Monday, 19 September 2011

NUI Galway will hold their annual Open Days on Friday, 30 September and Saturday, 1 October. The Open Days will provide an opportunity for prospective students to talk to NUI Galway students and staff, explore the campus and its facilities, and find out more about courses of interest. Friday's Open Day, on 30 September, will run from 9am to 3pm and is aimed at school groups, although individuals are also very welcome to attend. Running from 10am to 3pm, Saturday's Open Day on 1 October is for students thinking about university and their parents and families.   The Open Days are expected to attract some 8,000 visitors and are tailored towards Leaving Certificate and mature students who are interested in studying at NUI Galway. Parents, guardians and teachers are also invited on campus to sample life at university.   With over 60 degree programmes on offer at NUI Galway, lecturers and students will be on hand at more than 80 exhibition stands to answer questions on courses, CAO points and possible potential career paths. Many of the newer courses at the University have been designed to be responsive to the changing needs of the employment market and meet the needs of the Smart Economy.   Two talks specifically for parents, ‘Focus on your Career’ and ‘Parents’ Guide to University’ on Saturday, will give an introduction to university life and an overview of the career paths of NUI Galway graduates, as well as looking ahead to the job market of the future.   The Open Days will feature a mix of taster sessions and short lectures to provide a feel for university life. Events will include hands-on science workshops, interactive demonstrations with cameras, media equipment and podcasts and interactive sessions with IT systems and robotics.   Commenting on the importance of the NUI Galway Open Days, Caroline Loughnane, Director of Marketing and Communications, says:"Choosing a university is one of the most important decisions a student will ever make. Parents play a key role in supporting students as they take this important next step. Open Day is the perfect opportunity for parents to ensure they have access to all of the information they need to support sons and daughters through their university career. We are encouraging anyone with an interest in studying at NUI Galway to come along, talk to our lecturers and current students, find out about the courses, check out the facilities and decide for yourself whether NUI Galway feels right for you".   During the Open Days, tours of the campus will allow prospective students to visit the new Engineering Building, the largest of its kind in Ireland; state-of the-art sports complex and gym, home to 45 student sports clubs; and Áras na Mac Léinn, the base for over 100 student societies. Tours of the University library and student accommodation will also be available to visitors on the day.   For further details on NUI Galway Open Days, or to view the full programme, visit   -ENDS-

Monday, 19 September 2011

For Culture Night 2011, which takes place on Friday, 23 September, the James Hardiman Library at NUI Galway will be opening up its unique literary, theatre and landed estates archives. Marking the first involvement of NUI Galway Archives and Special Collections in Culture Night, the Library has announced a programme that will allow the public share these archival collections. The programme of events will begin at 7pm when Special Collections Librarian, Marie Boran and Archivist Brigid Clesham, will talk about their new project, The Irish Landed Estates Database. This is an invaluable resource for those interested in tracing their family history or looking at the history of the landed estates of Ireland. At 8pm, Fergus Fahy, Institutional Repository and Digitisation Librarian, will discuss the personal archive of writer John McGahern. Having catalogued the McGahern Archive, he will deliver a detailed and insightful overview of this wonderful collection of hand-written novels, drafts, stories and correspondence, created over a lifetime’s work by one of Ireland’s most celebrated and intriguing writers. The evening will be topped off at 9pm by screenings from the award-winning DruidSynge series. The screenings will include Riders to the Sea and The Shadow of the Glen by playwright J.M. Synge. John Cox, University Librarian, comments: “Culture Night offers a great opportunity to engage a wider audience with the Library’s archives and special collections, and the events planned will provide fascinating insights into their significance.” All events are taking place in the Patrick Fottrell Theatre, Arts Millennium Building, NUI Galway, next to the James Hardiman Library. A free shuttle bus service will be available on the night to bring guests to and from Culture Night venues. For more information and updates on the NUI Galway Archives and Special Collections programme for Culture Night, contact, follow on Twitter: @nuigarchives, Theatre Archives blog or go to our homepage -ENDS-

Thursday, 15 September 2011

Coinciding with the European Year of Volunteering 2011, the tenth annual NUI Galway Volunteering Fair will take place on Tuesday, 27 September, in the Bailey Allen Hall from 1-5pm. With over 2,000 students, staff and members of the general public expected to attend, the Fair will be officially opened by Galway City Mayor Hildegarde Naughton. Over 80 charities and community organisations will showcase the wide range of volunteer opportunities. The Fair is part of a week-long celebration of volunteering at NUI Galway, the culmination of which will coincide with the National Day of Volunteering on Friday, 1 October.  The Galway Community Circus will be performing and welcoming attendees on stilts.Lorraine Tansey is the Student Volunteer Coordinator at NUI Galway, “We are really looking forward to celebrating community life as not only is this the European Year of Volunteering 2011, but also this is our tenth year at NUI Galway promoting volunteering, active citizenship and engagement.” “Students are actively seeking volunteering prospects with homework clubs in local schools, fundraising for national charities, befriending people with a disability, or volunteering abroad. Students benefit enormously from getting involved and gain valuable experience, while bringing energy, enthusiasm and a willingness to learn.”Exhibitors at the Volunteering Fair will include: Youth Work Ireland, Gorta, Galway; One World Centre; ISPCC; Galway Samaritans; IWA and the European Voluntary Service. Lorraine Tansey added: “We are delighted to not only welcome community organisations to highlight their work and opportunities for volunteers, but also to welcome members of the public onto campus.”Through NUI Galway’s volunteer programme, ALIVE, students can access an online database of volunteer opportunities. The programme also includes a series of workshops to help students make the most of their volunteering experience. At the end of the academic year students can apply for an ALIVE Certificate which is awarded by NUI Galway President, Dr James J. Browne, at a special ceremony in recognition of their commitment to volunteering. To book a stand, or for further information, please contact the ALIVE office on 091 493823 or email   -ENDS-

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

The programme for Ireland’s participation in European Researchers Night, which takes place on 23 September, was officially launched today. Showcasing science on a grand scale, the Irish event, Sea2Sky, takes place in Salthill, Galway. In total, 800 venues across 320 cities in Europe will celebrate this momentous occasion. Sea2Sky is a free, family-oriented event at which hundreds of scientists will showcase their work in the fields of Marine, Atmospherics and Astronomy. The event will also feature music and entertainment for younger and older visitors. Sea2Sky is being organised by NUI Galway, in collaboration with the Marine Institute and Galway Atlantaquaria.  Exhibits throughout the day will allow the public to learn more about whales and dolphins, take a 3D tour of the universe, tour the Galway Atlantaquaria, check-out scientific demonstrations, and take part in a variety of other hands-on activities. Scientists will be on hand in the main exhibition hall in Leisureland where stands will display areas of science from energy research and marine life to the study of the solar system. Visitors will have a chance to explore the mini-sea exploration vehicle which was used by scientists in the recent discovery of hydrovents deep in the Atlantic.  Chief organiser, NUI Galway’s Dr Andrew Shearer, says “This is a very unique opportunity for the public to participate in experiments and demonstrations. The jam-packed programme offers something for people of all ages, and gives children and adults alike the chance to be a scientist for one day.” Doors to the Galway Atlantaquaria will be open throughout the day, allowing visitors to explore Ireland’s largest splash tank and huge Ray Pool. They will also be able to see the 60 foot long Fin Whale skeleton and get their hands wet in the Touch Pool where experts will help the curious and brave to handle real starfish and crabs. Representatives from the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group will also be present to discuss their work. The walk between the two venues, Leisureland and Galway Atlantaquaria, will see amateur astronomers and their telescopes stationed along Salthill’s famous Promenade affording amazing views of the night sky after dark. Local artists will add a theatrical flair during the day as Cups and Crowns Theatre perform ‘Lenny the Water Daughter’, Rab Swannock Fulton will weave tales for young and old with his dramatic storytelling skills, and puppeteer extraordinaire Tommy Baker will put on a show with ‘The Ecological Brothers’. In the evening adult can participate in a special storytelling session. Also for adults is the opportunity to share their thoughts and learn from experts in the Cafe Scientifique ‘What’s in your Water?’ led by NUI Galway’s Professor Martin Cormican and hosted by renowned broadcaster Leo Enright. After night fall on the beach there will be a dramatic fire show before returning to the main hall for a musical finale to end the event. Organisers are looking for 70 volunteers to help out on the day to participate in experiments, competitions and quizzes, watch demonstrations and simulations and to exchange ideas with the researchers. A science background is not needed to volunteer as information and training will be given in advance of the event. To sign up for volunteering visit The Sea2Sky event is funded under the European Union’s Marie Curie Programme and by Discover Science & Engineering. Sea2Sky is a free family event and will take place in Leisureland and Galway Atlantaquaria, Salthill, from 11am-11pm.  To view the full programme, or for more information, visit   -ENDS-

