Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Ahead of the Leaving Certificate Change of Mind deadline on 1 July, NUI Galway will gather experts from across campus to help prospective students and their parents with their final CAO decision. NUI Galway is one of the first universities to provide this interactive platform of support to students and parents in making their final CAO choices.   The interactive broadcast will be streamed live on NUI Galway’s Facebook page www.facebook.com/nuigalway on Wednesday, 28 June, at 3pm. A panel of experts from across campus will assemble in the Aula to help students and parents with any outstanding questions on points, course choices, the registration process, accommodation options and support services.   Speaking about the CAO deadline, Mary Liddy, Deputy Admissions Officer at NUI Galway, “The final week before the 1st of July CAO Change of Mind deadline, is an important time for students to reflect and ensure they have made the right decisions in their CAO application. I will be joining The Big Decision panel to answer your questions on the application process and what is important to remember at this final stage of the application journey.”  The panel will be made up of representatives from all fives Colleges across the campus to answer questions about courses in Arts, Social Sciences & Celtic Studies, Medicine, Nursing & Health Sciences, Business, Public Policy & Law, Engineering & Informatics or Science. Additionally the event will also feature representatives from Admissions, Accommodation and Support Service teams to provide essential information on all aspects of the application process and student supports.  With the final CAO deadline approaching, the decision process may seem overwhelming for both students and parents. Emer Casey, Student Counsellor at NUI Galway said “As a counsellor, I am very aware that students can get anxious when making big life decisions like this. I will be sharing some top tips in relation to the decision-making process and how to manage the anxiety that can be present at this time. These are useful tips that can help with any decision, especially one that seems daunting.”  Choosing a university is one of the most important decisions students will ever make. NUI Galway is one of Ireland's top universities for graduate employability. 96% of undergraduate students are in employment or further study within six months of graduating. NUI Galway has risen in the QS World University Rankings for the fifth consecutive year, the only Irish University to achieve this distinction, now positioned in the Top 1% globally, according to QS. University rankings are designed to help prospective students make informed comparisons between leading universities around the world.  Join NUI Galway on Facebook live on 28 June at 3pm. Leaving Certificate students and parents will have the opportunity to post questions via Facebook comments to the panel during the stream. If you would like to pose questions in advance please email visit@nuigalway.ie.  -Ends-

Thursday, 22 June 2017

NUI Galway has won out over Oxford University to host a major international conference in 2021. The conference is the 11th European Solid Mechanics Conference 2021 – ESMC2021 – that will attract 1000 delegates to the University campus in July 2021, from across Europe and beyond. This will be the largest engineering or science conference that has ever been held at NUI Galway. The NUI Galway bid to host the conference won out over stiff competition in a bid from Oxford University at a ballot of the ESMC Committee, with the University coming out with 100% of the votes cast, and the decision was confirmed by the overarching Euromech Council at their recent meeting in St Petersburg. Solid mechanics is an area of study where mathematics and the principles of physics are applied to gain fundamental understanding on how different materials respond to forces applied to them: supporting the forces, deforming under the action of the forces, and ultimately fracturing. Solid mechanics is the bedrock of engineering design in areas such as mechanical engineering, civil and structural engineering, and biomedical engineering. It is a critically important element in the design and development of almost all products in these areas, such as aircraft, automobiles, buildings, bridges, and medical implants and devices. NUI Galway has a proud history of achievement in solid mechanics, and it is a topic in which the University currently has significant world class strength, spanning engineering and applied mathematics in particular. Professor Peter McHugh, Dean of the College of Engineering and Informatics at NUI Galway, and the ESMC2021 Conference Chair, said: “This is a fantastic achievement for NUI Galway, and it provides clear confirmation of our world class standing and reputation for excellence in engineering and physical sciences. The conference provides us with a wonderful opportunity to showcase the educational and research impact of the University, and of course our beautiful campus, to the world. In addition to a attracting a large international attendance, the conference will involve direct participation by local and national industry, particularly in the MedTech and manufacturing sectors.” The conference will have major positive implications for the international visibility of NUI Galway and Galway city itself. An event of this size will have strong benefits for the local economy with Fáilte Ireland statistics citing an average spend of €1,600 per overseas delegate attending a conference, three times that of a leisure tourist. Business Tourism is Irelands most lucrative and highest yielding tourism sector, it is worth €700 million to the Irish economy and sustains 20,000 jobs.  NUI Galway plays a major role in business tourism in the west of Ireland, hosting over 20,000 conference delegates in 2016 with an estimated revenue of €3.2 million to the local economy. 16 international conferences will be held in NUI Galway during the month of June alone. The University has a very high success rate in winning bids for international conferences and works closely with Fáilte Ireland and Meet in Galway to promote Galway and Ireland as a destination to host international events with events booked up to 2022.   -Ends-

Thursday, 22 June 2017

More and more research is pointing to the role the immune system plays in causing neurological disorders. Finding out how it fits with psychosis will be the focus of the annual Immune Function in Psychosis (iPsychosis) Meeting at NUI Galway on 29-30 June. The aim of this year’s conference is to link up researchers in the field, and establish a European network in the area. Topics covered will range from the genetics of immune function in psychosis to pharmacological approaches to treating inflammation in psychosis. Speaking in advance of the event Professor Gary Donohoe from the School of Psychology at NUI Galway, said: “The iPsychosis meeting will bring together international leaders in the field of psychosis research to discuss the role of immune function in the development of schizophrenia and related disorders. Generously funded by Science Foundation Ireland, this two day meeting will be an opportunity to review current knowledge, identify gaps and plan future research in this important area.” World leaders in the field who will speak at the conference include: Professor Oliver Howes, King’s College London Dr Tina Notter, University of Zurich Professor Norbert Muller-Ludwig, Maximilians Univeristy Munich Professor Hemmo Drexhage, Erasmus Medical Center, Rotterdam Dr Golam Khander, University of Cambridge Professor Brian Leonard, NUI Galway Dr Golum Khandaker, Clinical Lecturer in Cambridge Neuroscience at University of Cambridge, said: “Research on the immunological basis of schizophrenia is at the cutting edge of research into the causes of this highly disabling disorder. A better understanding of the immunological basis of schizophrenia and related psychotic disorders may lead to new treatments.” The conference will take place on Thursday 29 June from 8:30am-5pm and Friday 30 June, from 9am-5pm in room G065 of the Arts Millennium Building at NUI Galway. For more conference details, visit: http://www.conference.ie/Conferences/index.asp?Conference=499 -Ends-

Friday, 23 June 2017

The new O’Donoghue Centre for Theatre, Drama and Performance at NUI Galway, designed by Taylor Architects with Richard Murphy Architects, and built by local contractor Purcell Construction, has been voted Ireland’s favourite new building: it was the Public Choice in this year’s RIAI Irish Architecture Awards 2017, which are announced later today at the RIAI annual awards ceremony. Now in their 28th year, the RIAI Irish Architecture Awards are the premier architectural awards in Ireland. The Awards recognise excellence in design and the contribution made by architecture to society for everyone’s benefit. The public choice award was a particularly large category with a shortlist of 60 houses, offices, schools and colleges, heritage locations and public spaces to choose from. The O’Donoghue Centre building is a protected structure adjacent to the Bank of Ireland Theatre and the Bailey Allen Hall on the NUI Galway campus. Originally a bonded warehouse it had served as a munitions factory.  Its most recent use by the University was as engineering laboratories prior to the construction of the new engineering building.  The project involved the complete renovation and refurbishment of the building and provides a home for Drama, Theatre and Performance studies.    This pioneering Centre is a 120-seat theatre space with retractable tiered seating allowing for multifunctional use and accessibility. It comprises of studio spaces, a classroom, and a workshop and rehearsal room that will have a transformative effect not only on the University’s students but on the vibrant cultural hinterland that surrounds the campus. Speaking about the award, NUI Galway’s VP for Capital Project Keith Warnock, said: “We are delighted to receive the news that the O’Donoghue Centre is Ireland’s favourite new building. The design for the conversion of this nineteenth century industrial structure by Taylor Architects (Castlebar) and Richard Murphy Architects (Edinburgh), was crucial. The incorporation of the latest technology in the theatre space and elsewhere contrasts attractively with the solid stone walls which remind us of the building’s origins. This new state-of-the-art facility will act as a central hub for cultural innovation and creativity in the University and Galway City. The ‘Public Vote’ award adds to the growing appreciation of the physical infrastructure at NUI Galway and reaffirms our confidence in the programme of campus development we have undertaken over the last decade.” Just recently opened by President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins, the building on Earl’s Island began life as a bleach and flax mill in the 1850s. It was then converted into a jute factory, became a bonded warehouse, a factory for making cannon shells during World War I and was occupied by the 6th Dragoon Guards and the 17th Lancers during the War of Independence. In 1935 it became Irish Metal Industries and was officially opened by Seán Lemass, then Minister for Industry and Commerce, on July 22 1935. The Centre recognises the generous philanthropic support of Galway businessman, Dr Donagh O’Donoghue who began his association with the University after he completed both Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Commerce degrees in the 1960s. Professor Patrick Lonergan, Director of the O’Donoghue Centre for Drama and Theatre Studies at NUI Galway, said: “As a resident of this fine structure we are thrilled to hear this news about the award and thrilled for incoming drama students who will get to study and perform in Ireland’s favourite building! This Centre has opened at a time when governments are beginning to understand the essential role of creativity in the wellbeing of their nations – and not only in the cultural sphere. There is growing evidence that creative arts contribute to our communities’ wellbeing, including our mental and physical health. And we’re also seeing evidence that business leaders recognise the importance of creativity as a key skill.” The award also adds to the accolades of the University in this particular public choice award having also taken the plaudits in 2012 for new Engineering Building. For further course information at the O’Donoghue Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance visit: http://www.nuigalway.ie/creativearts/  -ENDS-

Thursday, 22 June 2017

Humanitarianism is in crisis. From Syria to South Sudan, Somalia to Yemen, war, insecurity, and the spectre of famine threaten the lives of millions of people. But how can history help with the response? A group of historians and aid workers will meet at the Moore Institute in NUI Galway from the 22-23 June for an Irish Research Council-funded workshop on humanitarian intervention in Somalia since the 1990s. The event is entitled ‘Humanitarian History: Reflections on Somalia’ and the groups aim is to re-insert history into discussions about the on-going humanitarian crisis in that region. What can we learn from the past? What did and didn’t work in the field? What factors shaped the practice of humanitarian aid? Such an approach is urgently needed. The Somalian crisis helped to re-define humanitarian intervention in the post-Cold War era. It altered understandings of humanitarian aid as a tool of international security, raised questions about NGO engagement with local politics, and offered massive logistical challenges in the delivery of aid. Its legacy still resonates, linking UNHCR involvement in the return of refugees from Dadaab in southern Kenya (home to more than 250,000 people) with the chaos and uncertainty facing arrivals in Greece. Dr Kevin O’Sullivan, Director of the MA History in the School of Humanities at NUI Galway, said: “I am delighted to collaborate with Trócaire on this project, and to welcome such a diverse group of participants to Galway. This workshop is an exciting opportunity to reflect on the contexts in which aid agencies operate, at home and in the field, the processes that have helped shape their activities, and the deep-rooted, and complex, power relationships that underpin them. More than that, however, it is also a chance to look forward. As we stand waist-deep in a worsening global humanitarian emergency in 2017, reflecting on Somalia's history, we hope, it will offer important insights into the future of aid.” The workshop’s keynote address will be delivered by Geoffrey Loane of the International Committee of the Red Cross, who was the Red Cross’s regional relief co-ordinator in Somalia in the early 1990s and later managed the International Red Cross response to the Rwanda genocide. Other participants include representatives from Trócaire, Concern, Médecins sans Frontières, Somalia NGO Consortium, the University of Manchester, Tufts University, and the Overseas Development Institute. Eamonn Meehan, Executive Director of Trócaire, said: “Somalia is one of the most difficult situations in which Trócaire has ever worked. Since 1992 Ireland has been at the forefront of humanitarian support in Somalia. The support and aid that people in Ireland have committed to Somalia for over thirty years has saved generations of families. But children have grown into adults knowing nothing but war. It is difficult to watch how Somalia has been abused and neglected at a political and international level. This conference is a chance for humanitarians, global academic experts and Somali diaspora to reflect and learn from the past and look to the future of Somalia.” The workshop is being organised by the School of Humanities at NUI Galway, in collaboration with Trócaire and funded by the Irish Research Council New Foundations Scheme. For more information, visit: https://www.eventbrite.ie/e/humanitarian-history-reflections-on-somalia-tickets-34726296287 -Ends- 

