We are delighted to announce the YESBernal 2020 Writing Challenge Winners

First Prize Winner €300 – Michele Dully

Michele is a PhD Student at the Department of Chemical Sciences Bernal Bio Materials Cluster.  In school English was her favourite subject (after science of course), the  challenge to write an essay was an enjoyable exercise and break from PhD work.  Michele is from Tullamore.

Read “Teaching reimagined – An educational revolution”

Second Prize Winner €200 – Dylan Storan

Dylan is a  PhD Student at the Department of Chemical Sciences, UL and Bernal Nanomaterials Cluster.  Dylan, a Limerick native, entered the challenge in a bid to improve his writing skills and express his opinion on the opportunity presented to online education by the pandemic.  When not in the lab, Dylan has a keen interest in reading, running and travelling.

Read “Necessity is the Mother of Invention: The Future of Education Post-COVID-19”

Third Prize Winner €100 – Dr Debobroto Sensharma

Debo is a post-doctoral researcher at the Department of Chemical Sciences, UL and Molecular and Nano Materials Cluster, Bernal Institute.   Debo hails from India and is living in Ireland since 2014. Besides chemistry, he is also interested in the cultural connections between the two countries.  His intention with this piece was to illustrate how the appetite for sugar – that we struggle with as individuals – shaped the history of entire continents of people in drastic ways.

Read “Is sugar the new cocaine”

Special Mention Award

Sinéad Connolly

Sinéad is a PhD Student at the Department of Chemical Sciences.and Bernal Biomaterials and Process Engineering Clusters.  Sinéad hails from Skibbereen and is more of a dog person than a cat person.  She enjoys baking and word puzzles.  She found the writing challenge a welcome reprieve from writing more serious journal articles during lockdown.

Read Life Post-COVID-19: Proposals for the Safe Re-opening of Laboratory Spaces”

Bernal Institute Director, Luuk van der Wielen said  “As a research community, the Bernal Institute is used to critically reflect on its research performance and societal impact. In the pandemic period during the first months of 2020 and after securing safety and connectivity of community members, priority was given to get into a new normal research routine including safe physical access. But the initiative of the Bernal Writing Challenge of Young Engineers and Scientists at Bernal (YES Bernal) went beyond this and invited written contributions that reflect on ourselves – how we deal with the new normal, how to deal with everyday’s distractions such as uncontrolled fridge proximity and reflect on how we adjust to ‘a remote life’. 3 of our YES-colleagues excelled out of many submissions in quality of writing and reflection. In addition, an additional prize was awarded to Sinead Connelly for an exceptional synthesis of a serious message packaged in a hilarious writing style which gave a lot of food for thought about Bernal behaviours and processes. All contributions reflected the legacy of JD Bernal, who developed and communicated a profile of a responsible scientist dealing with the (in)sanities of a ‘new normal world. Well done to all !’

The competition was judged by Dr Margaret Lawlor, Executive Director, SSPC and Sarah E. Hayes, Director, PMTC.