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Workshop on imaging marine microorganisms
Tuesday, 4 August 2015
Have you ever wondered how scientists photograph the thousands of tiny plants and animals that live in a drop of seawater? A day-long workshop to further unravel the mysteries of imaging plankton will be hosted by NUI Galway and the Strategic Marine Alliance for Research and Training (SMART) on Monday, 14 September, 2015. The event entitled Imaging Marine Microorganisms: Microscopy and Photography of Plankton is funded by the Environmental Protection Agency and will be held in NUI Galway’s old Civil Engineering Building now known as Block E (Room 1002). The workshop is part of the SMARTSkills series which supports early stage researchers in developing the practical ‘blue’ skills required to understand our seas and oceans. The day will include lectures by leading Irish and international researchers, and practical sessions describing and demonstrating imaging methodologies and sample preparation techniques. The workshop will conclude with a public lecture in the evening by Wim van Egmond curator of the ‘Micropolitan Museum of Microscopic Art Forms’ at 7pm in the Aula Maxima, Quadrangle, NUI Galway. Wim’s life-long interest in natural history combined with the fact that he grew up a few kilometres from Anthony van Leeuwenhoek who developed the first microscope, may explain his choice of photomicrography. His lecture will showcase astonishing images of the microscopic marine achieved with modest and accessible equipment and instrumentation and we hope will inspire researchers and citizen scientists alike. The public lecture is free and everyone is welcome. If you have any queries regarding the events please see http://www.smartseaschool.com/content/smartskills-2015. For queries please contact email@example.com or Dr Yvonne Lang at firstname.lastname@example.org. This event is supported by funding from EPA Grant (EPA 2014-HW-DS-3) and EPA Event Support Grant (2015-CONF-70). The workshops are facilitated by the Centre for Microscopy and Imaging, NUI Galway. -ends-
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Minister Humphreys Launches NUI Galway 1916 Commemoration Programme as part of Ireland 2016 Centenary Programme
Friday, 2 October 2015
‘A Nation Rising: Commemorating 1916 and Beyond’ Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Heather Humphreys TD today launched NUI Galway’s 1916 Programme of Events, ‘A Nation Rising: Commemorating 1916 and Beyond’, as part of the Ireland 2016 Centenary Programme. The University will mark the centenary year with a host of exhibitions, conferences, publications and seminars, both in Irish and English. The programme features artistic, dramatic and musical performances with established and emerging artists. It will also reach out to the wider community, sharing knowledge through public talks, festivals and workshops. Speaking at the launch, Minister Heather Humphreys said: “NUI Galway, as one of our foremost universities, will play a very important role in reflecting on the events of 1916 and the impact they had on the West of Ireland in particular. Our third level institutions are a vital element of next year’s commemorations; our universities in particular will provide a platform for discussion and debate for their students, staff, alumni, and indeed a national and international audience. I would like to thank NUI Galway for the strong partnership approach it has adopted in putting together this impressive programme for 2016, which includes one of the key national conferences to be held next year.” Dr Jim Browne, President of NUI Galway, added: “The men and women who shaped the events of 1916 had different backgrounds, beliefs and ideas, but they shared a drive to create a better Ireland. As a nation joins together to commemorate their vision, so too does our diverse university community. I am delighted to see so many colleagues contributing to the programme from across many disciplines, in particular from the Arts and Humanities. The expertise, energy and passion they bring to the commemoration is a fitting tribute to the legacy of 1916. It gives me great pleasure to invite you to join us in reflecting on a remarkable year in the making of our nation.” As part of the Commemorative Programme, NUI Galway will host the major national academic 1916-2016 conference in