Wednesday, 19 June 2019

NUI Galway ranks 3rd in Ireland, the top Irish University outside Dublin, and 112th in Europe. NUI Galway continues to perform strongly in the QS World University Rankings, ranked 259 this year out of the world’s top 1000 universities considered in this year’s QS ranking, maintaining its position among the world’s elite educational institutions. NUI Galway now ranks 3rd in Ireland, the top Irish University outside Dublin, and 112th in Europe. Since 2014 NUI Galway has moved up 25 places, and it is the only Irish institution to increase its ranking year on year in in eight of the previous nine years.  NUI Galway continues to perform strongly in its international scores, reflecting the welcoming nature and vibrant international population of Galway city.    Speaking on the announcement of this year’s QS rankings, President of NUI Galway, Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh said: “NUI Galway’s ranking this year highlights the continued performance of our university across a range of activities.  We’re particularly pleased to see the diverse international nature of our university reflected this year, underlining the attractiveness of NUI Galway for international staff and students in Ireland’s most distinctively multicultural city.  “Now ranked as third in Ireland, and in the top 120 in Europe, our consistent performance over the past decade is evidence of the quality of our research and teaching programmes. This is a tremendous endorsement of the people and culture of our university. While conscious that rankings are only one measure of our activity, we know from our alumni, from employers and from policy makers that they are a useful and important international benchmark.  On behalf of NUI Galway, I am delighted to see the commitment of our entire university community recognised and respected in this way.”  Globally, Massachusetts Institute of Technology is named the world’s leading university for a record-breaking eighth consecutive year. The top three institutions remain American: MIT is followed by Stanford University (2nd) and Harvard University (3rd). The UK’s top institution - and Europe’s is the University of Oxford, which has risen to fourth with the University of Cambridge, dropping to 7th. The full rankings can be found at www.TopUniversities.com from Wednesday, 19 June, 2019. ENDS

Wednesday, 19 June 2019

In celebration of the city of culture and the wealth of dramatic talent in Galway, NUI Galway are partnering with local theatre practitioners and emerging dramatists to bring a new festival to Galway from 20-27 July. The Summer Drama Festival is co-hosted by the University’s Societies Office and Drama Society. The festival will feature nine productions over eight days, ranging from award-winning student-led productions to established theatre practitioners. There will be a variety of performances for all ages and interests, from comedy to thought provoking political satire, and a show for children. All productions will take place in the Cube Theatre in Áras na Mac Léinn, NUI Galway. Riona Hughes, Societies Officer at NUI Galway and Festival Artistic Director, said: “The Festival is a partnership, which facilitates the city and the campus to come together, to showcase the wonderful theatrical talent in Galway during July, when the city is bursting with art and full of appreciative audiences looking to find the hidden gems and experience what Galway artists have to offer.” Well-known local Galway theatre practitioners will reprise previous award winning productions as well as showcase original work including: Little John Nee will be performing ‘Small Halls and Potholes’, an evening of eccentric songs and strange stories, a show that celebrates all that is weird and wonderful about the Irish summer Gerry Conneely will stage a comedy double bill, bringing back the acclaimed one-act ‘Shakespeare in Connemara’, along with a new one-act comedy ‘Fashion Show’. He will also be performing his moving one-man- show based on Patrick McGills chilling recounting of a night in the First World War trenches ‘The Great Push’. Hot Potato Productions will reprise their Galway Fringe award-winning one act ‘Just Guff’ Based on factual events about a series of revelations which turn everything upside down for an aging party political hack Sean T. Visionation’s ‘Behind Closed Doors’, fresh from its success at the Galway Theatre Festival, devised with actors living in direct provision in Galway, exposes life in the direct provision system. The Summer Drama Festival will present an Irish Student Drama Award (ISDA) winning production NUI Galway’s Dramsoc’s ‘Alone It Stands’ by John Breen. ‘Alone It Stands’ tells the tale of the 1978 rugby match when Irish provincial side Munster infamously beat the New Zealand national team, the All Blacks. Current students and alumni of NUI Galway’s O’Donoghue Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance will also perform during the Festival. Recent graduate Eibhleann Caffrey will be staging an original work ‘Recognition’, which focuses on two college students and their trials and tribulations. War/War/War student theatre company will stage ‘From There We Saw The Stars’ fresh from their success as the Manchester Fringe Festival. This piece takes inspiration from Dante’s Inferno exploring how our ever-changing understanding of spirituality, sin and souls morphs the world around us. Beluga Theatre will be reprising the children’s show ‘Marty Moncrieff the Teddy Bear Thief’ for the Summer Drama Festival after their sold-out run at the Galway Theatre Festival. Billed as Toy Story meets Father Ted, the play features live music from a four-piece band and beautiful puppetry designed by Yvonne Lydon. Tickets will be on sale soon and information can be found at www.galwaydrama.com. -Ends-

Tuesday, 18 June 2019

The School of Law NUI Galway has been named ‘Law School of the Year 2019' at the Irish Law Awards, securing the prestigious accolade for the first time. Outperforming the other Law Schools, NUI Galway's School of Law has a strong reputation for research and has made significant changes to its undergraduate law programmes over the past year. The School has also introduced a number of new law degrees, to include: Law & Business, new 2019 Law & Human Rights, new 2019 Law & Taxation, new 2020 Law Criminology & Criminal Justice, new 2020 In a year of firsts, the School of Law were part of legal history in March of this year when the highest court in Ireland, the Supreme Court, would sit in the Aula Maxima, NUI Galway. This was be the first time that the Supreme Court would sit outside of a courthouse since it returned to the Four Courts in 1932, the first time it would sit in Galway and only the third time the court would ever sit outside of Dublin Rebecca McKittrick, a Masters graduate from NUI Galway’s School of Law was selected as a finalist in the ‘Law Student of the Year’ category.  Additionally, the Hon Mrs Justice Catherine McGuinness a great friend of the School of Law and Chair of the University’s Governing Authority received the ‘Lifetime Achievement Award’ at the ceremony.  Dr Charles O’Mahony Head of the School of Law said: “This is wonderful recognition of the School of Law, Irish Centre for Human Rights and Centre for Disability Law and Policy. We have strengths across research and learning, teaching and assessment.  This is also tremendous recognition of our collective contribution to our city, region and broader society through our scholarship and work on law and public policy engagement.  We were delighted to see our student Rebecca McKittrick selected as a finalist in the ‘Law Student of the Year’ category. The ‘Lifetime Achievement Award’ conferred on the Hon Mrs Justice Catherine McGuinness is fitting recognition of her extraordinary career and enduring commitment to the law, justice and public service.”  Professional Work Placement / Study Aboard All students studying law at NUI Galway have the opportunity for students to gain real world experience through work placement or study abroad in the third year of their degree.  The School of Law has partnered with local, regional, national and internationally recognised law firms and businesses who offer high quality professional work experience for our law students. Students can also choose to avail of the opportunity to study abroad with partner institutions, transforming their university degree into a truly global experience.  The School of Law has partnered with leading universities in Australia, Canada, China, Europe and the United States.  Innovation in Teaching, Learning & Assessment The School of Law works closely with students to support transition from secondary school to university, and to build the skills necessary for their law degree and career.  NUI Galway places the development of these skills at the heart of our law degrees.  In first year, students spend their first four weeks creating a solid skills foundation by concentrating on research, case analysis, statutory interpretation, legal citation and legal writing.  Once foundational skills are in place, students are then introduced to substantive subjects.  School of Law Research & Events The School of Law is committed to engaging with the legal professions through events that inform public policy and practice.  The School delivers a wide range of conferences, summer schools, lunchtime talks and seminars every year.  These events are open to the public, complement student learning and provide Continuing Professional Development (CPD) points to local legal community.  The School of Law has an excellent research reputation. Staff publish with leading publishers and University presses (Harvard, Cambridge, Oxford, Hart & Routledge), and in the leading international law journals. A strong focus on public policy engagement has always been a key strength of School and Centres and in its research and teaching.  The School of Law also has an excellent track record of securing competitive research funding. Congratulating the School of Law on their award, President of NUI Galway, Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh, said: “On behalf of colleagues at NUI Galway, I extend warmest congratulations to Charles and his team in the School of Law on securing the title of Law School of the Year at the Irish Law Awards. This recognises and respects the immense work and dedication which the School has demonstrated over recent years in providing excellent opportunities for students and for developing a range of innovations to our distinctive course offerings.  I am also delighted to see the Hon Mrs Justice Catherine McGuinness receive the Lifetime Achievement Award. Justice McGuinness has been an adjunct professor at the School of Law since 2005.  She is one of Ireland’s leading jurists and has been a progressive and reforming force in Irish legal history over her lifetime.   As Chair of NUI Galway’s Governing Authority since 2013 she has made an enormous contribution to the governance of our University. On behalf of NUI Galway I extend our warmest congratulations as her achievements are so justly recognised by the Irish Law Awards in this way.”  Awards for Galway Law Firms A number of Galway based law firms were also honoured at the Irish Law Awards. Alastair Purdy & Co. Solicitors received the Connacht/Ulster & Munster Employment Law Firm of the Year award.  MacSweeney & Company received the Connacht/Ulster Law Firm of the Year, Connacht/Ulster Litigation Law Firm of the Year and the Connacht/Ulster & Munster Family Law Firm of the Year awards. Blake & Kenny Solicitors received the Connacht/Ulster Property Law Firm/Team/Lawyer of the Year award. ENDS

Tuesday, 18 June 2019

The Discipline for Drama and Theatre Studies at NUI Galway and Druid Theatre, are pleased to announce the appointment of a new Druid Artist in Residence, Dr Máiréad Ní Chróinín, as part of their ongoing Druid Academy partnership.  Working in close partnership with Adjunct Professor and Druid Artistic Director, Dr Garry Hynes and other Druid artists, Dr Ní Chróinín will coordinate the Druid Academy partnership with NUI Galway. Borne out of a vision of Galway as a location for the creation of excellent theatre, the Druid Academy communicates the Druid approach to Drama and Theatre Studies undergraduate and postgraduate students: focusing on ensemble as a mode of performance, rigorous critical analysis of theatre, by both practitioners and audiences, and an awareness of the importance of audience, in a variety of locations: locally, regionally, nationally and internationally. The classes cover a range of topics ranging from casting, to direction, to set design, complementing third level drama and theatre training at NUI Galway. A Galway native, Máiréad Ní Chróinín established Moonfish Theatre, with her sister Ionia, in 2006. The company has created work in English and Irish, toured their work nationally and internationally, presenting at festivals including the Edinburgh Fringe, Galway Theatre Festival, Galway International Arts Festival, Dublin Theatre Festival and the Dublin Fringe. Moonfish’s acclaimed, bi-lingual adaptation of Joseph O'Connor's Star of the Sea toured twice in Ireland in 2015 and 2017, and toured to the US in 2018. Their upcoming show, Redemption Falls, is freely adapted from the novel by Joseph O'Connor, and is a co-production with Galway International Arts Festival, the Abbey Theatre, and Town Hall Theatre, Galway. It will have its World Premiere in An Taibhdhearc during the 2019 Galway International Arts Festival and will transfer to the Peacock stage at the Abbey Theatre during Dublin Theatre Festival 2019. Dr Ní Chróinín’s extensive and varied experience in the professional arts industry will make her an especially valuable contributor to Drama and Theatre Studies' new MA in Producing and Curation, which will welcome its first class in autumn 2019.   Dr Charlotte McIvor, head of discipline in Drama and Theatre Studies at NUI Galway says: “The chance to work with the Druid Academy stands out as one of the most distinctive features of our academic programmes and we are thrilled to be continuing this partnership through this exciting appointment. Dr Ní Chróinín’s career to date epitomises the values of Druid Theatre through her own commitment to working rigorously as part of an ensemble and creating theatre that responds directly to the West of Ireland past, present and future but aims to travel much further. Her intellectual depth and artistic bravery make her an ideal match for dialogue with Druid, and we all look forward to seeing what comes out of this working relationship.”  Dr Máiréad Ní Chróinín said: “As the co-director of an independent theatre company based in the West, Druid has been a huge inspiration and I am very excited to now work with them directly and with NUI Galway.”  Garry Hynes, Druid Artistic Director, commented: “The Druid Academy was borne out of a vision to foster a new generation of theatre makers in the west of Ireland. Dr Ní Chróinín’s dedication and experience make her the ideal candidate to continue our commitment to this key relationship between Druid and NUI Galway.” For more information about Drama and Theatre Studies programmes at NUI Galway, please visit, http://www.nuigalway.ie/drama/postgrad/madt/  and to learn more about the Druid Academy partnership, visit http://www.druid.ie/get-involved/druid-academy-at-nui-galway. -Ends-

