Research Success and Academic Reputation Sees NUI Galway Rise in International Rankings

Research Success and Academic Reputation Sees NUI Galway Rise in International Rankings-image

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Research output and academic reputation has seen NUI Galway secure the biggest boost among Irish universities in world rankings announced today. With only two Irish universities improving their world ranking, NUI Galway witnessed the greatest rise in position, increasing 11 places. NUI Galway is now ranked 287 in the QS World University Rankings 2012/2013. In the same rankings, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) leapfrogged University of Cambridge and Harvard University, to become the number one university. “This is very good news for NUI Galway,” explains its President Dr Jim Browne. “We have experienced huge cuts in overallfunding at third-level in Ireland, while student numbers have continued to rise. Despite this, our university has gone against the tide to secure a marked improvement in these very competitive rankings. This is a testament to our high standards in teaching and research, and the continued dedication of our staff at NUI Galway.” The QS World University Rankings is an annual league table of the top 700 universities in the world and is arguably the best-known and respected ranking of its kind. It is widely referenced by prospective and current students, university professionals and governments worldwide. The rankings are based on four key pillars, research, teaching, employability and internationalisation. President Browne added: “It will be critical for Ireland to maintain its investment in its universities if we are to remain internationally competitive. Every year, rankings such as this are broadened to include a burgeoning number of world-class universities. We operate in a global market, competing for students and research support on an international playing field. Support on a national level must be maintained for universities such as NUI Galway to continue with their success.” -ends- Dul Chun Cinn OÉ Gaillimh sna Ranguithe Idirnáisiúnta de bharr Aschur Taighde agus Cáil Acadúil De bharr aschur taighde agus cáil acadúil OÉ Gaillimh tá an borradh is mó tagtha faoin Ollscoil seo thar aon Ollscoil eile in Éirinn sna ranguithe domhanda a fógraíodh inniu. Ní dhearna ach dhá ollscoil in Éirinn dul chun cinn sna ranguithe domhanda, agus is í OÉ Gaillimh a rinne an dul chun cinn is mó, ag ardú 11 áit. Tá OÉ Gaillimh anois sa 287ú háit i Ranguithe Ollscoileanna Bliantúla an Domhain QS 2012/2013. Sna ranguithe céanna, chuaigh Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) chun tosaigh ar Ollscoil Cambridge agus ar Ollscoil Harvard, chun an chéad áit a bhaint amach ar domhan. “Dea-scéala iontach é seo do OÉ Gaillimh,” a mhínigh an tUachtarán, an Dr Jim Browne. “Tá gearradh siar uafásach déanta ar mhaoiniú ag an tríú leibhéal in Éirinn, agus tá líon na mac léinn ag dul i méid i gcónaí. D’ainneoin seo, tá ollscoil s’againne ag dul ó neart go neart sna ranguithe seo atá thar a bheith iomaíoch. Is léiriú é seo ar an gcaighdeán ard teagaisc agus taighde atá againn agus tiomantas leanúnach na foirne in OÉ Gaillimh.” Tábla sraithe bliantúil iad Ranguithe Ollscoileanna an Domhain QS ina bhfuil na 700 ollscoil is fearr ar domhan agus tá sé ar cheann de na ranguithe is fearr aithne agus is mó a bhfuil cáil air ar domhan. Úsáideann mic léinn reatha agus mic léinn a bhfuil suim acu in ollscoil, lucht gairmiúil ollscoileanna agus rialtais ar fud an domhain na ranguithe seo. Tá na ranguithe bunaithe ar na ceithre phríomhthaca, taighde, teagasc, infhostaitheacht agus idirnáisiúnú. Dúirt an tUachtarán Browne chomh maith: “Is den riachtanas é go gcoinneoidh Éirinn ag infheistiú sna hollscoileanna chun a bheith iomaíoch go hidirnáisiúnta. Gach bliain, leathnaítear na ranguithe chun ollscoileanna eile den scoth a ligean isteach. Táimid ag feidhmiú i margadh domhanda, san iomaíocht do mhic léinn agus do thacaíocht taighde ar pháirc idirnáisiúnta. Caithfear an tacaíocht ag leibhéal náisiúnta a choinneáil d’ollscoileanna cosúil le OÉ Gaillimh chun go mbeidh an rath céanna uirthi amach anseo.” -críoch-

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Can Your Mobile Phone Help You Get Fit?

