Thursday, 16 January 2020

For the 15th year running NUI Galway opened its doors for its award winning Teddy Bear Hospital, organised by the University’s students. The two-day event will see over 1,200 sick teddy bears admitted to the hospital, accompanied by their minders, 1,200 primary school children. The event is organised by the Sláinte Society, NUI Galway’s health promotion society that focuses on promoting all aspects of physical and mental health. Up to 200 medical, healthcare and science students will diagnose and treat the teddy bears. In the process, they hope to help children, ranging in age from 4-8 years, feel more comfortable around doctors and hospitals. Clodagh Ryan, a third year Medical student at NUI Galway and co-auditor of Sláinte Society, said: “Every year, we strive to treat as many sick teddies from as many different schools as possible and we can’t wait to do it all over again this year! We hope to provide a fun, relaxed atmosphere so that both children and teddies can feel more comfortable around doctors and hospitals.” Over the years, children have come along with teddy bears suffering from an imaginative range of sore ears, sick tummies and all kinds of other weird and wonderful ailments. This year, 29 local primary schools are participating in the event, equating to over 1,200 children. On arrival at the Teddy Bear Hospital on campus, the children each have an individual consultation with one of the teddy doctors on call. The ‘patients’ will be examined by the doctors and will receive a ‘pawscription’ and referral to surgery or x-ray. The students will have specially designed X-ray and MRI machines on hand, should the teddy bears need them. Recuperating teddy bears can avail of medical supplies from the Teddy Bear Pharmacy, stocked with healthy fruit from Total Produce and Fyffes, along with medical supplies sponsored by Matt O’Flaherty Chemist After all this excitement the children can enjoy a bouncy castle and face painting. Sponsorship for the event comes from the Medical Protection Society. Ríona Hughes, NUI Galway’s Societies Officer, said: “The award winning Teddy Bear Hospital is always a joy when students welcome local school children and their teddies onto campus. I would like to congratulate the Sláinte Society and their many volunteers who organise this very popular event each year.” -Ends-

Thursday, 16 January 2020

Don 15ú bliain as a chéile, d’oscail OÉ Gaillimh Ospidéal na mBéiríní, eagraithe ag mic léinn na hOllscoile. Tiocfaidh breis is 1,200 páiste bunscoile chuig an ospidéal lena mbéiríní tinne le go gcuirfí cóir leighis orthu thar an dá lá. Is é Cumann Sláinte OÉ Gaillimh atá i mbun an ócáid a eagrú. Díríonn an cumann ar gach gné den tsláinte fhisiciúil agus den mheabhairshláinte a chur chun cinn. Beidh suas le 200 mac léinn leighis, cúraim sláinte agus eolaíochta i láthair chun na béiríní a dhiagnóisiú agus a leigheas. Tá súil acu go gcuideoidh an ócáid le páistí idir 4-8 mbliana d’aois a bheith ar a suaimhneas le dochtúirí nó i dtimpeallacht ospidéil. Bhí an méid seo a leanas le rá ag Clodagh Ryan, mac léinn leighis sa tríú bliain in OÉ Gaillimh agus comh-iniúchóir an Chumainn Sláinte: “Gach bliain, déanaimid ár ndícheall cóireáil a chur ar an oiread béiríní breoite ón oiread scoileanna agus is féidir agus is fada linn é arís i mbliana! Tá súil againn atmaisféar spraíúil, suaimhneach a chruthú ionas gur féidir le páistí agus le béiríní a bheith níos compordaí timpeall ar dhochtúirí agus ar ospidéil.” Tá béiríní tugtha chuig an ospidéal ag páistí i gcaitheamh na mblianta agus iad ag samhlú go raibh réimse leathan tinnis ag gabháil dóibh, leithéidí cluasa tinne, boilg bhreoite agus gach cineál easláinte eile faoin spéir. Tá 29 bunscoil áitiúil agus breis is 1,200 páiste ag glacadh páirte san ócáid i mbliana. Gabhfaidh na páistí i gcomhairle le duine de na dochtúirí béiríní tar éis dóibh a theacht i láthair ag Ospidéal na mBéiríní ar an gcampas. Déanfaidh na dochtúirí scrúdú ar na ‘hothair’ agus tabharfar oideas dóibh, agus cuirfear ar atreo ansin iad le haghaidh obráide nó x-gha. Beidh meaisíní speisialta x-gha agus MRI ag na mic léinn ar fhaitíos go mbeidís ag teastáil ó na béiríní.  Beidh na béiríní atá ag teacht chucu féin in ann ábhair leighis a fháil i gCógaslann na mBéiríní, áit a mbeidh torthaí sláintiúla le fáil a bhuíochas le Total Fruit agus Fyffes, mar aon le hábhair leighis urraithe ag Cógaslann Matt O’Flaherty. Nuair a bheidh an méid sin curtha díobh acu féadfaidh na páistí am a chaitheamh ar phreabchaisleán agus a n-aghaidh a phéinteáil. Is iad Medical Protection Society a dhéanann urraíocht ar an ócáid. Bhí an méid seo a leanas le rá ag Ríona Hughes, Oifigeach na gCumann in OÉ Gaillimh: “Is mór an spórt Ospidéal na mBéiríní nuair a chuireann mic léinn fáilte mhór roimh pháistí scoile áitiúla agus a gcuid béiríní ar an gcampas. Ba mhaith liom tréaslú leis an gCumann Sláinte agus lena n-oibrithe deonacha a eagraíonn an ócáid seo a bhfuil an-tóir uirthi gach bliain.” -Críoch-

Tuesday, 14 January 2020

Light shed on ‘dark side’ of fitness app engagement Warning re implications of apps in employee wellness programmes A study carried out by the J.E. Cairnes School of Business and Economics at NUI Galway has examined how fitness apps can affect the wellbeing of the user.  The research specifically focused on identifying how the social features of fitness apps predict the type of passion (harmonious and obsessive) one has for physical exercise, and what the resulting positive and negative implications are for the person’s wellbeing. To motivate people to exercise, modern physical fitness apps, such as Strava, Nike+, MyFitnessPal, RunKeeper, and Fitocracy, are gamified to provide a variety of rewards to users based on the tracking and analysis of their digital trace data e.g. the number of steps walked per day, calories burned, or average speed of a cycle or run. The market for fitness apps has exploded in recent years as people turn to self-tracking and gamification to motivate and sustain physical activity.  For instance, in the United States alone, 92 million people use fitness apps contributing to a market volume of US$602.0m in 2019 (Statista 2019). The research found that fitness apps can lead to both positive and negative wellbeing outcomes, depending on the person’s social motivation for using the app.  People who use fitness apps for reciprocation (i.e. giving support and encouragement to other exercisers), are more likely to have a harmonious passion for their exercise, and ultimately lower life stress.  In contrast, people who use the app for social recognition (i.e. to receive praise and public endorsements for their exercise activities) are more likely to develop an obsessive passion for physical exercise, and suffer higher life stress in the long run. Lead author of the study, Dr Eoin Whelan, Senior Lecturer in Business Information Systems, J.E. Cairnes School of Business and Economics at NUI Galway, said: “The majority of exercisers are now using digital technology to track and share their workout data in order to support their fitness goals.  But these fitness apps can be a double-edged sword.  Our study suggests fitness sharing apps can certainly help seed and sustain exercise routines, but there is a danger that some users may develop obsessive tendencies, which need to be avoided.  Fitness app social features which promote self-recognition, such as posting only positive workout data or photos, can be linked to maladaptive perceptions of exercise and burnout in the long run.  In contrast, fitness app social features which promote reciprocation, such as giving support and commenting on colleagues’ activities, are likely to lead to adaptive outcomes.”  The study also flags to employers the risks and responsibilities of giving employees free fitness apps and incorporating fitness apps as part of employee wellness programmes.  “Our results shed light on the dark side of fitness app engagement in that they may indirectly lead to greater burnout.  If the organisation supports fitness app use among employees, they should also be responsible for ensuring the employee maintains control over their exercise patterns.  One possible solution could be for the organisation to monitor the exercise log files of employees and assess these for signals of exercise obsession,” says Dr Whelan. A copy of the full study, published in the journal Information Technology & People, is available on request.  The research was based on 272 people involved in cardio-intense physical activity.  It was authored by Dr Whelan with Trevor Clohessy, Department of Business Information Systems, Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology. -Ends-

Tuesday, 14 January 2020

Researchers from NUI Galway are currently recruiting participants aged 18 years or over to take part in a new nine-week Cognitive Occupation-Based Programme for People with Multiple Sclerosis (COB-MS). Approximately 50-60% of the 9,000 people in Ireland living with MS have difficulties with cognition, which has a large impact on their quality of life. The new COB-MS program based in NUI Galway was developed to address the wide-ranging symptoms and functional difficulties, associated with cognition, that present in MS. The program emphasises the ability to maintain employment, social activities, managing the home and self-care; and is focused on rehabilitation through an individualised cognitive intervention that is measured by and taught through an occupational participation perspective. The research program aims to assess: the preliminary efficacy, the acceptability and feasibility of the program; the outcome measures and procedures used within the program; the barriers and facilitators to using COB-MS; and to determine the appropriateness of progression to a definitive trial through gathering and assessing key trial information. According to the primary investigator on this research program, NUI Galway’s Dr Sinéad Hynes said: “Past research suggests that cognitive intervention and rehabilitation can enhance daily functioning in people with MS. A lot of work has gone into the development of the COB-MS program to ensure that it targets such cognitive activities applied in real-world settings. As a result, we're hopeful that the program will benefit people living with MS on wide-ranging outcomes.” To participate in the programme or for more information email cobms@nuigalway.ie or call 087 449 1154. -Ends-

Tuesday, 14 January 2020

Study aims to discover problems that commonly arise in general practice such as missed or delayed diagnosis, and how such errors can be avoided in the future The School of Medicine at NUI Galway is conducting the ASPIRE study, which aims to involve patients in improving the safety of care in general practice. The research team are currently recruiting people who have previously experienced a medical error in general practice. People who are willing to take part in the study will be briefly interviewed about their experience either over the phone, or in person. A ‘medical error’ is described as an event which could have, or did, lead to harm for a patient receiving healthcare. This could include events like a missed or delayed diagnosis, incorrect drug dosage, inappropriate medication prescribed, a referral error, or a lapse in communication with the practice. The overall aim of the study is to find out about problems that commonly arise in general practice and how they can be avoided in the future. It will allow the researchers to identify a number of contributory factors to errors in general practice, which will enable the design and implementation of future safety strategies to reduce patient harm. This will benefit both General Practitioners and patients alike. Caoimhe Madden, a PhD researcher in the School of Medicine at NUI Galway, who is leading the study, said: “Unfortunately the patient perspective is often overlooked in patient safety research. However, we believe that patient stories can provide us with a valuable insight, and enable our understanding of what areas need to be improved upon in general practice.” Professor Andrew Murphy, GP and Professor of General Practice at NUI Galway, said: “Patient safety is a real priority for all general practitioners. It is important that the patient voice is also heard in this vital area.” For more information or to participate in the ASPIRE study, please contact Caoimhe Madden, School of Medicine, NUI Galway at caoimhe.madden@nuigalway.ie or 091 495205.  -Ends-

