NUI Galway Researchers Launch Marine Atlantic Regions Network Project

NUI Galway Researchers Launch Marine Atlantic Regions Network Project-image

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Researchers from NUI Galway, along with members of the Border, Midland and Western (BMW) Regional Assembly, officially launched the new MARNET project at a major EU Commission Marine conference in Bilbao, Spain earlier this week. MARNET (Marine Atlantic Regions Network) is a three year co-operation project involving regional authorities and marine socio-economists in Ireland, Spain, France, Portugal and Scotland. The initiative will establish an EU Atlantic Marine Socio-Economic Network that will map the value of the Atlantic Marine economy through the development of reliable and comparable socio-economic data throughout Atlantic Regions. Socio-Economic Marine Research Unit (SEMRU) in NUI Galway is the lead scientific partner on this large scale EU INTERREG project. SEMRU, created in NUI Galway in 2008 with the support of the Marine Institute Beaufort Marine Socio-Economic Award, is focused on economic and social research to quantify the economic importance of Ireland’s marine environment in support of ‘evidence-based’ policy development within the marine sector. Attending the launch, Dr Frances Fahy, Lecturer in Geography at NUI Galway and MARNET researcher, said: “The main aim of the MARNET project is to develop a Marine Atlantic Regions Network and to establish formal co-operative links between marine socio-economic research institutions and other bodies operating in the European Atlantic coastal zone.” Assembly Director Gerry Finn welcomed the EU Commission's support for the MARNET project adding: “MARNET is an important development in Maritime co-operation in Atlantic Regions. The availability of comparable socio-economic data in the sector is vital to targeting future  funds to niche areas of the Marine Economy. I am delighted that the BMW Regional Assembly is in a position to co-ordinate this exercise which up to this point has not been achieved at an EU level. I look forward to the engagement of local authorities and industry representatives in the project who will identify specific practical initiatives for the sector. This initiative complements the recently launched Marine strategy for Ireland 'Our Ocean Wealth' which aims to realise the significant potential of the marine sector to contribute to job creation and economic development in Ireland.” MARNET was presented to over 150 delegates from throughout the Atlantic Region at an EU Forum Conference event in Bilbao, Spain. The consultation seminar was organised by DG MARE of the EU Commission as part of the development of the EU Maritime Strategy for the Atlantic Area. The key note address was delivered by President of the Poitou Charentes Regional Council, Ms Segolene Royal who was a candidate for the presidency of France in 2007. -ENDS-

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NUI Galway Medical Orchestra Perform for Patients in Sligo and Mayo

