We wish to congratulate our colleague, Edwin Alblas, PhD scholar, for reaching the finals of the National PhD “Making an Impact” competition. This competition, organized by the Higher Education Authority and the Irish Independent, challenges young researchers to communicate their research to a lay audience and explain why it matters to society. At the event, which was held in Dublin City University (DCU), he got the opportunity to present the Effective Nature Law project’s goals and methods to an audience of about 400 secondary school students from across Ireland, as well as to a jury consisting of representatives from the HEA and the Independent.

The key message Edwin emphasised in his presentation was the need to protect nature more effectively by designing nature protection rules that actually work. One way in which he engaged with the audience was by introducing an Instagram photo competition for the students in the audience, asking them to post their best nature photo using the hashtag #effectivenaturelaws, with the chance to win free pizza. This Instagram competition – under the heading ‘sharing is caring’ – generated many positive responses.

Edwin’s achievement in reaching the national finals highlights the important impact that the ERC project seeks to make in improving the effectiveness of European nature laws in practice.