Tuesday, 14 January 2020

The HRB is investing €4.5 million to train health practitioners and academics to PhD level doing research that will improve care for stroke patients, target chronic disease and tackle diabetic foot disease. Through the HRB Collaborative Doctoral Programme in patient-focused research three teams of experts will each receive €1.5 million. In addition to providing structured training for up to five PhD trainees in each cohort, they are also developing research programmes in highly relevant areas that address specific patient needs. According to Dr Darrin Morrissey, Chief Executive at the Health Research Board (HRB): “This HRB funding initiative will develop research techniques and ability among trainees, but it will also teach them about designing research programmes that target defined needs in clinical practice. The aim is to close the gap between research that is done and how it is applied in practice to improve patients’ health and care.” Details of the three Collaborative Doctoral Programmes are outlined below. Stroke iPASTAR (improving Pathways for Acute STroke And Rehabilitation) Stroke is a major cause of death and the commonest form of acquired physical disability in adults. Fragmentation of care results in poor coordination of key aspects of acute stroke care and does not provide an effective integrated system for acute and rehabilitative stroke treatment. The specific focus of this CDA programme is to train four PhD trainees from different disciplines and professions, (medicine, physiotherapy or occupational therapy, nursing, health economics or health services research) who will focus on delivery of stroke care for patients, from the hospital, to rehabilitation in the community, then living well after stroke. The programme is built on feedback from stroke survivors who explained the challenges they, and their families, face following stroke. They identified a need for more support and information at transitions of care after discharge from hospital and early supported discharge, the need for signposting to resources and services, and highlighted the hidden costs that they face in managing life after stroke. It is a collaboration between RCSI and University College Dublin (UCD) According to David Williams, Professor of Stroke Medicine, School of Medicine at RCSI, and Beaumont Hospital and Professor Frances Horgan, School of Physiotherapy at RCSI: "This interdisciplinary programme will generate a cohort of post-doctoral researchers with transferrable skills who can make a significant future impact across a range of settings with necessary expertise to generate research evidence that will support cost-effective, patient-focused stroke care. Our iPASTAR consortium of national and international experienced interdisciplinary stroke academic researchers, clinicians, stroke patients and PhD educators are all focused on improving acute stroke care, and stroke recovery and rehabilitation." Chronic Disease Collaborative Doctoral Programme in Chronic Disease Prevention (CDP-CDP) Chronic diseases, such as heart disease, diabetes and stroke, cause significant illness, are the leading cause of disability and are the most common reason for premature death. If we can improve prevention and self-management of these conditions, we can significantly reduce people’s suffering and reduce costs to health services. This HRB Collaborative Doctoral Award 2019 aims to improve patient care by developing and delivering a doctoral training programme in evidence-based chronic disease prevention. It is developed by a consortium of senior research and clinical leaders in diabetes, stroke and cardiovascular prevention. The individual PhD patient-focused research projects will focus on diabetes prevention; digitally delivered cardiac rehabilitation; prevention for women with previous gestational diabetes; enhancing the role of Clinical Nurse Specialists to prevent stroke; and development of peer-support for cardiovascular prevention. It is a collaboration between NUI Galway, UCC, UCD and the Health Service Executive and will recruit five PhD trainees who will start training in September 2020. Professor Molly Byrne, Professor of Health Psychology and HRB Research Leader; Director, Health Behaviour Change Research Group, NUI Galway says: "This is a unique opportunity to promote collaborative leadership between health psychology and public health to develop capacity in interdisciplinary research and service delivery in chronic disease prevention, focusing on preventing and managing common chronic diseases which have a major impact in people’s lives." According to Professor Patricia Kearney, Professor of Epidemiology in the School of Public Health, UCC and Director of ESPRIT Research Group: "This collaborative transdisciplinary approach will increase capacity in patient-focused research on chronic disease prevention in Ireland and enhance understanding among patients and health service providers." Diabetic Foot disease Diabetic Foot Disease: from PRevention to treatment to IMproved patient Outcomes (DFD PRIMO) Diabetes mellitus, a disease associated with high blood glucose, can cause several complications that can directly affect the feet. A diabetic foot ulcer is an open wound or sore on the foot that is often slow to heal and can become easily infected. Infection can spread quickly in people with diabetes and unfortunately leg and/ or foot amputation and early death are associated with diabetes and its related foot problems. Early recognition of foot problems and timely, appropriate, treatments are key for the prevention of serious foot problems in people with diabetes. Clinical guidelines advocate for preventative measures however there is little evidence in the area of prevention of foot problems in diabetes. The main aim of this programme is to train future healthcare innovation leaders in providing cost-effective care to people at risk from Diabetic Foot Disease (DFD). It will equip a cohort of talented doctoral students with core, specialised research, and complementary transferable skills to enable them to establish and lead world class research in DFD. Early stage professionals, such as public health nurses, podiatrists and health behavioural researchers will be trained in this programme. Emerging from the training programme they will be equipped to lead research and development of care delivery in their specialism; competently and independently undertake patient focused research and evaluate patient, population, and healthcare system outcomes. Speaking about the training programme, Prof Timothy O Brien, Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences at NUI Galway says: "We plan to create the next generation of interdisciplinary healthcare researchers who will provide new approaches to the prevention and treatment of diabetic foot disease. Ultimately our goal is to enhance patient care through rigorous clinical research undertaken with the input of patients."

Monday, 13 January 2020

As part of NUI Galway’s 175th anniversary celebrations, Minister of State for Higher Education, Mary Mitchell O’Connor TD, today chaired a special seminar highlighting the important role of the higher education sector in both shaping and implementing government policies, as well as its pivotal and enabling role in delivering societal wellbeing and change. NUI Galway last week launched its new strategy, titled “Shared Vision, Shaped by Values” which places the shared values of respect, excellence, openness and sustainability as the guiding light for the future direction of the University.  It will see NUI Galway focus on its continued contribution to enhancing policy and society, while sustaining our planet and people.  Speaking today, President of NUI Galway Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh said: “The higher education sector in Ireland is vital to our society and the knowledge economy.  We are here for our students and society, and through our research and teaching aim to provide major social, economic and cultural impact.   Our new strategy is focused on living our values of respect, excellence, openness and sustainability, and today highlights our emphasis on cooperation, meitheal, with educators, policy makers and regional partners to support the sustainable development of our region.” Speaking at the event, Minister O’Connor said: “Our society and economy depend on the higher education sector to develop quality research and deliver excellence in teaching and learning for our students.  The sector plays a pivotal role in sustainable development by supporting students to develop the relevant knowledge, skills and values to become informed active citizens, and I welcome the collaborative approach of NUI Galway to shape policy with a shared focus on societal wellbeing.”  The event included a series of panels and contributions on government policy, driving innovation, the impact of culture and creativity and collaboration to maximize regional impact.  Joining staff and students of NUI Galway were representatives from: Department of Education and Skills, Galway 2020 European Capital of Culture Hewlett Packard Enterprise Galway Arts Festival Land Development Agency Galway City Council -Ends-

Monday, 13 January 2020

NUI Galway is calling for scientists and science enthusiasts to enter ‘FameLab’ the world’s largest science communication competition held in 30 countries. For the fifth year running, one of four regional FameLab Ireland heats will take place in Galway on 19 February with an expected high calibre of entrants once again. With science becoming increasingly specialised, those working in the field can struggle to explain their projects to colleagues let alone the general public. And explaining what you do can be extraordinarily important. The FameLab competition, an initiative of the Cheltenham Science Festival, recognises this and challenges up and coming scientists, engineers and mathematicians to explain a complex idea in a straightforward and engaging way. The Galway event is being managed in by the British Council and NUI Galway, and forms part of the annual FameLab Ireland competition. The Galway competition is open to a whole range of people who apply, work on, teach or study science, including: People who apply science, technology, engineering or mathematics in industry or business. People who work on applying science, engineering, technology or mathematics (e.g. patent clerks, statisticians, consultants to industry). Lecturers and researchers in science, technology, engineering or mathematics, including specialist science teachers with a science degree. University students of science, technology, mathematics or engineering aged 18 and over. People who apply science, technology, mathematics or engineering in the armed forces or government bodies. Armed only with their wits and a few props, the top newest voices from the world of science and engineering across the region, the finalists in FameLab Galway heat will deliver short three-minute pieces on bizarre, quirky and pertinent science concepts. Expect to hear anything from why men have nipples to how 3D glasses work, and is nuclear energy a good or bad thing. Presentations will then be judged according to FameLab’s “3 Cs”: Content, Clarity and Charisma. Winning contestants from FameLab Galway will attend an all-expenses paid two-day communication masterclass over a weekend in March, and participate in the FameLab Ireland final held in Cork on Wednesday, 15 April. The winner will represent Ireland at the FameLab international finals at the Cheltenham Science Festival with representatives from organisations like NASA and CERN. By entering FameLab, participants will begin a journey with like-minded people, build their networks, expand skillsets essential for developing their career and, most of all, have a fantastic time! Training for FameLab Galway entrants will take place in Galway on Wednesday, 29 January, with the Regional heat scheduled for Wednesday, 19 February in An Taibhdhearc. To register for the training, please complete the online registration form: https://www.eventbrite.ie/e/famelab-galway-training-tickets-86493669895 by Monday, 27 January. To enter the FameLab Galway heat, please complete the online registration form: www.britishcouncil.ie/famelab/enter-competition/apply by Friday, 8 February or alternatively, submit an entry to FameLab Ireland by online video, visit: www.britishcouncil.ie/famelab for further details. The FameLab Galway regional heat is partnered with NUI Galway, GMIT, Marine Institute, MET, Insight, CÚRAM and Lero. For further information about FameLab Galway contact Dr Lisa Murphy at lisa.murphy@nuigalway.ie and Follow on twitter @FameLab_Gaway -Ends-