NUI Galway Medical Orchestra Perform for Patients in Sligo and Mayo-image

Friday, 16 November 2012

The NUI Galway Medical Orchestra will give two concerts in Mayo and Sligo Hospitals this month. The concerts will take place on Saturday, 24 November at 6pm in the Hume Hall, Sligo IT and on Sunday afternoon, 25 November at 2pm at Mayo General Hospital (St. Mary’s Hall) in Castlebar. Entitled ‘The Maureen Woods Memorial Concerts’, students will perform for the patients and medical staff of both hospitals, to invited guest musicians from the medical academy of Sligo and Mayo and also to invited members of the public. Both performances are free, thanks to the benefactors, the Woods family of Tarmon Co. Leitrim. The concerts by the NUI Galway Medical Orchestra celebrate much of what Maureen Woods loved and believed in – the healing power of music, the essential role of the arts in medicine, and the close bonds between the creative instinct and the best of science and medicine. Speaking in advance of the performance in Castlebar, Kevin Barry, Dean, Mayo Medical Academy, said:  “I am delighted that NUI Galway Medical Orchestra is coming to perform at Mayo General Hospital/Mayo Medical Academy.  This is a unique opportunity to celebrate the cultural, spiritual and healing powers associated with music.  We have long recognised the importance of the arts in promoting patient welfare.  The Arts Committee at Mayo General Hospital has for example, hosted many wonderful exhibitions at our hospital over the years including the works of our patients.  NUI Galway Medical Orchestra is a fantastic initiative and the various student members are to be congratulated for their dedication and strength of character. I look forward to a great afternoon of entertainment.  This is a most inspiring event.” Dr Geraldine McCarthy, Dean of Sligo Medical Academy, said: “Sligo Medical Academy and Sligo Regional Hospital are delighted to welcome the NUI Galway Medical Orchestra to Sligo for their concert for hospital staff and patients. It is a wonderful initiative linking the arts and health and the students have been great ambassadors for Galway Medical School.”   The NUI Galway Medical Orchestra is made up solely of medical students from across Clinical Sciences to include medical students as well as students from Nursing, Midwifery and the Therapies. One of the ground breaking initiatives of Clinical Sciences at NUI Galway under Professor Fidelma Dunne, Head of School and Dr Gerard Flaherty, Senior Lecturer in Clinical Medicine, is to offer formal academic credit to medical students who choose to join the orchestra special study module. The arranger and musical director is the well-known musician Carl Hession and the producer of the orchestra is Mary McPartlan of NUI Galway and originally from Drumkeerin, Co. Leitrim. Speaking of the initiative, Professor Fidelma Dunne, Head of School at Clinical Sciences, said: “This is an excellent performance opportunity for the students involved, as well as recognising the benefits of music and the importance of the creative arts in the development of young students studying medicine, the holistic nature of their endeavour and the integrity it embeds into their lives as healthcare professionals. I would particularly like to thank the family of Maureen Woods for helping to make these two concerts possible through their generous sponsorship of these two concerts in Sligo and Castlebar.” The Medical Orchestra at NUI Galway has been in existence for over a year and it has already established itself as a very positive initiative with a number of high profile public performances. The orchestra is open to students across the Schools of Medicine, Nursing & Midwifery and Health Sciences and students may select the orchestra to attain academic credit or simply participate for their personal satisfaction, enjoyment and development. ENDS

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New Diabetes Research Centre for the West