Can Your Mobile Phone Help You Get Fit?-image

Thursday, 13 September 2012

Can your mobile phone help you get fit? A former White House fitness expert will pose this question at the fifth annual Medicine 2.0 Congress which opens in Harvard Medical School, Boston, tomorrow. Ted Vickey is a PhD researcher at the Digital Enterprise Research Institute (DERI) at National University of Ireland Galway. He will tell delegates that “understanding one’s social network may be one key to better health”. “Rather than surfing in the ocean, we are surfing the web. Rather than an outdoor game of tennis under the sun, we are inside our homes playing online virtual tennis on our Wii. People drive their cars to the gym and then take the escalator to the front door rather than walking and taking the stairs,” explains Vickey. “But what if technology could be the solution to our problem? What if our mobile phones could track our every step, provide healthy tips during the day, even persuade or motivate us when we need it most? This dream is now a reality all across the globe and it is called Mobile Health.” There are an estimated 13,000 health related apps in the iTunes, everything from monitoring blood pressure to tweeting body weight to tracking sleep cycles. As part of his PhD research, Vickey and his colleagues at National University of Ireland Galway have collected over 4.5 million tweets sent via mobile fitness applications from around the world. These were then categorized into different classifications, in an attempt to understand correlations between online social networking and effective exercise motivation and adherence. Studies have indicated that lack of motivation is a key factor in why a person does not exercise. “Mobile fitness apps not only allow for the sharing of information between user and health care providers, but also with a user’s friends. These self-monitoring units will help change the face of health care around the globe”, said Vickey. Vickey’s paper ‘Estimating the Long Term Effectiveness of Mobile Fitness Apps and Exercise Motivation’ has been shortlisted for the iMedicalApps-Medicine 2.0 mHealth Research Award. Established in 2003 by National University Ireland Galway and Science Foundation Ireland, DERI has now grown to become the world’s largest semantic web research institute. It engages with companies, from start-ups through to multinationals, to develop new web solutions. -ends-

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NUI Galway Alumni All-Ireland Final Golf Outing

NUI Galway Alumni All-Ireland Final Golf Outing-image

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

NUI Galway graduates and friends will hold their annual All-Ireland golf outing in Mullingar Golf Club on Friday, 21 September. The event features a unique perpetual trophy, created by NUI Galway graduate John Coll, one of the country’s most renowned sculptors. RTÉ Presenter, event organiser and NUI Galway graduate Seán O’Rourke, said: “The All-Ireland golf outing is an ideal way to meet up with graduates old and new. It promises to be a wonderful event and we hope as many alumni and friends as possible join us in Mullingar.” The entry fee of €40 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-

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NUI Galway and Corinthians U21s Scrum Together for 2012-13 Season

NUI Galway and Corinthians U21s Scrum Together for 2012-13 Season -image

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

As Connacht commence their second season in the Heineken European Rugby Cup, a new and exciting rugby development at U21 level in the province this year is the amalgamation of NUI Galway U21s with Corinthians RFC U21s. The combined team will play in the U21 All-Ireland League – South West Conference – which includes the cream of Munster Rugby clubs. A working group of officials, coaches, and players from both clubs have been working closely together over the last two seasons to develop this new combined squad. The aim is to enhance the standards, competitiveness, and participation in U21 Rugby in both clubs, and thereby help to promote the game in Galway and in Connacht. The team will field wearing a newly designed jersey that combine the traditional NUI Galway maroon and white with Corinthians' black, blue, and white hoops as well as featuring both club's crests. Promising players from the combined U21s team will have access to senior AIL rugby through the Corinthians senior squad. A challenging and enjoyable pre-season build up has been planned for the new panel, which will be coached by an experienced and talented coaching team that includes Paul Donnellan and former international underage rugby coach, Bartley Fannin. The squad will also benefit from Corinthians senior coaches including former club captain and stalwart Pat Cunningham and Head Coach, Dr Phil Pretorious. As well as national coach to Tonga at the World Cup, Dr Pretorious coached Stellenbosch University for several seasons as well as ‘Super 14’ side the Blue Bulls. As the final warm-up to the competitive season, the squad will play back-to-back ‘home and away’ fixtures against Dublin’s Railway Union U21s - home in Dangan on Saturday 22nd September and away in Dublin on Saturday 29th September under Railway Union's new floodlights. Commenting on the development, Honorary Treasurer of NUI Galway RFC Gearóid Ó Broin expressed confidence in its ability to deliver on the twin objectives of increasing rugby participation and playing standards in both clubs. ENDS