November 2016, with academic contributions from a broad range of Ireland’s universities and institutes of technology as well as from a number of leading international figures. The University has appointed a 1916 Scholar in Residence to co-ordinate and curate many of the events in the University’s Commemorative Programme. Based in the Moore Institute at the University, Dr Conor McNamara will conduct research on the 1916 Rising and its context in Co. Galway and the West of Ireland. He will prepare a catalogue of resources, in English and Irish, from the University’s archives and elsewhere, with a view to facilitating future research on the revolutionaries of 1916-23. Throughout the year, he will also engage with local community groups across the country, and assist with a planned exhibition marking Galway’s role in the Great War and the Irish Revolution. Dr Mary Harris, Senior Lecturer in History at NUI Galway and Co-ordinator of the University’s 1916 Commemorative Programme, noted: “The largest mobilisation outside Dublin in Easter Week 1916 took place in Co. Galway, where over 600 men and women rose. Many dreamed of a Republic, others were motivated by the prospect of land reform. In previous years, however, those involved in the Gaelic and Anglo-Irish revivals saw the West in a more romantic light, as the repository of authentic Gaelic culture. This commemorative programme examines the events of 1916 from a variety of perspectives at local, regional and national levels.” For more information on NUI Galway’s events commemorating the 1916 Rising visit www.nuigalway.ie/anationrising. -Ends- Seolann an tAire Humphreys Clár Comórtha 1916 OÉ Gaillimh mar chuid den tionscnamh Éire 2016: Clár Comórtha Céad Bliain ‘Éire á múscailt: Comóradh ar 1916 agus ar lean é’ Inniu sheol an tAire Ealaíon, Oidhreachta agus Gaeltachta, Heather Humphreys TD Clár Imeachtaí 1916 OÉ Gaillimh, ‘Éire á múscailt: Comóradh ar 1916 agus ar lean é’, mar chuid den tionscnamh Éire 2016: Clár Comórtha Céad Bliain. Déanfaidh an Ollscoil comóradh ar an gcéad bliain le raidhse taispeántas, comhdhálacha, foilseachán agus seimineár, i nGaeilge agus i mBéarla araon. Beidh ealaíontóirí seanbhunaithe agus nua i mbun léiriúcháin ealaíonta, dhrámata agus cheolmhara mar chuid den chlár. Cuimseoidh an clár an pobal níos leithne chomh maith, áit a roinnfear eolas ag cainteanna poiblí, féilte agus ceardlanna. Ag labhairt di ag an seoladh, dúirt an tAire Heather Humphreys: “Mar cheann de na hollscoileanna is iomráití sa tír, beidh ról thar a bheith tábhachtach ag OÉ Gaillimh agus muid ag féachaint siar ar imeachtaí 1916 agus an tionchar a bhí acu ar Iarthar na hÉireann go háirithe. Is cuid lárnach iad institiúidí tríú leibhéal na tíre de chomóradh na bliana seo chugainn; cuirfidh na hollscoileanna go háirithe ardán ar fáil do phlé agus do dhíospóireacht i measc mac léinn, comhaltaí foirne, alumni agus go deimhin lucht spéise náisiúnta agus idirnáisiúnta. Ba mhaith liom buíochas a ghlacadh le OÉ Gaillimh as an gcur chuige láidir comhpháirtíochta atá glactha aici agus an clár iontach seo á chur le chéile do 2016; clár a áiríonn ceann de na mór-chomhdhálacha náisiúnta a bheidh ar siúl an bhliain seo chugainn.” Dúirt an Dr Jim Browne, Uachtarán OÉ Gaillimh: “Is iomaí cúlra, creideamh agus tuairim éagsúil a bhí ag na fir agus na mná a bhí taobh thiar d’imeachtaí 1916, ach bhí siad ar fad meáite ar Éirinn níos fearr a chruthú. Agus an náisiún ag teacht le chéile chun fís na ndaoine sin a chomóradh, tá pobal éagsúil na hOllscoile tagtha le chéile chomh maith. Táim an-sásta an oiread comhghleacaithe as lear mór disciplíní a fheiceáil ag glacadh páirte sa chlár, go háirithe comhaltaí foirne sna Dána agus sna Daonnachtaí. Is iontach an meas d’oidhreacht 1916 atá á léiriú ag an saineolas, an fuinneamh agus an díograis atá acu i leith an chomórtha. Is mór an pléisiúr dom cuireadh a thabhairt daoibh féachaint siar ar bhliain chomh tábhachtach i stair ár náisiúin.” Mar chuid den Chlár Comórtha, eagróidh OÉ Gaillimh mór-chomhdháil acadúil náisiúnta 1916-2016 i mí na Samhna 2016, áit a dtiocfaidh lucht acadúil le chéile as réimse leathan ollscoileanna agus institiúidí teicneolaíochta na hÉireann mar aon le ceannródaithe idirnáisiúnta. Tá Scoláire Cónaitheach 1916 ceaptha ag an Ollscoil chun comhordú agus eagrú a dhéanamh ar go leor de na himeachtaí ar Chlár Comórtha na hOllscoile. Tá an Dr