New Diabetes Research Centre for the West -image

Friday, 16 November 2012

9.6% of Irish Population with Diabetes Diabetes is now the commonest metabolic illness in the world and earlier this week marked World Diabetes Day (Wednesday, 14 November). An estimated 9.6% of the Irish population now have the disease. With a particularly high prevalence in the Western Region of the country, NUI Galway and Galway and Roscommon University Hospital Group have joined forces to create the Galway Diabetes Research Centre. The Galway Diabetes Research Centre (GDRC) will bring together an interdisciplinary research consortium of active researchers and clinicians. GDRC members comprise of individuals from across the diverse disciplines including psychology, engineering, economics, health promotion, nursing, midwifery, podiatry and information technology, all of whom have a track record in the field of diabetes. Based at NUI Galway, the GDRC will link researchers from these diverse disciplines to strengthen and develop close links with clinicians from Galway and Roscommon University Hospital Group and the hospitals linked to the NUI Galway regional Medical Academies.  Professor Fidelma Dunne,School of Medicine, Co-director of the GDRC explains: “This is an exciting opportunity for researchers and clinicians working in Diabetes at NUI Galway and Galway and Roscommon University Hospital Group. The centre will facilitate the development of each individual’s skills and provide the academic environment for collaboration. The collaboration between an academic institution and Health Care Delivery network will facilitate the efficient translation of research findings into clinical practice resulting in tangible benefits for patients with diabetes.” Bill Maher, CEO of the Galway and Roscommon University Hospital Group said: “This new research centre for Galway is another example of where the synergy of the Hospital and University can lead to tangible benefits for patients and improved outcomes. Diabetes is a growing health care problem which is putting additional strain on a public health service which will face funding difficulties for the foreseeable future; advances in research which lead to improved treatment and which enhance the skills of our clinicians will promote patient health and are to be welcomed.” Research clusters Through three main clusters: Aetiology and Prevention, Current and Future Clinical Management, and Population and Health Services Research, the GDRC will serve the needs of patients with diabetes mellitus and those at risk of developing diabetes mellitus by creating the treatments of the future through research, providing state of the art clinical care and developing the carers of the future through education.  The three main research clusters, capitalise on the already high volume of diabetes related work undertaken by the University and hospitals. 1. Aetiology and Prevention                                                                                     Aetiology and Prevention contributes to our understanding of how diabetes develops and what are the underlying mechanisms. Researchers in this cluster are active at every level of disease, from genes, through to glycoproteins and stem cells. 2. Current and Future Clinical management             Investigators in this strand are focused on the development of new therapies for diabetes mellitus. There is an active clinical trial programme through the HRB Clinical Research Facility, Galway, with the support of research nurses, quality assurance staff and biostatisticians. There is also a major focus on the development of biomaterials and stem cell based approaches to regenerative therapies through the Science Foundation Ireland funded research centres REMEDI and NFB. 3. Population and Health Services Research            This cluster will contribute to the evidence required to help address the many challenges of health care delivery in diabetes. These challenges include changing the way services are delivered, evaluating the health care needs of the diabetes population and measuring the relative effectiveness of interventions. The GDRC will be official launched on Friday, 16 November by Dr Jim Browne, President of NUI Galway, and Mr Bill Maher, CEO Galway and Roscommon University Hospital Group.  Speakers at the event will include: Professor Stephen O’Rahilly, University of Cambridge; Professor John Nolan, STENO Diabetes Centre Denmark; Professor James Shaw, Newcastle University; and Dr Peter Hammond, Harrogate District Hospital, UK. Sligo senior footballer, Mr Kenneth Sweeney also addressed the event who is 11 years living with type 1 Diabetes. Diabetes Statistics Diabetes is a chronic condition associated with significant morbidity and mortality. It is the commonest metabolic illness globally, according to the World Health Organisation, 346 million people worldwide have the condition. It is estimated that this figure will double by 2030.  About 90% of all diabetes is type 2. The prevalence of type 2 diabetes is increasing at an alarming rate in tandem with rising obesity rates. In Ireland the number of people with type 2 diabetes is growing as a result of an ageing population and rising obesity rates. The Diabetes Federation of Ireland estimated that 200,000 people had diabetes in Ireland in 2003 and a further 200,000 had the condition but were unaware of it. They also estimated that a further 250,000 had pre-diabetes and 50% would develop diabetes in the ensuing 5 years if lifestyle changes were not met. The Institute of Public Health (2005) concluded that 4.7% of the population (circa 150,000) of the Republic had established diabetes, with the highest prevalence in the Western Region (5.2%). The Institute of Public Health have revised their figures again (2012) and now conclude that 9.6% of the population have Diabetes. Ends

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Report Points to Failure of State to Vindicate Rights of Children

Report Points to Failure of State to Vindicate Rights of Children-image

Friday, 16 November 2012

A report launched at NUI Galway today calls for the human rights of children of asylum seekers to be respected and criticises the current direct provision system. The situation facing hundreds of soon to be displaced asylum seekers, residents of Lisbrook House in Galway, also came in for sharp criticism. ‘Parenting in Direct Provision: Parent’s perspectives regarding stresses and supports’ was written by Helen Ogbu, a graduate of the MA in Family Support Studies in the UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre at NUI Galway. Parents interviewed in the report felt that their mental health problems and those of their childrenwere increased by prolonged stays in the centres, the strain of living in over-crowded rooms, poor diets, unavailability of recreational and study space, and the educational restriction for older children. She stated that: “Direct Provision is an unsuitable environment for children and families, that it is damaging to family life and that it is not in the best interests of the child.”Her report recommends that the policy of Direct Provision as it currently stands should be reviewed and that such communal accommodation should not be used for periods of longer than six months. The report was launched at an event hosted by NUI Galway and chaired by Professor Ray Murphy of the University’s Irish Centre for Human Rights. Opening the event Professor Murphy stated: “Of the 5,098 residents in Direct Provision, over one third are children. These children spend a significant proportion of their childhood in Direct Provision accommodation. This report indicates a failure of the state to vindicate rights set out in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and the family life rights set out in the European Convention on Human Rights in the case of children in the asylum system.” He added: “This is particularly shocking given the recent campaign on the amendment to the Constitution regarding children’s rights. In particular the situation for those children who have grown up and attend school in Galway, currently housed in Lisbrook House and who are to be scattered throughout the country give rise to concern on how this can be in the best interests of these children.” The audience of students, members of the public and asylum seekers also heard from Sade, an asylum seeker who has been living in the direct provision system for 5 years and 9 months and Samantha Arnold of the Irish Refugee Council. Samantha Arnold, Children’s and Young Persons’ Officer with the Irish Refugee Council Report has also recently published a report on the same topic entitled, ‘State sanctioned child poverty and exclusion:  the case of children in accommodation for asylum-seekers.’ She said “Both Fine Gael and Labour committed to reviewing the system of Direct Provision in July 2010. So far, those commitments haven’t been met. Under the Children First Guidelines, the conditions that children in Direct Provision live in amounts to child abuse or neglect. Despite not having chosen to live in Ireland or seek asylum here, the children living in and growing up in Direct Provision are subjected to enforced poverty, discrimination and social exclusion.” Samantha Arnold’s report makes a number of recommendations including ensuring that heating, hot water and cleanliness are guaranteed, children have access to private toilet facilities, children are not exposed to inappropriate behaviour, including that of a sexual or violent nature, and children are able to fully participate in the Irish education system. For further information and copies of this report visit Ends

