Science and Stormont 2017

9 October 2017 12:30-19:30, Belfast, United Kingdom

Designed to foster close relations with policymakers and key stakeholders, Science and Stormont is organised by the Royal Society of Chemistry, on behalf of, and in cooperation with, the Northern Ireland science and engineering community.

The Royal Society of Chemistry's sixth annual Science and Stormont event will be held in the Long Gallery (Afternoon Presentations) and the Members Dining Room Annexe (Exhibition,  Evening Drinks Reception and Buffet), Parliament Buildings, Stormont, Belfast.

This event is sponsored by kind permission of Naomi Long MLA, Chair, Northern Ireland Assembly All-Party Group on STEM, and Steve Aiken OBE MLA and Caoimhe Archibald MLA, Vice Chairs of the All-Party Group on STEM.

Science and Stormont is organised in cooperation with a number of sister societies and professional bodies, including: ​
  • British Academy
  • British Psychological Society
  • Centre for Advanced Sustainable Energy
  • Geological Survey Northern Ireland
  • Institute of Food and Science Technology
  • Institution of Mechanical Engineering
  • Institute of Physics
  • KTP at Queen's University Belfast
  • Microbiology Society
  • Royal Academy of Engineering
  • Royal Astronomical Society
  • Royal Society of Biology
  • Royal Society of Chemistry
  • Southern Regional College
  • STEM Ambassador Hub
  • The Academy of Medical Sciences
  • The Bryden Centre
  • The Geological Society
  • The Open University
  • The Physiological Society
  • The Royal Society
  • Ulster University
  • W5
This year's scientific presentations are based on the theme of "Skills for Science and Innovation"
Professor Tom Moody, Almac and Arran Chemicals , United Kingdom

Professor Tom Moody is the Vice President of Technology Development and Commercialization at Almac and Arran Chemicals and is responsible for driving new technology chemical processes from conception to commercial scale-up.  He graduated from The Queen’s University of Belfast with a 1st Class BSc(Hons) in chemistry in June 1998 before returning to gain a Ph.D. in Physical Organic chemistry in December 2001. He has also completed a Masters in Business graduating with distinction in July 2007 specializing in business strategy.  His work has earned him numerous accolades and is co-author and author of >60 publications and patents. 
He is a strategic leader and technical expert in chiral chemistry and biocatalysis with >18 years of extensive academic and industry experience.  A leader in the field of hydrolase, oxidoreductase and transferase enzymes in >90 projects completed in the past 3 years for the synthesis of chiral molecules, metabolites and labelled compounds.  Tom is responsible for managing a multi-disciplinary team of both chemists and biologists to obtain commercially useful biocatalysts and their intended applications at multi-tonne scale.  Biocatalytic processes have been developed from mg to tonne manufacture including development of fermentation processes to yield the desired biocatalyst.  He has extensive publication record, budgetary and executive committee experience and leadership of multi-discipline research departments. He is also an honorary Professor at Queen’s University of Belfast since 2013 in the area of biocatalysis. 

Professor Steve Furber CBE, University of Manchester, United Kingdom

Professor Steve Furber CBE FRS FREng is ICL Professor of Computer Engineering in the School of Computer Science at the University of Manchester, UK. After completing a BA in mathematics and a PhD in aerodynamics at the University of Cambridge, UK, he spent the 1980s at Acorn Computers, where he was a principal designer of the BBC Microcomputer and the ARM 32-bit RISC microprocessor. Over 100 billion variants of the ARM processor have since been manufactured, powering much of the world's mobile and embedded computing. He moved to the ICL Chair at Manchester in 1990 where he leads research into asynchronous and low-power systems and, more recently, neural systems engineering, where the SpiNNaker project is delivering a computer incorporating a million ARM processors optimised for brain modelling applications. He was chair of the Advisory Group for the influential Royal Society “Shut Down or Restart?” report, and he chairs the current Royal Society Computing Education Project Advisory Group.

Dr Yvonne Armitage, Bioeconomy Specialist, Knowledge Transfer Network Ltd, United Kingdom

Yvonne Armitage is Bioeconomy Specialist at Knowledge Transfer Network (KTN). KTN is part of the Innovate UK family and connects people to speed up innovation, solve problems and find markets for new ideas.  Yvonne is responsible for setting internal strategy for bioeconomy and industrial biotechnology (IB), as well as working national with BEIS and industry on national strategy.  Prior to joining KTN Yvonne spent nearly 20 years in industry (Ciba, BASF, ISP) where she was responsible for development of new green technologies, including new biotech processes; as well as in business development, where she was responsible for several global market sectors, including biotechnology, paper, mining and minerals.   Yvonne has a degree in chemistry and a PhD in microbiology and biochemistry. She is a member of a number of scientific and management boards at national and international level. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Biology and the Royal Society of Chemistry and Chair of the Royal Society of Biology Employer Advisory Board

Professor Robert Bowman, Queen's University Belfast, United Kingdom

  Professor Robert Bowman is Head of the School of Mathematics & Physics at Queen’s University Belfast. The School provides degree programmes in Mathematics & Physics with specialisms and offers taught postgraduate Maters courses in Data Analytics and Materials Science. There are around 800 undergraduate and postgraduate students in the School and sixty academic staff.  Robert holds a prestigious five-year Seagate Technology / Royal Academy of Engineering Research Chair in Advanced Materials for Data Storage. This builds on a near decade long close association with the R&D activity at Seagate Technology Springtown involving some £12M of collaborative research activity.  He is Director of an £8M EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Photonic Integration & Advanced Data Storage in collaboration with University of Glasgow and over a dozen companies in the UK that is training over fifty PhD student on project in the theme.  He is a co-founder and Director of Causeway Sensors Ltd. a spinout that commercialises nanostructured surfaces for label free biosensing. The company employs seven people.  He is a Fellow of the Institute of Physics and has previously been Chair of IoP Ireland, has served on the IOP Council and currently sits on three committees of the Institute.  

