Geographical science: Where technology comes down to Earth

The Irish Times asked for material about the cutting-edge, technology-based postgraduate programmes we offer. Here is what we told them:

The Department of Geography at the National University of Ireland Maynooth is at the forefront of science-technology relations in the fields of Climate Change, Geographic Information Science, and Spatial Analysis.

Climate change is one of the most urgent global challenges facing society. Meeting these challenges requires graduates with an appreciation of science, policy and the interface between the two. The MSc in Climate Change at NUI Maynooth, the only course of its type in Ireland, provides students with these skills. In an era of change, national and regional governments, insurance companies, environmental consultancies, non-governmental organisations and research institutes are increasingly seeking employees with a well developed understanding of climate change science, impacts, risks and policy. By studying the MSc in Climate Change you will develop these highly transferable skills while working with some of Ireland’s leading and internationally recognised scientists in this field, including Professor John Sweeney, a Nobel Prize recipient as part of his work with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. One more degree could really make all the difference.

Geographic Information Science and Remote Sensing (GIS/RS) are transforming how society stores, analyses and uses a wide range of data in fields as diverse as health, crime, environmental management, geology and urban development. Maynooth offers the longest-established Irish postgraduate qualification in this field within the Department of Geography, drawing students from a wide range of subject areas and from within and outside Ireland. The course has consistently produced highly employable and flexible graduates working in a range of public, private and voluntary sector jobs. Research institutes associated with geography such as the National Institute for Regional and Spatial Analysis (NIRSA) and the National Centre for Geocomputation (NCG) are extending and deploying these revolutionary techniques to provide new and more precise understandings of geographical variation and change in the Irish society, economy, technology and environment and in the process helping government plan more adequately for an uncertain future. By taking the M.Sc. in Geographic Information Systems and Remote Sensing you can learn these techniques and be trained to apply them in a very wide range of subject areas. Another option is the associated MSc in Geocomputation run by the NCG and Computer Science in collaboration with the Department of Geography which follows a more technical training route.

Spatial Analysis includes the study of the regional and local variability of social and economic processes. We are concerned with the “where” as much as the “who” of policy debate. A close understanding of these patterns helps in population projection, economic planning, and the planning of provision in fields as various as health, education, and transport. With researchers at the Department of Geography, NCG, and NIRSA specializing in this field, Maynooth makes a major contribution to the Irish debate about its changing society. You may even be following each Sunday in the Irish Times the Map series in which NUIM specialists have been showing us how our society is changing between rural and urban areas, between Dublin and other cities, and all with serious implications for fairness and opportunity. You can study with these researchers by taking the M.A. in Society and Space.

If you want to learn more about these opportunities, and also about the PhD research you might do in these areas then you can visit our website at geography.nuim.ie. You can also come to meet us at our Postgraduate open day on 12 March (for details see our website). Geography at Maynooth is where technology comes down to Earth.

Gerry Kearns, Ronan Foley, Conor Murphy

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