Thursday, 28 February 2019

NUI Galway will host a number of public events in celebration of International Women’s Day which will take place on Friday, 8 March. International Women’s Day is dedicated to championing women’s achievements and driving gender balance around the world. On Monday 4 March, the LGBT+ Staff Network will host a public event entitled ‘Queer Women in Higher Education’ which will take place in the Arts/Science Concourse from 12:30-13:30pm. The aim of this event is to discuss the visibility of queer women at NUI Galway and other Higher Education Institutes by hearing first-hand stories from women on how gender and sexuality have impacted on their careers. To register for this event, go to https://bit.ly/2NxMPVw.    The School of Law at NUI Galway will host a public event entitled ‘Women on Supreme Courts’ at 6pm in the Lecture Theatre of the Human Biology Building on Tuesday, 5 March. This event will mark the first visit from the Supreme Court to NUI Galway and will include a discussion on the contribution of women to judiciary in the Supreme Courts. Speakers on the day will include Mrs Justice Catherine McGuinness, former Supreme Court Judge; Mrs Justice Matilda Twomey, Chief Justice of Seychelles and NUI Galway Graduate; Mr Justice John McMenamin and Ms Justice Elizabeth Dunne. A post-event reception will take place after the event in the ground floor lobby of the Human Biology Building. On Wednesday, 6 March, InnovateHER will present a public event entitled ‘NUI Galway Women in Innovation: Changing Perceptions and Inspiring Growth in Medtech’ from 12:30-2pm in The View, Áras na Mac Léinn. The aim of the event is to encouraging all who work within innovation, both male and female alike, to attend to network and learn from each other on the day. Lunch will also be provided. To register for this event, go to https://bit.ly/2VjFJqi.   NUI Galway is also teaming up with charity Dress for Success Dublin to promote gender equality. On Thursday, 7 March, roundtable discussion and media event on Equality in the Work Place will take place from 12-2pm in the Aula Maxima Ground Floor. Speakers will include Sonya Lennon, Founder and Director of Dress for Success Dublin, Dr Michelle Millar, Head of School of Political Science and Sociology, NUI Galway, and Mr Mark Butler, Executive Vice President of European Operations at Merit Medical. The moderator for the panel on the day will be Dave O’Connell from the Connacht Tribune. To register for this event, go to https://bit.ly/2GR4nLU.   Sonya Lennon will also address up to 200 students on ‘First Steps to Success - Owning your Worth and Planning the Game Strategy’ on Thursday. Students will learn how to develop their personal brand, understand their worth and optimise their career from the very beginning. The student focused event will be held in NUI Galway’s Human Biology Building and is open for both students and staff. On Friday, 8 March, the launch of the UWN Sheehy Skeffington Distinguished Lecture Series will take place.  The inaugural lecture “Standing up to injustice: my Sheehy Skeffington legacy”  by Dr Micheline Sheehy Skeffington will celebrate people who have shown the courage to call out injustice and who stood their ground against adversity. To register for the inaugural lecture visit https://bit.ly/2SChPo0. -Ends-

Tuesday, 26 February 2019

NUI Galway’s discipline of Social Work at the School of Political Science and Sociology is offering a new Postgraduate Certificate in Continuing Professional Development for Social Work for qualified social workers at various stages of their social work career. One of the courses in this programme of studies, The Non Violent Resistance in Practice course is also open to practitioners from other disciplines as well as social work, such as social care, mental health nursing, family support, psychology and counselling. The course will take place for five Fridays starting from 15 March to 12 April, from 10am-4pm at the Institute for Lifecourse and Society, NUI Galway. The Non Violence Resistance in Practice course responds to the needs of practitioners in children and family services for an effective, evidence based and strengths-focused responses to the problems of abusive behaviour and violence in families. Dr Declan Coogan, lecturer in Social Work at NUI Galway, said: “The Non Violence Resistance in Practice course aims to deepen links between the campus and wider community in the West of Ireland, bringing together knowledge, experience and research to make a difference in families lives when abuse and violence takes place, especially in those families where children (under 18 years old) abuse their parents.” Practitioners interested in the Non Violent Resistance in Practice course must be employed as a qualified practitioner in social work or allied health and social care disciplines such as, for example, family support/ social care/ psychotherapy/ youth work/ psychology/ nursing (mental health). The closing date for registration is February 28. Completed application forms must be returned by then to joanne.oconnor@nuigalway.ie A variety of modules, including the Non Violence Resistance in Practice course, will be offered on a stand-alone basis and credits from these modules can contribute to the award of a Postgraduate Certificate (30 ECTS) or Diploma (60 ECTS). This means that social work candidates interested in earning academic accreditation must register for the certificate and pay the fee of €1,500. Alternatively, candidates can pay a fee of €500 as they take each module.  Practitioners from social work and from other disciplines may choose to pay an attendance only fee of €250. Participation in the course does not then earn academic accreditation and does not require candidates to complete assessment exercises (but attendance certificates can be made available on request at the end of the course). To apply for this course, other than the Non Violent Resistance in Practice course, applicants must have a CORU accredited professional social work qualification (level 8 or level 9) or equivalent. All details available about these courses can be found at www.nuigalway.ie/colleges-and-schools/arts-social-sciences-and-celtic-studies/political-science-and-sociology/postgraduate-programmes/pgcertdip-cpd-social-work/ Alternatively search for social work CDP at NUI Galway using any search engine on the internet. For further information about these courses contact Dr Declan Coogan, NUI Galway, at declan.coogan@nuigalway.ie.

Tuesday, 26 February 2019

Chris Patten, Lord Patten of Barnes, will officially open the archive of Maurice Hayes at NUI Galway before giving a public lecture entitled, ‘A European identity: some reflections on the career of Maurice Hayes on the opening of his archive at NUI Galway’ on Tuesday, 12 March. Lord Patten of Barnes, Chancellor of the University of Oxford and formerly Secretary of State for the Environment, Governor of Hong Kong and European Commissioner for External Relations, was Chair in 1998-1999 of the Independent Commission on Policing for Northern Ireland, of which Maurice Hayes was a member. Following the deposit of his papers in NUI Galway in 2017, the James Hardiman Library will officially open the Maurice Hayes archive to scholars and the public. Maurice Hayes (1927-2017) was an eminent public servant who played a vital role in the search for peace and reconciliation in Northern Ireland. His many roles included: Chairman of the Community Relations Commission from 1969 until 1972; Assistant Secretary to the Northern Ireland Power-Sharing Executive, 1973-74; member of the Secretariat of the Northern Ireland Constitutional Convention, 1975; Ombudsman for Northern Ireland, 1987-1991; Independent Senator in Se­anad Éireann, 1997-2007; Chairman of the Ireland Funds; and member of the Independent Commission on Policing for Northern Ireland, 1998-1999 (the Patten Commission). Maurice Hayes had a particular ability to work with and engage people and parties of all persuasions. In addition to his achievements in Northern Ireland, Dr Hayes took a keen interest in Europe throughout his career. He served as Chairman of the Irish Government’s National Forum on Europe, which operated from 2001 to 2009, and received the European of the Year award in 2004. He published widely, including a three-volume autobiography, had a strong commitment to the Irish language and was also a vital figure in Down’s GAA successes in the 1960s. NUI Galway President, Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh speaking about the event said: “NUI Galway is honoured to hold the papers of the great Irishman and great European, Maurice Hayes. A scholar, a public servant, a peace-maker, Maurice was respected by all communities across the island of Ireland and his papers offer researchers and students a unique perspective on Ireland at a time of great social and political change. I look forward to welcoming his family to our campus for this occasion which will be marked by a perspective on Maurice’s extensive legacy in a memorial lecture by his friend, Lord Patten of Barnes.” The Maurice Hayes Archive consists of 64 boxes and covers his whole career, including speeches, correspondence, records and papers from his membership of various working parties, commissions, conventions and other organisations. There is also material relating to local government, the GAA, his time at the Department of Health and Social Services and source material for his autobiographies. The catalogue of the archive is at http://tinyurl.com/y2w2op39. The University holds a number of closely-related collections relating to Northern Ireland, including those of civil rights activist and human rights lawyer Kevin Boyle, intermediary Brendan Duddy and Provisional Sinn Féin leader Rúairí Ó Brádaigh. There are powerful direct connections between the Hayes papers and these other collections, most notably the private diary he kept of his role in public peace talks in 1975 at the same time as Brendan Duddy was keeping his diary of the secret talks with the IRA that proceeded in parallel. His papers will greatly enhance NUI Galway’s position as a centre for research and teaching on peacemaking, conflict resolution and the Northern Ireland Troubles. Niall Ó Dochartaigh, Professor of Political Science and Sociology at NUI Galway commented: “Maurice Hayes played an enormously important role in public life in Ireland, North and South, over several decades. His contributions ranged widely but perhaps the most important were to Community Relations, allied to his genius for maintaining strong relationships with political and social forces across the political spectrum at a time of intense violent conflict in Northern Ireland. His archive will allow a new generation of researchers to explore the extent and significance of his influence and provide a new window into political and social developments in Ireland, North and South.” John Cox, University Librarian at NUI Galway, said: “It was a real privilege to get to know Maurice Hayes and to develop an understanding of his unique contribution to so many aspects of life in Northern Ireland and far beyond. The opening of his papers for research, teaching and general consultation at the James Hardiman Library means that his lasting legacy will be fully appreciated by all who make use of this important archive.” Registration to attend the Maurice Hayes Memorial Lecture on 12 March at 5.30pm is essential; please book at https://www.eventbrite.ie/e/a-european-identity-some-reflections-on-the-career-of-maurice-hayes-on-the-opening-of-his-archive-tickets-56187526404.

Tuesday, 26 February 2019

NUI Galway’s College of Arts, Social Sciences and Celtic Studies and the J.E. Cairnes School of Business and Economics were awarded ‘Best College of Arts and Social Science’ and ‘Best College of Business’ respectively at the Education Awards 2019 which took place in Dublin recently. The Education Awards were established in 2017 to recognise, encourage and celebrate excellence in the third level education sector in Ireland.   An independent panel of recognised and expert judges awarded The College of Arts, Social Sciences and Celtic Studies and the J.E. Cairnes School of Business and Economics in their respective categories, commenting on the quality of programmes offered by the Colleges and their broader impact in the community through industry partnerships, collaborations and research.   Professor Cathal O’Donoghue, Dean of the College of Arts, Social Sciences and Celtic Studies at NUI Galway, said: “In the last 18 months, the College of Arts, Social Sciences and Celtic Studies has launched a number of new successful undergraduate and postgraduate programmes, as well as delivering innovative and impactful research with wider societal benefits. It is wonderful for the efforts of all colleagues in making this happen to be recognised at the 2019 Education Awards.”   Professor John McHale, Dean of the College of Business, Public Policy, and Law, NUI Galway, said: “I'm delighted with the announcement that the J.E. Cairnes School of Business and Economics won the Best College of Business award at the 2019 Education Awards. This incredible achievement is truly representative of the efforts of all colleagues and reaffirms our commitment within the University to creating transformational opportunities for our students.”   NUI Galway was also shortlisted in a number of other categories including ‘Best Education Outreach Award’ for NUI Galway Youth Academy, ‘Best Online Learning Experience’ for the Centre for Adult Learning and Professional Development, ‘Career Impact Strategy Award’ for the Career Development Centre, ‘Best Marketing/Communications Team’ for the J.E. Cairnes School of Business and Economics, and ‘Best Business and Third Level Institution Collaboration’ for Deloitte and NUI Galway.   For more information on the College of Arts, Social Sciences and Celtic Studies visit http://www.nuigalway.ie/colleges-and-schools/arts-social-sciences-and-celtic-studies/. For more information on the J.E. Cairnes School of Business and Economics visit http://www.nuigalway.ie/business-public-policy-law/cairnes/.