Thursday, 22 June 2017

A study led by scientists from the Regenerative, Modular and Developmental Engineering Laboratory (REMODEL) and the Science Foundation Ireland Centre for Research in Medical Devices, CÚRAM, based at NUI Galway, has developed a new type of implantable device to provide localised drug treatment and prevent infection. It has already proven effective against two types of major device infection bacteria. Publishing their results this week in the journal Biomedical Materials, the NUI Galway research team show that stabilised collagen scaffolds loaded with a particular antibiotic were able to prevent two infection causing bacteria, Escherichia coli and Staphylococcus epidermidis from forming. Lead author of the paper, Dr Dimitrios Zeugolis from NUI Galway’s REMODEL and CÚRAM said: “Implant infections remain a major healthcare problem. They can require long hospitalisation periods to disturb and treat bacterial biofilm formation. There can also be a need for additional surgeries to remove or replace the infected implant, which if not done in time may lead to sepsis. Although localised drug treatment, via an implanted scaffold has shown promise, the ideal scaffold cross-linking (to initially withstand the aggressive infection environment) and drug (to fight against infection) have not, until now, been found.” The NUI Galway research team, including Dr Gerard Wall of Microbiology and CÚRAM, first ventured to identify the optimal hexamethylene diisocyanate (HMDI) concentration that would offer suitable biomechanical, biochemical and biological properties. HMDI was chosen as it is a Food and Drug Administration approved cross-linking agent for collagen-based medical devices. They then loaded the optimally cross-linked collagen scaffolds with variable concentrations of the antibiotics Cefaclor and Ranalexin to identify the minimum effective concentration required to inhibit the growth of Escherichia coli and Staphylococcus epidermidis, two of the most frequently encountered bacteria in medical device infection. Dr Zeugolis added: “The development of our drug-loaded collagen device marks an important step forward. First, the sustained and localised delivery system that we developed avoids issues associated with systemic drug administration, such as antibiotic resistance. Further, we contributed towards finding a solution against a severe economic burden to healthcare systems internationally.” Professor Abhay Pandit, Scientific Director of CÚRAM commented, “CÚRAM’s goal is to develop affordable transformative solutions to improve quality of life for people suffering from chronic illnesses. Dr Zeugolis’ work continues to push towards this goal and will have real impact for patients and for the future medical device development.” To read the full paper in Biomedical Materials, visit: http://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/1748-605X/aa6de0. -Ends-

Thursday, 22 June 2017

NUI Galway to host conversation with Wall Street veteran on ‘Prospects for Growth in an Uncertain World: The United States, Ireland, and the Global Economy’ The J.E Cairnes School of Business and Economics and The Whitaker Institute at NUI Galway will host a public event on the outlook for the global economy and financial markets entitled, ‘Prospects for Growth in an Uncertain World: The United States, Ireland, and the Global Economy’. President Trump has called for an overhaul of economic policies in the United States to boost growth. Nearer to home, Brexit negotiations have opened, but a bumpy road lies ahead. Meanwhile, the European economy is at last showing signs of recovery and European businesses are optimistic. In an intimate conversation, the Whitaker Institute’s Alan Ahearne will speak with Wall Street veteran and Fulbright Specialist Dr Michael Driscoll and NUI Galway’s Professor John McHale about the outlook for the global economy, exploring opportunities for Ireland in the current climate. Will President Trump's economic plan succeed in “making America great again”? Is Trump’s honeymoon with the stock market coming to an end? Is the election of Emmanuel Macron a turning point for Europe? The panelists will provide various perspectives - political, economic and more. This will be followed by an interactive audience question and answer session. Dr Michael J Driscoll is a Clinical Professor of Finance at Willumstad School of Business, Adelphi University in New York, a Fulbright US Scholar to NUI Galway, and former Wall Street executive. Professor John McHale is Dean of the College of Business, Public Policy, and Law at NUI Galway, and former Chairman of the Irish Fiscal Advisory Council. Professor Alan Ahearne is Director of the Whitaker Institute at NUI Galway, and former special adviser to the Minister for Finance. Dr Driscoll has been a frequent contributor to global media outlets such as Bloomberg, CNN and Voice of America.  Commenting ahead of the event, Dr Driscoll said: “Rarely have we seen a period in recent economic history where geo-political factors have the potential to have such a profound impact on markets. A discussion of Ireland and the EU and the political situation in the US is timely and relevant. Events over the last few years could have significant beneficial opportunities for Ireland and the Irish people in the context of the global economy and specifically between the relationships between the EU and the US.” Professor John McHale at NUI Galway, said: “For as long as I can remember it has been said that we are living though unusually uncertain times. But with Brexit, Trump and worries about the post-crisis future of growth, today’s economic environment does seem truly uncertain. With his deep knowledge as practitioner and analyst of the global economic and financial system, Michael Driscoll is perfectly positioned to interpret the major forces affecting the world economy and to give us a better sense of what lies ahead.” The event will take place on Monday, 26 June in the Aula Maxima at NUI Galway from 6pm-7pm. A reception with light refreshments will precede the event and begin at 5.30pm. The event is free and open to the public, and those who wish to attend must pre-register at: http://bit.ly/2sVEK4W -Ends-

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

An international team of US, Canadian, Italian, Finnish, French and Irish-based researchers, led by Professor Colin O’Dowd from NUI Galway’s School of Physics and Ryan Institute’s Centre for Climate and Air Pollution Studies, have conclusively shown that surfactants can significantly enhance cloud formation, ultimately increasing the cooling effect of clouds.  It is the first time a team of researchers have confirmed this hypothesis under natural environmental conditions, and encapsulated it in a robust theoretical framework. The study was published this week in the globally prestigious scientific journal Nature. Clouds and greenhouse gases act in tandem to balance the Earth’s energy budget thereby controlling climate. While greenhouse gases keep the heat within the earth system, whereby leading to warming, clouds reduce the amount of incoming energy into the system leading to cooling. An increase in availability of cloud nuclei (typically in the form of airborne haze particles) leads to more droplets in the cloud, making it more reflective and longer-lived, thus increasing its cooling effect.   Such enhancement in cloud nuclei abundance can occur through an increase in either their absolute profusion, or, their efficiency at forming droplets at lower water vapour humidities in the air. The most common and generally most efficient form of cloud nuclei found are water soluble inorganic salts (such as sea salt and sulphates)  however, if those were mixed or entirely made of organic compounds they would possess low water solubility and suppress the nuclei activity. The game changes, however, if surfactants are present in the organic mix. Surfactants are 'wetting agents' that lower the surface tension of water. They are also called surface-active agents, a substance such as a detergent that, when added to a liquid, reduces its surface tension. Although the role of surfactants in promoting cloud droplet formation was proposed two decades ago, it has been disputed for almost as long, with one camp promoting a significant effect and the other camp claiming that the surface tension effect is cancelled by the simultaneous reduction in the solute, or Raoult, effect which is driven by the dissolution of the salt ions in the solution. Current theories simply find that these two effects counteract each other so suppression of droplet formation by less-soluble organics dominates.   The international team pushed the experimental and theoretical boundaries of atmospheric science research to elucidate this phenomenon using state-of-the-art aerosol mass spectrometer in conjunction with the most advanced thermodynamic droplet model. In  simulating the cloud droplet activation process using mixed organic-inorganic nuclei, they revealed that surface tension can be lowered without triggering changes in the Raoult (solute) effect through a process known as liquid-liquid phase separation (essentially an organic-rich layer on the drop’s surface keeps the surfactants separated from the internal aqueous solution occupying the core of the droplet). The model was able to explain the tenfold increases in cloud droplet number concentration observed. They concluded that this phenomenon could be detected in many diverse environments throughout the world, reinforcing its role in cloud brightening and global climate cooling. Dr Jurgita Ovadnevaite, scientist at the School of Physics at NUI Galway and lead author of the paper, said: “This study represents a major breakthrough in our understanding of cloud droplet formation from both an experimental and theoretical perspective. The next challenge is to scale up this nanometer scale finding to the global level through the incorporation of the surface tension effect into global climate models.” Dr Darius Ceburnis, Mace Head Operations Manager at NUI Galway, added: “These advanced breakthroughs are only achievable through investment in continuous, realtime, and state-of-the-art measurements of Essential Climate Variables and Air Pollution at stations such as Mace Head, which is endorsed by the World Meteorological Organisation’s Global Atmosphere Watch programme, and is one of the most advanced stations of its kind in the world. Mace Head is strategically located in a remote area to monitor how dirty the cleanest air has become. The publication in the most prestigious journal globally, Nature, is a reward for such an investment and is the second one in as many years.” The study was funded by the European Commission and the Environmental Protection Agency and the research was hosted at NUI Galway’s Climate and Air Pollution Research Facility at Mace Head in Carna, Co Galway, on the Galway-Atlantic coastline. To read the full study in Nature visit http://www.nature.com/nature.  For more information on Mace Head, visit: www.macehead.org. -Ends-