Tuesday, 18 June 2019

Students considering studying at NUI Galway are invited to the CAO Change of Mind Clinic on campus on Tuesday, 25 June. Parents and guardians are also welcome to attend the event, which runs from 12-3pm in the Human Biology Building on campus. The CAO Change of Mind facility closes at 5.15pm on Monday, 1 July, and the clinic aims to assist with the CAO decision making process. Representatives from all of NUI Galway’s Colleges will be available to answer any questions students may have in relation to the course, academic content, admissions and more. There will also be representatives from the Accommodation Office, Access and Disability Services, Admissions, Sports and Fees, who will all be available to support students in their transition from secondary school to third level education at NUI Galway. Sarah Geraghty, Student Recruitment and Outreach Manager at NUI Galway, said: “The Change of Mind Clinic at NUI Galway is designed to answer the last minute queries of students and parents and provide advice and reassurance on course choice and entry routes. In our experience, the best way to prepare for unexpectedly low or high Leaving Certificate results is to have a Plan B and a Plan C fully researched. Our clinic on 25 June is a great opportunity for students and parents to get ready for the results in August, and more importantly, to get ready for university life in September.” To find out more about the CAO Change of Mind Clinic, contact NUI Galway's Schools Liaison Officer, Caroline Duggan on 087 239 1219 or caroline.duggan@nuigalway.ie. -Ends-

Monday, 17 June 2019

Community partners and NUI Galway researchers working together to improve the health of people living with chronic fatigue syndrome, aphasia and cardiac rehabilitation A new education and training initiative, the Community Engaged Scholars Programme (CES-P), is taking place at NUI Galway. The aim of the CES-P is to support the development of partnerships between researchers and community organisations interested in conducting research together that aims to improve the health of their community and that is driven by public and patient involvement (PPI) principles. Best summarised by the slogan Nothing about us, without us, PPI means that the voice of the public or patient guides and influences all stages of research, and that those likely to benefit from new treatments or services arising from research are involved in the decision-making that leads to their development. The CES-P was developed initially at the Medical University of South Carolina, international partners of the PPI Ignite @ NUI Galway programme. The programme is successfully delivered across a number of universities in the US and in Africa. Following a competitive selection process, three community-academic partnerships were recently chosen by a panel of academics, with input from public reviewers, to be part of the first roll-out of the CES-P in Ireland. The three partnerships will complete an intensive training programme over the coming months, a mixture of face-to-face workshops and online learning. Each partnership will then co-design and co-produce research addressing an agreed research question that is of interest to both the community and the researchers. The partners will then work together to share the research results with the public, as well as with researchers, health care professionals and policy makers. In the longer term, the partners will work together to apply for further research funding and to continue to work together to improve the health of the relevant community. The three successful partnerships represent very different communities and divergent academic backgrounds and there is great breadth in the health conditions of interest. One group is focused on Chronic Fatigue Syndome (CFS), with the Irish CFS Association represented by Orla Ní Chomhraí and Tom Kindlon, partnering with Dr John Cullinan, a health economist at NUI Galway who is already working with EU colleagues in the area of CFS. This partnership is interested in gathering data related to the impact and burden of CFS for Irish people living with the condition. Dr John Cullinan, Health Economist at NUI Galway, says: “For far too long the voices and experiences of Irish CFS patients have been missing from research and policy”, while Orla Ní Chomhraí, Irish CFS Association, adds: “This collaboration is an attempt to put the patient perspective front and centre in developing evidence that helps improve the lives of those living with ME.” Dr Ruth McMenamin, a lecturer in speech and language therapy at NUI Galway has many years’ experience of collaborating with people with aphasia (aphasia is an acquired language disorder experienced by up to one-third of the stroke population) in teaching, research and practice. The Irish Heart Foundation, represented by Martina Greene and the Ballinasloe Stroke Support group are partnering with Ruth on the CES-P programme and together with people with aphasia they will co-design and co-implement research to raise awareness of aphasia. Ruth McMenamin, NUI Galway and Martina Greene point out that: “People living with aphasia are one of the most marginalised groups in our communities. Our goal is to work with people living with stroke and aphasia to promote inclusion through a targeted national aphasia awareness campaign. We want to make Ireland an ‘aphasia friendly’ country.”  The third successful partnership sees Croí, represented by Irene Gibson and Denise Dunne, partnering with a group of health psychologists, led by Dr Oonagh Meade from NUI Galway. This partnership is interested in exploring the potential of delivering cardiac rehabilitation programmes electronically (via web sites, videos etc.) rather than the traditional face-to-face rehabilitation programmes.   Irene Gibson from Croí, says: “We are delighted to be part of this innovative program which will give the public and those affected by cardiovascular disease the opportunity to have their voice heard and be actively engaged in driving areas of research that are vital to them. As a heart and stoke charity our work is driven by the needs of the communities we serve and therefore being part of this initiative is a perfect fit. We believe that by adopting this participatory approach to research there is a real potential to influence policy and change how we deliver prevention in Ireland for the better.” For more information about the CES-Programme contact Sharon Conway, CES-P Coordinator, NUI Galway at sharon.conway@nuigalway.ie. For more information about the PPI Ignite @ NUI Galway programme, visit:   https://www.nuigalway.ie/ppi/ -Ends-

Monday, 17 June 2019

Ireland-US education exchange programme supports innovative and diverse research Three academics from NUI Galway were among the recipients of the Fulbright Irish Awardees 2019-2020, covering expertise in treating heart disease, Irish studies and foreign language translations. The Secretary General of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Niall Burgess and Chargé d’affaires of the US Embassy in Ireland, Mr Reece Smyth, announced the 36 awardees. The Fulbright Programme in Ireland was established in 1957 and annually awards grants for Irish citizens to study, research, or teach in the U.S. and for Americans to do the same in Ireland. Academics, professionals and students from 13 Higher Education Institutions and organisations in Ireland will go to 30 leading US institutions to study and collaborate with experts in their fields. This year’s Fulbright recipients are from disciplines spanning technology, science, language, medicine and the arts. The Fulbright Awards celebrate diversity across topics, geography and backgrounds. Increased funding from both the Irish and US Governments has allowed the Fulbright Commission in Ireland to support a wider range and number of exciting study and research awardees than ever before.  David Monahan: Fulbright-Enterprise Ireland Student Awardee from NUI Galway to MIT David Monahan is a PhD student in the School of Medicine at NUI Galway. His research focuses on the development of minimally invasive delivery strategies incorporating medical devices, biomaterials, and drugs to treat heart disease. As a Fulbright Awardee, David will visit the Therapeutic Technology, Design, and Development lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). While there he will develop a smart medical device containing a responsive biomaterial that will release drugs in response to heart damage and aims to help patients suffering from heart disease as a result of cancer therapy. Ellen Corbett: Fulbright FLTA (Foreign Language Teaching Assistant) Program from NUI Galway to University of Montana Ellen Corbett is currently completing her BA International with German and Léann an Aistriúcháin at NUI Galway. She has a great interest in translation - one of her translations from German to Irish will shortly be published in An Reiviú academic journal. Ellen is also currently completing an Dioplóma sa Ghaeilge with Acadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge, OÉ Gaillimh. She will be a Fulbright Irish FLTA to the University of Montana. Áine Ní Chonghaile: Fulbright FLTA (Foreign Language Teaching Assistant) Program from NUI Galway to Catholic University of America, Washington DC Áine Ní Chonghaile is completing her PhD in Irish history at NUI Galway where she was awarded both BA and MA degrees in history. She has extensive experience in teaching the Irish language and other aspects of Irish Studies. She is looking forward to sharing that experience with the students of the Catholic University of America in Washington DC and adding further to her own learning by availing of the opportunities presented by the Fulbright FLTA allocation. Niall Burgess, Secretary General of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade said: “I am delighted to extend my warmest congratulations to the Irish Fulbright Awardees for 2019–2020. Exchanges like the Fulbright programme play a crucial role in sustaining the unique and very close relationship that Ireland and the United States share. The Fulbright Commission and Fulbrighters, past and present, are testament to the best traditions of academic and cultural exchange and have an outstanding track record in representing Ireland. Every year Fulbright awardees have the exciting opportunity to study, work, and experience life in the US, to forge new relationships, and to represent the best of contemporary Ireland to the United States. I wish this year’s awardees every success for their time in the United States.” The next round of applications for Fulbright Irish Awards will open on 28, August 2019, and interested candidates should visit http://www.fulbright.ie/ for more information.  -Ends-

Monday, 17 June 2019

Professor John Pius Dalton, a renowned scientist in Infectious Diseases, has joined NUI Galway as Professor of Molecular Parasitology to tackle major parasitic diseases of humans and their livestock. He joins the University through the Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) Research Professorship Programme, which supports national strategic priorities by recruiting world-leading research and leadership talent to Ireland. He will develop a €5 million research project, which will devise an overall strategy for the development of a novel preventative vaccine of parasitic diseases for both humans and animals. Globally, almost two billion people, one-quarter of the world’s population, suffer from parasitic worm diseases. These occur predominantly in low to middle income regions of the world, such as sub-Saharan Africa, Asia, and South America, where households earn less than two dollars a day. Parasitic diseases cause high morbidity, particularly amongst children, and reduce the economic potential of these regions, and compound the health and wellbeing issues related to poverty. While infections with parasitic worms, such as pin-worm, may have been common in Ireland over 70 years ago, due to better sanitation and control measures these are, thankfully, now infrequent. However, within the agricultural community parasitic worm infections are all too common – think about the annual advertisements on TV that advise farmers to drug-treat their animals to rid them of fluke, lungworm or other parasites! In fact, Irish farmers spend over €90 million per year to protect their sheep, cattle and pigs from such diseases. The emergence of drug-resistance parasites as well as the impacts of climate change on parasite transmission is causing major concern as we are now seeing an increase of livestock parasites in Ireland and across Europe. Speaking about his new role at NUI Galway, Professor Dalton, says: “To develop new vaccines we need to understand the basic biology of the interaction between the parasite and its host – from this we can devise vaccines to break this relationship and protect the host, and we now have the molecular, bioinformatics and genetic tools to do this, as well as the technology to manufacture vaccines. “I’m looking forward to developing a world-class Molecular Parasitology research team at NUI Galway and to tapping into the excellent expertise in infectious diseases already established here and nearby at Teagasc, Athenry. This is a perfect research environment to translate our research into real and practical outcomes in veterinary and human medicine, not only for Ireland but also for much less well-off regions in the world.” Professor Dalton’s research will also develop novel diagnostic tests for parasites to help farmers control and manage infection on the farm to reduce their reliance on chemical treatments. “The ultimate aim is to benefit farmers”, says Professor Dalton, “they need better means of detecting diseases on farms so that they can strategically, rather than randomly, treat their livestock. It saves them money, effort and, in the long term, can help eradicate disease.” However, there is another exciting edge to this research. Parasites can survive up to 20 years in humans and animals and they do this by manipulating the immune responses of their host. Professor Dalton, explains: “The way parasites have evolved to selectively and effectively control specific arms of the host immune system is fascinating and explains why they are so successful and so widespread. But on the other hand, we can learn lots from them on how to control immune responses.” Professor Dalton’s team will focus on elucidating how parasites suppress and alter the effectiveness of their host’s immune system and have already discovered various parasite molecules that enter immune cells of the host and silence their normal functions.  Professor Dalton, adds: “The very same molecules can be used to treat disorders of humans whereby the immune system is over-reacting, we call these parasite-design biotherapeutics and we are using them to dampen down destructive immune reactions. For example, a major common component of diseases such as inflammatory bowel diseases, such as ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease, Type 1 diabetes, multiple sclerosis, and arthritis is damage caused by our immune system targeting our own tissues. Our experimental research this far indicates that we can use our parasite-designed molecules to silence these auto-reactive responses and possibly come up with new treatments. So our goal at NUI Galway will be to advance our approach to human systems.” Professor Lokesh Joshi, Vice President for Research at NUI Galway, said: “We are delighted to welcome Professor John Pius Dalton as he joins our vibrant research community here in Galway. Professor Dalton is recognised as a world-leader in the area of major parasitic diseases and his appointment is an invaluable addition to the ongoing health research at NUI Galway. His research will develop a better understanding of parasitic diseases with opportunities for novel biomarkers and vaccines.” Professor Mark Ferguson, Director General of Science Foundation Ireland and Chief Adviser to the Government of Ireland, commented: “It is fantastic to see Professor John Dalton bringing his wealth of knowledge and expertise in infectious diseases to Ireland through the SFI Research Professorship programme. We are very pleased to be working alongside NUI Galway on his appointment, which will have positive impacts for Irish scientific research, and may lead to future benefits for farmers and their livestock as well as for doctors and their patients. “Recruiting world class researchers to lead ground-breaking research programmes with potential societal and economic impact is a priority for Science Foundation Ireland. I am confident that Professor Dalton will be a significant new asset to the thriving research community in Ireland, and will contribute to furthering Irelands international reputation for excellent scientific research with impact. I congratulate Professor Dalton on his appointment and extend him a very warm welcome and best wishes for a successful future.” Professor Dalton was a Professor of Infectious Disease at Queen’s University of Belfast. Before this he was a Canada Research Chair in Infectious Diseases at the Institute of Parasitology, McGill University, and Director of McGill’s Graduate Program in Biotechnology. Dalton was previously Director of the Institute for the Biotechnology of Infectious Diseases, University of Technology Sydney, Australia, where he was awarded the New South Wales Government BioFirst Award in Biotechnology between 2003-2008. Recently, he was awarded a Royal Society Research Merit Award and European Research Council Advanced Grant Award for his studies of animal and human parasitic diseases and development of vaccines and diagnostics. -Ends-

