Even our pets are driven by incentivisation. It is all part of pack dynamics. Photograph: Getty Images/iStockphoto

The pursuit of delivering something new, better, faster or unique is built into us

Yeast is well known in bread-making and brewing, but scientists believe it could form the basis to replace products such as plam oil, petrochemicals and cosmetics.

Irish researchers at UCC seek to push yeast engineering to a whole new level

Server room with modern mainframe equipment in data centre

Major gains are expected from the emergence of personalised medicine, care specifically tailored to match your genetic make-up

The new research answers several  questions including how  supermassive black holes managed to form so quickly after the Big Bang

Astrophysicist John Regan publishes revolutionary findings in ‘Nature Astronomy’

The sole winning Irish entry to the Wellcome Image Awards for 2017. Over an eight-week period, 92,915 tweets were collected to study the communication of #breastcancer. This graph shows how Twitter users, each represented by a dot called a node, are connected through their retweeting and sharing of this hashtag. Computer analysis has been used to convert this 3D data into a 2D pattern. Credit: Eric Clarke, Richard Arnett, Jane Burns, Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland.

Wellcome Image Awards: Irish academic team used 92,915 tweets with ‘#breastcancer’

Electrolysis: Researchers at Trinity have found that  something unexpected   happens when you take a  really close look –  tiny bubbles   form  that have surprising properties. Illustration: Woodcut engraving (1877)/Getty

Quantum electrolysis behaviour may not have an obvious application – just like radio

Prof Fergal O’Gara, director of the Biomerit Research Centre at University College Cork.

Team applies to patent discovery that allows antibiotics disrupt ‘biofilm’ protection

A dental plaque deposit on this Spanish Neanderthal’s teeth reveals consumption of poplar, a source of aspirin. Photograph: Paleoanthropology Group MNCN-CSIC

Ancient Spanish and Belgian dental plaque shows meat-eater and vegetarian habits

Prof Dervilla Donnelly (left) was taken aback by her selection for the award: Photograph: Eric Luke

Cunningham Medal recipient Prof Dervilla Donnelly is first woman to receive award

The rock structure that held the fossils at the Nuvvuagittuq Supracrustal Belt in Canada. Photograph: Dominic Papineau

Researchers must now prove that the fossils, found in Canada, are biological in origin

Bumblebees new to this insect premiership can be taught the trick using a demonstrator bee that already knows how to get the reward. Photograph: Getty Images

Scoring goals gives the bee a reward and they can improve on what they have learned

The 10-a-day portion list includes an apple, a small banana, a pear, a mandarin, three tablespoons of spinach, peas, broccoli or cauliflower. A portion weighs in at 80g. File photograph:  Eric Vidal/Reuters

Disease risks fall as intake of vegetables and fruit increases, Imperial College team finds

John Regan, Aoife Gowen and Anil Kokaram are among the scientists in Ireland to have benefited from Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions

Hugely successful programme expects to support 100,000th fellow in 2017

Thousands of exoplanets orbiting stars have been discovered but few are the Earth’s size. File photograph: Getty Images

Trappist-1 is 40 light years away but scientists believe orbiting planets may support life

A new study of longevity trends in 35 industrialised countries shows that people in all countries can expect to be living longer. Photograph: John Stillwell/PA Wire

Irish men born in 2030 set for life expectancy of 84 years with women reaching 87

Cancer death rates in men have declined by eight per cent over the past five years, but cancer deaths among women have only fallen by four per cent, a new  study shows. Photograph: PA

New study finds improvement is slower in women because of rising lung cancer deaths

Batman Begins:  Researchers are closing in on technology deployed to power the flying cape in the film Batman Begins.

Caped Crusader’s capacity for flight moves a step closer after latest advance in research

Julie Sinnamon, CEO of Enterprise Ireland, speaking at the agency’s End of Year statement 2016 and the launch of its 2017-2020 strategy. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Agency invests €32m in companies, many in science, technology, engineering and maths

Trinity College Dublin’s Prof Kingston Mills: The vaccine  “is the greatest ever medical invention for preventing human diseases”. Photograph: David Sleator

Prof Kingston Mills claims social media are being used to erode confidence in vaccines

Hearts’ Aaron Hughes and Hibernians’ Brian Graham battle for a header during a Scottish Cup match at Tynecastle earlier this month. File photograph: Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

New research finds brain damage associated with the disease in retired soccer players

Prof Michel Destrade, chair of applied mathematics in the School of Mathematics, Statistics and Applied Mathematics at NUI Galway. Photograph: Aengus McMahon

Human body did not evolve to cope with most important organ moving inside skull

John Ward, a Traveller making tinware near Galway, in 1971. Photograph: Pat Langan.

