30 Jan 2020: SDG11: Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable

How can we make our towns and cities more inclusive, resilient and sustainable? Our panel of researchers discuss the challenges of SDG11.

More than half the world’s population lives in cities. By 2030, it is projected that 6 out of 10 people will be urban dwellers. Despite numerous planning challenges, well-managed cities and other human settlements can be incubators for innovation and ingenuity and key drivers of sustainable development. However, many cities around the world are facing acute challenges in managing rapid urbanization— from ensuring adequate housing and infrastructure to support growing populations, to confronting the environmental impact of urban sprawl, to reducing vulnerability to disasters.

We’ll be joined up Alison Harvey (Heritage Council) who will discuss Ireland’s Collaborative Town Centre Health Check; Gerald Mills (UCD School of Geography) on urban climates and access to green space; and Michelle Norris (UCD School of Social Policy, Social Work and Social Justice) on adequate, safe, affordable housing.

The seminar is hosted by Karen Foley (UCD School of Architecture, Planning and Environmental Policy) and Nessa Winston (UCD School of Social Policy, Social Work and Social Justice), leads of the Sustainable Communities research theme in the UCD Earth Institute and is part of the UCD Sustainable Development Goal seminar series.

Seminars this November

18 November 2019
William Fry theatre
UCD Sutherland School of Law


The expansion of protected areas for marine biodiversity and existing policies and treaties that encourage responsible use of ocean resources are still insufficient to combat the adverse effects of overfishing, growing ocean acidification due to climate change and worsening coastal eutrophication. As billions of people depend on oceans for their livelihood and food source and on the transboundary nature of oceans, increased efforts and interventions are needed to conserve and sustainably use ocean resources at all levels.

We’ll be joined by RTE broadcaster and journalist Ella McSweeney, geneticist and fisheries expert Jens Carlsson and artist and educator Anita McKeown to discuss these issues and the role the UN Sustainable Development Goals can play in highlighting and addressing them. The seminar will be chaired by Tasman Crowe, director of the UCD Earth Institute and recently appointed chair of a new expert group to advise Government on the expansion of Ireland’s network of Marine Protected Areas.

This seminar is organised by the UCD Earth Institute and the UCD Biological Society

20 November 2019
UCD Global Lounge
Gerard Manley Hopkins Building


Advances in ending violence, promoting the rule of law, strengthening institutions and increasing access to justice are uneven and continue to deprive millions of their security, rights and opportunities. This lack of equity also undermines the delivery of public services and broader economic development while attacks on civil society are holding back development progress. Our expert panel will be discussing the challenges posed by Goal 16 of the Sustainable Development Goals, Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions, in the context of their own work and careers.


  • David Donoghue had a long and varied career in Ireland’s Department of Foreign Affairs. He was involved for many years in the Northern Ireland peace process, and one of the Irish Government’s negotiating team for the ground-breaking Good Friday Agreement (1998). In addition to many other development, foreign policy and service posts overseas, from 2013-17 he was Permanent Representative of Ireland to the United Nations in New York. He served as co-facilitator for the UN negotiations which led to the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in September 2015.
  • Colin Scott is Professor of EU Regulation and Governance at in the School of Law at University College Dublin, where he also currently serves as Vice President for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion and Principal, UCD College of Social Sciences and Law. His research interests consider questions of the limits of regulatory governance, processes of accountability and non-state governance.
  • Dawn Walsh is an Assistant Professor in the School of Politics and International Relations at University College Dublin. She is currently the lead researcher on an Irish Research Council funded project which examines the role of independent commissions, such as electoral and human rights commissions, in peace processes.
  • Sinéad Walsh is the EU Ambassador to South Sudan. She has worked for Ireland’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade since 2009. Prior to her current role, Sinéad served as the Ambassador of Ireland to Sierra Leone and Liberia and the Head of Irish Aid in the two countries, based in Freetown from 2011 to 2016. During this period she and her colleagues worked relentlessly to bring the humanitarian disaster of the Ebola crisis to global attention, and she has co-authored the book ‘Getting to Zero’ about this experience.
  • Chair: Patrick Paul Walsh is the Professor of International Development Studies in University College Dublin, Ireland. He also a Senior Advisor to the UN SDSN, New York and Chair of the Academic Steering Committee of the Global Association of Masters of Development Practice, based at the Earth Institute at Columbia University.