Monday, 19 June 2017

Summer School will discuss prosecuting the most serious crimes known to humanity and will include a special session on corporate crimes The Irish Centre for Human Rights at the School of Law in NUI Galway will host its 18th Summer School on the International Criminal Court for five days from 19-23 June. The International Criminal Court in the Hague is the world’s only permanent judicial body tasked with prosecuting persons for the most serious crimes known to the international community, including genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. The Court has been operational since 2002 and has tried individuals from a number of African countries, including Uganda, Democratic Republic of Congo and Mali, while the Prosecutor is currently examining potential crimes in Georgia, Ukraine, Iraq and Palestine. Since 2000 the Summer School at NUI Galway has welcomed leading international experts and practitioners to Galway to participate in this event and to analyse the progress of the International Criminal Court to date. During five days of intensive lectures delivered by leading specialists in the field, delegates are provided with a detailed working knowledge of the establishment of the Court, its applicable law, structures and activities. Key speakers at this year’s Summer School include Professor William Schabas, of Middlesex University and Chairman of the Irish Centre for Human Rights, widely regarded as the foremost academic expert on the International Criminal Court. From 2002 to 2004 Professor Schabas served as one of three international members of the Sierra Leone Truth and Reconciliation Commission; Don Ferencz, a Visiting Professor at Middlesex University and a Research Associate at the Oxford University Faculty of Law Centre for Criminology, who is the Convener of the Global Institute for the Prevention of Aggression; and Dr Fabricio Guariglia, the Director of the Prosecution Division at the International Criminal Court and a highly experienced prosecutor who has been involved in numerous serious crimes cases. In October 1998 Dr Guariglia joined the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia. According to Dr Shane Darcy of the Irish Centre for Human Rights at NUI Galway: “The International Criminal Court is the world’s principal court for the prosecution of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes, and it is important that it can hold to account all those who may contribute to the commission of international crimes. Ending impunity and deterring future atrocities requires bringing the law to bear not only on the planners and perpetrators, but also those who benefit from serious human rights abuses.” The 2017 Summer School on the International Criminal Court includes a special session on corporate crimes, which will consider the prospects for corporate accountability at the Court, examine crimes such as pillage during times of armed conflict and assess the potential liability of those that finance or profit from international crimes. For further information on the Summer School visit: http://www.conference.ie/Conferences/index.asp?Conference=497   -Ends-  

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

The Geec 3.0 (Galway energy-efficient car), designed and built by NUI Galway engineering students, recently jumped up the international rankings in the premiere global competition for extreme fuel-efficiency in cars, the Shell Eco-marathon Europe, in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, London. The students designed, built and tested version 3.0 of the Geec, and competed against top European university engineering schools in London. The global competition is a race in efficiency, not speed, where the winner is the car that completes the course using the least amount of fuel or energy. NUI Galway was taking part for the third time, and remains the only Irish competitor. This year’s track consisted of 10 laps over 15.7 kilometres, including a steep climb which previously caused trouble for many of the ultralight low-powered cars. This time, the Geec displayed total reliability and the team progressed quickly, surpassing last year’s score of 236 kilometres per kilowatt-hour on the second run. After a judicious change of motor and gears, and some late-night re-engineering for weight reduction, the team hoped to make a leap in performance. NUI Galway fourth-year engineering student Dylan Ryan from Tipperary, one of the design team leaders, said: “The last few hours before our final runs were the make-or-break point. We knew what score we could theoretically achieve, so it was a matter of whether we wanted to take a risk and start chopping weight out of the car, or use those last few hours to tune and optimise the car. We chose to optimise.” The Geec team completed 10 trouble-free laps with a record energy score of 354 kilometres per kilowatt-hour. This placed the team in a final 13th place of 41 competitors in the battery-electric prototype category, a jump from 21st place in 2016. In just three years, successive Geec teams have progressed from newcomer status to the upper tiers of the competition, where they now aim to compete amongst the most advanced ultra-efficient prototype cars in the world. The car’s performance is the equivalent to approximately 10,500 miles per gallon of diesel. Dr Jim Browne, President of NUI Galway, commented: “The Geec project is clearly a great learning experience for the students involved, and a great opportunity to showcase the University internationally, and particularly the quality of the work underway in the College of Engineering and Informatics.” Professor Peter McHugh, Dean of the College of Engineering and Informatics at NUI Galway, said: “The Geec is one of the shining lights of success in the College of Engineering and Informatics, representing a wonderful collaboration between students and staff and across the engineering disciplines.” The Geec team consists of 20 students in Mechanical, Electrical and Electronic, Electronic and Computer, and Energy Systems engineering, from first to fourth year, mentored by lecturers Dr Maeve Duffy, Dr Rory Monaghan, Dr Nathan Quinlan and Dr Martin Glavin from the College of Engineering and Informatics at NUI Galway. Engineering student Niamh Keogh from Oughterard in Co Galway is one of the two Geec drivers and also worked on analysis and design of the car. She added: “The Geec is one of the most challenging but rewarding projects I've participated in. Nothing compares to the thrill of getting to race the car after putting so much time and work into designing, building and perfecting it.” The Geec has been generously sponsored in 2016 and 2017 by the Tony Ryan Trust through Galway University Foundation, Shell E&P Ireland, Blackstone Launchpad, ÉireComposites, CADFEM UK & Ireland, ANSYS, Molex, GE, Tool Trays, David Nestor Freight Services, Enform Plastics, MathWorks and IPG Automotive.  To find out more about the Geec, visit www.theGeec.ie, or follow theGeec.ie on Facebook or @theGeec on Twitter.  -Ends-

Monday, 19 June 2017

Fr Peter McVerry, a social justice activist and long-term advocate of young people and families who are homeless, has launched two new degree programmes – one full-time and one part-time under the academic stewardship of the School of Political Science and Sociology and supported by the UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre at NUI Galway. Formerly known as the BA in Youth and Family Studies, the BA in Child, Youth and Family: Policy and Practice is a significantly enhanced programme delivered full-time over four years and offering a supervised and challenging eight-month work placement in year three. Dr Cormac Forkan, Programme Director, at the UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre at NUI Galway, said: “This course is for students who know that their career lies either in practice with children, youth and families or in implementing and shaping public policy.” The BA in Community, Youth and Family Studies, a sister programme of the first, is designed to enable participants to further develop and enhance their understanding, knowledge and skills relevant to Community, Youth and Family work, in terms of both practice and policy. As a part-time programme, using blended learning methods of delivery, this programme is innovative in its approach promoting active learning in the workplace (paid and unpaid) with assessments based on real life situations in a practice environment. This collaboration between the School of Political Science and Sociology and the Centre for Adult learning and Professional Development will also allow students to move between full-time and part-time programmes where necessary, as well as ensuring a comprehensive range of choices are available for prospective students interested in working in the child, youth, family or community sectors. Speaking at the launch, Fr Peter McVerry, said: “Children, youth and family are the basis of society but we tend to think that they can function without any learning or supports or help and that the family can look after itself. I think it is hugely important that we invest in supporting families, in supporting children that are struggling. It is vital for the full well-being of society, so programmes like this are essential.” Fr McVerry continued: “As both of these two new programmes are run in association with the UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre at NUI Galway, it brings a professionalism. To have the learning that is provided here to people who are going out to work on the ground with children, young people and families is hugely beneficial. If we want to build a society that is safe, and secure and at peace and in solidarity with each other, we really have to invest in working with families and young people in a very professional way.” The programmes were launched at the UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre’s 8th Biennial Family Support Conference entitled ‘Rediscovering empathy; values, relationships and practice in a changing world’ . The focus of this conference was on the concepts of empathy and relationship based working as they relate to policy and practice with children, youth and families. For further information on the BA in Child, Youth and Family: Policy and Practice, visit: http://www.nuigalway.ie/youthandfamilystudies/ and for the BA in Community, Youth and Family Studies, visit: http://www.nuigalway.ie/adult-learning/courses/community-education.  -Ends-

Monday, 19 June 2017

The Centre for Excellence in Learning and Teaching at NUI Galway will host its 15th Annual Symposium on Higher Education on Friday 23 June. The event will explore a wide range of issues around the nature of the ‘scholarly community’ that is meant to be the hallmark of universities and other higher education institutions. The conference, entitled “Learning Communities, Collaboration, and Collegiality”, will try to explore what we mean by ‘learning community’ and ‘collegiality’. These questions are particularly pertinent in the current context of mass higher education, the pressures to focus on research outputs, highly constrained funding, and increasing workloads. Our systems of reward are often based on individual achievement which raises the question of how to build a more collective sense of academic citizenship. Participants will also discuss ways of supporting staff and students to work together to develop creative, collaborative solutions to some of these challenges, and to adapt to the changing nature of society and educational participation. Professor Iain MacLaren, Director of the Centre for Excellence and Teaching at NUI Galway, said: “I am delighted to be hosting such an event. Given the various challenges and pressures faced by contemporary higher education institutions, it is important for us to take time out to look at the impact on institutional culture, individual well-being, and academic achievement. This event provides just such an opportunity and brings together researchers, teachers, students, and support staff to tackle the issues collectively.” The conference will feature keynote speakers: Professor Gail Kinman, Professor of Occupational Health Psychology, University of Bedfordshire – Professor Kinman has researched extensively the working conditions in higher education and the issues of stress, and will highlight those factors that challenge attempts to flourish in academia and how to overcome them. Professor David Harper, Principal of Van Mildert College and Professor of Palaeontology, University of Durham – Professor Harper will describe how the college-based model of education, where undergraduate students spend time in ‘living learning communities’ can help with developing academic, personal, and professional confidence. Professor Catherine Manathunga, Victoria University, Melbourne – Professor Manathunga has researched issues around intercultural communication and education and will discuss how this impacts in the supervision of research students. FFlur Elin, President of the National University of Students, Wales – Ms Elin is an advocate of ‘liberating the curriculum’ and ways in which institutions can live up to the aspirations of being responsive and reflective of an increasingly diverse student population. Representatives from Céim, the highly successful student peer-learning initiative run by NUI Galway Student’s Union and the University. They will share experiences and innovations, and participate in workshops around educational leadership and professional development. The Symposium will conclude with a panel discussion with additional contributions from the research community by Professor Abhay Pandit, Scientific Director of CÚRAM at NUI Galway, and a national student perspective from Jack Leahy from Union of Students in Ireland and the National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning. To register, visit: http://tinyurl.com/celt17 The conference will take place at Áras Moyola in NUI Galway on Friday 23 June at 9.30am. -Ends-

Friday, 16 June 2017

How decision making impacts both business and science will be discussed at 36th meeting of the European Group of Process Tracing Studies in Judgement and Decision Making Decision making is part of everyday life. The science behind how and why we make certain decisions will be the focus of a conference at NUI Galway from 22-24 June. Studies on delayed gratification, consumer decision making and how our emotions impact our decisions will be discussed by world-leaders in the field. The 36th meeting of the European Group of Process Tracing Studies in Judgement and Decision Making (EGPROC) is an annual gathering of researchers investigating the fundamental psychological processes involved in decision making. For instance, how do we know what options are available to us and how do we compare these options when making decisions? To understand these psychological processes, researchers use a variety of technical approaches. Some researchers track how we move our hands and eyes during decision making. Other researchers measure brain activity during decision making. Some researchers even ask their participants to talk aloud when making complex decisions. In addition to presenting the latest advances in the field, the meeting aims to facilitate the transfer of best practice in these technical approaches across laboratories to support the development of the next generation of decision making researchers. Dr Denis O’Hora from the School of Psychology at NUI Galway, says: “When we move as we are making decisions, it is possible for decision processes to affect our movements. This satisfies everyday intuitions. For example, negotiators and poker players claim to be attuned to ‘tells,’ early behavioural indicators of eventual decisions. The current conference goes beyond intuitions, however, using detailed experiments to highlight how we make decisions.” Conference organiser, Dr Arkady Zgonnikov from the School of Psychology at NUI Galway, Irish Research Council Government of Ireland postdoctoral fellow, said: “To truly understand human decisions we believe it’s important to go beyond what we choose and look closely at how we arrive at our decisions. That’s what this conference is all about.” Dr Zgonnikov added: “We are especially proud to have as a keynote speaker, Professor Neil Stewart of Warwick University, one of the world’s leading experts on eye movements in decision making. Although the conference is relatively small, we are very excited to host it and we look forward to welcoming the participants to Galway this summer.” The conference is sponsored by the European Association for Decision Making (EADM) and will take place in the Aula Maxima at NUI Galway on 22-24 June at 2pm. For full conference details, visit: http://www.conference.ie/Conferences/index.asp?Conference=508 -Ends-