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

NUI Galway will host the ninth annual RECOMB (Research in Computational Molecular Biology) Satellite Workshop on Comparative Genomics from 8 to 10 October. The workshop is part of the prestigious RECOMB series of meetings and usually alternates between a North American and European location, but this is the first time that the meeting will take place in Galway. The workshop will bring mathematicians and computer scientists together with biologists to share ideas and approaches for the comparison of genomes. The objective of the meeting is to achieve a greater understanding of genomics and genome evolution by comparing the genome sequences of different species. This provides a rich source of information and a valuable perspective on how genomes function. Keynote speakers for the conference will include: Professor Ed Green, UC Santa Cruz, USA; Professor Kateryna Makova, Penn State University, USA; Professor Julian Parkhill, Sanger Institute, UK; Professor Nicolaus Rajewsky, Max-Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine, Germany; and Dr Chris Greenman, Sanger Institute, UK. Professor Green was a leading contributor to the Neanderthal genome sequencing project, the results of which were published in Science in 2010. Analysis of the Neanderthal genome revealed that non-African humans interbred with Neanderthals and that consequently humans outside of Africa share some of their DNA with Neanderthals. Conference organiser, Professor Cathal Seoighe from the School of Mathematics, Statistics and Applied Mathematics at NUI Galway, said: “The life sciences have recently moved from the genome era to the era of many genomes. Massive advances in DNA sequencing technologies mean that the genomes of many human individuals and representatives from many different species are now available. This brings the era of personalised genomics closer and offers great opportunities to understand the basis of genome function and genetic diseases and phenotypes.” The RECOMB Conference Series bridges the areas of computational, mathematical, and biological sciences. Founded in 1997, the series provides a scientific forum for theoretical advances in computational biology and their applications in molecular biology and medicine. The conference features keynote talks by preeminent scientists in the life sciences, together with presentations of refereed research papers in computational biology. Delegates can register right up to the date of the event (8-10 October). Posters and late-breaker oral presentations may still be submitted until Tuesday, 20 September. More information is available from the website,   -ENDS-

Friday, 9 September 2011

WIN bucks trends in assisting one third of participants reengage in workplace Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Richard Bruton, T.D., today [Friday, 9 September] launched WIN – West of Ireland Networking (WIN); the training, mentoring and networking forum for unemployed professionals and entrepreneurs at the Cairnes School of Business and Economics, NUI Galway. WIN, based in the West, is a unique volunteer organisation that plays a substantial role in getting unemployed participants back into the work place while providing further supports to those seeking to start their own business or is already running a small enterprise. Speaking at the launch, Minister Bruton said: “Jobs are at the very top of this government’s agenda, and I am determined to do everything possible to achieve the job-creation we so badly need. Government does not create jobs, people and businesses do, and the role of government is to support an environment in which job-creating entrepreneurs and businesses can flourish. “WIN - West of Ireland Networking is an excellent example of what people and communities can do to help people get back to work and to help entrepreneurs start the successful businesses we so badly need. The get-up-and-go, self-help spirit embodied by this organisation is exactly what we need to help turn our fortunes around, and I am delighted to see it is alive and well. I am determined that government will keep its side of the bargain and do everything it can to get people back to work”. With unemployment at 14.4%, WIN is bucking current trends, assisting one third of participants reengage in the workforce. WIN’s success is based on its innovative approach to helping the unemployed through consistent and regular supports including: bi-weekly group networking sessions including relevant and flexible training programmes; one to one mentoring, building confidence and self esteem of participants. A recent survey sampling 106 participants of WIN indicated the impact of the organisation with 34% reengaging in the workplace; 14% actively interviewing; 28% working on potential business start-up; and 24% new participants. CEO and Founder of WIN, Caroline McDonagh: “We at WIN are very excited about the contribution we have made to getting people back to work and supporting start up enterprises. WIN is a lean organisation working with minimum resources with a strong commitment to value and committed to addressing previously unmet needs. To date there has been a lack of support, training and services for the ‘unexpected unemployed’ or the ‘new unemployed’ in Ireland and WIN has successfully filled this gap. WIN recognises that if these skills are lost to Ireland, they could be gone forever. WIN is the necessary vehicle to ensure that these skills are retained and enhanced and used to drive and grow our economy.” President of NUI Galway, Dr James J. Browne, said: “I am delighted to host the formal launch of WIN on our campus. The spirit of partnership, volunteerism and enterprise embodied by this unique, innovative volunteer organisation is exactly what Ireland needs more of at this time. We at NUI Galway are pleased to support WIN’s objectives of training, mentoring and networking for unemployed work seekers, entrepreneurs and small enterprise owners. Our support is an example of how the University partners with local organisations to ensure that we meet the legitimate demands of all the stakeholders in our region.” WIN Board Members include: Seamus Bree, Director, Western Region, Enterprise Ireland; Breda Fox, CEO, Galway County and City Enterprise Board; P.J. O’Reilly, Regional Manager Technology Transfer and R&D, Enterprise Ireland; Dr Emer Mulligan, Head of School, J.E. Cairnes School of Business & Economics, NUI Galway; John Liddy, St Vincent De Paul; Caroline McDonagh, CEO, WIN – West of Ireland Networking; Majella Connelly, Financial Consultant, Hennelly Insurance; Gert O’Rourke, Owner, Gert O'Rourke Training and Development; and Ralph Smith, Managing Director, Do My Books. WIN is assisted by the Maureen O’Connell Fund of the Society of St Vincent de Paul. ENDS

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

The annual NUI Galway Alumni Association Golf Outing will take place at Mullingar Golf Club on Friday, 16 September. An opportunity to meet up with fellow NUI Galway graduates, old and new, attendees will also be in with a chance of winning two tickets to the All-Ireland Football Final. Renowned sculptor, and NUI Galway graduate, John Coll has donated a new perpetual trophy for the winner of the golfing competition. Event Organiser, RTÉ Presenter and NUI Galway graduate, Seán O’Rourke, says: “This year we’re delighted to announce our new perpetual trophy, created by graduate John Coll, one of the country’s most renowned sculptors. We are also delighted to offer our golfing guests the opportunity to win two stand tickets for the much anticipated All-Ireland Football Final. It promises to be a wonderful outing and we hope as many alumni and friends as possible join us in Mullingar.” The entry fee of €55 includes green fees, prizes and dinner that evening. Bookings and further details available from NUI Galway Alumni Office on 091 493750 or online at   ENDS

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Biomaterials may prove key to healing chronic wounds in Diabetic patients, delegates will hear today at the 24th European Conference on Biomaterials. Over 950 delegates are at the event in Dublin, which is jointly hosted by NUI Galway’s Network of Excellence for Functional Biomaterials and the University of Ulster, Jordanstown. Delivering therapeutic genes using a new biomaterial-based delivery system to the site of chronic wounds in diabetes patients may enhance wound healing. Researchers at the Network of Excellence for Functional Biomaterials (NFB) at NUI Galway hope that technology being developed at the University may reduce the rate of limb amputation and morbidity in diabetic patients.   Diabetes related chronic wounds and subsequent lower limb amputation are major causes of morbidity in diabetic patients, incurring enormous medical, economic and social burden. The rigorous treatment regimes in clinics have had only modest success in lowering the overall amputation rate. The major reason behind the failure is rooted in the fact that diabetes affects all the wound healing cells not only functionally but also genetically. This molecular disarray is not completely understood yet, so treatment regimes aimed at rectifying the genetic problem are needed for tangible therapeutic benefit. Researchers at the NFB are working on a project investigating the genetic dysregulation but also combined novel and complementary genes to normalize wound healing.   The work has found that success of the gene therapy depends largely on how it is delivered. The gene delivery system developed gives a protective scaffold and also allows controlled delivery with components carrying different genes and degrading at different rates. The gene delivery method is, in effect, micron-size spheres embedded in mesh made from protein fibers, a tiny but very complex biomaterial product. Overall results are very encouraging with enhanced wound closure, complemented by increased blood vessel formation and reduced inflammation. According to the NFB’s Mangesh Kulkarni, “We envision that the combined new gene therapy and delivery system can aid in reducing the amputation rate by enhancing wound healing. This has the potential to make a real change when applied to chronic diabetic wounds. Since the components of the system have a relatively good safety profile, clinical trials can be conducted to prove the therapeutic benefit in human patients.” Full details of the research will be presented today at what is Europe’s largest biomaterials conference, which is taking place in the Dublin Convention Centre and runs until Thursday. With almost 60 researchers, the NFB at NUI Galway is one of the largest biomaterial groups in the EU. Director of the NFB and conference co-chair, Professor Abhay Pandit said: “Biomaterials, natural or synthetic, are at the forefront of some of the most exciting fields in medical research today. This is a significant conference, as the latest research findings and technologies from Europe and beyond are being presented over the course its five-day programme.” -ENDS

