Our world leading academics are putting their minds to solving many of the big issues facing Ireland and the world today.
Securing food supply into the future
Through pollination, bees are responsible for 40% of global food supply. However over the past decade bees have been dying prematurely and in 2007 almost two-thirds of the entire commercial bee population died, due to a phenomenon called Colony Collapse Disorder.
After more than two years research, Dr Kevin Kavanagh senior lecturer in the Department of Biology at Maynooth University and world renowned expert in insect biology and immunology has developed a food additive that has been shown to rapidly improve the health and vitality of bee colonies. Through a spin out company, Beemune Ltd, this food additive is being tested in Europe and the US with promising results to date.
Imagine driving into a congested city and avoiding charges by taking environmentally friendly routes, imagine vehicles switching from petrol to electricity as they enter certain areas, or imagine a public electric car rental scheme in cities?
This will require vehicles to be able to communicate with each other, using technology such as GPS, smart sensors and city-wide wireless network connectivity, while not interfering with or compromising security.
The Hamilton Institute at Maynooth University is developing a series of scalable, efficient algorithms for achieving coordination across urban IT and network systems in a research project which will ultimately facilitate cars working together.
Funded by SFI the Hamilton Institute, in conjunction with a number of international collaborators including Fraunhofer Fokus and Technische Universität (TU), Berlin, is working on this, one of the most important environmental research studies currently underway globally.
Combating the diseases of poverty
Infectious diseases such as Malaria and TB, which were on the way to being eliminated after World War II, are starting to become prevalent again, particularly among the world’s poor. These diseases of poverty are manifold and getting increasingly complex. The problem, in many cases, is not just medical, but behavioral, social, and political. If, for example, TB patients do not complete the 9–12 months of chemotherapy more virulent strains of the disease are created and spread.
The Departments of Biology and Anthropology at Maynooth University have come together to pioneer innovative ways to address the diseases of poverty by combining anthropological and scientific approaches to change behaviours through public health in general rather than narrow, disease-specific problems.