Monday, 17 June 2019

Blood Cancer Network Ireland clinical trial shows that a promising combination of drugs is a well tolerated treatment for newly diagnosed patients with Multiple Myeloma Blood Cancer Network Ireland (BCNI) which is led by Professor Michael O’Dwyer in NUI Galway, has completed the first Phase I clinical trial study in Ireland on patients newly diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma. The trial has shown very promising results in the patients’ response to the new treatment with the findings published today (14 June 2019) in the scientific journal, Blood Advances. Multiple Myeloma is a blood cancer arising from a type of white blood cell called a plasma cell. Plasma cells normally produce antibodies which help fight infection. In Multiple Myeloma the plasma cells become cancerous and are called myeloma cells. Myeloma impairs the production of red blood cells leading to anaemia, as well as causing damage to the bones and kidneys. Each year in Ireland approximately 250 people are diagnosed with the cancer and 170 succumb to the disease. Irish patients with Multiple Myeloma were the first patients worldwide to take part in the drug trial to develop a more effective treatment for this cancer. The innovative BCNI Phase I clinical trial investigated whether the addition of a new Multiple Myeloma treatment, Daratumumab (DARA), to a standard care chemotherapy containing the drugs Cyclophosphamide and Bortezomib (CyBorD), is beneficial for treating newly diagnosed patients. DARA by itself is a very promising new therapy for this particular cancer and has been approved for treating relapsed patients. This is the first study in the world to combine DARA with Cyclophosphamide, specifically as a treatment for younger patients undergoing a  subsequent stem cell transplant, to determine whether this combination results in a more effective treatment. The study demonstrates that the addition of DARA to CyBorD is very beneficial and well tolerated by patients. It found that 17/18 patients achieved a very good response to the therapy and over 50% of all patients achieved excellent responses, with no evidence of minimal residual disease (MRD) using sensitive genetic testing. The investigators also went on to show that the reason for the excellent results was that the combination of the two treatments activated the immune system, increasing its ability to kill the cancer cells. The success of this early Phase I trial suggests this combination of treatments should be further evaluated for the treatment of patients who are newly diagnosed with multiple myeloma. Professor Michael O’ Dwyer, Director of BCNI and Professor of Haematology at NUI Galway, commented: “These results justify the faith and investment placed in Blood Cancer Network Ireland investigators by Science Foundation Ireland and the Irish Cancer Society and the critical funding and support provided by Janssen, without which this trial would not have been possible.  “This new regimen, which is highly effective, safe and convenient has the potential to become an important new treatment option for patients with Multiple Myeloma. A European trial, which will include Irish patients, hopes to confirm the superiority of this treatment over current standard treatment, and will be launched shortly. This trial exemplifies the importance of good bench to bedside research and shows that high quality clinical and translational research can be conducted in Ireland with the provision of adequate funding.”  Co-author of the study, Dr Aideen Ryan, Lecturer and Researcher in Tumour Immunology at NUI Galway, said: “This BCNI led study has been a great opportunity to integrate our immunology expertise with clinical trial data to understand how these new drug combinations may enhance anti-tumour immune responses in patients with multiple myeloma.” This clinical trial is the first homegrown (investigator initiated) trial to be conducted by Blood Cancer Network Ireland. It is the culmination of collaborative research efforts between BCNI scientists and Janssen pharmaceuticals and it represents a bench to bedside approach where scientific insights from the laboratory are applied to developing new and improved ways to treat patients. Notably Irish patients on this trial received access to DARA which would not have been possible without this trial and it saved the taxpayer approximately €4 million in drug costs. Dr Robert O’Connor, Head of Cancer Research at the Irish Cancer Society, commented: “The Irish Cancer Society is proud to be partnering with Science Foundation Ireland on the funding of BCNI, ensuring that Irish blood cancer patients benefit from the latest advances in cancer care and treatment. These latest findings highlight the importance of investing in world class innovative cancer research in Ireland. We’re truly grateful for the generous public donations without which we couldn’t make such strategic investments and we thank the patients who have taken part and contributed to research like this which has huge potential to significantly improve the lives of future cancer patients.” Professor Mark Ferguson, Director General of Science Foundation Ireland and Chief Scientific Adviser to the Government of Ireland, said: “Science Foundation Ireland is pleased to have supported the research behind this novel treatment for patients with Multiple Myeloma. It is a good example of how research collaborations between scientists, physicians, patients and companies can lead to positive outcomes resulting in better treatment options for patients. Blood Cancer Network Ireland is a collaborative funding partnership between SFI, the Irish Cancer Society, and a number of pharmaceutical companies. This promising research result demonstrates the impact of this collaborative approach spanning the full range of excellent, basic and applied research. I congratulate the team and I look forward to further future advances.” The study is the result of collaborations across a broad range of partners including NUI Galway, Cancer Trials Ireland, the Irish Cancer Society, Science Foundation Ireland, Janssen Pharmaceuticals, the Health Research Board and BCNI investigators and staff. To read the full study in Blood Advances at 5pm Irish time on Friday, 14 June, visit: http://www.bloodadvances.org/content/3/12/1815?sso-checked=true or to request a pdf version contact, Gwen O’Sullivan, Press Office, NUI Galway at gwen.osullivan@nuigalway.ie. -Ends-

Thursday, 13 June 2019

New facilities established in NUI Galway to accelerate the development of next generation biomaterials and advanced manufacturing technologies Researchers at NUI Galway launched on (12 June 2019) two new facilities, a Pilot Line for Bio-microsystems Development and an Advanced Manufacturing Laboratory, as part of the University’s ever expanding biomedical research and advanced manufacturing infrastructure. Pilot Line for Bio-microsystems Development This integrated advanced manufacturing testbed is the first of its kind globally and will accelerate the translation of laboratory-based research concepts towards pilot production. The printed electronics and printed biomaterials advanced manufacturing facility complements the University’s existing expertise and investments in biomaterials and stem cell manufacturing. The testbed will be used to evaluate advanced manufacturing of two types of biomedical product concepts – smart medical devices and tissue-engineered organs on a chip device. Smart medical devices are of particular relevance to the medical device industry in Galway; these devices are empowered with diagnostic and therapeutic functionalities. An example is a smart woundcare device that enables future smart wound dressings to sense the status of the wound and administer a drug accordingly. The manufacturing testbed enables Galway researchers to demonstrate how scalable printed technologies can be used to realise such devices, customised for each patient’s individual needs, on an economic scale. The manufacturing testbed can also generate arrays of artificial tissue know as tissue scaffolds. These structures are being developed to fully mimic different organs in the body. The ability to produce tissue scaffolds on a scalable platform are of increasing importance in the development of new advanced therapeutic medicinal products. For example, new cell based therapies to cure chronic illnesses can be efficiently evaluated using arrays of tissue scaffolds which mimic disease states in the human body. For example, mesenchymal stromal cells can be used to regenerate damaged tissues. The testbed was developed by Dr Gerard O’Connor, Head of the School of Physics at NUI Galway, over the last five years in partnership with UK manufacturing system integrator *M-Solv (Oxford) Ltd. Dr O’Connor leads the *NCLA Laser Laboratory at the School of Physics. He believes having the ability to integrate electronic, optical, and thermal stimuli in flexible medical devices “will be transformative - changing the way we connect with, and use, future healthcare products.” Dr O’Connor, said: “The new facility enables the NCLA Laser Laboratory to investigate the versatility of using multiple laser patterning, inkjet printing and spray deposition tools in the advanced digital manufacture of next generation smart medical devices and therapeutic devices.” The contribution by M-Solv Ltd., an advanced manufacturing systems company located in Oxford, UK, is very significant. Dr O’Connor and M-Solv have collaborated for 10 years, resulting in several publications, patent filings, and commercial contracts. The company’s CEO, Dr. Phil Rumsby, is excited by applying their significant expertise in hybrid electronics manufacturing to the biomedical sector using the three interconnected manufacturing modules which comprise the testbed. Dr Rumsby said: “The first module, a laser-based micro-machining module creates structured surfaces for microfluidics and embedded electronics. The second module uses laser, inkjet and spray tools to create structured conductive/non-conductive printed electronic features. Finally, a third bio-printing module applies living cells and other life-supporting biomaterials to structured surfaces. This is a major research platform with significant innovative potential, we are pleased to have been able to rise to the challenge.” The testbed is funded by Science Foundation Ireland under the Infrastructures Programme. SFI Research Centres *I-FORM (advanced manufacturing) and CÚRAM (medical devices) are available to provide support for enterprises and academics seeking access to the manufacturing platform. Speaking at the launch of the new testbed, Professor Abhay Pandit, Scientific Director at CÚRAM in NUI Galway, said: “This manufacturing testbed will significantly increase our ability to lead research in the development of novel technologies. CÚRAM will work closely with the NCLA and I-Form to harness this unique platform and continue creating next generation biomaterials that will play a critical role in the treatment of a host of chronic ailments.” The laboratory in which the testbed is located was developed with funding provided under the Atlantic Area Interregional (INTERREG) EU programme under a project entitled AtlanticKETMed. The project is also led by Dr O’Connor and has established an international community of first adopters for the testbed comprising of hospitals, networks of industries, and international research centres. The testbed and its ancillary laboratories are located in the School of Physics. The School’s MSc in Medical Physics is the first European MSc programme to be awarded accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation of Medical Physics Education Programmes (CAMPEP), the second only programme worldwide outside the USA to do so. Dr O’Connor is keen to recognise the many contributions made by graduate students and technical staff throughout the School of Physics in realising this development. The School has established an MSc programme in Key Enabling Technologies to provide graduate training on the manufacturing testbed. Advanced Manufacturing Laboratory Dr Noel Harrison from the College of Engineering at NUI Galway also launched on (12 June 2019) the new Advanced Manufacturing Lab (AML) in the Alice Perry Engineering Building, which houses a suite of Additive Manufacturing (3D Printing) technologies. The lab has been developed by Dr Harrison (Mechanical Engineering and I-Form Funded Investigator) to advance teaching, fundamental research, and industry collaboration on future sustainable manufacturing technologies, materials and product design. With NUI Galway’s first metal powder bed fusion printer (3D Systems DMP ProX 100), the AML offers new capability for in-house prototyping and experimental manufacturing. Last month, an AM cementless orthopaedic device technology developed and patented by Dr Harrison was licenced to the medtech company Loci Orthopaedics Ltd, also based at NUI Galway. Dr Noel Harrison from NUI Galway, said: “Multiple industries now demand engineering graduates with knowledge and experience in 3D Printing process hardware, software, materials and design. The AML lab is an invaluable resource for our Degree and Masters students and is a state of the art research facility for our PhD student and Postdoctoral researchers.” “Manufacturing is the second largest employer in Ireland and accounts for 36.5 percent of GDP”, said I-Form Director, Professor Denis Dowling. “These new testbeds at NUI Galway are key pieces of infrastructure for the manufacturing research community, and they will ensure that Irish manufacturers continue to have access to leading edge technology for the development of world-class products.” Speaking about the awards supporting both of these facilities, Professor Mark Ferguson, Director General of Science Foundation Ireland and Chief Scientific Adviser to the Government of Ireland, said: “Science Foundation Ireland is delighted to support the launch of this state-of-the-art manufacturing testbed, which is funded through our Research Infrastructure Programme. The programme specifically seeks to support researchers by ensuring there are superb technologies and supports in place for them, ultimately facilitating excellent and impactful scientific research. The testbed is a great reflection of collaboration between different stakeholders in the ecosystem, with SFI Research Centres CÚRAM and I-Form collaborating with NUI Galway to enhance our understanding of advanced manufacturing.” -Ends-

