Major investment in human genome research by joint SFI-HRB-Wellcome Trust funding

Major investment in human genome research by joint SFI-HRB-Wellcome Trust funding-image

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Professor Brian McStay, from, NUI Galway has secured €1.5 funding from the SFI-HRB-Wellcome Trust Biomedical Research Partnership to study uncharacterised regions of the genome that could advance our understanding of a wide range of human diseases.                                         According to Professor McStay, who works in the Centre for Chromosome Biology, School of Natural Sciences at NUI, Galway: "This project will explore some of the unmapped regions of the human genome that play a key role in how ribosomes, which make proteins, are made. We will look at the genetic factors that influence how ribosomes themselves are put together. We know that unregulated ribosome production plays an important role in many types of cancer, so a better understanding of what impacts ribosomes has obvious potential to help our understanding of cancer and a range of human diseases which are collectively termed ribosomopathies." Commenting on the award, Graham Love Chief Executive at the Health Research Board says, "This funding is not easy to get and competition is intense, so Brian’s success should be acknowledged.  Biomedical research like this, which will help us to better understand our fundamental human make up, is central to providing new avenues for scientists to explore in the search for better and more effective treatments." Dr Michael Dunn, Head of Genetics and Molecular Sciences at the Wellcome Trust, adds, "Wellcome Trust Investigators represent some of the very brightest minds in biomedical science.  We are delighted to make an award to Professor Brian McStay whose work aims to address an important aspect of basic chromosome biology that is still poorly understood.  The award provides generous, long-term, flexible funding, which we hope will enable Professor McStay to make significant advances in knowledge in this important field and thereby help the Wellcome Trust to achieve its mission of improving human and animal health." Professor Mark Ferguson, Director General Science Foundation Ireland and Chief Scientific Adviser to the Government of Ireland said,  "The SFI-HRB-Wellcome Trust Partnership supports research into some of the most pressing biomedical and clinical research questions in health, ultimately delivering a social impact by enhancing the quality of patients care.  This joint funding scheme also boosts Ireland’s biomedical research credentials internationally, thereby attracting investment and ultimately creating jobs.  The fact that Professor McStay’s study secured the funding ahead of international competition underlines the quality of the world class research taking place in Ireland." -Ends-

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Enactus NUI Galway Project Launch and Showcase

Enactus NUI Galway Project Launch and Showcase-image

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Students of Enactus NUI Galway recently held a project launch and showcase event. Enactus is a global student-lead initiative where students, along with the guidance of business and faculty advisors, create projects which benefit society socially, economically and environmentally and in doing so engage members of society. The recent event gave Enactus students the opportunity to present this year’s four projects, including the Wallflower Initiative, Bike Back, Eat Your Words and TARA, as well as the future plan for these projects. NUI Galway was one of the founding Irish teams of Enactus Ireland and this year will mark its fourth year of involvement. Guided by academic advisors and business experts, participating students from all disciplines form a team on their university campus and apply business concepts to create and implement community empowerment projects around the globe. The current Team Leader and master’s student at NUI Galway, Elizabeth O’Brien, has been involved in Enactus for three years and also attended the Enactus World Cup 2014 which took place last year in Beijing, China. Elizabeth said: “Enactus has given me the opportunity to improve our local community but also enhance my educational experience. It has helped me to understand special challenges and issues, develop solutions and make a difference in people’s lives. It was an honour to open our launch event and share the good work that we are doing.” Michael Campion, a lecturer at NUI Galway’s J.E. Cairnes School of Business and Economics, and Faculty Advisor for Enactus NUI Galway, said: “The typical student who engages with Enactus is enthusiastic and passionate about making things better for others. Designing and developing Enactus projects is not easy due to the criteria laid down and it challenges students to be creative, enterprising and tenacious. It’s a privilege to work with and support such students in their Enactus endeavours.” In May, Enactus NUI Galway students, along with seven other third-level institutions, will gather at the Chartered Accountants of Ireland in Dublin for the Enactus Ireland National Final 2015. This will give one team the opportunity to travel to Johannesburg, South Africa to represent Team Ireland for this year’s World Cup Final where Enactus students from 36 countries will be represented and each team will present their projects to a judging panel of global business leaders. -Ends-  

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Orbsen Therapeutics nominated for Spin-out Company Impact Award

Orbsen Therapeutics nominated for Spin-out Company Impact Award-image

Tuesday, 31 March 2015

NUI Galway spin-out Orbsen Therapeutics has been recognised by the annual Knowledge Transfer Ireland Impact Awards (KTI). Orbsen Therapeutics, a biotech company, was nominated for the Spin-out Company Impact Award. The KTI Awards acknowledge cases where knowledge transfer activities had a particularly significant impact on wider society and the economy. The announcement was made last week at a ceremony in the Hilton Hotel, Dublin. Minister of State for Skills, Research and Innovation, Damien English T.D. presented the awards, giving credit not only to the companies, but also to the research performing organisations that supported the success. Orbsen Therapeutics is Ireland’s leading cell therapy bio-technology company, based on the NUI Galway campus. It was founded by Professor Frank Barry and Professor Tim O’Brien of the Regenerative Medicine Institute (REMEDI) at the University. Orbsen has rapidly developed and patented a method for purifying a novel stromal cell from several adult human tissues. Stromal cells are rare cells (less than 0.01%) found in many tissues where they regulate and limit the immune system from launching attacks that can damage tissues during disease. Orbsen’s discovered and patented a method for specifically purifying these rare, therapeutic stromal cells and developing them for clinical use. To accelerate the clinical development of their cell therapy (Cyndacel-M), Orbsen has collaborated with 24 independent research laboratories across the EU to secure €24 million in EU research funding between 2013 and 2015. These EU funds are being used to develop Cyndacel-M through early-stage clinical safety trials across the EU. Specifically, between 2015 and 2018, Cyndacel-M will be tested in clinical safety trials in patients suffering from Diabetic Foot Ulcers, Autoimmune Liver Disease, Corneal Transplant Rejection, Diabetic Kidney Disease and Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome. In additon, the EU funds have enabled Orbsen to grow from a group of founders to a diverse team of 14 research scientists in the last two years. NUI Galway has supported Orbsen Therapeutics from the start, assisting in the development of Orbsen’s technology, while providing expertise and facilities. The University’s Technology Transfer Office then helped Orbsen develop a rapid Intelectual Property protection strategy, allowing Orbsen Therapeutics to begin the clinical trial process. NUI Galway has also been instrumental in connecting Orbsen with a network of EU collaborators to further their research. Orbsen Chief Scientific Officer Dr Stephen Elliman says of the nomination and the relationship with NUI Galway: “We are honoured to be nominated for KTI Spin-out Company of the Year. It recognises the huge efforts made by our own research team and our network of research partners to move Cyndacel to the clinic so efficiently. Also, we are grateful to NUI Galway for their support over the years. The TTO have been instrumental in our progress to this point and we continue to enjoy working with them.” Fiona Neary, Business Development Manager at Ignite Technology Transfer Office NUI Galway adds “We are delighted that Orbsen have been recognised in this category. The team has worked incredibly hard to achieve their goals and continue to go from strength to strength. They have always been a joy to work with.” For more information: http://orbsentherapeutics.com/ http://tto.nuigalway.ie/en/ -ends-  