This seminar is organised by the UCD Centre for Sustainable Development Studies and the UCD School of Politics and International Relations.

26 November 2019
UCD Science Centre West
Room B1.54A, 1st floor


There are some encouraging global trends in protecting terrestrial ecosystems and biodiversity. Forest loss is slowing down, more key biodiversity areas are protected and more financial assistance is flowing towards biodiversity protection. Yet, the 2020 targets of Sustainable Development Goal 15 are unlikely to be met, land degradation continues, biodiversity loss is occurring at an alarming rate, and invasive species and the illicit poaching and trafficking of wildlife continue to thwart efforts to protect and restore vital ecosystems and species.

We’ll be joined by Adam Kane (UCD School of Biology and Environmental Science), Suzanne Kingston (UCD Sutherland School of Law) and Olaf Schmidt (UCD School of Agriculture and Food Science), and our panel will discuss vultures and poaching in southern Africa, the global earthworm map – our largest dataset on soil biodiversity, and how we can design our laws to ensure environmental compliance. The session will be chaired by Jon Yearsley (UCD School of Biology and Environmental Science).

This seminar is organised by the UCD Earth Institute, the UCD EcoEvoKlub and the UCD Biological Society.

28 November 2019
William Jefferson Clinton Auditorium, UCD


Climate change presents the single biggest threat to current and future generations, and its widespread, unprecedented impacts disproportionately burden the poorest and most vulnerable.

Urgent action to combat climate change and minimize its disruptions is integral to the successful implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals and forms the basis for Goal 13, Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts.

We’re joined by Barry Andrews MEP, Jacky Croke (UCD School of Geography), Aideen O’Dochartaigh (UCD School of Business and BEACON SFI Bioeconomy Centre) and Sadhbh O’Neill (UCD School of Politics and International Relations and Climate Case Ireland) to discuss the political, legal, social and scientific challenges that climate change presents.

22 October: Goal 9: Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation

22 October 2019
UCD Science Centre South, Room S1.67 (first floor)


This UCD SDG Seminar will focus on Goal 9, Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation, and in particular on the challenges of sustainable, resilient transport.

Our panel are:

Pat Maher ∙ Transport Infrastructure Ireland
Dr Beatriz Martinez-Pastor ∙ UCD School of Civil Engineering
Prof Aisling Reynolds-Feighan ∙ UCD School of Economics ∙ Transport Policy Research Institute
Chair: Dr Shane Donohue ∙ UCD School of Civil Engineering ∙ UCD Earth Institute

The seminars are open to all – whether you’re a researcher, a student or are just interested in learning more about the research that is helping to address the SDGs.

16 October: SDG12: Responsible Consumption and Production

16 October 2019
UCD Global Lounge
Gerald Manley Hopkins Centre


This week’s UCD Sustainable Development Goal seminar focuses on Goal 12, Responsible Consumption and Production. The seminar is being hosted by the BEACON SFI Bioeconomy Research Centre as part of Bioeconomy Ireland Week 2019.

Joining this week’s panel are:

Prof. Donna Marshall (UCD College of Business, UCD Centre for Business and Society, BEACON SFI Bioeconomy Research Centre)

Dr Fionnuala Murphy (UCD School of Biosystems and Food Engineering, UCD Institute of Food and Health, BEACON SFI Bioeconomy Research Centre)

Tony Quinn (Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine)

Chair: Prof. Kevin O’Connor (UCD School of Biomolecular and Biomedical Science, UCD Earth Institute, UCD Conway Institute and BEACON SFI Bioeconomy Research Centre)

8 October: SDG10: Reduce inequality within and among countries

Tuesday 8 October 2019
Room G108, UCD Newman Building


The UCD SDG Seminar Series kicks off again this autumn with a look at Goal 10, reduce inequality within and among countries.