Monday, 5 September 2011

William Ronan, PhD student in Mechanical and Biomedical Engineering at NUI Galway, has won first prize in the PhD Student Paper Competition at the American Society of Mechanical Engineering Biomedical Engineering Conference, a leading US conference in the field of biomedical engineering and biomechanics.  William, from Cloneen, Co. Tipperary, was shortlisted as one of six finalists in the category of cell mechanics from over 150 international applicants and based on his submitted paper and podium presentation he was awarded first prize. Currently in the third year of his PhD research under the supervision of Dr Patrick McGarry, William has developed advanced computational models that predict the active response of biological cells to different mechanical environments.  His winning paper is entitled “Simulation of Stress Fiber Remodeling and Mixed-mode Focal Adhesion Assembly During Cell Spreading on Elastic Substrates”. Speaking of this success, Professor Seán Leen, Head of Mechanical and Biomedical Engineering at NUI Galway, said: “William’s achievement is a testament to the high quality of research being carried out in Biomedical Engineering at NUI Galway and, in particular, by his supervisor Dr McGarry. This type of internationally-leading performance is also evidence of the exceptional talent being developed in Irish Universities with the support of successive Irish governments and industry.” William is funded by an Irish Research Council for Science, Engineering and Technology (IRCSET) scholarship and the research is also supported by Science Foundation Ireland Research Frontiers Programme (SFI-RFP) and the Irish Centre for High End Computing (ICHEC). This is the second major international award won by a member of Dr McGarry’s research group in 2011, with PhD student Emer Feerick also winning first prize at the Annual Symposium on Computational Orthopaedic Biomechanics inthe US in January.   ENDS

Monday, 5 September 2011

NUI Galway lecturers, Dr Gerard Turley and Maureen Maloney of the J.E. Cairnes School of Business and Economics, have just completed the fourth edition of the successful textbook Principles of Economics: An Irish Text, with co-author Dr Francis O'Toole of Trinity College Dublin. Principles of Economics: An Irish Text introduces the theory and practice of economics within an Irish and European context. There is reference to both recent and current economic conditions, including reflections on the post Celtic Tiger years, the economic downturn caused by the international recession, the banking crisis and the property crash, and the latest on the eurozone and sovereign debt crisis. Marion O'Brien, Educational Publisher at Gill & Macmillan, said: “Principles of Economics: An Irish Text is an extremely accessible and popular text with both students and lecturers alike. As a bestselling text, it continues to provide the reader with a solid theoretical grounding in both Microeconomics and Macroeconomics, and is extensively prescribed in all Institutes of Technologies, in many Universities and Private Colleges throughout Ireland.” New topics in the fourth edition of Principles of Economics: An Irish Text include: new material reflecting the changed economic conditions of the Irish economy resulting from the banking and fiscal crises that began in 2007; revised chapter on economic growth and the Irish economy, which includes the banking crisis and the property crash; reflections on the Celtic Tiger era, including causes and consequences; new section on the eurozone and sovereign debt crisis; and new case studies and questions, with answers now available online. Published by Gill & Macmillan, it is accompanied by a free interactive CD, and additional lecturer resources, details of which can be found at -ENDS-

Monday, 5 September 2011

Volunteers are being sought to support Sea2Sky, a free, family-oriented event taking place in Salthill on Friday, 23 September. Organisers NUI Galway, in collaboration with the Marine Institute and Galway Atlantaquaria, are looking for 70 volunteers to help out on the day. At the event, hundreds of scientists will showcase their work in the fields of Marine, Atmospherics and Astronomy. Visitors to Sea2Sky will be able to participate in experiments, competitions and quizzes, watch demonstrations and simulations and to exchange ideas with the researchers. Different exhibits will allow the public to learn more about whales and dolphins, take a 3D tour of the universe, tour the Atlantaquaria, check-out scientific demonstrations, and take part in a variety of other hands-on activities. Chief organiser, NUI Galway’s Dr Andrew Shearer, says “This is first time Ireland has participated in the European Researchers Night and we are proud to be the first host of such an important occasion. By bringing together researchers and the public, everyone can be a scientist for one night. There is growing excitement around this event, and I encourage and welcome volunteers who want to get involved and help out with this unique occasion.” The Sea2Sky event is being funded under the European Union’s Marie Curie Programme and by Discover Science & Engineering. Sea2Sky is a free event open to all ages and will take place in Leisureland and Galway Atlantaquaria, Salthill, with doors open from 11am-11pm.  A science background is not needed to volunteer as information and training will be given in advance of the event. For more information and to sign up for volunteering   -ENDS-

Friday, 2 September 2011

Now recognised as a significant player in the international biomaterials industry, Ireland will be the venue the 24thEuropean Conference on Biomaterials from 4-8 September. Jointly hosted by NUI Galway’s Network of Excellence for Functional Biomaterials (NFB), and the University of Ulster, Jordanstown, this is the first time the annual meeting of the European Society for Biomaterials (ESB) will be held in Ireland. Some 950 delegates will attend ‘ESB 2011’ at the Dublin Convention Centre, including members from academia, medicine and industry. The latest research findings and technologies from Europe and beyond will be presented over the course of the five-day conference. With almost 60 researchers, the NFB at NUI Galway is one of the largest biomaterial groups in the EU. Director of the NFB at NUI Galway, Professor Abhay Pandit commented: “Biomaterials, natural or synthetic, are at the forefront of some of the most exciting fields in medical research today. New understanding at cellular and molecular levels, coupled with innovative concepts in scaffolding technologies and advances in nanotechnology, have increased the range of areas biomaterials can improve human health. Already we are seeing success in the treatment of wounds, cancer and rheumatoid arthritis.” The Minister for Health, Dr. James Reilly, has said that this is a very significant conference and it is great to see it being hosted in Ireland: “Biomaterials enable the development of innovative healthcare technologies which provide advanced diagnostic and therapeutic options for patients and healthcare professionals. High quality scientific and clinical research of these technologies is critical to ensure that these products are safe, effective and valuable to patients and healthcare professionals.” A $280 billion industryBased at NUI Galway, the NFB was set up in 2003 with funding from Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) to establish a critical mass of biomaterials activity in Ireland. Ireland’s capacity in the field of biomaterials is ever-increasing, and at the conference podium presentations will be delivered by 48 researchers from 13 Irish-based, academic and industrial research groups. The global medical technologies industry is valued at $280 billion, and is growing at approximately 7% per annum. According to Professor Pandit, “Ireland is a well-established hub in the global medical technology field. Ireland is home to 15 of the world’s top 20 Medical Technology Companies, with significant manufacturing and R&D operations coming out of Ireland. In fact, exports of medical devices and pharmaceuticals continue to grow, providing a beacon of hope for economic recovery.” The opening day of the conference will be Industry Day and is sponsored by global healthcare products company Covidien. The day will bring together companies in the medical device market and entrepreneurial academics, who will share their experiences taking innovative biomaterial concepts to the clinic and the market.  Conference Programme Lord Mayor of Dublin, Andrew Montague, will open the conference proceedings on Monday, 5 September, which is expected to bring an estimated €3 million boost to the local economy. Speaking ahead of the event, he said: “I know the significant presence of medical device firms and research activities in Ireland was a key factor in securing this major event. We look forward to welcoming all delegates, including young Irish researchers who will have a wonderful opportunity to showcase their work to an international audience and network with many of the top names in the field.” Experts in the biomaterials field will travel to Dublin from across the world to deliver plenary speeches and keynote addresses. Keynote speakers will include: Professor Messersmith, from Northwest University, USA, who works on the biological adhesives of shellfish and geckos.  He will be discussing research on biologically inspired biomaterials, and their roles in the medical field, from surgical adhesives to cancer drug delivery. Professor Frechet from King Abdullah University, Saudi Arabia, has a wide range of research interests including targeted drug delivery. His plenary address will detail the design of macromolecules to facilitate improved drug delivery. Professor Catts of the University of Australia is a unique academic, bridging the gap between the creative arts and biology.  A past art project involved the culture of ‘steaks’ and ‘jackets’ in the laboratory to interrogate the possibility of victimless animal products.   Thematic sessions planned for the conference, include recent advances in the use of biomaterials for therapeutics; vascularisation, innervations, and tissue integration; advances in nanotechnology and materials science and host response. The Young Scientists Forum (YSF), designed to stimulate and engage the next generation of researchers, is an integral part of the programme.   -ends-