Wednesday, 12 June 2019

Barry McDermott, a PhD student with the Translational Medical Device Lab in NUI Galway, was awarded a prestigious Dobbin Atlantic Scholarship from the Ireland Canada University Foundation, provided with support from the Irish Government. The award aims to cultivate a new generation of academic links between Ireland and Atlantic Canada in areas including scientific and technological innovation. Barry’s scholarship to Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia allowed him to work with the *Moyer Lab for Clinical Biomechanics and Rehabilitation* on the development of MRI derived computational models of knee osteoarthritis. This work will feed into overall research conducted by Professor Moyer and her group into the development of clinically relevant biomarkers of osteoarthritis as well as therapeutic interventions designed to optimise joint health and reduce disease progression. This trip has opened a new set of academic links between NUI Galway and Dalhousie University in the area of Biomedical Engineering. The research collaboration between the Moyer Lab and NUI Galway, plans to refine and further extend the models, validate them with real patient data, apply machine learning techniques and ultimately be able to objectively use MRI images of arthritic knees to identify patients at risk, indicate patients who would benefit from surgery, and optimise physical activity for patients. The goal is to develop between the two universities a technology that will aid in preserving and keeping affected knees as healthy as possible for as long as possible. While in Canada, Barry developed a procedure to segment out the knee joint anatomies of normal and osteoarthritic patients from MRI images. These patients ranged in the severity and nature of the disease. The segmentation process involved using a computer to extract out tissues of interest from the MRI images which included the femur, the tibia, and the various cartilage layers. These segmented models had anatomically accurate 3D representations of the patient’s bone and cartilage tissues. At the same time an “ideal knee” was developed using computer aided design (CAD). This knee could be modified to flex or extend the joint, damage the cartilage, introduce abnormal rotation into the joint and to perform corrective surgery. The anatomically accurate models of real patient data were then used to modify the ideal knee to be a CAD model of the patient’s joint. This CAD model was then divided into smaller parts which then can have simulated physical forces applied and the outcome calculated using the computer. The applied forces mimicked joint loading under different conditions with the stress and strain on the joint calculated and visualised. Using these techniques, the stress and strain on a damaged joint can be assessed under a particular loading and it can be seen if the stress and strain reduces if a different pattern of loading is used or indeed if surgery is performed. The preliminary results generated correlated well to real world patients. Barry was also awarded Winner of ‘Best Paper: EMF Dosimetry - in silico tools and measurements’ at the first EMF-Med World Conference on Biomedical Applications of Electromagnetic Fields in Croatia last September. This was in relation to work on the development of 3D printable tissue mimicking materials and was in collaboration with Drs Anup Poudel and Manus Biggs in CÚRAM at NUI Galway and Dr Austin Coffey from WIT.  Supervised by Dr Emily Porter and Dr Martin O’Halloran from the Translational Medical Device Lab at NUI Galway, a cross disciplinary group that combines medicine, science and engineering to help advance medical technology in a wide variety of areas, Barry’s main project is focused on the development of a novel device for ambulance-based brain imaging, as a low-cost and reliable method to classify strokes as either ischaemic or haemorrhagic. However, his multidisciplinary background allows him to contribute to a range of medical device and related research as evidenced by his two recent awards. Speaking about his scholarship award, Barry McDermott, said: “I feel honoured to have received this scholarship and been given the chance to visit Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia. My visit has given me the opportunity to initiate a unique collaboration between our two groups to develop innovative medical technologies, and to support a stronger understanding of orthopaedics for my future work at NUI Galway.” Martin O’Halloran, Director of the Translational Medical Device Lab at NUI Galway, said: “Barry is a truly stellar PhD student, with a unique background in both Pharmacy and Veterinary medicine. Having that varied academic background allows him to contribute to a variety of medtech projects, and this award is a testament to both his research excellence and ambition.” Barry McDermott is an Electronic and Computer Engineer, graduating from NUI Galway in 2016. He has a uniquely multidisciplinary background being also qualified as both a Veterinary Surgeon (MVB, UCD) and Pharmaceutical Chemist (B.Sc. (Pharm), TCD). For more information about the Translational Medical Device Lab, visit: www.tmdlab.ie and for more about the Ireland Canada University Foundation, visit: http://www.icuf.ie/  -Ends-

Wednesday, 12 June 2019

Community partners and NUI Galway researchers working together to improve the health of people living with chronic fatigue syndrome, aphasia and cardiac rehabilitation A new education and training initiative, the Community Engaged Scholars Programme (CES-P), is taking place at NUI Galway. The aim of the CES-P is to support the development of partnerships between researchers and community organisations interested in conducting research together that aims to improve the health of their community and that is driven by public and patient involvement (PPI) principles. Best summarised by the slogan Nothing about us, without us, PPI means that the voice of the public or patient guides and influences all stages of research, and that those likely to benefit from new treatments or services arising from research are involved in the decision-making that leads to their development. The CES-P was developed initially at the Medical University of South Carolina, international partners of the PPI Ignite @ NUI Galway programme. The programme is successfully delivered across a number of universities in the US and in Africa. Following a competitive selection process, three community-academic partnerships were recently chosen by a panel of academics, with input from public reviewers, to be part of the first roll-out of the CES-P in Ireland. The three partnerships will complete an intensive training programme over the coming months, a mixture of face-to-face workshops and online learning. Each partnership will then co-design and co-produce research addressing an agreed research question that is of interest to both the community and the researchers. The partners will then work together to share the research results with the public, as well as with researchers, health care professionals and policy makers. In the longer term, the partners will work together to apply for further research funding and to continue to work together to improve the health of the relevant community. The three successful partnerships represent very different communities and divergent academic backgrounds and there is great breadth in the health conditions of interest. One group is focused on Chronic Fatigue Syndome (CFS), with the Irish CFS Association represented by Orla NíChomhraí and Tom Kindlon, partnering with Dr John Cullinan, a health economist at NUI Galway who is already working with EU colleagues in the area of CFS. This partnership is interested in gathering data related to the impact and burden of CFS for Irish people living with the condition. Dr John Cullinan says: “For far too long the voices and experiences of Irish CFS patients have been missing from research and policy”,while Orla NíChomhraí adds:“This collaboration is an attempt to put the patient perspective front and centre in developing evidence that helps improve the lives of those living with ME.” Dr Ruth McMenamin, a lecturer in speech and language therapy at NUI Galway has many years’ experience of collaborating with people with aphasia (aphasia is an acquired language disorder experienced by up to one-third of the stroke population) in teaching, research and practice. The Irish Heart and Stroke Foundation, represented by Martina Greene and the Ballinasloe Stroke Support group are partnering with Ruth on the CES-P programme and together with people with aphasia they will co-design and co-implement research to raise awareness of aphasia. Ruth McMenamin and Martina Greene point out that: “People living with aphasia are one of the most marginalised groups in our communities. Our goal is to work with people living with stroke and aphasia to promote inclusion through a targeted national aphasia awareness campaign. We want to make Ireland an ‘aphasia friendly’ country.”  The third successful partnership sees Croí, represented by Irene Gibson and Denise Dunne, partnering with a group of health psychologists, led by Dr Oonagh Meade from NUI Galway. This partnership is interested in exploring the potential of delivering cardiac rehabilitation programmes electronically (via web sites, videos etc.) rather than the traditional face-to-face rehabilitation programmes.   Irene Gibson from Croí, says: “We are delighted to be part of this innovative program which will give the public and those affected by cardiovascular disease the opportunity to have their voice heard and be actively engaged in driving areas of research that are vital to them. As a heart and stoke charity our work is driven by the needs of the communities we serve and therefore being part of this initiative is a perfect fit. We believe that by adopting this participatory approach to research there is a real potential to influence policy and change how we deliver prevention in Ireland for the better.” For more information about the PPI Ignite @ NUI Galway programme, visit:   https://www.nuigalway.ie/ppi/ -Ends-

Tuesday, 11 June 2019

NUI Galway today (11 June) conferred degrees on over 300 students. Among that number, over 40 were conferred with a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD). The largest cohort of students to graduate was 176 future doctors who received their Honours Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery, and Bachelor of Obstetrics (MB, BCh, BAO) degree. Thirteen Final Medical Medals were presented to eleven graduates for their outstanding academic performance. Every year the University presents the medals to students who receive the highest grade in each subject area. Speaking at the ceremony, President of NUI Galway, Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh, said: “On behalf of NUI Galway, I congratulate each of today’s graduates. We in NUI Galway are determined that this University will play its full part in developing graduates who will make a real difference in the world and for the world, and will shape the future needs of our society.” International students were well represented at the ceremony, with the University welcoming graduates from, among other countries, Malaysia, Canada, Singapore, UK, USA, India, Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, Egypt, who along with students from across Ireland received Diplomas, Degrees, Masters, and PhDs. -Ends-

