Galway Hosts the Seventh Annual World Robotic Sailing Championship and International Robotic Sailing Conference

Galway Hosts the Seventh Annual World Robotic Sailing Championship and International Robotic Sailing Conference-image

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Galway Harbour will transform this month when Galway City will host the seventh World Robotic Sailing Championship (WRSC) from 9-13 September 2014. Fully autonomous and unmanned sailing boats, up to 2.5m in length will compete over a series of short distance racing, navigation and autonomy challenges with teams from Galway, Wales, US, Finland, France, Portugal and Russia participating. This is the first time that Ireland has hosted the event. Organised in conjunction with the WRSC, the International Robotic Sailing Conference (IRSC) will take place on Monday 8 September, in the Aula Maxima, NUI Galway. IRSC provides a platform to discuss the broad range of scientific problems involved in the design and development of autonomous sailboats. NUI Galway Engineering Lecturer and event Co-Chair, Dr Fearghal Morgan, said: “The International Robotic Sailing Conference provides international researchers with the opportunity to present and exchange ideas on their work on a wide range of topics related to autonomous surface marine robotics, particularly robotic sailing. Previous IRSC/WRSC events have been hosted in France, Wales, Germany, Canada, Portugal and Austria. We invite participation from anyone who might be interested in this work, particularly from engineering-related and marine sectors.” Robotic sailing offers the potential of long range and long term autonomous wind propelled, solar or wave-powered carbon neutral devices. Robotic sailing devices could potentially contribute to monitoring of environmental, ecological, meteorological, hydrographic and oceanographic data. These devices can also be used in traffic monitoring, security, assistance and rescue. The WRSC competitions propose tasks such as station, speed in different conditions, accuracy, obstacle avoidance, target tracking, endurance and cooperation, all performed autonomously. The competition, originally designed for sailboats, also includes a motorboats category in order to bring together the scientific communities that work on different types of autonomous marine vehicles. A bottle boat competition will also be held with several Irish entries competing. Event Co-Chair Dermot Tynan of Hewlett Packard, Galway said: “The dependency on changing winds and sea conditions presents a considerable challenge for short and long term route and stability planning, collision avoidance and boat control. Building a robust and seaworthy autonomous sailing robot presents a truly complex and multi-disciplinary challenge for boat designers, naval architects, mechanical engineers, electronic and embedded systems engineers and computer scientists. Since 2004, events such as Sailbot, Microtransat Challenge, World Robotic Sailing Championship and the International Robotic Sailing Conference have sparked an explosion in the number of groups working on autonomous sailing robots. To date, the longest distance sailed autonomously is almost 400km. Many of the challenges in building truly autonomous sailing robots still remain unsolved.” Mr Tynan continued: “We are looking forward to welcoming international teams, many of whom are travelling long distances by sea and overland to bring robotic sailing boats to the West of Ireland. This demonstrates their enormous dedication and enthusiasm.” The IRSC/WRSC event also includes two free public exhibitions in the Aula Maxima, NUI Galway on Sunday, 7 September from 2-5pm and on Monday, 8 September from 11am-4pm, at which several of the robotic sailboats will be exhibited. All are welcome. School groups are asked to contact the organisers in advance. IRSC 2014 and WRSC 2014 are sponsored by Hewlett Packard, NUI Galway, Port of Galway, Galway Bay Sailing Club and Intel. Information on each WRSC team entries and schedule is available at http://wrsc2014.com/teams. Details of the conference programme and delegate registration can be found at http://wrsc2014.com/. -Ends-

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World-Renowned Surgeon to Deliver Sir Peter Freyer Memorial Lecture at NUI Galway

World-Renowned Surgeon to Deliver Sir Peter Freyer Memorial Lecture  at NUI Galway-image