Monday, 13 January 2020

‘Schools Engagement with Archives through Learning’ NUI Galway’s Access Office is launching its 2020 ‘Breaking the SEAL (Schools Engagement with Archives through Learning)’ Programme on Thursday, 16January, at 9am in the Archbishop McHale College, Tuam, Co. Galway. This award winning programme, developed by Dr. Paul Flynn & Dr. Barry Houlihan, is an initiative of the University’s James Hardiman Library and the School of Education, in partnership with Access Centre at NUI Galway. The programme will be launched by Seán Canney, Minister of State Community Development, Natural Resources & Digital Development. The programme is designed to help Senior Cycle History students engage with the resources of the NUI Galway library and archives to complete their mandatory Research Study Report, while at the same time introducing them to key transitional skills such as: collaboration; critical analysis skills; independent thinking; academic writing; and digital skills. Dr Flynn further emphasizes that "History, as a second level subject, offers opportunities that other subjects don’t such as the development of crucial 21st Century skills such as collaboration, critical engagement, academic writing and experience presenting materials to a public audience. Breaking the SEAL offers a unique opportunity for Leaving Certificate History students to develop these skills and support teachers as they prepare students for the leaving certificate examination." It has been well documented that these are the very skills that new entrants to undergraduate programmes find the most challenging. Therefore, the programme aims are two-fold: provide students with an initial introduction to the aforementioned skills through onsite workshops and online support; and to support students as they begin, develop and complete their mandatory Research Study Report projects. Joseph Nyirenda, Attract Transition Succeed (ATS) Coordinator at NUI Galway said: “Breaking the SEAL is a project that has helped both history teachers and students in completing their Research Study Report project, while at the same time giving a changes to students to forge links with young historians across Europe. The project further builds relationships between young historians and local history societies via a new programme which involves mentoring. “ Breaking the SEAL is a project that is growing since its launch in 2015. Last year for example, 9 schools took part and for the 2019-2020 academic year, 19 schools have signed up. Apart from winners representing Ireland in the EUSTORY, Breaking the SEAL offers students the opportunity to opportunity to have their submitted abstracts being published and receive a certificate of participation. Participants will also receive mentoring support from external history experts and will meet with current NUI Galway students who will provide advice and what life entails while in college.” The project is further breaking grounds by linking local history associations with young historians who are developing their RSR project. Currently the Old Journal of Tuam Society will be working with students at Archbishop McHale College by providing mentorship through their process of RSR project. Breaking the SEAL holds the rights to the IrishNational History. Finals of this competition will be held at NUI Galway on 30 April, and the winners will be invited to engage with European young historians via the EUSTORY Competition. For the first time in its history the EUSTORY Competition will be held outside Germany with NUI Galway hosting the 2020 event. This event will take place in the month of October and details of the actual will be confirmed in the first quarter of 2020. For more information, contact Joseph Nyirenda at 086 852 8550 or joseph.nyirenda@nuigalway.ie. -Ends-

Friday, 10 January 2020

     Increase in the number of children reporting never having had an alcoholic drink      Majority of children who had alcohol sourced it from a parent or home      5% drop in the number of children trying smoking, but 22% of 12-17 year olds have tried e-cigarettes      Consumption of sweets and sugar-sweetened drinks each down by 6%      5% increase in children reporting being bullied (more likely in real-life than online)      Reduction in numbers of 15-17 year olds reporting ever having had sexual intercourse, but contraceptive use also down      Slight drop in life satisfaction and happiness; girls significantly less happy Minister for Health, Simon Harris TD, and Minister for Health Promotion, Catherine Byrne TD, have today launched the Health Behaviours in School-aged Children (HBSC) 2018 Study. The Irish part of this international study was carried out by NUI Galway’s Health Promotion Research Centre and led by Professor Saoirse Nic Gabhainn. The study shows many positive trends in health behaviours in children, as well highlighting some areas of concern. The study shows 64% of children reporting that they have never had an alcoholic drink, an increase of 6% since 2014. Of those children who reported ever having had alcohol, 54% received alcohol from a parent, guardian, sibling or reported taking alcohol from the family home, with a further 30% sourcing it from friends.   The study also shows that 11% of children aged 10 - 17 years old have tried smoking, a 5% drop from 16% in 2014, and 22% report trying e-cigarettes. Minister Harris said: “I am delighted to launch this valuable study. The health and wellbeing of our children is a key indicator of the health of the nation, and I am pleased to see many positive trends. In particular, the good news around smoking and alcohol use by children which both continue to decline. “However, the numbers of teenagers trying e-cigarettes and vaping products is a cause for concern and will be addressed by measures I will introduce in 2020, including new legislation to ban the sale of e-cigarettes to children under the age of 18.” Minister Harris continued: “Given the damaging effect that alcohol can have on the growing brain, the reduction in children trying alcohol and children reporting having been drunk is welcome.  However, I am struck by the finding that by far the most common source of alcohol for children is within their family home. This is an issue that all of us, as parents and adults in the lives of young people, need to reflect on. We need to change our culture around alcohol in Ireland, if we are to reduce the corrosive effects alcohol has on so many young lives. “The figures on bullying and sexual health underscore the importance of the valuable work my Department and the HSE are doing with parents, schools and youth organisations to help young people develop the skills to build resilience, confidence and healthy relationships.” Presenting the results, Professor Saoirse Nic Gabhainn, Principal Investigator of the HBSC Ireland research team at NUI Galway, said: “We are delighted to present this report to the Ministers, demonstrating continued improvement in some areas of child health and wellbeing, but also highlighting key areas where action is required at school, family and community levels.” She continued: “It is vital to respond decisively to the high rates of e-cigarette use and the stubborn bullying patterns illustrated in this our sixth national HBSC report.” Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Dr Katherine Zappone TD, said: "I welcome the publication of the Health Behaviour in School-Aged Children (HBSC) report and its contribution to our knowledge of the lives of children.  The HBSC is an important resource and presents key indicators on important aspects of children’s lives, including outcomes on health and social and emotional well-being; their relationships with their parents and their friends. These data are widely used by my Department in both the State of the Nation's Children report and the Better Outcomes Brighter Futures indicators set." The study also contains information on physical activity and the consumption of sugary sweets and drinks. While 52% of children report exercising four or more times per week, 9% of 10-17 year olds report being physically inactive. Both figures are static since 2014 and are broadly in line with the findings of other studies. Consumption of sweets and soft drinks is down significantly; 21% of children report eating sweets once or more per day, while 7% report consumption of soft drinks. These figures are down from 27% and 13% respectively in 2014. Minister Catherine Byrne said: “I welcome the findings of the HBSC study we are launching today, in particular, the drop in the number of children eating sweets and drinking soft drinks. This shows that the good work being done by many groups, including schools, in promoting healthy eating habits is having an impact.  I also welcome the small drop in numbers of children reporting they go to bed or school hungry, but this is a figure that we need to see at zero. The number of children taking part in sufficient levels of physical activity is another cause for concern and still far too low. “The decrease in the numbers of children smoking, drinking alcohol and using cannabis between 2014 and 2018 is positive but there still remains much work for all of us to do to address the challenges facing our children and to support them to enjoy positive health and wellbeing.” The report concludes that 30% of children report being bullied in the past couple of months (up from 25% in 2014), while 16% report being cyberbullied. There is a 4% drop in life satisfaction and happiness to 43% from 47% in 2014. Girls are significantly less likely to report being happy than boys. 24% of 15-17 year-olds report every having had sexual intercourse, down from 27% in 2014. However, of those reporting having had intercourse, use of the birth control pill is down by 4% to 29% in 2018, while there is a 9% drop to 64% in those reporting use of condoms. Minister Byrne continued: “One concerning finding is the slight drop in overall feeling of happiness and life satisfaction which is mirrored in other recent surveys of our young people. I am struck by the fact that more bullying takes place in real life than online. This underscores for me the very important role that adults in schools and our communities play in promoting healthy and respectful environments for young people, and in supporting participation in activities that protect mental wellbeing such as sport, arts and culture.” HBSC is an international study carried out in 47 participating countries and regions in conjunction with the World Health Organization.  The study provides a valuable insight into the health behaviours of school children, monitoring trends in health behaviours such as smoking, vaping, alcohol use, physical activity, food and dietary behaviour, bullying and indicators of wellbeing such as happiness, mental health and life satisfaction. The HBSC study in Ireland is funded by the Department of Health. The survey of 15,500 children from 255 primary and post-primary schools.   ENDS

Thursday, 9 January 2020

NUI Galway today outlined a new strategy which places the 175 year old institution as a central driver of transformational change for Galway and the West of Ireland. The new strategy, titled “Shared Vision, Shaped by Values”, has been developed following extensive dialogue with students, academics, alumni, policymakers, and the wider community, marks a new approach for NUI Galway, and places the shared values of respect, excellence, openness and sustainability as the guiding light for the future direction of the University. The strategy will see NUI Galway focus on its continued contribution to enhancing policy and society, enriching creativity, improving health and wellbeing, realising potential through data and enabling technologies, data science and sustaining our planet and people.  With these strengths, NUI Galway will lead through its contribution to the region’s international reputation as a recognised centre of excellence for Medical Technologies, Data Science, Culture and Creativity, Climate and Oceans, and Public Policy. President of NUI Galway, Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh, said: “We are a university with no gates.  Our location at the very edge of Europe gives us a unique perspective and an opportunity. Our regional footprint is the largest of any University in Ireland spanning the Atlantic seaboard. Galway is the most international city in Ireland. Our uniqueness means we can work in ways others cannot.  At the edge, we look at the world from a different angle. Between sea and land, we see the horizon every day and, like all great explorers, all great adventurers, we wonder what’s on the other side.  This places us in an international context and enhanced co-operation with other international institutions, from this place and for this purpose, will also therefore be a focus of our new strategy.   “For the public good, NUI Galway belongs to the people. In this strategy and in these times, we will use our location for the benefit of Ireland as an institution formed by values. Our research, our teaching and our engagement – with our students and our staff – has purpose, evoking also our sense of people and place, further contributing profoundly to the sustainability and development of culture, creative industries, data science, medical technologies, marine ecology and our economy. For example, given our geography at the intersection of Europe with the North Atlantic, the climate information we can gather is unique. The University will deliver subsequent climate research for the benefit of humanity. Beidh an Ghaeilge freisin i gcroílár straitéis agus structúir na hollscoile, luachmhar agus aitheanta mar luach dár gcomhluadar,” he added. The strategy also outlines an ambitious development programme, titled “Building for the Future”, which will see NUI Galway leading the transformational change of Galway and the West of Ireland, with major social, economic and cultural impact for future generations. This includes the prioritisation of the following, for example, based on the NUI Galway’s shared values: Open to our communities, a new innovation district, incorporating a riverside campus, on Nuns’ Island / Earls Island as the primary driver of the urban regeneration of Galway city and a landmark cultural and performance space, acknowledging the University’s role as a national cultural institution and its contribution to Galway as a city of culture; Reflecting respect for our students, additional affordable and sustainable on-campus student accommodation and a sports campus for the future, delivering a new Water Sports Centre and 3G pitch; Contributing to sustainability, universal design principles in our capital development across all our campuses and a programme of retrofitting older buildings to enhance physical access for all and expansion of the Galway to Connemara Greenway with greater connections for cyclists and pedestrians between the campus and the city; Committed to excellence, a new Library, incorporating a Learning Commons that encourages and supports new forms of learning and engagement applying the expertise of the University, through the creation of a new “City Lab”, in partnership with regional and national stakeholders, to make Galway and the wider region a better place to live and work. The University is also determined that employment at NUI Galway will be fair, equitable and inclusive. The University is committed to the practice of maintaining and promoting decent, high standards of employment and fairness for all those who work on its campuses. The critical role of the University in delivering sustainable development is central to the strategy. NUI Galway has signed the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Accord, moving to further develop research and teaching focused on the SDGs, and together developing a roadmap to move ambitiously towards a carbon neutral campus by 2030. Professor Ó hÓgartaigh continued: “We are here for our students and society, and now we must be here for our planet too. Our new strategy recognises how critical this moment is and, as the generation most influenced by climate change, our students demand climate action through our research, our teaching and our influential role as a public institution. We are distinctively shaped by our values, which emerged in consultation with our students, our staff and our other partners.  Those values shape the research which drives us, the teaching we share, the support we give and our engagement in the world and for the world.  Mar a spreagann dán Uí Dhireáin, tá currach lán éisc anseo, ag teacht chun cladaigh … san Earrach thiar.”  For more information visit www.nuigalway.ie/strategy2025/. -Ends-