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How Many Marine Organisms Are There?

How Many Marine Organisms Are There?-image

Friday, 16 November 2012

NUI Galway Marine Expert among International Researchers to Publish Findings In a landmark paper published in the prestigious international journal Current Biology 220 marine experts worldwide, including Professor Mike Guiry of NUI Galway’s Ryan Institute, have come together to estimate how many species there are in our oceans. The answer will come as something of a disappointment to those who claim more than a million marine species because the authors show that the true number is less than a quarter of that. About 225,000 species have been described to date, and the final tally is likely to be about 500,000. Previous estimates of a million marine species were based on unreliable figures passed from textbook to textbook and gaining credence when uttered by some famous individual at international conferences. Species are notoriously difficult to count. Unlike, say, books in a library, they are not discrete objects that can simply be catalogued and a final figure arrived at. The notion of a species is a human construct, essentially a philosophical notion, and the names we use for them, called binomials, are simply for us to communicate, and have no meaning without us. The numbers in this paper are the best that can be arrived at as, for once, they come from expert opinion, mainly from database curators and world experts in the various groups. One of these experts is Professor Mike Guiry of the Ryan Institute at NUI Galway. He is the founder of the database AlgaeBase ( funded in 2004-2009 by the Higher Education Authority under the Programme for Research in Third-Level Institutions, itself generously underwritten by Chuck Feeney, recently publically honoured by all the Irish universities, through Atlantic Philantrophies. Professor Guiry has to date catalogued 130,000 names of algae, including 34,000 species. Of these, about half are marine, and include some 9,500 seaweeds. This is the only global species database in Ireland. Speaking on the findings, Professor Guiry said: “We do not yet know how many species there are in the world, estimates vary from 5-50 million, but the most reliable recent estimates are that 1.9 million, with the insects accounting for more than 1 million.” Professor Guiry added: “The marine environment is relatively species-poor, despite claims to the contrary, with less than 12% of all currently described species occurring in the sea. But what the sea lacks in species numbers it makes up spectacularly in diversity and beauty, and in the active part these organisms play in keeping our planet healthy. More than 75% of all photosynthetic oxygen is produced by marine algae.” The marine Professor’s forthcoming book, A Catalogue of Irish Seaweeds, will show that 7.5% of all seaweeds occurs in Ireland, which is extraordinary for the size and geographical spread of the island, and contrasts strongly with our native flowering-plants, which amount to no more than 0.25% of the world’s 350,000-400,000 species. The marine experts predict that all marine species will have been described by the end of this century, so that the task will have taken the human race 350 years. ENDS

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Bardic Voices, Horns and Medieval Harps Focus of NUI Galway Concert

