Thursday, 7 February 2019

NUI Galway President, Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh has welcomed a motion by Galway City Council and its elected body to recognise the need for investment in third level education given the continuing increase in demand for third level education. The motion passed on Monday 4th February stated: Act on the recommendations of the Cassells Report published in 2016 which sets out clear options for the sustainable funding of third level education; Provide the necessary investment in the next Budget (2020) to substantially increase the core funding per student which has fallen by almost half in ten years. The Council reported: “We recognise and assert that our third level graduates are an essential ingredient of economic growth and, unless investment in third level is increased, we will damage the future competitiveness of the Irish economy and of our society as a whole.” Professor Ó hÓgartaigh said: “We are grateful for this motion and for this recognition from the Council that the University is a major contributor to the city and that investment in third level is critical to our collective future.  “The numbers at third level nationally have increased more than seven-fold since the late 60s from less than 25,000 students attending third-level in 1969 to over 181,000 students now. The reach and reputation of our research has also increased immeasurably over that time. If society believes education and third level education in particular is a good thing then we need to find a way to pay for it” he added.

Tuesday, 5 February 2019

A new wave of Medtech companies supported by NUI Galway’s BioExel programme, Ireland’s first Medtech accelerator continues following the success of 2018 cohort Following on from the success of the inaugural 2018 NUI Galway BioExel programme, a second successful recruitment campaign was completed last December. A high calibre of applications were reviewed from across the globe and the final eight companies are now immersed in the 2019 BioExel accelerator programme.  BioExel offers €95,000 in seed funding to successful applicants along with six-months of intensive training, mentoring, lab space and supported interactions with potential investors. The programme allows participants to build and commercially validate their technologies by working with existing entrepreneurial networks, mentors and management team. BioExel is managed by MedTech Director, Dr Sandra Ganly, also a co-founder of BioInnovate Ireland and Senior Research Fellow in NUI Galway, and Fiona Neary, Commercial Director and co-founder of BioExel, and Innovation Operations Manager at NUI Galway. Fiona Neary at NUI Galway, said: “BioExel’s mission is to act as an honest broker between Medtech start-ups and the investment community bridging the gap between technology de-risking and raising investment. BioExel has positioned itself as an internationally recognised Medtech accelerator with the reputation of significantly enhancing indigenous Medtech start-ups by providing attractive seed investment funding and a pipeline of next generation Medtech start-up’s for Ireland.” Joe Healy, HPSU Divisional Manager, Enterprise Ireland, said: “Ireland has a growing reputation in MedTech start-ups and the west of Ireland is renowned globally as a top medical device cluster. The sector is an important contributor to our economic growth and BioExel is uniquely positioned to provide essential support for the new innovative start-ups in this sector. We are delighted to continue our support for the programme, and the companies who take part as they take their first steps towards building scale and expanding their reach.” Joined by the funding partners last month at NUI Galway, the programme officially launched the new cohort of BioExel 2019 and enabled a great working session where partners and participants came together to share experiences and business opportunities. BioExel 2019 Companies: Áine Behan and Fred Herrera, CortechsConnect Ltd, an Irish based company developing a non-pharmacological Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) intervention. Visit: cortechs.ie Declan Trumble, Kudos Health, an Irish based company developing a Health and Wellness engagement platform. Visit: kudoshealth.com Idicula Mathew, Hera Health Solutions, a US based company developing a Biodegradable Female Contraceptive Implant. Visit: hearahealthsolutions.com Chris Duke and Michael Newell, Lifestyle Medical, an Irish based company developing Knee kinematics performance and rehabilitation technology. Liam McMorrow, Adelie Health, a UK technology and new Irish start-up, developing an innovative Smart Insulin Pen. Visit: adeliehealth.com Blaine Doyle, Glow Dx, an Irish company with an export market in place developing an Infectious Disease Diagnostic Platform. Visit: glowdx.com Rory Clerkin and Morris Black, Holywood Medical, an Irish based company developing Migraine prediction assay (predicts the onset of migraine) for preventative medicine in this space. Visit: holywoodmedical.com Damien Kilgannon, Sula Health, an Irish based company developing a solution in the area of Circadian Rhythm (Sleep) Disorder Treatment. Visit: sulahealth.com This new cohort of companies will take part in the BioExel accelerator programme until June 2019, preparing them to be investor ready or to have investment in place. BioExel is a partnership programme funded by Enterprise Ireland, Western Development Commission, Galway University Foundation, Bank of Ireland Seed and Early Stage Equity Fund, and hosted by NUI Galway. For additional information please contact the BioExel team at bioexelinfo@nuigalway.ie or phone 087 6226240 or visit:  www.bioexel.ie. -Ends-

Monday, 4 February 2019

Engineering and Physical Science Research Council Centres for Doctoral Training to link world-leading SFI Research Centres and UK Higher Education Institutions  CÚRAM, the Science Foundation Ireland Centre for Research in Medical Devices based at NUI Galway, is one of seven SFI Research Centres to have received funding for Doctoral Training as part of a UK-Ireland joint initiative to invest €38.6 million in training future innovation leaders.  The award has been made under a new partnership between Science Foundation Ireland and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), which is part of UK Research and Innovation. The investment funding was announced today (4 February 2019) by Minister of State for Training, Skills, Innovation, Research and Development, John Halligan TD. CÚRAM will work in collaboration with University of Glasgow, Aston and Birmingham, to establish lifETIME: an Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) Centre for Doctoral Training in Engineered Tissues for Discovery, Industry and Medicine.  lifETIME will train future Engineering and Physical Science innovation leaders for the non-animal technology and regenerative medicine sectors. Those trained will possess multidisciplinary, high-value skills in the design, creation and application of new non-animal technology platforms to accelerate therapeutic discovery. The lifETIME Centres for Doctoral Training will train 84 engineering and physical science scientists, clinical fellows and cell engineers across three world-leading centres that specialise in: fundamental bioengineering (Glasgow); microscale bioprocess translation/application (Birmingham and Aston); and medical devices (CÚRAM). 25 of these will be CÚRAM based. The first intake of students will begin in September 2019 with CÚRAM enrolling five students each year. Globally, a strong industrial and clinical need exists to create humanised, non-animal technologies, which are bioengineered, cellular, scaffolds/on-chip systems that can be used in therapeutic discovery, safety testing, functional validation and in some cases in the production of cellular therapies. To meet this need, there is an urgent need to train Engineering and Physical Science students to communicate effectively with, and work alongside, biomedical scientists, and vice versa, and such training will also drive innovation and contribute to the Irish and UK bioeconomy. Professor Abhay Pandit, Scientific Director at CÚRAM in NUI Galway, said: “The establishment of this Centre for Doctoral Training in collaboration with colleagues at University of Glasgow, Aston University and University of Birmingham will produce the next generation of doctoral level researchers across engineering and physical sciences. This unique programme will train leaders who will possess multidisciplinary, high-value skills in the design, creation and application of new non-animal technology platforms to accelerate therapeutic discovery.” Minister of State for Training, Skills, Innovation, Research and Development, John Halligan TD, said: “I am pleased to announce this new collaboration that will provide training opportunities for doctoral students in both the UK and Ireland. These new PhD training initiatives will provide opportunities for talented students in SFI Research Centres across Higher Education Institutions. Cultivating and maintaining positive research and development collaborations between the Ireland and the UK, as well as the rest of the world, is a priority for the Irish Government, and the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation is thrilled to be working with the EPSRC on this programme.” 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 collaborate with EPSRC on this excellent programme. Ireland and the UK are key drivers of impactful, world-leading research and it is important that we continue to strengthen our partnerships. The level of investment in the Centres for Doctoral Training is significant, and represents our commitment to prepare graduates for careers in research and beyond, and the emphasis we place on progressing international alliances and global opportunities for our researchers. I would like to congratulate the seven SFI Research Centres on their success in this programme and look forward to working with EPSRC over the coming years.” The Centres for Doctoral Training represent one of the UK’s most significant investments in research skills, supporting over seventy centres that will equip the next generation of doctoral level researchers across Engineering and Physical Sciences. The seven joint awards between Ireland and the UK will enable doctoral students based in Irish institutions to benefit from training opportunities and collaboration with Higher Education Institutions in the UK.  -Ends- 

Monday, 4 February 2019

NUI Galway’s Centre for Irish Studies will host ‘Women and Traditional Folk Music’, a one-day research symposium, on Saturday, 9 February, in the Hardiman Building, NUI Galway. Dr Tes Slominski of Beloit College, Wisconsin, a leading traditional Irish music and gender studies scholar, will deliver the keynote address. Her lecture ‘Shut Up and Play: Aesthetics and the Silencing of Social Critique in Irish Traditional Music’ addresses the connections between the aesthetics of silence and understatement in Irish traditional music, and the silencing of critiques about sexism, heterosexism, and racism in the Irish traditional music scene. Hosted by the music research network Comhrá Ceoil at the Centre for Irish Studies, in partnership with and in response to FairPlé, the symposium will provide an opportunity to explore, challenge and react to the experiences of women in traditional and folk music. The symposium will host an international field of presenters, including academics, musicians and singers, researchers and those involved with the archiving of traditional and folk music. Dr Méabh Ní Fhuartháin, Lecturer in Irish Studies at NUI Galway, said: “In the context of recent social action movements, in Ireland and elsewhere, the question of equality in areas of cultural production and the workplace loom large. Responding to these initiatives, and in particular the work of FairPlé, which seeks gender balance in Irish traditional and folk music, this one day research symposium provides an opportunity to explore, challenge and respond to the focused theme of ‘Women and traditional folk music’.” Full programme details and registration available at https://www.facebook.com/events/455255418243576/ or email irishstudies@nuigalway.ie for further information. Admission is €20 or €10 student/unwaged.   -Ends-

Monday, 4 February 2019

Applications open to female engineering students NUI Galway is delighted to announce that applications are now open to undergraduate female engineering students for scholarships to attend a unique and challenging engineering summer academy at the Univer­sity of Applied Sciences Upper Austria. The Academy, offered to only 30 female students from 15 different countries, is a two and a half week intensive programme com­bining theory with hands-on practical experience in engineering, informatics and natural sciences. Speaking about the scholarships and the International Summer Academy, Mary Dempsey, Senior Lecturer at the School of Engineering and Informatics, NUI Galway, said: “This is a super opportunity for young female students involved in the sciences and engineering. Those interested in pursuing a career or further studies in this area get a unique chance to broaden their technical and scientific knowledge, to develop international contacts and to experience learning in a creative and fun way.” The Academy programme is based around thematic areas of Natural Sciences, Engineering and Technology, and Computer Sciences and Informatics. Specific subject areas look at issues such as Synthetic biology: promises and dangers for society; Molecular biology: forensic DNA profiling and its computational analysis; Special high voltage applications in modern day technology; What computer science can learn from nature - Evolutionary optimization algorithms and data mining; Importance of online privacy; and Human and computer interaction Six NUI Galway students secured scholarships from the University to attend the Academy since 2017, and Biomedical student Aoife Fitzgerald said: “I thoroughly enjoyed my time there. Coming from a biomedical background I learnt a lot about the field of engineering that I did not know before. It really broadened my knowledge and changed the way I think about a variety of topics. I met girls from all over the world, learning about loads of different types of cultures. It is an experience I will never forget. We visited so many different places here that I would love to return to again one day.” -Ends-