Study finds Travellers emerged as distinct group up to 200 years before Great Famine

Aircraft surveying in Co Galway. Credit: Sander Geophysics Ltd and Geological Survey Ireland

A nationwide geological survey is helping to find Ireland’s hidden treasure – and hidden dangers

Trinity College Dublin professor in genetics Aoife McLysaght. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Move could open up new treatment options for difficult to treat conditions

Dr Barry Doyle: front centre, with colleagues from the Vascular Engineering Laboratory at the University of Western Australia

‘We hope to begin by printing organs that are alive and can be implanted into animals, to help us work towards one day being able (...)

 Dr Paul Cotter is filmed  by the BBC for ‘Trust Me, I’m a Doctor’. Photograph: Leila Finikarides/BBC Television

Teagasc’s Dr Paul Cotter will appear on ‘Trust Me, I’m a Doctor’ on Wednesday night

Receiving their  Royal Irish Academy gold medals on Tuesday were  Louis Cullen (left), professor emeritus in history at  Trinity College Dublin, and Fergus Shanahan, professor and chairman of the department of medicine at University College Cork and director of the APC Microbiome Institute. Photograph: Johnny Bambury

Research professors from Trinity and UCC awarded gold medals for achievements

Prof Mark Ferguson, director-general of Science Foundation Ireland, said Brexit offers great opportunities for Ireland to attract leading UK scientists. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien

Science Foundation Ireland among funders planning for exodus of scientists post-Brexit

Artist’s impression of Saccorhytus  Credit:  Jian Han, Northwest University, China

540 million year old fossils reveal ‘very first stages of evolution’, say researchers

Science Foundation Ireland conducted a survey among young people to see what they thought about Stem and found that the student’s primary concern when choosing their college course was “fitting in” with others, not the subject material.

High dropout rates in science and maths at third level must also be addressed

The substance is so important that without it you could not fight the flu virus. Photograph: David Cheskin/PA Wire

TCD scientists believe biochemical could play role in boosting weakened immune system

UCC professors John Cryan and Ted Dinan, leaders of the research on prebiotics and stress. Photograph: Catherine Buckley/APC Microbiome Institute

UCC researchers have developed a dietary method of combatting worry and anxiety

Bees foraging in Limerick this week.  They may be tricked into breeding too early by the weather. Photograph: John Breen

The insects have started early due to the weather, but a cold snap could wipe out hives

Chinese president Xi Jinping and US president Barack Obama formally commit to the Paris agreement in September 2016. Photograph: Stephen Crowley/The New York Times

As temperatures and CO2 levels rise, Donald Trump is set to go back on Paris agreement

An innovative soft robotic sleeve which can help a heart to beat has been developed by researchers including Dr Ellen Roche (above) of National University of Ireland Galway.

Dr Ellen Roche pioneers sleeve for placing around heart which beats in synchrony with it

Central to the work, which involved  Trinity College Dublin, St James’s Hospital, the Coombe hospital and the University of Hull, was the isolation and study of cancer stem cells. Photograph: Getty Images

Scientists discover way to make radiotherapy more effective in oesophageal cancer care

Shay Walsh, managing director BT Ireland (left) and Richard Bruton, Minister for Education (right)  with Overall BT Young Scientist & Technologist of the Year 2017 Shane Curran from Terenure College with his project qCrypt: The quantum-secure, encrypted, data storage solution with multijurisdictional quorum sharding technology in the Technology section, at the 2017 BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition. Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

Shane Curran develops encrypted data storage system ‘guaranteed to remain secure’

Ian McDonagh from Merlin College with his project on the Cures and Folkways of the Irish Traveller at this Years BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition. Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

Ian McDonagh carries out survey of herbal cures and healers used by Traveller community

Liam O’Meara (13) from Castletroy College Limerick with his traffic sensor exhibit   at  BT Young Scientist & Technology exhibition. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

Student’s traffic light sensor moves drivers through intersections safely and more quickly

Primary school pupils at the RDS Primary Science Fair in Dublin. Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

The study is one of dozens of class projects at this year’s RDS Primary Science Fair

Mike Brown, professor of planetary astronomy, points to the gold ring showing the orbital path of Planet Nine at Caltec in California. Photograph: Patrick T Fallon via Getty Images

Most astronomers are sceptical about the existence of Planet Nine, but mathematical models suggest there is something unseen out(...)

