UCC Led Project Hopes To Replace Oil With Yeast In The Production Of Fuels And Plastics

Scientists at University College Cork are leading a €6.3 million EU funded project that could see yeast replace oil in the production of aviation oil, plastics, cosmetic products, and might even lead to the creation of new kinds of beer.

Dr John Morrissey, project coordinator and senior lecturer in UCC’s School of Microbiology, envisions a future where all of our products will be developed efficiently from natural renewable sources – yeast being the unsung hero of this futuristic production line.

Yeast is already used in the production of many food flavourings, the anti-aging compound Resveratrol, the malaria drug Artemisinin, the grapefruit extract Nootkatone, insulin, bioethanol, bioplastics, and there is potential for many more industrial applications.

In an interview published in the Irish Times, Morrissey described how yeast can be used in a wide range of products provided they can be re-programmed.

In order to do this, Morrissey will lead a team of scientists from Switzerland, Germany, Sweden, The Netherlands and France in applying a mixture of engineering and mathematical principles to the biology of several yeast species so that the cell metabolism creates valuable compounds (instead of alcohol and CO2).

Credit: John Sheehan

UCC Academy supported the writing and managing of the funding proposal that was ranked third out of 80 submissions – five of which were awarded funding from the EU.

The Academy’s Aoife Corcoran assisted writing the original proposal, and subsequent to the awarding of the multi-million Euro grant, Lucy Taylor will manage administrative and communication aspects of the project during its four year lifespan.

The interdisciplinary nature of the proposal, alongside the wide range of potential applications, would have helped sway the decision of the international judges.

Dr Sergio Fernandez-Ceballos of Enterprise Ireland says this project is ‘…an example of how biotech can achieve spectacular progress as an enabling technology to drive long-term growth and jobs across various economic sectors.’

Although society is often sceptical this kind of science, the CHASSY project is a great example of synthetic biology benefitting society in an entirely safe way.

Indeed, the potential is massive, with the industrial biotechnology sector directly responsible for 94,000 full-time jobs in Europe and generates approximately €31 billion annually.

Five Social Media Tools Academics Should Consider Using To Boost Their Profile

In a world where “fake news” and “alternatives facts” are being distributed and consumed on social media, the considered opinion of experts is being drowned out.

Traditional media outlets have also struggled to compete with those supplying an instantaneous reaction to events as they unfold. Those who garner the greatest reaction, no matter how ill-conceived or poorly considered their argument might be, will benefit from the algorithm used by Facebook.

In February of this year for example, Facebook took the decision to prioritise “reactions” over “likes” when ranking your newsfeed. In turn, even if users were appalled by what you had seen or read, Facebook’s algorithm only documents a reaction, taking it to that you want to see more posts of that nature in the future.

This has created a scenario whereby Facebook users only see certain types of content. This has obvious dangers, particularly for the 61% of Millennials who, according to the Pew Research Centre, use the social network as their main news source.

Although most traditional media outlets now have a firm focus on creating Facebook-friendly content, they find themselves in a race to produce articles that will draw a reaction rather than inform.

This leaves academics who might want to use social media to publicise their blogs, offer an opinion or advertise a publication fighting against a rising tide.

However, despite the bleak picture being painted above, there are a number of easy to use tools that enable users to make a greater impact on social media.

[heading size=”1″ color=”#fff000″]1. Buffer[/heading]

Although Hootsuite maybe a better-known platform for scheduling tweets, Buffer is cleaner and far easier to use.

Buffer’s simple interface makes it difficult for users to go wrong when scheduling social media posts, making it a far more beneficial tool if you’re only managing a small number of personal accounts.

The simple analytics suite enables users to see what posts are performing well and re-post such content with a click of a button.

Despite not offering the same level of detail as Hootsuite, Buffer comes with a series of extensions and features that add to its usefulness.

[heading size=”1″ color=”#fff000″]2. Pablo[/heading]

One such extension is Pablo, which brings the simplicity of Buffer to the world of graphic design, allowing academics to very quickly create images so as to promote conferences and events without having to spend time getting reacquainted with Photoshop.