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Astronomers from NUI Galway’s Centre for Astronomy have made an important breakthrough in the understanding of how pulsars work, and have recently published their findings in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. The team, led by NUI Galway’s Dr Andy Shearer, compared optical observations with a detailed model of the structure of the pulsar. From this, using their inverse mapping or reverse engineering approach, they were able to establish for the first time that most of the light from the pulsar comes from close to the star’s surface. This is contrary to most pulsar models and points to a new way of analysing observational data from pulsars. Dr Shearer said: “This is the culmination of ten years work. Our success is based upon having some talented post-graduate students and post-doctoral researchers combined with looking at the problem in a different way. The result shows the importance of our approach of combining numerical models run on large supercomputers with detailed observations. To follow these calculations we will use the SFI funded Galway Astronomical Stokes Polarimeter (GASP)* to finally establish the conditions around a pulsar and solve a forty year old problem - how do pulsars work?” In another development, NUI Galway astronomers, working with colleagues in Italy, the UK and US, have discovered an X-ray bright tail coming from a pulsar. The tail was discovered by combining optical observations taken with the European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope and NASA’s Chandra X-Ray observatory. The pulsar, known as PSR J0357, is about half a million years old and is located 1,600 light years from Earth with a tail of over four light years across. These findings have been recently published in The Astrophysical Journal. Despite over forty years of observation and theory, pulsars, which are rapidly rotating neutron stars, have defied an explanation of how they work. Pulsars are about one and a half times the mass of the sun, but are so small they could fit into Galway Bay. Consequently they represent extreme matter. They have a magnetic field which can be greater than a million billion times stronger than the Earth’s magnetic field. Their density is also about a million, billion times greater than the density of the Earth. They are formed during a massive explosion at the end of a star’s life known as a Type II supernova. During a supernova, the light from a single star outshines its host galaxy which contains up to a hundred billion stars.  The work at NUI Galway involved observations of the Crab pulsar formed in April 1054 when it was observed as a daytime star – unusually, very few observations of this event come from Europe, although it was observed by Irish monks and recorded in the Irish Annals. ENDS

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Showcasing science on a grand scale, European Researchers Night will take place in 800 venues across 320 cities on Friday, 23 September. Galway will be the venue for Ireland’s first participation in this event, under the theme ‘Sea2Sky’. The free, fun, family event will see hundreds of scientists presenting their research from the fields of Marine, Atmospherics and Astronomy. Thousands are expected to visit Leisureland in Salthill on the night, to participate in experiments, competitions and quizzes, to watch demonstrations and simulations, to exchange ideas and get to know the researchers. In the build-up to the big event, details of a schools competition were announced today by  organisers NUI Galway in collaboration with the Marine Institute and Galway Atlantaquaria. The competition is open to 8-18 year-olds, and prizes include a two-night family break at the McWilliam Park Hotel in Co. Mayo, membership to the Aquarium and book hampers. The challenge is to design a ‘futuristic’ Research Vessel for the year 2040, where the Sea2Sky scientists, inventors and dreamers team will use it for exploring new discoveries from the ocean to the sky. NUI Galway’s Dr Andrew Shearer is heading up the event: “It is very exciting to be part of such a large European celebration, and in terms of research, Ireland has much to celebrate. Around the world our reputation is growing as a hub of science, discovery and innovation. This event on 23 September offers the opportunity for us to explore the future being created on our doorstep. We envisage an evening full of fun, surprise and wonder.” Details and entry guidelines for the competition are available at Closing date for entries is Wednesday, 21 September, and all designs will be displayed during Sea2Sky at Leisureland on 23 September. The Sea2Sky event is being funded under the European Union’s Marie Curie Programme and by Discover Science & Engineering. Sea2Sky is a free event open to all ages and will take place in Leisureland and Galway Atlantaquaria, Salthill from 11am-11pm.  The event offers the opportunity to explore the future being created on your doorstep in an evening full of fun, surprise and wonder. ENDS

Monday, 29 August 2011

NUI Galway has announced it will host the Connemara Symposium, a two day series of events in September in celebration of the work of Tim Robinson, the internationally acclaimed writer, map-maker and thinker based in Roundstone, Co.Galway.  A series of free events will run from 9 to 10 September. Tim Robinson is best known for his two-volume studyStones of Aran: Pilgrimage and Labyrinth (republished by New York Review of Books Classics Series 2008-9).  He is currently completing the final volume of a trilogy, Connemara: Listening to the Wind (2006) and The Last Pool of Darkness (2008).The recipient of a major European Conservation Award in 1987, Robinson was Parnell Visiting Fellow in Irish Studies at Magdalene College, Cambridge, this last year. Tim Robinson's Stones of Aran was described by the Irish Times as ‘one of the most original, revelatory and exhilarating works of literature ever produced in Ireland' and by the London Review of Books as ‘a wonderful achievement'. This year is the 25th anniversary of the first publication of Tim Robinson's Stones of Aran: Pilgrimage.The Connemara Symposium offers a unique opportunity to engage with his work and follows a previous meeting in Cambridge University (Watch a video of the Cambridge University meeting). The Connemara Symposium brings some of the world's leading creative thinkers and artists engaged with questions of human society and the environment toGalway.  Events include a screening of Pat Collins’s film ‘Tim Robinson: Connemara' in Roundstone Community Hall on the evening of Friday, 9 September; lectures and talks in the Galway City Museum by an international assembly of writers including John Elder, Eamonn Wall, Briona Nic Dhiarmidha and Kelly Sullivan; and readings in the Druid Theatre by Andrew McNeillie, Manchán Mangan, Moya Cannon, Eamon Grennan and Tim Robinson on the evening of Saturday, 10 September. “Tim Robinson’s writing about landscape and the human place within it is one of the world’s cultural treasures.  We are delighted to bring writers, academics and artists to celebrate his achievement and to discuss his work, which continues to speak to readers around the world.  Tim’s engagement with the west ofIreland, its people and languages, has added to a rich cultural tradition that extends back over centuries.  Our aim is to invite the community to join in the free and public events we have organised in conversation with Tim’s work.  The film screening, readings, lectures and discussions all offer different points of access to one of our greatest living writers’, says Nicholas Allen, Moore Institute Professor at NUI Galway.” In 2006, Tim Robinson and his wife Máiréad bequeathed their house, Folding Landscapes on the sea wall at Roundstone to NUI Galway. Folding Landscapes is a specialist publishing house and information resource centre dealing with three areas of particular interest and beauty aroundGalwayBay, the Aran Islands, the Burren andConnemara. The Robinsons continue to reside in the house, Folding Landscapes. At the same time the house has become a venue for the University to engage with the local community and to share the resources and knowledge of the institution's many visitors, academics and practitioners.  The Robinsons have a long-standing relationship with NUI Galway. Tim received an Honorary Degree in 1997 from the University. The Symposium is hosted by the Atlantic Archipelagos Research Project, a collaboration between the Moore Institute for Research in the Humanities and Social Studies at NUI Galway, Folding Landscapes and theUniversityofExeter, with funding from theBritishAcademy. For a full schedule of the Connemara Symposium please see                                                                      ENDS