Tuesday, 11 June 2019

: Scientists from the Applied Optics group in the School of Physics at NUI Galway have been selected by the European Space Agency to carry out a study to detect gravitational waves from many different kinds of sources, such as massive stars rotating each other, or black holes spiralling into each other, as part of the space mission LISA (Laser Interferometer Space Antenna). The European Space Agency (ESA) contemplates the possibility to launch in 2034 three spacecraft in the LISA mission, the first space-based gravitational wave observatory. Selected to be ESA’s third large-class mission, LISA will address the science theme of the Gravitational Universe. The purpose is to detect ‘gravitational waves’, which are tiny ripples in the fabric of space-time. To do this, the three spacecraft will be placed 2.5 million kilometres apart from each other in a triangular formation, following Earth in its orbit around the Sun to detect tiny changes in their separations. The size of the changes is 1 ‘pico-meter’, which is 100 times smaller than an atom. Optical techniques are required to achieve this incredible precision, and the European Space Agency has contracted scientists from the Applied Optics group in the School of Physics at NUI Galway to carry out a study in order to ensure that such precision is indeed feasible. This follows on from the scientists’ recent successful completion of an ESA project to build a prototype Active Optics system for future Space Telescopes. Each of the three spacecraft will carry two telescopes, one of which is used to transmit a laser beam to another LISA spacecraft, and one to receive a laser beam. The combined beams give rise to a pattern of bright and dark lines. Gravitational waves cause tiny changes in the spacecraft separation, and these lead to shifts in the pattern which can be detected.  The ground-based LIGO (Laser Interferometer Gravitational – Wave Observatory) experiment has already detected gravitational waves due to coalescing black holes, with the experiment designers winning the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics. However, these detections are very difficult on the ground due to interference from vibrations ranging from earth tremors to distant trucks. In space, LISA will be sensitive to many more sources of gravitational waves and will open up a whole new type of astronomy. Dr Nicholas Devaney and Dr Fiona Kenny from the Applied Optics Group in the School of Physics at NUI Galway are writing software to precisely calculate the transmission of light between the LISA spacecraft’s. They will include the optical design of the telescopes and determine the effect of errors in the telescope optics. It is vital for the European Space Agency to know how the optics have to be made in order to be able to detect gravitational waves. This will determine the final telescope design and have a major impact on the mission.  Speaking about the study Dr Nicholas Devaney from NUI Galway, said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for Irish scientists to be involved in this exciting mission. It recognises the expertise of NUI Galway scientists in the field of space optics and we plan to build on this work to expand Galway activities in this area.” The NUI Galway gravitational wave spacecraft study is being carried out under a programme of and funded for by the European Space Agency. For more information about LISA, visit: http://sci.esa.int/lisa/ -Ends-

Tuesday, 11 June 2019

Inniu (11 Meitheamh) bhronn OÉ Gaillimh céimeanna ar bhreis is 300 mac léinn. Ina measc siúd, bhí 40 duine ar bronnadh céimeanna Dochtúireachta Fealsúnachta (PhD) orthu. Grúpa de 176 ábhar dochtúra an grúpa mac léinn ba mhó a bhain amach Baitsiléir Onóracha sa Leigheas, Baitsiléir Onóracha sa Mháinliacht agus Baitsiléir Onóracha sa Chnáimhseachas (MB, BCh, BAO). Bronnadh trí bhonn déag don Bhliain Deiridh Leighis ar aon mhac léinn déag as a fheabhas a d'éirigh leo go hacadúil. Bronnann an Ollscoil na boinn ar na mic léinn a fhaigheann an grád is airde i ngach réimse ábhair gach bliain. Bhí an méid seo a leanas le rá ag Uachtarán OÉ Gaillimh, an tOllamh Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh, ag an searmanas: “Thar ceann OÉ Gaillimh, tréaslaím le gach duine agaibh. Táimidne in OÉ Gaillimh diongbháilte de go ndéanfaidh an Ollscoil seo a cion féin le céimithe a oiliúint a fhágfaidh a lorg ar an domhan trí chéile, agus a bheidh ábalta freastal ar riachtanais ár sochaí amach anseo.” Bhí neart mac léinn idirnáisiúnta ag an searmanas, agus chuir an Ollscoil fáilte chroíúil roimh na céimithe sin ón Malaeisia, Ceanada, Singeapór, an Ríocht Aontaithe, Stáit Aontaithe Mheiriceá, an India, an Araib Shádach, an Indinéis agus an Éigipt, i measc tíortha eile, mar aon le mic léinn as gach cearn den tír seo ar bronnadh Dioplómaí, Céimeanna, Máistreachtaí, agus PhDanna orthu. -Críoch-

Tuesday, 11 June 2019

NUI Galway is holding a two-day public consultation event to generate ideas for the future of the Nuns’ Island area of the city. The University, in partnership with Galway City Council, is developing a masterplan to optimise the use of this underutilised city centre space through the appropriate mix of redevelopment and enhancement of public realm spaces. The project, which commenced earlier this year, has so far involved workshops with residents, the University community, discussions with a range of local organisations and an online consultation.  The ideas generated to date will be displayed in the University’s O’Donoghue Centre from 21-22 June, with members of the public invited to view exhibits and give their feedback.  The masterplan is being developed by a team of global experts: architecture firm BDP, supported by property advisor Colliers International and engineering business AECOM. In the coming weeks, the University is also engaging with regional development organisations, alumni and public officials to receive a wide range of perspectives on the options to develop the area.  Speaking today President of NUI Galway, Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh said: “We are passionate about developing our resources in Nuns’ Island for the public good. This month, as part of our ongoing initiative with Galway City Council, we’re inviting members of the public to evaluate ideas that have emerged to date and add their perspective to the process.  Nuns’ Island is an important historic, social and cultural part of our city and we want to support its enhancement through a masterplaning initiative that addresses the needs of the city and region, through a mix of redevelopment and enrichment of public spaces. This can only be done with the input of our communities. We wish to be an exemplar of planning for the public good, and we hope to hear the views of as many people and organisations as possible over the course of this two-day public consultation event.” Members of the public have the opportunity to view ideas to date and engage in discussion with representatives of the University and BDP at NUI Galway’s O’Donoghue Centre, located on the University’s South Campus on Friday 21st and Saturday 22nd of June from 10am to 3pm The Masterplan will be developed in partnership with Galway City Council as part of the commitments in Policy 5.1 of the Galway City Council Development Plan 2017-2023. -Ends-

Tuesday, 11 June 2019

NUI Galway will host the 23rd Annual Health Promotion Conference on Thursday, 13 June, and will focus on ‘Building a Healthy Ireland: Promoting Health and Wellbeing in Educational Settings’. The conference is co-hosted by the Health Promotion Research Centre at NUI Galway, the Department of Health, the Department of Education and Skills, the Health Service Executive, and the Association of Health Promotion Ireland. The event aims to bring together policymakers, researchers and practitioners to critically discuss current and future directions for health and wellbeing in education. The conference programme comprises a mix of presentations, plenary lectures, workshops, and panel discussions. This event provides a platform for international and national experts to network and collaborate on implementation developments and challenges in relation to research, policy and practice developments for health and wellbeing in educational settings. NUI Galway President, Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh, and Professor Margaret Barry, Global President of the International Union for Health Promotion and Education, will deliver the opening addresses for this event. International and national keynote addresses will include: Dr Eileen Scott, NHS Health Scotland; Anette Schulz, Schools for Health Europe Network; Orla McGowan, HSE Health and Wellbeing; and Deirdre McHugh, National Educational Psychological Service. Anette Schulz, Schools for Health Europe Manager, commented: “Healthy life skills are not only taught in the family but in the person’s everyday life. In the effort to promote health and well-being among children and young people schools therefore play a vital role. Schools for Health in Europe Network Foundation (SHE) are delighted to be invited to the annual conference on health promotion in Ireland. This gives us the opportunity not only to highlight the importance of working with health and well-being in schools but also to share our perspectives on school health promotion.” Professor Saoirse Nic Gabhainn, Head of the Discipline of Health Promotion at NUI Galway and Conference Chair, said: “We are very excited to welcome colleagues from all over Ireland and abroad to examine the theory, evidence-base and implementation of health promotion in educational settings. This is a crticial point in history of health promotion in education as we move towards a new European Strategy and the roll-out of the well-being framework in Irish schools. It is vital to ensure that these developments are built on our existing knowledge of what works for children and young people. We are bringing together experts from more than 20 institutes of higher education with those working in central government, NGOs and the community sector to share their learning and to debate, network and contribute to our shared future.” For further information on the conference and programme details, visit https://nuigalwayhprc.clr.events/event/127927. -Ends-

Monday, 10 June 2019

 Update from NUI Galway on the Performance of Ireland’s Ocean Economy NUI Galway’s Socio-Economic Marine Research Unit (SEMRU) has released its latest update on the performance of Ireland’s Ocean Economy. The latest figures have been announced by Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed, TD at the Annual Ocean Wealth Summit in Cork today (10, June 2019). The 2019 Summit will see national and global leaders discuss the health of our oceans. This includes senior Government and UN representatives from island states sharing experiences on oceans’ health and climate change. Coinciding with the Our Ocean Wealth Summit and the Government’s Annual Review of its Integrated Marine Plan – Harnessing Our Ocean Wealth, the report presents a complete and comparable profile across thirteen marine related industries in Ireland. The update shows that Ireland’s ocean economy has a turnover of €6.2 billion, with a direct economic contribution, as measured by gross added value (GVA), of €2.2 billion or 1.1% of gross domestic product (GDP). Taking into account indirect GVA generated from ocean related activity in Ireland total GVA is €4.2 billion, representing 2% of GDP. Dr Stephen Hynes, co-author of the report and Director of SEMRU based at the Whitaker Institute for Innovation and Societal Change at NUI Galway, has advised the Government that: “The latest figures indicate that Ireland’s ocean economy continues to see growth across both established and emerging marine industries. We expect the Government’s 2020 target will be exceeded next year, and the gap is narrowing in terms of the Government’s ambitious 2030 target.” SEMRU categorises Ireland’s ocean economy into two broad categories: Ireland’s Established Marine Industries – comprised of traditional marine sectors such as shipping, seafood, tourism in marine and coastal areas, offshore energy, marine manufacturing, and engineering and marine retail services – have an estimated turnover of €5.8 billion, and provide employment of 32,048 full time equivalents (FTEs). These segments of the ocean economy represent 93% of the total turnover and 94% of total employment. The top three sectors in terms of value and employment continue to be shipping, marine tourism and seafood. Ireland’s Emerging Marine Industries – comprised of marine renewables, marine biotechnology, advanced marine products and services, and maritime commerce – have an estimated turnover of €459 million and provide employment to 2,084 FTEs representing 7% of the turnover and 6% of employment in Ireland’s ocean economy. Of the emerging industries, marine commerce and the marine biotechnology and bio-products industries experienced the largest increases in turnover and GVA in the 2016-2018 period. This year’s report also includes a socio-demographic profile of Ireland’s coastal economy and presents the values of a range of marine ecosystem services to Irish society. Dr Hynes highlighted: “Tracking marine economic activities, monitoring developments in our coastal economy and estimating the marine ecosystem service benefit values to Irish society promotes more informed maritime planning and more effective marine policy formation.” The latest ocean economy report is funded by the Marine Institute through its Marine Research Programme. Dr Peter Heffernan, CEO of the Marine Institute, commented: “Ireland is one of the few countries that has access to this regularly updated marine economic data, with trends now spanning over 10 years. These independent data and trends published by NUI Galway underpin the vision set out by the Government in Harnessing Our Ocean Wealth whereby Ireland’s vast marine territory is harnessed in a sustainable manner and is recognised as an integral element of Ireland’s overall economy, generating benefits for Irish citizens and supported by integrated policy, planning and regulation.” Commenting on the report, Professor Alan Ahearne, Director of the Whitaker Institute at NUI Galway stated: “With the uncertainty being generated by Brexit, our Ocean Wealth has never been more important to our economic prosperity. The figures published by SEMRU clearly demonstrate the importance and impact of targeted investment and research in developing a sustainable ocean economy here in Ireland.” To read the full report, see: http://www.nuigalway.ie/media/researchsites/semru/files/Irelands-Ocean-Economy-Report_for-web.pdf -Ends-