Friday, 1 February 2019

Public Consultation now open to inform the new City Quarter Masterplan NUI Galway and Galway City Council have welcomed the commitment of the Government’s Urban Regeneration and Development Fund for the exciting regeneration of Nuns’ Island in the heart of Galway City.  The commitment supports a major planning exercise, to include a public consultation process which has now opened, to inform the preparation of a plan which will result in a strategy for a structured approach to regeneration of the lands at Nuns’ Island in Galway City, which is being prepared by internationally-renowned planners BDP, business strategy advisors Colliers International and quantity surveyors AECOM. The former industrial quarter is right in the centre of Galway and is set to be transformed by the masterplan into a new quarter that will enable the City to capitalise on its high-value ecosystem of innovation and culture to attract big multinational companies.   Community, educational, cultural, economic, start-up, environmental, residential and social uses will all be considered in the masterplan.  The plan is being developed as a collaborative venture between the University and Galway City Council. The masterplan encompassing 15 acres of Galway’s urban fabric will provide new spaces and give the City a centre-piece to confirm it as the capital for creativity, enterprise and quality of life. The waterways at the heart of Nuns’ Island have the potential to further enhance Galway’s reputation as a global landmark destination of quality. The first phase of the consultation process is now underway involving a programme of engagement with local residents, community and business groups, as well as other interested parties. This consultation process will inform the development of an integrated masterplan scheduled to be completed later this year. In welcoming the announcement, President of NUI Galway, Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh said: “We very much welcome this support from the Urban Regeneration Development Fund and are delighted to see an agreed vision that this part of our City has the potential to generate a range of community, economic, social, environmental and educational benefits.  This master-planning exercise will deliver fresh perspectives on the development of University lands and properties on Nuns’ Island. “Our dul chun cinn as a University is influenced strongly by the strengths of our hinterland and we welcome all views that will contribute to the long-term development of Nuns’ Island for the betterment of our community. This process will result in a plan with options for regenerating the area and we look forward to hearing the ideas of local residents, businesses, community groups and other interested parties as we collectively look to the future for this part of the City.” The Chief Executive of Galway City Council, Brendan McGrath said:  “On behalf of Galway City Council, I am delighted to see the further advancement in the development of the Nuns’ Island regeneration project and join with Professor Ó hÓgartaigh, President of NUI Galway in welcoming the inclusion of this signal partnership project in the Government’s Urban Regeneration Development Fund. We have been working closely with our partners and colleagues in the university to bring the project to this point and we look forward to engaging with all the stake-holder communities in this process of consultation. Galway City Council is committed to the triple concept of ‘People, Place and Process’ and in Nuns’ Island we look forward to building on the established strengths embedded in this city-centre area and to drawing together the complementary strands of education, culture, heritage, business and the residential community to improve and develop the local area in the context of our vibrant, dynamic city and region.” The plan 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.  Submissions to the consultation can be made to: nunsisland@nuigalway.ie with more information available at www.nuigalway.ie/nunsisland ENDS Fáiltíonn OÉ Gaillimh roimh mhaoiniú an Rialtais d’athnuachan Oileán Altanach Comhairliúchán Poiblí oscailte anois chun bonn eolais a chur faoi Mháistirphlean Cheathrú nua na Cathrach Chuir OÉ Gaillimh agus Comhairle Cathrach na Gaillimhe fáilte roimh ghealltanas Chiste Athnuachana agus Forbartha Uirbí an Rialtais d’athnuachan Oileán Altanach i gcroílár Chathair na Gaillimhe.  Tacaíonn an gealltanas le mórfheidhmiú pleanála, a áireoidh próiseas comhairliúcháin phoiblí atá oscailte anois, chun bonn eolais a chur faoi ullmhú plean a chuirfidh straitéis ar fáil le haghaidh cur chuige struchtúrtha i ndáil le hathnauchan na dtailte ag Oileán Altanach i gCathair na Gaillimhe. Is iad na pleanálaithe a bhfuil cáil idirnáisiúnta orthu, BDP, na comhairleoirí straitéise gnó, Colliers International agus na suirbhéirí cainníochta, AECOM atá i mbun an phlean a ullmhú. Tá an t-iarcheantar tionsclaíochta i gceartlár na Gaillimhe agus tá sé mar aidhm ag an máistirphlean ceantar nua a dhéanamh de a chuirfidh ar chumas na Cathrach leas a bhaint as an éiceachóras ardluach nuálaíochta agus cultúir a bhaineann léi chun cuideachtaí móra ilnáisiúnta a mhealladh.   Déanfar an úsáid éagsúil a d’fhéadfaí a bhaint as an gceantar a mheas sa mháistirphlean, mar atá úsáid do chúinsí pobail, oideachais, cultúrtha, eacnamaíocha, gnólachta nuathionscanta, comhshaoil, cónaitheacha agus sóisialta.  Tá an plean á fhorbairt mar fhiontar comhoibritheach idir an Ollscoil agus Comhairle Cathrach na Gaillimhe. Cuimseoidh an máistirphlean 15 acra de thalamh chathair na Gaillimhe agus cuirfear spásanna nua ar fáil agus cruthófar lárphíosa don Chathair chun í a dhaingniú mar phríomhchathair chruthaitheachta, fiontraíochta agus caighdeáin saoil. Tá sé de chumas ag na huiscebhealaí atá i gcroílár Oileán Altanach cur le cáil na Gaillimhe mar cheann scríbe domhanda don bharr feabhais. Tá an chéad chéim den phróiseas comhairliúcháin ar siúl anois agus mar chuid de táthar i mbun clár rannpháirtíochta le cónaitheoirí áitiúla, le grúpaí pobail agus gnó, chomh maith le páirtithe leasmhara eile. Cuirfidh an próiseas comhairliúcháin seo bonn eolais faoi fhorbairt an mháistirphlean chomhtháite atá le bheith curtha i gcrích níos déanaí i mbliana. Agus é ag cur fáilte roimh an bhfógra, bhí an méid seo a leanas le rá ag Uachtarán OÉ Gaillimh, an tOllamh Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh: “Cuirimid fáilte mhór roimh an tacaíocht seo ón gCiste Forbartha Athnuachana Uirbí agus tá áthas orainn fís aontaithe a fheiceáil go bhfuil de chumas ag an gcuid seo dár gCathair réimse buntáistí pobail, eacnamaíochta, sóisialta, comhshaoil agus oideachais a chruthú.  Cuirfidh an cleachtas máistirphleanála dearcadh úr ar fáil maidir le forbairt thailte agus fhoirgnimh na hOllscoile ar Oileán Altanach. Tá tionchar mór ag láidreachtaí ár gceantair ar ár ndul chun cinn mar Ollscoil agus cuirimid fáilte roimh gach tuairim a chuirfidh le forbairt fhadtéarmach Oileán Altanach chun ár bpobal a fheabhsú. Mar thoradh ar an bpróiseas seo beidh plean ina mbeidh roghanna chun an ceantar a athnuachan agus táimid ag tnúth le smaointe na n-áitritheoirí áitiúla, gnólachtaí, grúpaí pobail agus páirtithe leasmhara eile a chloisteáil agus muid ag féachaint le chéile ar thodhchaí don chuid seo den Chathair.” Dúirt Brendan McGrath, Príomhfheidhmeannach Chomhairle Cathrach na Gaillimhe:  “Thar ceann Chomhairle Cathrach na Gaillimhe, tá an-áthas orm an dul chun cinn breise a fheiceáil i bhforbairt thionscadal athnuachana Oileán Altanach agus cuirim fáilte, mar a rinne an tOllamh Ó hÓgartaigh, Uachtarán OÉ Gaillimh, roimh an tionscadal suntasach comhpháirtíochta seo i gCiste Forbartha Athnuachana Uirbí an Rialtais. Táimid ag obair go dlúth lenár gcomhpháirtithe agus comhghleacaithe san Ollscoil chun an tionscadal a thabhairt go dtí an pointe seo agus táimid ag tnúth le dul i gcomhairle leis na pobail uile atá i gceist sa phróiseas comhairliúcháin seo. Tá Comhairle Cathrach na Gaillimhe tiomanta don choincheap triarach ‘Daoine, Áit agus Próiseas’ agus san Oileán Altanach táimid ag tnúth le tógáil ar na láidreachtaí seanbhunaithe atá leabaithe sa cheantar lár cathrach seo agus chun na snáitheanna comhlántacha oideachais, cultúir, oidhreachta, gnó agus an phobail a thabhairt le chéile chun an ceantar áitiúil a fheabhsú agus a fhorbairt i gcomhthéacs ár gcathrach agus ár réigiúin bheoga agus dhinimiciúil.” Déanfar an plean a fhorbairt i gcomhpháirtíocht le Comhairle Cathrach na Gaillimhe mar chuid de na gealltanais i bPolasaí 5.1 de Phlean Forbartha Chomhairle Cathrach na Gaillimhe 2017-2023. Is féidir aighneachtaí i ndáil leis an gcomhairliúchán a dhéanamh chuig: nunsisland@nuigalway.ie agus tá tuilleadh eolais ar fáil ag www.nuigalway.ie/nunsisland CRÍOCH

Friday, 1 February 2019

Scientists and engineers based at the University of Limerick, NUI Galway and Ulster University, Coleraine have found that ship wrecks off the west coast of Ireland are acting as artificial reefs providing habitat for species more typically found in deeper waters or in canyons. It is thought the wrecks may be acting as refugia leading to improved species resilience to human impacts and climate change by increasing population connectivity. The recently unveiled Irish National Monuments Service Wreck Viewer lists the locations of more than 4,000 ship wrecks from a total of 18,000 records of potential wrecks in Irish waters giving some indication of the available infrastructure on the seafloor. In recent years, advanced technique scuba divers have started to dive on some of these wrecks located as deep as 150 metres but no deeper wrecks have been surveyed. Dr Anthony Grehan, School of Natural Sciences from NUI Galway and ocean scientist who made the discovery, said: “Divers report that wrecks are often festooned with corals and other species of epifauna. As such, the wrecks act as artificial reefs and given the quantity of wrecks in Irish waters, may make an important contribution to maintaining coral and other species by providing refugia and stepping stones for further colonisation or restoration of damaged habitats. By surveying these deeper wrecks we wanted to establish whether deeper reef forming corals could survive in shallower water.” A number of these wrecks lying in deep waters off the west coast of Kerry - beyond the reach of scuba divers - were identified using the Infomar wreck database and investigated for the first time by the team of SFI MaREI engineers and scientists led by Dr. Ger Dooly from the University of Limerick. Profiting from benign weather conditions at this time of year, the survey aboard the national Celtic Explorer (CE19001), successfully located and dove on two large - greater than 100 metres in length – wrecks using a newly commissioned University of Limerick Remotely Operated Vehicle nicknamed Étáin.  A high definition TV survey of one of the wrecks revealed that intact parts of the ship were indeed colonised by various colourful epifauna: anemones, solitary corals, oysters and brachiopods. The biggest surprise was finding a colony of the coral reef forming Lophelia pertusa, a stony coral species usually found below 500 metres or deeper in Irish waters. The colony was hanging from the apex of two plates where it was likely protected from fishing but still received a plentiful food supply. Speaking about locating the colony, Dr Anthony Grehan, NUI Galway, said: “This indicates that the species can survive in much shallower waters in Ireland than previously thought with implications for the design and management of marine protected areas and habitat restoration.  Indeed, recent scientific literature addressing ‘ocean sprawl’ points to some of the unexpected positive benefits of long-term structures found on the sea-floor. -Ends-