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Ten exciting research projects at NUI Galway have been funded as part of Science Foundation Ireland’s 2011 Research Frontiers Programme. The awards, which were announced recently by the Minister for Research and Innovation, Seán Sherlock T.D., aim to support the development of Ireland’s human capital by providing employment and training to some of Ireland’s most talented researchers. In total, the Government committed funding of €15 million to be provided over the next four years to 79 research projects, across 15 research institutions. The ten cutting-edge projects at NUI Galway are: Dr Eilís Dowd: Harnessing adult stem cells for neurotrophin delivery to the degenerating brain. Dr Andrea Erxlebe: Functionalized locked nucleic acids that cleave the RNA component of human telomerase. Dr Dane Flannery: A new foundation for computing with linear groups over infinite domains. Dr Conor O'Byrne: Stress perception in the human pathogen Listeria monocytogenes: seeing the light. Professor Colin O'Dowd: (INFORM) Integrated volcanic ash forecasting system. Dr Zoe Popper: Characterisation of algal cell wall components for future biotechnological applications. Dr Nathan Quinlan: Towards a non-thrombogenic prosthetic mechanical heart valve: measurement of hinge flow fields at microscale resolution. Dr Michelle Roche: Endocannabinoid regulation of neuroinflammatory responses following bacterial and viral infection. Dr Gerhard Schlosser: Evolutionary innovation by rewiring of gene networks - Origin of sense organs in the vertebrate New Head. Dr Cindy Smith: Pathogen detection, survival and sheltering in a model water distribution system. Making the announcement, Minister Sherlock said: “It is vital that Ireland has a robust and competitive research environment that contributes to economic recovery. The projects announced today are very much part of this drive to further build Ireland’s research capability in support of our economic development. Science Foundation Ireland is a key organisation in driving this in terms of indentifying opportunities for top-class research in Ireland.” Minister Sherlock added “These projects are of direct relevance to our daily lives. Discoveries that can be achieved in these sectors will have an impact on computer science, the environment, health and other important fields with the potential to create and sustain top-quality jobs in Ireland.”   ENDS  

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

NUI Galway has announced the establishment of a Rugby Youth Academy to cater for teenagers in Galway. The Youth Academy is an integral part of the existing University Rugby club which was formed in 1874 and is a founder member of the IRFU. Notable rugby graduates of NUI Galway Rugby Club include Ciaran Fitzgerald who captained both Ireland and the British and Irish Lions. The development of the Youth Academy, coupled with the University’s Sports Scholarship, is aimed primarily at strengthening the University’s AIL U20 squad in the medium-term. According to Dr James J. Browne, President of NUI Galway: “The youth academy is a good fit for the University’s outreach and community support initiatives. It is envisaged that this new academy will add greatly to the development of youth rugby in the city and its environs. It will also be of great benefit for the University Rugby Club into the future.” In its first season, the academy will cater for U13 boys only, but will expand over the next five years up to under 18’s. Coaching, mentoring, and administrative resourcing will come from within the existing University Rugby Club and will be augmented by support from the mini rugby club - Na Bairneachaí (U8s to U12s) established in Barna/Knocknacarra area in 2007. Neil Keaveney, President of Na Bairneachaí, said: “We are very excited by this new venture within NUI Galway. It builds on the hard work and community involvement in the development of Rugby in the west side of Galway city. Simply put, it is a great opportunity for more kids to play more games in what we hope will be an enjoyable yet competitive setting.” The NUI Galway Youth Academy enjoys the full support of the Connacht Branch of the IRFU who are delighted to see the expansion and high profile the game is attracting, especially in the first year of Connacht’s participation in the European Rugby Cup. Gerry Kelly, CEO of Connacht Rugby, commented: “Connacht Rugby has enjoyed huge success in the last year and we are particularly excited about this year’s inclusion in the Heineken Cup. We see this development as a reflection of this success while also confirming the important role the University plays in Connacht Rugby.” Open day and registration will take place on Saturday, 3 September, in Dangan, Galway for NUI Galway Youth Academy and Na Bairneachaí. Training for U13 Boys, born in 1999, commences 17 September at 10.30am in Dangan. ENDS

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

NUI Galway has issued a final call for applications to the six courses it is offering as part of the Springboard initiative.  These programmes range in subject area from Environmental Sustainability, to Medical Device Science and Technology Commercialisation, to Innovation Management. All of these part-time courses are available in a modular, flexible format and can be taken via distance learning for students who are unable to attend the campus on a weekly basis. The Springboard initiative offers free higher education for jobseekers, without affecting the social welfare benefits they receive. “Springboard is primarily designed to help people who have lost their jobs as a result of the recession, and who need to up-skill or re-skill to gain sustainable employment again”, explains Nuala McGuinn, Adult Education Development Officer at NUI Galway.  “These courses would suit those who want to attain a qualification while actively seeking employment. The subject areas are directly focused on employment and the emerging skill needs of Irish industry.” While five of the six courses the University is offering as part of Springboard are level 8 and level 9, NUI Galway is also putting in place a Foundation Diploma in Science, Technology and Engineering. This level 6 programme is designed for people who have been out of the formal education system for some time and provides an ideal starting point for those wishing to embark on a longer term diploma or degree programme NUI Galway has a long history of working with adult learners, either those approaching third-level for the first time or those returning to study. Extra supports are put in place to provide students with the additional skills, computing and study skills, which they may need as part of their studies. All of the Springboard courses commence in early September so interested candidates are advised to check out course details as soon as possible.  Details and an online application process is available on  Alternatively contact the Adult Education Office at NUI Galway on 091 495845. -ENDS-

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

This year CAO applicants had their eyes firmly fixed on the job market as programmes in Science and Technology were among the most popular college choices at NUI Galway. Points for General Science, Information Technology and Biomedical Science all soared in the CAO first round offers from NUI Galway to prospective students hoping to start their third-level education this autumn. NUI Galway’s popular Biomedical Science degree jumped 30 points to 515 this year. As Ireland’s leading university for biomedical science, graduates of the programme enjoy excellent career opportunities, with many of Ireland’s multinational and indigenous medical device companies clustered in the Galway region. The Computer Science and Information Technology course also saw a huge leap from 325 to 390 points. This increase in interest in Information Technology is hugely significant and reflects the strength of the IT sector in the West of Ireland. Also particular to the west is the area of Marine Science, with NUI Galway offering the country’s only denominated Marine Science degree which increased by 30 points to 400 this year, reflecting this niche area of research and study at NUI Galway. While the General Arts degree is down in points nationally, NUI Galway’s denominated Arts choices continue to remain popular. In particular Arts with Creative Writing (495 to 505), Human Rights (455 to 470) and Irish Studies (400 to 415) all jumped points this year. The University’s Maths and Education course, which was developed to meet the shortage of qualified Maths teachers, also leaped by 40 points bringing it to 420 this year. Commenting on the overall trends and increases, NUI Galway President, Dr James J. Browne, said: "We are seeing a clear trend this year towards programmes in the Science, Technology and Engineering fields as students focus on the job market of the future. Applicants are making well-informed decisions; they are choosing courses where the University has unique strengths and a well-established reputation. In particular, our Biomedical Science, IT, Engineering, Human Rights and Creative Writing courses have proved very popular this year". NUI Galway’s new Engineering Building, the largest of its kind in Ireland, was recently opened and appropriately Engineering programmes at the University have increased in popularity. In particular the Biomedical (405 to 425), Environmental (310 to 470) and Mechanical (430 to 435) Engineering courses all saw substantial increases in CAO points levels. The new world-class teaching and research facility will open its doors in September to accommodate some 1,100 students and 110 staff. The 14,250 sqm building will support an emerging generation of engineers, engaged in a new wave of technologies, embracing innovation and entrepreneurship. -ends-

