Monday, 23 November 2015

Over 1,450 students will graduate from across the five colleges at NUI Galway at the University's winter conferring ceremonies, which take place from Tuesday, 24 November to Thursday, 26 November. Speaking in advance of the ceremonies, President of NUI Galway, Dr Jim Browne, said: “On behalf of NUI Galway, I congratulate all our graduands and extend a warm welcome to their parents, families and friends. We are delighted to acknowledge their outstanding achievements and wish them continued success in the future.” In addition, degrees, higher diplomas, Masters and PhDs will be awarded to students graduating over the three days from the College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences; College of Engineering and Informatics; College of Business, Public Policy and Law; College of Science; and the College of Arts, Social Sciences and Celtic Studies. -Ends-   Bronnadh an Gheimhridh in OÉ Gaillimh Bronnfar céim ar bhreis is 1,450 mac léinn as cúig choláiste OÉ Gaillimh idir Dé Máirt, an 24 agus Déardaoin, an 26 Samhain, i searmanais bronnta céime an gheimhridh san Ollscoil. Bhí an méid seo a leanas le rá ag Uachtarán OÉ Gaillimh, an Dr Jim Browne, roimh thús na searmanais: “Thar ceann OÉ Gaillimh, déanaim comhghairdeas lenár gcéimithe ar fad agus tá fearadh na fáilte roimh a dtuismitheoirí, a dteaghlaigh agus a gcairde. Tá ríméad orainn aitheantas a thabhairt dá gcuid éachtaí agus guímid gach rath orthu san am atá le teacht.” Sa bhreis air sin, bronnfar céimeanna, ard-dioplómaí, Máistreachtaí agus PhDanna le linn na dtrí lá ar mhic léinn ó Choláiste an Leighis, an Altranais agus na nEolaíochtaí Sláinte; ó Choláiste na hInnealtóireachta agus na hIonformaitice; ó Choláiste an Ghnó, an Bheartais Phoiblí agus an Dlí; ó Choláiste na hEolaíochta; agus ó Choláiste na nDán, na nEolaíochtaí Sóisialta agus an Léinn Cheiltigh. -Críoch-

Monday, 23 November 2015

Four students from St. Muredach’s College, Ballina, Co. Mayo, were honoured by NUI Galway at the recent Autumn Conferring ceremonies in Galway for their achievement in a global second-level schools engineering competition. Under the direction of their teacher, Ms Karen Cronin, Aaron Hannon, Robert Grimes, Paul Flynn and Enda Flanagan, competing as Team AIB Racing, took third place in the World Finals of F1 in Schools. The event involved teams from around the world competing in Singapore in head-to-head racing of 1/20th scale model Formula 1 cars they designed and built. The St. Muredach’s team, who earlier won the national championship and set a new Irish record, won third place in the world based on their engineering excellence, project management and presentation skills, and the performance of their car. In recognition of the team’s achievements the four transition-year students and St. Muredach’s principal, Leo Golden were presented with a special award by Dr Jim Browne, President of NUI Galway, at the recent conferring ceremony. On the same day, several members of NUI Galway’s ‘Geec’ team graduated with degrees in mechanical engineering, electrical and electronic engineering, and energy systems engineering. The Geec (Galway energy-efficient car) is the most energy-efficient car ever built in Ireland. In May 2015 it competed at Shell Eco-marathon Europe, completing the 16-km course with energy consumption equivalent to 8,000 miles per gallon. Design, construction and testing of the Geec formed a central part of the engineering education of the students involved. Team AIB Racing and the Geec collaborated in the run-up to the F1 in Schools finals. As well as securing third place overall, one of Team AIB Racing’s members, Aaron Hannon, was awarded a scholarship in the Ranstad Williams Engineering Academy. This is an initiative in which the Williams Formula 1 team mentors students throughout their engineering education. Dr Jim Browne, President of NUI Galway, commented: “We are delighted to recognise the tremendous international success which the St Muredach’s College students have achieved in the Formula 1 in Schools finals. Ireland’s future will depend on the talent and innovation of such students. NUI Galway was delighted to honour their achievements and that of their school by welcoming them to visit the University’s Engineering facilities and presenting them with an award at our College of Engineering and Informatics conferring ceremony. As talented, bright students I hope that they might choose to return to NUI Galway for their studies. We certainly look forward to the possibility of welcoming them back to campus.” -Ends-

