Pictured: Dr. Suzanne Denieffe, Head of SETU School of Humanities; Claudia Green, Geoarchaeology Research Associates – Portalis; Dr. Joseph Schuldenrein, Geoarchaeology Research Associates – Portalis, Professor Veronica Campbell, President of SETU; Dr. Stanton R. Green, Geoarchaeology Research Associates – Portalis. 

President of SETU, Professor Veronica Campbell, launched SETU at the residence of the Irish Ambassador to USA, Geraldine Byrne Nason, in Washington D.C. The international launch took place in line with the first anniversary of SETU’s establishment as a technological university in May 2022.  

Professor Campbell and SETU colleagues, including members from the Portalis team, travelled to Washington D.C. to attend the reception hosted by Ambassador Byrne Nason in honour of the visit of Mr Niall Collins, Minister of State for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science. This visit coincided with the 75th Annual NAFSA Conference and Expo – the world’s largest international education event attended by international educators from over 100 nations. The theme of this year’s event is “Inspiring an Inclusive Future”, one that aligns closely with SETU’s ambition of inspiring futures for its people across Ireland and the world.   

This launch came after the recent unveiling of SETU’s Strategic Plan 2023-2028, “Connecting for Impact”, that outlines the university’s priorities for the coming five years. The plan aims to develop inclusive education and high-quality research, that drives innovation, empowers communities, and delivers transformative impact for the south east of Ireland and the world. Minister Collins welcomed the opportunity to support Irish Higher Education Institutions at NAFSA, noting that his presence indicated the importance the Government attached to international education in Ireland, as well as highlighting the role Technological Universities have to play in this area.    

Pictured: Professor Veronica Campbell, SETU President, Niall Collins TD, Minister of State at the Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, Orla Keane, Deputy Ambassador, Embassy of Ireland, Washington DC.  

 Prof. Campbell commented, “A key part of this mission is that of our global strategic alliances, including our partners here in the US, that we value highly. This is just the beginning of a period of significant growth for SETU, marrying over 50 years of experience from the merger of our former regional institutions, to build an exciting global technological university of impact in Ireland, and beyond.”  

“Ireland has become one of the fastest-growing global economies by constantly recalibrating to the needs of tomorrow and looking to future-proof itself against the demands of a rapidly changing world. The establishment of a new network of technological universities, such as SETU, is a key part of this recalibration. SETU is deeply committed to supporting impactful research, addressing current and future needs of citizens, and to nurture partnerships and engagement with the world,” continued Prof. Campbell.  

Portalis is one such project that is making an impact through its research which is looking to address current and future needs of citizens. The transdisciplinary pilot project explores the earliest connections between Wales and Ireland during the Mesolithic period, where evidence of our early coastal settlers can be traced from the Early Mesolithic period, 10,000 years ago. 

The project is citizen led, working closely with local communities to protects our natural and cultural  heritage and its natural habitats and wildlife by facilitating citizen led transfer of knowledge on heritage conservation at key coastal visitor destination heritage sites. To date, the project has reviewed existing archaeological, geological, and environmental evidence, and developed exciting new data carried out through new drilled core sampling, excavation, and lab analysis. This has been made accessible through the project’s design work within its visitor experiences and online resources. 

Attending the launch in Washington D.C., Dr. Suzanne Denieffe, Head of SETU School of Humanities, said “The Portalis Project is a wonderful example of an international trans-disciplinary project , including citizen scientists and academics, all coming together to look back in time to the Mesolithic period, and using the evidence uncovered to help inform us  in our current time of climate change.  I was delighted to be able to link with our American project colleagues at the Irish Embassy  event.”

The Portalis project, €1.95m, is supported with €1.5m funding from the European Regional Development Fund through the Ireland Wales Cooperation Programme, www.irelandwales.eu. The project is led by South East Technological University, (SETU) and is supported by the University of Wales Trinity Saint David, Ceredigion County Council and Waterford Chamber of Commerce. 

For more information on SETU’s global ambitions and Strategic Plan 2023-2028, “Connecting for Impact”, click here