Thursday, 9 January 2020

Rinne OÉ Gaillimh cur síos inniu ar straitéis nua a chuireann an institiúid atá 175 bliain d'aois chun cinn i ndáil le hathrú ó bhonn a dhéanfar ar Ghaillimh agus ar Iarthar na hÉireann. Leis an straitéis nua dar teideal “Fís i gCoiteann, Múnlaithe ag Luachanna”, a forbraíodh i ndiaidh idirphlé forleathan le mic léinn, lucht acadúil, alumni, lucht déanta polasaithe, agus an pobal i gcoitinne, léirítear cur chuige nua do OÉ Gaillimh, agus leis na luachanna i gcoiteann ar a n-áirítear ómós, barr feabhais, oscailteacht agus inbhuanaitheacht tugtar treoir do thodhchaí na hOllscoile. Díreoidh OÉ Gaillimh mar chuid den straitéis seo ar a rannpháirtíocht leanúnach maidir le polasaí agus an tsochaí a chur chun cinn, cruthaitheacht a shaibhriú, sláinte agus folláine a fheabhsú, barr cumais a bhaint amach le cabhair sonraí agus teicneolaíochtaí eolaíochta sonraí a chumasú, agus ár bpláinéad agus ár ndaoine a chothú.  Leis na láidreachtaí seo, beidh OÉ Gaillimh ar thús cadhnaíochta ag cur le cáil idirnáisiúnta an réigiúin mar ionad barr feabhais atá aitheanta mar gheall ar Theicneolaíochtaí Leighis, Eolaíocht Sonraí, Cultúr agus Cruthaitheacht, Aeráid agus Aigéin, agus Beartas Poiblí. Bhí an méid seo a leanas le rá ag Uachtarán OÉ Gaillimh, an tOllamh Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh: “Is ollscoil gan aon gheata í seo.  Tá léargas agus deis faoi leith againn i bhfianaise an ollscoil a bheith lonnaithe ar imeall na hEorpa. Is againne atá an lorg réigiúnach is mó i gcomparáid le haon ollscoil eile in Éirinn, agus muid ag síneadh feadh chósta an iarthair. Is í Gaillimh an chathair is idirnáisiúnta in Éirinn. Ciallaíonn ár n-uathúlacht gur féidir linn oibriú ar bhealaí nach féidir le daoine eile.  Ar an imeall, breathnaímid ar an domhan ar bhealach eile. Idir muir agus tír, feicimid a bhfuil romhainn gach lá agus, cosúil le gach mórthaiscéalaí, mórfhiontraí, déanaimid iontas faoina bhfuil ar an taobh eile.  Cuirtear muid i gcomhthéacs idirnáisiúnta agus dá bhrí sin beidh comhoibriú feabhsaithe le hinstitiúidí idirnáisiúnta eile, ón áit seo agus chun na críche seo, ina chuid lárnach dár straitéis nua freisin.   “Is leis an bpobal OÉ Gaillimh. Sa straitéis seo agus sa tréimhse seo, bainfimid úsáid as ár suíomh chun leasa na hÉireann mar institiúid atá bunaithe ar luachanna. Tá cuspóir ag baint lenár dtaighde, ár dteagasc agus ár rannpháirtíocht – ár gcuid mac léinn agus ár bhfoireann – agus músclaítear leo ár bhféiniúlacht, rud a chuireann go mór le hinbhuanaitheacht agus le forbairt an chultúir, na dtionscal cruthaitheach, na heolaíochta sonraí, na dteicneolaíochtaí leighis, na héiceolaíochta muirí agus ár ngeilleagair. Mar shampla, mar gheall ar ár suíomh tíreolaíoch ag an áit a mbuaileann an Eoraip leis an Atlantach Thuaidh, tá an t-eolas aeráide is féidir linn a bhailiú uathúil. Baileoidh an Ollscoil taighde aeráide dá réir sin ar mhaithe leis an gcine daonna. Beidh an Ghaeilge freisin i gcroílár straitéis agus struchtúir na hOllscoile, agus tuiscint againn ar a luach dár gcomhluadar,” a dúirt sé. Leagtar amach sa straitéis freisin clár forbartha uaillmhianach, dar teideal “Ag Tógáil don Todhchaí”, ina mbeidh OÉ Gaillimh i gceannas ar an athrú ó bhonn a dhéanfar ar Ghaillimh agus ar Iarthar na hÉireann, le mórthionchar sóisialta, eacnamaíoch agus cultúrtha do na glúnta atá le teacht. Áirítear leis seo tosaíocht a thabhairt do na nithe seo a leanas, mar shampla, bunaithe ar luachanna OÉ Gaillimh i gcoiteann: Oscailte dár bpobail, ceantar nuálaíochta nua, lena gcuimseofar campas cois abhann ar Oileán Altanach / Oileán an Iarla, ar forbairt í sin a chuirfidh dlús le hathnuachan uirbeach chathair na Gaillimhe agus spás eiseamláireach cultúrtha agus taibhléirithe a thabharfaidh aitheantas do ról na hOllscoile mar institiúid chultúrtha náisiúnta agus don chion atá déanta aici do Ghaillimh mar chathair chultúir; Ag léiriú ómóis dár mic léinn, lóistín breise do mhic léinn ar an gcampas a bheidh inacmhainne agus inbhuanaithe agus campas spóirt don todhchaí, ionad nua Spóirt Uisce agus páirc imeartha 3G a fhorbairt; Cur le hinbhuanaitheacht, prionsabail an dearaidh uilíoch a chur chun feidhme inár bhforbairt caipitil i ngach ceann dár gcampais, agus clár chun foirgnimh níos sine a aisfheistiú d’fhonn cur le rochtain fhisiciúil do chách agus cur leis an nGlasbhealach idir Gaillimh agus Conamara, agus naisc níos fearr a fhorbairt do rothaithe agus do choisithe idir an campas agus an chathair; Tiomanta do bharr feabhais, leabharlann nua a mbeidh Ionad Foghlama inti a spreagfaidh agus a thacóidh le cineálacha nua foghlama agus rannpháirtíochta agus saineolas na hOllscoile a chur chun feidhme, trí “Shaotharlann Chathrach” nua a chruthú, i gcomhpháirtíocht le páirtithe leasmhara réigiúnacha agus náisiúnta, chun feabhas a chur ar Ghaillimh agus ar an réigiún i gcoitinne mar áit chónaithe agus oibre. Tá an Ollscoil dírithe chomh maith ar fhostaíocht in OÉ Gaillimh a bheidh cóir, cothrom agus cuimsitheach. Tá an Ollscoil tiomanta ina sprioc caighdeáin arda fostaíochta agus cothroime ag an obair a choinneáil agus a chur chun cinn dóibh siúd ar fad atá ag obair ar na campais éagsúla. Tá ról ríthábhachtach na hOllscoile maidir le forbairt inbhuanaithe a sheachadadh mar chuid lárnach den straitéis. Tá Comhaontú na Náisiún Aontaithe maidir le Spriocanna Forbartha Inbhuanaithe (SDG) sínithe ag OÉ Gaillimh, a dhéanfaidh taighde agus teagasc a fhorbairt a thuilleadh chun díriú ar na SDGanna, agus oibrímid le chéile chun plean oibre uaillmhianach a fhorbairt a mbeidh sé mar aidhm aige neodracht charbóin a bhaint amach faoin mbliain 2030. Dúirt an tOllamh Ó hÓgartaigh: “Táimid anseo dár mic léinn agus dár sochaí, agus anois ní mór dúinn a bheith anseo dár bpláinéad chomh maith.  Aithníonn ár straitéis nua cé chomh criticiúil is atá an nóiméad seo agus, mar an ghlúin is mó atá faoi thionchar an athraithe aeráide, éilíonn ár mic léinn gníomhaíocht aeráide trínár dtaighde, ár dteagasc agus ár ról mar institiúid phoiblí.  Táimid múnlaithe go sainiúil ag ár luachanna, a tháinig chun cinn i gcomhairle lenár mic léinn, lenár bhfoireann agus lenár gcomhpháirtithe eile.  Cruthaíonn na luachanna sin an taighde a spreagaimid, an teagasc a roinnimid, an tacaíocht a thugaimid agus ár rannpháirtíocht sa domhan agus don domhan.  Mar a léiríonn dán Uí Dhireáin, tá currach lán éisc anseo, ag teacht chun cladaigh … san Earrach thiar.” -Críoch-

Wednesday, 8 January 2020

NUI Galway will launch a new exhibition, ‘Readers and Reputations: The Reception and Circulation of Early Modern Women’s Writing, 1550-1700’, on Thursday, 16 January, at 5pm in the University’s Hardiman Research Building. The exhibition showcases the findings of a major research project, ‘RECIRC: The Reception and Circulation of Early Modern Women’s Writing, 1550-1700’, led by Professor Marie-Louise Coolahan, Professor of English at NUI Galway. The project began in July 2014 and formally concludes in January 2020. This was the first literature project in Ireland to have been awarded funding by the European Research Council, and has involved 11 researchers over the course of its five years. The exhibition shows how women were read both in their own time and posthumously – as powerful queens, controversial exhibitionists, exemplary mothers and autobiographers, pioneering scientists, and witnesses to religious persecution. It includes anonymous poems that challenge our assumptions about gendered voice and authorship. Professor Coolahan said: “Given the huge interest in recovering women writers, scientists and pioneers from history we wanted to investigate the impact made by such women, and on a large scale. Who was reading them? How far did their writings circulate and how did they gain wider traction? What we’ve found ranges from testimonies of persecution and martyrdom that were translated across Europe as Counter-Reformation polemic, to the exchange of medicines and political ideas, as well as many readers who adapted poems by women in their own manuscripts, and bibliophiles who collected female-authored books. Perhaps most importantly, it’s clear that there is far more material out there than we could locate and analyse within the five-year period of the project. In all, we’ve found 4,845 receptions of female authors and their works, by 678 identified people, in 1,431 different sources. The online database storing these results will be publicly released in early 2020.” The exhibition  is sponsored by the Irish Research Council and is free of charge and will run until Friday, 27 March. For more information on the research project follow @RECIRC_ on Twitter or visit recirc.nuigalway.ie. -Ends-

Tuesday, 7 January 2020

The Centre for Pain Research at NUI Galway is seeking parents with a young child (from ages 2.5 to 6 years old) to take part in a short study about their child’s “everyday pains” (such as little bumps, scrapes, and cuts that happen around the home). The study will explore how parents and their children respond to everyday pains. These are the most common type of pain for young children, but they are not well understood. Minor pains and the way that parents react may influence how a child learns about pain. The researchers would like to know more about how parents and children influence each other during these everyday pain experiences. For example, which parent responses may make their child’s pain experience a little easier and which responses may make the experience worse. As part of the study, parents will complete a five-minute online diary each evening for two weeks about a pain event their child experienced that day. Additionally, parent and child will fill out a two-minute smartphone assessment together about how they felt during any pain events. Grace O’Sullivan, Centre for Pain Research at NUI Galway and lead researcher of the study, said: “Previous research has shown that children experience a painful incident approximately every three waking hours. Parents often deal with multiple incidents each day, and this study may be of interest to parents who want to know a little more about how to assess their child’s pain experiences.” Professor Brian McGuire, Centre for Pain Research at NUI Galway, said: “This is an exciting study because it is about understanding the ways in which parents and kids learn from each other during minor pain experiences. Learning good pain coping skills in childhood probably protects us in adult life”.   More information about the study can be found at: http://www.nuigalway.ie/centre-for-pain-research/diarystudy/index.html or email g.osullivan6@nuigalway.ie. To view a short video about the study, visit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K81WP6WPETg -Ends-