Tuesday, 26 February 2019

Chris Patten, Lord Patten of Barnes, will officially open the archive of Maurice Hayes at NUI Galway before giving a public lecture entitled, ‘A European identity: some reflections on the career of Maurice Hayes on the opening of his archive at NUI Galway’ on Tuesday, 12 March. Lord Patten of Barnes, Chancellor of the University of Oxford and formerly Secretary of State for the Environment, Governor of Hong Kong and European Commissioner for External Relations, was Chair in 1998-1999 of the Independent Commission on Policing for Northern Ireland, of which Maurice Hayes was a member. Following the deposit of his papers in NUI Galway in 2017, the James Hardiman Library will officially open the Maurice Hayes archive to scholars and the public. Maurice Hayes (1927-2017) was an eminent public servant who played a vital role in the search for peace and reconciliation in Northern Ireland. His many roles included: Chairman of the Community Relations Commission from 1969 until 1972; Assistant Secretary to the Northern Ireland Power-Sharing Executive, 1973-74; member of the Secretariat of the Northern Ireland Constitutional Convention, 1975; Ombudsman for Northern Ireland, 1987-1991; Independent Senator in Se­anad Éireann, 1997-2007; Chairman of the Ireland Funds; and member of the Independent Commission on Policing for Northern Ireland, 1998-1999 (the Patten Commission). Maurice Hayes had a particular ability to work with and engage people and parties of all persuasions. In addition to his achievements in Northern Ireland, Dr Hayes took a keen interest in Europe throughout his career. He served as Chairman of the Irish Government’s National Forum on Europe, which operated from 2001 to 2009, and received the European of the Year award in 2004. He published widely, including a three-volume autobiography, had a strong commitment to the Irish language and was also a vital figure in Down’s GAA successes in the 1960s. NUI Galway President, Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh speaking about the event said: “NUI Galway is honoured to hold the papers of the great Irishman and great European, Maurice Hayes. A scholar, a public servant, a peace-maker, Maurice was respected by all communities across the island of Ireland and his papers offer researchers and students a unique perspective on Ireland at a time of great social and political change. I look forward to welcoming his family to our campus for this occasion which will be marked by a perspective on Maurice’s extensive legacy in a memorial lecture by his friend, Lord Patten of Barnes.” The Maurice Hayes Archive consists of 64 boxes and covers his whole career, including speeches, correspondence, records and papers from his membership of various working parties, commissions, conventions and other organisations. There is also material relating to local government, the GAA, his time at the Department of Health and Social Services and source material for his autobiographies. The catalogue of the archive is at http://tinyurl.com/y2w2op39. The University holds a number of closely-related collections relating to Northern Ireland, including those of civil rights activist and human rights lawyer Kevin Boyle, intermediary Brendan Duddy and Provisional Sinn Féin leader Rúairí Ó Brádaigh. There are powerful direct connections between the Hayes papers and these other collections, most notably the private diary he kept of his role in public peace talks in 1975 at the same time as Brendan Duddy was keeping his diary of the secret talks with the IRA that proceeded in parallel. His papers will greatly enhance NUI Galway’s position as a centre for research and teaching on peacemaking, conflict resolution and the Northern Ireland Troubles. Niall Ó Dochartaigh, Professor of Political Science and Sociology at NUI Galway commented: “Maurice Hayes played an enormously important role in public life in Ireland, North and South, over several decades. His contributions ranged widely but perhaps the most important were to Community Relations, allied to his genius for maintaining strong relationships with political and social forces across the political spectrum at a time of intense violent conflict in Northern Ireland. His archive will allow a new generation of researchers to explore the extent and significance of his influence and provide a new window into political and social developments in Ireland, North and South.” John Cox, University Librarian at NUI Galway, said: “It was a real privilege to get to know Maurice Hayes and to develop an understanding of his unique contribution to so many aspects of life in Northern Ireland and far beyond. The opening of his papers for research, teaching and general consultation at the James Hardiman Library means that his lasting legacy will be fully appreciated by all who make use of this important archive.” Registration to attend the Maurice Hayes Memorial Lecture on 12 March at 5.30pm is essential; please book at http://tinyurl.com/y2j43jxz.

Monday, 25 February 2019

Honours announced ahead of Daffodil Day, March 22 Congratulations to Galway scientist Dr Aideen Ryan who has been recognised for her work in cancer research at the 2019 Irish Cancer Society Research Awards. The awards recognised some of the vital work being undertaken by researchers and support staff throughout the country, funded by the public donations to the Irish Cancer Society. Aideen won the top prize of Research Paper of the Year at the ceremony. She is currently a lecturer in Tumour Immunology in the School of Medicine at NUI Galway, having received funding from the Irish Cancer Society for research into bowel cancer in 2013. A native of Kiltomer, Aideen has worked on finding new ways to treat bowel cancer through immunotherapy – treatments that boost the body's natural defences to fight cancer. “Bowel cancer is the second biggest cause of cancer deaths in Ireland, so I feel privileged that my Irish Cancer Society funding has given me the chance to explore new ways to treat this disease and save lives,” she said. “Through my Irish Cancer Society fellowship I wanted to give more hope to people going through the most advanced forms of bowel cancer by exploring better treatments.  Since then I’ve used this experience to progress my research and continue the fight to stop this disease.” Aideen received the prize as an author of the scientific paper: ‘Stromal cell PD-L1 inhibits CD8+ T-cell antitumor immune responses and promotes colon cancer’, published in the journal Cancer Immunology Research. The paper was written by a team of authors, led by PhD researcher Grace O’Malley of NUI Galway. Other Galway-based colleagues who contributed include Oliver Treacy, Kevin Lynch, Serika Naicker, Paul Lohan, Thomas Ritter, and Laurence Egan; and from Queens University Belfast: Philip Dunne. Aideen was one of six people working in cancer research who described their work to a packed audience of family, friends and Irish Cancer Society supporters at the special awards ceremony held in Dublin’s House of Lords on Friday February 15. At the ceremony the Irish Cancer Society also announced that, thanks to the public’s generosity, it is on track to invest €30 million in cancer research in the decade up to 2020. Averil Power, Chief Executive of the Irish Cancer Society, said: “This decade has broken all records for cancer research in Ireland. Thanks to the generosity of the public, the Irish Cancer Society has invested more money in life-saving research than ever before, finding better ways to prevent, detect and treat cancer. “In 2019 we intend to invest €2.3 million in cancer research, supporting the work of over 100 researchers around the country. This makes us the largest voluntary funder of cancer research in Ireland, but we can still do even more. “Every year we have to turn away researchers who come to us with potentially life-saving projects, simply because we don’t have enough funds to support them. Unfortunately, this means we may have had to turn down a potential breakthrough or cure. If we’re going to stop cancer this has to change. That’s why Daffodil Day 2019 needs to be the biggest one yet.” Daffodil Day 2019, proudly supported by Boots Ireland, will take place on Friday, 22 March. Members of the public are urged to get involved by volunteering as fundraisers and donating what they can on the day. For more see cancer.ie/daffodilday.

Monday, 25 February 2019

A new study undertaken by researchers at the UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre at NUI Galway (UCFRC) assessed the attitudes and values of 700 12 to 16 year old youths in Ireland with regard to empathy, social values and civic behaviour. The study, funded by the Irish Research Council, also explored the degree to which such values and behaviours are promoted across Irish policy and curriculum. The research is among the first in Ireland to focus on the experiences of younger adolescents in relation to empathy and social values. Principal Investigator, Dr Bernadine Brady from the UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre at NUI Galway, said: “As young people in Ireland are now exposed to a much wider array of influences than previous generations, it is important to gain an insight into their values and attitudes in relation to empathy, social responsibility and civic behaviour and to understand the factors that influence these values. Our research shows that parents, peers, schools, and local communities continue to have a strong influence on youth social values.” Overall, the study found that young people showed high levels of empathy and social responsibility values but low levels of civic behaviour (for example, offering to help someone at school, helping out in your community). Young people reported that while it is easy to feel empathy for others in society, it is more difficult to actively help or engage in prosocial responding. Some of the factors that inhibited young people from responding were not knowing what to do or fear of showing weakness. Girls scored higher than boys on measures of empathy, social responsibility, and civic behaviour. Taking part in civic education at school, experiencing an open classroom climate, and having parents and a peer groups that endorse pro-social values were found to positively influence young people’s values. Participation in youth work and extracurricular activities (including arts, music, and drama) was also linked to higher levels of empathy, social responsibility and civic behaviour. The study highlights a number of opportunities for Irish policy and curriculum support for empathy and social values. Despite the increasing support for Social and Emotional Learning, it found that academic achievement remains the key priority in the formal education sector. Social and Emotional Learning in schools, the study found, tends to devolve to a small number of interested teachers and they can be reluctant to use the active methodologies associated with such learning. The study recommended that more opportunities be provided to young people to engage in civic behaviour, such as social action projects or volunteering both inside and outside of schools. UNESCO Chair Professor Pat Dolan from NUI Galway, commented: “The current policy framework places the greatest emphasis on developing socio-emotional skills through the formal education system. Considerably more attention could be put on the role of informal and non-formal settings, such as home, youth work and community, in the development and promotion of empathy and related skills and values.” The research was launched in Dublin last Saturday, 23 February as part of a ten-year celebration of the award of the UNESCO Chair in Children, Youth and Civic Engagement to NUI Galway’s Professor Pat Dolan. UCFRC Patron, actor Cillian Murphy and Professor Pat Dolan co-hosted an evening of ‘in conversation’ pieces featuring a number of contributions from celebrated Irish artists including author Sally Rooney, poets Rita Ann Higgins and Louis de Paor, moderated by writer and broadcaster John Kelly. The theme of the event, Artists for Empathy, reflected the focus of the UNESCO Chair in extending the broader ethical education of youth in national and international settings in collaboration with UNESCO.            At the launch of the research, UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre Patron and Actor Cillian Murphy, said: “Empathy and related values and behaviours are so important across a range of areas in society and policy. I warmly welcome this research which places the spotlight on empathy among young people and helps us to understand how these values are shaped and promoted.” Welcoming the launch of the reports, Peter Brown, Director of the Irish Research Council, said: “Research for policy and social progress represents a critical contribution of the research community. Cultivating new knowledge and evidence in this area is a very important part of the Irish Research Council’s mission and one we aim to further develop over the coming years through our funding programmes. By supporting and disseminating excellent research, and integrating it into policy and practice, we collectively foster better outcomes for all, not least for our children, young people and families.” To read the full reports from the study, visit: http://www.childandfamilyresearch.ie/cfrc/publications/policyreports/

Monday, 25 February 2019

NUI Galway recently welcomed members of the travelling community to the Access to Nursing and Midwifery Workshop to mark the Irish Traveller ethnicity celebrations. The workshop was held ahead of Irish Traveller Ethnicity Day which takes place annually on 1 March.  Irish Traveller Ethnicity Day marks the anniversary of Travellers gaining ethnic status, while celebrating Travellers culture and heritage including music, craft traditions and language. The aim of the workshop was to introduce the Nursing and Midwifery programmes, Pathways to University, and other student supports available at NUI Galway to the members of the Irish travelling community.  The Access to Nursing and Midwifery Workshop was organised by Owen Mac an Bhaird, a Professional Master of Education student at the University, in partnership with NUI Galway’s Access Programmes Office, School of Nursing and Midwifery, as well as the Office of the Vice President for Equality and Diversity. This initiative was funded by the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Fund.  NUI Galway’s Dr Bróna Mooney and Bernard McCarthy gave an overview of General Nursing, Mental Health Nursing, and Midwifery Programmes and a Nursing and Midwifery Skills demonstration. Mature Students Officer, Trish Bourke outlined the pathways available to access third-level education, while highlighting the strong network of supports for the student body that are available at NUI Galway.  Owen Mac an Bhaird said: “The main objective of this workshop is to empower members of the travelling community to enter third level education, while being encouraged and supported by NUI Galway. As a direct result from the workshop, five members of the travelling community have begun the process of student registration for the academic year 2019/20.”