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NUI Galway President’s Award for 1,000 Student Volunteers

NUI Galway President’s Award for 1,000 Student Volunteers-image

Tuesday, 31 March 2015

ALIVE Certificate Awards ceremony celebrates student commitment to community NUI Galway’s ALIVE Programme today celebrated 12 years of student volunteering with the presentation of awards to 1,000 student volunteers at a special ceremony on campus. The ALIVE certificate acknowledges volunteering efforts by NUI Galway student both on and off campus in a range of clubs, societies and community-based organisations. In attendance were community organisations from across Ireland to help recognise the valuable contribution student volunteers have made to their work and to society. Lorraine Tansey, NUI Galway Student Volunteer Programme Coordinator, said: “We come together annually as a university community with our community partners to acknowledge students’ commitment to volunteering. The ceremony is an important opportunity to pause and say thank you while also reinforcing positive engagement.” The goal of NUI Galway’s internationally-acclaimed student volunteering programme, ALIVE, is not only to connect students with volunteer vacancies but also mould and design graduates that make meaningful contributions to society as future volunteers and community members. Since the start of this academic year in September, students have organised fundraising events for Saving Grace, Irish Cancer Society, Serve, and Suas to name but a few. Volunteers have given their time weekly and generously to school programmes, Childline, Ability West, Shave or Dye events, computer skills programmes, Riding for the Disabled Ireland, Galway Healthy City research and scouting. Through these important community activities students are given a rich opportunity to build their skills for future employment and personal development. Volunteering also has a huge impact on health and well-being for all members of community. “With over 1,000 students achieving award for the contribution to enhancing the life of the campus and the communities across Ireland and internationally, NUI Galway are proud to support student engagement and all its benefits”, added Lorraine Tansey. This year’s ceremony featured a keynote speech from John Gilmore, NUI Galway Alumni and member of the International Advisory Committee to the National Youth Council of Ireland. During the ceremony, John shared his work with the European Youth Forum as current Vice President of the European Confederation of Youth Clubs and member of steering committee for the “No Hate Speech” Campaign as well as the strides he has made in his professional work as a nurse. LorraineTansey continued: “John brings together the epitome of an NUI Galway graduate, not only a very active volunteer for his passions and beliefs for equality for youth, but also a civic professional, pushing the boundaries of the world of nursing.” To find out more please visit www.nuigalway.ie/cki -Ends-

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Eight Years of Broken Promises: Replace the Lunacy Act

Eight Years of Broken Promises: Replace the Lunacy Act -image

Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Civil Society Coalition on Legal Capacity Reform Today, a broad disability rights alliance called on the Irish government to finally replace outdated ‘lunacy’ laws and end the crisis of widespread human rights violations against people with disabilities in Ireland. On the eight-year anniversary of Ireland signing the UN Convention on the Rights of Person with Disabilities, it called for an end to the foot-dragging on the Assisted Decision-Making (Capacity) Bill 2013  and for it to finally move to Committee Stage in the Dáil. Dr Eilionóir Flynn, Acting Director, Centre for Disability Law & Policy, NUI Galway said: “It seems unimaginable that a country would use a ‘Regulation of Lunacy Act’ from the 1800s to govern decision-making issues for people with disabilities. While horrific disability abuse scandals make national headlines, the 2013 Bill has been long-fingered by the government. The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities entered into force in 2007. Yet Ireland is one of only three EU governments that has failed to ratify it.” The government has promised to enact the Assisted Decision‐Making (Capacity) Bill following a law reform process that was initiated in 2008. This is a necessary precursor to Ireland’s ratifying the UN Convention. Yet reports indicate that the Bill published in 2013 may fail to be enacted in 2015. Tina Leonard, Head of Advocacy & Public Affairs, Alzheimer Society of Ireland, said: “People’s lives are being impacted by this delay. Today, thousands of people in residential centres, hospitals and in their own homes are having decisions about their lives and care made for them, not by them. These include decisions like what to eat or what they may spend their money on, as well as very serious decisions like what invasive health procedures they should have. This is a systematic abuse of their human rights caused by the ongoing lack of a legal framework on legal capacity." Colm O’Gorman, Executive Director, Amnesty International Ireland said:  “We  urgently need legislation that  enables  people to exercise their legal capacity and  autonomous decision-making. They should have access to the supports they need to fully exercise those rights rather than have decisions about their day‐to-day lives made by others. Otherwise they remain voiceless with no control over their own lives, and at risk of coercion, neglect or abuse.” Áine Hynes, Irish Mental Health Lawyers Association said: “We are calling on the Government today to take urgent action to bring the Bill to Committee Stage. We are also asking the Government to have a fresh look at our recommendations for how this Bill should be strengthened. It particularly needs to reform ‘informal decision making’ so potential for abuse is removed, and put in place safeguards for people who are effectively deprived of their liberty in residential settings.” Gráinne McGettrick, Policy and Research Manager, Acquired Brain Injury Ireland, said: “It is not just people with disabilities who are being let down by this failure to bring the Bill to Committee Stage in the Dáil. It is families who may feel forced to make their loved one a ‘ward of court’ to support them to manage financial assets. It is older people with age-related disabilities who remain open to abuse and lack of support. It is people whose informed consent is not currently required for mental health treatment, including electroconvulsive therapy, to be administered against their will. It is for all people who may require decision ­making assistance and safeguards at some point in their life. In other words, the Bill is for all of us.” Shari McDaid, Director, Mental Health Reform, said: “We are calling on the Government to keep its promise to bring the Bill to committee stage before the summer recess. We are also asking the Government to have a fresh look at our recommendations for strengthening the Bill, and in particular to affirm that people with mental health difficulties can have their advance decisions respected during mental health treatment.” Paddy Connolly, CEO, Inclusion Ireland said: “The Áras Attracta scandal in December 2014 shocked the Irish nation. But the revelation of abuse of people receiving disability support services is only the tip of the iceberg. The abuse shows the need for human rights-compliant capacity legislation to be swiftly passed and implemented as a matter of urgency.” -ends-