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Secondary school students interested in studying at NUI Galway are invited to an information evening in Letterkenny on Thursday, 3 December. Parents and guardians are also particularly welcome to the event which runs from 7pm to 9pm in the Radisson Blu Hotel, Letterkenny, Co. Donegal. 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 at information stands to answer any individual questions in relation to courses offered by the University and about practical issues like accommodation, fees and scholarships, and the wide range of support services available to our students. The ever-increasing popularity of NUI Galway is in-part due to a suite of innovative programmes, developed in response to the changing needs of the employment market. Unique programmes include a suite of Arts degree programmes including Drama, Creative Writing and Human Rights, an Energy Systems Engineering degree which is taught in the University’s new Engineering Building, Ireland’s largest School of Engineering, a Maths and Education degree aimed at training Maths teachers, and a Marine Science degree. Visitors to the information evening will also get information on NUI Galway’s newest degree programmes, a Bachelor of Commerce (Global Experience), Bachelor in Children’s Studies and the new Bachelor of Arts (Joint Honours). Celine O’Donovan, Senior Marketing Officer at NUI Galway, said: “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 County Donegal, while also providing all the practical information on accommodation, CAO points, fees, scholarships and courses. With so many courses on offer, this event in Letterkenny is a perfect opportunity for prospective students to meet current students and lecturers to see what degree might be the right fit for them.” To find out more about the information evening in Letterkenny, contact NUI Galway's Schools Liaison Officer, Gráinne Dunne on 087 244 0858 or grainne.dunne@nuigalway.ie. -Ends-

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

The Centre for Irish Studies at NUI Galway will host an exclusive screening of a new documentary on the life and work of poet Máire Mhac an tSaoi by award-winning filmmaker Paula Kehoe in the Institute for Lifecourse and Society at NUI Galway on Wednesday, 2 December 2015. Deargdhúil: Anatomy of Passion explores the sensual imagination of a revolutionary poet and includes poems in which the conflicted legacy of political violence for the families of those involved is dramatised and interrogated. The poet’s father Seán MacEntee was in the GPO throughout the Rising and her mother Margaret Browne assisted Michael Collins’s assassination squad during the war of independence. The film premiered at the Cork Film Festival this month (13, November 2015), where it was shortlisted for the Audience Prize, and features the exquisite movement poetry of New York performance artist Maureen Fleming, the voice of Olwen Fouéré, and music by Colm Mac an Iomaire. The screening is the first of a number of public events, including a series of lectures that will take place in Galway City Library early next year. ‘Lectures in the Library/Léachtaí sa Leabharlann’ will explore the lives of individuals who were involved in the Irish revolution, including anarchist Captain Jack White, Peadar Kearney who wrote the ‘Soldier’s Song’ and Liam Gógan who coined the term ‘poblacht’, the first word in the proclamation of the Irish republic. The Centre’s programme of commemorative events will raise questions as to the contemporary relevance of the transformative ideas that led to the formation of the Irish state. The Galway screening of Deargdhúil: Anatomy of Passion will be followed by a questions and answers session with director Paula Kehoe who received the Radharc Award for best Irish documentary in 2014. The screening will take place in the main theatre at the Institute for Lifecourse and Society at NUI Galway on Newcastle Road beginning at 7.30pm on Wednesday, 2 December 2015. Admission is free and everyone is welcome to attend. For further details contact Samantha Williams on 091 492051 or irishstudies@nuigalway.ie or the Centre for Irish Studies Facebook page. ENDS