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

The 7th Reasoning Web Summer School, bringing together an international group of postgraduate students and renowned lecturers, commenced today at NUI Galway. The event will be followed next week by the 5th International Web Rules and Reasoning Conference. Both events are organised by the Digital Enterprise Research Institute (DERI) at NUI Galway. The Reasoning Web Summer School and the Web Rules and Reasoning Conference are established international events in the area of applying Artificial Intelligence on the Web. Professor Stefan Decker, Director of DERI, says: “It is the first time these two events are held together and we are proud to have attracted them both to NUI Galway. By co-locating the summer school and conference and also by providing low registration fees particularly for students attending the conference, we aim to further promote interaction between researchers, practitioners and students in this exciting research field. This will also raise the international profile ofGalwayas a centre of excellence for high-tech research and employment.” The summer school received over 100 applications from students worldwide, from which 70 students were chosen to attend. This year, the focus is on reasoning for the emerging ‘Web of Data’, with 15 distinguished lecturers from theUS,South America,Germany,Switzerland,Slovenia, theUKandIreland. NUI Galway’s Dr Aidan Hogan is one of the participating lecturers: “The Reasoning Web Summer School is all about making the Web smarter and easier for us to navigate. If you take a step back and look at the global phenomenon that is the Web today, it is utterly astonishing. Now imagine the Web in five, ten, twenty, fifty years time. We are planting those seeds right now.” Dr Hogan added: “As more and more structured data like Wikipedia becomes available on the Web, we can deploy smarter techniques to better leverage this information for the users, enabling more intelligent Web searches or allowing companies linking data from the Web with their own databases in unforeseen ways.” The co-located conference will attract researchers and practitioners exchanging latest research results, including keynotes by Professor Marcelo Arenas (Chile) and Professor Marie-Laure Mugnier (France) as well as an industry tutorial from IBM. Some 50 international participants from academia and industry are expected to attend the conference which will focus on cutting-edge research results on applying intelligent inference methods to the Web. The Digital Enterprise Research Institute (DERI) is a Centre for Science, Engineering and Technology (CSET) established in 2003 with funding from Science FoundationIreland. Since 2003, DERI has grown to over 120 people. The Institute has strong ties to local and national industry with involvement by multinational companies and SMEs, and is leading research in its fields in various national and European research projects.  DERI emphasises education and technology transfer, which directly contributes to the Irish government’s plan of transformingIrelandinto a competitive knowledge economy. Current research results include semantic search engines, novel collaborative and social media, as well as sensor network technologies.   -ENDS-  

Monday, 22 August 2011

Marine biotechnology is the focus of a one-day conference being hosted by NUI Galway on Thursday, 25 August, entitled ‘Networks as Knowledge – Biotechnology Networks in the Atlantic Area’. The event is organised by the Marine Institute initiative Marine BiotechnologyIrelandand the Socio-Economic Marine Research Unit (SEMRU) at NUI Galway, with the support of the European INTERREG project ShareBiotech and in association with the Centre for Innovation and Structural Change (CISC) in NUI Galway. The conference will present the results of a recent survey that examined the needs and barriers in the biotechnology R&D sector inIreland, and will discussIreland’s position in the wider Atlantic area. Invited speakers fromIreland,Franceand theUKwill describe their experiences in the creation, management and use of shared skills and infrastructures in the life sciences sector. The objectives of the conference are to learn how networks of knowledge and infrastructures can contribute to innovation and to investigate what models oforganisation are available for the marine biotechnology sector. Speaking on behalf of NUI Galway and SEMRU, Dr Ilaria Nardello - National Coordinator of Marine BiotechnologyIreland, and ShareBiotech principal investigator, said, “The first objective of the Atlantic Area Trans-National Programme is to promote transnational entrepreneurial and innovation networks, which is fully in support of Marine BiotechnologyIreland.” Dr Peter Heffernan, Chief Executive of the Marine Institute, stressed howIreland, though the implementation of the programmeoutlined inSea Change,Ireland’s Marine Knowledge, Research & Innovation Strategy 2007-2013 is uniquely positioned to reap the benefits from an early investment in supporting such research. “Marine BiotechnologyIrelandis engaged in an array of activities that are relevant toIreland’s efforts to become a leader in the commercial exploitation of our extensive marine bioresources by continuing to develop and build onIreland’s excellence in marine biotechnology research.”This free event will take place in NUI Galway, at 10am on Thursday, 25 August. A tour of one of the technological core facilities (TCF) on campus will also take place as part of the conference on the day. For full details and online registration, please visit: .   -ENDS-

Monday, 22 August 2011

NUI Galway will host Ireland’s largest surgical conference, the 36th Sir Peter Freyer Memorial Lecture and Surgical Symposium, on 2-3 September. Internationally renowned surgeon, Professor R.J. Heald, OBE, will deliver the Memorial Lecture on ‘Colorectal Cancer Surgery - Open, Key Hole, Endoscope or Robot - Where are we Going?’. Colorectal cancer, commonly known as bowel cancer, is the third most commonly diagnosed major cancer in the world. Professor of Surgery at the North Hampshire Hospital and Surgical Director of the Pelican Cancer Centre, Basingstoke, R.J. Heald’s main interest for the past 20 years has been the research and development of the Total Mesorectal Excision (TME) technique for rectal cancer. Professor Heald pioneered TME which has now become the new gold standard for the treatment of bowel cancer, as it improves cure rates and reduces local recurrence. With TME, not only is the cancer tumour removed but all the surrounding fat, lymph glands and blood vessels – thus minimising the risk of the cancer recurring. The annual Sir Peter Freyer Memorial Lecture and Surgical Symposium provides a platform for healthcare professionals to present their research and clinical work and allows for the merging of both scientific and clinical information. It is named in memory of the Galway-born surgeon, Sir Peter Freyer, who performed the first successful surgical operation to remove an enlarged prostate in 1900. Michael Kerin, Professor of Surgery at NUI Galway, says: “We are delighted to welcome Professor Heald to our university. He is focused on advancing the most effective techniques in precision surgery for bowel cancer, aimed at improving survival and quality of life.” On the second day of the Surgical Symposium, Professor Eilis McGovern, President of the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland and Consultant Cardiothoracic Surgeon at St. James's Hospital will present the State of the Art Lecture entitled Surgical Training and Surgical Service – Are we getting the Formula Right. To register, or for further information, visit   -ENDS-

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

A final year student of the Huston School of Film & Digital Media at NUI Galway has been named on the shortlist of the Best-in-Show 2011* competition organised by The Digital Hub. is the work of student Claire McNeilis and is shortlisted under the Multimedia category. Claire McNelis, originally from Buncrana, Co. Donegal, developed and designed the website,, to explore the use of digital interactive media and computer games in literacy teaching, with regard specifically to children with dyslexia. The website demonstrates that interactive media can be used to help children with dyslexia to learn spelling rules in a way that is primarily self-directed and enjoyable. The use of games to reinforce the content suggests that exploiting the inherently motivational nature of computer games to help children to learn is a viable possibility not only for literacy instruction, but any subject. Dr Rod Stoneman, Director of the Huston School of Film & Digital Media congratulated Claire and commented: “We are thrilled for Claire and highly commend her work. In this shortlisted project, Claire highlights the way that, at present, spelling rules tend to be taught in a classroom setting in a way that is not necessarily accessible for the dyslexic student. Her computer application explains spelling rules, presents them in a way specifically designed for dyslexic users, and allows them to practise the rules in a simple computer game may help dyslexic students to learn and retain existing grammatical rules.” Ms McNeilis explained her motivation for the project: “While computers can be used to teach material as effectively as teachers, there is not currently an effective, age-appropriate, affordable computer-based application which helps students with dyslexia to learn spelling rules. Thus, it was undertaken to design such an application with the intention of hosting it online and making it freely available. The product teaches spelling rules in a way that is accessible specifically to people with dyslexia. It combines audio with written words (many of the problems that dyslexic people have with reading and spelling stem from a phonological processing deficit).” The final product demonstrates that interactive media can be used to help children with dyslexia to learn spelling rules in a way that is primarily enjoyable and self-directed. The use of games to reinforce the content suggests that exploiting the inherently motivational nature of computer games to help children to learn is a viable possibility not only for literacy instruction, but any subject. McNeilis added: “The games have different levels for different abilities. The experience is more like games than lessons. The games include an inbuilt reward system. The product includes multiple examples of the rules in action and is aimed at learners aged between 8 and 14 years.” The shortlist is currently under evaluation and the overall winner will be announced on 14 September 2011. Details of the shortlist is available at Best-in-Show 2011 Click here to visit   ENDS 

