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The National Standards Authority of Ireland (NSAI) is recognising the collaborative efforts of thousands of experts in Ireland who are contributing to achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals.  

Ahead of World Standards Day taking place on Saturday, 14 October, the NSAI hosted its annual World Standards Day Standards Forum and Awards Ceremony. This event recognises the important work that standards committee members undertake throughout the year. The annual forum and awards ceremony was opened by Minister of State for Business, Employment and Retail, Mr Neale Richmond TD.  

The Forum celebrated committee members in fields such as AI, climate action and innovation and reflected this year’s World Standards Day theme - “A Shared Vision for a Better World” with a focus on the Circular Economy. The event was centred around standards influencing the circular economy, helping to shape a better, safer and sustainable future and focused on the work needed to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). 

Minister of State for Business, Employment and Retail, Mr Neale Richmond TD speaking at the ceremony said:

The NSAI does such important work, both for Irish businesses and consumers. Standards play a crucial role in Ireland’s economy; they keep us safe and encourage businesses to innovate and develop best practice. As we continue to focus more on the circular economy, with a focus on re-using and re-cycling materials, standards will only become more relevant. This event celebrates the work of the NSAI and the contribution Ireland has made to European Standards over the past 50 years of Ireland’s EU membership. Thank you to all those in the NSAI who have worked to develop both Irish and European Standards.” 

The NSAI develops standards that contribute to reaching the UN SDGs such as reducing our carbon footprint and bettering environmental practice. The green transition, moving towards a cleaner energy system and protecting ecosystems are priority actions Ireland must deliver. The development of international standards with an Irish input will assist the development and growth of the circular economy in Ireland. The NSAI identifies and prioritises standardisation work in areas related to climate action such as wind energy, solar energy, alternative transportation fuels, heat, transportation electrification, and the circular economy.  

Speaking to the importance of World Standards Day, NSAI Chief Executive, Geraldine Larkin said: 

“Our forum and awards ceremony today recognise the ongoing contribution of standards, and the standardisation community in Ireland, in shaping a safer, better and sustainable world. World Standards Day highlights the importance of standards in today’s economic environment and the valuable work of the experts who contribute to the development of standards. A circular economy can have positive environmental, economic and social impacts, such as reduced plastic pollution, new jobs, and better quality, longer lasting, consumer products and standards.”    

The NSAI Awards award categories and the winners included: 

NSAI 2023 Contribution to European Standardisation Special Award – A once off award to acknowledge the role of an organisation for its contribution to European Standards development on the 50th year of Ireland’s EU membership. 

  • Dr. Aideen Hartney & Dr. Gerald Craddock on behalf of Centre for Excellence in Universal Design, National Disability Authority 

NSAI 1997 Award – given to members of NSAI Committees in recognition of their significant contribution to national and international standardisation over many years. 

  • Dr. Eric Farrell (expert in geotechnical standards, AGL Consulting Ltd) 
  • Mr. Colin Short (civil engineer, expert in construction sector standardisation, Colin Short Associates) 
  • Dr. David Filip (expert in AI standardisation, Hauwei Ireland) 

NSAI Innovation Award – given to individuals and organisations that embed standards development into their research, development or innovation activities. 

  • Dr. Susan Rea and Dr. Alan McGibney, Munster Technological University for the DENiM Project (Digital intelligence for collaborative ENergy management in Manufacturing) 
  • Ms. Delaram Golpayegani, Trinity College Dublin for research in AI risk and standardisation 
  • Mr. Dylan Doherty, Dublin City University as part of Grain-4-Lab Research Project (demonstrating through standards that 3D-printed compostable petri-dishes are a viable alternative to fossil fuel based single-use petri-dishes). 

NSAI IEC Young Professionals – competitive process for young standardisation professionals to represent Ireland at the IEC international Young Professionals Programme 

  • Ms Catherine Gorton, Ward and Burke Construction 
  • Mr. Ahmed Sheikh, EirGrid 

Concluding, Larkin said: 

“NSAI works closely with businesses to create, adapt and implement standards, recognising the importance of innovation in our economy. NSAI’s input is assisting the development and growth of the circular economy in Ireland and standards play a vital part in supporting the Irish Government’s commitment to the implementation of a circular economy as set out in the Whole of Government Circular Economy Strategy 2022 – 2023.”  

Standards are not always evident, but they impact every aspect of life, from energy efficiency requirements of household appliances to connectivity of mobile phones. Standards provide business, government and society with a platform for positive change.  They help enable trade, protect the consumer, and ensure that products and services can be relied upon nationally and across the world.  

NSAI is encouraging people to get involved in the development of standards. NSAI is always seeking individuals with a variety of backgrounds to join their technical standards committees to make a positive impact on our environment. By introducing new concepts and ideas to a standards committee, researchers and innovators can promote multi-stakeholder quality standards development and gain professional recognition from industry peers, all while helping to establish a new and improved norm which could contribute to Ireland’s ambitious climate targets. 

NSAI invites individuals and organisations to become part of the solution and to get involved in the development of standards by visiting nsai.ie/standards/standards-committees. Alternatively, interested parties can have a say on new standards being developed by visiting nsai.ie/standards/your-standards-your-say/.