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Gold for NUI Galway Academic at Para-Cycling Track World Championships

Gold for NUI Galway Academic at Para-Cycling Track World Championships-image

Tuesday, 31 March 2015

NUI Galway academic, Dr Eoghan Clifford has won the World Title in the Men’s C1-2-3 Scratch Race at the UCI Para-cycling Track World Championships in Apeldoorn, Netherlands, which took place over the weekend. Dr Clifford is a lecturer in Civil Engineering and a member of the Ryan Institute for Environmental, Marine and Energy Research at NUI Galway. The Galway-based rider, who is the reigning road and time trial world champion and who was competing in his very first scratch race, also claimed bronze in Friday’s C3 3km individual pursuit. Dr Clifford burst onto the international Para-cycling scene last summer, when he won both the Road and Time Trial World Titles at the Para-cycling Road World Championships in the USA, and competed on the track for the first time this February, after being introduced to the track in January. Speaking after the win on Sunday, Dr Clifford said: “I stayed near the back for the first few laps, but when the attacks started after 5-6 laps I knew my legs were good. I’m not an explosive rider so I rode high on the track so I could cover moves, and when the pace died I put in a good hard dig to tire out people. With about 25 laps to go I put in one big huge attack when I saw the main guys boxed in, and I just kept going.  That was a long 25 laps! Once I caught the main group I rode through to the front to keep out of danger and keep an eye on the rest." This brings to an end another fantastic World Championships for the Irish Para-cycling Team, which won a gold medal and two bronze medals. Speaking at the end of the successful weekend, Dr Clifford was said: “We’ve had a great worlds; I’m delighted for everyone here. I couldn’t have asked for better support than Neill, Gerry, Tommy and Johnny, with it being my first time on the track it was great having these guys behind me. It was also great to have my family over here earlier in the week; I really hope they saw it online today.” -Ends-

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International Conference on Intercultural Theatre and Performance

International Conference on Intercultural Theatre and Performance-image

Monday, 30 March 2015

NUI Galway will host a major international conference on ‘Interculturalism and Performance Now: New Directions?’ from 10-11 April. The conference will feature leading scholars in intercultural theatre and performance studies from Australia, Canada, the United States, the UK and Turkey. The conference is being organised by NUI Galway’s Dr Charlotte McIvor, NUI Galway Lecturer in Drama and Theatre Studies, and Dr Jason King, a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Moore Institute, as part of an Irish Research Council funded project on ‘Interculturalism, Migration and Performance in Contemporary Ireland’ at NUI Galway. International experts such as Professor Rustom Bharucha from India, Professor Ric Knowles from Canada, and Professors Julie Holledge and Joanne Tompkins from Australia, among others, will give lectures about interculturalism, theatre and performance during the conference. Dr Charlotte McIvor’s new book, entitled Staging Intercultural Ireland: New Plays and Practitioner Perspectives, which she co-edited with Dr Matthew Spangler, an Associate Professor of Performance Studies at San José State University in California, will also be launched at the conference by Professor Patrick Lonergan, Director of NUI Galway’s Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance. The edited collection contains eight plays with critical introductions, and six interviews with migrant and Irish-born theatre artists who are producing work at the intersection of interculturalism and inward-migration in Ireland during the first decades of the 21st Century. The book offers a contribution to transnational migration studies, as well as intercultural theatre research in a global context. Dr McIvor said: “We are so excited to be welcoming some of the most distinguished experts from around the world to the campus and to Galway so that they can experience and visit Ireland’s most intercultural city. It is especially fitting that Staging Intercultural Ireland is going to be launched at the conference, which brings together the most distinguished experts in the field. It will help them get a sense of how intercultural theatre and performance have developed in Galway in Ireland.” During the conference, Stories of a Yellow Town will be performed by The Gombeens on Friday, 10 April from 4.30 – 6.30pm in the Bank of Ireland Theatre on campus. The play is based on an intertwining of true personal stories told in the words of the Brazilian and Irish people living in Gort, Co. Galway. The conference, launch of Staging Intercultural Ireland: New Plays and Practitioner Perspectives, and Dr Charlotte McIvor and Dr Jason King’s ongoing work on the Irish Research Council funded “Interculturalism, Migration and Performance in Contemporary Ireland” project all attest to the cutting edge research at NUI Galway on intercultural theatre and performance in Ireland. For more information or to register for the conference, contact Dr Jason King at Jason.king@nuigalway.ie. Registration fees will cost €30 for Faculty/Salaried and €15 for Postgraduate/Unsalaried. -ends-   

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Technologies which mimic the human eye to be developed for large space telescopes

 Technologies which mimic the human eye to be developed for large space telescopes -image