Monday, 15 August 2011

NUI Galway will hold its twelfth annual series of information evenings across Ireland for students starting their studies at the University in September 2011. Parents/guardians are also invited to the information evenings or 'Student Send-Offs' which will take place at various locations across the country. At the evening sessions, representatives from Student Services, Students' Union and Academic Staff will advise students on what to expect when arriving at NUI Galway, and will answer any questions relating to university life. The topics covered will include Study at University, Accommodation, Finance, Student Support Services, Recreational Opportunities and general advice in relation to the First Year Experience.The 'Student Send-Offs' will take place at 7pm in the following venues: · Westmeath, Thursday, 25 August: Radisson SAS Hotel, Athlone, Co. Westmeath. · Dublin, Friday, 26 August: The Clarion Hotel, Liffey Valley, Dublin. · Donegal, Monday, 29 August: The Abbey Hotel, Donegal Town, Co. Donegal. · Mayo, Tuesday, 30 August: TF Royal Hotel, Castlebar, Co. Mayo. · Sligo, Wednesday, 31 August: Sligo Southern Hotel, Strandhill Road, Sligo Town. · Clare, Thursday, 1 September: Temple Gate Hotel, The Square, Ennis, Co. Clare. · Galway, Monday, 5 September: The Bailey Allen Hall, Áras na Mac Léinn, NUI Galway. Matt Doran, Administrative Officer with Student Services at NUI Galway, said: “The Student Send-Offs are a great opportunity to get valuable advice in relation to the first year at University. Students and parents always have lots of questions which they have answered at these information evenings.” For further information on the information evenings or to register in advance please contact Eimear on 086 8585171 or email For any other queries contact the NUI Galway First Year Hotline on 091 493999. -ENDS-

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Bridging the Transition from Primary to Post Primary Education Maths students are Stepping Up! at NUI Galway, as a week-long enrichment programme designed to support students’ transition from primary to secondary school, with a special emphasis on Maths Education, will begin. The programme is hosted by the Number Crunchers team, a group of nine Maths and Education students who are working with staff from the School of Education, NUI Galway as part of their degree course. The Stepping Up! programme will take place form 15 – 19 August and is open to school goers attending their first year in secondary school in September 2011. The Number Crunchers aspire to help prepare students for the changes associated with the move to secondary school with an interactive and fun approach to both maths and school related social issues that affect young teens. The main aims of this programme are to improve maths skills, to be more at ease with the differences between primary and secondary school, and most important of all, to have fun! Modules in this course include Number Systems, Introduction to Algebra, Geometry, Probability and Puzzles and Codes. Dr Catherine Paolucci, NUI Galway Lecturer in Mathematics Education, said: “This is an excellent opportunity for students to explore a variety of real applications of mathematics and reinforce essential skills in preparation for advancing their mathematical knowledge in a new school environment.” In addition to an academic focus, the Number Crunchers also aim to prepare students for the significant social changes that young students face in their first year of a new school environment. Lessons on adapting to the new school environment, student-teacher relationships, bullying, and study skills will be interwoven into this course. Participants will also have an opportunity to meet other students throughout Galway and make new friends. Speaking about the ethos of the course, student Michael Kieran, a member of Number Crunchers, said: “There is a huge difference between primary and secondary mathematics, from the topics covered to the teaching approaches. The relaxed, fun approach of this programme will help encourage students to enjoy maths and look forward to their new schooling experience.” Stacey Burke, also of the Number Crunchers team, says: “It’s an exciting but nerve-wrecking time making the transition to secondary school; we want to encourage students to enjoy this process in a fun environment that interweaves maths education with social issues which will help to alleviate any anxiety that students may feel.” The programme takes place from 15 - 19 August 2011 and is open to any student who will be attending their first year in secondary school in September 2011. A fee of €20 per student applies. As the course runs next week, this is final chance to reserve a place at or contact Jean Kenny on 087-4147733 or ENDS

Monday, 8 August 2011

Everyone can be a Scientist for a day! On Friday, 23 September, 2011Irelandwill host ‘Sea2Sky’ - its first ever European Researchers Night - in Salthill,Galway. This one day celebration of science in inner and outer space is being organised by NUI Galway in collaboration with the Marine Institute and Galway Atlantaquaria, and is funded under the European Union’s Marie Curie Programme and Discover Science & Engineering. Sea2Sky is a free event open to the all ages and will take place in Leisureland and Galway Atlantaquaria, Salthill on Friday, 23 September from 11am-11pm.  The Galway European Researchers Night offers the opportunity to discover research facilities that are usually not open to the public (laboratories, research centres, museum collections); use some of the most recent technologies and instruments, with the guidance of our expert scientists; participate in experiments, competitions and quizzes, watch demonstrations and simulations, exchange ideas and party with the researchers! For one day only, these ‘ordinary people with unusual occupations’ will come into contact with visitors and will present their research work to the general public. Everyone can be a scientist! Different exhibits exploring marine science, atmospheric science and astronomy will be set up throughout the venue. Participants will have a chance to learn more about whales and dolphins in Irish waters, see a mini-sea exploration vehicle, take a 3-D tour of the universe, check out live demonstrations, take part in a host of hands-on activities, and much more. In the lead up to the event the organisers are running an art competition for the 8 – 18 year- old age group. Entrants are asked to design a new Research Vessel for the Sea2Sky scientists for the year 2040. Information on the competition can be obtained on their website Researchers’ Night is a Europe-wide event bringing together the public at large and researchers once a year on the fourth Friday of September. This is the first time that a European Researchers’ Night event is being held inIreland. Sea2Sky is a free event that does not require tickets or advanced booking. Visit Leisureland and Galway Atlantaquaria anytime from 11am-11pm on Friday, 23 September to take part. For further information visit ENDS

Monday, 8 August 2011

The College of Engineering and Informatics at NUI Galway has announced details of a Special Entrance Maths Examination which will give students a second chance to pursue a career in Engineering. The exam, which takes place on Wednesday, 24 August, is for students who achieve the CAO points for an undergraduate Engineering Degree courses at NUI Galway but have not met the obligatory maths requirement. In advance of this exam NUI Galway will hold an intensive preparatory course for applicants intending to sit the exam. This free course will run for five days, from Thursday, 18 August to Tuesday, 23 August. In addition to preparing students for the Special Entrance Examination, lecturers will demonstrate the relevance and application of mathematics to Engineering and will highlight the applicability of mathematics to some illustrative engineering examples. The aim of the preparatory course is to bridge the gap between the Leaving Certificate lower level and that required to be successful in the entrance exam; this will be achieved by tackling a variety of problems of increasing difficulty. Learning how to approach a problem and apply the knowledge available will be emphasised.For more than 20 years, NUI Galway has provided this special entrance exam to help applicants who did not achieve the required grade C3 or better in Higher Level Mathematics. Those who took lower level Maths in the Leaving Cert may also apply for the exam. Students who pass this examination will be deemed to have satisfied the maths requirement and providing they have the necessary points, will receive an additional CAO offer at Round Two. Dr Mike Hartnett, Vice-Dean of Engineering and Informatics at NUI Galway, says: “Each year a cohort of students gain entry to our Engineering programmes based on their results in our Special Entrance Maths Examination. These students are often high-achievers and as a result, have very successful careers in Engineering.” Demand for Engineering programmes at NUI Galway continues to rise year on year and theCollege ofEngineering has expanded its degree programs to meet this rising demand. Engineering is at the heart of the emerging 'Smart Economy' and NUI Galway realises its role in providing world-class graduates to meet the needs of Industry and the Smart Economy. The new four-story EngineeringBuilding, opening in September, is the largest Schoolof Engineeringin the country and will accommodate some 1,100 students and 110 staff with its 400 rooms. The 14,250 sqm building will support an emerging generation of engineers, engaged in a new wave of technologies, embracing innovation and entrepreneurship. The building has been designed to be a teaching tool in itself, with exposed construction techniques and an array of ecological building methods.New courses such as Energy Systems Engineering, which is designed in response to a growing demand for professional engineers to work in the energy sector have continued to meet this growing demand. NUI Galway also offers students an 'undenominated' entry to Engineering which allows them to delay their choice of final discipline. NUI Galway also offers unique Engineering courses such as Sports and Exercise Engineering, designed to develop the skills and expertise to design sports and exercise equipment of the future and Engineering Innovation – Electronic which is designed to prepare engineers of the future, with the unique mix of engineering, innovation and business skills. Applications for the Special Maths Examination will be accepted at the Undergraduate Admissions Office reception desk up to 5pm on Monday, 22 August. Those interested in the revision maths course and the examination should call 091 492101 or visit for further detail. ENDS