Our panel this week are:

Dr Mathew Creighton (UCD School of Sociology & UCD Geary Institute) who will be discussing inequality and attitudes towards immigrants in Europe.

Dr Hasheem Mannan (UCD School of Nursing, Midwifery and Health Systems) who will discuss his work on social inclusion, disability and the SDGs.

Dr Emily Mark-Fitzgerald (UCD School of Art History and Cultural Policy and UCD Humanities Institute) on how museums and galleries in Ireland and elsewhere have recently embraced migrant histories, and adopted activist roles with respect to contemporary migration.

The seminars are open to all – whether you’re a researcher, a student or are just interested in learning more about the research that is helping to address the SDGs. 

14 May: SDG8: Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all

14 May 2019
Seminar: 13.00-14.00

Workshop: 14.00-15.00
UCD Geary Institute for Public Policy


The eighth seminar in our series on the UN Sustainable Development Goals takes place at 13.00 on 14 May at the UCD Geary Institute for Public Policy. 

The seminars are open to all – whether you’re a researcher, a student or are just interested in learning more about the research that is helping to address the SDGs. 

Our speakers

Elish Kelly will talk about her research on the quality of new jobs created since the Great Recession in Ireland. Elish is  a Senior Research Officer at the Economic and Social Research Institute in the Economic Analysis Division. She received her Bachelor and Doctorate degrees in Economics from Trinity College Dublin. Her main research interest is in labour economics, with a particular focus on unemployment and active labour market programmes, migration, and wages and pay bargaining institutions. Elish has also undertaken research on equality and on education issues, along with participation in sport and physical activity.

Micheál Collins will talk about emerging trends in job insecurity. Micheál is Assistant Professor of Social Policy at the UCD School of Social Policy, Social Work and Social Justice. Prior to that, he was a Senior Economist at the Nevin Economic Research Institute (NERI). His main research interests and publications are in the areas of income distribution, taxation, redistribution, economic evaluation and public policy. He was a member of the Commission on Taxation (2008-2009) and the Government’s Advisory Group on Tax and Social Welfare (2011-2014). He is a former chair of the Irish Social Policy Association (ISPA) and the Regional Studies Association (RSA) of Ireland. He is currently a member of the National Competitiveness Council, the TCD Pensions Policy Research Group and the Living Wage Technical Group. Micheál is a native of Ennis in Co. Clare and a graduate of NUI Galway, UCC and the University of Dublin, Trinity College.

Roland Erne contribution is titled “SDGs and their implementation: The tension between labour policy and politics”.  Roland Erne is Jean Monnet Chair of European Integration and Employment Relations. He has been teaching international and comparative employment relations at UCD since 2003. In 2017, Erne was awarded an European Research Council (ERC) Consolidator Grant for a research project entitled Labour Politics and the EU’s New Economic Governance Regime (European Unions), which aims to explore the challenges and possibilities that the EU’s new governance regime poses to labour movements and the methodological nationalism in the field.

Chair: Philip O’Connell is Director of The Geary Institute for Public Policy and Professor of Applied Social Science at UCD. He has a long-held belief in the importance of evidence for policy making, having spent two decades at the ESRI before coming to UCD.  He has served as a consultant to the European Commission and the OECD, and was appointed to the Irish Labour Market Council. His research focusses on immigration and the labour market and he is National Coordinator of the European Social Survey in Ireland. 

Does your research relate to SDG8?

SDG collaboration and funding workshop

Directly after the Seminar Justin Synnott form UCD Research and Innovation will chair a workshop for researchers to discuss potential collaborations and funding opportunities that relate to SDG8. Join us to discuss how your work aligns with the SDGs and upcoming funding calls.