Monday, 19 June 2017

NUI Galway Students ‘Coachbook’ online platform wins €10,000 prize Paddy MacDonagh and Chris Bogues, both final year Bachelor of Commerce students at NUI Galway, have won the overall Enterprise Ireland Student Entrepreneurs of the Year Award and have been named ‘College Entrepreneurs of the Year 2017’. The winning entrants beat off stiff competition with their project ‘Coachbook’, an online platform for riding coaches to train horse riders remotely through live video streaming. The project started in January 2017 as part of the Innovation Creativity and Enterprise module at NUI Galway (available to all final year students of Commerce, Business Information Systems, Information Technology and Engineering programmes) and has won multiple awards within the University throughout the semester. Dr Johanna Clancy, Innovation, Creativity and Enterprise module lecturer, at NUI Galway, said: “I am very proud of our team and this wonderful achievement. Paddy and Chris are excellent ambassadors for NUI Galway. This module receives great support locally, where mentors from Galway-based businesses, multinational corporations and start-ups, guide our students in developing and refining their business ideas. This collaboration is invaluable and we are extremely grateful for the impact it has on the 400 students who take this module.” Paddy MacDonagh has worked with Blackstone LaunchPad at NUI Galway since 2016. As a team, the Coachbook project utilised all the supports available through Blackstone LaunchPad to develop their business idea and take their project to market. Natalie Walsh from Blackstone LaunchPad at NUI Galway, said: “It has been amazing to work with such a passionate team on such a novel and fantastic idea, and to see the students develop and learn from both inside of the classroom and through our programme on campus. Initiatives such as the Innovation Creativity and Enterprise module and our experiential programme in Blackstone LaunchPad is something every student should experience. The skills learned stay with our students for life.” The Student Entrepreneur Awards are part of a major drive aimed at encouraging students to start their own business as a career option. The substantial prize fund includes €35,000 in cash prizes and €30,000 in consultancy fees which are available for winners to help them turn their idea into a commercial reality. In addition to the top prize, the winning team will also receive mentoring from Enterprise Ireland to develop the commercial viability of their overall concept. Brendan Flood, Head of Micro Enterprises and Small Business at Enterprise Ireland, said: “Now in its 36th year, the Student Entrepreneur Awards attracted submissions from over 560 third level students from colleges across Ireland. This competition gives students valuable hands-on experience in entrepreneurship and establishing a business. The calibre of applications clearly demonstrates that the entrepreneurial spirit is very much alive across Ireland’s universities and colleges. Congratulations to all involved.”  -Ends-

Friday, 16 June 2017

If you are interested in advancing your qualifications to keep up-to-date with new business processes or wish to develop new skills to assist in achieving your personal or professional goals, there is no shortage of flexible course options to be showcased at NUI Galway’s upcoming Adult Learners Information Evening on Wednesday 21 June. Students will meet representatives from over 40 part-time programmes which will be showcased at the event. These include subject areas of Business and Management, Community Education, Adult Training and Education Studies, Early Childhood Studies, Languages, Information Technology, Pre-University Courses, and Science and Technology programmes. Nuala McGuinn, Director at the Centre for Adult Learning and Professional Development at NUI Galway, said: “With courses being offered through classroom-based mode, online or through a blend of both, flexibility and a range of student supports are guaranteed to all students with a variety of learning and lifestyle needs.” Among the new programmes on offer at NUI Galway from September 2017, is the Diploma in Political Science and Sociology. This innovative programme explores issues affecting the modern world and political structures and policies, and is an ideal choice for second level teachers interested in teaching the new Leaving Certificate module ‘Politics and Society’ to Junior Certificate Level. The Diploma in Management is also new for 2017 and looks at the principles of contemporary management, and organisational psychology and behaviour in organisational effectiveness. “Through this programme, students develop essential negotiation and management skills and learn to apply this knowledge to a wide range of organisational settings”, explains NUI Galway programme coordinator, Eilis O’Regan. The popular BA in Humanities and Social Sciences is also on offer with a range of study paths in English, History, Archaeology, Languages, Irish Studies and Economics. While developing a deep understanding of these content areas, as part of the course students will also develop strong research, writing and analytical skills, and key transversal skills which will prepare them well for future promotion and employment. Interest in programmes in the Science and Technology area including specialisms in Medical Device Science, Automation and Control and Lean and Quality Systems has grown over the past number of years as a direct result of industry requiring increased skills in these areas. Study options are available at Diploma, Degree and individual module level. There are 60 free course places on these Diploma programmes under the Springboard initiative for unemployed and employed students.  As all occupations are becoming more knowledge-based, there is an increasing emphasis on Continuing Professional Development (CPD). These courses are ideal for learners who do not have the time to commit to a full programme of study or for those who require a module for the purposes of retraining or up-skilling. “Adult learners at NUI Galway can chose individual modules from a suite of standalone courses in Adult Training and Education Studies, Early Childhood Studies, Community Education, Social Care, Business and many others”, says Nuala McGuinn. Diplomas are also available in a selection of high quality language courses for adult learners. Students practice their chosen language through a variety of activities, such as guided speaking practice, listening comprehension activities, grammar and vocabulary exercises. Languages on offer include Gaeilge, French, Italian (via classroom mode and online), Spanish and German. Other related professional development opportunities are offered in Early Childhood Studies, Information Technology, Play Therapy, Community Education, Business and Adult Training and Education Studies.  The Career Development Centre at NUI Galway will provide free one-to-one career consultations on a first come, first served basis, from 5.30 - 7.00pm at the Orbsen Building in NUI Galway. For a full list of programmes and application details, visit: www.nuigalway.ie/adultlearning or phone 091 494066 to speak with a programme coordinator. Visit the Centre’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/nuigalway.adultlearning/. -Ends-

Thursday, 15 June 2017

Professor Dáibhí Ó Cróinín from the Discipline of History and the Moore Institute at NUI Galway, has been awarded the prestigious Parnell Fellowship in Irish Studies at Cambridge University for the year 2017-2018. The appointment is a Professorial Visiting Fellowship offered every year by Cambridge University to a distinguished Irish scholar or artist. The first such Fellow was (Senator) Professor Joseph Lee of UCC (1992-1993). The most recent Fellows include Professor Roy Foster, Hertford College, Oxford (2015-2016), and Professor Frank McGuinness of UCD (2016-2017). The Parnell Fellowship is a major award, with recipients nominated by the scholarly community of Cambridge University. The award is a peer-recognition of the highest distinction in the recipient's field of studies. Speaking about his Fellowship appointment, Professor Dáibhí Ó Cróinín at NUI Galway, said: “This is a very gratifying recognition of a lifetime's work in Irish Studies and honour for myself, for History in Galway, and for the University as a whole.” The prestigious nature of this Parnell Fellowship is a celebration of NUI Galway as a centre of excellence and of Professor Ó Cróinín’s individual contributions to world-class research in the fields of Early Irish History and Medieval Studies, Celtic Studies, and Computistics. The award offers a unique opportunity to carry out research in Cambridge, with its world-renowned manuscript libraries and company of first-class scholars. Professor Daniel Carey, Director of the Moore Institute at NUI Galway, said: “The award of the Parnell Fellowship to Professor Ó Cróinín is a huge honour, recognising a career of leading work in a demanding field that studies the foundations of Irish culture and history. His contribution to academic life in Ireland and beyond has been immense.” The Parnell Fellow is hosted by Magdalene College. For more information on the Fellowship, visit: http://www.magd.cam.ac.uk/fellows/Visiting/ -Ends-

Thursday, 15 June 2017

NUI Galway is bringing together key investors for the launch of the ‘E-Health Research and Innovation Network’ today (14 June) as supported by the Irish Research Council. The focus of the event will be to establish and launch a Digital Health Research Network, which will act as a public interface for digital health stakeholders across academia, industry and healthcare.  The purpose of this launch is to bring key digital health stakeholders together to discuss, plan and begin the implementation of a national digital health research network with the aims of: Increasing strategic interdisciplinary eHealth Research and Innovation capacity in Ireland. Provide a platform for stakeholders to share digital research knowledge and resources Establish a collaborative network of interdisciplinary researchers and industry partners. To act, as a point of contact between research and industry. Act as a database for people to find digital health researchers and industry partners Foster links with international collaborators, national stakeholders to further develop the E-Health Research and Innovation Network. The Centre for Pain Research in the School of Psychology will host a one day Network Launch to discuss the challenges and the possible digital solutions to some of our most pressing health problems. The launch day will be divided into three key segments: Population Health, Research and Innovation and Funding and Sustainability. Each section will include talks from key contributors followed by a panel discussion. Speaking about the event, Dr Brian Slattery from the School of Psychology at NUI Galway, said: “This is a great opportunity for leading stakeholders in Research, Industry, and Healthcare in the growing Irish e-Health community to come together and establish an active network. The day will be attended by e-Health stakeholders across industry, research, and healthcare, and we have a fantastic line-up of contributors for the event.”   Guest speakers at the E-Health Research and Innovation Network Launch include: Dr Stephanie O’Keeffe, National Director of Health and Wellbeing (Health Service Executive) Mr Eugene Farrell, Head of Information Services, office of CIO eHealth Ireland (Health Service Executive) Dr Clyde Hutchinson, Innovation Lead, E-Health Ireland (Health Service Executive) Dr Deirdre Walsh, Insight and School of Health and Human Performance (DCU) Dr Gavin Doherty, Associate Professor, School of Computer Science and Statistics (TCD), Co-Founder SilverCloud Health Dr John Dinsmore, Assistant Professor in Digital Integrated care and health Innovation (TCD) Ms Edel Murphy, Development Officer Primary Care Clinical Trials Network (Health Research Board and NUI Galway) -Ends-     

Wednesday, 14 June 2017

NUI Galway today conferred degrees on over 340 students. Among that number, 36 were conferred with doctoral degrees. The largest cohort of students to graduate was over 218 future doctors who received their Honours Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery, and Bachelor of Obstetrics (MB, BCh, BAO) degree. Among this outstanding group of medical students, Aaron Liston from Monaleen, Co. Limerick received three out of 14 Final Medical Medals for his outstanding academic performance. Orla Hennessy from Kilmaley, Co. Clare received two out of the 14 Final Medical Medals and Sarah Gaffney from Salthill in Galway received two out of the 14 Final Medical Medals for their outstanding academic performances. Every year, NUI Galway awards the Final Medical Medals to the student who receives the highest mark in each subject area. Speaking at the ceremony, President of NUI Galway, Dr Jim Browne, said: “On behalf of NUI Galway, I congratulate each of today’s graduates. It is very encouraging to see the number of research and graduate degrees which we are conferring today. These graduate numbers continue to grow. From a base of about 50 doctorates per year at the turn of the millennium, we now confer up to four times that number annually.” Carmel Malone, Head of the School of Medicine said: “The graduation celebrates new doctors who have achieved outstanding results in a range of academic disciplines. Aaron Liston, a Limerick native, received gold medals in Medicine, Surgery and Radiology. Orla Hennessy from Co. Clare won gold medals in both Pathology and Psychiatry and Sarah Gaffney won gold medals in both Paediatrics and Obstetrics and Gynaecology. Those students winning academic honours within the School of Medicine reflect the international and cultural diversity of the school.” International students were well represented at the ceremony, with the University conferring a large number of graduates from Malaysia, South Korea, Singapore, Canada and the US, among other countries. -Ends-

