Thursday, October 21, 2021

Athena Swan : presentation of the award to the Department of Biological Sciences


Following the earlier announcement of the renewal of Athena SWAN bronze award to the Biological Sciences Department, the co-chairs Dr Audrey O’Grady and Dr James Brown received the award and certificate on behalf of the departmental self-assessment team (co-chairs pictured with Prof Mey), on Tuesday 12th October, 2021. 

The award was presented on behalf of Athena Swan Ireland to the co-chairs by the first female president of an Irish university, and current UL president Professor Kerstin Mey (in a limited capacity COVID safe ceremony), along with presentation to awardees of the other eight Athena SWAN awards that UL attracted in 2020-2021, including Irelands first departmental Sliver award. 

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Teaching Hero: Dr Audrey O'Grady


In April 2021 Dr. Audrey O’Grady, was recognised as a Teaching Hero in the 2021 student-led Teaching Hero awards. The Awards are organised by the National Forum in collaboration with the Union of Students in Ireland and provide an opportunity for students across the country to recognise and celebrate outstanding teaching in Irish higher education institutions. This year students were asked to describe why their nominees deserved recognition as an innovative or inspiring teacher. Audrey was nominated by her undergraduate students who submitted both a written report and video. There was particular recognition for Audrey’s support of students during online teaching during restrictions.

Wednesday, September 8, 2021

Athena Swan Bronze Award

The department of Biological Sciences Athena Swan Committee are delighted to announce that we have had our Bronze Athena Swan Award renewed. Originally, the department was one of the first in Ireland to receive this award, recognizing our early leadership and commitment towards achieving equality for all staff and students.

The application was co-chaired by Dr. James Brown and Dr. Audrey O’Grady, and made possible by the hard work and helping hands of many staff and students in the department over several months. This award recognizes the department's commitment to creating a workplace that is inclusive, welcoming, and where everyone is treated equally, and with dignity and respect. This culture is important to us, to inspire and support all our students and staff, and we follow the motto “if you can see it, you can be it”, both as educators and as leaders in our communities.

The Athena SWAN charter is a framework that is used internationally to support and transform gender equality in higher education and research. The charter launched in Ireland in 2015 with a specific remit to encourage and recognise commitment to advancing the careers of women STEMM employment. The charter has since been expanded to include arts, humanities, social sciences, business and law (AHSSBL) and staff working in professional, managerial and support roles (PMSS). Notably, the department of Biological Sciences is the first department in UL to have a PMSS champion- Jackie Kennedy. We look forward to implementing our plan over the next 4 years, further building our department into a place where everyone is truly treated equally, and is a beacon of diversity and inclusiveness.

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Teaching Assistant in Biological Sciences (2 Positions) - 10 Month Fixed Term Contract


The University of Limerick (UL) with over 16,300 students and 1,700 staff is an energetic and enterprising institution with a proud record of innovation and excellence in education, research and scholarship. The dynamic, entrepreneurial and pioneering values which drive UL’s mission and strategy ensure that we capitalise on local, national and international engagement and connectivity. We are renowned for providing an outstanding student experience and employability and conducting leading edge research. Our commitment is to make a difference by shaping the future through educating and empowering our undergraduate and postgraduate students. UL is situated on a superb riverside campus of over 130 hectares with the River Shannon as a unifying focal point. Outstanding recreational, cultural and sporting facilities further enhance this exceptional learning and research environment.


Applications are invited for the following position:


Faculty of Science & Engineering


School of Engineering


Teaching Assistant in Biological Sciences (2 Positions) - 10 Month Fixed Term Contract


Salary: €31,319 p.a. pro rata


Further information for applicants and application material is available online from:


"A Teaching Assistant post in the University of Limerick operates as a training contract. The duration of the contract is limited to 10 months. However, it may be renewed for one further period only not exceeding 10 months. Applications will only be considered from individuals who have not already received two Teaching Assistant contracts.”


The closing date for receipt of applications is Tuesday, 18th May 2021.

Applications must be completed online before 12 noon, Irish Standard Time on the closing date.


Please confirm that you are currently eligible to work in Ireland. Applications by candidates who are not eligible to work in Ireland will not be processed.


Please email if you experience any difficulties

Monday, April 19, 2021

Congratulations to Rachael Blackmore


With a global viewership of 600 million, there will not be many who missed out on Rachael Blackmore notching up another historic achievement, passing the winning post in front, at the 2021 Aintree Grand National.  Winning the 173rd running of the race has shot her to a new level of jockey greatness, a fitting reward for someone who has shown phenomenal mental courage and resilience.

The Grand National transcends National Hunt racing into the wider public consciousness and her story, a balm in challenging times.  Rachael rode a perfectly judged race, clearing the last fence on Minella Times in front and with 494 yards to go, she pulled away with an almost unbelievable dawning that she was going to win. Rachael’s post-race quotes remind us of how demure and modest she is, someone who is admirably willing to stay grounded and focused.

Rachael has had a whopping 516 Irish rides this season and is currently 8 winners away from topping the Irish National Hunt leader board. There are 2 weeks left to the finale of this competition and Rachael is within reach of this title, although, she has not left us short of accolades this year.

All the staff of The Department of Biological Sciences would like to extend our congratulations to Rachael, to her family and of course, to her trainer Henry De Bromhead, with whom she has developed a remarkable partnership.


Amy Fitzgerald

Equitation Teacher & CD Diploma Equine Science

MSc, BSc, HSI Level 2 Coach


Tuesday, March 23, 2021

‘Follow your dreams’- Ireland Cheltenham hero Rachael Blackmore’s message for young girls


            Jockey Rachael Blackmore with the 'Ruby Walsh Trophy' after being confirmed as the 

        leading jockey at the Cheltenham Racing Festival. Photo by: Hugh Routledge/Sportsfile

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Two years after her first Cheltenham Festival win, Rachael Blackmore is now the second most successful jockey, after Ruby Walsh, at the world-famous jumps racing meeting. Plaudits soon amassed after her Champion Hurdle win aboard the 7-year-old mare, Honeysuckle, on day one and Rachael was on the front page of every newspaper the following morning.  She became the most welcome breath of fresh air jumps racing has seen in decades – a feel good story born from the heart of determination and integrity.  Rachael top and tailed the second day with winners Bob Olinger and Sir Gerhard, the third day aboard Allaho and Telmesomethinggirl and the final day with Quilixios.  She was a close second on A Plus Tard in the ultimate stayers race, The Gold Cup.

Twenty times champion jumps jockey, AP McCoy, has stated that she has single handily changed the face of racing.  Her success was the lift needed, and while Rachael would prefer to be recognised as a good jockey rather than a good female jockey, it would be remiss to denounce the impact she has potentially made for women in the sport.  She has broken new ground being the first woman to secure the coveted top jockeys’ award.  She has smashed the glass ceiling and the future will tell us of the true extent of the Rachael effect.

Rachael is once again second on the Irish jockeys leaderboard, with 5 wins separating her from her old rival Paul Townend with the Irish National Hunt season culminating at the end of April.   The 2015 equine science graduate has already filled us with more pride than we could ever have imagined.  A consummate professional, unassuming and with the sharpest of judgement we wish her the very best for what will be no doubt a brilliant future.  

Amy Fitzgerald

Equitation Teacher 

Department of Biological Sciences
School of Natural Sciences