Wednesday, 30 January 2019

Mary McPartlan from the School of Humanities at NUI Galway was honoured with the Ireland United Sates Association (IUSA) Distinguished Alumni Award, which recognizes alumni for their achievements and demonstrated exemplary leadership in the IUSA alumni community. The award ceremony was part of the IUSA Conference and Alumni Awards held in Dublin last Thursday, 24 January. Mary McPartlan received the award in recognition of her professional excellence, her commitment to the Irish-US relationship, and her outstanding contribution to culture, education and music. The award was presented to Mary by Emmy-winning former CNN correspondent and anchor, Gina London along with a second recipient for the Emerging Leader Award, Ben English, co-founder and former CEO of the Dublin Tech Summit. Mary McPartlan received a Fullbright Scholarship in 2013 to Lehman College (CUNY) and Berea College in Kentucky. While in New York, she taught a module on ‘The History of Irish Traditional Culture and Women Traditional Singers since the 1950’s in Ireland’ and a series of lectures on ‘Irish Contemporary Plays and Playwrights’. She undertook research in Irish song material in New York and a study of the great American Folk singer and song collector, Jean Ritchie from the Appalachian Mountains, Viper, Kentucky. In New York she collaborated with the renowned jazz pianist, Bertha Hope, experimenting with American jazz and Irish folk music, culminating in a series of concerts and an album partly recorded in New York in 2015. During that time Bertha Hope came to Ireland to perform with Mary on two occasions. From her research at Berea College and her close collaboration with artists and academics in association the International Affairs Office at NUI Galway, Mary developed close ties between Berea College and NUI Galway, which culminated in the ‘Jean Ritchie MA Scholarship’ for a student from Berea College to undertake an MA at NUI Galway. The Jean Ritchie Scholarship is now in its third year and has firmly established a student exchange programme between Berea Drama Department and NUI Galway’s O’Donoghue Centre for Drama and Theatre Performance, fostering deep academic and cultural ties between Ireland and the US. Along with her academic role, Mary is also the Creative Director of the hugely successful Arts in Action Programme at NUI Galway, where the creative arts are fully embedded into academic programmes and students from all disciplines across the country take modules, receive credits and experience excellence at an international level in all of the creative arts. Mary is also the producer of the University’s Medical Orchestra, formed in 2011. Mary is also a well-known professional singer, with albums including the critically acclaimed The Holland Handkerchief, Petticoat Loose and From Mountain to Mountain. She is also known for her outstanding contribution to traditional Irish music and has produced many significant national cultural events, including the TG4 National Traditional Music Awards, a twelve-part music series for TG4 founded and produced by the award winning theatre company, Skehana Productions. The IUSA Awards are bestowed upon alumni of US Government exchange programs who have demonstrated excellence in their chosen profession; who are committed to promoting the special relationship between Ireland and the US; and who have made an outstanding contribution to philanthropy to their communities or to greater society. The IUSA Annual Conference and Alumni Awards 2019 theme, ‘Looking Forward: US – Irish Relations, New Europe and New Challenges’ looked forward with hope and confidence to the challenges and opportunities ahead for Ireland along with prominent speakers setting out their view on the current state of the world and our potential future.

Wednesday, 30 January 2019

The 2019 Monsignor Pádraig de Brún Memorial Lecture, entitled Climate Change and the Financial System, will be delivered by Philip Lane, Governor of the Central Bank of Ireland. The lecture will take place on Tuesday, 5 February at 5.30pm in the Human Biology Building, NUI Galway. Central Bank Governor Philip Lane will address the implications of climate change for the Irish financial system. All sectors will be affected by climate change, whether through exposure to weather-related shocks or the economy-wide transition to low-carbon means of production and consumption. These structural changes will require considerable investment by households, enterprises and Government to retrofit buildings and switch to low-carbon production techniques and transportation methods. The funding of this investment is just one of the challenges facing the financial system. In addition, it must cope with carbon-related market risks and credit risks, a reduction in the insurability of climate-vulnerable regions and activities and the tail risks of macroeconomic and financial instability. Given the scope and severity of these risks, addressing climate change is now high on the policy agendas of the central banking and regulatory communities. Accordingly, this lecture will outline the climate-related work agenda facing the Central Bank of Ireland.  Welcoming the 2019 De Brún lecture, NUI Galway President, Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh said: “I’m delighted to welcome Philip Lane to campus for this important public lecture. Now recognised as one of the most pressing and urgent issues of our time, climate change is central to public policy across the globe. Addressing climate change through financial systems is one of the most powerful ways to effect policy reform and I look forward to learning more about the interventions required by this social imperative. I’m delighted that the theme of this year’s De Brún lecture reflects work undertaken here at NUI Galway, at the Whitaker Institute and in other research groups dealing with environmental and social change. Monsignor Pádraic de Brún, whose legacy we honour with this lecture, was one my predecessors as Uachtarán and a multi-disciplinary scholar – mathematician, linguist, poet. In that spirit, climate change will require multi-disciplinary inquiry and intervention from all disciples - science, social sciences, engineering and the arts - in order to address what is surely one of the most fundamental issues of our age.”  Philip R. Lane is the 11th Governor of the Central Bank of Ireland, and a member of the European Central Bank’s (ECB) Governing Council and chair of the European Systemic Risk Board’s (ESRB) Advisory Technical Committee. His research interests include financial globalisation, macroeconomics of exchange rates and capital flows, macroeconomic policy design and European monetary integration. His work has been published in the American Economic Review, Review of Economics and Statistics, Journal of Economic Perspectives, Journal of International Economics, NBER Macroeconomics Annual and many other journals.   He was the inaugural recipient of the German Bernacer Award in Monetary Economics for outstanding contributions to European monetary economics, and the co-recipient of the Bhagwati Prize from the Journal of International Economics. He has also acted as an academic consultant for the European Central Bank, European Commission, International Monetary Fund, World Bank, OECD, Asian Development Bank and a number of national central banks. This biennial public lecture is held in honour of Monsignor Pádraic de Brún who served as University President from 1945 until 1959. The memorial lecture, given by internationally renowned artists, experts and academics, have been running since the 1960s – among the most recognised of De Brún speakers was Professor Stephen Hawking who in 1994 gave a public lecture on “Life in the Universe”.  The lecture is open to the public and will be followed by a reception with refreshments. -Ends- Léacht Chuimhneacháin an Mhoinsíneora de Brún 2019 le súil a chaitheamh ar Athrú Aeráide agus an Córas Airgeadais Is é Philip Lane, Gobharnóir Bhanc Ceannais na hÉireann, a thabharfaidh Léacht Chuimhneacháin an Mhoinsíneora Pádraig de Brún 2019, dar teideal Climate Change and the Financial System. Reáchtálfar an léacht Dé Máirt, an 5 Feabhra ag 5.30pm in Áras na Bitheolaíochta Daonna, OÉ Gaillimh. Tabharfaidh Gobharnóir an Bhainc Ceannais aghaidh ar na himpleachtaí atá ag athrú aeráide do chóras airgeadais na hÉireann. Níl earnáil ar bith ann nach mbeidh tionchar ag athrú aeráide uirthi, bíodh sin trí nochtadh d'eachtraí suaite atá bainteach leis an aimsir nó tríd an aistriú atá ag tarlú ar fud an gheilleagair go dtí modhanna táirgthe agus tomhaltais ísealcharbóin. I bhfianaise na n-athruithe struchtúracha seo, beidh ar theaghlaigh, ar ghnólachtaí agus ar an Rialtas infheistíocht shuntasach a dhéanamh chun foirgnimh a athfheistiú agus chun aistriú go dtí teicnící táirgthe agus modhanna iompair ísealcharbóin. Níl i maoiniú na hinfheistíochta seo ach ceann amháin de na dúshláin atá roimh an gcóras airgeadais. Anuas air sin, ní mór dó déileáil le rioscaí margaidh agus le rioscaí creidmheasa a bhaineann le carbón, le deacrachtaí árachas a fháil i gcás réigiún nó gníomhaíochtaí atá leochaileach don athrú aeráide agus leis na rioscaí eirre a bhaineann le míshocracht mhaicreacnamaíoch agus airgeadais. I bhfianaise scóip agus dhéine na rioscaí sin, tá aird na bpobal baincéireachta ceannais agus rialála dírithe anois ar an gcaoi le dul i ngleic le hathrú aeráide agus iad i mbun ceapadh polasaithe. Déanfar cur síos sa léacht seo, dá réir sin, ar an gclár oibre atá roimh an mBanc Ceannais féachaint le haghaidh a thabhairt ar athrú aeráide.  Ag é ag cur fáilte roimh léacht de Brún 2019, dúirt Uachtarán OÉ Gaillimh, an tOllamh Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh: “Tá an-áthas orm fáilte a chur roimh Philip Lane go dtí an campas ar ócáid na léachta poiblí tábhachtaí seo. Aithnítear go forleathan anois go bhfuil an t-athrú aeráide ar cheann de na fadhbanna is práinní atá roimh lucht déanta polasaí ar fud an domhain. Ceann de na modhanna is cumhachtaí chun athchóiriú polasaí a bhaint amach is ea aghaidh a thabhairt ar athrú aeráide trí chórais airgeadais agus tá mé ag súil tuilleadh a fhoghlaim faoi na hidirghabhálacha atá de dhíth chun tabhairt faoin gceanglas sóisialta seo. Tá an-áthas orm go dtarraingíonn léacht de Brún na bliana seo aird ar an obair atá idir lámha anseo in OÉ Gaillimh, in Institiúid Whitaker agus i ngrúpaí taighde eile atá ag plé le hathrú comhshaoil agus sóisialta. Duine de na hUachtaráin a chuaigh romham ba ea an Moinsíneoir Pádraig de Brún a bhfuil a oidhreacht á hurramú againn leis an léacht seo, fear a bhí ina ileolaí – matamaiticeoir, teangeolaí, file. Sa chomhthéacs sin, beidh fiosrúchán agus idirghabháil ildisciplíneach ag teastáil – ó dhisciplíní na heolaíochta, na n-eolaíochtaí sóisialta, na hinnealtóireachta agus na ndán – chun dul i ngleic le ceann de na saincheisteanna is bunúsaí dár ré.” Is é Philip R. Lane an 11ú Gobharnóir ar Bhanc Ceannais na hÉireann, agus é ina chomhalta de Chomhairle Rialúcháin Bhanc Ceannais na hEorpa (ECB) agus ina chathaoirleach ar Choiste Teicniúil Comhairleach an Bhoird Eorpaigh um Riosca Sistéamach (ESRB). I measc na réimsí taighde atá aige, áirítear domhandú airgeadais, maicreacnamaíocht rátaí malairte agus sreabha caipitil, dearadh polasaithe maicreacnamaíocha agus comhtháthú airgeadaíochta na hEorpa. Tá ailt leis foilsithe san American Economic Review, Review of Economics and Statistics, Journal of Economic Perspectives, Journal of International Economics, NBER Macroeconomics Annual agus go leor irisí eile. Ba é an chéad duine é ar bronnadh Gradam German Bernacer in Eacnamaíocht Airgeadaíochta air as a chion éachtach i réimse eacnamaíoch airgeadaíochta na hEorpa, agus bhí sé ar dhuine d'fhaighteoirí Dhuais Bhagwati ón Journal of International Economics. Tá tréimhsí caite aige chomh maith mar chomhairleoir acadúil do Bhanc Ceannais na hEorpa, an Coimisiún Eorpach, an Ciste Airgeadaíochta Idirnáisiúnta, an Banc Domhanda, an Eagraíocht um Chomhar agus Fhorbairt Eacnamaíochta (OECD), Banc Forbartha na hÁise mar aon le roinnt banc ceannais náisiúnta eile. Tionóltar an léacht phoiblí dhébhliantúil in onóir an Mhoinsíneora Pádraig de Brún a bhí ina Uachtarán ar an Ollscoil ó 1945 go 1959. Ealaíontóirí, saineolaithe agus acadóirí a bhfuil cáil idirnáisiúnta orthu a thugann an léacht cuimhneacháin seo atá á reáchtáil ó na 1960í. Duine de chainteoirí de Brún ab aitheanta dá raibh ann ba ea an tOllamh Stephen Hawking a thug léacht phoiblí in 1994 dar teideal “Life in the Universe”. Tá cead isteach ag an bpobal ag an léacht agus beidh fáiltiú ina dhiaidh, áit a gcuirfear sólaistí ar fáil. -Críoch-

