First Prize for NUI Galway Nursing Students in National Awards

First Prize for NUI Galway Nursing Students in National Awards-image

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

For the sixth year in a row, an NUI Galway School of Nursing and Midwifery student has won first prize in the prestigious national NUI Dr Henry Hutchinson Stewart Medical Scholarships Awards. This competition is open to all the NUI universities and the award is based on student’s results from the final degree examinations in Nursing or Midwifery.  NUI Galway students were first awarded the top prize in 2006 and since then students from the School of Nursing and Midwifery have been presented with the first prize in the awards every year. This year Dr Henry Hutchinson Stewart Medical Scholarships awarded first prize awards to Ester Afolalu and Laura Coyne, both General Nursing students and from Mullingar, Co. Westmeath. Second prize was awarded to NUI Galway Midwifery student, Siobhan Eccles from Ennis, Co. Clare.  Professor Kathy Murphy, Head of the School of Nursing and Midwifery at NUI Galway, said: “Winning again this year is yet another great achievement for the School of Nursing and Midwifery. Our students have now got first place each year for the past six years, that's a remarkable achievement and demonstrates the high calibre of NUI Galway students.” NUI Galway’s Professor Declan Devane, Ireland’s first Professor of Midwifery, commented, “I am delighted for Siobhan and her colleagues on their wonderful achievement. It is fitting recognition to the quality of their work and to the quality of the nursing and midwifery education at NUI Galway. I have no doubt that they will each make a substantial contribution to the quality of health care.”   -Ends-

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Minister For Education Presents Ria Gold Medals

Minister For Education Presents Ria Gold Medals-image

Monday, 19 December 2011

The Minister for Education and Skills, Ruairi Quinn, T.D., recently presented the Royal Irish Academy (RIA) Gold Medals to the international human rights scholar Professor William Schabas and engineer Professor John O’Scanlan in recognition of their outstanding contributions to the Social Sciences and the Engineering Sciences. The RIA Medals acclaim Ireland’s foremost contributors to the world of learning and science. The Gold Medals are awarded to two outstanding academics each year and are recognised as a truly national expression of celebration for scholarly achievement. The medals are sponsored by The Higher Education Authority and The Irish Independent. In presenting the medals, Minister Quinn said, “The Academy Gold Medals acclaim Ireland’s foremost contributors to the world of learning and science. The work of this year’s recipients illustrates Ireland’s high standing in the world of learning.” Professor William Schabas, Chairman of the Irish Centre for Human Rights at NUI Galway, is one of the leading scholars in the field of international criminal law. His work is closely linked with a range of international judicial institutions including, the international criminal tribunals for the former Yugoslavia, Rwanda and Sierra Leone and the International Criminal Court (ICC). His writings are regularly cited by international courts and tribunals, including the ICC and the European Court of Human Rights. Professor Schabas’ seminal book on the Genocide Convention was cited in the opinions of the ICC in the 2007 Bosnia v. Serbia judgement and clearly influenced the thinking of the court as a whole. Professor John O’Scanlan, UCD, is widely recognised as one of the leading international living circuit theorists who has made a fundamental contribution to the field of electronic engineering, including electronic circuit and system design, digital circuits and computing, communications and signal processing. Professor Scanlan has many awards and distinctions, a former President of the Royal Irish Academy (1993-1996); he is also a life fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and is a recipient of the Golden Jubilee Medal of the IEEE Circuits and Systems Society. Welcoming this award NUI Galway President Dr Jim Browne said: “On behalf of NUI Galway, I extend warmest congratulations to our colleague, Professor Schabas on receiving this wonderful distinction from the RIA.  This accolade will undoubtedly add lustre to his international academic standing, as well as underscore this University’s reputation as a centre of world-class research and teaching.”    -ENDS-

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New Competition Challenges Students to Build Super App