Mrs Lorraine Marks, Queen's University Belfast, United Kingdom

Lorraine is the KTP Manager in Queen’s University Belfast and is the current Vice-Chair of the KTP National Forum.  The KTP programme promotes business led, open innovation by connecting companies with academic expertise to enable them to grow their business.  Lorraine supports businesses, academics and graduates engaging in KTP at Queen’s, identifying ways to maximise the benefits for all participants.  She has a particular interest in graduate recruitment and personnel development.  Lorraine holds an Honours Degree in Business and Management from Queen’s University Belfast.

Dr Marie Cowan, Geological Survey Northern Ireland, United Kingdom

  Dr Cowan is a Science Director with the British Geological Survey (BGS) and Director at its Belfast office, the Geological Survey of Northern Ireland (GSNI).  GSNI is an office of the Department for the Economy (DfE) in Northern Ireland (NI) whose scientists undertake research to advise and support the geoscience responsibilities of NI government departments, Invest NI and councils. GSNI also collaborates closely on research with the Geological Survey of Ireland (GSI) and universities.
Dr Cowan is a member of the Royal Irish Academy’s Geosciences and Geographical Sciences Committee, where she spearheaded the introduction of an MLA-Geoscientist Pairing Scheme in Northern Ireland and is also a current member of its Brexit taskforce.
Dr Cowan is a certified member of the Institute of Directors and a professional geologist with the Institute of Geologists of Ireland. She is also a member of the NI Assembly All Party Group for Science and Technology and the NI Learned Societies and Professional Bodies Forum. She is a member of the Governance Board of the Irish Centre for Research in Applied Geosciences and was previously the Chairperson of Earth Science Ireland and an elected non-executive board member of the Institute of Geologists of Ireland. She is currently Chair of a Social Development Enterprise in her local community.
Dr Cowan was core to the management and communications campaigns of the £6M Tellus and £4.5M Tellus Border soil geochemistry and geophysical mapping projects in NI and border counties of Ireland.  The Tellus project received three industry awards from Chartered Institute of Public Relations and Public Relations Institute of Ireland, the ‘Country Award’ in the prestigious annual industry awards sponsored by Mining Journal, and ‘Innovation and Best Practice Award’, in the Central Government category, for Outstanding Achievement in the Field of Geographic Information.

Mr Gareth Hetherington, Ulster University, United Kingdom

Gareth Hetherington is the Director of the Ulster University Economic Policy Centre. The Centre carries out a broad range of policy focused research and teaching and is committed to the conversion of academic thinking into workable policy outcomes.  The Centre is currently working with Central Government policy makers in the areas of skills development and corporation tax and with Local Government in Community Planning and economic development strategies.  The Centre is sponsored by a range of public and private sector organisations including the Department for the Economy, Department of Finance, Invest NI, Derry City and Strabane District Council, Belfast City Council, Belfast Harbour Commissioners, First Trust Bank and the Ulster University.  Gareth is Vice-Chair of the South East Regional College and is a member of the CBI Employment and Skills Committee.  He also provides regular economic commentary to senior officials in Government and in the media.

Professor Gerry McKenna DL MRIA, Royal Irish Academy, United Kingdom

 Professor Gerry McKenna MRIA is a former Dean of Science, Pro Vice Chancellor (Research), and Vice Chancellor and President of the University of Ulster (UU). He was the key architect in the transformation of the University from a largely teaching-only institution in the 1980s into one with a strong reputation for research and knowledge transfer. He internationalised the University through collaborative research and teaching linkages with leading universities in the United States, Hong Kong, China, India, Malaysia and Australia.
McKenna has been centrally involved in developing many national and international initiatives including the establishment of Universities Ireland (as founding chair), and being co-founder of the Heads of University Centres of Biomedical Sciences (HUCBMS), the US-Ireland R&D Partnership and the Irish Universities Nutrition Alliance (IUNA). Locally, he has been a pioneer of knowledge transfer. He was co-founder of the Northern Ireland Science Park and established incubator facilities at each of UU’s campuses. He chaired the Northern Ireland Foresight: Life and Health Technologies Panel.
He is currently Vice President of the Royal Irish Academy (RIA) and President Emeritus and Honorary Executive Secretary of HUCBMS. Professor McKenna is the lead author of the RIA recent Advice Paper, ‘The Sustainability of the Northern Ireland Higher Education Sector’, and the Academy’s submission to the UK House of Commons Select Committee on Science and Technology Inquiry: ‘Leaving the EU: Implications and Opportunities for Science and Research’. He also authored the HUCBMS Submission to the House of Commons NI Affairs Committee Inquiry: ‘The future of the land border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland following Brexit’. He is Co-Chair of the RIA Brexit Taskforce.

Mr Brian Doran, CEO, Southern Regional College, United Kingdom

Mr Doran took up position as the Chief Executive of the Southern Regional College on 1 January 2008.  Prior to the formation of the Southern Regional College, Mr Doran held the position of Deputy Director for Teaching and Learning at Newry and Kilkeel Institute. Brian has taught in both the post primary and further education sectors.  Brian is a past graduate of Queen’s University Belfast and Ulster University.  Mr Doran maintains strong ties with the business, education and training sector across Northern Ireland and has served on a number of committees and advisory groups.

Sponsorship & supporting organisations
Parliament Buildings, Stormont

The Long Gallery & the Members’ Dining Room Annexe, Parliament Buildings, Stormont, Upper Newtownards Road, Belfast, Co Antrim, United Kingdom

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