Tuesday, 29 January 2019

NUI Galway will host a public event with members from the Tuam Home Survivors Network exploring the topic of ‘Archiving Personal Histories: The Tuam Mother and Baby Home’. The event, co-organised by the University’s Department of History and the James Hardiman Library will take place on Thursday, 7 February in Áras na Mac Léinn. The day will begin with a survivor-led workshop involving members of the Network, and staff and students from the University. The attendees are then invited to attend two panel discussions exploring the issues of collecting and archiving oral histories of the Tuam Mother and Baby Home. Speakers at the event will include Catherine Corless, Breeda Murphy, Catríona Crowe, Conall Ó Fátharta, Dr Barry Houlihan, Dr Sarah-Anne Buckley, Dr John Cunningham, Professor Caroline McGregor and Dr Caitríona Clear. In the evening, NUI Galway’s President Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh will launch ‘The Tuam Oral History Project’ in the foyer of the new Human Biology Building. The project, which is survivor-led, involves the collecting of oral histories from survivors of the Tuam home, as well as people from the local area or those with an interest in contributing to the project. The primary researchers are Dr John Cunningham and Dr Sarah-Anne Buckley from NUI Galway’s Department of History. The oral histories will be housed in the James Hardiman Library. Elaine Feeney will direct creative projects stemming from the recorded histories, which will be inter-generational, multi-disciplinary and involve survivors and contemporary artists. The creative project will also liaise with local schools and the wider community.  Dr Sarah-Anne Buckley, Department of History, NUI Galway, said: “We hope that through this event and the wider project, the voices of survivors and members of the community in Tuam will be brought to the fore. We hope that the survivor-led approach and the creative element of the programme can be used in exploring experiences of other institutions. Historical justice is a key part of this, as these stories have relevance not only to Ireland but to a variety of countries and contexts.” Dr Barry Houlihan of the Hardiman Library states: “This seminar will discuss the role of oral history and survivor-led testimony as well as its importance for those seeking to make their stories and experiences heard. Archives and oral history provide spaces for reflection for present and future communities as well looking on the past. These testimonies will provide an important resource for access to private and public histories and experiences for future generations.” Following the launch, there will be songs from Padraig Stevens and poetry from Elaine Feeney. At 6.15pm, there will be a screening of Mia Malarkey’s documentary, ‘Mother and Baby’, followed by panel discussion involving Mia, survivor Peter Mulryan, Breeda Murphy from the Tuam Home Survivors Network and campaigner Eunan Duffy. To register for the event please visit https://bit.ly/2Rl7goJ. For more information or to contribute your story to the project please email tuamoralhistoryproject@gmail.com.

Tuesday, 29 January 2019

Details have been announced of NUI Galway’s 20th annual Gala Banquet, which will take place on campus. The 2019 Gala Banquet will include the Alumni Awards ceremony and will take place in the Bailey Allen Hall, NUI Galway on Saturday, 13 April at 7pm. The highlight of the evening, which has established itself as a premier national event and one of the key social occasions in the West of Ireland, is the presentation of the annual Alumni Awards. These awards recognise individual excellence and achievements among the University’s graduates worldwide. The awards programme boasts an impressive roll call of  outstanding graduates who have gone on to honour their alma mater, including, for example, President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins; Ireland’s first female Attorney General, Máire Whelan; Irish Olympians, Olive Loughnane and Paul Hession; Irish Rugby international Ciarán Fitzgerald; RTÉ broadcaster, Seán O’Rourke; and actress, Marie Mullen. The seven alumni award categories on the night will include:  Alumni Award for Arts, Literature and Celtic Studies Alumni Award for Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences Alumni Award for Business and Commerce Alumni Award for Engineering, Science and Technology Alumni Award for Law, Public Policy and Government Alumni Award for Contribution to Sport  Gradam Alumni don Ghaeilge Tickets can be reserved by contacting Louise Monahan, Alumni Relations at +353 91 494310 louise.monahan@nuigalway.ie to reserve your place. Tickets are €150 per person or a table of 10 for €1400. 

Tuesday, 29 January 2019

NUI Galway and Galway 2020 are offering an exciting opportunity to get involved with the Galway 2020 digital programme through the ground-breaking initiative – Future Landscapes. Future Landscapes is an intensive four-week programme created in a collaboration between the Moore Institute at NUI Galway and Galway 2020, as part of the Galway 2020 digital programme. Run by Rachel Uwa of the internationally-renowned ‘School of Machines, Making and Make-believe’ based in Berlin, the programme will focus on enhancing physical and social landscapes through technology and exploring the potentials of Mixed Reality (MR). Taking place in May 2019, the programme is aimed at anyone involved in creative projects (such as architects, designers, makers, artists, musicians, performers), and researchers and students from Arts and Humanities at NUI Galway. Applications for the programme, as well as for a limited number of fee-waiver bursaries, will close on Wednesday, 28 February 2019. A technical background is not required to participate. Mixed Reality is the mix of real and virtual worlds where physical and digital objects co-exist and interact in real time. MR comes with various powerful features such as mapping physical surroundings, monitoring gestures, and language processing for voice recognition and more. Mixed reality directs a new way of working by offering ‘real-world, real-life’ experiences. Pokemon Go used these techniques to capture the public interest and brought MR into the mainstream. Creative uses of these technologies might involve augmenting Galway’s landscape to show a historical or literary perspective, or exploring Galway’s various social landscapes in creative ways. While various types of augmented and virtual reality systems have existed for some time, recent advances in mobile technology platforms provide us with more powerful ways of creating and sharing these experiences with a wider audience. In this workshop, participants will consider ways of enhancing both the landscapes that we can see around us, as well as those that are unseen, such as political or economic landscapes. Much experimentation is yet to be done by utilising the other capabilities of handheld devices to stream live data, communicate with others, and incorporate information from built-in sensors, and some of these will be explored throughout the programme.  David Kelly, Digital Humanities Manager at the Moore Institute for Research in Humanities and Social Studies, NUI Galway, said: “The programme is an exciting collaboration between the arts and humanities research community and the creative and technical communities. This project will help participants to develop skills to allow them to communicate their research in new and exciting ways. Mixed Reality is an emerging area that has lots of potential, which hasn’t been explored to its full extent yet. It’s important when we’re thinking about capacity building as a part of Galway 2020 and that the University’s community has the opportunity to be a part of it.” Marilyn Reddan, Head of Programme at Galway 2020, said: “Galway 2020 is delighted to be announcing this collaboration with the Moore Institute at NUI Galway and School of Machines in Berlin. Our programme is built on an exciting collaboration and partnership. We’re looking forward to this project, which will explore how Mixed Reality with the blend of Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality changes the way users create, connect, and collaborate with a new holographic experience.” The project has been co-funded by Galway 2020 and by NUI Galway’s Higher Education Authority (HEA) project on Digital Literacy in Irish Humanities. For further information and application details, visit:  http://mooreinstitute.ie/event/future-landscapes/

Tuesday, 29 January 2019

Tomás Ó Neachtain, the 2018/19 Sean-Nós Singer-in-Residence at NUI Galway, will give a series of sean-nós singing workshops beginning at 7pm on Tuesday, 5 February, in the Seminar Room at the Centre for Irish Studies, NUI Galway. Born and raised in Coilleach, An Spidéal, Tomás is part of a family which has a long and rich tradition of sean-nós singing. It is from his father, Tomás, that he heard and learned most of his singing, and indeed his father had learned from his father before him. His son Seosamh, a renowned sean-nós dancer and musician, was appointed as the first Sean-nós Dancer in Residence at the Centre for Irish Studies in 2009. The workshops are free and open to all. This project is funded by Ealaín na Gaeltachta, Údarás na Gaeltachta and An Chomhairle Ealaíon in association with the Centre for Irish Studies at NUI Galway. Further information available from Samantha Williams at 091-492051 or samantha.williams@nuigalway.ie -Ends- Ceardlann amhránaíochta ar an sean-nós, in Ollscoil na hÉireann, Gaillimh  Cuirfear tús le sraith de cheardlanna amhránaíochta ar an sean-nós san Ionad an Léinn Éíreannaigh, Ollscoil na hÉireann, Gaillimh ag 7pm Dé Máirt, 5 Feabhra. Rugadh agus tógadh Tomás i gCoilleach, sa Spidéal. Chaith sé seal i Sasana mar fhear óg, ach is sa Choilleach a thóg sé féin is a bhean chéile Nancy a gclann. Bhí an teach inar tógadh Tomás lán d’amhránaíocht agus thug sé leis go leor amhrán óna athair, Tomás, a shealbhaigh an traidisiún áirithe sin óna athair féin. Dar ndóigh, ceapadh a mhac Seosamh mar Rinceoir Cónaitheach Sean-nóis in Ollscoil na hÉireann, Gaillimh sa bhliain 2009, an chéad duine riamh ar bronnadh an gradam sin air. Tá na ceardlanna saor in aisce agus beidh fáilte roimh chách. Tuilleadh eolais ó Samantha Williams ag 091-512428 nó samantha.williams@nuigalway.ie. -Críoch-