Bardic Voices, Horns and Medieval Harps Focus of NUI Galway Concert-image

Monday, 19 November 2012

On Friday, 30 November, NUI Galway's Aula Maxima will resound with the ancient sounds of early Irish harp, voice and horn.  Gold-strung cláirseachs (harps), played by Ann Heymann, will accompany 7th-18th century Gaelic poems, including genres of laoi, rosc and amhrán, sung by Charlie Heymann and NUI Galway’s Lillis Ó Laoire.  Ann Heymann is a Visiting Fellow with the Moore Institute for Research in the Humanities and Social Studies, NUI Galway where she is studying the use of the harp in the performance of early Irish poetry.  Early Welsh poetry by the famous poets Aneirin and Taliesin, accompanied by horsehair harp, crwth and various lyres will also featured.  Adding to the musical soundscape will be Simon O'Dwyer's pre-historic and medieval horns, bells and pipes. Dr Lillis Ó Laoire, Lecturer in Irish and Head of NUI Galway’s School of Languages, Literatures and Cultures, is an award winning sean-nós singer, scholar, and writer from the Gaelic speaking region of Donegal. Dr O’Laoire teaches courses in Gaelic language, culture and folklore at NUI Galway, and his publications include On a Rock in the Middle of the Ocean: Songs and Singers in Tory Island, Ireland. Ann Heymann is renowned for having recreated specialised techniques that articulate the voice of the cláirseach. Her use of gold wire, which is based both on evidence in the literature and in the physical construction of the cláirseach, has restored a brilliant rich voice to the instrument. Her husband Charlie is both a vocalist and instrumentalist, and for over 35 years the couple have performed and taught across four continents.   Simon O'Dwyer has brought the sound of ancient Irish horns, bells and pipes to audiences around the globe.  Author of Prehistoric Music of Ireland, O'Dwyer documents both his research and his making of these reproduction instruments. This event is free and open to the public and takes place at 7pm in the Aula Maxima, NUI Galway. -ENDS-

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Stem Cell Clinical Trials to Tackle Diabetes

Stem Cell Clinical Trials to Tackle Diabetes-image

Monday, 19 November 2012

NUI Galway’s REMEDI and Orbsen Therapeutics win €6 million European funding NUI Galway has been awarded a major new €6 million European project, designed to address complications associated with diabetes. The research project will examine the ability of stem cells to safely control glucose levels and alleviate the damage caused by six different diabetic complications. Professor Timothy O’Brien, Director of the Regenerative Medicine Institute (REMEDI) at NUI Galway, who is also a Consultant in Endocrinology at Galway University Hospitals, will co-ordinate the project. Orbsen Therapeutics Limited, an NUI Galway spin-out company, is the lead SME on the project. Clinical trials will take place in Ireland and Denmark using stem cells discovered by Orbsen. In total, nine new research jobs are to be created in Ireland by the project. An estimated 60 million patients with diabetes mellitus in the EU are using prescription drugs to control blood glucose levels. Poor control of blood glucose levels may lead to a number of diabetic complications, including: nephropathy, retinopathy, cardiomyopathy, neuropathy, impaired bone repair and wound ulceration. “At the moment, there are very few treatment options available to control the initiation and progression of these complications”, explains Professor O’Brien. “In addition, there are no treatments which will improve glucose levels and simultaneously treat the diabetic complication. These complications therefore continue to be a major challenge for clinicians and patients alike.” The REDDSTAR project, originally conceived by Dr Steve Elliman, Head of Research & Development at Orbsen Therapeutics, will take place over two phases. The first will examine which diabetic complication responds best to stem cell treatment in various models of diabetes. The second phase will involve a clinical trial at the Steno Diabetes Centre in Denmark, in collaboration with clinicians at the Diabetes Centre in Galway University Hospitals, specifically in the complication which showed the most promising results in the first phase. Orbsen Therapeutics Limited was formed as a spin out company to advance and commercialise new intellectual property developed by researchers at the SFI-funded REMEDI at NUI Galway. The University has become a leading centre of translational research in adult stem cells involving its National Centre for Biomedical Engineering Science (NCBES) and REMEDI. Co-ordinated by NUI Galway, the REDDSTAR (Repair of Diabetic Damage by Stromal Cell Administration) project brings together ten expert teams from Ireland, Northern Ireland, Germany, the Netherlands, Denmark, Portugal and the US will comprehensively examine if stem cellscan safely address this challenge. Converting research funding into job creation The REDDSTAR EU FP7 funding will be used to create three new positions within REMEDI and a further five new positions at Orbsen. Administration of the REDDSTAR project will be supported by a third SME, Dublin-based EU specialists Pintail Ltd, bringing the total number of new Irish jobs created by this project to nine. Professor O’Brien states: “The creation of new jobs is a very important impact of government-funded research through Science Foundation Ireland (SFI). The funding of REMEDI by SFI has allowed this EU support to be leveraged resulting in job creation in Ireland.”  Orbsen CEO Brian Molloy adds: “Our participation in REDDSTAR assists us in the development of our core stem cell technology and will make a substantial contribution to our R&D programme. Our mission is to become Europe’s leading Stem Cell Therapy company. Collaborations such as this with REMEDI and NUI Galway help to position Ireland as a European hub for cell therapy development.” Orbsen recently developed and is patenting a unique method of isolating therapeutic stem cells from human tissue at class-leading levels of purity. The Orbsen cell therapy product is unique in that it has been designed to meet future EU regulations regarding cell-based medicines. The Orbsen therapy will be independently assessed by the REDDSTAR experts in each diabetic complication.   Dr Steve Elliman, states: “This project design has a number of advantages over similar approaches being taken by other researchers. Primarily, this is the first FP7 project to unite EU experts on all six diabetic complications to work together and assess how a therapy might impact all six tissues at the same time. It is expected that this REDDSTAR ‘network’ of researchers will live beyond this project and be used by other drug developers.” In addition, REDDSTAR has permitted a unique collaboration between Orbsen and the US-based SME, Owl Biomedical Inc. Owl Biomedical is developing the unique “Nanosorter”, a bench-top device that will permit isolation of the Orbsen cell therapy for clinical use in line with forthcoming EU regulations. -ends-