Monday, 10 June 2019

The 9th UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre Biennial conference will focus on the changing nature and meaning of family and its implications for policy and practice. The conference, entitled ‘Changing Families, Changing Policy, Changing Practice: Family Support Now and in the Future’, will take place in the Institute for Lifecourse and Society at NUI Galway from 13-14 June. In the context of major global social, economic and technological change, the nature and meaning of family is in flux. In Ireland, recent constitutional changes in children’s rights, same-sex marriage, and divorce, for example, have implications for the experience of family life and what it means to be a family member as a parent, child, sibling, or grandparent.  Many of the repercussions of these changes for children’s and young people’s expectations of family life as well as for agencies delivering services to address emerging needs and responses have yet to be explored.     According to UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre (UCFRC) co-founder Dr John Canavan: “It is now time for a new Commission on the Family, 21 years after the original Commission report was published resulting in a range of significant policy and service developments. The intervening years have seen massive changes in families and affecting family life. While there has been many individual and sectoral policy and service responses, Irish society has not had the opportunity to reflect on what these changes mean and what their implications are now and into the future. A new Commission would be an opportunity to reassess the meaning and significance of family in Ireland, and to plan accordingly for the next 20 years.” Over the course of two-days, international speakers including academics and practitioners from Ireland, the UK, US and Australia will engage in debate on the changing forms of family life and the meaning of family and family relationships in particular contexts. The programme will feature a number of issues that are critical in current policy and practice including impact of technology on family dynamics; integration and migration, and family separation. In the context of austerity and social inclusion, a core focus will be on supports for families with particular needs and adversities including homelessness, addiction, and domestic violence.  The conference will also provide a forum for young people to present research conducted as part of the UCFRC Youth as Researchers Programme. Included are presentations on the use of social media, as well as research highlighting the benefits of an exercise and mindfulness programme delivered by a Garda Youth Diversion Project in Galway city. Ombudsman for Children, Dr Niall Muldoon who will be in attendance said: “This conference is a valuable opportunity to explore the changing face of families in Ireland and, very importantly, to hear directly from children about issues affecting them. I look forward to a robust and engaged conversation about change and how it affects children and their families. Some changes such as an increased focus on equality and diversity are very positive, and while they often require adjustments from the adults, for children they are less likely to cause a problem. Other changes such as homelessness or addiction are completely out of young people’s control and have the potential to cause serious and long-lasting damage. For more information and to register for the Conference, visit http://conference.ie/Conferences/index.asp?Conference=588 -Ends-

Monday, 10 June 2019

NUI Galway team up with Mental Health Ireland for pioneering educational programme NUI Galway and Mental Health Ireland have teamed up to commence a first-of-its-kind Postgraduate Certificate in Mental Health Promotion. An Open Evening for the course will take place on Wednesday, 12 June at 6pm at the University, followed by an official course launch the following day, Wednesday, 13 June, at 1pm during the annual Health Promotion Research Centre Conference. The Postgraduate Certificate in Mental Health Promotion is designed for applicants from different sectors, such as mental health, health promotion, public health, primary care, education, nursing, social work, community work, who wish to develop knowledge, skills and competencies of mental health promotion and its implementation in practice. The part-time course aims to provide participants with professional education and training in the principles and practice of promoting positive mental health and wellbeing. The programme runs from September to the following May. The academic direction of the programme will be provided by Professor Margaret Barry, NUI Galway. Academics in the Discipline of Health Promotion, together with contributions from practitioners and those with lived experience in the specialist field of study, will deliver the lectures and workshops. Professor Barry commented: “We are delighted to partner with Mental Health Ireland in developing this unique postgraduate level programme in Mental Health Promotion. Good mental health is fundamental to population health and wellbeing and this outreach programme is designed to provide participants with the knowledge and skills needed to promote positive mental health across all ages in key settings such as the home, schools, community and health services. Together with a focus on current research, policy and practice, participants will acquire practical skills in implementing evidence-based interventions that will protect and promote good mental health. Employing a combination of online and face-to-face instruction, this part-time programme is designed for professionals working in different sectors who wish to incorporate mental health promotion into their work.” The course is a blended learning programme, with a combination of teaching techniques employed to support learning. It is a level 9 programme comprising of 30 European Credit Transfer System (ECTS) points in total. Mental Health Ireland offers financial support through the Tony Leahy Scholarship fund for people with lived experience, who meet the eligibility criteria, to access this programme. For more information on the Tony Leahy Scholarship contact training@mentalhealthireland.ie. CEO of Mental Health Ireland Martin Rogan said: “NUI Galway is world leading in mental health promotion and we were proud to team up with them to develop the Postgraduate course launching in September. Mental Health Ireland supports deeply evidence based mental health promotion education available to all communities as the next stage in developing an impactful and sustainable conversation around mental health and wellbeing. This year, we named the Tony Leahy scholarship to remove barriers for individuals who use mental health services and their families, to embrace educational programmes and recovery.” For further Information on the course details contact Denise Glavin, Discipline of Health Promotion, NUI Galway at 091 493092, denise.glavin@nuigalway.ie or visit www.nuigalway.ie/hpr. -Ends-

Friday, 7 June 2019

More than 50 famous landmarks and buildings across the island of Ireland lit up blue this weekend (7-10 June) as part of the ‘Go Atlantic Blue’ initiative to celebrate our connection to the Atlantic Ocean and to mark World Oceans Day (8 June). The global day connects people worldwide in celebrating the ocean, its importance in our lives and how each of us can protect it, no matter where we live. In its inaugural year, the ‘Go Atlantic Blue’ campaign has had an incredible response with more than 50 landmarks and buildings across the country coming on board including Dublin, Shannon and Cork airports, a host of universities and colleges, State buildings (Iveagh House and Government Buildings) and lighthouses (Baily Lighthouse, Roche’s Point and The Great Light). Galway was a sea of blue with NUI Galway, Dunguaire Castle (Kinvara), Port of Galway, GMIT Letterfrack, Galway Atlantaquaria, Galway Bay Boat Tours, Seavite, Murphys Ice Cream and the Marine Institute all joining in the national initiative to ‘Go Atlantic Blue' to celebrate our sea. “NUI Galway is delighted to ‘Go Atlantic Blue’ for World Oceans Day,” said Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh, President of NUI Galway. “Our location on the Atlantic seaboard is a defining and distinctive part of our University’s identity. We celebrate our presence along the Wild Atlantic Way – from Donegal through Mayo, Sligo, Galway and Clare. Our scholars and researchers work with the great resources of the Atlantic Ocean, across areas of academic endeavour as disparate as economics, health and wellbeing, energy engineering, marine biodiversity, earth science and climate change. Increasingly the awareness of the importance of our oceans will inform social policy.  We recognise the truly unique connection which Ireland and the people of the western seaboard, in particular, have with the Atlantic Ocean. NUI Galway is proud to ‘Go Atlantic Blue’ from the 7th to the 10th June 2019 as a signal of our commitment to sustainability." ‘Go Atlantic Blue’ is being spearheaded in Ireland by the Marine Institute-led AORA-CSA (Atlantic Ocean Research Alliance Co-ordination & Support Action) against the backdrop of SeaFest 2019 (7-9 June) and Our Ocean Wealth Summit (9-10 June), both held in Cork this year. SeaFest is Ireland’s national maritime festival and Our Ocean Wealth Summit is Ireland’s flagship event for the marine sector, bringing together Irish and international organisations to create innovative and sustainable solutions to drive our Blue Economy. It’s the first year to ‘Go Atlantic Blue’ with the aim of raising awareness of the vital role that the Atlantic Ocean plays in the lives of Irish people, no matter how near or far they live from the Atlantic coastline. Dr Peter Heffernan, CEO of the Marine Institute, said, “Our ocean is our greatest natural resource and we see that most directly in Ireland with the vital importance that the Atlantic Ocean plays in our daily lives – from influencing the weather to facilitating our trade industry and from seafood to surfing off the coast.” Director of Atlantic Ocean Research Alliance Co-ordination & Support Action, Dr Margaret Rae, said that the initiative gives people all around the country a chance to show their appreciation for the Atlantic Ocean. “Going Atlantic Blue is a way to draw attention to how each and every one of us experiences the Atlantic, what we love about our Ocean and how we can be that generation that makes a difference,” she said. Some of the Landmarks around Ireland Going Atlantic Blue ·         Dublin Airport ·         Shannon Airport ·         Cork Airport ·         King John’s Castle, Limerick ·         University of Limerick ·         CIT Crawford College of Art & Design, Cork ·         St. Colman’s Cathedral, Cobh ·         National University of Ireland Galway ·         University College Cork ·         University College Dublin ·         Dublin City University ·         Trinity College Dublin ·          Iveagh House, Dublin (Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade) ·          Government Buildings (Merrion Square, Dublin)     ·         GMIT, Letterfrack ·         Galway Bay Boat Tours ·         Dunguaire Castle in Kinvara, Galway ·         Galway Atlantaquaria, National Aquarium of Ireland ·         Tyndall National Institute, Cork ·         Port of Galway ·         Cork City Hall ·         Berwick fountain (Grand Parade), Cork ·         Bishop Lucey Park, Cork ·         St Peter’s, North Main Street, Cork ·         St. Luke’s, Cork ·         Roche’s Point Lighthouse, Cork ·         Baily Lighthouse, Dublin ·         The Great Light (Titanic Quarter, Belfast) ·         Port of Cork ·         National Maritime College of Ireland (NCMI) ·         Marine and Renewable Energy Ireland (MaREI) Centre, Cork ·         Marine Institute ·         One Albert Quay, Cork ·         The Capitol, Cork ·         Western Development Commission ·         XOCEAN, Co Louth ·         VOYA and VOYA Seaweed Baths, Co Sligo ·         Murphys Ice Cream, Nationwide ·         Dingle Oceanworld Aquarium, Co Kerry ·         Blennerville Windmill, Tralee, Co Kerry ·         Seavite ·         Science Foundation Ireland ·          Údarás na Gaeltachta ·          Carbery Group ·          Seal Rescue Ireland ·         Milish Bakery, Bundoran ·         Martina Hamilton Jewellery How you can ‘Go Atlantic Blue’ • Decorate your business/home/school with an Atlantic blue colour – add dark blue filters, fairy lights or blue light bulbs in outdoor lights • Dress in Atlantic blue clothing e.g. T-shirts, wear a blue wig or paint your face dark blue • Organise your own ‘Atlantic Blue’ themed event Share how you ‘Go Atlantic Blue’ • Take a photo or video of how you’ve gone Atlantic Blue and share it on social media platforms. Feel free to share what makes the Atlantic Ocean special to you • Tag your social media posts with #WorldOceansDay and #GoAtlanticBlue to link with a community of fellow ocean appreciators! • Tag AORA in your tweets (@AtlanticAll) and also tag @Seafest_ie and @OurOceanWealth if you’ve room! Ends.

Wednesday, 5 June 2019

New course offerings to be launched include Online Business Diploma, Change Management, and Corporate Environmental Planning NUI Galway’s Adult Learners Information Evening will take place on Wednesday, 19 June, from 5-7pm in the Human Biology Building, on the University campus. New programmes to be launched at the event include an online Higher Diploma in Business Studies, a Diploma in Change Management and a new specialist Diploma in Corporate Environmental Planning. The event is the ideal opportunity to find out more about the extensive range of part-time, flexible-learning programmes on offer at the University.  The Career Development Centre at NUI Galway will also be on hand to offer free, one-to-one career consultations on a first come, first served basis at the event. “This year marks a significant milestone for the Centre for Adult Learning and Professional Development as we celebrate 50 years of adult learning at the University,” explains Centre Director, Nuala McGuinn.  “From its early years of Extra-Mural Education to today’s expansive array of part-time courses offered as standalone modules or full award options at Certificate, Diploma, Degree and Masters level, there is no shortage of courses to choose from.  We are immensely proud of our work which meets individual and company skills needs of productivity and competitiveness and of the University’s long-standing commitment to reaching beyond the campus and engaging with communities, organisations and individuals who might otherwise face barriers to university education.” 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 & Education Studies, Early Childhood Studies, Languages, Information Technology, Health Promotion, Pre-University Courses, and Science and Technology programmes. “Our courses are designed for those in employment who wish to upskill for professional and personal development reasons, and for those seeking employment who may require guidance on future career pathways from our experienced careers advisory team”, explains Nuala McGuinn. Among the new programmes to be launched on the night is the online Higher Diploma in Business Studies commencing September 2019. This two-year, part-time course is designed to provide non-business graduates with a well-rounded understanding of business.  It provides training in the fundamental skills of business administration, which enables graduates to play an active role in the development and management of business enterprises. Working in collaboration with Skillnet Ireland’s Learning Network - Next Level Skillnet, a new Specialist Diploma in Corporate Environmental Planning has just been launched. This innovative programme will concentrate on resource efficiency and environmental improvement opportunities and has been developed in response to industry demand.  It will be delivered part-time over one year. “We are delighted to partner with Next Level Skillnet”, explains Dr Niamh Nolan, Flexible Programmes Development Officer at NUI Galway. “The course offers a strategic focus on environmental planning and management in practice and is specifically geared towards career advancement in environmental policy and leadership enabling students to strengthen their capacities as efficient environmental managers and effective environmental leaders in their organisations.” Another new programme to be offered for September 2019 is a one-year, part-time Diploma in Change Management which is targeted at leaders, managers, administrators, and coordinators involved in organisational change within public or private sector organisations.  “The course emphasises the development of skills, competencies and team-building around three modules of strategic planning and implementation, leading others; and self-management”, highlights Nuala McGuinn, and provides candidates with the skills to implement strategic plans within their areas of organisational responsibility. Information on Springboard+ courses offering in excess of 80 government funded places on our Science and Technology, Adult Learning and Development and Business programmes for employed and unemployed candidates will be available on the night.  Interest in these courses has grown steadily over the past number of years as a direct result of industry requiring increasing skills in these areas. For further information on this event and to register your interest, see www.nuigalway.ie/learnwithoutlimits or call 091 494066 to speak with a programme coordinator, or visit the Centre’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/nuigalway.adulted. -Ends-