Monday, 28 January 2019

CÚRAM, the Science Foundation Ireland Centre for Research in Medical Devices based at NUI Galway will be involved in three key industry projects worth almost €5 million (€4.8 million) following the recent announcement of the Government’s Disruptive Technologies Innovation Fund. CÚRAM teams, in collaboration with industry partners, will be driving disruptive innovation on the key areas of medtech and connected health. Professor Abhay Pandit, Scientific Director at CÚRAM in NUI Galway, said: “This funding of €4.8 million to CÚRAM research labs is a strong recognition of our pivotal role in the development of the next generation of medical devices and implants that target chronic illnesses. This funding is also a reflection of the close collaborative relationship we have with key industry partners with whom we will continue to work closely with on the development of these disruptive technology projects.” Partnered with industry, the AURIGEN project will see €5.9 million being invested in a solution for persistent Atrial fibrillation of the heart. Atrial fibrillation (AF) is the most common heart rhythm disturbance in the US and Europe, significantly affecting the lives of those afflicted, causing symptoms that range from palpitations to fatigue, weakness and activity intolerance, and substantially increasing the risks of stroke, congestive heart failure, dementia and death. The consortium of AuriGen Medical (a BioInnovate Ireland spin out based at NUI Galway), the Translational Medical Device (TMD) Lab at NUI Galway and Tyndall, UCC have unique experience, expertise and proprietary technologies, which place this group in an unprecedented position to deliver a uniquely effective therapy capable of addressing both the stroke and arrhythmia risk associated with Atrial fibrillation.  The second project also sees the TMD-Lab partnering on the SMART CARDIO research project with AtriAN Medical who are also based at NUI Galway. The team will seek to develop and optimise ablation technologies for the minimally invasive treatment of particular cardiac disorders.   Dr Martin O’Halloran, Director of the TMD-Lab at NUI Galway, said: “These exciting research projects with a combined value to the TMD-Lab of almost €2 million are further evidence of NUI Galway establishing itself as a world-leader in ablation medical technology. The funding will bring an additional 10 senior post-doctoral ablation engineers to Galway, and in collaboration with our industry partners, will drive significant employment in the sector. The research will draw on expertise from both Engineering (Dr Adnan Elahi) and Medicine (Dr Atif Shahzad and Dr Leo Quinlan) from NUI Galway to deliver these disruptive technologies.” The third project, ARDENT II will create a new therapy for patients suffering from rhinitis, an inflammatory disease which presents as nasal congestion, rhinorrhoea, sneezing and nasal itching. Congestion and rhinorrhoea are the two most impactful symptoms on a patient’s quality of life, which are usually present lifelong. Affecting tens of millions of patients worldwide, an effective treatment does not exist for moderate or severe suffers, creating a multi-billion-euro opportunity for disruptive technologies. A consortium of Neurent Medical Ltd (a BioInnovate Ireland spin out) and the Biggs lab at CÚRAM will benefit from the €2.8 million in Disruptive Technologies Innovation Funding which will be invested in the development of a new medical device technology, to address this inflammatory nasal condition through an innovative neuromodulation approach. Dr Manus Biggs from CÚRAM at NUI Galway, said: “We are excited to work with Neurent Medical on the development of a novel approach to a significant global medical challenge. The commitment of the Irish government to the development of forward thinking disruptive technologies has the potential to place Ireland at the forefront of biomedical engineering research and development.” The Government’s Disruptive Technologies Innovation Fund, setup as part of the Project Ireland 2040 capital investment plan, aims to provide finance to projects that tackle national and global challenges in a way that will create and secure jobs into the future. -Ends-

Monday, 28 January 2019

NUI Galway will host the Spring Postgraduate Open Day on Wednesday, 6 February, from 12-3pm in the Bailey Allen Hall, Áras na Mac Léinn. The Open Day will showcase all of NUI Galway’s full-time and part-time postgraduate programmes, including taught and research masters, as well as doctoral research options. The Postgraduate Open Day will focus on the benefits of doing a postgraduate programme and the practicalities of making an application. There will be a number of talks including Application Practicalities, Employability, Research Funding Opportunities and there will also be a Personal Statement Workshop run by NUI Galway’s Career Development Centre. Sarah Geraghty, Student Recruitment and Outreach Manager at NUI Galway, stresses the importance of timing for those considering undertaking postgraduate study: “The current graduate jobs market is buoyant for NUI Galway postgraduates with an employability rate of 94% (in employment, training or further education), making this a good time to pursue a market driven and innovative Masters programme. Whether you wish to upskill, change direction or further your knowledge and expertise in a specialised field, NUI Galway’s 170 taught postgraduate courses at NUI Galway are designed to prepare graduates for the workplace of the future.” NUI Galway are launching a range of new postgraduate programmes for entry in 2019, including MSc Computer Science (Artificial Intelligence), MEd (Education Leadership), LLM International Migration and Refugee Law and Policy, MSc Cheminformatics and Toxicology, and Postgraduate Certificate in Health Promotion (Cardiovascular Health and Diabetes Prevention), amongst others. Information on all new programmes, along with NUI Galway’s other Postgraduate programmes, will be available at Postgraduate Open Day. To view NUI Galway’s new and unique postgraduate programmes and to book a place at the Open Day visit www.nuigalway.ie/postgraduate-open-day or simply call in on the day.

Monday, 28 January 2019

NUI Galway will host a CAO information evening for students, parents, guardians and guidance counsellors in the Strand Hotel in Limerick on Thursday, 31 January from 7-9pm.   The evening will begin with short talks about NUI Galway and the undergraduate courses it offers. Afterwards, current students and NUI Galway staff will be on hand to answer any individual questions in relation to courses and practical issues like accommodation, fees and scholarships, and the wide range of support services available to our students. The ever-increasing popularity of NUI Galway is in-part due to its innovative programmes developed in response to the changing needs of the employment market. NUI Galway is launching three new Arts degrees for enrolment in 2019. This includes a BA (History and Globalisation), BA Government (Politics, Economics and Law) and a BA Education (Computer Science and Mathematical Studies). The University will also launch a new degree in Law and Human Rights for 2019. At the information evening there will be a representative from each of the University’s five colleges available to answer questions about the programmes on offer, entry requirements, and placement and employment opportunities. Representatives from Shannon College of Hotel Management will also attend the event. Members of the Accommodation Office will be on hand to answer any queries about on-campus or off-campus options, including the new Goldcrest on-campus development, which sees 429 new beds this year, bringing the total of on-campus beds to 1193. Sarah Geraghty, Student Recruitment and Outreach Manager at NUI Galway, said: “Students choose NUI Galway as they want to study with the best academic and research minds in their field. They want to study in our new state-of-the-art facilities, such as the new Human Biology Building for medicine students and in Ireland’s largest engineering school, the Alice Perry Engineering Building. The location of our campus in the heart of Galway city appeals to students who want to live in a vibrant and creative city and who want to find a new home away from home. We look forward to meeting Leaving Cert students and their parents to explore if NUI Galway is the right fit for their third level studies.” With the CAO deadline for applications approaching on 1st February this is the perfect opportunity for parents and students to find out more about the opportunities at NUI Galway, and how to make the right CAO choice for them. For more information contact Caroline, Duggan School Liaison Officer on caroline.duggan@nuigalway.ie or 087 2391219.

Thursday, 24 January 2019

NUI Galway has been awarded almost €420,000 in funding for developing new technology for faster clinical detection and diagnosis of bacterial infections such as Pseudomonas aeruginosa, a key cause of mortality in Cystic Fibrosis patients. Dr Joseph Byrne from NUI Galway received his award as part of a government investment of €10.8 million in Irish research funding through Science Foundation Ireland’s (SFI) Starting Investigator Research Grant (SIRG), announced by Minister of State for Trade, Employment, Business, EU Digital Single Market and Data Protection, Pat Breen TD. With awards ranging from €376,000 to €425,000 over four years, the projects funded will support 20 researchers and a further 20 PhD students in the research areas of health, energy, environment, materials and technology. Many disease-causing bacteria produce proteins, which are known to interact with sugar molecules. These interactions will allow the design of useful sensors. Dr Byrne’s research will develop novel devices that will indicate the presence of specific bacteria through colour changes, caused by the interactions of their proteins with laboratory-produced sugar-based chemical compounds on the surface of newly-designed materials. This will provide a convenient visual strategy to identify disease-causing bacteria. 3D-printing will be used to create these compact diagnostic devices, which will benefit patient outcomes and quality of life. This new technology could also be deployed in other scenarios such as detecting bacterial contamination of water supplies. Speaking about his funding award, Dr Joseph Byrne from NUI Galway, said: “Rapid diagnosis of bacteria is vital to inform appropriate medical treatment strategies and combat increasing antibiotic resistance globally. By providing a new methodology for rapid diagnosis of bacterial infection, my work will facilitate quicker decision-making on targeted medical treatment strategies for patients. In Ireland this would be particularly valuable for rapid diagnosis of Pseudomonas aeruginosa infections, a significant risk factor for cystic fibrosis patients (as well as others with compromised immune systems). More generally, helping clinicians avoid the use of broad-spectrum antibiotics would help combat the global challenge of increased antibiotic resistance.”    Speaking about the awards, Minister Breen said: “I am delighted to announce these SFI Starting Investigator Awards which allow researchers to advance their work and further develop their careers as the next research leaders in Ireland and internationally. These innovative projects demonstrate the impressive cutting-edge research taking place across Ireland, which has significant potential to positively advance Ireland’s economy and society, and further solidify its reputation as a world-leader in scientific advancements.” Welcoming the announcement, Professor Mark Ferguson, Director General of Science Foundation Ireland and Chief Scientific Adviser to the Government of Ireland, said: “Science Foundation Ireland supports researchers at every stage of their careers. The SIRG awards help early-career researchers develop the essential skills and experience necessary to lead Ireland’s future research in areas such as health, energy, materials and technology. Having passed through a rigorous competitive international merit review process, these projects continue to advance Ireland’s international research. A native of Newbridge, Co. Kildare, Dr Joseph Byrne joins the School of Chemistry and CÚRAM, the Science Foundation Ireland Centre for Research in Medical Devices at NUI Galway, following a Marie Curie Research Fellowship at Universität Bern, Switzerland. His main research focus is developing new technology for faster clinical diagnosis of bacterial infections by exploiting interactions between biomolecules and the innovative sensor materials, which will be designed during the course of this SIRG project. The research will be multidisciplinary, building on fundamental chemistry and biochemical interactions to develop diagnostic devices using 3D-printing technology.

Wednesday, 23 January 2019

Galway University Musical Society’s (GUMS) 19th annual show ‘Pippin – The Musical’ will be staged in the Black Box Theatre from Tuesday 5-9 February at 8pm. ‘Pippin’ is a 1972 musical with music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz and a book by Roger O. Hirson. The musical uses the premise of a mysterious performance troupe, led by a Leading Player, to tell the story of Pippin, a young prince on his search for meaning and significance. Cian Elwood, GUMS Auditor, said: “Pippin is an amazing theatrical experience from the moment the audience sits down to the finale. Be prepared to be blown away by the one of the best GUMS' shows to hit the BlackBox stage!” GUMS is an amateur society run by students with a passion for musicals. Their productions have been nominated for numerous The Associations of Musical Societies (AIMS) awards, most recently nominated for best choreography in 2017. They have received rave reviews throughout their years in NUI Galway and a number of their previous cast members have gone on to study musical theatre in London. NUI Galway Societies Officer Riona Hughes said: “From September the Musical Society has been rehearsing tirelessly for this year's production of Pippin. We are all very excited to see what they have in store for all to see in the Black Box Theatre.” Tickets are €15 or €12 for concession (students or OAPs). Tickets are on sale now online at www.tht.ie and from the Town Hall Theatre and the Socs Box in Áras na Mac Léinn, NUI Galway.