Conor McNamara lonnaithe in Institiúid de Móra agus tabharfaidh sé faoi thaighde ar Éirí Amach 1916 agus a chomhthéacs i gCo. na Gaillimhe agus in Iarthar na hÉireann. Cuirfidh sé catalóg acmhainní le chéile, i mBéarla agus i nGaeilge, bunaithe ar chartlanna na hOllscoile agus ar fhoinsí eile, d’fhonn taighde a éascú amach anseo ar réabhlóidithe 1916-23. I gcaitheamh na bliana, oibreoidh sé le grúpaí pobail áitiúil ar fud na tíre, agus cabhróidh sé le taispeántas a chur le chéile d’fhonn ról na Gaillimhe sa Chogadh Mór agus i Réabhlóid na hÉireann a cheiliúradh. Dúirt an Dr Mary Harris, Léachtóir Sinsearach le Stair in OÉ Gaillimh agus Comhordaitheoir Chlár Comórtha 1916 OÉ Gaillimh: “Ba i gCo. na Gaillimhe a tharla an slógadh is mó lasmuigh de Bhaile Átha Cliath i rith Sheachtain na Cásca 1916, áit ar éirigh os cionn 600 fear agus bean amach. Ba é aisling na Poblachta a bhí mar threoir ag cuid acu, bhí cuid eile spreagtha ag leasú chóras na talún. Sna blianta roimhe sin, áfach, bhí íomhá níos rómánsúla d’Iarthar na hÉireann acu siúd a bhí bainteach le hathbheochan na Gaeilge agus leis an athbheochan Angla-Éireannach; dar leo bhí sé mar stór den fhíorchultúr Gaelach. Leis an gclár comórtha seo déantar scrúdú ar imeachtaí 1916 ó pheirspictíochtaí éagsúla ar leibhéal áitiúil, réigiúnach agus náisiúnta.” Chun tuilleadh eolais a fháil faoi imeachtaí OÉ Gaillimh chun Éirí Amach 1916 a chomóradh téigh chuig www.nuigalway.ie/anationrising. -Críoch-
New Online Treatment Programme to help People Cope with Persistent Fatigue after Cancer
Friday, 2 October 2015
The School of Psychology at NUI Galway, with the support of Cancer Care West is currently recruiting people experiencing persistent fatigue since the completion of cancer treatment (treatment completed at least three months ago). A new online programme called REFRESH (Recovery from Cancer-Related Fatigue) has been developed at NUI Galway to help people learn how to better manage fatigue symptoms following cancer treatment. The programme was developed as part of four years of research into cancer-related fatigue by Cancer Care West and Hardiman Scholar, Teresa Corbett who launched the programme with Cancer Care West CEO, Richard Flaherty recently. Over the last three years, Ms Corbett has met with individuals who have persistent and lingering fatigue after cancer. Fatigue is one of the most debilitating and frustrating symptoms patients endure following cancer treatment. For some, these symptoms can last for months or even years after treatment. This can have an emotional and functional impact on peoples’ lives and such overwhelming fatigue can hold people back from resuming ‘normal life’ after cancer. The REFRESH trial will provide eight free online treatment sessions to people in the comfort of their own home. The content is based on the principles of cognitive-behavioural therapy, a psychological therapy that has proven to be effective in the management of symptoms such as fatigue. The online sessions will focus on what people do and think in response to their fatigue symptoms. Participants will be provided with instructions on a range of activity-pacing techniques to encourage more consistent levels of activity from day-to-day. Useful relaxation techniques and how to sleep better will also be provided. Teresa Corbett, co-ordinator of the study at NUI Galway, said: “I have met so many people who are fatigued after cancer treatment. Often they feel frustrated and confused about their symptoms. Programmes like this can be beneficial. Unfortunately, people often feel that they do not get the support they need to re-adjust to life after cancer. We want to help people to learn skills to enable them to move on with their lives. In this trial, we will offer our programme to adults who have completed anti-cancer treatment for any type of cancer.” Ms Corbett added, “We are very keen to keep this online study personal, so that people know there is a supportive team behind it. Online programmes can allow many people to access high quality care from their own home, but we know how important it is to have human contact too.” The study is open to people throughout Ireland and will take place over the coming months. General Practioners and cancer support networks around the country are encouraged to get in touch and refer suitable people with fatigue to the study. For further information contact Teresa Corbett, School of Psychology at NUI Galway on email@example.com or visit the website https://nuigrefresh.wordpress.com/ -Ends-
