosity in this context and encourages people to be generous with this technology and that it’s not just about sharing ideas but sharing the technology that shares these ideas.


Luke Prendergast is a UCD Earth & Natural Sciences PhD student. 

In his TEDxUCD talk, Luke asks a question, What do a wine glass and a wind turbine have in common?

He explores the phenomenon of resonance in various materials and in particular considers the challenges of this phenomenon when installing and operating wind turbines at sea.


Lauren Shinkwin is a UCD undergraduate science student who has just completed her final year studies in Zoology. Her greatest passion is animal conservation and she hopes to pursue a career in this area and she has spent time in Madagascar studying a rare breed of Lemur in danger of extinction.

In her TEDxUCD talk, Lauren challenges us to think about what people mean by conservation and explains that a more holistic interpretation of conservation is required if we are to succeed to conserve that which is valuable on a global scale.


Professor Karl Whelan is Professor of Economics at University College Dublin.

In his TEDxUCD talk, Karl presents some interesting and challenging ideas around sovereign default and the issues facing Ireland in the context of the Euro crisis. What macroeconomic controls do we really have in currency union and will Ireland Default?


(Produced by UCD University Relations)


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First TEDxUCD event available to watch on YouTube
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