Monday, 25 February 2019

NUIGalway and Ward and Burke Construction Ltd completes major international project to tackle wastewater sewer overflows in rivers and estuaries Researchers from the College of Engineering and Informatics at NUI Galway and the Galway-based civil engineering construction contractor Ward and Burke Construction Ltd, have completed a major sewer infrastructure project to tackle ongoing environmental issues associated with combined sewer overflows (CSOs). The partnership recently scooped a major prize for this project; Technical Innovation of the Year Award, at the Engineers Ireland Excellence Awards 2018. The academic-industry partnership was established to design and validate novel structures to alleviate wastewater discharges from combined sewer overflows which is a major source of pollution in rivers and estuaries in Ireland and abroad. This involved the design and build of a major new state-of-the-art model testing facility at NUI Galway, spanning the entire length of the laboratory, which is one of the largest in the country. One of their super sewer designs is currently well underway on the Thames River in London and is expected to reduce the overall project costs by approximately €3.4 million and project delivery time by 25%. (Video of scaled model of combined sewer overflow structure at NUI Galway here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GTH-Xe0171o&feature=youtu.be). Environmental Concerns With populations set to grow by 30% in the next 30 years and climate change resulting in warmer temperatures, more frequent rainfall events and sea level rise, challenges in the water and wastewater engineering sector are greater than ever. Larger populations mean more water usage resulting in larger volumes of wastewater to treat, which in turn means greater costs for wastewater transport, storage and treatment. In addition, increased surface water run-off from the development of new housing and urban areas is being further augmented by climate change impacts of more frequent and intense rainfall and flooding events. Sandwiched between such irrepressible pressures is an already stressed and ageing water and wastewater infrastructure which is calling for innovative measures, leading-edge design and interdisciplinary collaborations between engineers in the field and engineers in research institutes to establish a climate resilient future for our infrastructure and economies. Existing Ageing Wastewater Collection Systems - a 150-year old Technology One of the most pressing environmental concerns for existing wastewater collection systems is their pollution of receiving waterbodies such as rivers and estuaries. One of the chief contributors to this problem is the combined sewer system, a 150-year old technology which was designed to collect and convey both rain water and raw sewage in one pipe. As these pipe systems fill with rain water running off houses and street pavements, these old systems tend to fill quickly and overflow to natural water bodies before reaching treatment plants. In years gone by, this approach was efficient and perhaps even acceptable. However, with ageing infrastructure not designed to cope with the stresses of modern day urban activity, natural watercourses are more frequently experiencing the discharge of raw wastewater from combined sewer overflows after only short spells of rain. Combined sewer overflows are considered by Patrick Decker (CEO of Xylem) to be one of the three major pain points currently in the water industry. Combined Sewer Overflow Structures The solution to this problem is to build so-called combined sewer overflow interception structures. The interception structure functions by capturing the wastewater before it discharges from a combined sewer overflow to the environment and redirects it to a wastewater treatment plant often via deep tunnel conveyance systems. Due to the complex patterns of urban growth combined with existing river systems, no interception structure site is the same and they therefore often require innovative design approaches.  Sean Mulligan, project manager and co-principal investigator from NUI Galway, said: “Unseen to the eyes of the public, raw sewage overflows occur continuously throughout the year. For example, 32 million tonnes of wastewater is released to the river Thames in London, while in the US, three billion tonnes of wastewater is released to rivers through combined sewer overflows annually. The effect is continuous significant damage to a river or estuary’s health, not to mention implications to public wellbeing. Given the ageing condition of these old sewer systems coupled with more stringent discharge regulation, the only solution is to intercept the overflows before discharge to the river and convey them to a treatment plant for cleaning. The research on these structures that our team has undertaken at NUI Galway has a massive impact on our day-to-day lives, that’s what makes it very interesting, challenging and worthwhile.” Michael Ward, director of Ward and Burke and a former NUI Galway graduate, said: “Civil engineering is an art and a science, contractors build infrastructure and train young engineers in the process, universities educate them, collaboration between the practitioners and academics is very productive for both parties. In the long run there is a residual when future students use the apparatus. Great engineers don’t stop learning in practice and smart construction continues to learn first and lasting principals.” Colin O’Neill, a part-time Master’s student at NUI Galway and design engineer at Ward and Burke Construction provided an essential link between academia and industry for this project being involved extensively in the model build and testing. Mr O’Neill adds: “Having an appreciation of the challenges involved in the construction of heavy civil projects from working in the industry, coupled with the skills I learnt from my Masters, was essential for me to work on a research project such as this and help bridge the gap between the industry and research.” With a growing economy and the growing emergence of the ‘smart city’ concept, it is more important than ever to bridge the gap that has developed between laboratory research and engineering in the field. Collaborations such as this between academia and industry are crucial to solving engineering challenges. Eoghan Clifford, co-principal investigator of the project and senior lecturer at NUI Galway said: “This project and indeed, the success at the Engineers Ireland Excellence Awards, shows the need for novel solutions for challenges facing the water sector. In particular, with challenges such as climate change and demographics putting pressure on infrastructure, NUI Galway is delighted to work with innovative Irish companies such as Ward and Burke to design and test solutions to large infrastructural projects. The development of this large scale model shows the way forward for how new, sustainable and cost-effective engineering solutions can be developed and tested against various scenarios that may occur in 50 to 100 years’ time.” NUI Galway lecturer and co-principal investigator, Stephen Nash, added: “The project highlights the importance of having world-class laboratories and researchers. The expertise of our research group and technical support staff and space afforded by our hydraulics lab has led to a number of collaborations with engineering companies like Ward and Burke to assess new technology or test engineering solutions. This type of work helps NUI Galway to provide a first-class teaching experience to its students where they can learn from the real engineering projects that our staff are heavily engaged in.”

Monday, 25 February 2019

NUI Galway is calling all wanna-be-engineers to participate in a free full-day family event ‘Engineering Our Future: Family Fun Day’, which will take place on Saturday, 2 March, from 10am–4pm in the Alice Perry Engineering Building at NUI Galway.  The Family Fun Day is part of the Engineers Week 2019 which celebrates engineering across Ireland. The Family Fun Day will provide plenty of science and engineering shows, movie screenings, workshops and hands-on activities that will inspire young (and older) people. Young and older attendees can engage with the ‘Ireland’s Ingenious Engineers’ show by Scientific Sue and explore the amazing scientific discoveries and engineering feats endeavoured by some of our hugely talented Irish Scientists over a period of 350 years. Designing (probably) the best drinking chocolate in the world, creating a cloud in a bottle, exploring colour changing vegetables, making ice-cream in a baggie and sending rockets sky high are just a few of the creative demonstrations that will be used by Sue on her historical scientific journey. The ‘Focus on Forces’ show will investigate compressive and tensile strength - using forces to escape from jail or sitting on a bed of nails! Magnetic force will be explored, static and current electricity investigated; A close look at the flight experiments, see yourself what is the fastest way to inflate the slide used for emergency evacuations! Families are encouraged to come and build their own wind turbine, investigate where water comes from and where it goes, explore the vast range of chemicals used in our daily lives (which typically end up going down our drain and into our environment!), interact with CoderDojo Ninjas to learn about programming, explore the GEEC: Galway Energy Efficient Car, relax at the free LEGO play area or learn about our rich engineering heritage. These and many other activities showing the world of civil, environmental, mechanical, biomedical and electronic engineering, and information technology will be available on the day. Families can watch ‘Dream Big: Engineering Our World’ narrated by Academy Award winner Jeff Bridges which celebrates the human creativity behind engineering marvels big and small from the Great Wall of China and the world’s tallest buildings to underwater robots, solar cars and smart, sustainable cities, and show how engineers push the limits of innovation in unexpected and amazing ways. According to Professor Peter Mc Hugh, Dean of College of Engineering and Informatics at NUI Galway: “Engineering is in every aspect of our lives; it allows us to live, communicate, travel, work, play, stay safe and healthy. By taking maths and science from the lab, engineers dream of, invent, design and build things that change the reality and future of all human beings.” Speaking about the Family Fun Day, Dr Jamie Goggins from the School of Engineering at NUI Galway and the MaREI Centre, said: “Children are natural engineers. They love to design and build things, using whatever they can get their hands on. With knowledge, innovation and creativity engineers change the reality and future of all human beings. Join us for the Engineering Our Future: Family Fun Day and explore Engineering through exciting and fun hands-on activities and shows, as well as meeting with practicing engineers to better learn about the world around us, understand the role of Engineering in our lives and its impact on our future. All details about the Family Fun Day are available at www.nuigalway.ie/engineersweek  and bookings of free tickets can also be made through the website. Tickets can be booked in advanced for some shows, but it will also be possible to attend shows without pre-booking on a first-come-first-served basis on the day. For further information on ‘Engineering Our Future: Family Fun Day’ contact Jamie Goggins jamie.goggins@nuigalway.ie, Magdalena Hajdukiewicz magdalena.hajdukiewicz@nuigalway.ie or William Finnegan william.finnegan@nuigalway.ie.