Wednesday, 23 January 2019

Study Finds Wearable Electronic Device May Reduce Mobility Issues in Parkinson’s Disease Wednesday, 23 January, 2018: Engineers and scientists at NUI Galway in collaboration with clinical professionals from NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde (NHSGGC) have carried out a clinical study which has produced promising results for people with Parkinson’s disease with mobility issues. The research found that ‘fixed’ rhythmic sensory electrical stimulation (sES) designed to prevent Freezing of Gait (movement abnormality), significantly reduced the time taken for a person with Parkinson’s disease to complete a walking task and the number of ‘Freezing of Gait’ episodes which occurred, helping them to walk more effectively. The study involved a group of people with Parkinson’s testing how effective the sES electronic device was in helping them to manage this debilitating motor symptom of Parkinson’s disease. The findings of the study were published in the Journal of Healthcare Engineering. Professor Gearóid Ó Laighin and the research team from the Human Movement Laboratory in CÚRAM at NUI Galway have a programme of research developing a suite of unobtrusive, wearable electronic devices to help manage this debilitating motor symptom of Parkinson’s disease. As part of this work, the project team have developed a novel wearable electronic device worn around the waist, called ‘cueStim’, designed to prevent or relieve Freezing of Gait, commonly described by people with Parkinson’s, as a feeling as if their feet are stuck or glued to the floor preventing them from moving forward. The condition gained prominence recently when Billy Connolly spoke of his fear of being unable to move freely on stage in his documentary Made in Scotland. Speaking candidly about the abnormality, the much loved comedian said: “I didn’t know how standing there would feel...I discovered that I got kinda rooted to the spot and became afraid to move. Instead of going away to the front of the stage and prowling along the front the way I used to do I stood where I was.” NUI Galway Co-investigator, Dr. Leo Quinlan, from Physiology in the School of Medicine at NUI Galway, said: “These results are very encouraging as they show that cueStim reduced Freezing of Gait episodes and the time to complete a walking task in an independent clinical assessment with a pilot home-based study carried out by NHSGGC.” Professor Gearóid Ó Laighin, said: “We are now seeking additional clinical partners to work with NUI Galway in carrying out a comprehensive long-term clinical evaluation of cueStim in enhancing the quality of life of people with Parkinson’s disease through a funded programme of research.” The clinical study was designed by Dr Anne-Louise Cunnington, Consultant Geriatrician and Ms Lois Rosenthal, Movement Disorder Specialist and Highly Specialised Physiotherapist, both from NHSGGC, and involved the participants completing a home based self-identified walking  Ms Lois Rosenthal, NHSGGC, said: “Freezing of gait is one of the most frustrating and difficult symptoms for patients to suffer and specialists to treat. This common feature of Parkinson’s is not improved by Parkinson’s medications, and is inconsistently responsive to cueing techniques trialled by physiotherapists. This collaboration between NUI Galway and NHSGGC explored a novel intervention and results were very encouraging. We now need a larger scale study to further evaluate effectiveness and real-life practicality.” The cueStim system was developed by Dean Sweeney as part of his PhD studies in the Discipline of Electrical and Electronic Engineering at NUI Galway. The results provide evidence that sensory electrical stimulation cueing delivered in a “fixed” rhythmic manner has the potential to be an effective cueing mechanism for Freezing of Gait prevention. The study was jointly funded by Science Foundation Ireland and the Framework 7 programme of the European Commission and was carried out in collaboration with Stobhill Hospital and Glasgow Royal Infirmary within NHSGGC. To read the full study in the Journal of Healthcare Engineering, visit: https://www.hindawi.com/journals/jhe/2018/4684925/.

Monday, 21 January 2019

A study by the Centre for Pain Research at NUI Galway is seeking participants to trial a new online programme offering psychological support for people with chronic pain and at least one other chronic condition. Chronic pain is a common condition in Ireland, and has been associated with an increased risk of depression, decreased ability to work, and increased costs to the person directly and to the state. A growing number of people have the additional burden of multiple chronic conditions, known as multimorbidity. Access to psychological support can be a particular difficulty for people with multimorbidity and can add strain due to the cost and time involved. Additionally, standard supports are generally aimed at the self-management of single specific chronic conditions, and don’t take into account the impact of having multiple conditions with various competing symptoms and treatments to manage.   With this in mind, researchers in the Centre for Pain Research are developing and trialling an online psychological programme for people with multiple chronic conditions. The ACTION for Multimorbidity study is recruiting adults in Ireland with chronic pain (pain that has persisted for three months or longer) and at least one other chronic condition to trial the programme. The ACTION programme provides eight online sessions, tailored for those wishing to learn effective ways of managing their health conditions. Participants will be provided with instructions on a range of activity-pacing techniques to encourage consistent levels of activity from day to day. In addition, mindfulness techniques and cognitive behavioural therapy will help the identification of negative thinking patterns and the development of effective challenges. In researching online programmes such as these, the Centre for Pain Research hopes to enable increased access to effective treatments for chronic conditions. Professor Brian McGuire, principal investigator on the study at NUI Galway, explains: “We know that psychological therapies provided to people with chronic conditions are beneficial, but often hard to access. In this trial, we will offer an online programme to people all over the country, with any combination of conditions and chronic pain, to try alongside any existing treatments they are already using.”  The entire study is carried out online, and participants will not need to travel to NUI Galway at any stage. Participants will be asked to complete three questionnaires about their health over a five-month period, and after the first questionnaire will be randomly assigned to receive either immediate or delayed access to the online programme. All materials can be accessed on PCs and mobile devices, and contact with the research team will be primarily through email, with occasional phone calls. Participants can continue their usual treatments while involved in the trial.  To participate, please email the researchers at painresearch@nuigalway.ie. The current phase of recruitment will close in March, with participants usually starting the study within days of first making contact. Details of this study, and other work by the Centre for Pain Research, are available at:  http://www.nuigalway.ie/centre-for-pain-research/.

Wednesday, 16 January 2019

Regenerative medicine and stem cell therapies have the potential to revolutionise the treatment of patients with Type 1 diabetes The NUI Galway coordinated DELIVER programme, which will train six early career translational research scientists in the field of insulin producing cell transplantation for the treatment of Type 1 diabetes has been awarded €1.6 million in EU Horizon 2020 funding. Each early stage researcher will spend half of their time with an academic partner and the other half with an industry partner which will ensure a focus on clinical translation of the outcomes of the research.  JDRF, the world’s largest non-profit funder of Type 1 diabetes research says that Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease in which insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas are mistakenly destroyed by the body’s immune system. Without insulin production the body has trouble regulating its blood-glucose, or blood-sugar, levels. Type 1 diabetes can be diagnosed early in life but also in adulthood. Its causes are not fully known, and there is currently no cure. People with this form of diabetes are dependent on injected or pumped insulin to survive. If not treated properly, people are vulnerable to health issues ranging from minor to severe. Chronic high blood sugar often causes devastating health complications later in life, including blindness, kidney failure, heart disease and nerve damage that can lead to amputations.  The DELIVER programme will develop new strategies to deliver pancreatic insulin producing cells effectively in a targeted and protected fashion to transplant sites in the body. This programme is a major interdisciplinary effort between cell biologists, experts in biomaterials, medical devices and advanced drug delivery, clinical experts and biomedical companies focused on academic training and spearheading innovative medical devices for insulin producing cell transplantation.  DELIVER will be led by Professor Garry Duffy, Anatomy, College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences, along with his NUI Galway colleagues, Dr Eimear Dolan, Biomedical Engineering, College of Engineering and Informatics, Professor Timothy O’Brien and Dr Liam Burke from the College of Medicine Nursing and Health Sciences, and Dr Esther O’Sullivan from UCH Galway.  Professor Garry Duffy at NUI Galway, said: “We are delighted to lead the DELIVER programme and to continue to translate new collaborative research for the benefit of patients with Type 1 diabetes. We are also excited to train the next generation of researchers in this area, and to give them the industrial skills necessary to have real patient impact. Regenerative medicine and stem cell therapies have the potential to revolutionise the treatment of patients who have Type 1 diabetes, and through DELIVER we will develop new technologies to enhance stem cell therapies for these patients by improving the longevity of the implants.”  DELIVER will also link to research expertise in two Science Foundation Ireland funded research centres at NUI Galway, AMBER and CỨRAM. Professor Duffy is a funded investigator in both of these centres and the new early stage researchers will have exposure to leading research in materials science and medical devices through this interaction.  The programme builds on research efforts from another large EU funded project, DRIVE which is also coordinated by Professor Garry Duffy at NUI Galway, and will see further capacity for research in the area of cell based solutions for Type 1 diabetes. See: www.drive-project.eu.  The DELIVER training partners join from three EU countries comprising of Academic (NUI Galway, Eberhard Karls Universitaet Tuebingen, and RCSI, Dublin); Industry (Boston Scientific Galway, Explora SRL, Rome); and Clinical (Niguarda Ca’ Granda Hospital, Milan) participants.   DELIVER has received funding under a European Union Horizon 2020 Marie Skłodowska-Curie Action Innovative Training Network (ITN) grant agreement.  Recruitment for the six early career translational research scientists positions will be available online at the end of January at: http://www.nuigalway.ie/about-us/jobs/. 