Monday, 6 January 2020

In September 2020 NUI Galway’s School of Law will enrol the first cohorts of students in two new undergraduate degrees; Law, Criminology and Criminal Justice and Law and Taxation. The launch of these two new programmes is the latest in a series of innovations by the School of Law to further develop undergraduate study of law at NUI Galway. Law, Criminology and Criminal Justice is a unique new degree providing students with the opportunity to combine the study of a full undergraduate law degree with specially-developed modules in criminal law, criminology and criminal justice. Programme Director, Dr Diarmuid Griffin said: “Graduates of this programme will be well positioned to pursue careers as barristers or solicitors specialising in criminal law or working with the agencies and organisations of the criminal justice system.” Law and Taxation will enable students to combine the study of a full undergraduate law degree with taxation and still explore other related areas of law and commerce including Business and Commercial Law, Accountancy, Economics, Digital Business and Management. Senior Lecturer in Taxation and Finance at NUI Galway, Dr Emer Mulligan said: “Ireland is an increasingly important hub on the international taxation landscape. Irish law and other professional services firms advise leading domestic and international corporations and financial institutions, who undertake their business in and from Ireland. This Law and Taxation degree will equip students with the graduate attributes, knowledge and practical work experience needed to pursue a range of careers in taxation across tax advisory roles and industry.”  The two new programmes complement existing Law degrees on offer at NUI Galway including Law, Law and Business, and Law and Human Rights, which was launched in 2019 and is the first of its kind in the country. All Law degrees offered by NUI Galway are full Law degrees which means students have the option to pursue professional legal training as a solicitor or as a barrister upon graduation. All programmes offer study abroad and work placement opportunities and recent reforms of the Year 1 curriculum across all Law programmes means that students are equipped with core legal skills from the outset, before progressing to more complex Law modules. Head of School of Law at NUI Galway, Dr Charles O’Mahony explains: “It is a great time to consider studying Law at NUI Galway, especially with the new and innovative changes around our undergraduate programmes. We are very proud that the School of Law was named the ‘Law School of the Year 2019’ at the recent Irish Law Awards. NUI Galway Law students become highly skilled, employable graduates able to progress to professional qualification and to pursue a range of other careers locally, nationally and globally. Our new Law degrees allow students to specialise in areas of interest to them, equipping students with both the academic and practical skills required for successful careers.” For more information on the new programmes visit http://www.nuigalway.ie/business-public-policy-law/school-of-law/. -Ends-

Monday, 6 January 2020

NUI Galway will hold an information evening focusing on the needs of Mature Students and Adult Learners who may be considering full-time or part-time studies for the 2020 academic year. The public information evening will take place on Wednesday, 15 January, from 5.30-8.30pm in the Institute for Lifecourse and Society on NUI Galway’s North Campus. The event focuses on the diversity of learners’ needs and showcases the breath of study opportunities the University offers to prospective students who may not have considered third level education previously.  The Mature Students Office, in collaboration with the Centre for Adult Learning and Professional Development, offers support in making the right decision in relation to the range of courses on offer and which would best suit individual’s personal circumstances and professional development needs.    The Mature Students Officer will give a welcome presentation at 6pm explaining the CAO application procedure for anyone wishing to apply for a full-time degree in 2020 and who are aged 23 or over. “Mature Students are a growing group of students at NUI Galway, they bring a wealth of experience and skills which supports them whilst undertaking a full-time degree. If you live at a distance from the University or if you work full-time, don’t let this be a barrier to returning to learn. Information on the University’s range of part-time, blended learning, fully online and short courses will also be available on the night”, said Trish Bourke, Mature Student Officer at NUI Galway. Teaching staff from the University’s undergraduate and postgraduate courses, along with representatives from the University’s Support Service, will also be on hand to discuss the range of course options and supports offered by the University. Career advisors will also provide a free, one-to-one consultation, to advise on possible career pathways. Nuala McGuinn from NUI Galway’s Centre for Adult Learning and Professional Development, said: “Feedback from students who availed of career consultations at previous events have indicated that the opportunity to discuss career pathways and your personal strengths with a trained advisor was pivotal in their choice of course. We strongly advise prospective students to avail of this free service, as it’s an important first step in your learning journey.” The Access Office will be in attendance to offer advice on pre-university courses in terms of Access courses. Also present, will be the Disability Support Services who have expertise in supporting students at third level who may have a long-term health condition (physical or mental), or a specific learning difficulty. To attend the information evening please register at www.nuigalway.ie/adultandmaturesinfo/ -Ends-

Thursday, 2 January 2020

A lecture series at the College of Arts, Social Sciences, and Celtic Studies at NUI Galway featuring new Professors in the College will continue with Personal Professor in Irish Studies, Professor Louis de Paor, on Thursday, 30 January at 5pm, in the Moore Institute NUI Galway (GO10). In his talk titled ‘Níos Gaelaí ná an Ghaeilge féin. Flann O’Brien: More Irish than Irish?’, Professor de Paor will share findings from his ground-breaking research of the work of Flann O’Brien, focusing in particular on the Irish language element in O’Brien’s work. Professor de Paor was appointed Director of the Centre for Irish Studies at NUI Galway in 2000 and his published works include a monograph on the work of Máirtín Ó Cadhain, Faoin mblaoisc bheag sin: an aigneolaíocht i scéalta Mháirtín Uí Chadhain; an anthology of twentieth-century poetry in Irish, Coiscéim na haoise seo, co-edited with Seán Ó Tuama; a bilingual edition of the selected poems of Máire Mhac an tSaoi, An paróiste míorúilteach/The miraculous parish; and a critical edition of the selected poems of Liam S Gógan, Míorúilt an chleite chaoin . He was Jefferson Smurfit Distinguished Fellow at the University of St Louis-Missouri in 2002 and received the Charles Fanning medal from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale in 2009. He was a Fulbright Visiting Fellow at New York University and UC Berkeley in 2013-14 and Burns Scholar at Boston College in 2016. His most recent publications include, Leabhar na hAthghabhála/Poems of Repossession: Twentieth-century Poetry in Irish, and Ag Caint leis an Simné?: Dúshlán an Traidisiúin agus Nualitríocht na Gaeilge. Dr Seán Crosson, Vice-Dean for Research in the College of Arts, Social Sciences and Celtic Studies at NUI Galway, said: “We are delighted to continue this lecture series which provides a great opportunity for the University to make the general public more aware of the world-leading innovative research and practice being undertaken in the college. This is the ninth speaker in the series which has featured contributions to date in the areas of social policy, education, political thought, online therapies, language transmission, folk song traditions in Irish, historical research, and behavioural psychology. We are honoured to now feature Professor de Paor in the series, an academic whose research, publications, and practice  has brought a deeper understanding to readers and audiences in Ireland and internationally of the continuing relevance and significance of Irish-language literature today” -Ends-

Thursday, 2 January 2020

Caitlín Ní Chualáin, the 2019/20 Sean-Nós Singer-in-Residence at NUI Galway, will give a second series of sean-nós singing workshops beginning at 7pm on Tuesday, 14 January, and continuing on the 21 January and the 4 and 18 February.. The workshops will take place in the Seminar Room at the Centre for Irish Studies, NUI Galway. From An Teach Mór Thiar, Indreabhán, Caitlín cites her father, Máirtín Pheaits Ó Cualáin, a winner of Comórtas na bhFear at the Oireachtas in 1944 and 2001, as a major influence.  She also draws on the rich tradition of sean-nós singers from the area. Caitlín won Comórtas na mBan at the Oireachtas in the years 2005, 2008 and 2014 and the coveted Corn Ui Riada, the premier competition for sean-nós singing at the Oireachtas festival in 2016. Cailtín can frequently be heard on RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta, where she also works as a journalist, and at concerts and workshops. The workshops are free and open to all. Further information available from Samantha Williams at 091-492051 or samantha.williams@nuigalway.ie This project is funded by Ealaín na Gaeltachta, Údarás na Gaeltachta and An Chomhairle Ealaíon in association with the Centre for Irish Studies at NUI Galway. -Ends-

Thursday, 2 January 2020

Cuirfear Caitlín Ní Chualáin tús leis an dara sraith de cheardlanna amhránaíochta ar an sean-nós in Ionad Léann na hÉireann, OÉ Gaillimh ag 7pm Dé Máirt, 14ú Eanáir. Beidh na ceardlanna a reachtáil  ar an 14 agus agus 21 Eanáir, 4 agus 18 Feabhra i seomra seimineáir an Ionaid ar Bhóthar na Drioglainne. Is as An Teach Mór Thiar, in Indreabhán, Caitlín agus tá oidhreacht shaibhir cheolmhar le cloisteáil ina cuid amhránaíochta a fuair sí óna muintir féin sa mbaile. Bhuaigh Caitlín Comórtas na mBan ag an Oireachtas sna blianta 2005, 2008 agus 2014 agus thug sí léi Corn Ui Riada, an príomhghradam don amhránaíocht ar an sean-nós i 2016. Tá na ceardlanna saor in aisce agus beidh fáilte roimh chách. Tuilleadh eolais ó Samantha Williams ag 091-512428 nó samantha.williams@nuigalway.ie -Críoch-

Thursday, 2 January 2020

NUI Galway has announced the first graduates from the dual degree partnership between the University’s J.E. Cairnes School of Business and Economics and Burgundy School of Business in France. Katie Whelan, a final year Bachelor of Commerce (Global Experience) student who enrolled in this dual degree programme, was recently awarded a French Government Medal and a National University of Ireland Prize of €1,000. She will be conferred with a Bachelor of Marketing and Business from Burgundy School of Business in March 2020. Maëva Hivert, a dual degree student from Burgundy School of Business, was conferred with a Bachelor of Commerce from NUI Galway at the recent Winter Conferring ceremonies. Maëva is the first student at NUI Galway to be conferred through this dual degree programme. Dr Ann Torres, Vice Dean for Internationalisation for the College of Business, Public Policy and Law, NUI Galway, said: “Expanding dual degree partnerships reaffirm the University’s commitment to provide students with internationalisation opportunities. Congratulations to Maëva and Katie for being the first to pursue these transformational educational experiences.” Claudia Sampel, Associate Dean of International Relations, Burgundy School of Business, said: “Embarking on a dual degree is an enriching and challenging experience. Katie and Maëva thoroughly deserve this recognition. We are that confident the skills they gained this year will equip them with an international outlook they will carry throughout their careers. We wish them the best for their future.” For more information regarding the Bachelor of Commerce (Global Experience) visit http://www.nuigalway.ie/courses/undergraduate-courses/commerce-global-experience.html -Ends-

