New technologies developed and researched by Irish scientists to combat poverty in the developing world were showcased at an event in Trinity College Dublin on Monday, November 9th, 2015.
The event formed part of Trinity Development Research Week, which ran from Monday November 9th to Friday November 13th. The week-long programme, organised by Trinity International Development Initiative (TIDI), aims to showcase the research, teaching and outreach activities taking place in Trinity to address the major global development challenges of our time.
Highlights of the event included a presentation by Anthony Robinson, Associate Professor, Department of Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering, who spoke about the µPower Stove Generator Project in Milawi. Developed by engineers at Trinity the µPower Stove generates electricity from cooking stoves, providing energy for lights and phone charging. Trinity engineers and field staff from Concern are embarking on a large field trial to test the stoves in the Thyolo district of Malawi. This new trial will also see local women’s groups trained in the assembly, maintenance and repair of the stove.
Also at the event Bruce Misstear, Associate Professor, Department of Civil Structural and Environmental Engineering, reviewed the different technologies used for groundwater extraction and spoke about his work on the Water is Life project in Uganda, which studied the impacts of climate change on groundwater recharge.
Tara Mitchell, Assistant Professor, Department of Economics and co-founder of Trinity Impact Evaluation Unit (TIME), spoke about the role that the social sciences can play in understanding the impact of new technologies and the underlying behavioural change related to their introduction
The theme of Trinity Development Research Week this year was An Interconnected World: How Global Thinking Can Address the World’s Most Critical Issues. The programme includes seminars, lectures, panel discussions, exhibitions and films hosted by researchers and students from Trinity, other education institutes and development NGOs, to highlight development research and its application across a range of topics.
Another highlight of the week was a public discussion on the current refugee challenge in Trinity College Dublin which took place on Wednesday, November 11, 2015. Entitled European Migrant Crisis or Global Refugee Challenge, the event featured development experts, academics and politicians, who sought to place the current European ‘migrant crisis’ in a broader global context and investigate how the West can best respond to this challenge on a global and local level.
Dr Michelle D’Arcy, Assistant Professor, Department of Political Science, Trinity, who chaired the event, commented: “The recent arrival in Europe of people fleeing conflict in Syria and other parts of the world has focused the attention of citizens and politicians on the issue of forcibly displaced people. Media coverage, however, has not always emphasised the global dimensions of this challenge.”
“Of the 59 million forcibly displaced people worldwide, 86% are hosted in developing countries. The UN estimates that up to 700,000 people will seek safety and international protection in Europe in 2015. When seen from this perspective, the real ‘migrant crisis’ is not necessarily located in Europe.”
Other speakers at the event included Reiseal Ni Cheilleachair, Humanitarian Policy Officer for Trocaire, who spoke about the relative size of refugee crises and the root causes. She emphasised the need for long-term action to tackle upstream crises driving irregular migration and forced displacement.
“The European Union must collectively examine the impact of political and military decision making in countries like Syria, Afghanistan and Somalia. Protracted conflicts force people to find refuge elsewhere. The role of the UN Security Council and the influence of the European Union in promoting peace and stability must be considered in a rapidly changing world where conflicts go unresolved for decades, depriving populations of stability, prosperity and hope. Crises in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia and elsewhere need sustained humanitarian funding to provide basic assistance and protection to people whose lives literally depend on it.”
Colm Byrne, Humanitarian Manager, Oxfam Ireland, who talked about the perception of human and highlight the distinctions between mobility and displacement and the related response of Europe. Stephen Collins, Solicitor, Irish Refugee Council, explored the problems faced by asylum seekers, decision makers and tax payers as well as the opportunities inherent in the current crisis. Dr Elaine Moriarty, Assistant Professor, Department of Sociology, Trinity also addressed the event.