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NUI Galway to Hold Information Evening in Clonmel

NUI Galway to Hold Information Evening in Clonmel-image

Monday, 19 November 2012

Secondary school students interested in NUI Galway are invited to an information evening in Clonmel on Wednesday, 28 November. Parents and guardians are also particularly welcome to the event which runs from 7-9pm in the Clonmel Park Hotel, Clonmel, Co. Tipperary. The evening will begin with short talks about NUI Galway and some of the 60 courses it offers. Afterwards, current students and NUI Galway staff will be on hand to answer any questions in relation to courses and practical issues like accommodation, fees and scholarships, and the wide range of support services available to students. The ever-increasing popularity of NUI Galway is in-part due to a whole suite of innovative new programmes, developed in response to the changing needs of the employment market. Unique programmes include a Bachelor of Arts with Human Rights, an Energy Engineering degree which is taught in the University’s new Engineering Building, Ireland’s largest School of Engineering, and a Maths and Education degree aimed at training maths teachers. Visitors to the information evening will also get information on NUI Galway’s newest degree programmes, a BA in Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies and a Bachelor of Arts with Journalism which are brand new for 2013. “NUI Galway has a great deal to offer. Our own students tell us our lecturers are inspirational and challenge them to achieve their full potential. The student experience in Galway is second to none, and we want to bring a taste of that to Tipperary, while also providing all the practical information on accommodation, CAO points, fees, scholarships and courses. With so many courses on offer, this event in Clonmel is a perfect opportunity to meet current students and our lecturers to see what degree might be the right fit”, says Caroline Loughnane, Director of Marketing and Communications at NUI Galway. To find out more about the information evening in Clonmel, contact NUI Galway’s Schools Liaison Officer, Celine O’Donovan on 087 239 1219 or ENDS

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Mary Robinson Visits NUI Galway to Mark the Beginning of New Ballina Visitor Centre

Mary Robinson Visits NUI Galway to Mark the Beginning of New Ballina Visitor Centre-image