Wednesday, 16 January 2019

University Welcomes Decision Which Ensures Eligibility for Free Fees Initiative NUI Galway today welcomed confirmation from the Department of Education and Skills that eligible students from the UK who enrol for eligible courses for the 2019/2020 academic year will be able to avail of the Department’s Free Fee Schemes as in previous years. This means that students from Northern Ireland eligible under the Free Fees Initiative for 2019/2020 will be entitled to avail of the initiative for the duration of their course. This clarification addresses concerns surrounding the looming Brexit deadline and the potential negative impact on these students when the UK leaves the European Union. Speaking on the matter, NUI Galway Registrar and Deputy President Professor Pól Ó Dochartaigh, said: “Historically the catchment area for NUI Galway is contiguous to Northern Ireland and it is very important that A Level students in Northern Ireland who wish to study at NUI Galway are not disadvantaged as a result of the UK’s departure from the European Union. In recent years our student numbers from Northern Ireland have been showing an upward trend and we are looking forward to welcoming an increasing number of Northern Irish students coming to NUI Galway to study one of the 67 undergraduate degrees on offer.” Students and parents from Northern Ireland considering applying to NUI Galway for 2019 entry are encouraged to attend the University’s undergraduate Open Day taking place on Saturday, 6 April. According to Sarah Geraghty, Head of Student Recruitment and Outreach at NUI Galway: “Students and parents visiting from Northern Ireland will have an opportunity to see just how close NUI Galway is to home, tour the on-campus accommodation facilities and find out how affordable the cost of living can be for students in NUI Galway compared with other study destinations.” For further information on applying to NUI Galway from Northern Ireland visit http://www.nuigalway.ie/undergrad-admissions/faqs/. -Ends-

Tuesday, 15 January 2019

A new book Transforming Language Teaching and Learning by Dr Patrick Farren in the School of Education at NUI Galway, calls for a radical shift in how we understand and approach language teaching, learning, and assessment in schools. Dr Farren carried out three studies in collaboration with educators and student-teachers at NUI Galway, King’s College London, Boston College, MA, and neighbouring post-primary schools. Dr Farren, says: “The studies examine modern foreign language teaching and learning from an autonomous language teaching and learning perspective.  Language is understood not only in terms of competence but as language in use, which is an action-oriented process. The classroom is understood as a space in which learners are immersed in the target language. The studies examine the impact of social interaction linked to target language use in context, and of critical reflection in which learners plan, monitor, and self-assess. Assessment for learning strategies and use of a portfolio are seen to support learners in developing the capacity to accept responsibility for their language learning.” Dr Farren added: “Engaged learning is seen to enhance autonomous language teaching and learning by integrating ‘new’ literacies such as, critical, digital and media literacies, and intercultural literacy, with the development of the traditional and basic literacies of reading, writing, listening, and speaking. It suggests that a more integrated, whole school approach to language teaching and learning would support language learners in making connections across languages and cultures, and by implication, support the development of a more cohesive society. Overall, it shows how teachers can develop a more encompassing professional identity as research practitioners and leaders with the capacity to make evidence informed decisions based on moral values.” A native of Buncrana in County Donegal, Dr Farren has taught and carried out research in countries including the UK, France, Italy, Germany, Spain, Finland, Libya, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and the US.  The book includes interviews with international experts, Dr Paul Black on assessment, and Maria Brisk on addressing the needs of English language learners.  Writing in the Foreword to the book, Dr Jane Jones, Head of Modern Foreign Language Teacher Education, King’s College London, refers to how teachers in the studies are understood as “creators and not just deliverers of knowledge”, and how the book is “a liberating account of what happens when student-teachers and teacher educators not only understand the moral purpose of teaching but inhabit a space in which conditions are created for a transformative pedagogy to flourish”. The principles of language empowerment, critical consciousness, interdependence, and moral values are at the centre of participants’ interpretations of ‘transformative pedagogy’ in the book.  The book will be of interest to teacher educators, parents, student-teachers, researchers, students in any sector of education, language teachers and parents of children taking the new junior cycle programme, education bodies, as well as the general reader with an interest in language learning and education.   The book is published by Peter Lang International, and is available online from the publisher and from www.amazon.com.  -Ends-  

Tuesday, 15 January 2019

Dr Georganne Nordstrom from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa has been awarded a Fulbright Fellowship to work and conduct research at NUI Galway’s Academic Writing Centre and to teach in the School of Humanities from January 2019. An expert in Composition and Rhetoric, Dr Nordstrom directs the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa’s Writing Center. Her research and teaching focuses on writing centre studies, critical and place-based pedagogy, and examinations of Indigenous and minority rhetorics, with a specific focus on Hawaiʻi’s Creole, Pidgin. Dr Nordstrom’s commitment to inclusivity and diversity in teaching is reflected in the international symposium on Writing and Well-being, which will be held at NUI Galway in April 2019. Co-organised by Dr Nordstrom and Dr Irina Ruppo, NUI Galway’s Academic Writing Centre, the symposium is set to attract experts on Composition and Writing from across Ireland, Europe and the US. The symposium will address such issues as the impact of writing on students’ stress levels, interventions to nurture and support well-being during the writing process, the role of writing centres and other pedagogical initiatives in facilitating student well-being, as well as the intersections between well-being and marginalised identity markers and inclusivity efforts.  Inclusivity and the teaching of academic writing will also be addressed at a unique workshop conducted by academic tutors from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa’s Writing Center and funded by the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Project Fund which will take place on Tuesday, 29 January. This workshop, organised ahead of Dr Nordstrom’s arrival, is the first instance of the many ways in which Dr Nordstom’s expertise is set to benefit the NUI Galway community. Niall McSweeney, Head of Research and Learning, James Hardiman Library, NUI Galway, said: “I would like to congratulate Dr Nordstrom on her appointment and look forward to welcoming her here shortly. It is the start of a great collaborative opportunity for both the Academic Writing Centre and the School of Humanities. I am sure Dr Nordstrom’s expertise will provide a truly international perspective too.”

Monday, 14 January 2019

Professor William A. Schabas, Emeritus Professor at NUI Galway’s Irish Centre for Human Rights will deliver a Holocaust Memorial Lecture on the role that ideas of racial superiority played in the Holocaust. The lecture, entitled “Genocide, the Holocaust, and the Lie of Racial Superiority”, will take place on Wednesday, 23 January at 7pm in the Lecture Theatre, Ryan Institute Annexe, NUI Galway Professor Schabas will discuss international efforts, including those of international law, to condemn notions of racial superiority, linking this to the Holocaust, but also to colonialism and the slave trade. He will talk briefly about his own family's experiences with Nazi racism and genocide. Professor Ray Murphy, Irish Centre for Human Rights at NUI Galway, said: “There are echoes of the narrative of racial superiority and hatred that preceded the Holocaust in much of the political discourse around the world today. For this reason it is important to recall the language used by political leaders and the events that led to the Holocaust to ensure we do not repeat the mistakes of the past.” The event will be introduced by Professor Siobhán Mullally, Director of the Irish Centre for Human Rights and chaired by Professor Pól Ó Dochartaigh, Registrar and Deputy President at NUI Galway. Professor Schabas is Emeritus Professor of Human Rights Law at NUI Galway and honorary chairman of the Irish Centre for Human Rights, Professor of International Law at Middlesex University and at Leiden University, and a member of the Royal Irish Academy. He is an invited visiting scholar at the Paris School of International Affairs (Sciences Politiques), Honorary Professor at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in Beijing, visiting fellow of Kellogg College of the University of Oxford, visiting fellow of Northumbria University, and professeur associé at the Université du Québec à Montréal. Professor Schabas is also a 'door tenant' at the chambers of 9 Bedford Row, in London. Professor Schabas has published extensively in the field of international human rights and criminal law. His most recent book is The Trial of the Kaiser, published by Oxford University Press.

Monday, 14 January 2019

The Rathcroghan Resource Community has been successful in its bid under the European Innovation Partnership (EIP-Agri), through the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, for its project, ‘Farming Rathcroghan: Sustainable Farming in the Rathcroghan Archaeological Landscape’ and has been awarded a grant of almost €1 million (€984,000) to implement this project over the course of the next five years. Joe Fenwick and Dr Kieran O’Conor from the Discipline of Archaeology at NUI Galway, as well as PhD candidate Daniel Curley, the Farming Rathcroghan Project Co-ordinator, are an integral part of the Rathcroghan Resource Community, which has been instrumental in making this successful project proposal under the EIP-Agri scheme. The Discipline of Archaeology has had a research interest in Rathcroghan, the ancient ‘royal’ capital of Connacht, and the general north Roscommon area over the past 40 years or more, and these endeavors continue to the present day as part of a more expansive interdisciplinary initiative, ‘The Connacht Project’.* The ‘Farming Rathcroghan’ project is a logical progression of the NUI Galway’s on-going involvement with the greater Rathcroghan community and most especially its farmers, who have been custodians of this remarkable landscape over the centuries.  Speaking about the project, Joe Fenwick, Archaeological Field Officer from the School of Geography and Archaeology at NUI Galway, said: “The ‘Farming Rathcroghan’ project is an exciting new initiative with enormous potential for the future. Its objectives are to manage, care for and conserve this important archaeological landscape by implementing a programme of economically sustainable and ecologically sound farming practices, while also facilitating visitor access to the area.” The project will formulate, test and develop a suite of innovative management solutions designed to sustain a viable and vibrant rural farming community in the context of a culturally and ecologically sensitive landscape. In so doing, the project aims to raise awareness among the general public of the significance of Rathcroghan as a farmed archaeological landscape and promote the proactive role of farmers and farming in the care and maintenance of the living landscape in harmony with its rich cultural heritage and ecological assets. The project team hope that some of its tried and tested practices can be applied to other culturally sensitive landscapes throughout Ireland and the European Union and so the ‘Farming Rathcroghan’ project might become a flagship project for others to follow in the future. The ‘Farming Rathcroghan’ project has been developed using a locally led partnership approach. Its operational group, the Rathcroghan Resource Community, consists of a lead partner, Farming Rathcroghan CLG (comprising directors from Rathcroghan Farmers, Tulsk Action Group and Rathcroghan Visitor Centre) and various operational group members (comprising the School of Geography and Archaeology at NUI Galway; Roscommon County Council; Teagasc, Agriculture and Food Development Authority; World Heritage Unit, National Monuments Service, Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht). For more about the ‘Farming Rathcroghan’ project and other EIP-Agri related projects visit the National Rural Network website at: https://www.nationalruralnetwork.ie/innovation

Monday, 14 January 2019

A team of researchers from NUI Galway and the Federal University of Viçosa in Brazil have had their opinion article published in the international journal Trends in Plant Science, proposing to use gene editing technology for the production into tomatoes of capsaicinoids, the spicy compound found in chilli peppers. Co-author of the article, Dr Ronan Sulpice from Plant and Botany Science, Ryan Institute at NUI Galway, said: “All genes necessary for the production of capsaicinoids are already present in tomatoes. However, they are silent, and we are proposing to activate them using gene editing technology. However, the challenge is massive because the pathway responsible for the synthesis of these compounds is very complex, so we are very likely far from the day we will consume spicy tomatoes.” Senior author of the article, Dr Agustin Zsögön at the Federal University of Viçosa, Brazil, said: “Engineering the capsaicinoid genetic pathway to the tomato would make it easier and cheaper to produce this compound, which has very interesting applications. We have the tools powerful enough to engineer the genome of any species; the challenge is to know which gene to engineer and where.” Spicy tomatoes could be commercialised for food consumption, but the main aim is to use them as biofactories for capsaicinoids production towards industrial uses. The rationale is that tomatoes are much more yielding than peppers, with up to 110 tonnes of fruits per hectare compared to around 3 tonnes per hectare, and have more stable yields. As a result, tomatoes would allow a much higher production of capsaicinoids.  These spicy compounds have significant nutritional and commercial uses, such as in cancer treatment, anti-inflammatory and pain medication, and even pepper spray. Currently efforts are ongoing in Brazil to produce the tomatoes, and first results are expected by the end of this year. If successful, the scientists are considering even more imaginative ways that tomatoes may be used to produce other high value compounds. Importantly, this work remains hypothetical, in the context of how to regulate CRISPR gene-edited crop varieties. Switching on an already present gene using a process called mutagenesis is different from transgenesis, the introduction of foreign genes into an organism. In 2018, the EU and the US came to opposing decisions on how to classify these newer forms of gene-edited plants. So, while the prospect of spicy tomatoes may raise the interest of some people, we are a very long way from commercially growing such varieties. To read the full opinion article in Trends in Plant Science, visit: https://www.cell.com/trends/plant-science/fulltext/S1360-1385(18)30261-9 -Ends-

