Dr Paul Trinder RIP

I mourn the passing of this man who developed the Trinder method for salicylates among other things. Professor Rory O’Moore from St James and TCD told me to go see him for advice. He told me to get a good chemical analyst and a mathematician in the Chemical Pathology Department. He was correct. I knew it then and it remains true today but a molcular biologist could be added to the list. The year was 1982.

Paul was a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry and was a fundamental chemist by nature. He was also a Fellow of the Royal College of Pathologists in London.

Dr Paul Trinder on 6th January. Paul was a former Top Grade Biochemist at Sunderland Royal Infirmary and a founder member of ACB.There is to be a “celebration” of Paul’s life at Sunderland Crematorium at 10:00 onTuesday 20th January. In lieu of flowers Paul’s family have asked for any donations to be sent to St Oswald Hospice in Newcastle.

Research shows a doubling of PhD graduates working in industry between 2000 and 2010

Trinity College Dublin in partnership with LinkedIn carried out an analysis of 11,000 PhD graduates from Irish universities over the last 20 years
Caoilfhionn Ni Dheorain (left) and Martha Nic Ionais from Coláiste Chillain in Dublin make final preparations for the BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition at the RDS in Dublin. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA
Dr Diarmuid O’Brien
Wed, Jan 7, 2015, 00:02
First published: Wed, Jan 7, 2015, 00:02

This week there are 4,616 students at the BT Young Scientist exhibition who are demonstrating the depth of our national talent base.
This is timely, as following the economic downturn Ireland’s economy is now growing again. A large part of the growth is being driven by Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) and export-orientated businesses. However, the narrative to promote industry investment has evolved; Ireland is now building an investment case based on talent.
There are many indicators of this transition. The recent Forfás policy statement on FDI in Ireland highlights both talent and research as key investment factors; the American Chamber of Commerce published a report on “Ireland as a global centre for talent”; and Martin Murphy Hewlett Packard’s MD at the Dublin Chamber of Commerce annual dinner noted that future internationally mobile investment will be increasingly won by regions with talent availability.
Consistent with these trends Ireland is developing new innovation policy. The recent budget highlighted improved R&D tax credits and the new concept of a “knowledge box”. These new initiatives are dependent on talent.
A more advanced economy demands more advanced skills and talent. If there is agreement on the importance of talent, has investment in research during the recession resulted in a stronger talent base for Ireland? How do we know that our companies require a technical and more highly trained talent base?
Trinity College Dublin, in partnership with LinkedIn, has carried out an analysis of 11,000 PhD graduates from Irish universities over the last 20 years. The study looked at where these PhD graduates took their first job, the transition from academia to industry and how they compared with bachelor graduates during the same period. The data is based on LinkedIn profile information and is one of the first studies to capture a longitudinal analysis of the careers of our PhD graduates.
An interesting insight is the transition process from PhD to industry. Fifty-eight per cent of graduates following completion of their PhD took up a first role in academia.
However over time this situation changed significantly and by their fifth post, 63 per cent of the PhD graduates were working in industry.
Time lapse
The average time for a PhD graduate to transition from academia to industry was 2.7 years. This demonstrates that post-doctorate research is considered an additional career training step. It also highlights that there can be a seven-year window from the first investment in a PhD to a pipeline of industry-ready graduates. Research and talent development takes time.
The LinkedIn data shows a doubling of PhD graduates working in industry in the period 2000 to 2010. This represents both the growth in numbers undertaking PhD training and also the increased absorptive capacity of industry.
It also demonstrates how the ambition of Ireland’s Science Technology and Innovation Strategy in the period 2006-2013 to double PhD numbers has directly impacted on our talent competitiveness. This is an important input as our new science strategy is being developed.
The study also shows that a PhD graduate fills a different role in industry. More than 32 per cent of PhD graduates who move into employment in industry have roles in research; with another 21 per cent involved in engineering and information technology roles.
In comparison, only 5 per cent of the 70,000 BSc graduates who have LinkedIn profiles for the same period are working in roles in research.
In addition, the analysis shows that PhD graduates take more senior positions in industry than graduates – 46 per cent of PhDs versus 29 per cent of graduates enter in a “senior contributor” role. This strong interest in PhD graduates by employers is consistent with their skill profiles. PhD graduates have a more diverse and broader technical skill set than the graduates surveyed.
Demand for PhDs
In summary PhD graduates offer different skills, carry out different roles and fill more senior positions than the graduates surveyed. A PhD is a different form of education and increasingly a form which is demanded by employers.
Over this period, the survey shows Trinity College Dublin to be Ireland’s largest provider of PhDs; supplying 20 per cent of the national total. Trinity is using innovative approaches to develop researcher skills and to link them with industry.
Initiatives like the Trinity Innovation and Entrepreneurship strategy; the Trinity-UCD Innovation Academy and the newly formed Office of Corporate Partnership and Knowledge Exchange all focus on developing our PhDs to deliver both world-leading research and industry understanding.
Investing in research produces many tangible impacts: scientific learnings; intellectual property which can be commercialised and international collaborations which enhance our capacity to innovate. However, the most important benefit is talent. Graduates in a range of disciplines and at different levels make up the national talent pool but increasingly research-trained PhD graduates can help differentiate Ireland internationally.
Investment in research is fundamental to ensure that the full potential of the talent showcased at the BTYS is realised in Ireland and for Ireland. Dr Diarmuid O’Brien is director of Trinity Research and Innovation, O’Reilly Institute, Trinity College Dublin