Monday, 1 September 2014

NUI Galway will host Ireland’s largest surgical conference, the 39th Sir Peter Freyer Memorial Lecture and Surgical Symposium, on 5-6 September 2014. Internationally renowned surgeon, Dr John Birkmeyer will deliver the Memorial Lecture entitled ‘Strategies for Improving the Quality of Surgical Care’. John Birkmeyer, MD is the George D. Zuidema Professor of Surgery and Director of the Centre for Healthcare Outcomes & Policy at the University of Michigan. He is a graduate of Harvard Medical School. His research career has focused on performance measurement, understanding variation in hospital outcomes and cost-efficiency, and strategies for improvement. Formerly a series editor of the Dartmouth Atlas of Healthcare, Dr. Birkmeyer has leading roles in several regional collaborative improvement programs involving over 50 hospitals in Michigan, with support from Blue Cross Blue Shield Michigan. He serves on the blue ribbon expert panel on hospital safety ratings for the Leapfrog Group and as Chief Scientific Officer for ArborMetrix, Inc. Dr. Birkmeyer was elected to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences in 2006. Professor of Surgery at NUI Galway, Michael Kerin, who is hosting the event along with his colleague Professor Oliver McAnena, says: “We are delighted to welcome Dr Birkmeyer to our University. Dr Birkmeyer is focused on improving the quality of the health care system which will serve the lives of the people and communities for generations to come.” On the second day of the Surgical Symposium, Mr James Sheehan, CEO, Galway Clinic, Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon, Co-Founder of Blackrock Clinic, Galway Clinic and the Hermitage Clinic will deliver the State of the Art Lecture entitled ‘Reflections on the Past and a Vision for the Future’ on Saturday, 6th September at 12.45 p.m. He is a Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons of Ireland and he holds an M.Sc in Bioengineering and a PhD in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Surrey. He is a Fellow of the Institution of Engineers of Ireland and the Irish Academy of Engineering. He specialised in the design of artificial hip and knee prostheses. Since co-founding the Blackrock Clinic in the 1980s, his name has become synonymous with healthcare provision, as well as innovations. For further information on event, please contact 091 524390 or www.freyer.ie -ends-

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

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

Monday, 1 September 2014

NUI Galway academic, Dr Eoghan Clifford has stormed to his second World Title winning the Men’s C3 Road Race at the UCI Para-cycling Road World Championships in Greenville, South Carolina in the USA yesterday. The Men’s C3 Road Race was seven laps of a 10.2km course and the NUI Galway Lecturer in Civil Engineering pushed ahead with three laps to go, winning by a margin of almost two minutes. This is a sensational World Championship debut for the rider who won gold in the MC3 Time Trial on Friday. Speaking after the Men’s C3 Road Race, Dr Clifford said: “I can’t believe it. I had planned to not show in the first few laps, but it was very explosive, and I was struggling pretty bad, so hung in towards the back. I felt that as they tired and lost the explosiveness, I stayed the same. At the start/finish area with three laps to go, I got about 20-30 metres in the technical section, and put my head down to see what would happen. I am the kind of rider that if I can get a gap I can hold it, and they would have to commit to a chase to catch me, I didn’t want it to come to a sprint. When I got up to two minutes ahead, I knew I had it.” Dr Clifford added a special note of thanks to his fellow teammates: “I would like to thank the rest of the Irish team and management here. They made it really easy for me; the other squad members have so much experience, and were really helpful.” Para-cycling has been officially administered by the UCI since an agreement to transfer governance of the discipline from the International Paralympic Committee was signed in February 2007. This discipline is divided into road and track races for a total of seven events. The competitions comprise four groups of handicaps (blind and visually impaired riders, people with cerebral palsy, locomotor disabilities and handcycling) and a total of 14 functional categories for men and women in all the age categories defined by the UCI. Riders are placed in the appropriate category in the light of their functional capacity. -Ends-

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NUI Galway’s Novel Science Competition for Primary and Secondary Schools is Launched

NUI Galway’s Novel Science Competition for Primary and Secondary Schools is Launched-image