Monday, 30 March 2015

Scientists at NUI Galway are developing technologies which mimic the human eye for use in large space telescopes. This optics research activity is being carried out under a contract awarded by the European Space Agency (ESA) for €1 million, under the title ‘Active Optics Correction Chain for Large Monolithic Mirrors’, and it is funded by the ESA Technology Research Programme. The Principal Investigator on the project is Dr Nicholas Devaney of the School of Physics at NUI Galway. He has many years of experience developing adaptive optics systems for different applications, including astronomy, imaging of the human retina, and microscopy. Over the next four years, Dr Devaney and his colleague, Dr Alexander Goncharov, will design and build a functioning ‘active optics’ system suitable for application to space telescopes. Part of the work will be subcontracted to the prestigious Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Optics in Germany. According to Dr Devaney: “Active optics might be a solution to the problem of image blurring associated with large telescopes deployed in space. With active optics, the optical elements are adjusted until a sharp image is obtained. This is similar to the way in which our eyes are capable of focusing on both distant objects and objects that are close to us, by adjusting the shape of the lenses in our eyes.” The researchers believe that even more precise control can be obtained using specialised sensors, called ‘wavefront sensors’. These are specially designed to measure the deviation of the light waves from their ideal shape, while a ‘deformable mirror’ can be used to correct the light. The team will develop a device which they hope can be a prototype for integration into future, large space telescopes. The blurring in imagery in large space telescopes is caused by the use of ultra-thin mirrors which are inherently ‘floppy’. Engineers have developed these thin mirrors to reduce the weight of the telescope, and therefore the cost of launching them into space. Space telescopes can provide exquisite images of the cosmos, with a new generation of even larger telescopes coming on stream in the coming years. These will carry on the work of the likes of the Hubble Space Telescope, which was launched in 1990. The Herschel space observatory, launched in 2009 by the European Space Agency, had a telescope diameter of 3.5m. The James Webb Space Telescope will be launched by NASA in 2018, and it will have a diameter of 6.5m, almost three times larger than the Hubble Space Telescope. The European Space Agency is currently exploring enabling technologies for large optical systems in space, for observation of the universe or for observing the Earth itself. “Active optics has not yet been used in space, and it is necessary to develop it for future space telescopes,” explains Dr Devaney. “This technology has already been developed for telescopes on the ground. In fact many Earth-based telescopes have systems called ‘adaptive optics’ which even correct for blur caused by atmospheric turbulence.”  -ends-

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NUI Galway launches Strategic Plan with ambitious aims for 2020