New Competition Challenges Students to Build Super App-image

Friday, 16 December 2011

GMIT AND NUI GALWAY LAUNCH CODE NINJA STUDENT COMPETITION A new competition ‘Code Ninja’ has been launched for students at Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology (GMIT) and NUI Galway. Code Ninja is an App development competition, designed to train and encourage students to be creative in the cultivation of their own tech ideas. The competition is open to all disciplines of students in NUI Galway and GMIT, either individuals or groups, who want to build a web or mobile App. Students who enter the competition will get all the skills required to build their own App, including training, workshops, design, web and mobile App building, coding with feedback and mentoring from App experts. A range of prizes includes an iPad, iPod Touch and cash awards. Code Ninja will foster students’ spirit of creativity and enable them to cultivate their own technology ideas. According to Dr Jim Duggan, NUI Galway, and Dr Sean Duignan, GMIT, “This is a unique opportunity for NUI Galway and GMIT students from any discipline to work on the leading edge of web technology. Students from any discipline can learn new skills, network with the technology entrepreneurs and academic experts with a view to fostering a culture of creativity, excitement as well as adding value to their curriculum vitae.”  Code Ninja demonstrates how NUI Galway and GMIT are fostering a culture of innovation across their respective campuses and this is supported by the local business community. Galway technology entrepreneurs Mike FitzGerald, CEO, OnepageCRM and Paul Killoran, CEO of Starlight.ie, agree that this is an opportunity which sows a seed to build on the blossoming tech start up culture that exists in Galway whilst building links with NUI Galway, GMIT and the Galway tech scene.  Code Ninja is supported by the Bright Ideas Initiative at NUI Galway, GMIT, ExOrdo for Academics and OnepageCRM. More information about the competition Code Ninja is available at http://codeninja.ie/   -ends-

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NUI GALWAY LAW LECTURER APPOINTED TO LEGAL AID BOARD

NUI GALWAY LAW LECTURER APPOINTED TO LEGAL AID BOARD-image

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

NUI Galway law lecturer, Donncha O’Connell, has been appointed by the Minister for Justice and Equality, Alan Shatter, TD, to the new Legal Aid Board. Announcing the membership of the new Board yesterday, Mr Shatter said: “I am delighted to announce this new Legal Aid Board.  In the last four years there has been a considerable increase in demand for legal services and this coincides with the downturn in the economy.  Evidence internationally has pointed towards a greater need for access to legal services in areas such as family law, debt and employment during times of economic stress and Ireland appears no different in this regard.  This has inevitably created huge pressures for the Board and its capacity to deliver legal services within a reasonable period of time.  There are many challenges ahead for this new Board, including piloting, early in 2012, a somewhat different approach to the provision of legal services by way of an attempt to ensure that every applicant for legal aid gets an appointment within a period of three or four weeks. In November of this year, I also announced the formal integration of the Family Mediation Service with the Legal Aid Board and the functions of the Legal Aid Board have now been extended under Part 16 of the Civil Law (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act to include a family mediation service.  The Board is also, in taking a range of other measures, keeping all of its services under review with a view to ensuring that its resources are used as efficiently and effectively as possible.  I am confident that the new Board members will all bring their considerable skills and expertise to the work of the Legal Aid Board and that their presence on the Board will ensure that it continues to operate as innovatively, efficiently and effectively as it has always done, in what is, a much more difficult economic environment than at any time in its history.” O’Connell was the Dean of Law at NUI Galway from 2005-2008 and he continues to teach European Human Rights and Constitutional Law in the School of Law. He has extensive experience on European human rights bodies having served as the Irish member of the EU Network of Independent Experts on Fundamental Rights established by the EU Commission in 2002 and as the senior Irish member of FRALEX, the legal expert group that advised the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights based in Vienna. He spent the academic year 2009-2010 as a Visiting Senior Fellow at the Centre for the Study of Human Rights LSE and is the editor of the Irish Human Rights Law Review published annually by Clarus Press. Donncha was the first full-time Director of the Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL) from 1999-2002 and he has, in the past, been a board member of the Free Legal Advice Centres (FLAC) Ltd and Amnesty International-Ireland. He is currently a member of the Board of Directors of the London-based NGO, INTERIGHTS – The International Centre for the Legal Protection of Rights. He is also a member of the Advisory Board of the Public Interest Law Alliance (PILA), a project of FLAC.   ENDS

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New E-Commerce Venture in Education