23 April: Goal 7: Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all

23 April 2019
Intel Theatre, UCD Science Hub

Our speakers:

Prof. Murray Hitzman has been Director of iCRAG and an SFI Research Professor in the UCD School of Earth Sciences since March 2018. He worked in the petroleum and minerals industries from 1976 to 1993, primarily doing mineral exploration worldwide and was largely responsible for Chevron Corporation’s Lisheen Zn- Pb-Ag deposit discovery in Ireland. Prof. Hitzman worked as a policy analyst in both the U.S. Senate for Senator Joseph Lieberman (1993-94) and the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (1994-96). In 1996 he was named the Fogarty Professor in Economic Geology at the Colorado School of Mines (CSM) and served as head of the Department of Geology and Geological Engineering from 2002-07. He served as Associate Director for Energy and Minerals at the U.S. Geological Survey from 2016-17. He received the Daniel C. Jackling Award by the Society of Mining, Metallurgy and Exploration (SME) in 2015 and the prestigious Haddon Forrester King Medal by the Australian Academy of Sciences in 2016. He is considered a world authority in economic geology (mineral deposits) and has authored more than 120 scientific publications in the fields of economic geology and natural resources policy.

Maeve Boland is a Senior Geoscience and Policy Specialist, UCD/GSI, and has a comprehensive understanding of the intricacies surrounding geoscience policy. She has extensive experience in industry, academia, and policy settings. After receiving B.A. and M.Sc. degrees in Geology from Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland, Maeve worked in petroleum and mineral exploration in the private sector, and industrial minerals at the Geological Survey of Ireland. She later received her Ph.D. in Geology from the Colorado School of Mines in Golden, Colorado, where she developed her policy expertise and taught multiple courses on the intersection of science and policy. Maeve served as Director of Policy at the American Geoscience Institute (2013-2018);  an AAAS Executive Branch Science & Technology Policy Fellow at the USGS (2010-2012) and as the American Geophysical Union Congressional Science Fellow in the U.S. Senate (2009-2010). During her fellowships, Boland collaborated with stakeholders from Capitol Hill, the U.S. Department of Interior, the U.S. Department of Energy, the White House, and the private sector to address geoscience policy issues crucial to society.

Geertje Schuitema is a Lecturer in Consumer Behaviour and Technology Adoption at UCD’s College of Business. Prior to joining UCD, she received my MSc and PhD degrees in Social and Behavioural Sciences from the University of Groningen, the Netherlands. After her PhD, Geertje was a Research Fellow at the Centre for Transport Research, University of Aberdeen, United Kingdom and at the College of Business and Social Sciences at Aarhus University, Denmark. As a social scientist she works with scholars from many different disciplines and with industry on issues around consumer behaviour, public engagement and policy acceptance. This is evident in my active involvement in various research institutes and centres: she is a Principal Investigator in UCD’s Energy Institute, Funded Investigator of the Irish Centre for Research in Applied Geosciences (iCRAG), Funded Investigator of the Energy Systems Integration Partnership Programme (ESIPP), Academic collaborator of the Sustainable Electrical Energy Systems Strategic (SEES) Research Cluster and Academic collaborator of the Centre for Business and Society (CeBaS).

James McAteer is an experienced geologist with a BSc in Geology and Archaeology from University College Dublin. James currently heads up geothermal research at Irish engineering consultancy, Gavin and Doherty Geosolutions (GDG). Prior to his work at GDG, James worked as a hydrogeological assistant at the Geological Survey Ireland and geologist with geothermal consultancy, GeoServ. James joined the Geothermal Association of Ireland as a committee member in 2014 where is currently the acting Secretariat. James’ work as a geologist to date has focused on in-depth research into ground source heating technologies, deep geothermal resource assessments, as well as temperature measurement and data acquisition techniques. James is currently the lead project co-ordinator for the Geothermica co-fund project ‘Geo-Urban’ assessing the geothermal potential of Dublin City and Vallés, Catalonia, Spain.

9 April: Goal 6: Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all

The sixth seminar in our series on the UN Sustainable Development Goals takes place at 13.00 on 9 April in room G80, UCD Newstead Building. This seminar will focus on the theme clean water and sanitation.


Our three speakers:

Wim Meijer is Professor of Microbiology and head of the UCD School of Biomolecular and Biomedical Science. Wim’s research team works in two thematic areas: water quality and human/animal health. His water themed research focuses on water quality of bathing waters and rivers, in particular in relation to fecal contamination, pathogens and antimicrobial resistance, working closely with colleagues in other disciplines (Civil Engineering and IT), with local authorities and national regulatory bodies.  