Friday, 11 January 2019

NUI Galway researchers who established and rolled out the national SMART Consent programme have just announced a major four-year programme of research and implementation on Active Consent, funded by Lifes2good Foundation in partnership with Galway University Foundation and NUI Galway. The programme was officially launched by the Minister of State for Higher Education, Mary Mitchell O’Connor, TD and Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh, President of NUI Galway today (Friday, 11 January). The Active Consent programme will be led by NUI Galway’s SMART Consent team; Dr Pádraig MacNeela, Dr Siobhán O’Higgins, and Kate Dawson from the School of Psychology, and Dr Charlotte McIvor from the Centre for Drama and Theatre Studies. The programme targets young people from 16-23 years of age in order to promote a positive approach to the important issue of sexual consent and will partner with a range of schools and sporting organisations in the delivery of the Active Consent initiative. Minister of State for Higher Education, Mary Mitchell O’Connor, TD, commented: “I wish to congratulate Dr Pádraig MacNeela and his team of researchers in securing funding for this programme, Active Consent. It is an important step forward and takes a new and original approach, which we need on issues to do with equality and sexual violence. The team are taking on a difficult subject in a positive way that respects young people’s capacity for independence and decision-making. Within the Department of Education, I am leading the call for a collective national standard for our higher education institutions on supporting consent and responding to sexual violence on campuses. I am confident that my expert group, of which Dr MacNeela is a member, will be reporting back to me within the next two weeks and we will then be in a position to devise national standards that all of our higher education institutions will have to implement. In conclusion we all have the same mission, to make our institutions safe and respectful places of learning for all. The Active Consent programme will help to put Ireland at the forefront of this progressive action.” Welcoming the announcement Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh, President of NUI Galway, said: “NUI Galway is committed to ensuring that all our students have a safe and positive experience with us. We are also determined to ensure we share our knowledge and expertise in research, practice and the arts to address wider societal challenges. The work of the SMART Consent team is a real example of how our academic scholarship can have a substantive social impact as it contributes in a very practical way to the important work of promoting sexual consent in Ireland. Through this new Active Consent programme our University, with the generous philanthropic support of Lifes2good, will promote and share new strategies to develop young people and promote positive messaging on active sexual consent. I am confident that this Active Consent programme will have a positive impact on the lives and futures of countless young people and I commend Lifes2good Foundation and our partners in education and sporting organisations for their initiative in joining us in this important work. Together we can achieve the culture of respect and equality that we wish for our young people.” Key aims of the Active Consent programme To design and implement practical tools and strategies that reach young people from 16-23 years of age with positive messaging on active sexual consent.To promote active consent so that young people feel confident and skilled in communicating with their partners about intimacy. To reach across three key youth settings (higher education institutions, senior cycle in schools and sports organisations). To support young people using multiple implementation methods that will include workshops, drama, training, videos, and online resources. To promote critical thinking about pornography, supported by an online platform on consent education for students, parents, and teachers. Dr Pádraig MacNeela said: “We want to promote a positive, proactive approach to sexual consent, and this funding gives us a unique opportunity to do this over the next four years. There is a unique team behind this programme, from Psychology and Sexual Health Promotion, to Drama and Theatre Studies. We are combining Irish research data with proven youth engagement methods and the creative arts to support a full range of sexual consent messaging.” Dr Siobhán O’Higgins said: “The opportunity to deliver core messages about consent across all settings will promote joined up, consistent support for positive relationships. The messaging is important, but it is also critical that we work in partnership with institutions and groups in each setting to address their specific needs and opportunities.” Creative Arts Creative arts and communications are at the centre of the team’s work, using drama, film and other methods as communication strategies to deliver statistics, research findings, and messaging on positive sexual health. Dr Charlotte McIvor says: “To change social norms in the long-term, we believe that consent messaging should be delivered in ways that engage, entertain, and educate. Using the creative arts allows us to pose questions as well as give answers, and show the human and emotional dimensions of the grey areas of consent.”  The SMART Consent team have worked in partnership with students and staff at colleges such as NUI Galway, GMIT, DCU, UL, NCAD, among others, to train facilitators and deliver sexual consent workshops. Over the four years of this new programme, the team will establish partnerships across schools and sports settings as well. The first partnership they have in place for secondary schools is with the WISER Programme (AIDS West), delivered across approximately 50 primary and secondary schools in the West of Ireland. James Murphy, Co-founder of Lifes2good Foundation, said: “As a graduate of NUI Galway, I welcome the opportunity to give something back to the University, especially for such an innovative programme such as this. In my business life I have found that research pays dividends. I also know that good marketing works. This programme is based on research with the ambition to project a message that resonates with as many young people as possible. It will support boys and young men in a non-judgmental way to engage in meaningful reflection that promotes active consent.” Maria Murphy, Co-founder of Lifes2good Foundation, added: “As a mother of four adult children, I am convinced of the need for programmes such as this in Ireland. This is a major grant for Lifes2Good Foundation over four years, but it is the start of what we hope will be a national programme taken on by government to impact young people in Ireland for many years to come. The main focus of Lifes2good Foundation is on vulnerable women and children. But we are interested in preventative strategies as well as remedial, and this programme focuses on attitudes and beliefs as a foundation for positive behaviour.” Lifes2good Foundation and Galway University Foundation are Galway based foundations. Together they will enable the Active Consent programme to support research and implementation in colleges, schools, and sports clubs across Ireland from 2019-2022. Lifes2good Foundation funding is supported by partial matched funding from NUI Galway. View two short interactive films on consent that invites viewers to experiment actively with the idea that one sexual encounter can have many possible outcomes when it comes to the negotiation of consent between partners. See films: ‘Tom and Julie’ and ‘Kieran and Jake’ here: http://www.nuigalway.ie/consent=omfg/   Video on Consent is OMFG (Ongoing, Mutual, and Freely Given): https://youtu.be/AtSP3gAJpuw -Ends-

Friday, 11 January 2019

NUI Galway will host a CAO information evening for students, parents, guardians and guidance counsellors in the Radisson Hotel in Letterkenny on Thursday, 17th January from 7-9pm.   The evening will begin with short talks about NUI Galway and the undergraduate courses it offers. Afterwards, current students and NUI Galway staff will be on hand to answer any individual questions in relation to courses and practical issues like accommodation, fees and scholarships, and the wide range of support services available to our students. The ever-increasing popularity of NUI Galway is in-part due to its innovative programmes developed in response to the changing needs of the employment market. NUI Galway is launching three new Arts degrees for enrolment in 2019. This includes a BA (History and Globalisation), BA Government (Politics, Economics and Law) and a BA Education (Computer Science and Mathematical Studies). The University will also launch a new degree in Law and Human Rights for 2019. At the information evening there will be a representative from across the University’s five colleges available to answer questions about the programmes on offer, entry requirements, and placement and employment opportunities. Representatives from Shannon College of Hotel Management, an NUI Galway college will also attend the event. Members of the Accommodation Office will be on hand to answer any queries about on-campus or off-campus options, including the new Goldcrest on-campus development, which sees 429 new beds this year, bringing the total of on-campus beds to 1193. Letterkenny based company Optum, a leading information and technology enabled health service business, and a major employer in County Donegal, provide scholarships for Donegal students applying to a number of NUI Galway programmes. A representative from Optum will be on hand at the information evening to provide information on the scholarships and the application process. Sarah Geraghty, Student Recruitment and Outreach Manager at NUI Galway, said: “NUI Galway has strong links throughout the North West, having opened a medical academy in Letterkenny in addition to providing Irish language courses in Ionad Ghaoth Dobhair. We are delighted to have the opportunity to visit Donegal and showcase all of the undergraduate courses on offer at NUI Galway and throughout the West. With so many courses on offer, this event is a perfect opportunity for prospective students to meet current students and lecturers to see what degree might be the right fit for them.” With the CAO deadline for applications approaching on 1st February this is the perfect opportunity for parents and students to find out more about the opportunities at NUI Galway, and how to make the right CAO choice for them. For more information contact Grainne Dunne, School Liaison Officer on grainne.dunne@nuigalway.ie or 087 2440858. -Ends-

Tuesday, 8 January 2019

Lectures will be followed by screening of ‘Bride of Frankenstein and ‘Once Upon a Time in the West’ Sir Christopher Frayling, Rector of the Royal College of Art and Professor of Cultural History with the College, will deliver two free public lectures at NUI Galway’s Huston School of Film and Digital Media on Wednesday, 16 and Thursday, 17 January. The first lecture, ‘Frankenstein - the first two hundred years’ will take place on Wednesday, 16 January at 6pm. Mary Shelley's Frankenstein was first published on New Year's Day 1818. This illustrated lecture will celebrate the novel's 200th birthday by exploring its difficult journey into print, and its colourful afterlife on stage, in films, and within everyday culture. In the era of artificial intelligence, genetic engineering, IVF treatments, robotics, three-parent families and animal-human interfaces, the lecture will argue that the modern creation myth of 'Frankenstein' - the one where it is the scientist who does the creating - has never been more relevant. 'Frankenstein' is one of the most-filmed stories of all time - up there with Sherlock Holmes and Dracula and Sir Frayling will discuss some of the reasons why. The lecture will be following by a screening of ‘Bride of Frankenstein’ in the Huston School. On Thursday, 17 January, Sir Frayling will deliver his lecture ‘Once Upon a Time in the West: Shooting a Masterpiece’ at 3pm, followed by a screening of the movie. Sergio Leone's film ‘Once Upon a Time in the West’ set out to be the ultimate Western - a celebration of the power of classic Hollywood cinema, a meditation on the making of America, and a lament for the decline of one of the most cherished of film genres in the form of a "dance of death". With this film, Sergio Leone said a fond farewell to the noisy and flamboyant world of the Italian Western, which he had created with 'A Fistful of Dollars' and sequels, and aimed for something much more ambitious - an exploration of the relationship between myth, history and his own autobiography as an avid film-goer. Sir Christopher Frayling was until recently Chairman of Arts Council England and former Chairman of the Design Council. He is well-known as an historian, critic and an award-winning broadcaster. His many books include Vampyres: Lord Byron to Count Dracula; The Yellow Peril – Dr Fu Manchu and the Rise of Chinophobia; Inside the Bloody Chamber: on Angela Carter, the Gothic and other weird tales; and Sergio Leone: Once Upon a Time in Italy. Dr Tony Tracy, Acting Head of the Huston School of Film and Digital Media at NUI Galway, said: “We are delighted to welcome a guest of the stature of Sir Christopher Frayling to the Huston School of Film and Digital Media. Chris has had a distinguished career in education, broadcasting and cultural policy but these lectures capture some of his most enduring contributions: he has written and broadcast better than anyone on Frankenstein and the horror genre and is responsible not only for the definitive biography on Sergio Leone but for coining the term spaghetti western!” -Ends-