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Three Awards for NUI Galway Engineers

Three Awards for NUI Galway Engineers-image

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Three NUI Galway engineers were honoured recently at the Bridge and Concrete Research in Ireland conference that was held in Dublin, from 6-7 September. This biennial symposium features leading researchers and practitioners from the island of Ireland with the focus on the latest developments and findings in the areas of bridge engineering and transport infrastructure, concrete technology, geotechnics, structural engineering and material science. This year, for the first time, a number of individuals received awards for their research contributions and there was considerable success for Civil Engineering at NUI Galway. The prestigious lifetime achievement award went to Eamonn Cannon, a recently retired Senior Lecturer from NUI Galway. Eamonn Cannon received the award for his significant and sustained contributions to research and teaching in concrete that stretch back over forty years.  Holding degrees from University College Dublin, Polytecnico di Milano and Imperial College London, Eamonn Cannon has published widely on many aspects of concrete research. Dr Jamie Goggins received the young researcher award and this category was for researchers at an early stage in their careers (under the age of 35). Dr Goggins received the award for the quality of his research publications and for his growing international reputation for the research in earthquake engineering, computational mechanics, sustainable construction technologies, sustainable energy and life cycle assessment. The final award for NUI Galway went to Gerard O’Reilly for the best paper by a graduate student at the conference. Gerard works under the supervision of Dr Goggins and the title of his presentation was ‘The development of a novel self-centering concentrically braced frame system for deployment in seismically active regions’.  There was strong competition for this award with over 50 graduate student presentations at the conference. Gerard O’Reilly has recently returned from an exchange visit to the University of California. “It is noteworthy that the three awards span the spectrum from a lifetime of achievement to a graduate engineer who is starting out on his research career”, commented Dr Piaras Ó hEachteirn, Head of Civil Engineering at NUI Galway. “The awards reflect well on the level and excellence of the research at NUI Galway and particularly in the area of concrete research.” ENDS

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Galway Leads European Research Event in Ireland