Wednesday, 14 June 2017

NUI Galway event to showcase existing and emerging mobile, telehealth and connected health technology research and practices focusing on patient care, population health management and clinical outcomes The 3rd Annual mHealth Behavioural Science and Mobile Technology Conference will be hosted by the School of Psychology and the mHealth Research Group at NUI Galway, on Thursday 15 June 2017. The World Health Organisation estimates that 63% of deaths globally are health behaviour related, and encouraging people to adopt healthier lifestyles is highly desirable. The European Commission provides funding and urges Small Medium Enterprise businesses’ (SMEs) and academics to collaborate to develop evidence-based mobile technology for sustainable, citizen-centred care. For students, post-graduates, established and early career researchers, this dynamic and interdisciplinary event will provide an ideal platform to showcase existing and emerging mobile, telehealth and connected health technology research and practices focusing on patient care, population health management and clinical outcomes.   The overall theme of the conference will be on the use of effective methods of knowledge translation and specific efforts to bridge the gap between the scientific and commercial aspects of mobile and connected health. Building on the success of the 2015 and 2016 conferences, the mHealth Behavioural Science and Mobile Technology Conference will bring together an impressive network of healthcare researchers, practitioners, policy makers, industry partners and those representing patient groups to address key issues in behavioural science, mobile health (mHealth) research and healthcare delivery. The mHealth Research Group at NUI Galway are delighted to be welcoming several leading and innovative experts in the area of mobile health that include: Professor Marie Johnston, University of Aberdeen, Dr Clyde Hutchinson, eHealth Ireland and HSE, Dr Frank Doyle, Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, Dr John Breslin, NUI Galway, Dr Ian Cleland, University of Ulster, Dr Kat Bradbury, University of Southampton, Dr John Dinsmore, TCD, Dr Marta Marques, University College London and Drs Dietrich Rebholz-Schumann and Martín Serrano from Insight Centre for Data Analytics at NUI Galway. NUI Galway’s Dr Jane Walsh, Chair of the mHealth Research Group at NUI Galway, said: “We are particularly delighted to have such a fantastic line-up of speakers joining us to continue the discussion on the role of behavioural science and mobile or connected health technology in healthcare and the future of mHealth in health-related practice, policy and research. The event will aim to promote the development of high quality multidisciplinary research networks through which NUI Galway can achieve the highest quality of scientific excellence working with international research leaders and all the various stakeholders in healthcare and industry.” This event is supported in part by the Irish Research Council, the Whitaker Institute at NUI Galway and the Health Research Board. To register, visit: http://conference.ie/Conferences/index.asp?Conference=518 and follow on Twitter @MHealthConf   -Ends- 

Wednesday, 14 June 2017

NUI Galway’s Centre for Disability Law and Policy will host a training event on supported decision making in association with Cher Nicholson, a leading trainer in the area of supported decision making internationally and director of Asset (SA), on 15-16 June 2017. The event will focus on developing supported decision making skills through an interactive workshop for professionals. Cher Nicholson initially worked on a supported decision making pilot project in South Australia and has since worked internationally to develop a deeper understanding of Supported Decision Making.  The Assisted Decision Making (Capacity) Act 2015 is viewed as a key step towards enabling Ireland’s ratification of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) and is expected to fully commence later in 2017. This Act introduces a statutory framework for people to be supported in their decision making in all areas of their lives, to make legally-binding decisions about their personal welfare, property and affairs where their capacity to make decisions has been or soon will be called into question. The Act provides three types of decision-making supports that include: Assisted Decision-Making, Co-Decision-Making and court appointed Decision-Making Representatives and Orders. This is a radical change for Ireland so the discussion on supported decision-making is both pertinent and timely. The guiding principles of the Assisted Decision Making (Capacity) Act 2015 introduces the focus on the will and preference of the person. The workshop is structured to provide professionals with the framework to have a ‘purposeful conversation’ with an individual to elicit their ‘expressed wishes’ without bounds. It will provide the opportunity to explore the difference between expressed wishes, individual will and preferences and best interest approaches to supporting people. Professor Gerard Quinn, Director of the Centre for Disability Law and Policy at NUI Galway, said: “Cher Nicholson’s visit is extremely timely. Now is the right time to think through how we are going to operationalise our own Assisted Decision-Making Act. It is important that we optimise all the potential of our legislation to restore voice and choice to people with disabilities and to pay heed to best practice and innovation emerging from places like Australia.” Cher Nicholson has a broad range of experience and background with qualifications in Counselling, Mediation, Nursing, Financial Counselling, Clinical Supervision, and Workplace Assessing and Training. Having an acquired disability, and knowing how that can change others’ perception of her abilities, fuels her determination to help people with a disability believe in the possible, through the Supported Decision Making program that she has developed and now taken internationally. For more information visit: www.conference.ie or contact Mary Faherty at mary.faherty@nuigalway.ie or 091 495888. -Ends- 

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

Minister of State for Health Promotion to deliver opening address at 2017 NUI Galway Health Promotion Conference - ‘Promoting Health and Wellbeing in the Workplace’ NUI Galway will hold the 21st annual Health Promotion Conference on Thursday 15 June. The Health Promotion Research Centre at NUI Galway, the Department of Health, the Health Service Executive and the Association of Health Promotion Ireland will co-host this one-day event. The conference will bring together policy, research and practice perspectives on promoting workplace health and wellness through fostering a culture of health and addressing change at all levels in organisations. In line with the World Health Organisations ‘Healthy Workplace Framework’, the ‘Healthy Ireland Framework’ and the current development of a National Healthy Workplace Framework, this year’s conference theme will discuss ‘Promoting Health and Wellbeing in the Workplace’. Minister Marcella Corcoran Kennedy TD, Minister of State for Health Promotion will deliver the opening address, and commented: “The development of the Healthy Workplace Framework is a priority for my Department under the Healthy Ireland banner, and it’s aimed at assisting employers in both private and public sectors to provide a healthy workplace. We know work is good for our health and the workplace offers the perfect opportunity to promote health to a large audience. With almost two million people in employment in Ireland, this message can reach over half the population. Healthy Ireland is all about taking steps towards making Ireland a healthier nation and promoting health and wellbeing in the workplace is an essential part of that.” International and national keynote addresses will include Professor Dame Carol Black, University of Cambridge; Professor Paul Fleming, University of Southampton; Dr Paul Litchfield, British Telecom; Professor Anne Drummond, UCD; and Ms Biddy O’Neill, Department of Health. The conference programme comprises a mix of presentations, plenary lectures, workshops, and panel discussions from policymakers, researchers and practitioners alike. Professor Dame Carol Black will be asking, ‘Why does workplace health and wellbeing matter?’ and said in advance of the event: “The workplace has a significant role in addressing major problems surrounding physical and mental health and in supporting people with long-term disorders, enabling as many as possible to fulfil their potential. Effective workplace interventions can bring tangible business benefits including reduced sickness absence, improved productivity, improved quality of service, and relative reduction in the health-care cost and burden. Employers need to recognise the importance of shaping workplace cultures and norms in which supporting and safeguarding the health and wellbeing of all members of the workforce has the highest priority. To do this, workplaces must establish a strong cultural lead and example in organisations, and strengthen management training in order to recognise and respond to the health needs of the workforce, and working more closely with other health supporting agencies, particularly Occupational Health and Primary Care.” This conference provides a platform in the exchange of ideas for research, policy and practice developments in workplace health promotion and wellness. It also provides the opportunity to explore how a culture of health and wellness in the workplace can be encouraged, measured and governed at all organisational levels. Dr Margaret Hodgins, Head of the School of Health Sciences at NUI Galway and Chair of the annual conference, said: ‘The workplace is a priority setting for Health Promotion in the 21st Century. The workplace is where almost two thirds of adults spend almost two thirds of their waking time. Psychological and physical health issues, including work-related stress and work-related musculoskeletal disorders, are widespread in our modern-day workforce. For example, levels of workplace stress are increasing rapidly. Factors such as poor work-life balance, increasing workloads, the ‘long hours culture’, poorly designed shift work, lack of communication, and inadequate systems for dealing with bullying and harassment all impact on levels of work-related stress.” For further information on the conference, visit: http://www.nuigalway.ie/hprc/. -Ends- 

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

‘The Novel and its Wonders: An Evening with Andrea De Carlo’ The Black Gate Cultural Centre, Galway, will host an evening with renowned Italian novelist Andrea De Carlo on Wednesday, 14 June at 6pm. The event is being organised in collaboration with NUI Galway’s Italian Department and the Italian Institute of Culture, Dublin. ‘The Novel and its Wonders: An Evening with Andrea De Carlo’ will be introduced by James C. Harrold, Galway City Arts Officer and will be followed by a conversation between Professor Paolo Bartoloni, Head of Italian at NUI Galway and Andrea De Carlo. The conversation will focus on the theory and practice of creative writing by looking at De Carlo’s latest novel The Imperfect Marvel (L’imperfetta meraviglia, 2016). The novel tells the story of the encounter between the Irish singer of a fictional rock band, Nick Cruickshank, and an Italian ice-cream maker, Milena Migliari. Nick and Milena seem to live perfect and fulfilled lives, both emotionally and professionally, yet gradually a sense of unease and longing creeps in, bringing them to question what they thought of as given certainties. Together, they come to discover that perfection is only temporary and impermanent. Andrea De Carlo was born and raised in Milan. After graduating in Contemporary History, he travelled extensively; living in both the United States and Australia. His first novel, The Cream Train, featured an introduction by Italo Calvino. Further to his literary career, De Carlo has also worked as an assistant to directors Federico Fellini and Michelangelo Antonioni and directed the short movie Le facce di Fellini (Fellini’s Faces) as well as  a film based on his first novel. With composer Ludovico Einaudi, he has written the ballets Time Out and Salgari. He has recorded two albums: Alcuni Nomi and Dentro Giro di Vento. De Carlo’s novels have sold millions of copies and have been translated into twenty-six languages. These include: The Cream Train, Cage and Aviary Birds, Macno, Yucatan, Two Out of Two, Techniques of Seduction, Lovebow, Uto, About the Three of Us, Here and Now, Pure Life, The Real Names, Windshift, Sea of Truth, Durante, SheAndHe, Villa Metaphora and Primitive Heart. The event is free to attend but places are limited. For further information, and to register your interest, visit: https://decarlogalway.eventbrite.com or the Facebook page ‘Italian Academy at NUI Galway’. For further information email paolo.bartoloni@nuigalway.ie or andrea.ciribuco@nuigalway.ie. -Ends-

