Previous Fora / 2011

O'KENNEDY, Richard

President, London International Youth Science Forum (LIYSF)

Richard O’Kennedy was awarded a B.Sc. (Hons.) and the Bayley Butler Cup followed by a Ph.D, in Biochemistry (University College Dublin), Diplomas in Computing and Computer Simulation (Trinity College) and a Diploma in Food Science (Kevin St., College of Technology, now DIT). He was a founder member of the School of Biological Sciences in the National Institute for Higher Education, Dublin (now DCU) in 1980, a Senior Lecturer (1987) and Professor (1993). In 1988-89 he was a Visiting Scientist in the MD Anderson Cancer Centre at the University of Texas.
He has received numerous awards including an Albert Senior Fellowship (2000), the Biochemistry Medal of the Royal Irish Academy (RIA) (2001), Fellowships of the Institutes of Biology of Ireland (2001) and UK (2003), Irish Times/RDS Science lecturer (2002), the President’s Award for Excellence in Teaching in Science at DCU (2002) and the President’s Award for Excellence in Research in Science and Engineering (2005). He was a former member of the Science Committee of the Royal Dublin Society, Secretary of the Biochemistry Committee of the RIA and their representative on the European Academies Science Advisory Council on Biotechnology (2003), President, London International Youth Science Forum (2004-present), member of the Industrial Research Commercialisation Committee, Enterprise Ireland (2006-present), and is member of the Council of the Institute of Biology and the Life Sciences Committee, RIA.
He is Professor of Biological Sciences and Director of the Applied Biochemistry Research Group, internationally recognised for its expertise in immunoassays, antibody generation, education and training and sensor assay development. Currently he is Vice-President for Learning Innovation in DCU, a Principal Investigator and Associate Director of the Biomedical Diagnostics Institute. He is also Chairman of the Centre for Talented youth in Ireland.
He has published extensively (200 peer-reviewed papers, 20 reviews, 20 book chapters, 1 book,), reviews for many journals and international scientific bodies, has graduated over 50 Ph.D. students, has several patents and works closely with many Irish and international companies.



14:30-16:30 18 NOVEMBER

Youth Science - how can we attract and nurture the best and brightest?

Science has become a key underpinning element of all aspects of our lives. Yet, for many a good scientific education is not seen as being an essential part of their career or their training. In a world context highly skilled scientists will be necessary to tackle major problems such as climate change, waste remediation, major disease outbreaks, diagnosis/treatment of heart-related diseases, diabetes, malaria, HIV/AIDS, challenges with energy generation, problems with maintenance of genetic diversity, nanotechnology and toxin analysis and removal, to name but a few.
To address these issues and to ensure that the world’s populace is scientifically literate it is necessary to develop a very good general education in science and to attract and nurture new generations of committed scientists. In addition, these scientists will have to work with multidisciplinary teams in order to solve the many challenges that face us.
This lecture will describe a range of activities that are focused at attracting young scientists, giving them the enthusiasm, tools and drive to successfully identify and solve problems whilst providing them with the capacity to work in teams across cultural and subject boundaries. The work of the London International Youth Science Forum, the Centre for Talented Youth (Ireland), the Science Olympiads and the EUREKA DIAMOND programme of the Biomedical Diagnostic Institute, funded by Science Foundation Ireland, and other initiatives will be described. Examples will be used to highlight the approaches undertaken and to demonstrate how they can successfully promote science and attract and enthuse young scientists.