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Consortium led by NUI Galway will develop the world’s first three-dimensional, cell-assembled prototype for human and equine patients suffering tendon injuries The Regenerative, Modular and Developmental Engineering Laboratory (REMODEL), part of the Centre for Research in Medical Devices (CÚRAM), at NUI Galway, has secured almost €4 million for the development of an advanced therapy medicinal product (ATMP) for tendon repair and regeneration. The project will train 15 early stage researchers in the multidisciplinary field of ATMPs, enhancing European competiveness in this sector. Advanced therapy medicinal products are medicines for human use that are based on genes or cells. They offer ground breaking opportunities for the treatment of disease and injury. ATMPs can include tissue engineered medicines or a combination of one or more medical devices as an integral part of the medicine, for example, cells embedded in a biodegradable matrix or scaffold. The funding was awarded through the Horizon 2020 grant programme, under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie European Training Networks action. This is the fourth such project being carried out by CÚRAM associated researchers to be funded under this programme. The project, called Tendon Therapy Train, will exploit recent advancements in the process by which cells are grown in controlled conditions, to develop the world’s first three-dimensional, cell-assembled prototype for human and equine patients suffering tendon injuries. The Tendon Therapy Train consortium is led by NUI Galway and is further comprised of six academics, three clinicians and seven industry partners. Over 30 million human tendon-related procedures take place annually worldwide, with an estimated healthcare expenditure in excess of €145 billion per year. In addition, 46% of racehorses suffer from tendon-related injuries which impacts heavily on an industry which is valued at €100 billion in Europe and US$ 300 billion in the US. Current surgical interventions don’t always work effectively and can hinder normal tissue remodelling and function, which creates the need for new functional and clinically viable regeneration strategies. Dr Dimitrios Zeugolis, REMODEL director and consortium lead at NUI Galway, said: “The driving hypothesis of this research is that replacement, repair and restoration of impaired tissue function can be accomplished best by using the cells’ own ability to create highly sophisticated structures with a precision and efficiency still unmatched by human-made devices.” Further, Dr Zeugolis pointed out that, “The Marie Skłodowska-Curie Innovative Training Networks award will train a cohort of 15 researchers to doctoral level in the area of ATMPs which involves numerous disciplines, equipping them with transferable skills in each discipline that will further European-based knowledge, innovation, competitiveness and leadership in this field.” Speaking about the award, Professor Abhay Pandit, Director of CÚRAM, said: “Tendon Therapy Train is an indicative example of the clinically relevant, cutting-edge research and innovation conducted here at NUI Galway. We are delighted to have secured funding yet again for this highly competitive award.” CÚRAM is the National Centre for Research in Medical Devices, funded by Science Foundation Ireland, with the goal of radically improving health outcomes for patients with chronic illnesses.

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

NUI Galway’s School of Nursing and Midwifery in partnership with Cuidiú, the Irish Childbirth Trust, are hosting a free public screening of “MILK – Born Into This World” on Thursday, 3 December, at 7pm in Áras Moyola, NUI Galway. The director of the film, Noemí Weis will be available via Skype from Canada for a Q&A session after the screening. Through an intimate and artistic lens, MILK brings a universal perspective on the politics, commercialisation and controversies surrounding birth and infant feeding over the canvas of stunningly beautiful visuals and poignant voices from around the globe. Inspiring, informative, provocative and sensitive, MILK celebrates bringing a new life into this World with a strong call to action and reflection. See the film’s trailer at www.milkhood.com. Speaking ahead of the event, Tara Durkin of Cuidiú Galway said: “This special public screening of Milk, ahead of its general release in Europe, is an exciting chance for Galway’s mothers, fathers, healthcare professionals, students, friends, indeed anyone with an interest in how we birth and feed our babies, to get together to see a powerful new documentary – and discuss it with the director!”   This is the fourth event of the School of Nursing and Midwifery Public Lecture Series, an innovative community outreach initiative which has previously focussed on Suicide Prevention, Ebola Awareness and Elder Abuse. The series aims to share knowledge and expertise on health matters with our local communities. The event is open to the public and free of charge but tickets must be pre-booked at www.eventbrite.ie/e/milk-born-into-this-world-tickets-19448984436. If there are any future topics you would like covered in NUI Galway’s School of Nursing and Midwifery Public Lecture Series, please contact john.quinlivan@nuigalway.ie or mary.e.gannon@nuigalway.ie. -Ends-