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ERC Research Group Attracting World-class Engineers to NUI Galway
Monday, 5 October 2015
Dr Emily Porter has been awarded the prestigious postdoctoral fellowship from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) to join a large European Research Council project at NUI Galway. This two-year fellowship is awarded to one of Canada’s most promising researchers with leading edge scientific and research skills. Dr Porter is a recent PhD in Electrical Engineering graduate of McGill University, Montreal, Canada, where she studied microwave radar for breast health monitoring. She will join the ERC research group in the new Translation Research Facility at University Hospital Galway, a custom-build facility to enable state-of-the-art medical research. She will be supervised by Dr Martin O’Halloran, a Science Foundation Ireland Investigator, who recently secured over €1.8 million from the European Research Council to examine the dielectric properties of human tissue, as a platform for the development of new medical devices. Working alongside NUI Galway’s Dr Róisín Dwyer and Professor Michael Kerin in the Lambe Institute for Translational Research, Dr Porter will develop improved methods for measuring the dielectric properties of biological tissue. These properties are of fundamental importance to understanding the interaction of electromagnetic fields with the human body. In particular, these quantities determine the absorption of electromagnetic fields in human tissues. Dielectric property research is extremely relevant to the advancement of electromagnetic medical devices for the detection, diagnosis, and treatment of cancers and other diseases, and will provide a basis for her colleagues at the Translational Research Facility to investigate and apply such techniques. -Ends-
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NUI Galway to Hold Information Evening in Tralee
Monday, 5 October 2015
Secondary school students interested in studying at NUI Galway are invited to an information evening in Tralee on Thursday, 15 October. Parents and guardians are also particularly welcome to the event which runs from 7 to 9pm in the Brandon Hotel, Tralee, Co. Kerry. The evening will begin with short talks about NUI Galway and some of the 60 courses it offers. Afterwards, current students and NUI Galway staff will be on hand at information stands to answer any individual questions in relation to courses offered by the University and about practical issues like accommodation, fees and scholarships, and the wide range of support services available to our students. The ever-increasing popularity of NUI Galway is in-part due to a suite of innovative programmes, developed in response to the changing needs of the employment market. Unique programmes include a suite of Arts degree programmes including Drama, Creative Writing and Human Rights, an Energy Systems Engineering degree which is taught in the University’s new Engineering Building, Ireland’s largest School of Engineering, a Maths and Education degree aimed at training Maths teachers, and a Marine Science degree. Visitors to the information evening will also get information on NUI Galway’s newest degree programmes, a Bachelor of Commerce (Global Experience), Bachelor in Children’s Studies and the new Bachelor of Arts (Joint Honours). Celine O’Donovan, Senior Marketing Officer at NUI Galway, said: “NUI Galway has a great deal to offer. Our own students tell us our lecturers are inspirational and challenge them to achieve their full potential. The student experience in Galway is second to none, and we want to bring a taste of that to County Kerry, while also providing all the practical information on accommodation, CAO points, fees, scholarships and courses. With so many courses on offer, this event in Tralee is a perfect opportunity for prospective students to meet current students and lecturers to see what degree might be the right fit for them.” To find out more about the information evening in Tralee, contact NUI Galway's Schools Liaison Officer, Johanna Walsh on 086 7851730 or firstname.lastname@example.org. -Ends-
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Soft in the head, but how soft?