Pablo allows users to very quickly overlay text onto images. All you have to do type text into a box, upload or select an image from the available gallery and you’re ready to post. Although you can spend a little more time playing around with additional details or inserting filters, it’s very easy to create an image that will garner a reaction from followers.

While other such apps exist, Pablo’s big advantage is its ability to integrate with Buffer’s smart scheduling.

[heading size=”1″ color=”#fff000″]3. Kudos[/heading]

A free tool for researchers, Kudos aims to help authors increase their readership by maximising the visibility and impact of their published articles.

Once the required data is uploaded, Kudos shares content across its various distribution or discovery channels, making your work available to a wider audience.

Like with all social media tools, Kudos uses an analytics suite, Altmetric, to track, monitor and detail the impact of your work.

By maximising an author’s readership and citations, Kudos also helps publishers identify high-interest content.

[heading size=”1″ color=”#fff000″]4. Slack[/heading]

If Outlook exists on one side of the spectrum and WhatsApp is on the other, then Slack sits somewhere in the middle.

The application was originally developed as an internal communication tool by Tiny Speck during the development of a video game titled “Glitch”.

However, after the video game was pulled in December 2012, Tiny Speck launched Slack in August 2013, before the company was renamed Slack Technologies in August 2014.

In Slack, teams, departments or groups create channels in which to hold conversations, making it a brilliant collaborative tool.

Consequently, it reduces the time spent formally responding to emails and helps cut back on needless correspondence that can clutter your inbox.

While Slack may not completely replace email in your project team, it supports video and audio calls and includes an easy to use planner, reducing further your reliance on Outlook.

[heading size=”1″ color=”#fff000″]5. Canva[/heading]

Arguably the most user-friendly way of creating gorgeous images, Canva allows those who are not graphically inclined to look like photoshop veterans.

Although Canva might seem a little restrictive to some, its drop and drag functionality takes much of the stress out of editing what might otherwise be a complicated design process.

Users simply select a graphic style and size, be it an image for use on social media, a blog post, or an A4 poster advertising an event etc. upload an image or use one from their massive library, add some features and text and hey presto you have a sophisticated design completed in minutes.

For further information or a tip or two, don’t be afraid to contact UCC Academy’s Digital Marketing Executive, Alan Drumm, on 021 490 5723 or email him at

PrimeUCC Working With SMEs To Bid For H2020 Funding Up To €2.5m

Established in 2014, PrimeUCC provides technical support to research groups for the development of funding proposals under the EU Horizon 2020 programme.

The funding programme is aimed at SMEs with strong growth through innovation potential, with PrimeUCC offering consultancy on proposal preparation to companies seeking to access funding through Horizon 2020. In all Prime UCC provides:

• providing training on the requirements of the call for proposals;
• writing proposals in part or in full;
• creating and collating charts, tables and diagrams as required;
• reviewing, proof-reading and editing proposals prior to submission;
• liaising with partners (if the bid is from a consortium).

SMEs can apply for for a Phase I grant of €50k over 6 months for concept and feasibility studies and the preparation of a business proposal. If successful, they can bid for Phase II funding of up to €2.5m to conduct demonstrations, market analysis and R&D, and bring the concept to market.

Target SMEs are innovative, disruptive, and reasonably well-established, while the Areas of interest identified in the SME Instrument 2016-2017 are as follows:

• Open disruptive innovation in ICT
• Nanotechnology
• Biotechnology
• Space
• Healthcare biotechnology
• ICT solutions for health, well-being and ageing well
• Agriculture, forestry, agri-food and bio-based sectors
• Blue growth
• Low carbon and energy efficient systems
• Transport and smart cities mobility
• Climate action, environment, resource efficiency, raw materials
• Inclusive, innovative and reflective societies
• Security

Further information is available on the Horizon 2020 website, while you can contact PrimeUCC via:

We Are Seeking A Suitably Qualified Senior Project Manager

UCC Academy DAC is a not-for-profit Company which was set up to catalyse organisational change and growth within the University.
The Academy has three principal areas of activity: to support internationalisation and the operation of the university’s overseas offices; to provide project management and related services; and to procure highly specialised skills and talent, on a short or medium term basis, as required by the University.