Monday, 1 September 2014

Guest judges include Mathematics Lecturer Aoibhinn Ní Shúilleabháin Primary and secondary school students from all over Ireland have been challenged by NUI Galway to compete in a new science communication competition. Students are invited to make entertaining and educational short videos on a range of science topics for ReelLIFE SCIENCE. With over €3000 in prizes, the makers of the best video at primary and secondary school level will each receive €1000, to be spent on promoting science in the winning school. Second and third-placed entries at each level will receive €300 and €200, respectively. Closing date for submissions is Friday, 17 October and the winning schools will be announced during the week beginning 10 November to coincide with Science Week 2014. Topics include ‘The Power of Science’, ‘Science Heroes’ and ‘Physics in Real Life’. ReelLIFE SCIENCE was piloted in Galway schools last year with great success and was conceived by NUI Galway’s Dr Enda O’Connell who said: “There is huge enthusiasm among students for using hands-on science to investigate the world around them, whether it’s exploring the plants and animals in their school garden or the food in their lunchbox. A great way of communicating this is by using video cameras, tablets or even smartphones to make a short movie for their friends, parents and teachers to enjoy.” The secondary school winner of the 2013 pilot competition was Michael McAndrew, a student from St Enda’s College in Galway with an animated video, entitled ‘Astrobiology – Life in Space’. Michael’s winning video can be viewed at http://youtu.be/JbyZ9z3CS3o. Michael has since launched his own website design and hosting company, Corrib Digital, while finding the time to podcast every week about new technology and, of course, study for his Leaving Certificate. Videos will be selected by special guest judges: Stephen Curry, Professor of Structural Biology at Imperial College London and Science writer with The Guardian; Aoibhinn Ní Shúilleabháin, Lecturer in Mathematics at University College Dublin, Radio and TV broadcaster, columnist and author; and Paul Clarke, St. Paul’s College, Raheny, winner of the SciFest National Final 2013 and Overall Winner of the BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition 2014. More information about the competition and application process can be found at www.reellifescience.com. The initiative is in collaboration with the Cell EXPLORERS School of Natural Sciences outreach programme, and is supported by the Science Foundation Ireland Discover programme, which seeks to promote the awareness and engagement of the Irish public with science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM). -Ends-

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GAA seen as ideal model for engaging youth with society

GAA seen as ideal model for engaging youth with society-image

Thursday, 28 August 2014

The GAA was put forward as a shining example for fostering youth engagement at an international UNESCO symposium in Croke Park today. The symposium was organised by three UNESCO Chairs in the field of youth studies from NUI Galway, University of Ulster, and Penn State University, USA. Professor Mark Brennan, UNESCO Chair in Rural Community, Leadership, and Youth Development at Penn State University, believes other countries can learn from the GAA’s model. According to Professor Brennan: “The Gaelic Athletic Association is a true grassroots organisation. It empowers, involves and invigorates not just individual young people but their families and wider communities. We hear a lot about the ‘fabric’ of society. Organisations such as the GAA are examples of a wonderful type of clever stitching which can make this fabric strong and support young people as they develop. Sport has such potential to strengthen society around the world by engaging young peoples around the world and nations can learn from each other about what works best.” Speaking at the symposium, NUI Galway’s Professor Eamon O’Shea, who is also the Tipperary Hurling Manager, spoke of the importance of sport. “How we contextualize a child’s engagement with sport can impact how they learn about success and failure. Sport is mainly about failure - learning to go back on the pitch and say, ‘look, things will get better’. If at the end we can say we stayed the course, took the knocks, were resilient, it doesn’t matter how we end up. The journey is the critical piece in how children develop in sport.” Delegates heard that involvement in sport is key for positive youth development. Apart from obvious physical health gains through fitness, it also has a positive effect on mental health and enables both dealing with stress and coping. Sport enables young people to learn and deal with success and disappointment, which is a useful preparation for later life. Of particular importance, delegates heard, was the mentoring aspect of sport and also the potential for developing emotional intelligence. Other speakers at the event included Professor Pat Dolan, UNESCO Chair in Children, Youth and Civic Engagement, NUI Galway and Professor Alan Smith, UNESCO Chair in Pluralism, Human Rights and Democracy, University of Ulster. Some of the representatives from sport included Alan Kerins, former GAA Intercounty hurler and footballer, and founder of Alan Kerins Projects, and Hugo MacNeill, Irish rugby star and Managing Director Goldman Sachs. Attendees heard that youth citizenship, sponsored through sport and recreation has the power to bring communities together and create a prosperous and peaceful environment for all. A declaration was put forward, which contained a ‘call for all youth worldwide to receive the attention needed for them to be empowered to take ownership for their lives and development of their societies’.  The declaration will be signed on Saturday, at half time during the American football clash between Penn State and University of Central Florida. -ends-

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Exciting proof-of-concept for acoustic dispensing of single cell stem cells

Exciting proof-of-concept for acoustic dispensing of single cell stem cells-image

