Thursday 14 - Saturday 24 February

Queen’s hosts over 30 events as part of the NI Science

Queen’s University Belfast is again opening its doors to the public as part of this year’s Northern Ireland Science Festival.
Queen’s will host over 30 events across the campus throughout the 11-day festival, which will give the public the opportunity to experience the world-class research and innovation taking place at the University.
The festival kicks off today, Thursday 14 February, and offers a stimulating and wide range of events focusing on the wonders of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

This year’s Queen’s events include:

• Belfast on the Brink- Belfast is on the brink of a pandemic – an airborne virus is sweeping across the city. For one day only, Queen’s Medical Biology Centre is acting as Belfast’s Centre for Disease Control and visitors are invited to participate in the journey of Discovery to Recovery, Saturday 23 February. 

• Meet the researchers fighting global diseases at an interactive tour of Queen’s Centre for Cancer Research and Cell Biology and the Wellcome-Wolfson Institute for Experimental Medicine, Saturday 16 February 

• Join Queen’s lecturer Dr Alan Fernihough to hear about his ongoing research on The Causes and Consequences of the Great Irish Famine at ‘Was the Great Irish Famine an Ecological Disaster?’, Wednesday 20 February

• The Sonic Arts Research Centre at Queen’s University opens its doors to the public to show a range of current VR (Virtual Reality) works. Come and have a look, and listen to 360 sounds in the unique Sonic Laboratory at Immersive Technologies, Saturday 23 February

• The Laughter Laboratory brings years of laughter research in the School of Psychology at Queen’s University into the open, Saturday 23 February

To find out more about the NI Science Festival please visit:
When: 14-24 February 2019.
Where: Across the Queen’s University Belfast campus and beyond. For a full programme of events, including times and locations, please visit:

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Thursday 14 February

The Purpose of Universities Today

Public debates about the role of universities have tended to be polarised in recent years.

On the one hand neo-liberal views present universities as institutions with a singular focus, which is to compete with each other by demonstrating how effective they are at equipping students or research partners to succeed in market society.

On the other hand, traditional accounts of the intrinsic value of university education and research that have challenged such neo-liberal thinking can often appear to be either nostalgic or elitist. We need to reconstruct the purpose of the university today by moving beyond this unhelpful debate. The argument presented here suggests that the most fruitful way to do this is to present universities as instruments of social freedom.

Shane O'Neill is a Visiting Research Professor at the Senator George J. Mitchell Institute for Global Peace, Security and Justice at Queen's University Belfast. He is a political philosopher and critical social theorist who worked at Queen's from 1994 to 2016. He served for an extended term on the University Executive, as Dean of the Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, and he was instrumental in establishing the Institute. Since 2016 he has been Professor of Political Theory at Keele University in England, where he also serves as Pro Vice-Chancellor for Planning and Advancement and Executive Dean of the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences.

Tea and coffee will be served in the Canada Room from 5.00pm.

The lecture will take place in the Council Chamber at 5.30pm.

Phone: 028 9097 3609/1346

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Thursday 7 February

Victims, Perpetrators and the Legacies of Violent Conflict debate

The Senator George J. Mitchell Institute for Global Peace, Security and Justice at Queen’s University Belfast will host a debate exploring the subject of Victims, Perpetrators and the Legacies of Violent Conflict.

The debate will discuss the legacies of violent conflicts round the world, considering the roles and relationships involving victims and perpetrators. It will focus on Northern Ireland as well as other settings.

Dr James Waller, Cohen Professor of Holocaust and Genocide Studies at Keene State College, New Hampshire and Dr Cheryl Lawther, Lecturer in Law at Queen’s University Belfast are the key speakers.

Dr Waller is also the Chair of Holocaust and Genocide Studies at Keene State College. He is author of five books, most notably Becoming Evil: How Ordinary People Commit Genocide and Mass Killing (Oxford University Press, 2nd ed., 2007) and Confronting Evil: Engaging Our Responsibility to Prevent Genocide (Oxford University Press, 2016). In addition, Dr Waller is the author of 28 articles in peer-reviewed professional journals, 20 chapters in edited books, and is a senior editor of two edited volumes currently in production. His latest book, A Troubled Sleep: Risk and Resilience in Contemporary Northern Ireland, is due to be published in late 2019.