Charlie Coakley is the Sustainability Policy Lead at Irish Water. Irish Water is responsible for delivering safe and clean drinking water and environmentally safe wastewater services to household and businesses across Ireland. These vital services underpin the social and economic progress for Ireland, now and into the future. Charlie Coakley leads Irish Water’s dedicated sustainability policy team, developing and integrating sustainability policy and strategies. These policies and strategies are aligned with the UN Sustainable Development Goals, in particular SDG6 – clean water and sanitation.

Niall Roche is an Environmental Health Officer by profession but has worked in the area of overseas development and humanitarian action for the past 28 years. He initially worked as a volunteer with Concern Worldwide responding to the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WaSH) needs of Cambodian refugees in Thailand. Since then he has lived and worked all across Asia and sub-Saharan Africa working to protect public health primarily within the sector of WaSH. He currently works as a consultant mainly supporting organisations monitor and evaluate their work. He also works as a part time lecturer at a number of institutions including UCD covering topics such as Global Health, Public Health, Health, Environment and Climate and WaSH in Emergencies. 

Chair: Mary Kelly-Quinn is Associate Professor in the UCD School of Biology and Environmental Science. Mary’s research activities focus on the assessment of land-use and other anthropogenic activities and interventions on the hydrochemical and ecological quality of surface waters. 

28 March: Goal 5: Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls

28 March 2019

Seminar 1-2pm
Workshop 2-3pm
UCD Sutherland School of Law
Moot Court

The fifth seminar in our series on the UN Sustainable Development Goals takes place at 13.00 on 28 March in the UCD Sutherland School of Law. This seminar will focus on the theme of gender-based violence in local and global contexts and will explore the growth of the commercial sex industry, gender and harm, as well as issues of gender equality, gender-based violence and humaniarian action in situations of conflict in southern and global contexts. There will be three presenters:

Dr Monica O’ Connor is Senior Researcher on the UCD Sexual Exploitation Research Project (SERP) and has been an independent academic/policy-maker and activist on gender-based violence for very many years, mainly in an Irish. but also EU Context and has recently published The Sex Industry (Agenda Press, 2019). Monica worked for Women’s Aid for many years in the 1980s and subsequently jointly authored the first report on Globalisation, Sex Trafficking, Prostitution – the experiences of migrant women in Ireland in 2009 (Kelleher Associates, O’ Connor, M and Pillinger, J) published with the Immigrant Council of Ireland. Monica served as a ministerial appointee on the firstTask Force on Violence against Women in Ireland and was the Irish expert on the European Women’s Lobby Observatory on Violence against Women for many years.

Pat O’ Connor, Professor Emeritus of Sociology and Social Policy at the University of Limerick and Visiting Professor, Geary Institute, University College Dublin. Pat’s research interests are currently focused on gender equality in higher education: with a particular focus on organisational culture, leadership and management, Her latest book, edited with Kate White, is Gendered Success in Higher Education: Global Perspectives (2017) published by Palgrave Macmillan. Pat was a member of the National Review on Gender Equality in Irish Higher Education Institutions (2016) and member of Women in Higher Education Management Network (WHEM).

Niamh Kingston is the Coordinator of the International School on Gender Based Violence in the Centre for Humanitarian Action, University College Dublin. She is a graduate of the MSc in Humanitarian Action and has previously worked in both the private and NGO sectors. Niamh’s main research interests include: adolescent sexual and reproductive health, addressing gender-based violence in emergency settings and challenges pertaining to global gender inequalities. 

Ursula Barry will chair the Seminar as Director of the UCD MA in Gender Studies, contributor to BSoc Sci Social Justice Programme and Co-Director of the UCD Centre for Gender, Feminisms and Sexualities (CGFS). Ursula represents Ireland on the EU Research Network on Scientific Analysis and Assessment of Gender Equality Policies

The seminars are open to all – whether you’re a researcher, a student or are just interested in learning more about the research that is helping to address the SDGs.