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

The Regenerative Medicine Institute (REMEDI) at NUI Galway and Irish start-up Poly-Pico Technologies Ltd. have successfully executed a new and exciting scientific proof-of-concept involving the use of sound waves to dispense living stem cells. Using the Poly-Pico micro-drop dispensing device, the researchers were able to isolate individual adult stem cells from a bone marrow sample. The ability to isolate individual stem cells in a quick, scalable and cost-efficient manner is attractive to scientists working in the field, as current methods are often time-consuming and costly. Individual cells can then be replicated into exact copies of themselves for experimental purposes, or various drug compounds could be applied to the individual cells to see what effects occur. Further down the line, there is the tantalising prospect of perhaps being able to use such dispensing devices as a form of tissue engineering. Poly-Pico Technologies Ltd. is an Enterprise Ireland High Potential Start-up (HPSU) company, which spun out from the University of Limerick and is now based in Galway. The company has developed a unique, accurate and highly versatile device, which uses sound energy to accurately dispense a wide range of fluid / materials at very low volumes (picolitre to nanolitre). The novel technology uses disposable cartridges to dispense materials such as proteins, antibodies, DNA and other compounds for biological applications as well as providing industrial solutions for the precise dispensing of adhesives, lubricants; and coatings. Now, for the first time, REMEDI scientists have successfully used the same technology to dispense stem cells, thereby demonstrating a capability of the instrument which will open up further applications in life sciences. In the proof-of-concept experiments, living stem cells were dispensed one at a time onto different surfaces using the sound wave technology.  The delicate stem cells remained viable and continued to grow after being dispensed. “This gives us some ideas about new uses for the instrument”, says Frank Barry, Scientific Director of REMEDI at NUI Galway.  If we can deliver stem cells accurately and rapidly, we can potentially engineer new tissues in the laboratory based on complex arrays of dispensed cells.  If we try to look into the future, it is possible to envisage that human tissues could be manufactured using this kind of technology, thus avoiding the need to identify tissue donors for transplants.” Alan Crean, CEO of Poly-Pico Technologies, commented: “We are delighted to see this new technology opportunity emerge at the interface between biology and engineering.  We look forward to working with REMEDI and NUI Galway on developing stem cell applications using our acoustic methods. There are other exciting applications of Poly-Pico’s unique technology in, for example, drug screening and DNA amplification. Our objective here is to make our technology available to companies, and researchers, and add value to what they are doing. This is one example of such a success.”  This proof-of-concept was carried out under the Enterprise Ireland Commercialisation Fund. The technology was then advanced using an Innovation Voucher, an Enterprise Ireland initiative developed to build links between Ireland’s public knowledge providers (i.e. higher education institutes, public research bodies) and small businesses. ENDS

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New atlas of Southern Ocean marine life, from microbes to whales

New atlas of Southern Ocean marine life, from microbes to whales-image

Monday, 25 August 2014

A new atlas, providing one of the most thorough audit ever of marine life in the Southern Ocean, was launched in New Zealand today. Leading marine biologists and oceanographers from all over the world, including NUI Galway’s Dr Louise Allcock, spent the last four years compiling information on more than 9,000 species. The species, which range from microbes to whales, include seaweeds, crustaceans, molluscs, corals, anemones, worms, moss animals, urchins, starfish, sea squirts, plankton, jellyfish, fish, seals, and birds. In 66 chapters, the scientists examine the evolution, physical environment, genetics and possible impact of climate change on marine organisms in the region. Dr Louise Allcock, a Lecturer in Zoology at NUI Galway, is author of two of the chapters. Her first chapter focuses on octopuses, a subject on which she is one of the world’s leading authorities.  In a second chapter she explores bipolarity, the phenomenon where a species exists both in Antarctica, and the Arctic. According to Dr Allcock: “The study of bipolar species is fascinating because it tells us quite a lot about evolution and speciation. There are probably far fewer bipolar species than some people have suggested, but they are a very real transient natural phenomenon. As a species becomes widely dispersed, for a while it can be bipolar, but because of limited gene flow between the polar populations, these populations eventually diverge and each becomes a species in its own right.” Published by the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR), the new Biogeographic Atlas of the Southern Ocean is an unprecedented international collaboration involving 147 scientists from 91 institutions across 22 countries. It is the first time that such an effort has been undertaken since 1969 when the American Society of Geography published its Antarctic Map Folio Series.   Chief editor, Claude De Broyer, of the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences, said: “This is the first time that all the records of the unique Antarctic marine biodiversity, from the very beginnings of Antarctic exploration in the days of Captain Cook, have been compiled, analysed and mapped by the scientific community. It has resulted in a comprehensive atlas and an accessible database of useful information on the conservation of Antarctic marine life.” The data, and expert opinions, in the Atlas will help inform conservation policy, including the debate over whether or not to establish marine protected areas in the open ocean. Sophisticated environmental models coupled with existing species distribution data provide a valuable outlook on the possible future distribution of key species as they adapt to climate change. New advances in genetics have shed light on some of the best known species from the Antarctic sea floor. The giant isopod crustacean Glyptonotus antarcticus is one of those. The animal lives on the edge of the continent at depths of up to 600 metres. Previously considered to be a single species with a circumpolar distribution, molecular barcoding suggests it may, in reality, be a group with up to eleven species inhabiting much smaller geographic regions.  Author, and editor, Huw Griffiths, of the British Antarctic Survey, said: “The book is unique and contains an amazing collection of information and photos. It’s been an enormous international effort and will serve as a legacy to the dedicated team of scientists who have contributed to it. The Atlas is a must-read for anyone interested in the animals living at the end of the Earth.” The Atlas contains around 100 colour photos and 800 maps. It was launched at the SCAR 2014 Open Science Conference in Auckland, New Zealand today. -ends-