Friday, 20 December 2019

Medtech accelerator helps 14 companies secure €9.7 million and create 52 jobs Life Sciences start-ups benefit from extensive new state-of-the-art lab space Entrepreneurial students flourish during 2019 Industry collaboration continues to thrive New companies, new start-up spaces, national awards and student successes have marked another very successful year for innovation at NUI Galway. The year saw NUI Galway sign over 50 project agreements with industry contributing across a wide range of sectors including IT, engineering and life sciences. The university is also a collaborator on three ground-breaking projects under the recently announced Disruptive Technologies Innovation Fund. In 2019, start-ups including AtriAN Medical, Loci Orthopaedics, BlueDrop Medical, Cortechs and An Mheitheal Rothar - among others - saw great successes. Among the highlights of the year was the completion of the second round of the BioExel MedTech Accelerator programme, based at NUI Galway. The two-year pilot supported 14 companies who secured €9.7 million in investment and funding and created 52 jobs. The year also saw the creation of specialised laboratory space to support life sciences start-ups in the region, with room for up to 100 employees.  In recognition of her leadership role with BioExel and broader contributions to the medtech ecosystem in Ireland, Fiona Neary, Innovation Operations Manager with NUI Galway’s Innovation Office, was awarded an Achiever of the Year Award as part of Knowledge Transfer Ireland’s Impact Awards. Student and Staff Innovation Entrepreneurial students across campus continued to excel in 2019, in particular those supported by NUI Galway LaunchPad, the innovation training hub on campus which has supported over 7,000 student entrepreneurs since 2016. Christopher McBrearty was announced as Enterprise Ireland Student Entrepreneur of the Year and also featured with fellow students Emily Wallace and Aaron Hannon in the Sunday Independent Top 30 under 30 Entrepreneurs in Ireland. Former NUI Galway LaunchPad student entrepreneur in residence Edel Browne was named on the Forbes 30 Under 30 list 2019. Over 20 new innovative project ideas from collaborative student and staff projects were supported by the NUI Galway EXPLORE Programme. The projects range in topics from coastal flooding, outreach science kits, developing alumni linkages to developing the next generation of rehabilitation device for stroke victims. In 2019 the Galway Green Lab project, a newly funded project with EXPLORE was the first Lab in Europe to secure Green Lab certification. David Murphy, Director of NUI Galway’s Innovation Office, commented: “Our office plays a crucial role in driving impact for the University, with a focus on the benefits to society and the economy. The team works closely with NUI Galway’s research community to take research breakthroughs and knowledge out into society; to support collaborations with industry; to mentor spin-outs and spin-ins on campus; and to deliver programmes that engage staff and students in entrepreneurial projects.” Supporting Start-Ups and Industry There has been plenty of successes for NUI Galway spin-outs and spin-ins in 2019. Highlights include: Medical device spin-out company, AtriAN Medical closed a €2.3 million investment to commercialise a new treatment for atrial fibrillation. Loci Orthopaedics was announced as lead partner in a €2.5 million consortium to advance its device for the treatment of arthritis of the thumb under the European Commission’s ‘Fast Track to Innovation’ fund. Bluedrop Medical, a BioExel participant, successfully raised €3.7 million in 2019 with a mix of investment and EU grant funding to enable further clinical emersion of their product that has the potential to prevent hundreds of thousands of amputations. Brian Shields, founder of Galway medical device NUI Galway spinout Neurent Medical, was named as Enterprise Ireland’s high potential start-up Founder of the Year. The company was also among the finalists for the 2019 Knowledge Transfer Impact Award for spinout company. Cortechs, another BioExcel participant, has created data-driven, therapeutic applications that use cognitive training, brainwaves and biofeedback data to improve Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). The company has already received an EU grant of €1.3 million for the development of their products and is now open for seed investment of €2 million. An Mheitheal Rothar, a social-sustainable enterprise based at NUI Galway, was one of just three enterprises in Ireland to be awarded €5,000 by the Social Entrepreneurs Ireland in 2019. Irish technology start-up Joulica which is based on campus announced plans to create 45 new jobs over three years. For more information visit www.nuigalway.ie/innovation. -Ends-

Thursday, 19 December 2019

NUI Galway launched The Pauline & Bunnie Jones Scholarship awards on (Monday, 16 December, 2019) in Scoil Mhuire, Strokestown, Co. Roscommon along with Roscommon-natives, Mrs. Pauline Jones and her daughter Dr. Deirdre Jones. The new scholarships have been established to celebrate achievement and support students from schools in County Roscommon who wish to register for a full-time undergraduate programme at NUI Galway.  The total value of the scholarship will be €2,500 per student. Four scholarships will be awarded based on the highest Leaving Certificate scores achieved in any one year. The scholarships will be awarded to students who demonstrate academic excellence in their Leaving Certificate and progress to undergraduate studies at NUI Galway. Students who meet the following criteria will be awarded the scholarships: Two students with the highest Leaving Certificate score, which was sat while attending Scoil Mhuire, Clochar na Trócaire, Strokestown, Co. Roscommon. Two students with the highest Leaving Certificate score, which was sat while attending any other school in Co. Roscommon. The award will be limited to a maximum of one medical student with the highest Leaving Certificate score, which was sat while attending any school in County Roscommon. To be eligible for the award, students are asked to: Register their interest in the award by completing the online scholarship application on or before 1st August. Have applied for any full-time Undergraduate course at NUI Galway via the CAO, for the academic year in which the scholarship is awarded. Upon receipt and acceptance of CAO offer, register as a student of NUI Galway by the due registration date. Have attended and sat the Leaving Cert at any school in County Roscommon. Speaking at the launch in Roscommon, President of NUI Galway, Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh, said: “Education is key to supporting society’s development and as part of the scholarships, NUI Galway is committed to providing the opportunity of a university education to students in Co. Roscommon, who strive to excel in their Leaving Certificate and progress to third level studies. We are very grateful to the Jones Family for their generous support of this initiative, which aims to celebrate achievements in secondary schools in Co. Roscommon. We look forward to welcoming the first four scholarship awardees at the start of our new academic year in September 2020. The Scholarship is the embodiment of NUI Galway’s values of respect, excellence, openness and sustainability - respect for education, excellence in our students, openness to all and sustaining the next generation.” The ‘Pauline & Bunnie Jones Scholarships’ was established to promote excellence and celebrate academic achievement in secondary schools in Co. Roscommon. The Jones Family is the benefactor of this scholarship which will be awarded through Galway University Foundation. For online scholarship applications and more information, visit: http://www.nuigalway.ie/undergraduate-scholarships/. -Ends-

Wednesday, 18 December 2019

Academics from NUI Galway’s School of Education have been awarded research funding for a three-year international project that will develop teachers’ research skills and networking practices. The researchers, Dr Tony Hall and Dr Cornelia Connolly, have been awarded European funding for the project, which will develop teachers into teacher researchers and evidence informed practitioners through an innovative infrastructure. Aligning to the work conducted nationally by the T-REX consortium (which includes NUI Galway, the University of Limerick, Mary Immaculate College and Marino Institute of Education), this funding was awarded through the Erasmus+ programme, and will  support international partnerships seeking to enhance education. The NUI Galway have been joined with research partners from across Europe including the UK, Poland, Greece and Spain. Dr Tony Hall, Deputy Head, School of Education, said: “The development of a network of research teachers will reduce the gap between research and individual teaching practice, thereby giving back agency to the very people who will need to make use of, and who should be driving forward, research in schools.” Dr Cornelia Connolly, Co-Principal Investigator, added: “The project will deliver freely accessible tools to enable teachers to access research, help them design and carry out their own small scale projects, and publish and share their findings with peer groups across the EU.” The project will seek to inform teacher education practice in its partner countries and strategically target stakeholders and policy makers at its seven external multiplier events. The resources will also be made freely available for across the European Union, following project completion in August 2022. -Ends-

Monday, 16 December 2019

Professor Philip Alston, UN Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights, will deliver a public lecture entitled ‘What does climate change really have to do with human rights?’ at NUI Galway. The event will take place on Thursday, 19 December, from 12.30-2pm in the Distillery Buildings, Law Library, Dublin 7, and is co-hosted by the Irish Centre for Human Rights, the Ryan Institute, NUI Galway and the Human Rights Committee, Bar of Ireland. This event marks the launch in Dublin of the International Human Rights Law Clinic at NUI Galway’s Irish Centre for Human Rights, led by Dr Maeve O’Rourke, which includes a focus on climate justice and Ireland’s (non-)performance regarding its climate change mitigation obligations. The lecture will be chaired by Chief Justice, Hon Mr Justice Frank Clarke, and will draw from Professor Alston’s recent UN report on climate change and human rights, in which he described the extreme inequality and suffering that climate change is causing around the world and the steps that governments - and all members of society - particularly in wealthier countries need to take, urgently, to address the climate crisis. Commenting on the upcoming event, UN Special Rapporteur, Professor Alston said: “Climate change is going to affect all of us, and dramatically, but you’d never know that from the reaction of the legal and human rights communities.” UN Special Rapporteur, Professor Alston, will address the threats posed by climate change to the future of human rights, and the risk that progress made on human rights, poverty reduction and democratic governance, will be undone. He will highlight the need for human rights activists, lawyers, scientists and Governments to act now, with greater urgency, mobilising policy measures, law reform initiatives and human rights advocacy to secure policy and legislative changes. Professor Alston will also reflect on recent global developments as people globally, and young people in particular, put increasing pressure on their governments to act. Professor Siobhán Mullally, Director of the Irish Centre for Human Rights at NUI Galway, said: “Climate change threatens human rights, including the most fundamental of rights, the right to life. Globally, rights to livelihoods, health, housing, and decent work, are facing urgent and destructive threats globally and locally. Human rights activists, lawyers, Governments and policy-makers need to mobilise and to take courageous and bold steps now to safeguard the future of our children and the fragile protections of human rights that we have fought to defend.” Professor Charles Spillane, Director of the Ryan Institute at NUI Galway, said: “It has been estimated that the richest 10% of the world’s population are responsible for almost half of total lifestyle consumption emissions. At the other end of the income scale, the poorest 50% of people on the planet are responsible for only 10% of total lifestyle consumption emissions. While contributing the least to causing the climate change problem, it is the poorest and marginalised in our societies that are the most vulnerable to climate change impacts and shocks.” Professor Spillane stressed: “As the world’s leaders assemble for the COP25 climate negotiations in Madrid, there are major action challenges to be addressed relating to both reducing emissions and distributive justice to strengthen the climate change resilience of the poorest and most marginalised in society. While ‘Leaving No One Behind’ and ‘Reaching the furthest behind first’ has been a clarion call of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals, it remains to be seen what scale of climate justice actions will be deployed by our governments and institutions towards such ambitions.”  This event will appeal to policy-makers, NGOs, Government, lawyers, and all those interested in human rights, law, politics, poverty, climate change and/or environmental issues generally. The event is free but places must be reserved on Eventbrite https://bit.ly/2qHPoNO. The UN Special Rapporteur Professor Alston's report on Climate Change and Poverty can be accessed at https://bit.ly/2PzpQKY and a summary is available at https://bit.ly/38orE1Y   . -Ends-