Galway Leads European Research Event in Ireland-image

Monday, 10 September 2012

Sea2Sky returns again The whole of Europe will be captivated by science on Friday, 28 September, as 320 cities celebrate European Researchers’ Night. Festivities in Ireland this year will be once again led by NUI Galway, with events planned throughout the day to showcase science on the grandest of scales. The free, fun, family event will see hundreds of researchers share their work with the public. Thousands are expected to visit the Promenade in Salthill, Galway on the night, to participate in experiments, competitions and quizzes, to watch demonstrations and simulations, to exchange ideas and get to know the researchers. After a very successful event in 2011, NUI Galway again participate under the theme Sea2Sky, with partners the Marine Institute and Galway Atlantaquaria, along with a new partner, CIT Blackrock Castle Observatory in Cork. The event will be themed around marine science, atmospherics and astronomy. “Interest in science is riding high and making headlines around the world. We have been captivated by news from the Large Hadron Collier in Geneva, images from NASA's mission on Mars, and video from the journey to the deepest point of the ocean by Hollywood’s James Cameron,” explains lecturer in physics and organiser of the event, NUI Galway’s Dr Andy Shearer. This year, Sea2Sky is linking up with the Galway Science Forum’s exhibition about the work of CERN – Accelerating Science. This exhibition, sponsored by Boston Scientific in partnership with NUI Galway, will show how CERN’s Large Hadron Collider can help us understand fundamental questions about the origins of the universe. Last year, some 10,000 people came to the event, and the plan is for an even bigger event this year, with highlights including the CERN exhibit, 3D tours of the universe and tours of the aquarium. The Galway Bay Hotel, Leisureland and Galway Atlantaquaria will be the three venues in Salthill Galway, with events also taking place in CIT Blackrock Castle Observatory in Cork. “Irish researchers are involved in some huge European research projects, and this is an opportunity to share some of the most exciting elements with the public”, added Dr Shearer. “At third-level, we have seen a surge in applications for science related courses and this event will be a real draw for anyone tempted by a career in science and research.” -ends- Gaillimh i gCeannas ar Ócáid Taighde na hEorpa in Éirinn Beidh an Eoraip ar fad faoi dhraíocht ag an eolaíocht an 28 Meán Fómhair, nuair a bheidh 320 cathair ag ceiliúradh Oíche Eorpach na dTaighdeoirí. Beidh OÉ Gaillimh i gceannas ar imeachtaí na hÉireann arís i mbliana agus tá imeachtaí eagraithe i rith an lae chun ardán ar scála ollmhór a thabhairt don eolaíocht. Ócáid shaor in aisce agus spraíúil don teaghlach a bheidh ann ina roinnfidh na céadta taighdeoirí a gcuid oibre leis an bpobal. Táthar ag súil go dtabharfaidh na mílte cuairt ar an bPromanád i mBóthar na Trá, Gaillimh ar an oíche chun páirt a ghlacadh i dturgnaimh, i gcomórtais agus i dtráth na gceisteanna, taispeántais agus cleachtaí a fheiceáil, smaointe a mhalartú agus aithne a chur ar na taighdeoirí. D’éirigh thar barr leis an ócáid in 2011, agus beidh an téama céanna ag OÉ Gaillimh arís i mbliana, Sea2Sky, i gcomhpháirt le Foras na Mara agus Atlantaquaria na Gaillimhe, mar aon le comhpháirtí nua i mbliana, Réadlann Chaisleán na Dúcharraige CIT i gCorcaigh. Beidh an ócáid dírithe ar réimse na mara, an aerthormáin agus na réalteolaíochta. “Tá borradh ag teacht faoin tsuim san eolaíocht agus í ar thús cadhnaíochta ar fud an domhain. Táimid faoi dhraíocht ag an scéala ón Imbhuailteoir Mór Hadróinarge  sa Ghinéiv, ag íomhánna ó mhisean NASA ar Mhars, agus ag físeán ón turas chuig an bpointe is ísle faoin bhfarraige a thug James Cameron as Hollywood,” a mhíníonn léachtóir amháin le fisic agus duine de lucht eagraithe na hócáide, an Dr Andy Shearer in OÉ Gaillimh. I mbliana, beidh Sea2Sky i gcomhpháirtíocht le taispeántas Fhóram Eolaíochta na Gaillimhe maidir le hobair CERN – Accelerating Science. Léireoidh an taispeántas seo, atá urraithe ag Boston Scientific i gcomhar le OÉ Gaillimh, an chaoi a bhféadfadh Imbhuailteoir Mór Hadróinarge CERN cuidiú linn tuiscint a fháil ar na buncheisteanna faoi bhunús na cruinne. Anuraidh, d’fhreastail thart ar 10,000 duine ar an ócáid, agus táthar ag súil le níos mó ná sin i mbliana, idir taispeántas CERN, turais 3D na cruinne agus turais den uisceadán. Is in Óstán Chuan na Gaillimhe, Leisureland agus Atlantaquaria na Gaillimhe a bheidh na himeachtaí ar siúl i mBóthar na Trá agus beidh imeachtaí eile ar siúl i Réadlann Chaisleán na Dúcharraige, CIT i gCorcaigh. “Tá taighdeoirí Éireannacha bainteach le tograí móra taighde san Eoraip agus deis í seo le cuid den eolas is suimiúla a roinnt leis an bpobal”, a deir an Dr Shearer. “Ag an tríú leibhéal, tá borradh tagtha faoi iarratais ar chúrsaí eolaíochta agus meallfaidh an ócáid seo duine ar bith a bhfuil suim acu i ngairm na heolaíochta agus na taighde”. -críoch-