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Irish public asked to help track the Irish Stoat

Irish public asked to help track the Irish Stoat-image

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

NUI Galway researchers have asked the public to help in a quest to find out more about our elusive and unique Irish stoat. One of Ireland’s true native species, the Irish stoat (Mustela erminea hibernica) has been present on the island since before the last Ice Age. It is recognised as an endemic subspecies, quite distinct from those found in Britain and further afield. The research project is being undertaken by the Animal Ecology and Conservation group at NUI Galway, in collaboration with the Vincent Wildlife Trust, a charity that has been at the forefront of mammal conservation in Ireland and the UK for over 35 years. Stoats are predators and belong to the weasel family, the mustelids. While there are no weasels in Ireland, other mustelids found here include badgers, otters and pine martens. The Irish stoat is an important element of Irish biodiversity and a protected species, yet relatively little is known about them. Currently, there is no population estimate available and there is a real need for information on their distribution, ecology and habitat requirements. The project is being conducted by NUI Galway PhD student Laura O’Flynn and Lecturer in Zoology, Dr Colin Lawton. A key element of their research incorporates the use of ‘Citizen Science’, which is an opportunity for members of the public to pass on their sightings and experiences of the animal. Dr Lawton explains how the public can help: “We are hoping individuals all over the country will contribute to this vital conservation research. Stoats are about a foot long, with orange-brown fur and often their most recognisable trait is their quick bounding movement when running and hunting. Any information on the locations where stoats have been seen, the habitats they most frequently use or any insights into their behaviour will be of great use to the research team.” Dr Lawton added, “We have had great success using Citizen Science in the past to determine the most up to date ranges of grey and red squirrels in Ireland, and in tracking down the dormouse, a new mammal species to the country. Now we hope to find out what we can about one of our true native species, the Irish stoat, and see if they are in need of any conservation help, or indeed if they are causing any problems to farmers or gamekeepers.” There are a number of ways in which you can submit information to the project, by email at irishstoatsurvey@gmail.com, by phone on 091 492903 or 086 0660208, or on Facebook at the Irish Stoat Project https://www.facebook.com/irishstoat -ends-

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Professor Brendan O’Leary to deliver ‘President’s Initiative’ public lecture at NUI Galway

Professor Brendan O’Leary to deliver ‘President’s Initiative’ public lecture at NUI Galway-image