Thursday, 21 February 2019

MSc student’s ‘Refugees Are’ project, a news analysis platform that aims to map public opinion around refugees is one of five winners at global competition Suad Al Darra, an MSc student in Computer Science at the College of Engineering and Informatics in NUI Galway was one of five winners at the recent Techfugees Global Challenge competition for her ‘Refugees Are’ project, a platform designed to analyse negative narratives published globally about refugees. The Techfugees Global Challenge competition sought the most innovative new projects using technology to help displaced people, refugees and NGOs. The competitions project applications went through an international Jury of experts who selected 25 finalists from hundreds of applications, from 52 countries across the world. The projects were then pitched in front of an international Jury at the Techfugees Summit in Paris, which was opened by former Prime Minister of Greece and current Councillor at the World Refugee Council, George Papandreou. Suad’s project was one of five final winners. Suad Al Darra graduated as a Software Engineer from Damascus University in 2008 and worked for several international companies. She and her husband moved to Ireland in 2014 escaping the conflict in Syria and looking for a better future. She worked at Fujitsu laboratories at the Insight Centre for Data Analytics for two years as a Research Engineer and after that worked for UNICEF, analysing non-traditional sources of data and applying data science methodologies to incubate and develop data-driven prototypes that support emergency response. In 2017, Suad enrolled as a part-time student to the MSc in Computer Science (Data Analytics) within the College of Engineering and Informatics at NUI Galway, and also became a mother during that time. Stemming from her own personal displacement journey, Suad discovered the power of big data during her studies and entered her project in the Techfugees competition. Conor Hayes, Programme Director of the MSc in Data Analytics at NUI Galway, said: “Suad fashioned an award-winning data analytics project on a subject that is hugely relevant to the experiences of her own family and to the many other displaced families and people in the world. We are very proud of her and delighted that she could achieve this while a student at NUI Galway.” Speaking about her winning project Suad Al Darra, said: “The ‘Refugees Are’ project engages the public in classifying their news as ‘negative’ or ‘positive’ to raise more awareness in the language used by journalists and politicians when describing refugees and migrants. The goal is to tackle the problem of Xenophobia against refugees created by the media, which is negatively affecting their hope of integrating and starting a new beginning. I was curious to explore the messages found in the news and create an overview of it. I decided to explore the news using GDELT (Global Dataset of Emotions, Language, Tone), the biggest open source collection of news articles with high frequency and in over 100 languages. GDELT has been used previously in measuring refugee flows in Europe depending on media citation.” Suad adds: “This dashboard may potentially help organisations like UNICEF explore locations of countries with negative stories in their media, in order to better target the problem of Xenophobia with customised local campaigns or media training. It can also be useful to spread awareness and empathy towards migrants and refugees by allowing the public to participate in classifying the news as positive, negative or neutral and giving them the chance to understand refugees’ daily struggles and challenges. The next step is to add more daily news and to automate the process to make it a real-time dashboard plugged in directly to GDELT news.” UNICEF has identified media as one of the factors leading to Xenophobia against refugees. News ‘bubbles’ can polarise host communities and filtered information focused on refugees’ negative stereotypes can make communication and integration between refugees and host communities much harder leading to a disenfranchised isolated community. For more information, see: http://refugeesare.info/ Moved by the plight of refugees in Europe, Techfugees events bring together tech engineers, designers, entrepreneurs and startups with NGOs and other agencies in order to address the challenge of refugee migration in ways where the technology world can bring its considerable firepower. Techfugees has defined five main area of focus where technology can have a significant impact: Access to Rights and Information; Health; Education; Employment; and Social Inclusion. For more information about Techfugees, visit: www.techfugees.com and https://techfugeesummit.com/challenges.

Thursday, 21 February 2019

Sea lettuce seaweed strains show extensive variation in growth and metabolism, demonstrating a large potential for boosting biomass and metabolite yields in aquaculture in Ireland Researchers from the Ryan Institute and School of Natural Sciences at NUI Galway have carried out a study aimed at identifying strains of seaweed which are good for aquaculture and agriculture in Ireland. The study discovered that sea lettuce, a fast growing seaweed with excellent nutritional value for animal feed and industrial uses could return higher yields when the right strains are used. This seaweed is also responsible for green tides in Cork and the East coast of Dublin. The year-long study which was published in one of the top 10 Plant Science international journals, Plant Physiology, analysed 50 seaweed strains of sea lettuce, mostly from Ireland and is the first study of its kind to be carried out. Sea lettuce plays a key role in coastal ecosystems and is of increasing commercial importance. However, physiological differences between strains and species have yet to be described in detail. Furthermore, the strains of Ulva (seaweed blooms) used in aquaculture usually originate from opportunistic collection in the wild without prior selection of best performing strains. As a result, efforts are required to detect the potential variability in growth and metabolic accumulation between seaweed strains to ultimately select the best performing strains, like sea lettuce, under certain environmental conditions. Lead author of the study, Dr Ronan Sulpice from the Plant Systems Biology Lab in the Ryan Institute and School of Natural Sciences at NUI Galway, said: “This study is an important stepping stone towards the development of modern breeding approaches for seaweed aquaculture.” The sea lettuce strains were collected from around the coastlines of Co. Galway, Co. Clare and the East coast. Beaches included Roundstone, Derrygimla, Dog’s Bay, Clifden, Tievegarriff, Ventry Bay, Lahinch, Bunowen Beach, Eastern Scheldt (Netherlands), Tolka and Courtmacsherry beach. The growth, physiological and metabolic characteristics of 50 seaweed bloom strains were investigated in the laboratory, using a custom-made growth monitoring platform set by researcher Dr Antoine Fort. Mr Antoine Fort from the Ryan Institute at NUI Galway, said: “The study paves the way towards the domestication and breeding of elite strains of seaweed blooms (Ulva) for aquaculture, similar to what has been done for crop plants since the beginning of agriculture.” The researchers found a large natural variation for a wide range of growth and metabolic characteristics, with growth increases varying from 9% to 37% per day amongst strains. They also found that sea lettuce strains possess a unique diurnal growth pattern and primary metabolism compared to land crop plants, with higher growth rates during the night than during the light period. This sea lettuce was not primarily using starch and sucrose to sustain its growth at night, contrary to plant crops. Nitrates were accumulated during the night in the seaweed tissues, and nitrate accumulation and consumption was positively correlated with high growth. The large variability in growth and nutritional quality recorded amongst sea lettuce strains justify future efforts in strain selection for increasing biomass, metabolite yields and nutrient removal in the growing aquaculture industry. The next stage of this research will sequence the genomes of all the sea lettuce strains collected and analyzed during this study, and aims to identify the genes responsible for fast growth and high nutritional content, while extending the research to 300 strains of sea lettuce which be collected across Europe. The study was funded by the EU Horizon 2020 project, GenialG. To read the full study in Plant Physiology visit: http://www.plantphysiol.org/content/early/2019/02/12/pp.18.01513

Thursday, 21 February 2019

Four NUI Galway based programmes will engage 100,000 members of the Irish public with science in 2019 Four NUI Galway public engagement and education initiatives have been awarded funding of more than €400,000 through Science Foundation Ireland’s Discover Programme, to fund projects dedicated to educating and engaging with 100,000 members of the public in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) in 2019. The funding awards were announced by Minister for Training, Skills, Innovation, Research and Development, John Halligan TD, as part of a national investment of €3.6 million. NUI Galway Funded Projects Cell EXPLORERS (€298,778 funding award) Cell EXPLORERS is a successful science education and public engagement programme delivering STEM activities regionally and nationally, led by Dr Muriel Grenon. Originally developed in NUI Galway, it uses a unique model for sustainable science public engagement in 13 Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) across Ireland, including both universities and institutes of technology. The programme uses hands-on activities facilitated by local scientist volunteers to engage the public in the importance of science in society through a diverse set of activities, including school visits and science festival workshops. Since its creation, 1,200 enthusiastic scientists have directly reached 32,000 members of the public. This award will fund the activities delivered by the national network made of 10 existing and three novel HEI partner teams located in Connacht, Munster, Leinster and Ulster. These Cell EXPLORERS teams will run primary and secondary school visits in their geographical areas, reaching 15 counties nationally, including seven of the nine counties with low levels of SFI-funded STEM interventions. This award will allow more children to work as real scientists in Irish classrooms under the mentorship of local, approachable and inspirational science role models. More information about this programme can be found at www.cellexplorers.com. CÚRAM ‘Strength in Science’ Project (€47,650 funding award) CÚRAM researchers are teaming up with science teachers, PE teachers and fitness instructors to develop cross-curricular resources to increase secondary students’ interest in both learning science and participating in exercise. CÚRAM is the Science Foundation Ireland Centre for Research in Medical Devices. Physical inactivity is one of the leading risk factors for poor health and is now identified by the World Health Organization as the fourth leading risk factor for global mortality. In Ireland, physical inactivity is thought to be responsible for 8.8% of the burden of disease from coronary artery disease, and 10.9% of type 2 diabetes. Only 8% of female and 12% of male secondary students in Ireland receive the Department of Education and Skills recommended 60 minutes of Physical Education (PE) per week. Time pressure due to school work was the most common reason cited for the allocation of too little PE during school hours. By strongly linking PE lessons to the science curriculum, educators will hopefully not feel as if the time dedicated to PE was taking away from preparing for exams. Four lesson plan kits will be developed that are linked to the biology, physics and PE curricula. The kits will integrate CÚRAM research with the scientific effects of exercise on different areas of the body to prevent diseases such as vascular disease, stroke, neurodegenerative disorders and osteoporosis. Each kit will include a lesson plan for teachers, an 8 to 10-minute video and a flyer covering the topic for students to share with family members. The kits are planned to be launched in the autumn of 2019. Secondary schools in the Galway or Dublin area interested in getting involved in the project should contact sarah.gundy@nuigalway.ie and more information is available at www.curam.ie. Bright Club (€49,797 funding award) Bright Club is a variety show with a twist. Academic researchers become comedians for one night, using comedy to talk about their research. The researchers from science, engineering, mathematics, social science, and the humanities get training in humour as communication, before joining actual comedians on stage in front of the public to talk about their research in an informal pub setting. Bright Club has been running across Ireland for four years with 50 live events and 150 academics trained, spearheaded by Dr Jessamyn Fairfield in the School of Physics at NUI Galway. More information at www.brightclub.ie. ReelLIFE SCIENCE (€12,000 funding award) ReelLIFE SCIENCE is a science video competition which, since being launched in 2013 by Dr Enda O’Connell, has engaged thousands of science enthusiasts in more than 350 primary schools, secondary schools and community groups around Ireland. Participants are challenged to produce a short, entertaining and educational STEM video for the public, while developing their communication and digital skills. The best videos win €1,000 for their school or group and are screened at the Galway Science and Technology Festival in NUI Galway every year. Closing date for 2019 entries is Friday, 18 October and more information can be found at www.reellifescience.com. Speaking about the funded projects, Professor Lokesh Joshi, Vice President for Research at NUI Galway, said: “NUI Galway is committed to delivering extensive public outreach and education programmes in STEM activities. For several years now, our researchers from CÚRAM, ReelLIFE SCIENCE, Cell EXPLORERS and Bright Club have provided these programmes to students, teachers and the wider public throughout Ireland to encourage interest in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics in a fun and engaging way, while highlighting the importance of STEM in addressing societal challenges. These funding awards from Science Foundation Ireland is testament to the level of excellence in NUI Galway’s public engagement initiatives to inspire the next generation of STEM scientists.” Speaking about the Programme, Interim Director of Science for Society at Science Foundation Ireland, Margie McCarthy, said: “The SFI Discover Programme encourages people from all walks of life to become informed about, and engaged with, STEM. Through SFI Discover we harness the creativity of diverse engagement initiatives to motivate more people to explore STEM in meaningful ways, and we aspire to create a brighter future for Ireland together. The projects being announced are very exciting and I look forward to working with them to inspire our future scientists, engineers and innovators.” Science Foundation Ireland has invested in over 240 public engagement projects through the Discover Programme since 2013. This year’s funded initiatives are estimated to reach over two million people. 41 diverse initiatives will be supported by this year’s programme, with successful awardees being carefully selected through international peer-review. -Ends-