Emily Murphy from St Mary’s Secondary School Mallow with her project on the production and combustion of fuel pellets made from waste coffee grounds at this Years BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition. Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

Cork schoolgirl Emily Murphy says method could reduce waste and provide fuel source

President Michael D Higgins addresses the opening ceremony at the 2017 BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition. Photograph: Alan Betson

President Higgins praises students as he officially opens 2017 exhibition at Dublin’s RDS

 Aimee O’Neill and Margot Moore, first year students from Loreto Foxrock, join James Soper of the Ultimate Science Show at the launch of the BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibitioin, at the RDS. Photograph: Eric Luke

Almost 1,150 student exhibitors are preparing to display 550 projects at the RDS

Arctic Ocean: There is no doubting the reality of human-induced climate change, says Prof Brian Ó Gallachóir, professor of energy policy and modelling at the environmental research institute at UCC. Photograph: Arterra/UIG via Getty Images

Seas have been heating up for 75 years as notion of ‘global warming hiatus’ overturned

The team ran brain scans on people with ASD and on healthy volunteers, looking for any differences between the two.

Team believes discovery points towards new therapies

The researchers say full-sugar soft drinks account for a third of UK teens’ sugar intake, and are a major cause of increasing rates of obesity and Type 2 diabetes

Diet alternatives cannot promise weight loss and may trigger weight gain, says study

Olivia Buckley from John The Baptist Community School in Limerick investigated whether yoghurt is good for foals. Photograph: Liam Burke/Press 22

Annual show with 550 research projects set to attract 50,000 visitors to RDS in Dublin

This whole discovery thing about research is over rated.

. . . and none of the reasons make any sense

Valitacell chief executive Dr Terry McWade: co-founded the company with Dr Jerry Clifford.

UCD-based Irish biological drug firm lists GE and MedImmune among clients

The researchers set out to see if Listerine could curb the growth of N gonorrhoeae involving 33 men from among 196 bisexual and gay men who had previously tested positive for the bacterium. Photograph: Getty Images

Researchers in Australia demonstrate that Listerine kills off bacteria that causes disease

Astronomers based in the UK and Ireland have watched the weather change on a planet 1,000 light years distant.  File photograph: iStock

First time direct evidence for phenomenon found on exoplanet, says DCU researcher

Jonathan Coleman holding a piece of G-Putty while his son Oisin holds a piece of Silly Putty. Photograph: Naoise Culhane.

Mix of graphene and Silly Putty hundreds of times more sensitive than existing versions

Cervical cancer cells showing green flourescence. The new chemo does not react to healthy cells, said Prof Eoin Scanlan of Trinity’s school of chemistry. Photograph: Eoin Scanlon

Chemotherapy drug locked in sugar molecule, which opens when it finds tumour cells

Alzheirmer’s treatment: The Implantation of brain probes was considered too invasive. Photograph: Getty Images

Researchers find effect of LED light on brain cuts concentration of degenerative plaque

A total eclipse falls on a small but well defined portion of Earth and the researchers used this information to measure the Earth’s current and past rotation. Photograph: Getty Images

Slowdown happening at breakneck speed in the context of our planet’s extended history

The most severe scenario is where high levels of contamination reach us that demand imposition of food controls and agriculture protective actions extending over 60 years. Photograph: Getty Images

Expert model shows best-case consequence of minor episode implies €4bn cost to State

“Is that Santa?”: A Perseid  in the sky above the ESO’s Very Large Telescope in  Paranal in Chile. Photograph: S Guisard/ESO/PA Wire

Joining the ESO would have long-term benefits for astronomers and astrophysicists

Anti-fracking protesters outside the Dáil. Minister for the Environment Denis Naughten said that   decisions on fracking “should be made on the basis of peer-reviewed science”. Photograph: Leah Farrell/RollingNews.ie

The impact of fracking can be controlled and regulated, according to the EPA’s report

People from Leitrim on a protest at the Dáil against fracking in their area. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Decision on controversial process welcomed by green lobby comes on back of EPA report