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

         Distinguished Political Scientist to speak on "Power-sharing in deeply divided places with special reference to                            Iraq and Northern Ireland" as part of the President of Ireland’s Ethics Initiative Distinguished Irish political scientist Professor Brendan O’Leary of the University of Pennsylvania, Visiting Fellow at the Moore Institute,will give a public lecture on ‘Power-sharing in deeply divided places with special reference to Iraq and Northern Ireland’ in NUI Galway at 4pm on Wednesday 27 August, 2014. This talk is part of the President of Ireland’s ‘Ethics Initiative’, and is organised by the Conflict, Rights and Security Research Cluster of NUI Galway’s Whitaker Institute in association with the Moore Institute. Brendan O'Leary is Lauder Professor of Political Science at the University of Pennsylvania. He is the author of numerous highly regarded books and articles on conflict and peacemaking and has been deeply and directly involved in efforts to secure peace and design new structures of government in Northern Ireland and Iraq. He was born in Cork, Ireland, and his childhood and teenage years were mostly spent in Nigeria, Sudan, and Northern Ireland. Before going to University of Pennsylvania, O' Leary was on the faculty of the London School of Economics and Political Science between 1983 and 2003, where he had been Professor of Political Science, Head of its Government Department, and an elected Academic Governor. Between 2012 and 2014 he was also Professor of Political Science at Queen's University Belfast. O'Leary's professorial career has been combined with political advisory work. He was a political advisor to the British Labour Shadow Cabinet on Northern Ireland between 1987-8 and 1996-7, advising Kevin McNamara and the late Marjorie ("Mo") Mowlam. He advised Irish, British, and American ministers and officials and the Irish-American Morrison delegation during the Northern Ireland peace process, appearing as an expert witness before the US Congress, and being a guest at the White House. His ideas on power-sharing are said to have been extremely influential, and his work with Professor John McGarry on police reform was singled out in the press for influencing the commission on police reform which reported in 1999. O'Leary has also worked as a constitutional advisor for the European Union and the United Nations in the promotion of confederal and federal re-building of Somalia, and for the United Kingdom's Department of International Development in constitutional consultancies on power-sharing in coalition governments in Kwa-Zulu Natal, South Africa, and in Nepal.  Between 2003 and 2009 he was regularly an international constitutional advisor to the Kurdistan Regional Government in Iraq, assisting in the negotiation of the Transitional Administrative Law (2004); electoral systems design (2004-5); the Constitution of Iraq (2005), and the Constitution of the Kurdistan Region (2005-). He has been an expert witness on Iraq to branches of the US Government, and to the United Kingdom's Iraq Commission. For the UN he contributed to its 2004 United Nations Human Development Report on Culture and Liberty. In 2009-2010 O'Leary was seconded to the UN as the Senior Advisor on Power-Sharing in the Standby Team of the Mediation Support Unit of the Department of Political Affairs. Dr Niall O Dochartaigh of the School of Political Science and Sociology at NUI Galway, commented: “The topic could hardly be more urgent – how do we deal with the political fractures in deeply divided societies that are one of the main sources of violent conflict in the twenty first century? As perhaps the single most influential and internationally-respected Irish political scientist Brendan O’Leary has taken his work far beyond the walls of academia and directly influenced the design of stable structures of government for divided societies. His work is ground-breaking, original, and intensely engaged with public debate. It is often provocative and challenging and always illuminating. We are delighted that such an active and distinguished scholar of deeply divided societies will give this public lecture in NUI Galway on such an important and timely topic. We are also proud to make a contribution to the excellent work being done across all of the universities on behalf of President Higgins’ ‘Ethics Initiative’. Events such as this, the academic and political contribution of engaged scholars such as Professor O’Leary and initiatives such as President Higgins’ all make vital contributions toward the cultivation of an informed and critically engaged citizenry.” The lecture is open to the public, but early attendance is advised. It will begin at 4 pm (sharp) on Wednesday, 27 August in the Aula Maxima, NUI Galway. Ends

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Daltaí Tréitheacha - Gifted Pupils. Do you know a gifted & talented child? Is education appropriate to their ability

Daltaí Tréitheacha - Gifted Pupils.  Do you know a gifted & talented child? Is education appropriate to their ability-image

