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Sports scientist, lecturer at SETU and podcaster, Bruce Wardrop, will lift the lid on the role body composition plays in performance, how fit elite athletes need to be and how you can predict performance based on laboratory tests as part of this year’s South East Science Festival.

The performance expert will address second level pupils in Waterford as part of the Festival of over 50 free events for adults, families, students and the wider public. Supported by Science Foundation Ireland, the Festival runs throughout Waterford city and county, Clonmel and Carrick on Suir in Tipperary and across Carlow from November 9 to 16.

High performance

“We monitor the body composition of high-performance athletes and help them to try to optimise it – looking at how much body fat they have but also how much muscle mass they have; that we get the right combination of fat masse and lean mass.

“We will also look at how fit an elite cyclist needs to be. We’ve had a chance to work with professional cyclist, Sam Bennett, over the years and we will be talking about his performance levels and what makes him an elite performer in his area. We will also examine how we can predict performance based on the tests that we do in the laboratory, using the Dublin marathon as an example,” said Bruce.

He continued: “Of course there are some genetic traits that people have and they are fixed so they cannot be changed. But they are not the only things that predict performance. We can’t quite manufacture an All-Ireland winning hurler or camogie player in the. But we can certainly take someone and optimise whatever characteristics they have to give them the best chance of succeeding in their sport.

“There is so much more involved than just one special thing that determines what will make an elite performer. It comes down to their mindset. It comes down to their physiology, their biology, their training history. There is so much in just psychology alone – their determination, their motivation and what drives them. There is a whole milieu of things that come together to determine whether someone will succeed in sport. It’s not simply that a tall person will be good basketball player or a muscular person would be a good rugby player. There is a lot more to it and we will be discussing this during my presentation."

CALMAST Director, Dr Sheila Donegan.

Action packed

South East Science Festival is run by CALMAST in SETU with support from Science Foundation Ireland, the EPA, local authorities across the region and local industries such as MSD, WEST Pharma, Bausch and Lomb, Sanofi, Abbott and Haleon.

The action-packed programme includes a host of engaging and fun events, quizzes and competitions for primary and secondary school audiences and a family Sunday in Theatre Royal Waterford on Sunday November 12th.

This year’s South East Science Festival also has a very serious and solutions-driven agenda. Discussion and debate will take place in key areas such as tackling coastal erosion with Copper Coast geologist, Robbie Galvin,  and the science behind networking at a Networking Ireland event at Faithlegg House Hotel.

What it means to be human

With the theme of this year’s Science Week being ‘Human and What it means to be Human’, invaluable tips and insights into how to increase your ‘healthier life span’ and optimise wellbeing will be shared by renowned Waterford-based medic, Dr Mark Rowe, at SETU . South East Astronomy and Copper Coast Geopark team up for an unmissable exploration of the dwarf planets in our solar system. That event takes place in the Geopark itself.

It’s the 26th year of the Festival and there’s something on the 50 plus events programme for everyone from school groups to knitters and crafters and those with an interest in comedy, whiskey and Sci-Fi films . CALMAST Director, Dr Sheila Donegan, said the South East  Science Festival programme has evolved over the years to meet advances in science, technology, engineering and Maths and offer the general public an insight in pressing areas such as artificial intelligence, healthy ageing and general wellbeing.

“People think of Science Week and they automatically think that everything is focused on schools and on children. South East Science Festival has something for everyone. Whether you’re curious about what makes whisky taste different, want to know more about combating coastal erosion, learn more about our solar system, our events show just how relevant the scientific principles of physics, chemistry and biology are in our everyday lives.

Magnet for science

“The South East has become a magnet for science, technology and pharmaceutical firms. The growing sector offers  great job prospects for graduates with science-related skills and a world of opportunities,   rewarding salaries and a chance to travel the world. We want to showcase how exciting and wonderful science is to all age cohorts, all groups and further boost the take-up of STEM-related programmes in SETU and other universities.

“Our Festival has grown over the past 25 years and have evolved with the times. We are encouraging anyone with a spirit of adventure and who is curious about the world around us to have a look at the programme, book their free place now. Wherever you live in the South East, there is something on your doorstep and we’d love to have you along,” she said.

Other events running as part of the free South East Science Festival programme for adults, schools, children and the family include a look into connections between geology, soil and nuanced flavours in whiskey, the unique customs behind the traditional Irish wake and the perils and benefits of artificial intelligence.

The important role of science in everyday life and in everything from skilful circus tricks to crafting patterns and our mental wellbeing will also be unveiled to captive audiences ranging from primary school children to adult groups in schools, libraries, theatres, community hubs and more. For information on all of the South East Science Festival events, log on to