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

NUI Galway is delighted to announce the appointment of Mike Heskin as Director of Sport & Physical Activity. The newly established post underpins NUI Galway's commitment to further strengthening the sport reputation and ethos of the University. As Director for Sport & Physical Activity, Mr Heskin will play the lead role in the strategic management of sport and physical activity in the University and the development of the infrastructure necessary for all sports activity to ensure that NUI Galway will remain at the forefront nationally and internationally in sports excellence through elite and high performance. Specifically, Mr Heskin will ensure that the University will build on previous successes in attracting top athletes and sportspeople to campus as well as supporting and developing opportunities in the area of sports and physical activity across all faculties, he will also ensure the University's contribution to Ireland's playing fields and realise the University’s strategic aspirations in relation to sport, health and well being. Congratulating Mike Heskin on his appointment, the Vice President for Student Experience, Dr Pat Morgan said, "We are very pleased to announce that Mike Heskin will lead and develop our sports reputation. Mike is an established sports manager and brings a passion for sport, a breadth of achievements across various codes and a promise to invigorate our clubs, support our elite athletes and promote the health and wellbeing of all our students and staff. We welcome Mike and under his stewardship, we look forward to ensuring that our national strengths and achievements in sport will continue to grow and prosper." Mike Heskin has served as the CEO of Hockey Ireland for the past three years, where he had overall responsibility for all aspects of Hockey Ireland including their high performance programme. The progress within Hockey Ireland during this time has been matched with similar progress on the International front with all of Hockey Ireland’s teams from under 16 to senior level, both genders, now playing in the top tier of European hockey. Mike has been appointed as the Hockey Manager for the Rio Olympic Games 2016, a role he will now step away from on his appointment as Director of Sport & Physical Activity in NUI Galway. Mike had previously served as a member of the Board of Irish Hockey. Prior to his involvement in Hockey, Mike spent over twenty years involved in International Rowing, coaching and managing to World Championship level. In 2007, Mike was appointed rowing High Performance Manager and managed the team to the Beijing Olympics in 2008. He also served as a member of the Board of Rowing Ireland. Speaking of his appointment, Mike Heskin said: “I am delighted to be given the opportunity to play a leading role in the development of high-performance sport and physical activity within NUI Galway. I am especially looking forward to working with the University's sports professionals and clubs in developing a performance culture and environment which will enable our athletes and teams to perform at the highest level on both the international and national stage. In turn, with their support, we will develop an engaging, social and fun physical activity program for the enjoyment of the entire student body and staff. With the commitment and leadership shown by the University I am confident that NUI Galway will develop into one of the leading sporting and physical activity hubs on the island of Ireland and become a central player in Irish Sport.” Mike is married to Geraldine (Lupton) and has three children, Claire and Joseph who are both graduates of NUI Galway and Rachel who is a leaving cert student. ENDS Ceapann OÉ Gaillimh Stiúrthóir Nua Spóirt and Aclaíochta Tá an-áthas ar OÉ Gaillimh a fhógairt