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Laoise Breathnach, Principal of Scoil Iognáid, recently came up with an idea to start a project with NUI Galway student teachers to provide a series of enrichment workshops that would serve the needs of gifted pupils as Gaeilge. Laoise teamed up with Sinéad Ní Ghuidhir from NUI Galway’s School of Education to undertake an EXPLORE innovative project. This EXPLORE project set out to challenge student teachers on the Dioplóma Gairmiúil san Oideachas in NUI Galway to design and deliver a series of resources, lessons and workshops for a group of gifted pupils. Almost 12 months on and as a result of the great work of Daltaí Tréitheacha exceptional pupils can now avail of relevant courses and workshops as Gaeilge. This is the first time NUI Galway student teachers provided a series of enrichment workshops in a Gaelscoil in Galway city, serving the needs of gifted pupils in the language they use daily, Gaeilge. The student teachers proposed a series of workshops over a number of weeks in Forensic Science, Code Breaking, Language Acquisition, Cultural Studies, Music and Dance, and the response from all involved was very enthusiastic.  The preservice student teachers benefited greatly from the experience, one declaring the EXPLORE project was one of best opportunities he had as a student at the University, and another saying that the whole experience taught her the importance of differentiating and addressing the needs of all pupils in the class. Sinéad Ní Ghuidhir added: “The project was a huge success, it was a unique and rich learning experience for the student teachers, so much so that they recommended it should be an integral part of the Initial Teacher Education Programme. And indeed, with funding, it could be included on a core module on the Máistir Gairmiúil san Oideachas.  All students will be able to benefit from the experience.”  Following the success of the EXPLORE project, the Máistir Gairmiúil san Oideachas programme is interested in expanding the scheme to more schools throughout Galway.  For further information contact Sinéad Ní Ghuidhir, Scoil an Oideachais, NUI Galway at sinead.nighuidhir@nuigalway.ie, 091 492861 or visit www.su.nuigalway.ie/explore. A video about the project can be viewed at http://vimeo.com/94993436. -Ends- Daltaí Tréitheacha. An bhfuil aithne agatsa ar pháiste cumasach, ildánach? An féidir breis a dhéanamh le freastal ar a gcuid riachtanais? Ba ag Laoise Breathnach, Príomhoide Scoil Iognáid,  a bhí an smaoineamh an chéad lá, le tionscadal a bhunú i gcomhar le múinteoirí faoi oiliuint ó Ollscoil na hÉireann, Gaillimh, chun ceardlanna saibhriúcháin a sholáthar as Gaeilge do dhaltaí tréitheacha. In éineacht le Sinéad Ní Ghuidhir ó Scoil an Oideachais, OÉ Gaillimh, thug Laoise agus na mic léinn ar an Dioplóma Gairmiúil san Oideachas faoi thionscadal EXPLORE. An aidhm a bhí ag an tionscadal comhoibritheach, núálach seo ná dúshlán a chur faoi bhráid na muúinteoirí faoi oiliúint, le ceachtanna, ceardlanna agus áiseanna a chruthú agus a dhearadh do dhaltaí le cumas eisceachtúil. Beagnach bliain ar aghaidh anois, agus de thoradh an tionscadail seo, cuireadh ceardlanna trí Ghaeilge ar fáil do Dhaltaí Tréitheacha. Den chéad uair i mbliana, chuir múinteoirí faoi oiliúint ó Ollscoil na hÉireann, Gaillimh, ceardlanna saibhriúcháin ar bun i nGaelscoil i gCathair na Gaillimhe, ag freastal ar riachtanais na ndaltaí le cumas eisceachtúil sa scoil sin, ina ngnáth-theanga foghlama, an Ghaeilge. Eolaíocht Fhoiréinseach, Briseadh Cóid, Sealbhú Teanga, Oideachas Cultúrtha, Ceol agus Damhsa a bhí mar ábhar do na ceardlanna agus bhí an-rath ar an sraith. Bhain na mic léinn féin an-tairbhe as an taithí freisin, duine amháin a dúirt go raibh an tionscnamh Explore ar ceann de na deiseanna ab fhearr dá bhfuair sé mar mhac léinn ollscoile, agus duine eile a d’aithin go mbíonn dúshláin bhreise ag teastáil ó na daltaí tréitheacha chun iad a spreagadh agus nach leor é freastal ar an meán. Dúirt Sinéad Ní Ghuidhir: "Bhí an-rath ar an tionscadal, thug sé taithí dhomhain, shaibhir ar leith do na mic léinn, agus mhol siad gur cheart go mbeadh sé mar chroí chuid den chúrsa Oiliúint Tosaigh do Mhúinteoirí. Go deimhin, le maoiniú, d'fhéadfaí é a chur mar lár chuid de mhodúl ar an Máistir Gairmiúil san Oideachas, agus beidh buntáiste agus tairbhe ann do gach mac léinn." Ag leanúint ón rath a bhí ar an tionscadal EXPLORE seo, tá súil an scéim a leathnú go níos mó scoileanna ar fud na Gaillimhe. Chun tuilleadh eolais a fháil, déan teagmháil le Sinéad Ní Ghuidhir, Scoil an Oideachais ag sinead.nighuidhir@nuigalway.ie, 091 492861, nó www.su.nuigalway.ie/explore. -Críoch-

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