Prof Mark Ferguson: joins a group that will review the progress and impact of Horizon 2020.  Photograph: Bryan O’Brien

Group will map out the future of EU research, development and innovation

An aedes aegypti mosquito: “These expansions are putting at risk large human populations that never experienced aegypti-borne viruses and therefore have no immune defences against them.”   Photograph: Juan Carlos Ulate/Reuters

Mosquito now cross-breeding and is hatching for 12 months of the year

‘Lepisiota canescens’ ants killing a termite. Photograph: Daniela Magdalena Sorger

Newly discovered species forms ‘supercolonies’ that can spread beyond 30km wide

Research found that only certain foods triggers this snoozing response, with protein-rich foods and salty foods both encouraging a “food coma”, but not sweet foods. Photograph: Getty Images

Fruit flies help scientists to understand why too much food makes us sleepy

Turkey eggshells and bones from a ritual 1,500 years ago in Mexico. Photograph: Linda Nicholas/Field Museum

Newly unearthed evidence shows Thanksgiving dish was on menu 1,500 years ago

About 350,000 tonnes of biodegradable municipal waste have been loaded so far this year into the seven landfill sites that have reached their annual licensed capacity.

Landfills in Wicklow and Meath permitted to take more waste than EPA licence limits

Prof Don Barry:  Bernal Institute at UL is academia, government and industry all working together to create a “gamechanger”. Photograph: Sean Curtin Press 22

Investment of €86 million attracts leading scientists into UL’s Bernal Institute

The scientists found families of immune cells develop during an immune response, producing waves of fighters programmed to  die at different times after an infection starts.

Scientists at Maynooth help develop means of tracking work of immune system’s T-cells

Many runners have chosen to go minimal when running, but the great majority of runners remain attached to their expensive footwear.

Running in minimal shoes and landing on balls of feet may cut injury risk, research says

Prof John Sweeney: “Ireland’s position is beginning to be well known in the wider world as a delinquent country when it comes to walking the walk rather than talking the talk about climate change”

Climate expert Prof John Sweeney says failure to move on emission cuts could cause reputational damage

vcvcc The Rising Sons Brewery turned to science when naming its “Dark Matter” Porter (above), with the mystery about dark matter and dark energy under constant scrutiny by scientists.

Biochemistry drives the brewing process and affects the ultimate flavour of the beer

A volunteer using the “soft” robot device that can help help stroke patients to walk again

‘Soft’ design means device helps independent walking and retrains muscles and joints

The mathematicians are developing a detailed theory of coffee brewing aimed at producing the ultimate morning brew.

Larger grains can make weak coffee while smaller grains can make it bitter

Dimples are on a golf ball because a struck ball spins, and the spinning ball goes twice as far as a smooth ball

Science and technology are at the heart of designing golf clubs and balls

Winner of the Research Image of the Year: “Organic ChemisTree, a Telescopic View”, by Andrea Zanetti, a chemistry PhD student at UCD. The tree is made of copper salts crystallising out of a green chemical mixture. The blue sky was provided by a laboratory glove.

Science Foundation Ireland’s award scheme expands to include best early career scientist

Severe storms are now more commonplace,  World Meteorological Organization secretary-general Petteri Taalas has said. “Because of climate change, the occurrence and impact of extreme events has risen.” Photograph: Nic Bothma/EPA

World Meteorological Organization releases provisional ‘status of global climate’ statement

The treatment has been shown to work in mice and is ready for human trials. File photograph: Getty Images

UCC researchers show how treatment prevents deterioration in the sight of mice

Mycobacterium abscessus has managed to become a global threat to those with cystic fibrosis  and other lung diseases. File photograph: Getty Images

Mycobacterium abscessus is drug resistant and resists conventional cleaning methods

The actual apple tree under which Sir Isaac Newton sat when a falling apple inspired him to develop an explanation for gravity. Photograph: Ann Moynihan

Seeds from 400-year-old tree to be distributed to 30 science centres, including Belfast

Donald Trump: As president, what would he make of research into embryonic stem cells that causes the death of embryos? Photograph: Reuters/Carlo Allegri

Trump is likely to back science research based on business payback

Scientists in Cork have discovered a drug that increases appetite, in a development they believe may point the way to a drug that can trigger weight loss. File photograph: Getty Images

UCC scientists believe discovery also has the potential for treatments to tackle obesity

Small particulate pollution coming from diesel engines, particularly trucks and buses can build up in cities and towns to cause health issues for those breathing them in. Photograph: Frank Miller

Report highlights hidden costs of failing to maintain quality environment in Ireland

Prof FitzGerald said: “It is an issue that is massive for the world and we must play our part.”