Wednesday, 20 February 2019

First University to bring Dress for Success to campus Sonya Lennon to Address 200 students Public roundtable discussion on Equality in the workplace   NUI Galway is teaming up with charity Dress for Success Dublin to promote gender equality ahead of International Women’s Day on Friday, 8 March. Through the partnership, Dress for Success will provide advice on CV preparation and interview skills, in addition to advice and tips on professional clothing and styling, to Galway women preparing to enter or return to the workforce. NUI Galway will also work with the charity to provide policy guidance.    The two organisations will also hold a number of events in Galway focusing on community outreach: A roundtable discussion and media event on Equality in the Work Place, including issues around gender pay gap, to coincide with Dress for Success Dublin’s 2019 International Women’s Day campaign. The event will take place on Thursday, 7 March at 12pm and will feature Sonya Lennon, Founder and Director of Dress for Success Dublin; Dr Michelle Millar, Head of School of Political Science and Sociology and Senior Research Fellow at the UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre, NUI Galway; and Merit Medical’s Vice-President of European Operations, Mark Butler. To register for this free event, visit: bit.ly/equalityintheworkplace   On Thursday, 7 March, Sonya Lennon will address up to 200 students on First Steps to Success - Owning your Worth and Planning the Game Strategy. Students will learn how to develop their personal brand, understand their worth and optimise their career from the very beginning. The student focused event will be held in NUI Galway’s Human Biology Building from 4–5.30pm. In May, NUI Galway will host a community-focused outreach event to support women returning to the workforce. The Dress for Success Dublin Outreach Event will give women living outside Dublin the opportunity to access the services of Dress for Success Dublin. The service provides advice and interview clothing and appropriate work wear for women who are trying to return to or gain entry to the workforce. A team, including two stylist volunteers will dress up to 15 women on the day.  Professor Anne Scott, Vice-President for Equality and Diversity at NUI Galway, said: “We are delighted to partner with Dress for Success Dublin to support our communities as we strive for greater equality in the work place and work to address issues such as the gender pay gap. The partnership will focus on a number of events for the entire community and is among a range of NUI Galway initiatives designed to promote gender equality. Sonya is a great ambassador for female empowerment and Dress for Success supports women from all social, economic, and cultural backgrounds with the tools, knowledge, and opportunities to unlock their potential.” Sonya Lennon, founder of Dress for Success Dublin, said today: “As a charity campaigning across all sectors to champion and advocate for workplace equality, we’re delighted, to have NUI Galway partner with us for the IWD2019 campaign, the first university to do so. It is great to see the work that NUI Galway have been doing, in moving towards full gender equality and we’re delighted to play our role, joining with them in this effort. We are also excited to have the opportunity, through this partnership, to work with women in the area seeking to enter or renter the workforce, empowering them economically and giving them the tools they need to succeed. “Through this series of events with NUI Galway, we’ll reach a diverse group of people including media, local businesses, the University students and local women in unemployment to tackle gender inequality in a multifaceted and holistic way.” Dress for Success Dublin is a charity that promotes the economic independence of women by providing career development tools and a support network, and campaigns for equality in the workplace throughout industries, and across the country. Since 2011, they have supported over 2,000 women with the professional clothing, skills and development opportunities they needed to secure employment and achieve success. 57% of the women who work with Dress for Success Dublin go on to secure employment, and 75% are where they want to be, whether that’s working or in further training and education.

Tuesday, 19 February 2019

Legal history will be made in March, as the Supreme Court will sit outside a courthouse for the first time since it returned to the Four Courts in 1932. This will also be the first time it sits in Galway and only the third time the court will sit outside of Dublin.  To mark this landmark occasion of the Supreme Court sittings at NUI Galway, the School of Law is organising a number of celebratory events: A public event, entitled ‘Women on Supreme Courts’, will take place on Tuesday, 5 March, as part of the University’s programme of events for International Women’s Day. The event will hear from current, former and international Supreme Court judges focusing on the contribution of women to adjudication in the superior courts. Speakers include: Mrs Justice Catherine McGuinness, former Supreme Court Judge and Chair of NUI Galway’s Governing Authority, Mrs Justice Matilda Twomey, Chief Justice of Seychelles and a graduate of NUI Galway’s School of Law, Mr Justice John MacMenamin and Ms Justice Elizabeth Dunne. This event is free of charge and members of the public can register at www.conference.ie. The School will a deliver a series of (closed) student seminars in conjunction with members of the Supreme Court where students will have a unique opportunity to interact with the judiciary and academic law staff to address current issues such as consent in relation to sexual offences and other offences against the person, workplace bullying, the role of a Judge, tribunals of inquiry, disability in the courts, separations of powers, restriction and disqualification of company directors. On Monday, 4 March, the Chief Justice will deliver a speech on ‘The Common Law Post-Brexit’ to the legal community at an event jointly with the Galway Solicitors’ Bar Association Dr Charles O’Mahony, Head of the School of Law, NUI Galway, said: “The School of Law greatly looks forward to welcoming the Supreme Court for its first ever sittings in the West of Ireland. The School of Law has developed with the local legal community an exciting programme of events for our law students and the public to mark this historic occasion.  This visit is an exceptional learning opportunity for our law students and the Chief Justice Frank Clarke is to be commended for initiatives such as this, which promote greater understanding of the role of the Supreme Court and the important work it does.” To find out more and to keep up to date with the events taking place visit http://www.nuigalway.ie/supremecourt/.

Tuesday, 19 February 2019

A high level conference on ‘Brexit and the Future of British-Irish Relations’ with leading figures in politics, business, journalism and academia will take place at NUI Galway on Thursday, 28 February and Friday, 1 March. The event has been co-organised by the University’s Moore Institute, the Keough-Naughton Institute for Irish Studies at the University of Notre Dame, and the Mitchell Institute at Queen’s University Belfast. The challenge of Brexit has engulfed British politics for more than two years, with a major deadline looming for a withdrawal agreement with the EU by Friday, 29 March. Ireland has posed a particular source of difficulty during negotiations – as an EU member state sharing a border with the UK in Northern Ireland. Crucial questions will be addressed at the conference: Will a ‘hard’ Brexit impose a hard border on the island? Can a deal be struck that the Democratic Unionist Party and the House of Commons will accept? What is the fate of the Good Friday Agreement? Is the ‘backstop’ a necessity or will it prevent the UK’s departure from the EU? Participants include Mairéad McGuinness, MEP and Vice-President of the European Parliament; Robin Barnett, British Ambassador to Ireland; Lisa Chambers, TD, Fianna Fáil spokesperson on Brexit; Steve Aiken, Ulster Unionist MLA; Angela Knight, former Tory MP; Professor Kevin O’Rourke, Oxford and author of A Short History of Brexit; Tony Connelly, Europe Editor, RTÉ and author of Brexit & Ireland; Carlo Trojan, former Secretary General of the European Commission and head of the EU task force on Northern Ireland; John McGrane, British and Irish Chamber of Commerce; and Professor Mary Daly, UCD/RIA. The conference will feature five panels with contributions from participants and a Q&A on:  The European Project Politics and Populism British-Irish Trade Northern Ireland, the Good Friday Agreement and the Border The Future of British-Irish Relations In addition, Mairéad McGuinness will give a special address at 5.30pm on Thursday, 28 February as part of the event. Commenting on the event, Professor Daniel Carey, Director of the Moore Institute at NUI Galway, said: “Brexit is the crucial event of our times, with the potential to bedevil British and Irish relations for years to come. This gathering of distinguished participants is a vital opportunity to develop our understanding of the issues connected with this all-important redefinition of Ireland’s relationship with its key neighbour. Trade, peace, and security are all at stake in Northern Ireland’s role in Brexit.” Professor Patrick Griffin, Director of the Keough-Naughton Institute for Irish Studies at the University of Notre Dame, commented: “We are delighted to partner with NUI Galway and QUB on what is turning out to be the defining question for this generation of people living in Britain and Ireland. Addressing the challenges of Brexit will require imagination and many more of the sorts of discussions we hope to foster at this conference.” The event is free and open to the public, with registration on Eventbrite at: brexitfuturerelations.eventbrite.com. The two-day event will take place at the O’Donoghue Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance at NUI Galway.

Tuesday, 19 February 2019

A workshop on the roles of producing in the creative arts is to be held at NUI Galway. Entitled ‘On Producing: Industry, Infrastructure and Cultures of Change’ the workshop will address a variety of issues, from job creation and employment conditions, to programme selection and proposals for advocacy and change in the creative arts industry. The workshop will take place on Monday, 25 February in the O’Donoghue Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance, NUI Galway. The event investigates the role of the producer and the processes of production with a particular emphasis on how change can be facilitated to occur in theatre and the creative arts. The workshop intends to examine producing from multiple perspectives and areas of expertise, including the history of producing, networks and training, hosting and touring, festivals and events, budgets and financial planning, the impact of identity politics at policy and decision-making level, and the development of storytelling content. Guest speakers and workshop facilitators include: Anne Clarke, Landmark Productions Jen Coppinger, Abbey Theatre Jane Daly, Irish Theatre Institute Craig Flaherty, Galway 2020 Julie Kelleher, The Everyman Louise Lowe, ANU Productions Una Nic Eoin, Prime Cut Productions Dr Máiréad Ní Chróinín, Moonfish Theatre Roisin Stack, Theatre57 Dr Miriam Haughton, Director of Postgraduate Studies in Drama, Theatre and Performance, NUI Galway, said: “Producing is essential to the making of theatre and performance, and requires greater attention in theatre and performance scholarship, as well as further training opportunities. Producing is vital to the successful management, growth and legacy of single events, co-productions, touring, and festivals. Producing theatre and performance ensures creativity is central to social and cultural activity, as well as a financial stimulant for the wider economy.” As Galway prepares for the 2020 European Capital of Culture designation, creative arts graduates must be equipped with the skills of creative entrepreneurs to identify the opportunities and challenges that are forthcoming. Dr Haughton added: “However, recent studies and symposia, such as the Gender Counts report commissioned by #WakingTheFeminists and supported by the Arts Council, identify that certain value-systems continue to discriminate against women at professional level, resulting in less employment opportunities and less pay. Therefore, any study into the role of producing which fundamentally concerns the creation of storytelling for public consumption and circulation must include a dedicated focus directed at hiring practices, funding awards, and how and why certain stories get told and retold, while others become marginalised and/or dismissed. Furthermore, recent local and international revelations regarding workplace relations behind the scenes have highlighted the need for reviewing and strengthening workplaces cultures and labour relations policies as they pertain to the creative and cultural industries. These issues, and more, will be addressed at the event by the Producers leading the industry and advocacy for change.” Following the workshop, a new book by Dr Haughton, Staging Trauma: Bodies in Shadow, will be launched by Louise Lowe, ANU Productions. and Dr Cathy Leeney, UCD. Staging Trauma: Bodies in Shadow has been nominated for the TaPRA Early Career Research Prize, and investigates contemporary British and Irish performances that stage traumatic narratives, histories, acts and encounters. It includes a range of case studies that consider the performative, cultural and political contexts for the staging and reception of sexual violence, terminal illness, environmental damage, institutionalisation and asylum. This event is curated by the Feminist Storytelling Network at NUI Galway, and sponsored by the NUI Galway College of Arts, Social Sciences and Celtic Studies Research Support Scheme, Moore Institute, the Irish Society for Theatre Research, the O’Donoghue Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance, and Gender ARC. For any further information relating to this event, please email Dr Miriam Haughton, miriam.haughton@nuigalway.ie or 091 494485.