Tuesday, 4 June 2019

Announcement was made by Ministers Humphreys and Halligan today Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Heather Humphreys TD, and Minister of State for Training, Skills, Innovation, Research and Development, John Halligan TD, today announced the six finalists in the SFI Future Innovator Prize competition. NUI Galway are among the six finalists who were selected following a rigorous and highly competitive process overseen by an international expert review panel. The six teams aim to address a number of societal challenges through the development of novel, potentially disruptive, technologies. A novel aspect of the programme is the requirement for a Societal Impact Champion to be part of the leadership team. The key role of this champion is to provide a strong societal perspective for the team as they develop their solution. The NUI Galway project will focus on the ‘Reducing the Burden of Chronic Pain’ challenge area. The project, ‘A novel hydrogel to address chronic pain in Irish patients’, is being carried out by a team which includes: Dr Alison Liddy, Biomedical Engineer and Chemist, NUI Galway; Dr Martin O'Halloran, Senior Lecturer in Medical Electronics, NUI Galway; and Dr Chris Maharaj, Consultant Anaesthetist and Pain Specialist, University Hospital Galway. An overall winning team will be announced in December and will receive a prize award of €1 million, providing the opportunity to deploy an innovative solution with potential to deliver significant impact to Irish society. Congratulating the shortlisted teams, Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Heather Humphreys TD, said: “On behalf of the Government, I want to congratulate the six teams who have made it to the second round of the Future Innovator Prize competition. We launched the initiative last year to encourage bright minds across the country to work together to identify major challenges facing Ireland’s society, and to propose creative solutions. It is very exciting to see so many innovative ideas coming through and I look forward to seeing their ideas develop further over the coming months.” Minister of State for Training, Skills, Innovation, Research and Development, John Halligan TD, said: “It is heartening to see the excellent standard of the six teams who have progressed to the second round of the SFI Future Innovator Prize competition. Their passion for their fields reflects their dedication to improving Ireland’s economy and society through research, collaboration and inventiveness. I am confident that they will continue to impress us as the competition goes on.” Professor Mark Ferguson, Director General of Science Foundation Ireland and Chief Scientific Adviser to the Government of Ireland, said: “I congratulate the six finalists on making it to the next stage of the SFI Future Innovator Prize competition. This programme by its very design, is highly competitive and seeks to fund excellent research that aims to produce a tangible impact for society. Proceeding to this phase of the programme is a great achievement, and the motivation of the teams demonstrates the appetite and capacity of the Irish research community to help contribute to solving major national and global challenges. Congratulations to each team on their hard work and dedication.” The SFI Future Innovator Prize, funded by the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation through Science Foundation Ireland, is part of an overall government plan to cultivate challenge-based funding in Ireland. Challenge-based funding is a solution focused approach to funding research that uses prizes and other incentives to direct innovation activities at specific problems. The SFI Future Innovator Prize challenges the country’s best and brightest unconventional thinkers and innovators to create novel, potentially disruptive technologies in collaboration with societal stakeholders and end-users.  The programme aligns with the Government’s Future Jobs Ireland initiative, beginning to prepare for jobs of the future now through ensuring that our economy is well positioned to tackle obstacles and continue transforming for the better. The competing teams are led by academic researchers and a “Societal Impact Champion” drawn from a range of disciplines and stakeholder groups such as industry and civil society in an effort to support convergent and collaborative problem-solving. Competing teams come from University College Dublin (UCD), Dublin City University (DCU), NUI Galway, University College Cork (UCC), and Tyndall National Institute (TNI), with involvement of a number of national agencies, hospitals and world leading SFI Research Centres. The challenge areas and issues to be addressed by the other five finalists are as follows: Challenge Area: Reducing the Burden of Sepsis Dr Elaine Spain (Analytical Chemistry, DCU); Dr Kellie Adamson (Diagnostics and Therapeutics and Biomaterials Science, DCU); Professor Gerald Curley, (Sepsis Lead, RCSI Network of Hospitals, Beaumont Hospital) Project - SepTec: Improving Outcomes for Sepsis Patients Challenge Area: Harnessing Gene Editing to Treat Rare Diseases such as Epidermolysis bullosa (EB) Professor Wenxin Wang, Dr Irene-Lara Sáez and Jonathan O’Keeffe-Ahern (Charles Institute of Dermatology, UCD); Dr Nan Zhang (Mechanical and Materials Engineering, UCD); Dr Sinead Hickey (Research Manager, DEBRA Ireland) Project - A disruptive, non‐viral gene editing platform technology for treating genetic conditions Challenge Area: Enabling Next Generation Biological Imaging        Professor Dominic Zerulla (Physics and Plasmonics, UCD); Dr Dimitri Scholz (Biology and Director of the Conway Imaging facilities, UCD); Peter Doyle (consulting the European Commission with the Brussels Photonics Team on strategic innovation and business development)        Project - Real‐time imaging of nanoscale biological processes via plasmonically enabled nanopixel arrays Challenge Area: Enabling Better Breast Cancer Diagnosis Dr Eric Moore (Analytical Chemistry, TNI/UCC); Martin O'Sullivan (Lead Surgeon, BreastCheck Southern Unit and UCC); Liosa O'Sullivan (Patient Advocate) Project - Development of a technology for clinicians to improve the breast cancer diagnostic pathway through real time point of care detection of breast disease.   Challenge Area: Minimising Hospital Waiting-lists and Optimising Healthcare Capacity Professor Barry O'Sullivan and Helmut Simonis (School of Computer Science and Insight Centre for Data Analytics, University College Cork); Dr Jane Bourke (Economics, Technology Adoption and Health Care Innovation, University College Cork); Prof Martin Curley (Director, HSE Digital Academy) Project - An artificial intelligence and data analytics system for minimising hospital waiting-lists and optimising healthcare capacity in Ireland -Ends-

Tuesday, 4 June 2019

 Freyja Haraldsdottir, Co-Founder, TABU Iceland to deliver keynote address 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 17-21 June. This is the 11th International Disability Law Summer School to be hosted by the University’s Centre for Disability Law and Policy and the focus for 2019 is ‘Persons with Disabilities and the Right to Family Life’. Professor Eilionóir Flynn, Director of Centre for Disability Law and Policy at NUI Galway, said: “In this summer school we interpret ‘family’ broadly – to include our families of origin, families of choice, the communities where we feel we belong. Disabled people have often been denied rights to family life – including the right to marry and form a family, the right to decide freely on the number and spacing of their children, and the rights to privacy and independence with respect to family life. This year’s summer school will explore these issues with a particular focus on how disabled people and members of the LGBTQI community can learn from each other’s work in securing rights to family life.” Over 210 delegates from over 50 countries are registered to attend the Summer School, including persons with disabilities, civil society groups, as well as disability activists, feminist activists, LGBTQI activists, older people’s advocates, children’s rights activists, adopted persons, reproductive justice advocates, migrants and refugees, and ethnic minorities, including members of the traveller and Roma communities, lawyers, policy makers and policy analysts. The speakers will include academics, practitioners, activists, members of different UN agencies and policy makers from around the world. Many of the speakers have been directly and actively engaged in drafting and implementing the UN Convention. Our keynote speaker,Freyja Haraldsdottir, recently won her legal challenge in the Icelandic courts establishing disability discrimination against her as a prospective foster parent and she will share her lived experience. The Co-Director of the Summer School, Dr Catriona Moloney, said: “The effect of discrimination on the basis of disability in the lives of families continues to have devastating consequences for the exercise and enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms for adults and children who are often denied their rights in the area of family life. The School will explore creative advocacy to advance the right to family life from around the world, informed by the experiences of front-line advocates from social movements, academia, NGOs, policymakers and other stakeholders with different forms of expertise. The purpose of the school is to equip participants with the insights and skills necessary to translate the CRPD into meaningful reform for persons with disabilities. Our aim is to spur participants to think in a more inclusive way about the identities and contexts of constituencies who face barriers in exercising their right to family life and how we can ensure protection and promotion of human rights and fundamental freedoms, not just in terms of antidiscrimination measures, but also in terms of policies that promote human rights across a range of different environments and contexts.” Registration for the Summer School is still open but very limited number of spaces available. Further information is available at: https://www.nuigalway.ie/centre-disability-law-policy/internationaldisabilitylawsummerschool/ or contact Joanna.Forde@nuigalway.ie or 086 4181673.  Participant accessibility, physical or communicational, requests and enquiries are welcomed. -Ends-

Tuesday, 4 June 2019

NUI Galway’s Centre for Irish Studies will host the Third Galway Conference of Irish Studies from 7-8 June. With the national and international crises of home, this conference, “What is it to Dwell?”: Home(s) in Irish Studies, will address the questions, what is home?  What does it mean to be ‘at home’? How has Irish Studies historically engaged with conceptions of home and how might the discipline deal with changing definitions of home in the future? This multi-disciplinary conference has attracted scholars from around the world who will share their research, generating new conversations that address a broad and diverse range of perspectives on ‘home’, particularly in the Irish context.  The presenters will explore concepts of ‘home’, including representations of home in history, Irish music, poetry and visual culture.  As well as these topics, presentations will engage with some of the challenges facing us when we think about the future of ‘home’ in Ireland and elsewhere. Dr Méabh Ní Fhuartháin of NUI Galway’s Centre for Irish Studies said: “This is a really exciting conference and its theme has important resonances in today’s political and cultural climate. Addressing the question of home(s) and the fluidity and fixity of how we think, respond and represent those themes provides a wonderful opportunity for us all to reflect on these issues. The range of panel topics and the excellent keynote speakers invited makes for an invigorating weekend ahead. I would encourage people to attend.” On Friday, 7 June, Dr Sindy Joyce will deliver the plenary address, titled, ‘Mincéirí Cena: Travellers and Mobile Spaces, Home as a Place, Space and Mobility’. Dr Joyce is a human rights activist and recent graduate of University of Limerick. In her PhD she interviewed young Travellers living in Galway and analysed their experiences of integration with the settled community. In April 2019, President Michael D Higgins invited Sindy to join the Council of State. As part of the conference, the University will also launch Nótaí/Notes Music and Ireland, special issue of Éire-Ireland: an Interdisciplinary Journal of Irish Studies, on Friday, 7 June, at 6.30pm, at the Bridge Room in the Hardiman Building, NUI Galway. This volume contributes to the widening critical scholarship in Irish music and importantly, the breadth of approaches and topics presented in this volume speak to the richness of discourse within Irish Studies on the matter of music. The volume is edited by Verena Commins and Méabh Ní Fhuartháin, both lecturers based at the Centre for Irish Studies, NUI Galway. On Saturday, 8 June, Gráinne O’Toole from Skein Press will launch Between Two Worlds and introduce guest speakers Melatu Uche Okorie and Oein de Bhairduin. This event is in conjunction with Charlie Byrne’s Book Shop, Middle Street, Galway.  For full conference details visit https://gcis2019.wordpress.com/ or email gcis2019@gmail.com for further information. -Ends-