NUI Galway launches Strategic Plan with ambitious aims for 2020-image

Thursday, 26 March 2015

• Catapult NUI Galway into the top 200 universities worldwide • Secure over €100 million in competitive EU research funds • Transform organisational culture to achieve gender equality • Provide 80% of students with work-based experience • Create new student accommodation and sports facilities • Enhance links with community through initiatives such as Industry and Innovation Hub and leading Galway’s European Capital of Culture bid NUI Galway’s President, Dr Jim Browne, today unveiled Vision 2020, the University’s new Strategic Plan 2015–2020. Over the next five years, the ambitious plan aims to catapult NUI Galway into the top 200 universities worldwide while securing €100 million in competitive EU research funds. For students, Vision 2020 promises work-based learning experiences across 80% of undergraduate programmes. Students will also benefit from new accommodation and enhanced facilities for field and water sports. Internationally, NUI Galway will maintain and grow the global spread of its student population, the five-year plan intends to have 25% of the student body coming from outside Ireland. Locally, the University plans to develop a major Industry and Innovation Hub and lead Galway’s bid for European Capital of Culture 2020. NUI Galway will also continue its key agenda of achieving gender equality and empowering staff to reach their full potential. At the unveiling of the plan to all university staff, Dr Browne spoke of the approach to the University’s 175th birthday in 2020 and how all present could be truly proud of recent successes: “The past decade has been a period of transformation and rapid growth especially in terms of our campus - with the development of new buildings, facilities and research laboratories. We have invested €400 million in our capital development. Now it’s time to build on the strengths of our people - to invest in and support our organisation as it becomes recognised locally and nationally and internationally as a university of choice, relevance and renown in the eyes if the world.” Catapult NUI Galway into the top 200 universities worldwide Bucking the national trend and consistently increasing its position over recent years in the most respected and competitive world rankings, - the Times Higher Education (314) and QS ranking (284) - NUI Galway was the only Irish university to increase its position in these two main international rankings. The European Commission’s U-Multi-rank system in 2015 scored NUI Galway the highest ranking of 4 A grades. NUI Galway also ranked in the Top 100 most international universities in 2015 in Times Higher Education’s indicator for international outlook. With its growing profile, NUI Galway will push its pursuit of an ambitious internationalisation agenda. It will commit to, and focus energy on being a top 200 ranked university by 2020. With this aim of becoming one of the world’s top-tier universities, it will build on relationships of substance that span the globe. This ambition will be driven by the University’s focus on internationally recognised achievements in specific areas of teaching, research, and community engagement. NUI Galway will maintain and grow the international nature of its student population. Vision 2020 commits the University to attract 25% of the student body from outside Ireland. Secure over €100 million in competitive EU research funds Building on the University’s success so far with European Research Council (ERC) grants, Vision 2020, commits to securing €100 million research funding from EU programmes. The University has prioritised five cross–disciplinary research themes, building on its international success: Applied Social Sciences and Public Policy; Biomedical Science and Engineering; Environment, Marine and Energy; Humanities in Context, including Digital Humanities; and Informatics, Data Analytics, Physical and Computational Sciences. A major success in recent years has been the expansion of PhD research at NUI Galway to have one of the highest rates of enrolment in Ireland on structured PhD programmes. The University will target in excess of 200 doctoral graduates per annum by 2020 and 80% of PhD students participating in structured PhD programmes, up from 40%. Transform organisational culture to achieve gender equality The University intends to serve and engage with its diverse communities in mutually enriching ways, through enhanced relationship on campus, in the region and around the world. Among its commitments to communities it serves, is its commitment to equality for staff. “NUI Galway is a university on a journey”, continued Dr Browne. Our grounds are open and welcoming, a centre of study and work, but also a place to visit, live work and play. Our human capital is our most valuable asset and we are committed to ensuring all colleagues have the opportunity to contribute fully and be recognised for their efforts. Our new Strategic Plan will actively respond to the developmental, professional and personal needs of all of our colleagues; transform the organisational culture to improve gender quality; and to secure Athena Swan award which recognises good employment practice for women working in higher education.” Provide 80% of students with work-placement opportunities and open new student accommodation and sports facilities The NUI Galway student is a global citizen and students are educated to be valued for their academic excellence, their distinctiveness, and their world readiness. Dr Browne explained: “Our first commitment is, and will always be, to our students and our commitment to delivering excellent academic and developmental opportunities for our students informs all our decision-making. NUI Galway’s reputation for top quality teaching is rightly celebrated and we will continue to provide, recognise and reward this teaching excellence.” The University’s teaching is widely recognised too in its successes in student retention and this very high rate of 84% will be maintained. The Strategic Plan outlines that 80% of all undergraduates will receive a work-based experience. The University is also recognised in its leadership in the use of online and blended learning technologies; and in its recruitment of students from non-traditional backgrounds. Vision 2020 will see these accomplishments enhanced, including revised admissions requirements for students applying from Northern Ireland and Great Britain. Among the targets outlined, the University has committed to the construction of new sports facilities, to include an elite water sports facility; 3G synthetic training and competition facility for all sporting codes; additional sports pitch; as well as an upgrade of existing natural grass surfaces. In addition, the University plans to make almost 1,000 new student residences available – bolstering its commitment to attracting international students. A new purpose-built home for Drama, Theatre and Performance will also be completed. The new Strategic Plan will enhance community partnership through initiatives such as an Industry and Innovation Hub and by leading Galway’s European Capital of Culture bid. ENDS Plean Straitéiseach seolta ag OÉ Gaillimh agus spriocanna uaillmhianacha aici don bhliain 2020 OÉ Gaillimh a bheith áirithe i measc an 200 ollscoil is fearr ar domhan Os cionn €100 milliún de chistí iomaíocha AE a ghnóthú Athrú ó bhonn a chur ar chultúr na heagraíochta chun comhionannas inscne a bhaint amach Socrúchán oibre a chur ar fáil do 80% de na mic léinn Áiseanna nua lóistín agus spóirt a chruthú do mhic léinn Naisc leis an bpobal a neartú trí thionscnaimh ar nós an Mhoil Tionsclaíochta agus Nuálaíochta agus ceannas a ghlacadh ar iarratas na Gaillimhe ar stádas mar Phríomhchathair Chultúir na hEorpa   Rinne Uachtarán Ollscoil na hÉireann, Gaillimh, an Dr Jim Browne, Fís 2020 – Plean Straitéiseach nua na hOllscoile, 2015–2020 – a sheoladh inniu. As seo go ceann cúig bliana, tá sé mar sprioc ag an bplean uaillmhianach an rangú atá ag Ollscoil na hÉireann, Gaillimh a ardú go tapa ionas go mbeidh sí i measc an 200 ollscoil is fearr ar domhan agus, mar aon leis sin, os cionn €100m de chistí iomaíocha AE a ghnóthú.  