go bhfuil Mike Heskin ceaptha mar Stiúrthóir Spóirt agus Aclaíochta. Post úrnua é seo agus léiríonn sé tiomantas na hOllscoile cáil agus éiteas an spóirt a láidriú tuilleadh in OÉ Gaillimh. Mar Stiúrthóir Spóirt agus Aclaíochta, beidh ról ceannaireachta ag an Uasal Heskin i mbainistíocht straitéiseach an spóirt agus na haclaíochta san Ollscoil agus san infreastruchtúr riachtanach a fhorbairt do gach gníomhaíocht spóirt chun a chinntiú go bhfanfaidh OÉ Gaillimh ar thús cadhnaíochta go náisiúnta agus go hidirnáisiúnta i sárchaighdeán spóirt agus ardghníomhaíocht spóirt den scoth. Cinnteoidh an tUasal Heskin go háirithe go dtógfaidh an Ollscoil ar an méid a rinneadh roimhe seo ag mealladh na lúthchleasaithe agus lucht spóirt is fearr chuig an gcampas agus deiseanna a fhorbairt i réimse an spóirt agus na haclaíochta i ngach coláiste. Cinnteoidh sé chomh maith go mbeidh seasamh ag an Ollscoil ar pháirceanna imeartha na hÉireann agus go mbainfear amach mianta straitéiseacha na hOllscoile ó thaobh spóirt, sláinte agus folláine de. Ag tréaslú le Mike Heskin ar a cheapachán, dúirt an Leas-Uachtarán d'Eispéireas na Mac Léinn, an Dr Pat Morgan, "Tá ríméad orainn a fhógairt go mbeidh Mike Heskin i gceannas ar ár gcáil spóirt agus go bhforbróidh sé an cháil sin. Is bainisteoir spóirt cruthaithe é Mike agus tabharfaidh sé a phaisean don spórt, a chuid éachtaí i réimsí éagsúla agus a ghealltanas brí nua a chur sna clubanna, tacaíocht a thabhairt do na lúthchleasaithe is fearr agus sláinte agus folláine na mac léinn agus na gcomhaltaí foirne a chur chun cinn chuig an bpost seo. Cuirimid fáilte is fiche roimh Mike agus faoina stiúir, táimid ag súil ár láidreachtaí agus éachtaí náisiúnta spóirt a threisiú." Bhí Mike Heskin ina Phríomhfheidhmeannach ar Haca Éireann le trí bliana anuas, áit a raibh sé freagrach as gach gné den Chumann, an clár ardfheidhmíochta san áireamh.  Chomh maith leis an dul chun cinn a rinneadh ag an am i Haca Éireann tá dul chun cinn idirnáisiúnta déanta chomh maith agus foirne Haca Éireann ar fad ón bhfoireann faoi 16 go dtí an fhoireann sinsir, idir fhir agus mhná, ag imirt sa tsraith is airde haca san Eoraip.  Ceapadh Mike ina Bhainisteoir Haca do na Cluichí Oilimpeacha 2016 in Rio, ach fágfaidh sé an ról seo ina dhiaidh anois agus é ceaptha mar Stiúrthóir Spóirt & Aclaíochta in OÉ Gaillimh. Bhí Mike ar Bhord Haca Éireann roimhe seo. Sula raibh baint aige leis an Haca, chaith sé os cionn scór bliain leis an Rámhaíocht Idirnáisiúnta, i mbun cóitseála agus bainistíochta chomh fada le craobh an domhain fiú.  In 2007, ceapadh Mike ina Bhainisteoir Ardfheidhmíochta ar an rámhaíocht agus is é a bhí ina bhainisteoir ar an bhfoireann sna Cluichí Oilimpeacha i mBéising in 2008.  Bhí Mike ar Bhord Rámhaíocht Éireann chomh maith. Bhí an méid seo a leanas le rá ag Mike Heskin faoina cheapachán: “Tá áthas orm ról ceannaireachta a ghlacadh agus an deis a bheith agam spórt agus aclaíocht ardghníomhaíochta  a fhorbairt in OÉ Gaillimh.  Táim ar bís le bheith ag obair le gairmithe spóirt agus clubanna na hOllscoile chun cultúr agus timpeallacht ardghníomhaíochta a fhorbairt a thabharfaidh an deis dár lúthchleasaithe agus dár bhfoirne feidhmiú ag an leibhéal is airde go hidirnáisiúnta agus go náisiúnta. Dá thairbhe sin, agus lena dtacaíocht, beidh clár aclaíochta sóisialta agus spraíúil againn a mbainfidh an fhoireann agus na mic léinn ar fad sásamh as. Leis an tiomantas agus an cheannaireacht atá léirithe ag an Ollscoil táim muiníneach go mbeidh OÉ Gaillimh ar cheann de na hionaid spóirt agus aclaíochta is fearr ar oileán na hÉireann agus go mbeidh sí i lár an aonaid i spórt na hÉireann.” Tá Mike pósta le Geraldine (Lupton) agus tá triúr clainne orthu. Is céimithe de chuid OÉ Gaillimh iad beirt dá chlann, is iad sin Claire agus Joseph agus is dalta ardteistiméireachta í a iníon Rachel. CRÍOCH