Friday, 31 May 2019

NUI Galway in partnership with the HEA and Local Enterprise Office Mayo recently launched the Ideas Academy. The Academy is a new summer camp for second level students in senior cycle who want to create ideas that enhance the quality of life, and reimagine how ordinary problems can be solved in extraordinary ways.  The one-week free summer camps will focus on developing the entrepreneurial and innovation mindset of participants experientially using tools including Lego Serious Play (LSP), design thinking and the lean canvas. The camp will be a positive environment for young entrepreneurs to develop, test and collaborate. The initiative is a cross campus partnership of LaunchPad, the student enterprise hub at NUI Galway, BioInnovate Ireland, the J.E. Cairnes School of Business and Economics and the Discipline of Surgery. External partners are the Higher Education Authority and Mayo Local Enterprise Office. The camps will run daily from 9:30am-3:30pm. The Ideas Academy Ballina will run from the 4-7 June in the Ballina Manor Hotel, and the NUI Galway based camp will run from the 24-28 June, the NUI Galway camp will be themed Medtech. Each camp is limited to 25 students per camp, are free to attend and lunch is provided for all participants. Both camps will run a final Idea Pitch competition with a €1,000 Prize fund for the top teams participating in each camp. Speaking about the camp Natalie Walsh, Executive Director of LaunchPad at NUI Galway, said: “We have worked with multiple schools across the region in recent years and have been so impressed with their enthusiasm and innovation, the Ideas Academy was a natural next step for our programme and programme partners to engage in, one we are proud to be in a position to Launch in Galway and Mayo.” John Magee, Head of Enterprise with Mayo County Council, said: “We are delighted to partner with the LaunchPad to bring the Ideas Academy to Ballina. Mayo has a fantastic entrepreneurial culture among our young people and this camp is an exciting opportunity for second level students to further develop their ideas in a structured setting. The week is free, fun and an incredible chance to learn from other inspirational young Mayo people.” To register for the Ballina Ideas Academy visit https://ideasacademyballina.eventbrite.ie. Those interested in attending the NUI Galway Ideas Academy can register at https://ideasacademymedtech.eventbrite.ie. Places for eligible participants will be awarded on a first come bases. For further information please contact launchpad@nuigalway.ie. -Ends-

Thursday, 30 May 2019

Dr Alison Forrestal, Lecturer in History and Professor Paolo Bartoloni, Professor of Italian at NUI Galway, have been elected as Members of the Royal Irish Academy for their contribution to Humanities and Social Sciences, during a special admittance ceremony recently in Dublin. Dr Forrestal and Professor Bartoloni are two of 27 new Members of the Royal Irish Academy elected for their exceptional contribution to the sciences, humanities and social sciences as well as to public service. New members joining the NUI Galway academics include Nobel Laureate John O’Keefe, Diarmaid Ferriter of UCD, and Olivia O’Leary of RTÉ. Professor Peter Kennedy, President of the Royal Irish Academy, said: “These individuals have made exceptional contributions in their fields of endeavour. We are delighted to recognise their achievements.” Dr Alison Forrestal is a leading authority on the history of early modern Christianity, and has particular expertise in the religious histories of France and Ireland. She has published three major monographs, edited two collections of essays, published many articles, and is academic leader of a Digital Humanities project on Vatican documents. Among her works is the ground-breaking Vincent de Paul, the Lazarist Mission, and French Catholic Reform, an acclaimed study of the charitable and missionary enterprises associated with Vincent de Paul, a driving force behind the Catholic Reformation and an enduring influence on Catholic socio-cultural norms and ideals. Paolo Bartoloni is Established Professor of Italian at NUI Galway. Previously he taught in Italian and Comparative Literature at the University of Sydney where he was Founding Director of the program in International and Comparative Literary Studies. He is a leading cultural theorist who has made significant contributions to international scholarship in the areas of comparative literature, translation studies, contemporary philosophy and Italian cultural history. He is the author of four monographs, including the internationally acclaimed On the Cultures of Exile, Translation, and Writing, three edited collections and over 60 refereed articles in major international journals. His latest book Objects in Italian Life and Culture: Fiction, Migration and Artificiality covers a significant gap in ‘object theory’ with its new take on the relation between objects and humans.     Congratulating Dr Forrestal and Professor Bartoloni on this honour, President of NUI Galway, Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh, said: “On behalf of colleagues at NUI Galway, I extend warmest congratulations to Alison and Paolo on their election to membership of the Royal Irish Academy.  This recognises the immense and continuing contribution which they make to their respective academic fields of history and Italian literature.  As educators, researchers and as academic leaders at NUI Galway, they demonstrate personal talent and commitment to the advancement of humanities and social sciences research, nationally and internationally.  I’m delighted to see their achievements so justly recognised by the Academy in this way.” The Royal Irish Academy is Ireland’s leading body of experts in the sciences and humanities. The Academy has been honouring Ireland’s leading contributors to the world of learning since its establishment in 1785. Past Members have included Maria Edgeworth, a pioneer of the modern novel and Nobel laureates: WB Yeats; Ernest Walton, Erwin Schrödinger and Seamus Heaney. -Ends-

Wednesday, 29 May 2019

A new four-year, €5.9 million RURALIZATION project aims to develop knowledge and support policy making to help answer some of the challenges facing rural areas and support rural regeneration. The Rural Studies Cluster at the Discipline of Geography, NUI Galway, is part of the RURALIZATION project that involves partner organisations across 12 European countries. At NUI Galway, the project is led by Dr Maura Farrell, Lecturer in the Discipline of Geography, School of Geography and Archaeology. Dr Farrell said: “The balanced development of the EU is threatened by the unequal development of urban and rural areas. The issue of regenerating rural areas is not new. Innovative solutions exist, but need to be better applied and adapted. One size doesn’t fit all. What is unique about this project is that it will find these solutions, assess and develop them with people in rural areas where they are used, and then look at how they can be applied in new contexts. The project also uses innovative methods, assessing the dreams of youth for rural futures, which then feeds into a proposed set of renewed policy options.” Rural areas face specific constraints related to depopulation, apparently poor development opportunities and the transition from reliance on primary sectors, such as farming and forestry. Funded by the European Commission under the Horizon 2020 programme, RURALIZATION will work to develop knowledge and support policy making in answering some of these challenges. In particular the project will improve understanding of rural regeneration, including the issue of access to land, define innovative instruments and strategies to facilitate generational renewal in agriculture and rural development, as well as support policy making to make rural dreams for new rural generations come true. Two Irish organisations, NUI Galway and Teagasc, are among the partnership of 18 organisations involved. The research team from NUI Galway’s Discipline of Geography are Dr Maura Farrell, Principal Investigator, Dr Aisling Murtagh, Post-Doctoral Researcher, Dr Marie Mahon, Dr Therese Conway, Dr John McDonagh and Dr Shane Conway. The diverse project partnership includes universities, research institutes, SMEs and other practitioners such as five members of the Access to Land Network. This multi-disciplinary consortium will put in place research and innovation activities ensuring the involvement of farmers, young people and rural entrepreneurs, following a multi-actor approach. -Ends-

Tuesday, 28 May 2019

NUI Galway’s microbiologists are putting microbiology in the spotlight with the recent launch of an ambitious student-centered, video-teaching initiative. The project showcases a range of techniques that are routinely performed in microbiology teaching and research laboratories. The 40 professionally produced videos are contained on a freely available YouTube channel and will be a valuable resource for both third and second level students. Project Lead Dr Katrina Lacey sees multiple benefits for students in NUI Galway and worldwide, stating: “We started this project from a very pure, student-focused blueprint, with the goal of enhancing our teaching of small-scale, specialist techniques that are often difficult to demonstrate to large classes. Feedback from an initial trial used in our Microbiology degree this year was hugely positive, both in helping students to develop their practical skills and in improving their understanding of core concepts in microbiology.” Produced in combination with Slipjig Media, the videos depict individual techniques routinely carried out in teaching laboratories. Techniques covered in the videos range from simple methods such as culturing and identifying bacteria, to more specialised and sophisticated procedures used in analysing and manipulating DNA and proteins. The film-making project, which took two years to complete, saw a team of PhD students in the Discipline of Microbiology hone their skills in the relevant techniques before carrying out the experiments on camera. This was followed by months of video and audio editing to ensure the technical details are expertly presented in the finished mini-movies. Professor Gerard Wall, Head of Microbiology at NUI Galway, said: “Visual learning is an important strategy for many students, especially when it comes to understanding core laboratory techniques. These videos will support students’ learning, not only in the case of third level undergraduates, but Junior and Leaving Cert students too. The videos will also help students who wish to continue their studies in the biosciences field in their progression to third level.” The new YouTube channel, containing a trailer that gives a flavour of the content and aims of the video suite as well as the instructional videos, can be found at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCsP4xz5aq7sWfR9eXSCd_QQ/ -Ends-

Tuesday, 28 May 2019

Promoting capacity building for high quality Patient and Public Involvement in health research The Public and Patient Involvement (PPI) Ignite Programme at NUI Galway has launched a PPI Catalysts initiative, a leadership group of researchers spread across the University who have a commitment to advance the teaching and practice of meaningful public and patient involvement in research. NUI Galway was one of five universities in 2017 awarded funding under the Health Research Board and Irish Research Council’s €1.75million ‘PPI Ignite’ initiative, to help researchers involve the public from the very start of the health research process. It is the first award of its kind in Ireland. Professor Sean Dinneen, Director of the HRB-funded PPI Ignite @ NUI Galway programme, said: “The PPI Ignite Programme aims to bring about a culture change in how healthcare research is conducted and our PPI catalysts are already making a difference, promoting PPI in their own networks and contributing to deliver PPI training to researchers across the University. They are setting a standard on meaningful involvement and their enthusiasm for PPI and their expertise will inspire others to follow suit. We are looking forward to working with these Catalysts in the years ahead and plan to expand the Catalysts network further to include Catalysts in the local community also.” The four PPI Catalysts announced were: Dr Ruth McMenamin, College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences; Dr Martin O’Halloran, College of Science and Engineering; Dr Oonagh Meade, College of Arts, Social Sciences and Celtic Studies; and Dr Michelle Queally from the College of Business, Public Policy and Law. Research conducted by Dr Ruth McMenamin from the Discipline of Speech and Language Therapy, is in partnership with people who live with aphasia, a language disorder experienced by up to one-third of the stroke population. Dr McMenamin’s PPI work focuses on including this marginalized group as co-researchers, to ensure that research on aphasia is strongly guided by the people with aphasia themselves. “PPI in research means working with public and patients in all stages of the research process. By doing involvement work researchers move away from thinking about ‘my research’ towards thinking about ‘our research’ and this leads to transformative experiences for all involved in the research process” said Dr McMenamin. Dr Martin O’Halloran, Head of the Translational Medical Device Laboratory at NUI Galway, leads the development of medical devices that have a tangible impact on patient care and support Ireland’s indigenous medtech industry, he commented: “The key opinion leader in device development has traditionally been the doctor. The patient voice is now becoming more important. PPI gives us an insight into the patient perspective on what devices are needed and what problems devices should focus on solving. PPI shapes our projects and helps us to understand the needs of patients and the urgency to develop a solution for a patient population.”  Dr Oonagh Meade, a health psychologist at NUI Galway, with extensive experience of involving mental health service users as research partners, is shaping a research study exploring the experiences of those living with long term health conditions and Dr Michelle Queally is a health economist who works to bring the voice of the public and patient to influence her research in a variety of areas, including childhood obesity and clinical trials. Professor Dinneen added: “More and more members of the public and patients are working with research teams to help influence what health research should be undertaken, how research should be designed and conducted, and how research results should be used to bring about change. Patients are experts in the condition they live with; so hearing from patients about the experience of living with a particular condition provides researchers with real insight into that condition. The increasing number of partnerships between members of the public/patients and researchers being established, ensure that research is guided by the voice of the public and the patient.” ENDS