Niamh Shaw black and white

Niamh Shaw, Dr.

Award-Winning Science Communicator & Educator, Explorer, Writer, TEDx speaker

why book niamh?

  • Academic and ‘space communicator’ who is on a mission to see the Earth from space.
  • Adventurer who has carved out a unique career in sharing stories of her space and science adventures
  • Awarded a space on the prestigious Homeward Bound project for influential women in STEM
Niamh Shaw black and white

Biography

Niamh Shaw cares deeply about our planet and has devoted her life to exploring Earth from the ground and above, from space. Experiencing life in the extremes she reports on science assignments from the most remote parts of the world to lead the change for a healthier and more sustainable planet and has ambitions to report one day about the planet from space. She is an experienced keynote as well as host of many events spanning over 10 years.

An accomplished space & science reporter for The Irish Times, BBC Sky at Night magazine, RTE and BBC radio, Niamh is an engineer with a science PhD, author of her memoir ‘Dream big’, presented the ‘Space Hub’ segment on RTE’s Home School Hub (during the COVID pandemic), and is global faculty at the International Space University. An international Fellow of The Explorers Club and Ireland’s first and only European Space Agency ESA Champion her work has been acknowledged by Science Foundation Ireland, the European Space Agency, her alma mater UCD and Women’s business network WMB. Based in Ireland & the US, she has over 12 years expertise in writing & communicating STEM & space topics. She’s on a quest to get to space as writer and educator, to report on science assignments from the remotest parts of the world and lead the change for a healthier and more sustainable planet.

In 2013, at 42 she transformed her life. Without a clear plan but plenty of passion, she left a successful career in performance (with two seasons on RTE’s Fair City) and full-time academia to pursue a path led by her values. Armed with her strongest skills in STEM communication & performance, she re-focussed on her 35 year old dream: to share the view of our planet from space.

Niamh Shaw black and white

It’s a tough path but 10 years on, she’s achieved so much already – she’s joined 93 other female scientists on a Women in STEM voyage to Antarctica as part of the prestigious Homeward Bound project, participated in Mars science analogues in the deserts of Utah and Botswana, reports on human launches to space from the USA and Kazakhstan, and has explored many extreme parts of the world. A key part of her work is to share her personal experiences of every adventure with the public, to highlight the fragility of our planet and to inspire, educate and encourage people to explore what happens when we dare to Dream Big.

Highlights

  • Fellow of The Explorers Club
  • 1st Irish person awarded ‘ESA Champion’ (Education)
  • 1st Irish person on a simulated Mars mission (Crew 173, Mars Desert Research Station)
  • 1st Irish person to complete a zero gravity flight (Cosmonaut Training Centre,Moscow)
  • ‘Outstanding Contribution to STEM Communications’ (SFI,2018)
    Space Features writer:The Irish Times, BBC Sky at Night
  • Global faculty, International Space University
  • Interviewed over 15 NASA/ESA/CSA astronauts, incl Chris Hadfield
  • TV Presenter & writer of ‘Space Hub’, Home School Hub (RTE TV)
  • Author:’Dream Big’ Mercier Press
  • 3 funded international theatre shows
  • Over 100 STEM school visits
  • Over 25,000 people at Space & STEM Education public events
  • Over 200 science/space segments on BBC, RTE, Newstalk radio
  • Over 50 national & international keynotes, incl TEDxUCD, TEDxAUBG, Aras an Uachtarain

Topics

Sustainability

Sustainable at Home

We’ve all seen Greta Thunberg and David Attenborough’s urgent appeal for us to save our planet. Our hearts ached when we see animals affected by our life choices, the melting icecaps, the rising sea levels and increasing CO2 levels . And we all felt a sense of guilt and responsibility to do something about it. But what is that? How can my personal actions impact a problem as enormous as climate change. Where do you even start? What even is climate change?

This talk makes the topic of climate change relevant to the individual, which explains how nature seeks balance and how climate change has forced the planet to be out of balance. The audience will learn how to be more sustainable at home, and the impact that we can make on the ground in solving the bigger issue of climate change.

Niamh spent 15 days living as if on Mars as part of a simulated mission in the Utah desert, and it completely changed her relationship with the planet and her life choices. She’s taken it to the extreme, living minimally so that she can continue to learn more about living sustainably. Using the unique perspective of space, She wants to share her experiences with the general public to help break down barriers around climate change.

A New Perspective: What Space Can Tell Us About Our Planet

Niamh wants to share a unique perspective of our planet from space. In early 2017 she spent 15 days on a simulated Mars mission in the Utah desert which completely changed the way she lives on Earth. By being deprived of the resources we take for granted every day, she saw it as an opportunity to downsize, minimise and develop a better understanding of climate action in the community. Because surviving in space is hard, it reminds us just how lucky we are to have our beautiful Earth. It also shows us simpler and smarter sustainable solutions to living on Earth, that can be applied in the workplace and at home. Space exploration is not just about seeing what lies beyond, but also about understanding our planet better, taking better care of it and making better use of what we already have. Niamh can provide talks and bespoke workshops on Space for Sustainability and on  the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.

Living in the Extremes: Putting Earth’s Needs First

Dr. Niamh Shaw will soon be heading to the Antarctic as part of a global leadership programme about climate change. She wants to share what she has learned so far about our planet and climate change from space, her mission to the Antarctic, her previous mission to the Kalahari desert in Africa and how we can make lasting change in our homes and places of work.

Key takeaways from this keynote include

  • Making climate change personal
  • What we can do better
  • Shifting focus

Motivation

Making the impossible, possible

Niamh is on a personal quest to get to space and to share a unique perspective of Earth from space. An engineer, scientist, writer and performer, she shares her passion for space in a unique and accessible way. But more importantly, she shows us that if we have a vision and a just cause, anything is possible. In this talk, she inspires others to seek the freedom that comes from changing your mindset from finite and short-term to infinite and for the greater good of mankind.

Women in Science

Owning It – ALL of It

Dr. Niamh Shaw is on a personal quest to get to space. She wants to achieve this for many reasons; firstly to challenge the perception she had of herself for the first half of her life and secondly to share a unique perspective of Earth from Space. A daughter of a blue-collar family she was the first-generation college graduate, and while she grew up in a house where she was encouraged to pursue a career in STEM, she was still held back by her own unconscious biases as a woman, and from a housing estate in Dundalk.

This is a perfect talk for Women in STEM events, but also any audience who needs to consider the freedom gained from changing your mindset from finite to infinite.

Key takeaways from this keynote include

  • Changing the stories we tell ourselves
  • The importance of mentors and role models
  • Seeing is believing

Thinking Big: How to share your story with impact and integrity

Niamh is an award-winning science communicator and a champion for women in STEM. With honours and master degrees in Engineering and a PhD in Science, she’s also an experienced writer and performer whose first book, Dream Big (Mercier Press), was published in 2019. There is no better person who understands how to craft a story from science and connect with audiences.

Niamh provides bespoke workshops on effective communication, public speaking and talks about a new approach in attracting women into science and STEM careers.

STEM

Education and Outreach for our younger citizens

Niamh regularly visits schools and communities to engage them in science and STEM through space topics. A regular contributor to Space Hub news for RTE’s Home School Hub and After School Hub, she worked with Blackrock Castle Observatory and the European Space Agency’s Education and Outreach Office (ESERO Ireland) to develop a Space badge of three unique suites of activities for the Irish Girl Guides. She is available to discuss bespoke workshops, talks and experiments.

Niamh Shaw, Dr.

Videos