Monday, 8 August 2011

Due to demand, the NUI Galway dedicated First Year Student Hotline will be open for calls from Tuesday, 16 August. The hotline will be open to students, their parents and their advisers and will run until 23 September, 2011. The initiative, which was launched in summer 2010 and was the first of its kind across the sector, has been specially designed to help incoming first year students make the transition to third level education. In its first year, the NUI Galway First Year Student Hotline received in the region of 3,000 calls.With NUI Galway anticipating an intake of over 3,200 new students in September, a team of specially-trained students will service the hotline Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm, and Saturday 20 and 27 August, 10am to 1pm. The availability of the hotline coincides with the period of frantic activity and decision making that immediately follows the release of the Leaving Certificate results. The hotline will be active throughout first year orientation on 10 and 11 September and will remain in service for two weeks after lectures begin on September 12, providing students with a place to direct any conceivable query they encounter as they embark on their journey to NUI Galway. The hotline team will provide an efficient, responsive service to callers and are expected to deal with numerous issues that are of concern to incoming first year students. Anticipated queries include: points requirements for courses; first round offers; registering as a student of the University; start dates; fees and accommodation options. A designated website for first years will also update on a daily basis detailing the information sought and fed through the new hotline. It will be a portal of specific information aimed at demystifying the first few weeks of university life. Dr Martina Ní Chúlain, Admissions Officer at NUI Galway, says: “A lot happens from the time the Leaving Certificate results are issued to when a student commences lectures - it is an exciting but yet daunting time.  Our hotline will act as a key resource to students, parents and their advisors, addressing a wide range of queries, which are entirely focused on the transition to third-level education.” Students, parents and advisers can contact the First Year Student Hotline at 091-493999 or visit -ENDS-

Thursday, 4 August 2011

Irish and UK Scientists Explore Uncharted Deep Sea Vent Field. New Life Forms Filmed for Upcoming National Geographic Channel Series NUI Galway’s Patrick Collins, of the University’s Ryan Institute, is part of the Irish-led VENTuRE scientific expedition aboard the national research vessel RV Celtic Explorer who discovered a previously uncharted field of hydrothermal vents along the Mid-Atlantic Ridge – the first to be explored north of the Azores. The mission, led by Dr Andy Wheeler of University College, Cork (UCC), together with scientists from the National Oceanography Centre and the University of Southampton in the UK, NUI Galway and the Geological Survey of Ireland, returned to Cork today (August 4th) from an investigation 3,000 metres below the surface of the sea using the Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) Holland 1. Hydrothermal vents, which spew mineral-rich seawater heated to boiling point by volcanic rock in the Earth’s crust below, are home to a rich variety of marine life that thrives in complete darkness on bacteria fed by chemicals. The investigation was supported by the Marine Institute under the 2011 Ship-Time Programme of the National Development Plan and by the National Geographic Society, who filmed the work for inclusion in an upcoming National Geographic Channel series, “Alien Deep,” premiering globally in 2012.   “On the first dive, we found the edge of the vent field within two hours of arriving on the seafloor,” said Dr Wheeler. “The ROV descended a seemingly bottomless underwater cliff into the abyss. We never reached the bottom, but rising up from below were these chimneys of metal sulphides belching black plumes of mineral-rich superheated water. Often the search for vents takes much longer, and our success is a testament to the hard work and skill of everyone on board.”   Speaking from the RV Celtic Explorer in Cork, Minister for Agriculture, Food and Marine Mr Simon Coveney said "This work is an example of an exciting new discovery made with the Celtic Explorer and its present crew of Irish and international scientists. Through vessels like the Celtic Explorer, Irish academics and scientists can work with other international experts to explore the seabed in the Atlantic and make groundbreaking new discoveries. Ireland is positioning itself as a centre for marine research from a European and international perspective and this work should be supported and welcomed." Dr Bramley Murton of the National Oceanography Centre in the UK, who first saw clues for possible vents on an expedition aboard the UK research vessel RRS James Cook in 2008 and who led the mineralisation study on the expedition, said, “Our discovery is the first deep-sea vent field known on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge north of the Azores. Although people have been crossing this ocean for centuries, we are the first to reach this spot beneath the waves and witness this natural wonder. The sense of awe at what we are seeing does not fade, and now we are working hard to understand what our discovery tells us about how our planet works.” Patrick Collins from NUI Galway’s Ryan Institute, who led Ireland's marine biological team investigating this unique ecosystem, is working in collaboration with Jon Copley of the University of Southampton to catalogue and characterise the species found at the vents.      “Everyone on board is proud of this Irish discovery, which we have called the ‘Moytirra Vent Field,’ said Collins. “Moytirra is the name of a battlefield in Irish mythology, and appropriately means ‘Plain of the Pillars.’ The largest chimney we have found is huge – more than ten metres tall – and we have named it ‘Balor’ after a legendary giant.  In comparison with other vent fields, Moytirra contains some monstrous chimneys and is in an unusual setting at the bottom of a cliff—a real beauty.”   “Using the ROV’s high-definition video camera, we’ve watched unusual orange-bodied shrimp crawling around the chimneys, among clusters of tiny green limpets,” said Jon Copley. “Elsewhere there are writhing scale-worms, swirling mats of bacteria and eel-like fish – a riot of life in this unlikely haven on the ocean floor.”   The mission carried geochemists, marine biologists, marine geologists, marine geneticists and technicians from Ireland and the UK as well as a TV crew from National Geographic. It was supported by the Marine Institute under the 2011 Ship-Time Programme of the National Development Plan.   “This project clearly demonstrates Ireland’s capacity to undertake world-class marine research on a significant scale, a capacity created through strategic national investments in facilities such as the Celtic Explorer and the Holland 1,” said Dr Peter Heffernan, Chief Executive of the Marine Institute. “This targeted use of research funding by our organisation, which has enabled senior Irish scientists to lead this survey in partnership with international colleagues, has resulted in scientific discoveries of global interest which will enhance Ireland’s growing reputation in deep-sea exploration.” ENDS 

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

This year, as a further effort to enhance access and participation opportunities for unemployed and low income groups, NUI Galway has approved a Scholarship Scheme to reduce fees for applicants in receipt of Job Seekers Benefit, Job Seekers Allowance and One-Parent Family Payment, who wish to enrol for part-time degree and diploma courses provided by the University, and who meet Department of Social Protection income thresholds.   One of the programmes to benefit from this welcome announcement is the BA in Community and Family Studies. This distance learning programme is a four year, part-time honours degree programme in Community and Family Studies.  Community Education Officer at NUI Galway, Deirdre Hardiman, says: “It is designed to enable participants to further develop and enhance their knowledge and skills relevant to Family and Community work practice and policy in Ireland or abroad. This includes a study of the community, voluntary and Irish state sector’s roles in supporting community and family life in a rapidly changing Irish society.  Areas of study include community development, family support, adolescence, childcare, health, political and general socio-economic studies.”   Students are awarded a Diploma in Arts in Community and Family Studies on successful completion of the first two years of the programme and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Community and Family Studies on completion of the four-year cycle.   Helen Casey, Community Education Officer, NUI Galway, also added: “To accommodate the work and family commitments of adult learners, the course will be delivered through distance learning, which is a combination of workshops, assignments and learning materials.  Students will attend around six workshops per year. The workshops (held Friday/ Saturday) will be provided at a number of geographic locations throughout Ireland.”   Formal academic qualifications are not required to commence the BA in Community and Family Studies but applicants must meet the University’s requirements for mature students entering higher education.   Other programmes to benefit from the scheme for the unemployed and low-income groups include part-time blended learning programmes in the Science and Technology area of Medical Device Design, Environmental Sustainability, Lean and Quality Systems, Software Engineering and Database Technologies, Technology Management and a number of part-time Diploma programmes in French, Italian and Spanish.   Further information and application forms on the BA Community & Family Studies are available from the Programme Administrator, Community Education Centre, Hygeia Office Block, Nuns Island , NUI Galway Tel: 091 495472/495786 and may also be downloaded from:   A full list of all part-time Adult Education Programmes is available at:   As closing dates vary, prospective students are encouraged to apply immediately.   ENDS