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Conferring of an Honorary Degree Jointly by the Universities of Ireland North and South on Charles F. “Chuck” Feeney

Conferring of an Honorary Degree Jointly by the Universities of Ireland North and South on Charles F. “Chuck” Feeney-image

Thursday, 6 September 2012

The universities of Ireland, North and South, today conferred an honorary Doctorate of Laws (LLD) on Charles F. “Chuck” Feeney, founder of The Atlantic Philanthropies. The degree was conferred to give public honour and thanks to Chuck Feeney for his incredible support of the Irish universities over the past twenty years. It was also conferred to convey to the people of Ireland just how radical and transformative this continued support has been. This is the first time that the universities on the island of Ireland have come together to confer their highest award on an individual. Since 1989, The Atlantic Philanthropies have donated almost €800 million to Irish universities, North and South. Introducing Mr Feeney, Dr Patrick Fottrell, Chair, Science Foundation Ireland, said that ‘Chuck strongly advocated a “think big”, ambitious approach to third level research funding. He wanted to transform rather that “tinker at the edges” with the Irish research landscape’. ‘Thus, the Programme for Research in Third Level Institutions (PRTLI) was launched in 1998 by the Higher Education Authority..., Atlantic funded 50% of the first cycle which was vital to kickstart the Programme. Levels of funding in the 100s of million euro which had been available in other competitive countries for many years, now became available in Ireland for the first time. Five cycles of the Programme have now been completed with an investment of 1.22 billion euro which includes government and private matching funds. The programme has provided key physical facilities and personnel for research in the humanities, sciences, engineering, technology and the social sciences including business and law’. Outlining Chuck Feeney’s contribution to the universities of Northern Ireland, Dr Fottrell referred to the joint initiative developed between the Department of Employment and Learning and Atlantic Philanthropies called The Support Programme for University Research (SPUR). The aim of this Programme was to support and strengthen the research capacity of both universities enabling them to increase the number of Research Centres capable of being assessed as being of the highest world quality in the Research Assessment Exercise which is a periodic assessment by the UK Government of the quality of research in third level institutions’. Dr Fottrell emphasised the impact the additional resources provided by Atlantic have had on raising the status of Irish research internationally. ‘For example’, he said, ‘independent ratings agencies now rank the quality of research in both Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland in the top 20 in the world. About ten years ago the Republic of Ireland was 40th in the world. Also, in strategically important areas of food and life science, rankings as high as the top three in the world have been attained. These are remarkable achievements’. Dr Fottrell also acknowledged the support of the Irish Government for continued commitment to research funding ‘especially in our recent difficult economic times’. He recognised the roles of the Higher Education Authority and the Departments of Education and Skills as well as Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation.   The degree was conferred jointly on behalf of their respective universities by: Professor Brian Mac Craith, President, Dublin City University Dr Jim Browne, President, NUI Galway Professor Philip Nolan, President, NUI, Maynooth Dr Maurice Manning, Chancellor, National University of Ireland, Dr Michael Murphy, President, University College Cork Dr Hugh Brady, President, University College Dublin Professor Sir Peter Gregson, Vice-Chancellor, Queen’s University, Belfast Professor Don Barry, President, University of Limerick Professor Richard Barnett, Vice-Chancellor, University of Ulster Dr Mary Robinson, Chancellor, University of Dublin. The Taoiseach Mr Enda Kenny TD and the Minister for Education & Skills Mr Ruairí Quinn TD were guests of honour at the ceremony. Link to event at Dublin Castle:   -Ends-  

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Making the Most of Festivals