The Position

The Senior Project Manager will work with the Corporate Secretary of UCC and the Office of Corporate and Legal Affairs to support the integration of the recently acquired Irish Management Institute (IMI).

The IMI is an educational institute in Dublin that offers Postgraduate Diplomas, Master’s Degrees, executive education programs and short courses in Business and Management. By merging two significant international brands, UCC and IMI can work together to create new opportunities for collaboration between the University and the Irish business sector, as well as develop new programmes that will greatly magnify the impact of UCC on national life, copper-fastening UCC’s role as a major national institution.

Job Responsibilities

Support the UCC Corporate Secretary in:

developing an integration project plan to support the merger of people, processes and systems in UCC and IMI in line with agreements between the organisations at completion of the merger transaction;
ensuring all aspects of the acquisition agreements are implemented in UCC and IMI as agreed;
supporting the review and planning of key academic and administrative areas for integration; for example, areas may include Finance, Governance, Planning, Estates, Communications, Programme Approvals and Academic Policies;
drafting policies & procedures to support the new ways of working at UCC and IMI, as guided by the Corporate Secretary;
ensuring successful and smooth integration by recommending and utilising best practice;
facilitating decision making groups by scheduling timely meetings with key stakeholders, outlining the key objectives and outputs required at each meeting, and documenting and following up on actions agreed;
supporting the design and implementation of a comprehensive change management plan, to engage with key stakeholders in UCC and IMI, and minimise disruption to UCC and IMI’s day-to-day business;
defining, measuring and monitoring the project KPIs; financial and non-financial;
Supporting key initial IMI events and initiatives in Cork and assisting with the establishment of IMI’s Cork presence once agreed;
facilitating regular updates to key stakeholders by writing up-to-date and relevant status reports.
Essential Criteria:

A qualified Project Manager or similar designation/experience level, with significant project management experience;
excellent skills and knowledge across key business functions and university departments;
A very strong communicator – able to work with multiple stakeholders including University academics and administrative staff and third party providers and stakeholders;
a dynamic influencer – able to drive positive change through influencing the business owners to prioritise and drive the business objectives;
resourceful and adaptable – able to re-calibrate plans and processes to ensure success as the integration evolves;
a strategic thinker – able to map the objectives of the project to the strategic aims of UCC and IMI;
a doer – a track record of delivering high-quality deliverables, including detailed strategy and plan documents, on-time and independently;
a team player – in formal and informal structures;
Able to build new processes and work in a way that is compliant with University and company governance structures – a process oriented mind-set;
Energetic, commercial; numerate and target oriented – a demonstrated ability to design and deliver partnerships within and between institutions and organisations
Desirable Criteria

Experience in a consulting or advisory firm;
Knowledge of the education / university sector
Experience in mergers and acquisitions
Conditions of Employment:

Salary: Depends on experience
Term: 2 year contract, starting immediately
Annual leave: 20 days
How to Apply

To apply, please click here and submit a one page CV and a short covering letter (no more than one A4 page) to Katelynn Butler, UCC Academy Ltd Business Operations Manager outlining why this role is of interest and how you meet the requirements. Your cover letter and CV should use a font size no smaller than size 11.

Closing date: 10 April 2017


In submitting your CV you are deemed to give your consent to the Academy to share your CV and personal details with UCC and individual departments within UCC for the purposes of recruitment.

The Internationalisation Conference takes place 16th of June 2015 at Boole Lecture Theatre 4 from 9 am

Minakshi Batra addressing the audience at UCC Academy Ltd. International Conference

On behalf of International Education Office, UCC Academy would like to invite you to an Internationalisation Conference to update you on UCC’s Internationalisation achievements and future plans. The conference will feature our representatives from offices in New York, Delhi, Shanghai and Beijing, as well as academics and IEO personnel.   Each college will present it most internationally marketable courses, which have capacity.  The conference will be held on 16th of June 2015 at Boole Lecture Theatre 4 from 9 am. Please see the attached schedule for details.

We look forward to welcoming you there.

Schedule for the day is available upon request. For catering purposes, please kindly send RSVP and change of schedule to by Friday, 5th June.

International Education Office Internationalisation Conference Invitation