Thursday, 12 December 2019

University to shape Legacy of European Capital of Culture with a cultural legacy programme which will have a lasting impact on Galway’s creative arts sector NUI Galway announced its strategic partnership with Galway 2020 European Capital of Culture today (12 December 2019) at the O’Donoghue Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance. The partnership was officially launched by Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh, President of NUI Galway, and Arthur Lappin, Chair of Galway 2020. As European Capital of Culture 2020, Galway has a unique opportunity to build a lasting legacy for the cultural and creative arts sector in the city and its hinterland, boosting the reputation of the city and region, and building new relationships across Europe and the wider world. As Official Legacy Partner to the European Capital of Culture project, NUI Galway will support the development of a cultural legacy programme which will have a lasting impact on Galway’s creative arts sector. The multi-strand partnership to support the delivery of the legacy of Galway 2020 includes: A Legacy Cultural and Performance Space Demonstrating its commitment to Galway as European Capital of Culture 2020, the University has committed to considering the legacy of Galway 2020 in terms of space, both physical and conceptual, for the performing arts. This will build on the development of the Regeneration Master Plan for Nuns’ Island, which is being implemented in cooperation with Galway City Council. The brief for the performance space will be co-developed with Galway City Council and will involve broad consultation with cultural and arts organisations. Culture at the heart of the University’s Role Culture and the creative arts have always been at the heart of the University’s mission. NUI Galway has long been a wellspring of creative talent and is making an active contribution to building Galway’s reputation as an internationally recognised centre for culture, creativity and innovation. The University will invite ambition in research that enriches creativity and culture, and it is committed to partnering with and supporting cultural and creative organisations, regionally and nationally, to champion cultural expression for all.  The legacy of Galway 2020 will include the creation of new teaching courses – including a new Masters in Producing and Curating, the recruitment of new students into Creative Arts programmes, and the development of new local, national and European partnerships in teaching and research. NUI Galway to host Galway 2020 Events NUI Galway will become a hub for selected Galway 2020 events, bringing leading artists, researchers and audiences to the campus, expanding on its commitment to playing a leading role, as an engaged university, in the life of the City and the region. Galway 2020 events to be hosted on campus include three Gala Concerts, one with the RTÉ Symphony Orchestra, another with the RTÉ Concert Orchestra, as well as the grand finale of Cellissimo, a major new International Triennial Cello Festival by Music for Galway. Other events include elements of Project Baa Baa, a programme of events celebrating all things sheep and a major international conference on Cultural Legacy organised by the University. To finish the year-long programme of events, NUI Galway will host a spectacular light installation illuminating the iconic Quadrangle for the Closing Ceremony of Galway 2020 in January 2021. Dedicated Projects for 2020 Galway 2020 in association with NUI Galway will present two further projects in the Galway 2020 programme – The Immersive Classroom and Aistriú. The Immersive Classroom aims to engage students, educators, and the general public in critical debates about the way we think about our world, knowledge and embodied learning by using innovative technologies such as Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality. Aistriú will focus on Irish language literature on the theme of migration, shedding new light on some of the best-known Irish language writers. Earlier this year, a four-week capacity-building workshop, Future Landscapes, featured an exhibition showcasing work drawn from theatre, visual and digital arts, and animation. European Cultural Parliament comes to Galway The University hopes to bring members of the European Cultural Parliament to Galway and its regions to set up workshops exploring sustainable cultural ecologies in building new European networks and opportunities for artists and cultural workers. University Network of Capitals of Culture NUI Galway will host the University Network of European Capitals of Culture conference. The theme for this European conference is: ‘Re-thinking Cultural Capital(s): Inclusivity, Sustainability, and Legacies’. The University will also host the annual conference of the International Federation for Theatre Research, the world’s largest gathering of theatre scholars and practitioners, during the 2020 Galway International Arts Festival.  Monitoring and Evaluation The University and Galway 2020, in collaboration with The Audience Agency, will deliver the monitoring and evaluation for the European Capital of Culture programme. NUI Galway will deliver an innovative European research project and gather and analyse data to assess the impact of the European Capital of Culture designation on Galway City and County, in support of a research framework and evaluation plan currently being developed by The Audience Agency. As key educators of future arts practitioners, managers and academics in the cultural and creative industries in Ireland and abroad, the University has a strong interest in establishing educational frameworks that are responsive to the European Capital of Culture status and that can serve the arts, business and cultural communities that will grow in response to 2020. Speaking at the launch of the Strategic Partnership, President of NUI Galway, Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh, commented: “As a university for the public good, we are delighted to announce our strategic partnership with Galway 2020. As the official legacy partner to the European Capital of Culture project, NUI Galway is committed to respecting and supporting the development of a cultural legacy programme which will leave a far-reaching impact on Galway city and its hinterland. We value our openness to our communities and are therefore also delighted to make available our campus to several events throughout 2020 as well as hosting our own dedicated projects. This partnership will enable the University to continue to enhance and enrich the excellence of our creative and cultural programmes for our students, ensuring that they enjoy a sustainable future contributing to this sector in Galway.” Arthur Lappin, Chair of Galway 2020, said: “The legacy of Galway 2020 will be the ultimate measure of our success as European Capital of Culture. The announcement today that NUI Galway is our Legacy partner is a hugely significant moment in the evolution of the project. The depth and breadth of our partnership is a huge tribute to NUI Galway and its President, of the vision and leadership in our common goals.  Legacy will take many forms and it is so reassuring to know that when the work of Galway 2020 is done, this great institution will carry the torch of underpinning our legacy in so many ways.”  For more information about NUI Galway’s Strategic Partnership with Galway 2020 European Capital of Culture, visit: http://www.nuigalway.ie/galway2020/. -Ends-

Thursday, 12 December 2019

State investment has returned €593 million to the economy Minister for Business, Enterprise, and Innovation, Heather Humphreys TD, and Minister for Training, Skills, Innovation, Research and Development, John Halligan TD, today announced a Government investment of €49 million through Science Foundation Ireland in the Insight SFI Research Centre for Data Analytics. This Government investment will secure a further €100 million from industry and other international sources, such as the European Union, over the next six years to further harness the power of data analytics, machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI). The Insight Centre for Data Analytics was established in 2013 and is hosted at four higher education institutions: NUI Galway, Dublin City University, University College Cork and University College Dublin and works in partnership with Maynooth University, Trinity College Dublin, Tyndall National Institute and University of Limerick. Minister Humphreys welcomed the announcement, saying: “I am delighted to announce this new investment in Insight, whose research and outputs are aligned with Future Jobs Ireland, the whole of Government plan to prepare our businesses and workers for tomorrow. Many traditional job roles are changing, and with Brexit and other international challenges on the horizon, we must continue to plan ahead, focus on what is within our control domestically and be the masters of our own destiny. Insight is playing an important role in our plans to prepare now for tomorrow’s world by keeping Ireland at the cutting edge of innovation in this important sector.” Also welcoming the announcement, Minister Halligan said: “As one of Europe’s largest data analytics research organisations, the Insight SFI Research Centre has over 450 researchers and 89 industry partners. I am delighted to welcome this investment announcement, as part of the Government’s commitment to develop a highly skilled and innovative workforce." Through this new investment, Insight will continue its world-class research via a set of three demonstrator projects under the themes: Augmented Human, Smart Enterprise and Sustainable Societies. In addition, it will significantly expand its Education and Outreach Programme, including a new Citizen Science initiative. This allocation forms part of a new six year round of funding (with an overall investment of €230 million) for six Research Centres, including Insight.  The investment has been made by the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation, as part of Project Ireland 2040, through Science Foundation Ireland. It will directly benefit approximately 850 researchers employed by the Research Centres, while also supporting the Government’s Future Jobs Ireland initiative. The investment is buoyed by industry support with 170 industry partners committing to investing over €230 million in cash and in-kind contributions over the next six years.  Insight collaborates with over 80 industry partners, including Abtran, Acquis BI, Boston Scientific, Curtiss-Wright, Eagle Alpha, Fujitsu, GAA and Dublin GAA to name a few. Insight’s research spans Health and Human Performance, Enterprise and Services, Smart Communities and Internet of Things and Sustainability and Operations. The centre’s new CEO, Professor Noel O’Connor, believes that the State’s continued investment in Ireland’s largest data research institute is a major boost for Irish research and will continue to pay dividends for the Irish economy. “We are very proud of what we have achieved since 2013. The establishment of Insight has been a major success story for the Irish economy, and the figures prove it,” says Professor O’Connor. “We have very ambitious plans for our next phase. We have globally competitive talent working at the frontier of research in artificial intelligence, smart cities and the augmented human, and have positioned ourselves right at the heart of innovation leadership.” Commenting on the announcement, Science Foundation Ireland’s Director General and Chief Scientific Adviser to the Government of Ireland, Professor Mark Ferguson said: “Insight’s research is equipping indigenous Irish companies to harness the power of data analytics, machine learning and AI to become more competitive and open new markets. The SFI Research Centres continue to attract and retain multinational organisations who want to conduct high value research in Ireland. Centres like Insight are seeding the next generation of world class innovators in our universities.” Insight was established in 2013 through an initial SFI investment of €43 million and has delivered an economic impact of €593m to the Irish economy. For every €1 of state investment, €5.54 is returned to the economy on an overall leveraged basis. This funding was supplemented by €63 million from EU sources and industry. That means for every €1 of SFI funding, another €1.46 in additional investment has come from those other sources.   During this period Insight has produced over 2,000 publications, trained 184 postdoctoral graduates and established 11 spin out companies and with this new funding will continue to develop these outputs. END

Wednesday, 11 December 2019

NUI Galway Dean of Students, Professor Michelle Millar, recently presented 33 outstanding athletes with NUI Galway Student Sports Scholarships, sponsored by Bank of Ireland, the main sponsors of the Sports Programme at NUI Galway. The ceremony commenced with a special address by Monika Durkarsha, Rowing Ireland team member who qualified in the women’s pair for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. Monika give an inspirational talk to the students on what is required to achieve their goals both in sporting and academically, and described how she is able to balance the demands of being a world class athlete and still maintaining a lifestyle balance which allows her to continue her PhD research. NUI Galway President, Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh delivered the opening address to students highlighting the importance of sport to the Universities Strategic Plan and also taking the opportunity to wish the students well during their studies in NUI Galway. Feargal O’Callaghan, NUI Galway High Performance Lead who manages the scholarship scheme, said: “Their time at university is a wonderful opportunity for these talented athletes to reach their true potential and learning, and to plan and achieve a balance in their lifestyle is key to their success both on the sporting arena and in their academic studies.” This year’s ceremony saw the Performance Points Sports Scholarship awarded to nine outstanding athletes. The scheme provides 40 additional points to those earned in the Leaving Certificate for elite athletes and for academic courses over 350 entry points. This year’s scholarship recipients represent some of the finest young talent in Irish sport today most of whom have already represented their sport at national, international or intercounty level. Speaking at the award ceremony, Feargal O’Callaghan continued: “We are really looking forward to working with all the athletes, it is an exciting time for the university in terms of sport as we continually improve the programme in order to produce the best possible athletes.” NUI Galway Performance Points awardees: Athletics                      Chloe Casey Athletics                      Jack Dempsey Gaelic Football           Cillian Golding Gaelic Football           Matthew Tierney Gaelic Football           Paul McGrath Gaelic Football           Sean O’Flynn Hurling                        Conor Waslh Rugby                         Charles Clarke Soccer                         Rachel Baynes NUI Galway Sports Scholarships awardees:   Athletics                      Pierre Murchan Athletics                      Sinead Treacy Athletics                      Thomas Mc Stay Basketball                   Alison Blarney Basketball                   Ciara McCreanor Basketball                   James Connaire Basketball                   James Lyons Boxing                        Darren O'Connor Camogie                      Carrie Dolan Camogie                      Laura Ward Camogie                      Leah Burke Gaelic Football           Laura Ahearne Gaelic Football           Saoirse Flynn Gaelic Football           Joanthan Hester Golf                             Liam Nolan Hurling                        Diarmuid Kilcommins Rowing                       Lisa Murphy   NUI Galway Rugby Foundation Sports Scholarship Awardees: Declan Floyd Even Kenny Jack Power Oisin Halpin -Ends-

