Researchers and educators from different backgrounds are coming together to tackle the big problems of this century. Women across STEM are working to understand and shape the world around us, with the aim of creating a better and more sustainable future. Two researchers in the College of Science and Engineering at NUI Galway are working at the forefront of sustainability and innovation.
Dr Alma Siggins
Microbiologist, NUI Galway
After my Leaving Cert, I studied for a microbiology degree at NUI Galway, followed by a PhD also in Galway. I became fascinated by how microbes, like bacteria, in the environment can actually be used to our advantage, such as in cleaning polluted soil and water.
My research is a little different as it blends both science and engineering to find sustainable solutions to environmental challenges. With this approach I can start with scientific discoveries and continue right through to technology development. It’s very rewarding to see my research having a real impact on the health of our environment.
As many countries face similar environmental challenges, I have had opportunities to travel all over the world and work with some incredible researchers. As well as shorter trips within Europe, I spent six years in New Zealand, before bringing that knowledge and experience back to Ireland. This international, collaborative approach is driving huge advances in environmental biotechnology and sustainability and it’s so exciting to be a part of that progress.
It’s very rewarding to see my research having a real impact on the health of our environment.
Dr Magdalena Hajdukiewicz
Civil Engineer, NUI Galway
I am a chartered engineer investigating the carbon footprint of buildings and how they impact people’s health and comfort. I have always had a curious mind and liked trying new things. I always had to understand exactly how things work, and was better suited to problem solving than repetitive tasks or learning by heart.
I graduated as a civil engineer in Poland and continued my postgraduate studies at NUI Galway. I have studied how poorly designed and how uncomfortable buildings can be. For example, one in six Europeans live in homes that make them sick and buildings account for 36% of Europe’s greenhouse gas emissions. That’s when I realised that the sustainable built environment was an area in which I wanted to investigate more and make an impact.
For example, one in six Europeans live in homes that make them sick and buildings account for 36% of Europe’s greenhouse gas emissions.
Bringing together science and engineering is critical in meeting major challenges, such as climate change, the energy crisis and biodiversity loss. We are both members of the Ryan Institute at NUI Galway, which allows scientists and engineers to work closely together, solving problems and innovating for sustainable development.