Maidir le mic léinn na hOllscoile, tá gealltanas in Fís 2020 go mbeidh eispéireas foghlama a bheidh bunaithe ar shocrúcháin oibre ar fáil in 80% de na cláir bhunchéime. Beidh tairbhe le baint ag na mic léinn freisin as árais nua chónaithe mar aon le háiseanna breise i gcomhair spórt páirce agus uisce. Ar bhonn idirnáisiúnta, méadóidh Ollscoil na hÉireann, Gaillimh líon na dtíortha as a dtagann a cuid mic léinn; tá sé mar aidhm ag an bplean cúig bliana seo gur as áiteanna lasmuigh d'Éirinn a thiocfadh 25% de mhic léinn na hOllscoile. Ar bhonn áitiúil, tá sé beartaithe ag an Ollscoil mol tábhachtach tionsclaíochta agus nuálaíochta a fhorbairt agus ceannas a ghlacadh ar iarratas na Gaillimhe ar stádas mar Phríomhchathair Chultúir na hEorpa sa bhliain 2020. Leanfaidh an Ollscoil freisin den chúram atá leagtha roimpi aici cothroime inscne a thabhairt i gcrích agus an fhoireann oibre a chumasú le barr a gcumais a bhaint amach. Agus an plean á chur i láthair fhoireann uile na hOllscoile aige, labhair an Dr Browne ar an gcur chuige a bheidh ag an Ollscoil nuair a bheidh cothrom 175 bliain a bunaithe á cheiliúradh in 2020, agus ar an mórtas ba chóir a bheith ar chuile dhuine a bhí i láthair as ucht ar baineadh amach le deireanas: "Tá athrú mór chun feabhais agus fás fíorthapa tagtha orainn le deich mbliana anuas, go háirithe i dtaobh an champais de, agus foirgnimh, áiseanna agus saotharlanna taighde nua ar an bhfód anois againn. Tá €400 milliún infheistithe againn san fhorbairt caipitil. Caithfimid anois cur le cumas ár ndaoine – infheistíocht agus tacaíocht a thabhairt dár n-institiúid agus í ag baint aitheantas áitiúil agus náisiúnta amach mar ollscoil a bhfuil clú, cáil agus meas uirthi ar fud an domhain mhóir." OÉ Gaillimh a bheith áirithe i measc an 200 ollscoil is fearr ar domhan Ainneoin gur ar gcúl a chuaigh ollscoileanna eile na tíre, tá Ollscoil na hÉireann, Gaillimh ag dul ó neart go neart le blianta beaga anuas sna ranguithe iomaíocha domhanda is mó a dtugtar aird idirnáisiúnta orthu – rangú Times Higher Education (314) agus rangú QS (284) – ba í Ollscoil na hÉireann, Gaillimh an t-aon ollscoil Éireannach a chuaigh chun tosaigh sa dá mhór-rangú idirnáisiúnta seo. I gcóras U-Multi-rank an Choimisiúin Eorpaigh in 2015, d'éirigh le hOllscoil na hÉireann, Gaillimh an rangú is airde – ceithre Ghrád A – a bhaint amach. Áiríodh Ollscoil na hÉireann, Gaillimh freisin ar an 100 ollscoil is idirnáisiúnta i rangú an Times Higher Education i leith béim idirnáisiúnta. Agus a próifíl ag neartú léi, cuirfidh Ollscoil na hÉireann, Gaillimh roimpi spriocanna uaillmhianacha don idirnáisiúnú a bhaint amach. Leagfaidh sí roimpi mar sprioc dhaingean a bheith áirithe ar an 200 ollscoil is fearr ar domhan faoi 2020 agus oibreoidh sí go fuinniúil ina leith sin. Agus é mar sprioc aici a bheith áirithe ar na hollscoileanna is fearr ar domhan, cuirfidh sí dlús breise le caidrimh thábhachtacha atá aici le dreamanna timpeall an domhain. Beidh an uaillmhian seo á tiomáint ag an mbéim atá ag an Ollscoil ar mhórghníomhartha a bhfuil aitheantas idirnáisiúnta acu i sainréimsí teagaisc, taighde agus rannpháirtíochta sa phobal. Méadóidh Ollscoil na hÉireann, Gaillimh an sciar dá mic léinn ar ón gcoigríoch iad. Tá sé mar aidhm ag Fís 2020 gur as áiteanna lasmuigh d'Éirinn a thiocfadh 25% de mhic léinn na hOllscoile trí chéile. Os cionn €100 milliún de chistí iomaíocha AE a ghnóthú Agus an Ollscoil ag tógáil ar a bhfuil bainte amach cheana féin ó thaobh deontais ón gComhairle Eorpach um Thaighde, leagtar sprioc dhaingean amach in Fís 2020 luach €100 milliún de chistí taighde a fháil ó chláir Eorpacha. Tá an Ollscoil tar éis cúig théama taighde thrasdisciplíneacha a shonrú mar réimsí tosaíochta, agus í ag tógáil ar a bhfuil bainte amach cheana féin aici go hidirnáisiúnta: Eolaíochtaí Sóisialta Feidhmeacha agus Beartas Poiblí; Eolaíocht Bhithleighis agus Innealtóireacht; Comhshaoil, Muir agus Fuinneamh; Daonnachtaí i gComhthéacs, lena n-áirítear Daonnachtaí Digiteacha; agus Ionformaitic, Anailísíocht Sonraí, Eolaíochtaí Fisiciúla agus Ríomhaireachtúla. D'éirigh thar cionn leis an Ollscoil le blianta beaga anuas ó thaobh méadú ar an taighde PhD agus tá ceann de na rátaí clárúcháin is airde ar chláir PhD struchtúrtha in Éirinn trí chéile ag an Ollscoil. Tá sé mar sprioc ag an Ollscoil 200 céimí PhD a bheith aici in aghaidh na bliana faoin mbliain 2020 agus 80% de na mic léinn PhD a bheith ag tabhairt faoi chláir PhD struchtúrtha, ardú ar an 40% atá i gceist faoi láthair. Athrú ó bhonn a chur ar chultúr na heagraíochta chun comhionannas inscne a bhaint amach Tá i gceist ag an Ollscoil freastal ar a cuid pobail ilchineálacha agus caidreamh a bhunú leis na pobail sin ionas go mbainfidh na pobail agus an Ollscoil araon tairbhe as an gceangal atá eatarthu; neartófar an gaol idir na pobail agus an Ollscoil ar an gcampas, sa taobh seo tíre trí chéile agus timpeall an domhain d'fhonn an sprioc sin a bhaint amach. I measc ghealltanais na hOllscoile do na pobail ar a bhfreastalaíonn sí, tá an gealltanas i leith comhionannas do chomhaltaí foirne. "Tá Ollscoil na hÉireann, Gaillimh ar aistear", a dúirt an Dr Browne. Tá tailte na hOllscoile fairsing agus fáilteach – áit le haghaidh staidéir agus oibre, ach áit freisin le cuairt a thabhairt air, le cónaí ann agus le siamsaíocht a dhéanamh ann. Is iad ár ndaoine an acmhainn is luachmhaire dá bhfuil againn agus tá rún daingean againn an deis a thabhairt dár gcomhghleacaithe uile a gcion iomlán féin a dhéanamh agus go bhfaighidís aitheantas as a gcuid iarrachtaí. Sa Phlean Straitéiseach nua seo, rachfar i ngleic go gníomhach le riachtanais fhorbarthacha, ghairmiúla agus phearsanta ár gcomhghleacaithe uile; cuirfear athrú ó bhonn ar chultúr na heagraíochta chun comhionannas inscne a bhaint amach; agus bainfear gradam Athena Swan amach mar aitheantas don dea-chleachtas fostaíochta do mhná atá ag obair san earnáil ardoideachais.” Socrúchán oibre a chur ar fáil do 80% de na mic léinn agus áiseanna nua lóistín agus spóirt a chruthú do mhic léinn Is saoránaigh den domhan mór iad mic léinn Ollscoil na hÉireann, Gaillimh agus oiltear iad ionas go mbeidh meas orthu as a bhfeabhas acadúil, a sainiúlacht, agus as a bheith ullamh don saol mór. Mar a mhínigh an Dr Browne: "Is dár mic léinn a thugaimid tús áite, agus beidh sé sin amhlaidh i gcónaí; an rún atá againn deiseanna acadúla agus forbarthacha den scoth a thabhairt dár mic léinn, is air sin a bhunaímid chuile chinneadh dá ndéanaimid. Tá clú agus cáil ar Ollscoil na hÉireann, Gaillimh as feabhas a cuid teagaisc agus leanfaimid den ardchaighdeán teagaisc seo a chur ar fáil, a aithint agus luach saothair a thabhairt ina leith.” Léiriú eile ar ardchaighdeán an teagaisc san Ollscoil is ea a fheabhas a éiríonn linn mic léinn a choinneáil; déanfar an ráta an-ard seo – 84% – a choimeád. Leagtar amach sa Phlean Straitéiseach go gcuirfear socrúchán oibre ar fáil do 80% de na mic léinn. Aithnítear fosta go bhfuil an Ollscoil ar thús cadhnaíochta i dtaca le teicneolaíochtaí ar líne agus teicneolaíochtaí foghlama cumaisc; agus i dtaca le hearcaíocht mac léinn ó chúlraí neamhthraidisiúnta. Ach a gcuirfear Fís 2020 i gcrích, neartófar tuilleadh an méid atá á bhaint amach sna cúrsaí seo; áirítear air sin riachtanais iontrála leasaithe le haghaidh mic léinn ó Thuaisceart Éireann agus ón mBreatain Mhór. Ar na spriocanna atá leagtha amach, tá gealltanas ón Ollscoil go dtógfar áiseanna nua spóirt – áis spóirt uisce éilíte ina measc; áis traenála agus comórtais shintéiseach 3G le haghaidh chuile chineál spóirt; páirc spóirt bhreise; agus uasghrádú ar na páirceanna féir atá ann faoi láthair. Lena chois sin, tá sé beartaithe ag an Ollscoil beagnach 1,000 áras cónaithe nua a chur ar fáil do mhic léinn – léiriú ar a dháiríre is atá sí mic léinn ón iasacht a thabhairt chun na Gaillimhe.  Cuirfear bailchríoch freisin ar áras saintógtha don Amharclannaíocht, Drámaíocht agus Taibhléiriú. Leis an bPlean Straitéiseach nua seo, déanfar naisc leis an bpobal a neartú trí thionscnaimh ar nós an Mhoil Tionsclaíochta agus Nuálaíochta agus trí cheannas a ghlacadh ar iarratas na Gaillimhe ar stádas mar Phríomhchathair Chultúir na hEorpa. CRÍOCH