Monday, 5 October 2015
NUI Galway applied mathematician collaborates with Chinese researchers to find brain matter is softer than a gelatine gel, and may have promising results for neurosurgery A team of Chinese researchers from Tsinghua University in Beijing has collaborated with an applied mathematician at NUI Galway to measure how soft brain matter really is. The researchers were able to determine that brain matter is extremely soft, even softer than common gelatine. The study appears in the October issue of Biomechanics and Modelling in Mechanobiology. The research was carried out by generating ‘acoustic beams’ on the surface of the brain, and focusing the beams to interact at a location inside the brain. The interaction amplified the magnitude of the beams and eventually a sound wave was launched in the bulk of a brain. The sound wave was then observed in an ultrafast image through an ultrasound scanner, similar to those used in obstetrics. The speed of the wave was measured, and then related to stiffness of the brain matter through mathematical equations, like the pitch of a plucked string can be related to its tension. The connection between wave speed and stiffness was made through advanced modelling and simulations, which were mainly carried out at NUI Galway. Professor Michel Destrade, School of Mathematics, Statistics and Applied Mathematics at NUI Galway and affiliated with the International Brain Mechanics and Trauma Lab at Oxford University said: “Previously I had compared the brain to glue by testing cubic samples of the brain. During this study the brain was fully intact and compared to a very, very soft gelatine gel, basically a wobbly liquid.” Results from the research showed that brain matter is at least three times softer than a gelatine gel. This extreme softness helps explain why brain matter is so susceptible to impacts and rapid accelerations of the head, such as those occurring in sporting accidents, car accidents or following a bomb blast. The research has promising results for neurosurgery, if it can be used to measure the stiffness of healthy tissue compared to that of brain tumours. At the moment neurosurgeons have to rely on crude estimates to determine the extent of a brain tumour, as it is visually undistinguishable from the surrounding healthy tissue. First they remove a part of the skull to access the brain, and then use finger palpation to estimate how soft or hard a region is, before deciding which part to remove, a procedure which has barely improved in the last 100 years. For more information contact Professor Michel Destrade, School of Mathematics, Statistics and Applied Mathematics, NUI Galway on email@example.com or 091 492344. To view the paper visit http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10237-015-0658-0 -Ends-
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NUI Galway Researchers Win Prestigious Pain Prizes
Tuesday, 6 October 2015
Two NUI Galway PhD students were awarded first place medals at the Irish Pain Society Annual Scientific Meeting which took place in Dublin recently. The medals were awarded to Marie Fitzgibbon from Oola, Co. Limerick and Hannah Durand from Galway City. The research poster presentations were judged by a panel of international experts who commended the high quality of the research. Researchers from the Centre for Pain Research and Galway Neuroscience Centre at NUI Galway have had an outstanding record of success in this competition over the years, being among the prize winners on every occasion. Marie Fitzgibbon, a fourth-year PhD candidate in the Discipline of Physiology, won the Pre-Clinical Pain Research Medal for her presentation ‘Peripheral inhibition of FAAH attenuates formalin-evoked nociceptive responding in a mouse model of IFN-α-induced analgesia.’ Marie’s research, supervised by Dr Michelle Roche and Professor David Finn, involves the investigation of mechanisms underlying co-existent mood and pain disorders as well as the identification of future therapeutic targets. Marie’s research is funded by Molecular Medicine Ireland Clinical and Translational Research Scholars Programme and Science Foundation Ireland Research Frontiers Project. Hannah Durand, a first-year PhD candidate in the School of Psychology, won the Clinical Pain Research Medal for her presentation ‘Persistent and recurrent pain in childhood: Patterns of childhood chronic pain over two years (PRIME-C).’ Hannah’s research, supervised by Dr Siobhan O'Higgins and Dr Brian McGuire, examined the characteristics of children who reported chronic pain at more than one time point in the PRIME-C survey, which evaluates the prevalence, impact, and cost of chronic pain for 5–12 year old children living in Ireland. PRIME-C is funded by the Health Research Board Interdisciplinary Capacity Enhancement Award. Leader of the Galway Neuroscience Centre and Co-Director of NUI Galway’s Centre for Pain Research, said: “We are delighted to see NUI Galway researchers win these prestigious prizes for their work. Our pain research aims to advance the understanding and treatment of chronic pain, a major unmet clinical need affecting at least 20% of the population.” The meeting also witnessed the launch of the new Irish Pain Research Network (IPRN), a new initiative that will run as a special interest group of the Irish Pain Society. Professor Rolf-Detlef Treede, President of the International Association for the Study of Pain, launched the new research network, together with Professor David Finn, incoming President of the Irish Pain Society. The aim of IPRN is to bring together all active pain researchers on the island of Ireland for the purposes of sharing research results and ideas and facilitating cross-institutional collaboration in the area of pain research. -Ends-