Dr Lawther’s research interests are in the fields of transitional justice, truth recovery, victims, ex-combatants, reparations, emotions and conflict transformation. Her article Securing the Past: Policing and the Contest over Truth in Northern Ireland, published in the British Journal of Criminology was awarded the Brian Williams Article Prize by the British Society of Criminology in July 2011. From September 2016 - September 2017 Dr Lawther was seconded to The Senator George J. Mitchell Institute for Global Peace, Security and Justice at Queen’s as a Senior Research Fellow.

The debate will be followed by a Q&A session.  

For more information, please visit:

The debate is open to the public and free. Registration is not required.

WHEN: Thursday 7 February 2019, from 4.30 – 6.30pm. Doors will be opened from 4.30pm.

WHERE: Canada Room and Council Chamber, Queen’s University Belfast

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Friday 18 January

The Past, Present and Future of Economics - Book launch and roundtable discussion

An Economist’s Guide to Economic History, a new book aimed at introducing economic history as a field of study to economics lecturers and their students, will be officially launched at Queen's Management School on Friday 18 January, 2019.

The book, edited by Dr Matthias Blum and Dr Chris Colvin from the Centre for Economic History at Queen's Management School, was published in December 2018 by Palgrave Macmillan.

The launch will coincide with a roundtable discussion on the past, present and future of economics as a discipline, with a particular focus on how it is taught at university and understood by the general public.

Panellists include:

  • Professor Wendy Carlin CBE (University College London), economist and director of the CORE Econ project, which aims to overhaul the way introductory economics is taught at university
  • Professor Nicholas Crafts CBE (University of Warwick), economic historian and expert on UK productivity across the past two centuries
  • Mr Paul Winfree (Heritage Foundation, Washington DC), health economist and President Trump's former senior advisor on budgetary policy.

The event is free and open to the public.

Please register to secure your place via eventbrite.

For more information on the book, please visit:

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25 October


Thursday 25 October 

Join us on 25 October in Queen’s University Belfast for the next event in our Global Challenges Debates Series and hear from world-leading experts to discuss some of the greatest challenges facing us today.

Hear from Professor David Livingstone (QUB) and Professor John Hedley Brooke (Oxford).

See further details here.

Monday 21 January

Future of the Corporation, Economy and Society debate

Queen’s University Belfast, in partnership with the British Academy, will host a debate on ‘The Future of the Corporation, Economy and Society’.

The Future of the Corporation is a major new initiative by the British Academy that is addressing the purpose of business and asking what its role in society should be. It is led by Professor Colin Mayer FBA, Peter Moores Professor of Management Studies at the Saïd Business School, University of Oxford.

Professor Mayer and Professor Sir Paul Collier FBA, will be taking part in the debate.

Professor Mayer was the first Professor at the Saïd Business School in 1994, and the first Director of the Oxford Financial Research Centre between 1998 and 2005. He is a Professorial Fellow and Sub-Warden of Wadham College and an Honorary Fellow of Oriel College and St Anne’s College, University of Oxford. He is a Fellow of the British Academy and the European Corporate Governance Institute. Professor Mayer is a member of the UK Competition Appeal Tribunal, the UK Government Natural Capital Committee, the International Advisory Board of the Securities and Exchange Board of India, and the Board of Trustees of the Oxford Playhouse.

Professor Sir Paul Collier is Professor of Economics and Public Policy at the Blavatnik School of Government and a Professorial Fellow of St Antony’s College, University of Oxford. He is a Director of the International Growth Centre and a Professeur invité at Sciences Po, Paris. His research covers fragile states, the effects of aid and the problems of democracy in low-income and natural resources rich societies, urbanization in low-income countries, and private investment in African infrastructure and changing organizational cultures. In 2014, Professor Sir Paul Collier received a knighthood for services to promoting research and policy change in Africa.

The debate will be followed by a Q&A session.

For more information, please visit:

The debate is open to the public and free. Registration is not required.

WHEN: Monday 21 January 2019, from 5.00 – 6.30pm. Doors will be opened from 4.30pm.

WHERE: Canada Room and Council Chamber, Queen’s University Belfast

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For more information please read our Equality and Diversity Policy.

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