Tuesday, 19 February 2019

James Whelton, co-founder of Coderdojo announced as guest speaker NUI Galway’s School of Education will host the inaugural Irish Computer Science for All (CSForAll) Summit on Wednesday, 13 March. This one-day Summit will focus on curriculum, national and international trends and the importance of Computer Science in the Irish education system. Computer Science is an essential 21st century literacy skill for all students, and the CSforAll Summit - hosted by NUI Galway and supported by Google Ireland - will be of value to teachers of Computer Science and Coding, potential teachers of Computer Science and schools interested in offering the subject. The event is timely as Phase One of Leaving Cert Computer Science is well underway, with nationwide rollout planned for September 2020. Guest speaker at the summit is James Whelton, co-founder of the Coderdojo, who said: “Having worked with young people learning to code and my own journey coding from a young age, I'm delighted to support NUI Galway in organising this summit furthering the cause of education around Computer Science - which continues to substantially empower not just young people's future, but the future of our collective society! Sharing stories and learnings from the CoderDojo movement with that of formal Computer Science education - this Summit promises be a great conversation.” Computer Science makes the use of computers possible and underpins innovation in every industry. It is not just concerned with coding, but also incorporates the networks, data, and the impact of computing on society. The mission of CSforAll - a global movement started in the US - is to make high-quality computer science an integral part of every child’s school experience and it is a central resource for individuals and organisations interested in computer science education. The National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA) and the Professional Development Service for Teachers (PDST) will be represented on the day.  International experts Professor Aman Yadav from Michigan State University, USA and Professor Peter Hubweiser from Technische Universität München, Germany will tell of their experience in CS rollout. The Summit will also include primary and post-primary schools showcasing their work to date in coding and CS. Dr Claire Conneely, CS Education Programme Manager at Google will be among the featured speakers at the event. Dr Cornelia Connolly, event organiser and Lecturer with NUI Galway’s School of Education, said: “The Irish CSForAll Summit amplifies the work of the key stakeholders nationwide engaged in developing computer science education. We are delighted to have the opportunity to host the first International Summit and support schools in their provision of CS education in Ireland. Having the key people together in one place is a wonderful opportunity and as the title of the day suggests, we will be ‘Coding the Future of Education’!” To register for CSForAll, or for more information on this free event, visit https://sites.google.com/view/csforallirelandsummit/home. Places are limited and early booking is advised.

Tuesday, 19 February 2019

Researchers from Earth and Ocean Sciences at NUI Galway in collaboration with DIT and UL have carried out a study in Co. Kerry examining how arsenic is distributed in the groundwater. The results have shown elevated levels of arsenic in the water chemistry caused by the underlying bedrock were above the Wold Health Organisation limits of 10 ppb (part per billion). The study was published in the open access journal, Frontiers in Environmental Science. A previous national study in Ireland in 2016, carried out by the same research team at NUI Galway found that certain regions across the country had elevated levels of naturally occurring arsenic in groundwater and again identified bedrock as a major controlling factor on the arsenic concentrations. On average in Ireland, groundwater used as drinking water for both public and private sources is at 25%. Arsenic is a chemical element that can occur naturally in many rock types. It can be very harmful to people and has been linked to developing lung, skin, and bladder cancer, as well as heart disease. Short term exposure to high levels of arsenic can cause vomiting, abdominal pain and diarrohoea. In Co. Kerry, a relationship has been found between arsenic and groundwater and surrounding sandstones which indicates geology as a strong predictor of arsenic in groundwater. The Co. Kerry dataset forms an amalgamation of three datasets; drinking water supplies, well water grant applications and public groundwater sources, with the majority of samples coming from private sources. However, more targeted studies in the future will be needed to confirm this and further understand local-scale variations. Lead author of the study, Dr Liam Morrison, from Earth and Ocean Sciences at NUI Galway, said: “Co. Kerry is one of the most intensively monitored regions in Europe in terms of assessing groundwater quality because of the presence of good analytical infrastructure and expertise within the local authority. This study showed the value of using a regional-scale groundwater chemistry dataset with an already-existing national approach from our previous national study to identify potential controlling factors on arsenic concentrations in groundwater. This research has paved the way for applying the methodology used in Ireland across Europe and further afield to assess groundwater quality. It also discusses whether groundwater chemistry sampling on this scale can assist in future mineral exploration, as well as developing high quality public and private water supplies.” This study has used an approach which integrates geological, land use and hydrogeological data in order to reveal potential controls of arsenic and other contaminants in groundwater which will be of interest to researchers in other regions around the world. With the growing body of secondary groundwater datasets being generated in Europe and elsewhere, the methods presented here will be of interest in the future, aimed at guiding future development and sustainability of good quality water resources. The study was carried out in collaboration with The Geological Survey of Ireland and Kerry County Council and was the research was grant-aided by the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources under the National Geoscience Programme. To read the full study in Frontiers in Environmental Science, visit: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fenvs.2018.00154/full -Ends-

Friday, 15 February 2019

NUI Galway student, Edel Browne has been named on the prestigious Forbes ‘30 Under 30’ Europe list for 2019. At 21 years old Edel is the youngest honouree in this year’s Science and Healthcare category. She has recently graduated from NUI Galway with a Bachelor of Science in Biotechnology and is currently an EY Scholar pursuing an MSc in Technology Innovation and Entrepreneurship Development (TechInnovation), at the University. The list features 30 honourees across 10 categories, all of whom are under 30 years old. Among those featured alongside Edel on this year’s list include actor, Daniel Radcliffe; musician, George Ezra and Irish rugby player, Peter O’Mahony. Edel was recognised for her work on a project called Free Feet Medical, a device for people with Parkinson’s disease, which began as a project for the BT Young Scientist Exhibition. She has also participated in the Washington Ireland Program, and has been heavily involved in student entrepreneurship at NUI Galway, where she has acted as Student Entrepreneur in Residence at LaunchPad, NUI Galway’s campus-based entrepreneurship program for the past three years. During her time with LaunchPad, Edel has been supported to develop her Free Feet business which addresses clinical challenge of treating Parkinson’s Disease and to also encourage other budding campus entrepreneurs. Under 30 honourees are judged on leadership and disruption; entrepreneurial mind-set and results; and the likelihood of changing their field over the next half-century. “Four years on from its launch, the 30 Under 30 Europe list continues to be not only the defining measure of success for the region’s next generation of leaders, but also a source of empowerment for all honorees,” said Alex Wood, Europe Editor at Forbes. “We’ve searched throughout Europe to identify 300 of the most revolutionary entrepreneurs, innovators and disruptors in ten diverse sectors, who are changing the game throughout the region and across the globe.” Congratulating Edel NUI Galway President, Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh said: “Edel’s selection on this impressive list of ‘30 Under 30’ is a wonderful endorsement of her talent and acumen. Here at her alma mater, we are proud of her achievements and we look forward to her continued success. She stands as an example to all students of how to make a difference ‘in’ the world and ‘for’ the world. Her ingenuity, intellectual curiosity and entrepreneurial skill combine to address the global challenge of Parkinson’s disease. And as an entrepreneur she has inspired and mentored many student innovators here at NUI Galway and far beyond.” Edel said: “It is a huge honour to be included in the Forbes 30U30 this year, since coming to NUI Galway in 2016 I have been hugely supported in every aspect of my journey both academically and through the LaunchPad with Free Feet Medical.  I am thrilled to represent the University and my city on the list.” -Ends-

Friday, 15 February 2019

Scientists and science enthusiasts will battle it out for a place in the national final of Famelab, the largest science communication competition in the world. This is the fourth time that a regional heat for the international competition will take place in Galway. The competition will be held on Thursday, 21 February, at An Taibhdhearc Theatre at 7pm and is free to attend. The contestants come from a variety of backgrounds, covering sciences from Physics to Biology. Presentations will cover a set of topics including “Blockchain”, “Rock and Roll and the “Right Hand Rule” and “A Threat to Modern Medicine”. The competing scientists will be given a total of three minutes each to explain their research, or any scientific concept, as clearly, simply and charismatically as possible, to a public audience and a panel of judges. This will be followed by three minutes of questions from the judges and the audience. Competitors are given the instruction that they can use ‘only what they can carry with them onto the stage’ to help illustrate their stories. Two finalists will be announced on the night and will be sent forward to a communications master class in Dublin on 22-24 March. They will then compete in the Irish final of Famelab which will be held in the Science Gallery in Dublin on Thursday, 11 April. The overall national winner will attend the Cheltenham Science Festival, UK in June 2019 and will compete in the FAMELAB International finals. The evening will be hosted by Professor Michel Destrade, Chair of Applied Mathematics at NUI Galway, previous winner of FameLab Galway and runner up of FameLab Ireland 2016. The panel of judges include: Paul Fahy, Artistic Director of the Galway International Arts Festival Laura Rigney, Director of Brigit’s Garden Laoise McNamara, Professor of Biomedical Engineering and Principal Investigator, NUI Galway Brenda Romero, Game designer, artist and Fulbright recipient, Romero Games Entertainment during the interval will be provided by Ana Panigassi, winner of FameLab Galway 2017 and performer at Bright Club. Ana is an Obstetrician/Gynaecologist specialised in Maternal-Fetal Medicine and now a full time Science Communicator and her dog, Little Jerry Seinfeld, guarantees she is very funny. Her Show ‘Horrible Histories in Women's Health’ has some interesting little stories about how women's health inventions came about and the science behind it.   To attend the FAMELAB Galway regional final please book your free ticket at https://www.eventbrite.ie/e/famelab-galway-2019-tickets-53541674590. You can also follow the Galway competition on twitter @FameLab_Galway. -Ends-