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Canadian Astronaut Announced as Guest Judge for Novel NUI Galway Science Competition
Tuesday, 1 September 2015
The science video competition, ReelLIFE SCIENCE, is open to all primary and secondary schools in Ireland Commander Chris Hadfield, Canadian Astronaut, has been announced as guest judge for NUI Galway’s ReelLIFE SCIENCE 2015 competition. The University is challenging all primary and secondary school students across Ireland to produce engaging and informative short videos communicating a scientific topic for the this year’s competition. Supported by the Science Foundation Ireland Discover programme and the CÚRAM Centre for Research in Medical Devices, ReelLIFE SCIENCE will award €3,000 directly to the winning schools for science promotion. Joining Commander Hadfield on the judging panel is: Trinity College Dublin Professor of Molecular Evolution, Professor Aoife McLysaght; and BT Young Scientist and Technologists of the Year 2015, Ian O'Sullivan and Eimear Murphy from Coláiste Treasa, Kanturk, Co. Cork. Speaking ahead of the competition, Commander Hadfield said: “I am very much looking forward to seeing the science videos that Irish students will be making! Discovery and creativity, turned loose by imagination. A great project that I am proud to be a part of.” Secondary school topics include ‘Incredible Life’ and ‘Heroines of Science’, while primary school students can choose from ‘Science in Space’, ‘The Soil is Alive!’ and ‘Design your Future’, among others. Closing date for submissions is Friday, 16 October. The winning schools will be announced on Monday, 9 November during Science Week 2015, when they will be invited to attend a public screening and awards ceremony during the Galway Science and Technology Festival on 22 November. ReelLIFE SCIENCE is organised by Dr Enda O’Connell and a team of science communication enthusiasts from NUI Galway, in collaboration with the Cell EXPLORERS outreach programme from the University’s School of Natural Sciences. The competition has been running since 2013 and previous year’s videos, made with cameras, tablets and smartphones, have tens of thousands of views in over 100 countries. In 2014, the ReelLIFE SCIENCE challenge was taken up by thousands of students in 24 counties around Ireland, producing hundreds of three-minute science videos for the competition, in both English and Irish. Last year’s judge Dr. Aoibhinn Ní Shúilleabháin said: “I was astounded by the calibre of the videos from both the primary and secondary schools. It is wonderful to see the thought, preparation, fun, and learning that went into all of the videos and it is very encouraging to see students enjoying and communicating science.” The 2014 primary school category winners were Sooey National School, Co. Sligo, with Leaving Certificate student Julien Torrades from Summerhill College, Sligo taking first place at secondary school level. For further information about the 2015 competition visit http://reellifescience.com/2015/08/31/its-launch-day-for-reellife-science-2015/ and previous year’s videos can be found at www.reellifescience.com. -Ends-
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Economic and Environmental Sustainability: A Burning platform or Ireland’s Opportunity?
Thursday, 3 September 2015
European bioeconomy employs an estimated 21.5 million people, with a market worth approximately €2 trillion - NUI Galway’s TCBB will identify 8 key opportunities for Ireland The BioÉire consortium involving NUI Galway’s Technlogy Centre for Biorefining & Bioenergy (TCBB) will host its first seminar in the Teagasc College of Amenity Horticulture, National Botanic Gardens, Glasnevin today (3 September) to present some of the context shaping its current research activities and to provide input for its market development project. Outcomes of this workshop will ultimately feed into the process of developing a coherent, national bioeconomy strategy for Ireland. Bart Bonsall, Technology Leader at the Technology Centre for Biorefining & Bioenergy (TCBB) at NUI Galway, notes the further potential that exists to utilise resources from the Irish agricultural sector beyond the food industry to explore new biochemical and biomaterial opportunities. Speaking of the need to emulate advances seen in other EU member states, Mr Bonsall highlights that: “The EU is transitioning its petro-chemical complex away from fossil-fuel based to biobased raw materials. Ireland has an opportunity to use its agricultural might to supply these enormous markets, over time matching or surpassing the value of its food outputs.” “When you see now a global household name like Coca-Cola using patented technology to convert natural sugars from plants into renewable plastic bottles, then you have to ask yourself what should Ireland be looking at to generate new economic opportunities for biobased materials and products? Should Ireland produce renewable plastics and renewable chemicals from sugar beet or other agricultural, forestry or marine outputs?” Mr Bonsall continued. Escalating challenges related to economic sustainability, climate change, biodiversity loss, resource scarcity, food security and growing populations highlight the need to transition