Making the Most of Festivals -image

Monday, 10 September 2012

Dr Eric Jensen, Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of Warwick, will present a lunchtime seminar entitled Making the Most of Festivals at NUI Galway. Hosted by the Community Knowledge Imitative (CKI) at the University, the seminar will take place on Friday, 14 September from 12.30-2.30pm in the Moore Institute, NUI Galway. Many universities are involved in festivals, including organising their own festivals, participating in other festivals, and students working with organisations at music festivals and creating their own. These festivals can be an effective opportunity to engage with the public, making the most of the knowledge and talents of staff and students. Dr Eric Jensen will share his research findings on successful student engagement in festivals as well as tools to measure the impact of a festival. There are a number of challenges to evaluating festival impacts, and this seminar will discuss creative solutions to these challenges. This seminar will be based on discussion and will offer a space to share experiences and opportunities for reflection and development. Holding a PhD in Social and Political Sciences from the University of Cambridge, Dr Eric Jensen teaches advanced modules on the practice of social research, statistics, surveys and science engagement. He is a widely published expert in the evaluation of learning and engagement activities in non-formal settings. Making the Most of Festivals will appeal to festival organisers, members of the public who contribute to and run festivals, marketing and tourism specialists and student volunteers. Lunch will be served so those interested in attending are asked to RSVP by emailing to ensure adequate catering. -ENDS-

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Expert Medical Student Selector to Speak at NUI Galway

Expert Medical Student Selector to Speak at NUI Galway-image

Monday, 10 September 2012

International medical student selection expert Dr Jon Dowell, Reader of Medicine, University of Dundee will undertake a two-day visit to Galway, hosted by the School of Medicine at NUI Galway, from 27-28 September. During his visit Dr Dowell will demonstrate how the University of Dundee, one of the top ranked medical schools in the UK, selects its medical students. Dr Dowell has led the use of the Multiple Mini Interview (MMI), originally developed by McMaster University in Canada, which is an interview format that uses many short independent assessments, typically in a timed circuit, to obtain an aggregate score of each candidate’s soft skills. This will be the first time that the MMI has been held in the Republic of Ireland. Dr Dowell said: “Medical school selection is an important but imprecise art. Increasing evidence is emerging and the MMI is the new kid on the block. So it is an exciting time to be working in this field. I am delighted to be visiting NUI Galway which has developed a very promising computer-based scoring system and is initiating its own research in this area.” As part of his visit Dr Dowell will also deliver a lecture entitled “Achievement, Aptitude and Interviews. Where are we with Medical School Selection these days?” on Friday, 28 September at NUI Galway. Dr Maureen Kelly, Lecturer at NUI Galway and event organiser, said: “Medical student selection is a highly emotive topic. The best way to make decisions regarding the introduction and use of medical student selection tools is to continually examine the evidence which supports their use and to pilot the use of novel tools. Our new collaboration with Dundee will help inform the debate on medical student selection in Ireland.” -ENDS-

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Gender and Employment in Europe

Gender and Employment in Europe-image

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Leading researchers from across Europe will discuss findings from the latest research into aspects of gender and employment at a conference in NUI Galway from 6-7 September. The conference, jointly hosted by the Irish Centre for Social Gerontology and Global Women’s Studies at NUI Galway, highlights the advantages of analysing gender and work issues across an individual’s entire life time. Entitled ‘Gender and Employment in Europe across the Lifecourse’, the event is an interim conference of Research Network 14 of the European Sociological Association (ESA). Some of the key issues to be discussed include: The gendered impact of recession and austerity budgets on pensions, employment and poverty. An exploration of the relationship between care provision and labour force participation. The implications of extending working life. In the current economic environment, the conference aims to contribute to policy debates on the restructuring of the welfare state and provide rich empirical evidence on the consequences of such restructuring. The plenary address will be given by Professor Nicky le Feuvre, Professor of Sociology and Director of the Institute of Social Sciences at the University of Lausanne in Switzerland. Professor le Feuvre is currently leading several research projects on gender and the labour market, with a particular focus on the transformation of gender inequalities from a comparative European perspective. She has published widely on the feminization of a number of occupations (doctors, lawyers, academics, domestic workers) in the UK and France and is currently working on the employment experiences of male and female seniors (50 years+) in Switzerland.  The conference will take place in CA110 in the JE Cairnes Building, NUI Galway. The event is supported by the Institute for Business, Social Sciences and Public Policy, the Irish Centre for Social Gerontology, Global Women’s Studies, the School of Political Science and Sociology, Gender Arc and the School of Sociology, Social Policy and Social Work at Queen’s University Belfast. -ends-

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