Thursday, 26 November 2015

• More than 90% of children reported that they were exposed to traditional, or offline, alcohol advertisements in the week prior to the study and more than half saw four or more alcohol advertisements per day • 77% of the children reported exposure to alcohol marketing online • 61% of children reported that they owned alcohol branded merchandise Alcohol Action Ireland, the national charity for alcohol-related issues, has said the introduction of legislation regulating alcohol marketing is a child protection issue. A study carried out by the Health Promotion Research Centre at NUI Galway, commissioned by Alcohol Action Ireland, found that Irish children are exposed to large volumes of alcohol marketing, which increases their likelihood of drinking alcohol and engaging in risky drinking behaviour. Dr Michal Molcho, of the Health Promotion Research Centre at NUI Galway, said their findings indicate that there is widespread exposure to alcohol marketing among children aged 13 and upward. “We found that almost all children reported seeing or hearing a traditional or off-line advertisement for alcohol drinks, while 77% were exposed to online marketing and 61% reported that they own alcohol-branded merchandise.” Dr Molcho said that increased exposure to alcohol marketing increased the chances of children to report drinking, binge drinking, and drunkenness. “These findings clearly indicate that the more intense the exposure, the greater the risk of drinking alcohol and engaging in risking drinking behaviours. Given that these findings echo previous studies, coupled with the vulnerability of young people to alcohol, there is a clear need for immediate action on alcohol marketing regulation.” Dr Patrick Kenny, School of Marketing, Dublin Institute of Technology, said the study provides a snapshot illustrating how little protection is currently afforded to Irish children from alcohol marketing. “The bottom line is that the current regulatory system does not protect children from exposure to alcohol marketing and this failure is associated with increased consumption. In a very real sense, these children are victims of society’s failure to protect them and creating an environment where children are free from alcohol marketing is a children’s rights issue that requires immediate attention.” Dr Kenny said that digital alcohol marketing, and in particular social media marketing, is now a central element of the marketing communications mix and needs to be regulated. “Digital marketing allows for more effective targeting of consumers and the interactive nature of this communication makes it arguably more effective than traditional passive advertising methods. It is worth noting that digital marketing operates largely below the radar of policy makers because they do not form part of the target audience, thus making digital marketing significantly harder to monitor or regulate.” Conor Cullen, Head of Communications and Advocacy, Alcohol Action Ireland, said it is vital that we legislate to regulate alcohol marketing, which sees Irish children continuously exposed to positive, risk-free images of alcohol and its use, which are far removed from the reality of the situation. “Alcohol use is a serious risk to children and young people’s health and wellbeing. Far from being a rite of passage, drinking alcohol may well serve to delay the development of vital coping skills, project young people into risky situations and lay the ground-work for future physical and mental health difficulties.” Mr Cullen said we need to protect children from alcohol marketing if we are serious about supporting them to make healthy choices now and in the future. “The forthcoming Public Health (Alcohol) Bill is an important first step in this regard and will finally move us away from the existing systems of self-regulation governing alcohol marketing. These systems have proved completely ineffective in terms of protecting children from exposure to alcohol marketing, which is such a powerful and sophisticated influence on their drinking behaviour and expectations.” To view the Alcohol Study visit:  http://alcoholireland.ie/media_releases/irish-children-are-exposed-to-large-volumes-of-alcohol-marketing-research-finds/ To view the Alcohol Study Brochure visit:  http://alcoholireland.ie/download/alcmarketingstudy.pdf ENDS

