Áine McCarthy, a Law student from Trinity, has been named as runner-up in the 2017 A&L Goodbody Bold Ideas Student Innovation award. McCarthy put forward recommendations to the Irish government on how to better promote Ireland as a centre for global data. McCarthy lost out on first place, with Conor Leavy of Dublin City University (DCU) being named overall winner.
The introduction of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) next year has seen the issues surrounding data security and privacy being openly discussed amongst the businesses community. McCarthy put forward multiple recommendations which included, the possible introduction of a data summit, the addition of data as a subject for both secondary school students and as a possible degree at university level. Her proposal encouraged investment into clean energy, so that data centres could be more environmentally friendly, giving them the opportunity to locate to more rural areas.
Speaking to Trinity News, McCarthy said: “My proposals included the introduction of data courses in schools and colleges, the implementation of a rural data centre scheme, which would include a Chinese FDI campaign and the hosting of an international data conference”.
McCarthy also looked at the importance of improving infrastructure across Ireland in order to attract more foreign investment, “environmental and infrastructural improvements are required to attract businesses to Ireland and there is a need for an increase in Ireland’s comprehensive double taxation agreements”.
Further elaborating on her proposal to introduce data as a potential secondary school subject she said: “A data studies course could be introduced throughout schools for the Junior or Leaving Certificate, with the course being incorporated into the Transition year programme. The subject could include topics such as data processing, data legislation, coding, encryption, data analytics and statistics”.
This is the sixth year that A&L Goodbody has held the Bold Ideas competition, the winner and runners-up are selected by a panel of three expert judges. McCarthy and fellow runner-up Dylan Markey of the National University of Ireland Maynooth , both received iPad minis for work on their submissions. First prize winner, Conor Leavy received a total of €4,000 in cash along with an internship at A&L Goodbody’s head office in Dublin.