Monday, 19 November 2012

Former President of Ireland, Mary Robinson, visited NUI Galway this weekend to mark the beginning of a new partnership with the University. Recent plans have been unveiled to establish a Mary Robinson Centre in the former President’s home town of Ballina, Co. Mayo. The Centre, supported by Mayo County Council and Ballina Town Council will be established at Mary Robinson’s birthplace and will include both a Visitor Centre and an academic research centre, supported by NUI Galway and focused on scholarly research and education in the fields of Human Rights and Women’s Leadership. Speaking at NUI Galway, Mary Robinson also announced details of a public interview on her life and work, with Fintan O’Toole, to take place at NUI Galway on January 14, 2013. Mary Robinson’s archive will be the centrepiece of the educational facility, and as academic partner to the project, NUI Galway will bring researchers and students from all over the world to Ballina to engage with the archive. NUI Galway is internationally recognised as a leader in the field of Human Rights and Gender research, and offers undergraduate degrees and Masters programmes in the area. The University will also advise on the cataloguing and making available of the extensive archive which is valued at over €2.5 million. President Jim Browne of NUI Galway commented: “We at NUI Galway are delighted to have been invited to become involved in this project.  We believe that the Mary Robinson Archive is very important  for scholarship globally; for our region – it adds a truly unique piece of infrastructure to the knowledge capital of the West of Ireland; and for Ireland as a nation  preserving the narrative of the life and work of probably the most significant figure to emerge from our country – a transformative figure of modern Ireland – Mary Robinson.” The proposed Visitor Centre, which is set to open to the public by the end of 2014, will provide a unique cultural tourism resource for Mayo as visitors will have the opportunity to learn more about Mary Robinson’s life and work, including her early roots in Ballina. The project will involve the refurbishment of Victoria House, a protected 19th century Georgian house, together with the construction of an Annex to the house. Parts of the house will be recreated to its original condition at the time of Mary Robinson’s birth in 1944. The property at Victoria House, which has been in the Bourke Family for generations, is being made available to the Centre by the owner, Mary’s brother Adrian Bourke, and will be leased in perpetuity. Mary Robinson’s archive is a vast collection illuminating the life and career of one of Ireland’s most distinguished public figures. The archive includes a library of books, and periodicals, Mary Robinson’s personal diaries, working files and detailed records of her career as a champion of human rights and women’s equality. Also included are numerous recordings and manuscripts from her time as President of Ireland. ENDS

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Accessing a Wealth of Medical Information

Accessing a Wealth of Medical Information-image

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

A new €4.4 million EU project A new €4.4 million EU project is using the latest web technologies to make the most of the wealth of medical information contained in electronic medical records. The project aims to aid decision-making for medical practitioners and improve safety in clinical research. The Linked2Safety project will build a medical and clinical data management infrastructure, using privacy-aware, semantic technology. At the forefront of technologies being deployed by the project, are researchers from the Digital Enterprise Research Institute (DERI) at the National University of Ireland Galway. Their task is to imbue meaning into the data contained within the European healthcare information space, which is fragmented and disparate, and connect that data. To do so, the project will use ‘linked-data’ and other sematic technologies developed by DERI. “So much valuable information sits in seclusion in medical records in hospitals across Europe. They have the potential to significantly help and advance medical research, as well as improve health policies,” explains Ronan Fox, Health Care and Life Sciences Leader at DERI. “What we need to do is put in place a framework so that the information can be interconnected, this could lead to all kinds of possibilities. For example, within the context of the data governance, and legal and ethical framework created in Linked2Safety, individuals could be identified to join a clinical trial for a rare disease, whether they are in Ireland or Cyprus.” In addition, using ‘linked data’, information contained in the records will be leveraged in clinical research for the early detection of potential patient safety issues. Such issues might be based on genetic data analysis and the extraction of the bio-markers associated with an identified type of an adverse event. The Linked2Safety project will also support the effective organization and execution of clinical trials by allowing health carers and medical scientists to easily submit their own query and get homogenized access to high-quality medical data. Linked2Safety is an FP7 project funded by the European Commission under the area of ICT for health. With over 140 researchers, DERI is the largest web science institute of its kind in the world, set up in 2003 with funding from Science Foundation Ireland and the National University of Ireland Galway. -ends-

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