Economist Prof John FitzGerald says both Irish Government and EU are responsible

Magnets have always been a part of wireless communications but the current generation has peaked when it comes to the frequency of a radio signal

Trinity College Dublin team will lead €4.4m project that aims to speed-up data links a thousandfold

The Arctic is heating up faster than anywhere else and the results are plain to see: the ice is melting. Photograph: Cory Glencross/iStock/Getty

The Earth’s atmosphere now carries over 400 parts per million of carbon dioxide

Lough Derg: “The big thing for Ireland is rainfall and storms, with rainfall either too much or too little,” says Dr Conor Murphy of Maynooth University

Data is pointing to a much stormier future, plus extreme rainfall events

 Danny Healy Rae (right), with his brother and fellow TD Michael Healy Rae. Photograph: Alan Betson / The Irish Times

It is not clear whether he developed the theory himself or took it from another source

A girl getting vaccinated against HPV. Photograph: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Use of the vaccine ‘could eliminate nearly 90 cervical cancer deaths a year and the need for 280 women a year to undergo treatment(...)

Protesters at the COP21 World Climate Change Conference in Paris in December 2015. The conference was aimed at reaching an international agreement to limit greenhouse gas emissions and curtail climate change. Photograph: José Rodriguez/EPA

Atmosphere has highest carbon dioxide levels in 3.5 million years, 400 parts per million

Ireland is grossly underinvesting in cycling and pedestrian infrastructure, according to a report from the UN’s Environment Programme. Photograph:  Nick Bradshaw.

UN report says 20% of transport budget should be spent in area but just 1% will be in 2016

Prof Richard Reilly, director of the Trinity Centre for Bioengineering at  Trinity College, Dublin and Prof Richard Costello,  consultant physician in respiratory medicine at Beaumont Hospital, who have developed the Inca (Inhaler Compliance Assessment) device for people with respiratory disorders.

Two old friends have created an inhaler attachment for people with asthma

A capuchin monkey breaks its hammerstone as it strikes an embedded cobble in the Serra da Capivara National Park, Brazil. The monkeys preferred to lick off the stone dust and then throw the flakes away. Photograph: T Falótico

Capuchin monkeys make sharp stone flakes similar to those made by ancient humans

Minister John Halligan with  Julie Byrne of Nokia Bell Labs in Ireland and Lorraine Byrne of Amber, the materials science institute at Trinity College Dublin

Trinity and Nokia Bell Labs are developing components for next generation electronics

Science Foundation of Ireland funding awardees Gerard O’Keeffe, of University College Cork; Roger Preston, of the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland  and Nuala Mai Caffery, of Trinity College Dublin. Photograph: Jason Clarke

Forty projects share windfall with awards ranging from €450,000 to €870,000

Shafi Goldwasser: “My lecture will be on the tension between utility of big data and the risks it presents to our privacy, fairness and in general the right to be left alone.”

MIT professor to explore risks and benefits of ‘big data’ in Hamilton Lecture in Dublin

Image released by Nasa today  was  taken by  Hubble space telescope covering a portion of the southern field of the Great Observatories Origins Deep Survey. Among other data, scientists used the galaxies visible in the survey  to recalculate the total number of galaxies in the observable universe. Photograph: Nasa/EPA

Astronomers make estimate of 2 trillion - but many galaxies are still lurking in the dark

The system “can successfully answer synthetic questions designed to emulate reasoning and inference problems in natural language”, say scientists. File photograph: Getty Images

System analyses data by blending neural network and standard computer memory

Science Foundation Ireland receive 3.5% increase to €162.5 million

Irish researchers have won 75 awards, worth €97million, since 2007 across the full range of disciplines in the humanities, social sciences and the sciences.

Prof Jean-Pierre Bourguignon, president of the council which gives grants, visiting Dublin

Bread: Gluten, a protein found in grains such as wheat, barley and rye, can cause serious problems if eaten by those with coeliac disease. Photograph: Frank Miller

Research also shows that internet-based self-diagnosis of conditions is ‘rife’

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