Monday, 12 June 2017

The world’s largest Disability Law Summer School focusing on the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities will take place in NUI Galway from 19-23 June. This is the 9th Summer School to be hosted by the University’s Centre for Disability Law and Policy and the theme for 2017 is ‘Psychosocial Disability’. The aim of the five-day Summer School is to equip participants with the insights and skills necessary to translate the UN Convention into tangible reform for persons with disabilities throughout the world. Leading experts on disability law and policy will look at some of the strategies successfully used to protect the rights and improve the lives of people with psychosocial disabilities around the world. Over 200 delegates from over 50 countries are registered to attend the Summer School, including persons with disabilities, family members, civil society groups, as well as advocates for disability law reform, lawyers, policy makers and policy analysts. The teaching faculty will include senior academics, practitioners, advocates and policy makers from around the world. Many of the speakers have been directly and actively engaged in drafting and implementing the UN Convention. Others are advocates for change and reform.  This year’s event will be addressed by leading users and survivors of psychiatry who have experienced mental health problems, or have used or survived mental health services and are to the fore advocating for the recognition of the legal capacity of persons with psychosocial disability. Mr Dainius Pūras the UN Special Rapporteur on health will give a keynote address at the Summer School.  Mr Pūras has been outspoken on the regrettable trend in recent decades of the excessive medicalization of mental health and the overuse of biomedical interventions, including in the treatment of depression and suicide prevention, which he considers to be a biased and selective use of research outcomes that has negatively influenced mental health policies and services. Ms Catalina Devandas Aguilar the UN Special Rapporteur on disability will also give a keynote address.  Ms Devandas in her work has highlighted the exclusion of persons with psychosocial or intellectual disabilities, in accessing essential services, such as health care, education or justice, owing to existing discriminatory legal and policy frameworks, segregated facilities and/or the lack of support, including support services. Director of the Summer School, Dr Charles O'Mahony, Head of the School of Law, NUI Galway, said: “Ireland was one of the first countries to sign the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) in 2007.  Ten years later Ireland remains the only Member State of the European Union not to have ratified the Convention. The failure to ratify the CRPD calls into question the commitment of successive Irish Governments to recognise the rights of persons with disabilities and means that Ireland and is an outlier amongst the international community in this area.  The theme of the Summer School is on realising the rights of persons with psychosocial disabilities. Persons with psychosocial disabilities encounter many barriers to exercising their civil and political and economic, social and cultural rights. Their rights are often ignored in the mainstream human rights discourse.  As such the Summer School is important to highlight the challenges and opportunities in achieving full and equal enjoyment of the human rights that are often taken for granted, such as the right to live in the community, make decisions and refuse medical treatment.” Registration for the Summer School is now closed as it has reached its capacity. For more information visit: www.nuigalway.ie/cdlp/summer_school/about.html or contact joanna.forde@nuigalway.ie or 086 4181673.  Participant accessibility (physical or communicational) requests and enquiries are welcomed. -Ends-

Friday, 9 June 2017

NUI Galway today conferred Honorary Doctorates on The Irish Times journalist, Fintan O’Toole; Engineer and former US Under Secretary for Energy, Dr Kristina Johnson; businessman John McNamara; and Professor Jane Grimson Engineer and STEM advocate. Speaking at the conferring ceremony, NUI Galway President, Dr Jim Browne said:  “NUI Galway is fortunate to be associated with many outstanding honorary graduates throughout its history and those being honoured this year form a particularly distinguished group. Each one has made an outstanding and distinctive contribution to the diverse fields of literature and journalism, business, science and engineering, public administration and philanthropy. NUI Galway is very pleased to be in a position to recognise these exceptional individuals.” Fintan O'Toole  Fintan O'Toole is a columnist with The Irish Times and winner of the 2017 European Press Prize for commentary. He is also Leonard L. Milberg visiting lecturer in Irish Letters at Princeton University.  Born in Dublin in 1958, he has been drama critic of In Dublin magazine, The Sunday Tribune, the New York Daily News, and The Irish Times and Literary Adviser to the Abbey Theatre. He contributes regularly to the New York Review of Books and The Guardian.  His new book on Bernard Shaw will appear in 2017 and Modern Ireland in 100 Artworks, which he edited, has recently been published by the Royal Irish Academy. Other books include A History of Ireland in 100 Objects, Enough is Enough, Ship of Fools,  The Irish Times Book of the 1916 Rising, White Savage: William Johnson and The Invention of America,  Shakespeare is Hard but so is Life;  and A Traitor’s Kiss: The Life of Richard Brinsley Sheridan.  Kristina M. Johnson Dr Kristina Johnson received her B.S., M.S. and PhD in electrical engineering from Stanford University, and is currently the CEO of Cube Hydro Partners.  Prior to Cube Hydro, Dr Johnson was the Under Secretary of the United States Department of Energy. She has been Provost and Senior Vice-President for Academic Affairs at the JohnsHopkins University, Dean of the Pratt School of Engineering at Duke University, Professor at the University of Colorado at Boulder and was a NATO post-doctoral fellowat Trinity College Dublin. Dr Johnson’s academic awards include the Dennis Gabor Prize for creativity andinnovation in modern optics, the John Fritz Medal (2008), widely considered thehighest award in the engineering profession and is a member of the National Academy of Engineering.  She received the Society of Women Engineers Lifetime Achievement Award, theWoman of Vision Award for Leadership by the Anita Borg Institute for Women andTechnology (2010), “40 years of Title IX -  40 Women Who Have Made an Impact” by ESPNW. Recognized for her work in technology transfer and entrepreneurship by the States ofColorado and North Carolina, she received the 2010 Milton Steward Award from the Small Business Technology Council (SBTC) and co-founded ColorLink, Inc., whichwas sold to RealD, and is responsible for 3D effects in movies such as Avatar, Gravity and 300 others.  Dr Johnson serves on the board of directors of Cisco Systems and AES. She has published 149 refereed articles and holds 118 U.S. and International patents.  She has received honorary degrees from the University of Alabama at Huntsville, TuftsUniversity, Trinity College, Dublin and McGill University, Montreal, Canada John MacNamara John MacNamara was born in Dublin in 1944 and raised from an early age in Birr Co. Offaly. He received his primary education in Birr and boarded in St. Flannan’s College Ennis for his secondary education, completing his Leaving Cert there in 1961. In 1962 he joined the National Bank, subsequently the Bank of Ireland, serving in different roles in Dublin up to 1982 when he moved to Galway as Regional Manager for Galway and Mayo. In September 1990 he was appointed General Manager West with responsibility for 81 branches over 10 counties. He retired from the Bank in 2001. He holds a BComm and MEconSc from UCD. John is married to Mary and they have four children and seven grandchildren. Three of John and Mary’s children attended NUI Galway for their undergraduate study, with two receiving postgraduate qualifications. John joined the Board of Galway University Foundation on its establishment in 1998 at the invitation of the then President of NUI Galway, Dr Patrick F. Fottrell, and has gone on to serve four terms as Chairman. Under his leadership, and with the support of the directors, chief executive and staff of the Foundation, significant philanthropic funds have been raised for the infrastructure of the campus. Since 1998 the Foundation has raised over €145 million directly from philanthropy, leveraging significant additional matching funds, thus enabling over €200 million of investment for flagship University buildings including the new Sports Centre, Bailey Allen Wing and Cultural Centre, Lifecourse Institute, Biomedical Sciences Building, Alice Perry Engineering Building, Lambe Institute for Translational Research and O’Donoghue Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance. Since his retirement John has served on the board of the Western Development Commission and on the Galway Harbour Board. John has also been involved in charitable and social causes and is currently Chairman of Cancer Care West. Jane Grimson Professor Jane Grimson was the first woman to graduate with a degree in Engineering from Trinity College following which she obtained her masters and doctorate in Computer Science from the Universities of Toronto and Edinburgh, respectively. She returned to Trinity as a lecturer in 1980 where she also served as Dean of Engineering, Pro-Dean of Research and Vice Provost. Prior to her retirement in 2014, she was seconded as Director of Health Information and then as Acting Chief Executive of the Health Information and Quality Authority. She has published widely in the field of Health Informatics and was awarded the O’Moore Medal in 2007 for her contribution to the field. Jane is also a Past President of Engineers Ireland, the Irish Academy of Engineering, the Healthcare Informatics Society of Ireland and the Irish Computer Society. She is a Chartered Engineer, a Fellow and Vice President of the Royal Irish Academy and of the Royal Academy of Engineering. She served as Chair of the Irish Research Council for Science, Engineering and Technology, was a member of the Board of Science Foundation Ireland, of the European Research Advisory Board, and of the Executive the European Science Foundation. Jane is currently a member of the Health Research Board and of the Council of the Royal Irish Academy. Jane has been involved for many years in the initiatives to promote the recruitment, retention and promotion of women in engineering and in academia. She was involved in the establishment of the STEPS programme in Engineers Ireland and WiSER (Women in Science and Engineering Research) at Trinity College) and is an active member of WITS (Women in Science and Technology). She chaired the Gender Equality Task Force at NUI Galway from 2015-2016 and is currently a member of the Advisory Committee on Gender Equality at the University. -ends-