New E-Commerce Venture in Education-image

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

NUI Galway has embarked on a new initiative with Transition Year students from the Presentation Secondary School in Galway City. The students have devised a new e-Commerce module which is facilitated by their business teacher Eleanor Fogarty. The project involves developing an e-Marketing strategy for an illustrated children’s book called Willou Mac Wiggle and the Dive Dive Birds.  This children’s story was illustrated by Rebecca Kane, one of the Transition Year students in the Presentation School and written by Declan Clarke. Aimed at children between two and six years of age, Willou Mac Wiggle and the Dive Dive Birds has already been launched on iTunes as an e-book for the iPad, and is *available to buy for €3.99. Dr Ann Torres, Lecturer in Marketing with the J.E. Cairnes School of Business and Economics at NUI Galway, said: “The MSc Strategic Marketing cultivates students’ practical skills through the application of theory to real business situations, such as developing an e-marketing strategy for an e-book. It is this link between practice and theory that enhances the MSc. students’ capability to perform as an effective marketer. Further, NUI Galway’s involvement with the Presentation Secondary School is a valuable gateway in which secondary school students may gain an insight into the opportunities associated with third-level education.” Introducing the students to e-Commerce is essential as the world moves towards buying and selling online. Part of the Transition Year students’ project will be to devise an e-marketing campaign to promote the book and to expand the network of interest through Facebook. The students will gain a real-life understanding of the launch of the new book which will be an extremely valuable experience for them.   -ENDS-

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NUI Galway Appoints Ireland’s First Professor of Midwifery

NUI Galway Appoints Ireland’s First Professor of Midwifery-image

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

NUI Galway has announced the appointment of the Republic of Ireland’s first Professor of Midwifery. Professor Declan Devane, himself a midwife, is based at NUI Galway’s School of Nursing and Midwifery. With approximately 700 students, the School is at the forefront of nursing and midwifery education and research in Ireland. Over his 22-year career in nursing and midwifery, Professor Devane has established an international reputation as a leading researcher and scholar in his areas of expertise, which include the implementation and evaluation of models of maternity care and on methods of assessment of fetal wellbeing. While other institutions have Chairs in nursing and midwifery, this is the first university appointment of a Chair in Midwifery. This focus on the profession of midwifery reflects trends internationally that recognise the unique and important contribution midwifery makes to high quality maternity services. Professor Devane has taken up the Chair in Midwifery at a time when over 75,000 babies are born every year in Ireland. Commenting on his appointment, Professor Devane said that he was delighted and honoured to accept the new role: “My hope is that my appointment will enable me to work with those who seek a better service for childbearing women and their children. Most births take place against a backdrop of sub-optimal infrastructure, in large and aging hospitals with too few delivery suites. There are also concerns about operating theatres shared for childbirth and for other surgeries. This scenario is compacted by substantial understaffing of our maternity services in terms of both midwives and obstetricians, while our community maternity services are also terribly under resourced.” Commenting on the organisation of maternity services in Ireland, Professor Devane added: “Unlike some other areas of healthcare, there is no evidence to support that the centralisation of maternity services in large hospitals improves outcomes for women and their infants. On the contrary, there is substantial high-quality evidence demonstrating benefits for midwifery units in which the skills and expertise of midwives are used to their full potential. Common sense suggests, and scientific evidence demonstrates, that it doesn’t make clinical, social or economic sense for most women to give birth in large, centralised hospitals that are heaving at the seams. Yet, this is precisely what is happening. Midwives, obstetricians and GPs each have their place and their role in the provision of collaborative maternity care, and no one model of care, care-giver or birth setting should be advocated for all women. However, every woman should experience the best possible care from the most appropriate professional, chosen by her, to ensure the best outcomes for her and her baby. It is vital that we make these choices a reality for women. There is bound to be a lot of new challenges ahead but that’s part of the excitement of the job.” Dr Jim Browne, President of NUI Galway, said: “Professor Devane has a proven record of excellence in teaching and research. Through his research work, his professional activities and his interest in developing international collaborations, Professor Devane will make a valuable contribution to the success of our School of Nursing and Midwifery, which has established a growing research reputation.” Professor Devane qualified as a nurse in Galway and as a midwife in Bristol and Gloucestershire, where he worked before returning to Ireland to work in the Rotunda, the Coombe Women & Infants University Hospital and in Trinity College Dublin. He is a member of the International Confederation of Midwives (ICM) Expert Network of Research Advisors, a member of the Midwifery Committee of An Bord Altranais, and an Honorary Visiting Fellow of both the UK Cochrane Centre and the Coombe Women & Infants University Hospital. Professor Devane is passionate about the care of children with serious illnesses, particularly those with life-limiting illness, and is a Director of the children’s cancer charity for the West, Hand in Hand (http://www.handinhand.ie). In 2009, combining fundraising activities for this charity with his love of scuba diving, he raised over €35,000 for charity and simultaneously set a Guinness World Record for the ‘Longest open saltwater SCUBA dive (cold water)’.   -ends-