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NUI Galway Events to Focus on Disability Support Training and Awareness

NUI Galway Events to Focus on Disability Support Training and Awareness -image

Thursday, 26 March 2015

NUI Galway's Disability Support Service will run two training and awareness events next week. The first, an Employability Career Seminar will take place on Tuesday, 31 March from 6-7pm in the Careers Seminar Room on the concourse. The Employability seminar will focus on the recruitment and employment of people with disabilities and will include talks on career options, disclosure requirements and general CV tips. On Wednesday, 1 April, a Personal Evacuation Emergency Procedures training and awareness event will be held in The Cube, Áras na Mac Léinn from 1.15-2.50pm. The training will give advice and demonstrations on emergency evacuation procedures from fire or other emergency situations. The course is being given by Billy Henderson of Henderson Fire and Safety, one of Ireland's leading experts on disability emergency evacuation procedures and is suitable for anyone with an interest in this area. Denise Keaveney, Disability Support Officer at NUI Galway, said: “Employability and emergency safety procedures are areas of major importance to all members of society and these events will offer practical and valuable information for anyone who has experience of, an interest in, or responsibility in these areas.” -Ends-

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NUI Galway Taskforce on Gender Equality

NUI Galway Taskforce on Gender Equality-image

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

The new Task Force on gender equality at NUI Galway held its first meeting today on campus. The University is fully committed to achieving equality of opportunity for all staff, irrespective of gender, and the Task Force was given a broad remit by the University’s Governing Authority to consider the present gender mix among staff, including academic and support staff, and to advise the University what measures it should take to develop gender equality and over what timescale. The Task Force comprises 16 members in total – eight external and eight internal – with a wide spectrum of expertise and different perspectives. 11 of the 16 members are female, and a number of members are leading experts in the fields of equality and diversity. The Task Force will establish its own terms of reference and carry out its work independently of the University in an open and transparent manner. At its first meeting the Task Force agreed to consult widely with the University community on their experience of gender-related issues. The Task Force also noted the importance of ensuring alignment and consistency between its recommendations and the gender actions arising from the University’s submission under the Athena Swan programme which is due at the end of April. Recognising the importance and urgency of this issue, the Task Force will report periodically to the Governing Authority, and will produce a comprehensive report of its recommendations by no later than Spring 2016. Speaking after the meeting, Professor Jane Grimson, Chair of the Task Force, said: “The Task Force held its first meeting this morning and I am confident that the diversity of knowledge and experience among the membership of the Task Force will lead to well-informed decisions and recommendations on how to bring about sustainable transformation in gender equality and diversity in the University, in order to ensure that the contribution of all staff to the University is recognised and valued and that all staff are equally supported in their work to achieve their full potential. The Task Force looks forward to engaging with the University community, whose experience and suggestions are critical to ensuring meaningful and sustainable change.” The next meeting of the Task Force will take place in May. Ends

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CÚRAM hosts successful polymers in medicine conference

CÚRAM hosts successful polymers in medicine conference-image

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

First time annual AFPM conference has been held in Ireland A major conference on the future developments of polymers for medicine opened in Galway yesterday, and is being hailed a huge success by organisers. This is the first time the Advanced Functional Polymers in Medicine (AFPM) annual conference has been held in Ireland, and it continues until tomorrow. The Chair of the local organising committee is Professor Abhay Pandit, Director of the newly established Centre for Research in Medical Devices (CÚRAM) at NUI Galway, a Science Foundation Ireland Research Centre. Speaking about the conference, he said: “CÚRAM will use cutting-edge research in biomaterials to design medical devices to respond to the body’s environment and to deliver therapeutic agents, such as drugs, exactly where needed. We are delighted for CÚRAM to host the AFPM 2015 as our first conference because the research presented greatly compliments the aims of our research centre.” The aim of the AFPM 2015 conference is to strengthen multi-disciplinary collaborations between chemists, material engineers, physicists, biologists and clinicians to develop advanced functional polymers for medicine. Leading experts from across Europe and the international community in the field, are presenting the current status, challenges and requirements for future developments of polymers for medicine. A total of 120 delegates have gathered at the Hotel Meyrick for the event. Twenty-three international experts from across Europe, America and Asia are speaking at the meeting. These include major international scientific speakers such as Professor Todd McDevitt, Georgia Tech, USA and Professor Ali Miserez, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. One of the highlights of the conference has been a talk by Professor Dennis Discher from University of Pennsylvania, USA. His research involves developing novel polymers to shrink tumours and treat genetic diseases. In addition to the invited speakers, young researchers also participated in the conference giving oral and poster presentations. The conference is in conjunction with the Marie Curie funded AngioMatTrain Research Summer School 3, the aim of which is to train researchers at the early stages of their career. PhD students and post-doctoral researchers played a significant role at the conference, which provided an outstanding opportunity to help young scientists in their career development and offer them an interdisciplinary discussion forum within an exclusive circle. The conference organisers gratefully acknowledged the support they have received from several funding agencies including EU Seventh Framework Programme for research, Science Foundation Ireland, Irish Research Council, Fáilte Ireland, Zwick and Stryker. -ends-  