Leinster versus Ulster

Superman ‘ecstasy’ pill deaths are result of ‘illogical and punitive drugs policy’

Former government adviser Dr David Nutt says ban on MDMA has resulted in more dangerous drugs coming on to market


Undated handout photo issued by Suffolk police of the superman pills. Photograph: Suffolk police/PA


The deaths of four men who had taken pills they thought were ecstasy are the result of the government’s “illogical and punitive drug policy”, a former drugs tsar has said.

Dr David Nutt, who advised the last government on drug policy until 2009, said the policy had targeted the production and sale of MDMA, only to see it substituted by a more toxic substance.

MDMA is the chemical name for ecstasy, but the pills bearing a Superman emblem that have been linked to four recent deaths – three in Suffolk and one in Telford – are believed to have been made with a high concentration of the chemical PMMA.

Suffolk police said on Monday that they had seized more than 400 pills matching the description of those believed to have been taken by two Ipswich men stashed in a public place in the city.

Writing for the Guardian, Nutt, who was sacked as the government’s senior drug adviser in 2009 after criticising its decision to toughen the law on cannabis, said PMMA and its close relative PMA have been responsible for most of the deaths – amounting to more than 100 – attributed to ecstasy by the media in recent years.

“Their re-emergence is directly due to the international community’s attempts, via UN conventions, to stop the use of MDMA by prohibiting its production and sale,” he wrote. “The emergence of the more toxic PMA following the so-called ‘success’ in reducing MDMA production is just one of many examples of how prohibition of one drug leads to greater harm from an alternative that is developed to overcome the block.”

Nutt, the Edmond J Safra professor of neuropsychopharmacology at Imperial College London, compared the situation to the rise in demand for more poisonous hooch after alcohol was prohibited in the US during the 1920s and the rise in production and injecting of heroin after smoking opium was banned.

He explained that the UN banned a number of precursor chemicals to MDMA, including safrole. As safrole supplies dropped, drug makers switched to chemically similar aniseed oil. “Unfortunately, the product that results from using the MDMA production process with aniseed oil is PMA or PMMA,” he wrote. “Hence, these substances only exist because of the blockade of MDMA production. That in itself wouldn’t particularly matter if they were not more toxic than MDMA.”

Nutt said there should be testing facilities for users, without fear of prosecution, like those in the Netherlands, or safe doses of pure MDMA should be available to registered users. “In the meantime, we should accelerate the testing of seized tablets and make public their contents and strengths on internet databases, so that all users can check what they might be taking,” he wrote.

A Home Office spokeswoman said: “MDMA, PMA and PMMA are all illegal class A drugs. They destroy lives, cause misery to families and communities, and this government has no intention of decriminalising them. No drug-taking can be assumed to be safe.”

The chief superintendent of Suffolk police, Jon Brighton, said the seizure of 400 pillson Sunday night was a significant development in its investigation into the deaths of the two Ipswich men.

“If these prove to be the same as those linked to these cases, we will have gone a significant way towards reducing the risk of further serious injury or deaths linked to this particular ecstasy pill,” he added.

A man has been charged and two men have been bailed after arrests made as part of the investigation into the deaths.

A 19-year-old Ipswich man, Adrian Lubecki, has been charged with being concerned in the supply of ecstasy and possession with intent to supply a class B drug. He appeared at Ipswich magistrates court on Monday and was remanded in custody.

2014 discussion on Newstalk with John O’Donovan, Derek Byrne, Brain O’Reilly and Donnacha O Croinin

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Bloggs, Stephanie, Eugene and Mary at Thomond

Mary, Eugene, Stephanie and Bloggs at Thomond

Guide me o thou great redeemer.

One of the most memarable experiences was standing in the Arms Park as Ireland got stuffed by the Wallonians in the 1970s with the crown singing this hymn. Very powerful emotions in the crowd. Every time we beat them sence, I always feel like shouting stuff the bread of heavin up your collective arses.

Same for Jerusalem with “Les Rose bief” !

At least when the “Marsaillaise” breaks out it not exactly a retreat from Moscow – no! Its usually a sneak back quietly to Dublin.

As for Diana – well Yes

Joe Cocker – Blues Rocker from Sheffield 1944 -2014 RIP and Thanks

Katherine Jenkins – Land of my fathers – Fantastic Anthem

Pamela Anderson. Now there a one.

Pamela Anderson