Monday, 30 November 2015

NUI Galway study is seeking participants aged 60-85 years to join an experimental study on the effects of listening to music Monday, 30 November, 2015: An ongoing ageing research project at NUI Galway is looking for additional participants to take part in the study. This study is part of a larger ongoing project at the University, which commenced in 2013, exploring the functions and effects of listening to music on the ageing brain with both younger and older adults. The project is now seeking participants aged 60-85 years to join an experimental study on the effects of listening to music. Participants will spend two hours in a lab carrying out a variety of verbal and numerical tasks while listening to music and having their brain waves measured by electroencephalography (EEG). Prior to the lab session participants will complete a questionnaire examining potential links between uses of music, personality and wellbeing. For example, are particular ways of listening to music more common among certain personality types, and do different uses of music have different consequences for a listener’s sense of wellbeing. Jenny Groarke, a musician and PhD student in the School of Psychology at NUI Galway, said: “We will examine whether listening to music improves emotional, social or cognitive functioning, which we hope can be used to benefit older adults in the future.” An important factor in the current research is the role of choice in music listening. Almost all previous studies on the effects of music have been carried out with adolescents or young adults, and most researchers have chosen classical music for participants to listen to. The researchers at NUI Galway have concluded the first part of this study with 18-30 year-olds and noted some interesting age differences in music choices. Ms Groarke added, “We are trying to recreate real world listening experiences in the lab by having participants listen to music of their own choosing. For a start, only one of our 40 student participants selected a classical piece of music, yet almost all older adults studied so far selected classical music.” Participants are asked to choose music for a couple of different scenarios, while socialising or working for example. Whatever the situation, it seems Ed Sheeran is a popular choice, with 25% of the young adults in the study choosing at least one of his hits. While younger people are tending to listen to their favourite music regardless of the situation, older people are demonstrating greater variety and sophistication when choosing music for different contexts. Diverse musical tastes may take time to mature, or this might reflect differences in how age groups are listening to music. The researchers observed that the majority of young people are listening to music on personal devices and streaming services. The amount of choice can be overwhelming, so a well-known, popular song becomes a safe bet. Older people on the other hand tended to have smaller, personal record collections or listen to the radio. Healthy older people may have the most to gain from music listening, yet are rarely included in research on its’ effects. The research team are hoping that another 200 adults over 60 will complete the questionnaire, and are seeking a further 25 people in this age category to visit the lab for their ‘Music and The Brain’ Study. Travel and expenses will be covered by the research team. Jenny Groarke, a native of Galway, was inspired to study the link between music and well-being in older adults by her late grandfather Jimmy Dooley, who sang in the Augustinian choir for more than 65 years and played the drums in the Galway Bay Jazz band in Busker Browne’s every Sunday. She has also set up a business, Sing-Bang Music Workshops, which brings music workshops to nursing homes to improve memory ability, happiness, and quality of life in elderly adults through group music making. The study will run until Christmas and those interested in participating must complete the questionnaire of adaptive music listening functions, and sign up for the experiment at www.sgiz.mobi/s3/AFML Alternatively, participants can request a paper version of the questionnaire by contacting Jenny Groarke on jenny.groarke@gmail.com and for more information on participating in the research visit www.adaptivefunctionsofmusic.com ENDS