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Young people are ‘happier and healthier’ than a decade ago

Young people are ‘happier and healthier’ than a decade ago-image

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

NUI Galway lead Ireland’s involvement in study across 40 countries Young people are happier and healthier than their counterparts a decade ago, according to a major new study into the wellbeing of adolescents across Europe and North America. A study, part of collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO), sheds new light on the habits and happiness of 11 to 15 year-olds in over 40 different countries across a 16 year period (1994-2010). The Irish partners, Drs Saoirse Nic Gabhainn, Michal Molcho and Colette Kelly from the Health Promotion Research Centre in NUI Galway co-authored the study launched today. Findings include some significant improvements in how young people report their own health and well-being. Overall, the results suggest that contemporary adolescents are in a better position than past generations. NUI Galway’s Dr Saoirse Nic Gabhainn, Principal Investigator for Ireland, commented, “Adolescence is a crucial stage in life when you lay the foundation for adulthood, whether that’s healthy or otherwise. While there is much to celebrate about the health and well-being of many young people today, others continue to experience real and worrying problems.” Over the last decade in Ireland there has been a decline in school-aged children drinking alcohol weekly and in experiencing multiple injuries. There have also been improvements in both self-rated health and ease of communication with parents. However, the study found increased pressure from schoolwork and no reductions in bullying. The study also identified a significant rise in Ireland of children from less affluent families having more health complaints. “By comparing today’s young people with their counterparts a decade ago we can better understand how their health is influenced by the circumstances in which they live; of real concern must now be the increases in social inequalities in Ireland, where children from poorer homes are more likely to report ill-health, and the gap between rich and poor has increased over time,” added Dr Nic Gabhainn. Trends in young people’s health and social determinants ‘Trends in young people’s health and social determinants’ is published today in The European Journal of Public Health. The study, led by St Andrews in Scotland, is the only study of its kind in Europe and North America. It features 20 papers from researchers taking part in the Health Behaviour in School-aged Children (HBSC) study, a cross-national collaboration with the WHO. HBSC Ireland is funded by the Department of Health. The papers included in the report describe how trends can be interpreted when looking at patterns and differences between countries, across areas such as eating habits, obesity, physical activity, bullying, safe sex, communication at home, and the use of alcohol, tobacco and cannabis. Despite the generally positive findings, many - if not the majority - of adolescents living in Europe and North America, still do not meet the recommendations for healthy living. Critically, several key groups still remain at risk of poor health, with potentially damaging and long-lasting consequences. The detailed analyses revealed that girls, older children and in particular those in Northern European countries experience lower levels of life satisfaction. Findings also reveal that in the majority of countries, children from less affluent families had more health complaints. This inequality has increased significantly over time in Ireland, as it has in Austria, Canada, France and Lithuania. The report suggests that while the overall optimistic picture seems surprising considering that many countries faced a severe economic crisis in the last decade, policies and actions to improve public health were implemented in many countries in the same period. It also concludes that the general feeling that young people are better off today could also be attributed to changes in fashions, behavioural norms and societal values. Dr Nic Gabhainn continued, “For almost 20 years the Irish HBSC study and research network has built up an increasingly detailed picture of trends and developments in adolescent health. This valuable database can support strategies to disrupt negative cycles that take root in the second decade and contribute to health inequities in the long-term. Policy makers can use this work to ensure that their decisions are targeted, effective and have their roots in the real world. Evidence such as this give all of us an opportunity to act to secure the health of the next generation.” ENDS

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Become a Scientist at NUI Galway’s Bio-EXPLORERS Easter Science Camp

Become a Scientist at NUI Galway’s Bio-EXPLORERS Easter Science Camp-image

Monday, 23 March 2015

NUI Galway’s School of Natural Sciences Bio-EXPLORERS programme is now taking bookings for its Easter Holiday Science Camp running from 7-10 April. The camp is open to all young scientists aged between 8 and 13 years old and participants will get a chance to work as real scientists by performing and analysing experiments in a real research environment.  The Bio-EXPLORERS programme is composed of two science communication and public engagement initiatives, Cell EXPLORERS directed by Dr Muriel Grenon and Eco-EXPLORERS directed by Dr Michel Dugon. With Dr Dugon, the host of RTÉ’s Bug Hunters, children will participate in activities such as discovering local and exotic plants and animals, studying their habitats and understanding how they interact with their environment. With the dynamic team of Cell EXPLORERS, children will learn how cells make our bodies work. They will run their own experiments, build models, observe their own cells under microscopes and extract DNA from cells. The Bio-EXPLORERS programme’s primary goal is to inspire interest in science in the general public and to impact positively on science education. It proposes activities that are designed to engage children in a hands-on way and stimulate their interest in exploring science-related themes. The programme has engaged thousands of children in the West of Ireland since its creation and has been very active during the last Galway Science and Technology Festival. Last year Bio-EXPLORERS ran three successful science holiday camps at Easter and Summer time. These camps provide a fun take on science where children can get involved and experiment as real scientists do. Small participant numbers, hands-on activities and a good ratio of well-trained, interactive demonstrators maximise the learning environment. The Easter Science Camp will run over four days from 9.30am to 4.30pm each day. The cost is €140 per child, €125 for additional siblings for this course which is packed with fun and exciting activities. Places are limited and will be allocated on a first-come first-served basis. For further information or to book a space on the Camp email cellexplorers@nuigalway.ie or visit www.cellexplorers.com for more details on our activities. -Ends-      

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