Thursday, 8 June 2017

NUI Galway Continues its Rise in Global Rankings NUI Galway has climbed six places in the QS World University Ranking 2017/2018, to reach 243 in the world. This is the fifth successive year the University has risen in the international rankings, consolidating its position among the world’s elite educational institutions. It now ranks amongst the top 1% of universities in the world. Speaking on the continued success, President of NUI Galway, Dr Jim Browne said: “We are on the edge of the Atlantic but our outlook is global. The news today is further acknowledgement of the developments in teaching and research that have taken place at this University in recent years. The hard work, commitment and ambition of our staff and students has led to our continued to rise in global rankings, and we are pleased to see the impact in international recognition and in student interest, with a 10% increase in CAO applications this year. Amidst speculation on the impact of Brexit on Irish institutions, we’ve seen an 11% increase on applications from Northern Ireland and Great Britain this year.” President Browne added: “What’s particularly heartening is that the rankings highlight our student focus and the international excellence on our campus, with the highest ratings allocated to the internationality of our faculty students. While no ranking system can truly assess the value of a university, we know that rankings are important to our graduates as they progress in their careers internationally, as well as raising the profile of NUI Galway on a global stage” NUI Galway Highlights of the 2016/2017 academic year: Research Impact NUI Galway has secured €38m in funding from Horizon 2020, the EU Research and Innovation Programme.  NUI Galway’s research community has been successful in attracting €4m through other European programmes, including INTERREG, Erasmus and ESA; bringing the total awards under the current cycle of European funding (2014-20) to just over €42m. NUI Galway is home to approximately 600 researchers, and advances during the year covered areas as diverse as new robotic devices to help failing hearts, mathematical equations that can make Batman’s cape a reality, community based research on quality of life in Irish cities and arsenic contamination in groundwater. Teaching In November 2016, four NUI Galway staff members, Professor Henry Curran, Professor Colin O'Dowd, Professor Donal O'Regan and Dr Ronan Sulpice were named among the World’s Most Highly Cited Researchers in an international analysis carried out by Clarivite. December 2016 saw the completion of a major investment by NUI Galway in clinical training across the West/North West region with a new Medical Academy in Donegal coming on stream joining academies in Mayo and Sligo. Two members of staff were awarded National Teaching and Learning Awards for the student engagement initiative Breaking the SEAL – breaking down the barriers for secondary school students to academia - Barry Houlihan, from the James Hardiman Library and Paul Flynn, from the School of Education. Jerome Sheahan, Mathematics, was recognised also with a National Teaching Hero Award. Campus Developments In April 2017, President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins officially opened the O’Donoghue Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance. The Centre includes a 120-seate theatre space with retractable tiered seating and LED stage lighting, the first of its kind in Ireland. In September 2016 the SFI CÚRAM Centre for Research in Medical Devices was officially launched, the €49million centre enhances our reputation as a global hub for medtech. This year’s QS table provides the definitive guide to the world’s 959 top universities. Massachusetts Institute of Technology is named the world’s leading university for a record sixth consecutive year. The full table of rankings can be viewed here: www.TopUniversities.com.  ENDS   Ardú arís ar sheasamh OÉ Gaillimh sna Ranguithe Domhanda Tá OÉ Gaillimh i measc an 1% is fearr d’ollscoileanna an domhain de réir na ranguithe nua   Tá ardú sé cinn d’áiteanna ar OÉ Gaillimh i Ranguithe Ollscoile Domhanda QS 2017/2018, rud a fhágann go bhfuil sé anois sa 243ú háit. Seo é an cúigiú bliain as a chéile a bhfuil ardú tagtha ar an Ollscoil sna ranguithe idirnáisiúnta, agus a háit á daingniú aici i measc shárinstitiúidí oideachais an domhain. Tá sí i measc an 1% is fearr d’ollscoileanna an domhain anois. Ag labhairt dó ar an rath leanúnach, dúirt Uachtarán OÉ Gaillimh, an Dr Jim Browne: “Táimid ar imeall an Atlantaigh ach tá dearcadh domhanda againn.  Is aitheantas breise é nuacht an lae inniu ar na forbairtí atá tagtha ar theagasc agus ar thaighde san Ollscoil seo le blianta beaga anuas.  Is mar thoradh ar dhúthracht, ar thiomantas agus ar uaillmhian ár gcomhaltaí foirne go bhfuil an t-ardú breise seo tagtha ar an rangú domhanda, ach is cúis áthais dúinn go mbíonn tionchar aige ar aitheantas idirnáisiúnta agus ar spéis na mac léinn, tá ardú 10% ar líon na n-iarratas chun na Lár-Oifige Iontrála i mbliana.   In ainneoin na tuairimíochta ar fad faoi thionchar an Bhreatimeachta ar institiúidí na hÉireann, tá méadú 11% ar líon na n-iarratas ó Thuaisceart Éireann agus ón mBreatain Mhór i mbliana.” Anuas ar an méid sin, dúirt an tUachtarán Browne: “Is mór an tógáil croí go dtarraingíonn na ranguithe aird ar ár bhfócas ar na mic léinn agus ar fheabhas idirnáisiúnta ár gcampais, leis an rátáil is airde ar a ilnáisiúnta agus atá ár mic léinn dáimhe. “Cé nach féidir le córas rangaithe ar bith luach ollscoile a mheas, tuigimid go bhfuil ranguithe tábhachtach dár gcuid céimithe agus iad ag iarraidh dul chun cinn a dhéanamh ina ngairmeacha beatha ar fud an domhain, agus go bhfuil siad tábhachtach chomh maith maidir le cur le próifíl OÉ Gaillimh go hidirnáisiúnta.” Éachtaí OÉ Gaillimh i mbliain acadúil 2016/2017: Tionchar Taighde Tá maoiniú €38 milliún faighte ag OÉ Gaillimh ón gclár Fís 2020, Clár Taighde agus Nuálaíochta an AE.  D’éirigh le pobal taighde OÉ Gaillimh €4 mhilliún a mhealladh trí chláir Eorpacha eile, ar a n-áirítear INTERREG, Erasmus agus ESA; méadaíonn sé seo líon na ngradam faoi thimthriall reatha an mhaoinithe Eorpaigh (2014-20) go dtí beagán le cois €42 milliún. Tá tuairim is 600 taighdeoir i mbun staidéir in OÉ Gaillimh, agus cuimsíonn na forbairtí a rinneadh le bliain anuas réimsí chomh héagsúil lena chéile agus atá gairis róbatacha chun cabhrú le croíthe fabhtacha, cothromóidí matamaiticiúla a d’fhéadfadh cába Batman a thabhairt ar an bhfód, taighde pobalbhunaithe ar chaighdeán saoil i gcathracha na hÉireann agus éilliú arsanaice i screamhuisce. Teagasc I mí na Samhna 2016, ainmníodh ceathrar comhaltaí foirne, an tOllamh Henry Curran, an tOllamh Colin O’Dowd, an tOllamh Donal O’Regan agus an Dr Ronan Sulpice i measc na dTaighdeoirí is Minice a dTagraítear dóibh ar Domhan in anailís idirnáisiúnta a rinne Clarivite. I mí na Nollag 2016, cuireadh bailchríoch ar infheistíocht mhór de chuid OÉ Gaillimh in oiliúint chliniciúil ar fud Réigiún an Iarthair/an Iarthuaiscirt nuair a tháinig Acadamh Leighis nua ar an bhfód i nDún na nGall agus é i dteannta na n-acadamh i Maigh Eo agus i Sligeach. Bronnadh Gradaim Náisiúnta an Teagaisc agus na Foghlama ar bheirt chomhaltaí foirne don tionscnamh rannpháirtíochta mac léinn Breaking the SEAL – ag briseadh síos na laincisí do dhaltaí meánscoile maidir leis an saol acadúil - Barry Houlihan, ó Leabharlann Shéamais Uí Argadáin agus Paul Flynn, ó Scoil an Oideachais. Tugadh aitheantas do Jerome Sheahan, Roinn na Matamaitice, freisin nuair a bronnadh an Gradam do Laoch Teagaisc air. Forbairtí ar an gCampas I mí Aibreáin 2017, rinne Uachtarán na hÉireann, Micheál D. Ó hUiginn, Ionad Uí Dhonnchadha don Drámaíocht, an Amharclannaíocht agus an Taibhléiriú a oscailt go hoifigiúil. Tá an tIonad seo ar an gcéad cheann dá shamhail in Éirinn áit a bhfuil soilsiú stáitse LED mar aon le spás suí do 120 duine san amharclann ar shuíocháin a thig a tharraingt siar. I mí Mheán Fómhair 2017, rinneadh CÚRAM, an tIonad Taighde d'Fheistí Leighis de chuid SFI a sheoladh go hoifigiúil; cuireann an t-ionad ar fiú €49 milliún é lenár stádas mar mhol domhanda maidir le teicneolaíocht leighis. Is i dtábla QS na bliana seo atá an treoir dheifnídeach ar an 959 ollscoil is fearr ar domhan.  Ainmníodh Massachusetts Institute of Technology mar an ollscoil is fearr ar domhan don séú bliain as a chéile, rud atá ina churiarracht. Is féidir an tábla rangaithe iomlán a fheiceáil ach brú ar an nasc seo a leanas:  www.TopUniversities.com. CRÍOCH

Thursday, 8 June 2017

To celebrate World Oceans Day, a unique exhibition on Roald Amundsen’s expedition to the South Pole will be officially opened at NUI Galway by Minister Seán Kyne TD, Minister of State for Gaeltacht Affairs and Natural Resources today, Thursday, 8 June at 6.30pm. The exhibition Cold Recall – Roald Amundsen’s Reflections from the South Pole is based on images from the original lantern slides that Norwegian Polar Explorer Roald Amundsen used in public lectures about his expeditions through the Northwest Passage and to the South Pole. Her Excellency Else Berit Eikeland, Ambassador of the Royal Norwegian Embassy to Ireland said she is delighted that the exhibition will be on display in Galway. “Amundsen’s party had immense courage and determination to make the dangerous trek across the ice and snow to reach the South Pole. This exhibition offers a pictorial account of the expedition and of Amundsen, one of the greatest figures in the field of polar exploration and a national hero for a very young nation,” Ms Else Berit Eikeland said. Amundsen was the first in the world to navigate the Northwest Passage and the first to reach the South Pole on 14 December 1911. Norwegian Polar history is closely connected to defining Norway as an independent state in 1905, and to Norway’s position as a state closely connected to the oceans and to polar regions. Cold Recall – Roald Amundsen’s Reflections from the South Pole will be on display in the O’Donoghue Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance at NUI Galway from Friday, 9 June to Saturday, 8 July. Speaking in advance of the opening, President of NUI Galway Dr Jim Browne, said: “NUI Galway is delighted to host this interesting exhibition on the history of polar exploration.  Fascinating in its rich depiction of Amundsen and his endeavours it will be a great attraction for visitors and locals alike.  Polar exploration remains a rich source for academic researchers and here in NUI Galway our academics are engaged with polar research in a range of ways and in such diverse field as particle physics, climate change, marine biology and biodiscovery, and even the literary history of polar travel.  We are very pleased to work with the Marine Institute and the Norwegian Embassy to bring this exhibition to Galway for Seafest 2017.” The exhibition will run in association with SeaFest 2017, taking place in Galway from 30 June to 2 July in Galway. The exhibition is a collaboration between NUI Galway and the Marine Institute, in association with the Norwegian Embassy and the Fram Museum, Oslo. Dr Peter Heffernan CEO of the Marine Institute said, “Thanks to the support of the Norwegian Embassy, the Fram Museum and NUI Galway, we are able to offer this exhibition as part of the SeaFest festival programme. The exploration and voyages across our oceans and particularly Amundsen’s extraordinary journey to the South Pole are important to our maritime history. Through this exhibition, visitors can remember and celebrate one of the most remarkable feats of exploration.”The Fram Museum in Oslo focuses on telling the story of Norwegian polar exploration.  It was inaugurated on 20 May 1936. It honours Norwegian polar exploration in general and three great Norwegian polar explorers in particular—Fridtjof Nansen, Otto Sverdrup and Roald Amundsen. ENDS

Wednesday, 7 June 2017

President of NUI Galway, Dr Jim Browne awarded the Ordre des Palmes Académiques (Order of Academic Palms). One of France’s highest honours has been bestowed on Dr Jim Browne, President of NUI Galway. At a private ceremony hosted in the Residence of the French Ambassador, last week, Dr Browne was awarded the Ordre des Palmes Académiques (Order of Academic Palms). Dr Browne is the first Irish University President to have received the honour. The Ordre des Palmes Académiques is an award given by the French government to honour distinguished figures in culture and education. Originally started by Napoleon, the award assumed its current form in 1955, and at a ceremony this week at Résidence de France in Dublin, Dr Jim Browne joined the distinguished list of recipients. The honour was bestowed on President Browne in recognition of both NUI Galway’s myriad links with France and his own academic work with French researchers and industry in manufacturing technology. Speaking on receipt of this honour, President Browne said: “Galway city has a long and honourable tradition of exchange with France. Since the Middle Ages, trade between Galway and France has thrived. For NUI Galway as a modern world-class university on the periphery of Europe our links with France have never been more important and I am pleased to say that scholarship in the area of French is thriving and in high demand from students. Our university continues to build important research links with French universities and industry, building on a long tradition of co-operation. On a personal level I am humbled and honoured by this award, which I believe is a recognition of the myriad links which bind NUI Galway to France. In his remarks at the event, Ambassador Thébault recognised NUI Galway’s record of achievement in developing important academic collaboration with a number of French universities and research organisations, including the University of Rennes; he cited the research co-operation between NUI Galway and Galway-based French company, Valeo; as well as referring to the University’s recent decision to name the Chair of French for the late French academician, Michel Déon, who has links with county Galway. President Browne is joining a high calibre of individuals through receipt of this award, joining the same ranks as esteemed politicians, scientists, historians, artists, musicians, and even royalty. Recent Ordre de Palmes Academiques have been awarded to NUI Galway academics, Sylvie Lannengrand (French) and JC Desplat (Centre for High Performance Computing). -ends-