Thursday, 14 February 2019

Three MedTrain research projects at CÚRAM, the Science Foundation Ireland Centre for Research in Medical Devices based at NUI Galway have been selected for inclusion in the European Commission's Innovation Radar as ‘Key Innovators’. The aim of the Innovation Radar platform is to make information about EU-funded innovations from high-quality projects visible and accessible to the public in one place on a new platform. This will show citizens the many excellent technological and scientific advances being delivered by researchers and innovators around Europe, funded on their behalf by the European Commission. This initiative has the support of EU Members States and so far Ministers from 21 countries have signed the Innovation Radar declaration confirming their support for this initiative. Professor Abhay Pandit, Scientific Director at CÚRAM in NUI Galway, said: “The Innovation Radar platform presents a valuable opportunity for our researchers to highlight the potential impact of their work. Making research information accessible to a wide public audience is a core element of the CÚRAM ethos. We welcome the inclusion of three of our research projects in the platform and hope to contribute more widely to the space in future.” The first of the awarded projects is being carried out by Dr Elaine Waters, supervised by Dr Michelle Kilcoyne, and will address the issue of biofilm infections of medical devices which resist antibiotics, causing devices to be replaced, thereby increasing hospital stays. It will develop new tissue-friendly carbohydrate coatings to prevent biofilm infections of implanted devices. The second project, led by Dr James Wilson, supervised by Dr Andreas Heise, will design a flexible, yet strong soft tissue implantable wet adhesive for tissue repair and regeneration. This technology represents the next generation of fully biodegradable bioadhesives with enhanced wet adhesion properties for the development of new clinical materials and advanced approaches in healthcare. The third of the awarded projects is led by Dr Tania Hidalgo Crespo, supervised by Dr Caitriona O’Driscoll, and will develop a novel, safe and effective drug delivery system. Successful delivery of therapeutic levels of siRNA to the brain, using this novel system, will facilitate the treatment of a wide range of neurodegenerative disease such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, depression and brain tumours. The projects are being developed under the Horizon 2020 project MedTrain, a new Industry-Academia Training, Career Development, and Mobility Fellowship Programme in Medical Device Research and Development at CÚRAM, the Science Foundation Ireland Centre for Research in Medical Devices based at NUI Galway. MedTrain offers two-year fellowships to experienced researchers in the broad area of Medical Device Research and Development, including: tissue engineering and regenerative medicine, biomaterials and drug delivery, glyco and protein engineering and neuromodulation. Information about each of the three MedTrain projects at CÚRAM included on the platform are accessible to the public via the new Innovation Radar platform, (accessed via a website or a smartphone app - iOS or Android).

Tuesday, 12 February 2019

Film addresses issues such as do we always need consent and are men always up for sex? To celebrate Valentine’s Day and the launch of their new four-year programme earlier this month, the Active Consent research team at NUI Galway are premiering the third interactive short film in the Consent=OMFG series, John and Becky. The film shows a long-term couple who are having less sex than they used to in their relationship, and explores consent communication between established partners and the stereotype that men always desire physical connection.  Like the other films in the Consent=OMFG series (Tom and Julie and Kieran and Jake), the viewer experience of John and Becky involves making active choices for the characters at three key decision points in their story. With four possible endings, viewers experience firsthand the multiple directions sexual communication can go for this couple.  Active Consent researcher and film director Dr Charlotte McIvor said: “John and Becky portrays the complexity of negotiating consent even with long-term partners and the importance of ongoing and proactive dialogue around intimacy. We were interested in exploring how men may experience pressure to be intimate based on commonly-held stereotypes that they are always driven by sexual desire.” The Consent=OMFG film series is one of the tools that will be highlighted in the Active Consent Programme’s toolkit for third-level institutions that will be released in spring 2019. It illustrates the breadth of the approach being taken and complements the SMART Consent workshops that have been running since 2015. A theatre performance on consent will also be launched later in the year. Intended to be used in conjunction with the new Active Consent programme toolkit, the performance will be available for touring on a limited basis to third-level institutions in late summer and autumn 2019. Dr Pádraig MacNeela from the School of Psychology, NUI Galway, said: “Taken together, the training and resources available through the college toolkit will enable colleges to follow through on the commitment to support young people to make positive, active choices in what they do and do not want to consent to with their partners.” One in five college students in a relationship reported in a SMART Consent survey that they would find it difficult to tell their partner that they do not want to have sex, and a similar percentage said they would find it difficult to say a certain sexual activity is not making them feel good. The Consent=OMFG series can be viewed at www.nuigalway.ie/consent=omfg and on the YouTube channel, Consent is OMFG. John and Becky will be available from Thursday, 14 February.

Tuesday, 12 February 2019

The project uses heart-rate data to automatically generate and publish poetry If the heart could speak, what would it say? A new project at NUI Galway, launching on Valentine’s Day, aims to address this question with an unconventional approach to producing poetry. The project, Eververse, combines methods and tools from literary studies and computer science to automatically generate poetry that corresponds to a person’s biometric data, that is how fast their heart is beating, how deeply they are sleeping, and so on. Eververse sends biometric data from a wearable fitness tracking device to a custom-built poetry generator which uses algorithms to generate and publish poetry in real time, and 24/7, on the Eververse website. The form and content of the poetry is designed to change according to different physical sensations and experiences in the poet’s waking and sleeping life. For example, poetic lines decrease in length as the poet’s heart rate increases and breath contracts. Content, too, reflects bodily variations, as heightened-sentiment vocabulary is produced to reflect the emotional intensification of an increased heart rate, while dream sleep generates surreal images and vocabulary. Project leader and lecturer in English at NUI Galway, Dr Justin Tonra, will generate a year-long poem using his biometric data. Dr Tonra said: “The project continues a long tradition of connecting the heart and the arts, and contemplating the relationship between an artist and the work they produce. It will allow us to think about the increasing presence of computer-driven automation in our world and what role it might play in creative and cultural artefacts. I hope, too, that it will produce some engaging poetry.” One of the more common ideas about poetic inspiration presents the poet as a creative vessel or conduit, taking the sensory input of the world into their bodies and minds, and producing poetic output in turn. In theories such as this, art collapses into the being and identity of the artist. W. B. Yeats famously articulated this conundrum, asking “How can we know the dancer from the dance?” Eververse is a conceptual response to this situation. By removing cognition from the process of creating poetry, the project creates a more explicit link between the abstract relations of artist and art. Here, the poet’s body, through its various motions and functions, literally determines the form and content of the poetry that is produced.  Eververse can be viewed from Valentine’s Day at http://eververse.nuigalway.ie/, which also hosts videos of a live performance at last year’s Cúirt International Festival of Literature. The project is a collaboration between researchers from NUI Galway, the Moore Institute, Insight Centre for Data Analytics, and Maynooth University, and has been funded by the European Association for Digital Humanities.

Monday, 11 February 2019

A new report into the feasibility of conducting a longitudinal study on children in care or children leaving care within the Irish context has been published by Dr Carmel Devaney and Dr Cliona Rooney of the UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre at NUI Galway. This study was commissioned by Tusla, the Child and Family Agency, and the Department of Children and Youth Affairs, with the support of the Irish Research Council. It arose from an action detailed in the Implementation Plan in response to the Ryan Report of the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse (2009). This study is based on interviews with researchers worldwide who have completed studies of this kind. It considers the financial and research challenges associated with completing research over time with children and young people who are in care or are about to leave care in Ireland. There are over just 6,000 children in care in Ireland with over 2,000 young people availing of aftercare services. A longitudinal study will provide, for the first time a comprehensive real time account of their experiences. The study found that there is a need for: An Irish longitudinal study on children in care to examine the experiences and outcomes of children and young people who have experienced the Irish care system (including residential and foster care) and to continue to trace this population as they progress out of care and/or aftercare and into early adulthood; That there is a need to compare the outcomes of children in care with the general population of children and the importance of the Growing Up in Ireland (GUI) study in this regard; Awareness of the significant planning, governance, advisory, stakeholder buy-in and piloting phases required for such a project to ensure optimum implementation; Awareness of methodological barriers and enablers such as data management issues including access to administrative data, retention and attrition, ethical considerations, engaging often hard to reach participants and the community throughout the duration of the study and project management; A range of design and cost options to be considered and that longitudinal studies assist policy makers and service providers with data that focuses on the impact of childhood experiences on later outcomes. Dr Carmel Devaney said: “A longitudinal study with children and young people in care would provide a critical understanding of the needs and experiences of children and young people in and leaving care in Ireland. We have very little information on this transition currently. The move between care and aftercare can be extremely difficult for young people. The usual challenges of leaving home can occur, but often, the young person does not have a stable background to lean on for support or a network of people to lean on for support.” The Department of Children and Youth Affairs and Tusla will use the findings of this feasibility study to consider the possibility of commissioning a study of this kind. Tusla’s Corporate Plan 2018 – 2020 makes provision within its Research function to ‘support the ongoing consideration for a future commission on a longitudinal study of children in care’. For full report please see http://www.childandfamilyresearch.ie/media/unescochildandfamilyresearchcentre/documentspdf/Feasibility-Study-on-Longitudinal-Study-of-Children-In-Care-or-Leaving-Care-in-Ireland.pdf -Ends-

Monday, 11 February 2019

Expansion announced by Minister Heather Humphreys, TD and supported by Enterprise Ireland  Irish Technology start-up, Joulica, has today announced a significant expansion of its operations headquartered in Galway, creating 45 new jobs over three years. The jobs form part of Joulica’s growth strategy reinforcing Galway’s position as the driving force of Ireland’s Information and Communication Technology industry. The announcement was made today at Joulica’s headquarters at NUI Galway by Heather Humphreys, Minister for Business, Enterprise, and Innovation, together with Joulica CEO Tony McCormack and Mark Christal, Regional Entrepreneurship Manager at Enterprise Ireland. The development is supported by the Government through Enterprise Ireland’s Research, Development and Innovation Fund. Founded in 2016 and based in the Business Innovation Centre on the campus of NUI Galway, Joulica has grown rapidly and enjoyed strong commercial success based on its expertise in the Customer Experience domain, real-time analytics and cloud-native software development. The high-skill jobs announced today will add 45 to the existing 25 staff currently employed by Joulica. Joulica is seeking experts in software, data analytics and business development to serve new product development opportunities in the US and Europe. Speaking at the announcement, Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Heather Humphreys, TD, said: “I am delighted to be here at Joulica’s HQ today to announce 45 new highly-skilled jobs in Galway. This time last year, Joulica had 11 employees. Since then, they have increased that number to 25, and over the next three years, they will increase it again to 70. This wonderful achievement is a testament to the innovation and dedication of the team. Companies like Joulica are vital components of a robust regional economy, something that the Government is committed to supporting. I would like to congratulate Tony McCormack, Joseph Smyth, Diarmuid Leonard and the team at Joulica on this remarkable achievement and wish them every success as their business continues to grow.” Speaking at today’s announcement, Tony McCormack, CEO of Joulica said: “Today marks a significant landmark for Joulica and demonstrates the depth of talent available to innovative technology start-ups establishing R&D centers in Galway city. The success we have enjoyed to-date is a testament to the world-class talent and exceptional skills of the Joulica team, together with the unwavering support provided by Enterprise Ireland, our advisors and mentors.   From its inception, Joulica has been fortunate to work with global customers who are at the forefront of the digital transformation revolution. This opportunity combined with a deep understanding of the requirements that Enterprise customers place on high-scale, resilient software solutions gives Joulica a unique edge when it comes to accelerating innovation in large-scale Enterprises.” Mark Christal, Manager – Regions and Entrepreneurship, Enterprise Ireland said: “Innovation and being competitive is crucial for Irish start-ups to grow and build scale both here and on an international level. It is becoming increasingly clear that businesses are facing uncertainties and challenges that could impact their growth, and Joulica is an excellent example of a company that has stayed on the pulse and identified solutions to allow them to scale in international markets and realise their global ambition. At Enterprise Ireland, we are committed to supporting regionally-based companies like Joulica to plan, innovate and compete and we look forward to continuing our work with Tony and the team on their growth trajectory.”