Tuesday, 10 December 2019

The conference will take place from 6-7 March 2020 under the theme of ‘Cultivating a Culture of Compassion’ Over 500 Guidance Counsellors from all over Ireland are due to attend the forthcoming Institute of Guidance Counsellors (IGC) National Conference which will be held at NUI Galway in March 2020. This conference is being hosted by the Galway/Mayo Branch of the Institute of Guidance Counsellors. As well as facilitating the two-day conference, NUI Galway has been unveiled as the main sponsor for this year’s event with supporting sponsorship from Galway Mayo Institute of Technology (GMIT). The conference was launched in NUI Galway today (Tuesday, 10 December) by NUI Galway President, Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh, who spoke about the opportunity to host the national conference in Galway: “NUI Galway is looking forward to hosting the IGC National Conference 2020. Compassion, respect and providing a caring and inclusive student experience is central to the mission of NUI Galway so we are particularly proud to support the conference theme; ‘Cultivating a Culture of Compassion’. Fully understanding and appreciating the critical role guidance counsellors play in helping our young people prepare for life after secondary school, we look forward to welcoming guidance colleagues from all over the country to our beautiful campus and to providing opportunities to share, learn and recharge over the two-day conference.” Professor Pat Dolan, UNESCO Chair in Children, Youth and Civic Engagement was guest speaker and Chairperson Barry McDermott extended a very warm welcome to all on behalf of the Galway/Mayo Branch of the IGC.  Focusing on how the conference theme, ‘Cultivating a Culture of Compassion’ was chosen, Barry said: “We believe that a lack of compassion towards individuals, groups and our environment, is creating many of the divisions and problems evident in today’s society. It is our wish for the conference that through our wide variety of workshops, guidance counsellors working across all sectors get an opportunity to improve their professional knowledge and skills, and hopefully experience some of the wonderful attractions that make Galway such a special place.” IGC President Beatrice Dooley said: “The IGC are exceptionally proud to support the conference theme, ‘Cultivating a Culture of Compassion’. The IGC annual conference is an opportunity for guidance counsellors working with learners across the lifespan to reconnect with each other, with educational partners and labour market stakeholders. At conference 2020 we can upskill, reflect on our professional practice and experiment with other ways of delivering on the personal, educational and vocational guidance counselling needs of those in our care. This year’s conference theme resonates with the very essence of our work. We are very appreciative of the support and generosity of our main host NUI Galway, supporting sponsors GMIT and minor sponsors Maynooth University and Letterkenny Institute of Technology, and place high value on these positive, affirming relationships.” The two-day conference, taking place from 6-7 March 2020, will include a series of 19 workshops focusing on the concept and delivery of compassion, guidance topics for second and third level and professional development tools. On day one of the conference, delegates can expect a range of talks dedicated to the conference theme, including a SMART Consent Workshop by Dr Pádraig MacNeela and Dr Siobhán O’Higgins, School of Psychology and Dr Charlotte McIvor, Drama and Theatre Studies at NUI Galway. Highlights on day two of the conference include a ‘Mindfulness and Building Compassion in Education’ workshop by Dr. Eva Flynn, NUI Galway, a panel discussion on ‘Careers in the Creative Industries’ and a workshop on ‘How to Manage Panic Attacks and Social Anxiety’ by Dr Harry Barry, author and doctor. Attendance at the Institute of Guidance Counsellor Conference is open to members and non-members. The sponsors of the 2020 conference are NUI Galway, GMIT, Maynooth University and Letterkenny Institute of Technology. For registration please visit www.igc.ie. -Ends-

Tuesday, 10 December 2019

Professor Laoise McNamara and Dr Dimitrios Zeugolis will lead prestigious European funded projects The European Research Council (ERC) has awarded two NUI Galway researchers €4.4 million to pursue ‘blue-sky’ biomedical research. With this support, Professor Laoise McNamara and Dr Dimitrios Zeugolis, will pursue frontier research to achieve far-reaching impact on improving human health. Professor McNamara and Dr Zeugolis were winners in the prestigious ERC Consolidator Grant competition which saw 301 top scholars and scientists from across Europe receive awards, following a review of 2,453 proposals. Professor Lokesh Joshi, Vice-President for Research at NUI Galway, said: “These awards are among the most prestigious and competitive in Europe. Myself and the entire NUI Galway research community are delighted for both Laoise and Dimitrios who have demonstrated their excellence and leadership in research.” Professor Laoise McNamara – MEMETic Professor Laoise McNamara, who was recently announced as the Irish Research Council Researcher of the Year 2019, will lead the MEMETic project which will focus on bone disease.   According to Professor McNamara of the Biomechanics Research Centre, and CÚRAM, the Science Foundation Ireland Centre for Research in Medical Devices at NUI Galway: “My research is in the field of mechanobiology, which is at the interface between engineering and biology. Our work seeks to understand the biological mechanisms by which bone cells sense and respond to the forces they experience during every day physical activity, and how these are affected by Osteoporosis. Despite immense efforts to develop therapies for osteoporosis, conventional drugs that target bone loss only prevent osteoporotic fractures in 50% of sufferers, and the worldwide economic burden of treatment is projected to reach $132 billion by 2050. In this project we will develop advanced models to allow us to investigate how our bones react to changes in the physical environment, from a cellular level right the way up. We will use these models to increase understanding of bone disease and our ultimate aim is to apply these models to improve the success rates of therapies for osteoporosis.”    Dr Dimitrios Zeugolis - ACHIEVE Dr Dimitrios Zeugolis, Director of REMODEL and Investigator at CÚRAM, the Science Foundation Ireland Centre for Research in Medical Devices at NUI Galway, will lead the ACHIEVE project. The aim is to bring new advances to cell culture methods and address major bottlenecks in regenerative medicine, drug discovery and cellular agriculture.   According to Dr Zeugolis: “Currently, the development of cellular products, products made from cells cultured in the lab, is hampered by the lengthy culture periods taken when the cells are removed from their natural environment: the human or animal body. This time factor is responsible for the cells losing their normal function, resulting in suboptimal cellular products. With this project, we want to engineer culture environments that imitate the tissue from which the cells were extracted, thus maintaining their physiological function during experimental culture and significantly reducing the culture period. We believe the work will lead to a paradigm shift in cell culture methods with ground-breaking impacts across diverse fields, such as regenerative medicine, drug discovery and cellular agriculture.” Both grantees recognised as part of their success the support of their research students, postdoctoral and support staff, collaborators, friends and family, and funders. Professor Lokesh Joshi noted that the announcement built on years of previous successful projects for Professor McNamara and Dr Zeugolis, which were supported by Science Foundation Ireland, the Irish Research Council, Health Research Board, Teagasc, Enterprise Ireland and the European Commision, and through industry collaboration. Speaking at the announcement of the European Research Council awards, Mariya Gabriel, European Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, said: “Knowledge developed in these new projects will allow us to understand the challenges we face at a more fundamental level, and may provide us with breakthroughs and innovations that we haven’t even imagined. The EU’s investment in frontier research is an investment in our future, which is why it is so important that we reach an agreement on an ambitious Horizon Europe budget for the next multiannual budget. More available research funding would also allow us to create more opportunities everywhere in the EU - excellence should not be a question of geography.” ERC President Professor Jean-Pierre Bourguignon, whose mandate ends on 31 December 2019 after six years in office, commented: “I have had the immense privilege of seeing thousands of bright minds across our continent receive the trust and backing to go after their most daring ideas. It has been an exhilarating experience through countless meetings with many of them in person, listening to their stories and being inspired by them. As it’s about top frontier research, it comes as no surprise that an overwhelming number of them already made breakthroughs that will continue to contribute greatly to meeting the challenges ahead. As I bid farewell to an organisation that will always remain close to my heart, I am once more highly impressed when I see this latest set of grantees funded by the European Research Council. That the ERC empowers them makes me proud to be European!” For more about the ERC Consolidator Grant awards, visit: https://erc.europa.eu/news/erc-awards-over-600-million-euro-europes-top-researchers -Ends-

Tuesday, 10 December 2019

NUI Galway student recognised for volunteering efforts To celebrate International Volunteers Day 2019 NUI Galway along with 9 other universities and institutes of technology have come together through the Campus Engage initiative to launch their first ever student volunteering annual report to highlight the activities and achievements of their students. Colm O’Hehir, Campus Engage Officer, said: “Student volunteers play such a constructive role in communities, often providing vital services for excluded and vulnerable people. Volunteering is for all and that idea of inclusiveness translates into the work student volunteers do daily across the country. Today is a day to celebrate volunteers and our report highlights some of the students who are helping achieve a more inclusive future for all.” An Impact Assessment of Irish Universities, conducted by economists Indecon, revealed that in 2017/18 over 17,500 student volunteers donated three million hours of their time to causes both at home and abroad, at an estimated value of €28.4 million to the exchequer. studentvolunteer.ie  is an online tool that supports students wishing to volunteer in their communities. The portal is the first of its kind globally - a national volunteering database specifically created for higher education students. It was developed in 2016 by ten third level institutions through Campus Engage.  There are now more than 1000 organisations and 14,000 students registered on the website, with over 4,000 new student registrations in the 2018-19 academic year. Through studentvolunteer.ie, new student volunteers have clocked up a total of 39,746 hours through volunteering opportunities promoted. Overall, students successfully volunteered for 3,391 opportunities. One such volunteer isNUI Galway mature access student Michelle Mitchell, a dedicated volunteer, who earned the NUI Galway ALIVE Certificate in recognition of her volunteering efforts. Michelle’s volunteering is with organisations that offer mental health, physical and intellectual disability supports. Michelle identified a gap in resources for families who have children with special needs, chronic illness and disabilities, and developed the Special Heroes Ireland initiative that provides educational and recreational activities in Galway. In particular, Michelle and other volunteers organise workshops for the siblings of those with disabilities to help parents who have to spend a lot of time tending to their additional needs child. Michelle said: “We work with families to help the sibling of the child, as parents who have a child with a special need or chronic illness have to focus their time and attention on that child. We create opportunities so they can learn to cook, make movies, do artwork.” Ends