Tuesday, 6 June 2017

NUI Galway conference will focus on the perceived decline in empathy, care and social solidarity, which is both an Irish and global concern among youth radicalisation Are empathy, care and social solidarity in decline and what are the consequences of this in Ireland and globally? These are some of the questions to be addressed at the UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre at NUI Galway when it hosts its 8th Biennial International Family Support Conference in June. The role of compulsory empathy education to address radicalisation among youths will also be a key focus at the NUI Galway conference. Violent extremism is a threat that knows no borders as witnessed from the recent horrific attack at Manchester Arena, again highlighting the vulnerability of innocent children. There are currently 1.8 billion young people between the ages of 10 and 24 in the world. This ‘youth bulge’ is the largest youth population ever. One out of 10 of the world’s children live in conflict zones and 24 million of them are out of school. Political instability, labour market challenges and limited space for political and civic participation have increased the pressures on young women and men in societies across the world, deepening their vulnerability to violent extremism. Any lasting solution to prevent violent extremism must place youth at the forefront. Young people are the most affected by multiple and often interlinked forms of violence - they also play vital roles as agents of positive change, which must be nurtured and empowered, through skills, training and new forms of educational engagement. Speaking in advance of the Conference, Professor Pat Dolan, UNESCO Chair of the Child and Family Research Centre at NUI Galway, commented: “We know that empathy education is now recognised as one of the key ingredients in the prevention of youth violent extremism. Ireland should not be complacent about this serious issue and needs to lead the way in the development of empathy education in schools. This is no longer just an issue in the UK, France and Belgium, it also has real resonance for Ireland, and the challenges of intolerance, hatred and fear is now a global humanitarian crisis. “Through UNESCO and global counter-extremism organisations, we have worked with youths who were formally radicalised. Through an empathy education programme such as ours these youths are no longer engaged in radicalised thinking and have now become activists for peace.” Professor Dolan continued: “From hate crime including racism, bullying, and all the way to violent youth extremism – the enablement of empathy belonging to cultural integration in the lives of young people in Ireland is a key part of the true, and only long-term solution. Empathy education should be specifically provided in schools and part of compulsory education – it is no longer a matter of choice but a necessity. “While for society, there is an urgent need for empathy informed policy and action to address structural inequalities and disparities, a guarantee that professionals working with children and youth demonstrate empathy and compassion is assumed, and it should not be. It is time to reassess the role of empathy among professionals including social workers and teachers.” UNESCO’s role in promoting education as a tool to prevent violent extremism are already underway with the following activities currently being implemented. The promotion of Youth and Parliament – youths working in partnership with Government and agencies. Building peace in the minds of men and women. A Teacher’s Guide on the ‘Prevention of Violent Extremism’ is in development to provide guidance and practical tips to teachers on how to manage classroom discussions on radicalisation and prevent violent extremism. Work is in progress to tackle the importance of social media in promoting violent extremism. Global research studies are being carried out to examine the role of social media in processes of radicalisation. Policy guidelines are being developed on digital citizenship to identify, advocate and promote values, which can guide responsible online behaviour. The promotion of holistic and humanistic visions of learning, which convey values for just and inclusive societies, a set of multimodal online modules on violent extremism are being developed that are promoting critical thinking and enquiry-based learning from the perspective of global citizenship. High level keynote speakers from Canada, India and Ireland will lead the discussions, while Irish and international practitioners and researchers will provide 36 workshops on key conference themes. A special talk will be given by Fr Peter McVerry SJ, social activist and advocate for those who have no voice in society. The conference is entitled ‘Rediscovering Empathy; Values, Relationships and Practice in a Changing World’ and will touch on topics from Emotional Intelligence to Social Justice, and will address the need for empathy education in schools. It will take place in the Institute for Lifecourse and Society on the North Campus at NUI Galway on 8 – 9 June. For more information and to register for the Conference, visit: http://conference.ie/Conferences/index.asp?Conference=491 -Ends-

Friday, 2 June 2017

Marine scientists carry out deep-sea research on marine substances to determine if they have anti-cancer properties that can be used for novel drugs to combat human illnesses Leading marine scientists, Dr Louise Allcock and Professor Oliver Thomas from NUI Galway, and a team of 10 university researchers and students are currently aboard the Marine Institute’s RV Celtic Explorer on a two week deep-sea expedition researching cold water corals and sponges (two different types of marine organisms) for potential antimicrobial or anti-cancer properties. Located two-hundred nautical miles South-West off Ireland at the edge of the continental shelf in the Atlantic Ocean, the research is being carried out using the Marine Institute’s remotely operated vehicle ROV Holland I, deployed into areas where the sea floor rapidly drops from around 300 metres down to 3000 metres. Speaking from the expedition, Dr Olivier Thomas, Professor of Marine Biodiscovery at NUI Galway and coordinator of the National Marine Biodiscovery Laboratory located at the Marine Institute, said: “The researchers and students are seeing for the first time corals and sponges covering an area around the Whittard Canyon, Porcupine Seabight, Gollum Channel and the Belgica Mounds in Irish waters. Chemists involved in biodiscovery research only need small quantities of any organism to develop a new drug, because once a suitable compound is identified, it can be synthesised in the lab, which can then be used in drugs to combat human diseases.” Dr Louise Allcock from the Ryan Institute at NUI Galway, said: “Using the ROV’s robotic and lighting capabilities, we are able to manoeuvre the Holland I, which is comparable to the size of a mini-van, through the water, and use its arms and clasps, which are like hands, to take small samples of corals, sponges and other specimens from extremely hostile parts of the ocean floor where there is no natural light and tremendous ocean pressure. By analysing past research relating to sponges and corals we are able to see that some species are better target groups than others in having antimicrobial or anti-cancer properties. Based on this information we are building mathematical models to predict the likelihood of any given species yielding a novel natural product, along with developing species distribution maps of corals and sponges on the deep-sea floor, so that we know the best places to go searching.” When the research team returns from sea they will work with the national marine biodiscovery lab at the Marine Institute. The NUI Galway scientists will extract the chemical compounds from all of the samples of sponges and corals to determine if they have drug-like characteristics such as anti-cancer or antimicrobial properties that can be used for novel drugs to combat human illnesses. “These are exciting times to be a marine researcher as marine scientists around the world have discovered more species in the ocean in the last ten years than ever before, with an average of 2000 new discoveries each year. In Ireland we are contributing to building on this wealth of valuable information and sharing the best available science and knowledge to inform decisions affecting the Atlantic Ocean”, said Dr Peter Heffernan, CEO of the Marine Institute. The ROV Holland I provides high definition continuous video footage of the deep seafloor as it is being used to collect samples, where Dr Allcock noted that, “going back through footage after the expedition enables us to further analyse the location recording of all the corals and sponges. This improves future predictions of where else we might find similar specimens and also allows us to provide data to inform conservation policy so that we make sure that important ‘hotspots’ rich in corals and sponges are preserved.” This survey was funded by Dr Louise Allcock’s SFI - Marine Institute investigators award and is a five-year project entitled ‘Exploiting and conserving deep-sea genetic resources’, which is being undertaken at NUI Galway, and co-funded by Science Foundation Ireland and the Marine Institute. The National Marine Biodiscovery Laboratory project  brings together six of the country's leading marine researchers from across a range of disciplines, from NUI Galway, University of Limerick and University College Cork to study how marine substances might in future be used to make ingredients for cosmetics, pharmaceuticals and functional foods. -Ends-

Thursday, 1 June 2017

The NUI Galway-led ENERGISE (European Network for Research, Good Practice and Innovation for Sustainable Energy) hosted a two-day workshop of international sustainability experts in Dublin this week 1-2 June, during European Sustainable Development Week. The three-year Horizon 2020 funded ENERGISE programme, is an innovative pan-European research initiative setup to achieve a greater scientific understanding of the social and cultural influences on energy consumption. The initiative develops, tests and assesses options for a bottom-up transformation of energy use in households and communities across Europe. As part of this two-day event, the Consumption Environment Sustainability (CONSENSUS) research team launched its report CONSENSUS II: Segmentation, Experimentation and Biographies for Sustainability. Findings from the Consensus II Report: More sustainable household consumption in Ireland, and by association sustainable production, is essential if the UN Sustainable Development Goals are to be achieved. Targeted responses are needed as consumption varies by age, gender, income and education. Travel behaviour in the period between 20 to 30 years old is particularly dynamic and provides considerable opportunities for coordinated interventions. Adopting a life-course approach would represent a major step change in transport policy. Big changes are possible - water use from washing was reduced by 47%, food waste reduced by 28% and 100% of the remaining waste being composted with no food waste sent to landfill. A coordinated and systematic approach by governments, private companies and civil society is required to support sustainable consumption, from everyday habitual behaviours to the occasional or once-off purchases. The history of increasing structural ‘lock in’ regarding car use in Ireland serves to caution against a sole focus on changing individual behaviour. Broader changes to transport infrastructure, policies and traffic laws are also urgently needed to achieve a more sustainable transport system. The CONSENSUS project develops and tests novel ways to better understand and respond to the complex challenges created by household consumption such as lifestyle segmentation, mobility biographies and home-based living laboratories. It is funded through the Environmental Protection Agency’s sustainability research programme, led by Professor Anna Davies from Trinity College Dublin, in collaboration with Dr Frances Fahy from NUI Galway and Professor Henrike Rau from Ludwig-Maximilian University in Munich.  In response to their findings, Director General of the Environmental Protection Agency, Dr Laura Burke, said: “Changing our behaviour is one of the greatest challenges we face in making the transition to a low carbon and resource efficient future. In this report, the CONSENSUS team shows how we can better understand our current behaviour and how we can start to redirect it onto a more sustainable pathway. We are often unaware that many of our everyday activities damage the environment and this project demonstrates that small actions can make a big difference.” Commenting on the findings of the report, Dr Frances Fahy, Head of the Discipline of Geography at NUI Galway, said: “On the basis of this exciting study, our NUI Galway based research team recommends that a tailored policy approach to different groups of individuals that may be more successful at eliciting pro-environmental behaviour change than general ‘one-size-fits-all’ policy interventions. The typology tools constructed in the CONSENSUS II study create a refined, targeted approach to understanding the nuances of consumption behaviours.” To read the full CONSENSUS II: Segmentation, Experimentation and Biographies for Sustainability report, visit: http://www.epa.ie/researchandeducation/research/researchpublications/researchreports/research205.html -Ends-