Monday, 11 February 2019

The ‘Testostertones’ male voice choir from NUI Galway is delighted to announce it has been selected to compete at the prestigious Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod in Wales. The Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod, which takes place from 1-7 July,  is one of the foremost world festivals of music, dance and culture, and includes competitions showcasing choirs and dance troupes from across the globe. Each year it attracts over 4,000 performers and as many as 50,000 visitors across the week. Established in 1947, the International Eisteddfod promotes peace and goodwill between nations by bringing performers from all cultures and nations together through music. The festival is world renowned, having welcomed international music stars including Luciano Pavarotti who competed in the competitions as a boy and returned to perform as one of the most successful tenors of all time. This year, the ‘Testostertones’ will join international competitors from all over the world in a vibrant carnival of culture. They will perform a number of songs, including folk songs from the West of Ireland, in both Irish and English. Choir Director and NUI Galway graduate, Peter Mannion, said: “This is a wonderful experience for the singers. Performing at one of the world’s great music festivals will be a highlight for both the singers and their families. Representing NUI Galway and Ireland at the festival is an honour for the group and we will be performing a repertoire to showcase choral music from Ireland along with some music from the greatest ever composers.”  

Monday, 11 February 2019

Funding will support exploring commercial opportunities in ovarian and breast cancer, an autonomous lifeguard and search system, macroalgae health benefits and high blood pressure Five research projects from NUI Galway have received almost €600,000 from Science Foundation Ireland’s Technology Innovation Development Award (TIDA) programme. The programme provides project development funding and training in entrepreneurship skills to third-level researchers. Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Heather Humphreys TD, and Minister for Training, Skills, Innovation, Research and Development, John Halligan TD, this week announced €4.5 million in funding for 38 research projects to support the commercialisation of government-funded research. The researchers will demonstrate if their applied research project is technically feasible, and has the potential for further commercial development. NUI Galway Research Projects: Dr Eimear Dolan, Biomedical Engineer, College of Engineering and Informatics – Awarded €129,995 for the ‘ImmunoCell’ project, an implantable device to help immune cells fight ovarian cancer tumours. Professor Michael Madden and Dr Enda Barrett, Information Technology – Awarded €124,367 for the ‘ALIVE (Autonomous LIfeguard and Vision Environment)’ project, an autonomous lifeguard and search system using computer vision and machine learning techniques to accurately detect people in noisy aquatic environments. Dr Adrienne Gorman, Apoptosis Research Centre, School of Natural Sciences – Awarded €128,440 for the ‘RIPK2 inhibitor’ project, validating promising protein inhibitors, as a new therapeutic option in triple negative breast cancer. Professor Mark Johnson, Ryan Institute and School of Natural Sciences – Awarded €123,956 for the ‘Blooms2Feeds+2’ project to develop processed seaweeds for blending into fish feeds in salmon aquaculture. The aim is to generate health benefits in both fish (welfare) and humans (nutrition, through higher salmon quality). Dr Haroon Zafar, College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences – Awarded €91,205 for the ‘Smart Renal Denervation’ project to develop the feasibility of a novel device to provide real-time feedback to clinicians to verify the successful operation of Renal denervation to treat high blood pressure not controlled by medication. Professor Lokesh Joshi, Vice President of Research at NUI Galway, said: “Our university has a great track record in knowledge transfer and research commercialisation. Our five new projects demonstrate this drive to maximize the impact of ideas and technology generated by our research. The depth and breadth of innovative technologies reflect the strengths of our region such as ICT, MedTech and marine.” Speaking of the awards, Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Heather Humphreys TD, said: “I am delighted to announce the recipients of the SFI TIDA Awards and commercialisation support for 38 research projects. The programme is aligned with a number of key Government strategies including Innovation 2020, the National Policy Statement on Entrepreneurship in Ireland and Project Ireland 2040. It will develop important entrepreneurship skills and commercialisation capabilities, ensuring Ireland maintains its position as a leader in cutting-edge research.” Professor Mark Ferguson, Director General of Science Foundation Ireland and Chief Scientific Adviser to the Government of Ireland said: “Science Foundation Ireland is committed to investing in the translation of world-class research from the laboratory to market. A key objective is to increase the number and quality of discoveries that have strong economic impact potential, that can secure follow-on public or private investment. The TIDA programme plays a key role in this process by providing funding to develop technologies, as well as fostering entrepreneurship skills among our research community.” Researchers funded through the TIDA programme will also participate in the new SFI Spark Pre-Accelerator, which is an intensive five-day programme delivered by the DCU Ryan Academy for Entrepreneurs. This will support STEM researchers to develop skills in areas such as evidence-based entrepreneurship, innovation and design thinking and facilitates mentoring and networking.  

Monday, 11 February 2019

CREATE: The Art of Pregnancy, Birth & Beyond, is a free art exhibition developed by the HRB Mother and Baby Clinical Trial Network, taking place around the campus of UHG, that spotlights pregnancy and newborn journeys, the people who make them, and the research that impacts them. The exhibition will run from 2 - 28 February, and local breastfeeding groups in particular are invited to take in the exhibition. The exhibition touches on topics like perinatal mental health, bereavement and pregnancy loss, IVF, prematurity, labour and birth experiences, and breastfeeding, as well as exploring how health research helps women and newborns. The pregnancy and neonatal journey can be beautiful and scary, joyous and heartbreaking. It can be miraculous, frustrating, sought after or unexpected. It can be straightforward, or it can wind and twist through our lives. We think of it as nine months, but it can be years of trying. It can end unexpectedly. It can resonate for decades afterwards. In this exhibition, the HRB Mother and Baby Clinical Trial Network, a network of obstetricians, neonatologists, midwives and related professionals brought together to carry out research on women’s and children’s health, hope to highlight common pregnancy and newborn health issues and celebrate the impact of perinatal research on mothers and babies in Ireland and internationally. The exhibition provides a safe, non-judgmental space to explore these issues and listen, through new and existing artworks, to the experiences of women and the doctors, midwives and researchers who care for them. Some of the exhibition’s highlights include: The Other Side - A new work by Emma Sheridan that deals with her own experiences of perinatal mental health issues. A self portrait of sorts that captures how she felt following the birth of her first child – the exhaustion, the doubts, the terror. The artist writes: “I wanted the image to look, like me, as if it was disintegrating. For others to look into her eyes and say, that feels like me and not me alone. This painting is also full of hope and positivity. The colours are vibrant, I feel beautiful, I am owning all of it. Yes, I am tired and it is hard but I am no longer trying to be perfect and neither is this painting. It is me.”   The Children’s Remembrance Tree – A striking and colourful collaborative community project, led by the Bereavement team in Cavan Hospital. During a remembrance service in 2015, families were given colourful beads to hold on to – as a physical symbol of the baby or child families were there to remember, the grief they carried and the uniqueness of each story. After the service, the beads were collected and over the following three months were sewn onto the fabric by a local craft group with help from friends and family. The Tree, its branches, and its falling vibrant leaves, represents strength, family, the fragility of life, and the sense of belonging to a community and the support that brings.   Everyday Breastfeeding - This series of simple, black and white, hanging illustrations by Fiona Carey depicts everyday experiences of breastfeeding – the lovely, chaotic, precious, mundane, lived reality of it. While breastfeeding is the common theme, it is not the central focus of these images; it is simply one component of life as a parent of babies and toddlers. Sometimes, the images we commonly see of breastfeeding make it seem inaccessible and incompatible with modern life. Rarely do we see images of breastfeeding fitting in with work, family, exhaustion, eating, resting, socialising, travelling, sleeping, life. These illustrations portray modern women’s relationships to breastfeeding, as part of their modern lives, capturing the ordinary and extraordinary, the mundane and magical. This exhibition is supported by the Health Research Board through their Knowledge Exchange and Dissemination Award which aims to maximize the uptake of research findings into policy and practice. For more information, contact Cormac McAdam on motherandbabyexhibition@gmail.com or phone 01 4022548 or 087 2329101. The full list of artworks and events is available at www.hrb-mbctni.ie/create and www.hrb-mbctni.ie. Follow on Twitter @HRBMumAndBaby and www.facebook.com/HRBMotherAndBabyCTNI. 

Friday, 8 February 2019

State-of-the-art 429 bed student residence increases accommodation availability on campus Minister Seán Kyne T.D., Minister of State for the Irish Language, the Gaeltacht and the Islands and Government Chief Whip, will today (Friday, 8 February) officially open the €35million state-of-the-art student residence, Goldcrest Village. Goldcrest Village, or Baile an Chíorbhuí, represents the first of two new purpose-built, on-campus student residences at NUI Galway. The 429-bed residence is located beside the existing, 764-bed residence, Corrib Village at North Campus. In September 2018, the first residents of NUI Galway’s newest campus accommodation complex moved into ‘Goldcrest Village’, named after the smallest bird in Ireland which can be spotted around the parkland campus. Speaking at the opening, Minister Kyne said: “The benefits of this new student accommodation will be felt far and wide. It provides students with quality, modern accommodation that will enable them to experience life on campus. It helps to ensure more accommodation for other households in Galway and it adds to the vibrancy of our city and county. I’m certain Goldcrest Village will provide comfortable and secure accommodation for students of NUI Galway for many years to come.”  Funded by NUI Galway with loan finance from the European Investment Bank (EIB), the residence has enhanced the provision of on-campus accommodation in response to the economic pressures in the housing sector and specifically the direct impact to third-level students. Goldcrest Village has also just been shortlisted for the Irish Construction Excellence Awards 2019 in the Commercial €10m + category. Speaking ahead of the launch, NUI Galway President, Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh said: “The quality of our student experience is at the very core of our mission as a university.  With the development of Goldcrest Village, an additional 429 students now live on campus in comfort and safety.  This new home for our students represents a strategic response by NUI Galway to demand for housing in Galway and the need to provide on-campus student accommodation for our students, while also taking pressure off the Galway housing market. We look forward to the development of the second phase of this two-phase student accommodation project which it’s anticipated will be available in 2021 and provide an additional 680 places for our students on campus, bringing to almost 2,000 the numbers of students who reside on our campus.  We also join with our students in calling on our Government to continue to ensure equity and fairness in the housing market.” Goldcrest Village Goldcrest Village provides 12,500m2 of top quality student accommodation for 429 students and is comprised of 76 apartments, grouped around landscaped courtyards, each apartment containing four, five or six en-suite bedrooms and a kitchen/living area. All bedrooms have study desks and high-capacity Wifi, communal facilities, a 24-hour reception, a large common room area, a laundrette, and secure bicycle storage. Goldcrest Village provides nine (9) wheelchair accessible bedrooms, located on the ground-floor across all four blocks.  These accessible bedrooms have been designed according to best practice in wheelchair housing design to ensure they are totally accessible for disabled users. In addition, four disabled parking spaces have been provided. The project was designed by award winning Coady Architects in partnership with the UK firm Feildin Clegg Brady Studios and the construction was completed by Galway-based contracting firm J.J. Rhatigan & Co. ENDS