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NUI Galway Research Highlighted in Report Launched by Minister Reilly

NUI Galway Research Highlighted in Report Launched by Minister Reilly-image

Monday, 5 December 2011

Three research projects undertaken at NUI Galway were highlighted in the Health Research Board’s annual Picture of Health report. Launched recently by Minister for Health, Dr James Reilly TD, the report communicates the findings of recently funded research to a general audience. Included in the document, from NUI Galway, is Dr Roisin Dwyer’s and Professor Michael Kerin’s work looking at breast cancer signals in the bloodstream, and Professor Larry Egan’s research into manipulating gut bacteria to help minimise radiation damage for cancer patients. Professor Egan spoke about his research at the launch event. Also featured in the report is research by NUI Galway’s Dr Liam Glynn. Chronically high blood pressure, or hypertension, can lead to serious medical problems such as heart disease and stroke - so keeping blood pressure under control is an important public health issue. Yet only 25 - 40 per cent of patients who take anti-hypertensive drug treatment manage to achieve their blood pressure goals, and that figure has remained unchanged for decades. However, a HRB-funded Cochrane review study by Dr Liam Glynn has identified practices in community-based care that could help tackle the problem. The research analysed 72 randomised controlled trials in the published literature that looked at dealing with hypertension in the community-care setting. Overall, the review found that education aimed at patients or healthcare professionals does not appear to be effective - what works best is good organisation that sees patients regularly followed up and recalled for appointments. Other strategies for success encourage patients to monitor their own blood pressure or involve other health professionals such as nurses and pharmacists in blood pressure management in the community. “It has direct translation to everyday clinical practice,’ says Dr Glynn, a Senior Lecturer in General Practice at NUI Galway and GP in Ballyvaughan, Co. Clare. “We need to improve organisation in terms of diagnosing, treating and following up patients with hypertension; and that can include nurse-led care, the use of technology such as text messages to remind patients to take their medication or come to appointments and also getting patients more involved in the monitoring of their own illness.” The three research projects connected to NUI Galway are part of over 40 projects highlighted in the Health Research Board’s annual Picture of Health 2011 publication. -ends-

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NUI Galway Access Programme Annual Awards Ceremony

NUI Galway Access Programme Annual Awards Ceremony-image

Monday, 5 December 2011

NUI Galway recently presented 85 certificates to students for successful completion of the Access courses during the academic year 2010/2011, both on campus and in Outreach Centres in Clifden and Ballinasloe.   Also receiving awards were 55 Access students who graduated with degrees in Arts, Commerce, Law, Engineering and Nursing in 2011. A further 18 students who received post-graduate diplomas in Education, Health, Arts and Business Studies and post-graduate degrees in Marketing, Social Work, Community Development and Law were also acknowledged.  In addition, eight students who received postgraduate diplomas and degrees in 2010 were acknowledged at the ceremony.   In the last ten years, 390 graduates and 133 post-graduates have been admitted to NUI Galway through its Access Programme.  The ceremony was to mark the achievement of those inspirational students and to commend all on their perseverance, dedication and hard work.    The function of the NUI Galway Access Programme is to address and respond appropriately to the issues of equality of access, equity of life long opportunities and responding to the issues of rural (and to a lesser extent, urban) social exclusion in the Border, Midland and Western Region and County Clare. All elements of the access programmes have important initiatives designed to give everyone a chance to benefit from third level education.    -ENDS-