to more sustainable, low-carbon ways of living. The bioeconomy concept offers one way to address these challenges, harnessing the optimal use of renewable biological resources and reducing dependence on fossil-fuel based resources, whilst still achieving economic growth. At the European level, the bioeconomy is estimated to employ some 21.5 million people, with a market worth approximately €2 trillion. These lucrative markets and sustainable, bioeconomic opportunities are only just beginning to be exploited, including in the Irish context. “This strategy is needed to help us to review and ultimately change, how we produce, process and recover biological feedstocks” according to Dr Maeve Henchion, BioÉire project coordinator at Teagasc. The development of a bioeconomy in Ireland producing biofuels, biofertilisers, biochemicals and bioplastics is particularly plausible given its abundant natural resources, thriving agriculture and marine sectors, growing forestry development, well-respected food industry and renowned research and development capabilities. Speaking in advance of the workshop, Dr Maria Hayes, Research Officer at Teagasc, reflects on the opportunities that are readily available in the marine sector in Ireland, a topic that she will explore in a keynote presentation. Commenting on the abundant marine resources around the Irish coastline, Dr Hayes states that: “The seas around Ireland contain a number of underutilised species, including seaweeds and Boarfish that at present are not being exploited to their full potential. These species are potentially a huge reservoir for novel protein ingredients and functional foods compounds that may be health beneficial and can provide an alternative to dairy, meat and plant proteins. Furthermore, with the clever use of biotechnological processes, marine discards can be considered ideal candidates for generation of natural bioactive materials such as chitin and chitosan that have huge commercial appeal.” These, and other opportunities, will form the heart of the discussion at the BioÉire workshop that aims to act as a platform for determining which opportunities merit further investigation in an Irish context. Eight key commercial opportunities will be recommended by the project to the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine. The workshop will be attended by representatives across policy, academic, state and semi-state organisations. BioÉire is funded by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine. Ireland’s national Technology Centre for Biorefining and Bioenergy (TCBB) is one of a number of competence centres established and led by industry, and initially funded by Enterprise Ireland and IDA Ireland. TCBB is co-hosted by 4 Irish universities, NUI Galway, University of Limerick, University College Dublin and Trinity College Dublin. The BioÉire consortium comprises TCBB, Teagasc, Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT) and University College Dublin (UCD). For further information on the seminar please contact Pádraic Ó hUiginn, Communications Programme Manager, TCBB, NUI Galway on 087 905 3806 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org -Ends-
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Huston School of Film and Digital Media to Launch Community Filmmaking Project
Monday, 7 September 2015
NUI Galway’s Huston School of Film and Digital Media will launch ‘The Home Project’ on Friday, 11 September at 7pm. ‘The Home Project’ will begin with a special screening of three short films produced by participants from COPE Galway, Youth Advocacy Programme Ireland and the Oranmore Liveable Communities Group. ‘The Home Project’ is an ongoing collaboration between the Huston School and local community groups to produce short documentaries on the theme of ‘home’. “The importance of a secure and stable home to people’s physical and mental wellbeing has never been more evident as we witness daily news stories about the problems of homelessness in Ireland as well the sacrifices endured by those around the world who are forced to flee their homes due to war or persecution,” said Dr Conn Holohan of the University’s Huston School of Film and Digital Media, who developed and coordinates the project. “The aim of this project is to provide groups within the Galway community with the training and facilities necessary to produce short films about their experiences of home and its significance in their lives. By giving people the tools to communicate what home means to them, the hope is that we might generate meaningful debate about the significance of home collectively in our society,” Dr Holohan continued. Over the months of July and August, participants from COPE Galway, Youth Advocacy Programme Ireland and the Oranmore Liveable Communities Group all worked with experienced industry professionals to produce three ten-minute documentaries on the theme of home. The stories which these films unearth include those of a family which spent years living in an active courthouse in Co. Galway, as well as the building of a swan sanctuary by the community of Oranmore to enable two of the towns most well-known inhabitants finally find a family home. The evening will also see the launch of ‘The Home Project’ website, where visitors can see the finished films as well as contribute their own memories of or reflections on a place called home. The project is funded by the Irish Research Council New Foundations Scheme. - Ends -
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