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Leading Anti-Child Slavery Campaigner to Speak at NUI Galway

Leading Anti-Child Slavery Campaigner to Speak at NUI Galway-image

Thursday, 1 December 2011

James Kofi Annan was sold into slavery in Ghana when he was six years old. He comes to NUI Galway on Wednesday, 7 December, to share his story and continue his campaign against child slavery. He will deliver a public talk at 1pm at an event organised by the University’s Irish Centre for Human Rights and the organisation Frontline Defenders. Like most of his other 11 siblings James was sold as a slave, at the tender age of six. He was sent to work in the fishing industry on Lake Volta in Ghana where small children are used to do heavy work with the nets and are sent down to free the nets if they become snagged. He recalls being beaten every day. After seven years he managed to set himself free but he wasn’t welcome back either in his family or in his village, where he was seen to have disobeyed his father. From then on he was on his own. James educated himself by becoming friendly with the children who were attending the local kindergarden school and used their books to teach himself to read and write. James eventually was able to complete his university education and got himself a job with Barclay's Bank. However he could not leave his memories of slavery behind and set up a new organisation called Challenging Heights to help other child slaves like him. “James’s story is compelling and his campaigning and support for child slaves is outstanding. Estimates of a staggering 27 million people in slavery today, many of whom are children, should give us all pause for thought. The blatant disregard for human rights and humanity shown by modern day slavery or human trafficking, must be challenged around the world”, said Professor Ray Murphy of NUI Galway’s Irish Centre for Human Rights. Because James challenges the very profitable status quo he is vilified and attacked and receives death threats on a daily basis by email, text and by phone. Despite the threats and the danger, James Kofi Annan refuses to cease his work to free the victims of child slavery and to end the practice in Ghana. Asked why he chooses to do this dangerous work he replies, “I had nothing left to lose – I had already lost everything I had to lose as a child.” James’s organisation Challenging Heights helps children escape slavery and rebuild their lives by providing them with shelter, rehabilitation and education. All are welcome to this free event at 1pm on Wednesday, 7 December, in the Huston School of Film at NUI Galway (opposite the Cathedral).   -ends-

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November 2011

Prestigious Scholarship for NUI Galway Economics Student

Prestigious Scholarship for NUI Galway Economics Student-image

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Mohit Agrawal, an NUI Galway economics student, has been awarded one of the most prestigious scholarships in the world, a Rhodes Scholarship to study economics at Oxford University. Mohit is currently studying for an MA in Economic Policy Evaluation and Planning at NUI Galway and plans to begin his studies in Oxford in September 2012. Born and raised in West Lafayette, Indiana, in the US, Mohit enrolled in NUI Galway during September 2011, after being awarded a George J. Mitchell Scholarship, allowing him to do a postgraduate degree at any university on the island of Ireland. Mohit chose the NUI Galway programme because he said it enabled him to further his major career goal, to combine a background in mathematics and politics to help craft economic policy. Mohit completed his undergraduate degree in mathematics and computer science at Princeton University in the United States. Mohit’s interests and achievements extend well beyond the classroom. At Princeton, for example, he was a prominent member of ‘Engineers Without Borders’ and served as the manager of a project to build a library in Ghana. He is interested in politics and has contributed to debates at the Literary and Debating Society in NUI Galway and has also written several articles for the student newspaper SIN including some insightful pieces on the recent Presidential election. The Head of the Economics Discipline at the J.E. Cairnes School of Business and Economics, NUI Galway, Professor John McHale, described Mohit’s achievement at winning a Rhodes Scholarship as a fantastic testimony to his outstanding intellectual ability: “We were very pleased that Mohit chose the economic policy evaluation programme at NUI Galway for his Mitchell Scholarship. Mohit has been a wonderful addition to the economics discipline at this University where he has helped countless undergraduate students as a tutor for one of our main undergraduate courses as well as contributing in lectures and seminars. I have no doubt that Mohit will do extraordinary well in his future career and I am especially pleased that Mohit had decided to focus his career on economics with a special emphasis on economic policy.” ENDS

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