Monday, 30 November 2015

Socio-economic marine research symposium focuses on achieving blue growth in the EU and marine policy, and the development of Ireland’s ocean wealth The Socio-Economic Marine Research Unit (SEMRU) at the Whitaker Institute and Focal Point Ireland at NUI Galway jointly organised the recent National Event of the Support Team for the Atlantic Action Plan, in association with the Annual Beaufort Socio-Economic Marine Research Symposium. The Atlantic Action Plan aims to revitalise the marine and maritime economy in the Atlantic Ocean area. It shows how the EU's Atlantic Member States, their regions and the European Commission can help create sustainable growth in coastal regions and drive forward the ‘blue economy’ while preserving the environmental and ecological stability of the Atlantic Ocean. With over 100 registered delegates, the day provided participants with an update on a wide range of topics related to the marine sector in Ireland and the Atlantic Area, as well as a forum for discussing funding opportunities available to Irish stakeholders. There was a special on-line address by Commissioner Karmenu Vella, the European Commissioner for the Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, as well as input from Iain Shepherd, DG MARE of the European Commission, the Marine Institute, Fáilte Ireland and the INTERREG programmes (an EU supported Structural Funds Programme which supports strategic cross-border and inter-regional co-operation in in the European Union). Delegates had the opportunity to listen to Irish and international researchers in the area of marine socio-economics and discuss on-going research, potential collaboration and future research needs. The event hosted two parallel sessions and showcased current socio-economic marine research and funding opportunities. Sessions focused on the INTERREG Atlantic Area and the Ireland Wales programme and facilitated the use of these programmes in implementing the Atlantic Action Plan. Presentations from both the national contact points of these programmes as well as input from stakeholders involved in these programmes created a lively discussion on the opportunities available, how people are looking to avail of these with the ultimate aim of generating potential project ideas to bring forward in the future. A number of project ideas were presented and discussed on a one-to-one basis in a dedicated networking session in the afternoon. The first session focused on Achieving Blue Growth in the EU: Case Study for Ireland, with an overview of the Atlantic Action Plan and discussion on Measuring the EU and Ireland’s Blue Economy. The second session focused on Marine Policy and the Development of Ireland’s Ocean Wealth: Opportunities and Challenges, with an overview of the Role of the Marine Institute in Marine Policy, Research and Innovation in Ireland and Business Opportunities Associated with the Wild Atlantic Way – Brand and Progress. Each session was followed by two parallel sessions on Implementing Priority 4 of the Atlantic Action Plan and opportunities of the INTERREG Atlantic Area, Ireland-Wales Programmes and Beaufort Socio-Economic Marine Research. For further information visit: www.nuigalway.ie/semru/ ENDS

Friday, 2 October 2015

‘A Nation Rising: Commemorating 1916 and Beyond’ Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Heather Humphreys TD today launched NUI Galway’s 1916 Programme of Events, ‘A Nation Rising: Commemorating 1916 and Beyond’, as part of the Ireland 2016 Centenary Programme. The University will mark the centenary year with a host of exhibitions, conferences, publications and seminars, both in Irish and English. The programme features artistic, dramatic and musical performances with established and emerging artists. It will also reach out to the wider community, sharing knowledge through public talks, festivals and workshops. Speaking at the launch, Minister Heather Humphreys said: “NUI Galway, as one of our foremost universities, will play a very important role in reflecting on the events of 1916 and the impact they had on the West of Ireland in particular. Our third level institutions are a vital element of next year’s commemorations; our universities in particular will provide a platform for discussion and debate for their students, staff, alumni, and indeed a national and international audience. I would like to thank NUI Galway for the strong partnership approach it has adopted in putting together this impressive programme for 2016, which includes one of the key national conferences to be held next year.” Dr Jim Browne, President of NUI Galway, added: “The men and women who shaped the events of 1916 had different backgrounds, beliefs and ideas, but they shared a drive to create a better Ireland. As a nation joins together to commemorate their vision, so too does our diverse university community. I am delighted to see so many colleagues contributing to the programme from across many disciplines, in particular from the Arts and Humanities. The expertise, energy and passion they bring to the commemoration is a fitting tribute to the legacy of 1916. It gives me great pleasure to invite you to join us in reflecting on a remarkable year in the making of our nation.” As part of the Commemorative Programme, NUI Galway will host the major national academic 1916-2016 conference in November 2016, with academic contributions from a broad range of Ireland’s universities and institutes of technology as well as from a number of leading international figures. The University has appointed a 1916 Scholar in Residence to co-ordinate and curate many of the events in the University’s Commemorative Programme. Based in the Moore Institute at the University, Dr Conor McNamara will conduct research on the 1916 Rising and its context in Co. Galway and the West of Ireland. He will prepare a catalogue of resources, in English and Irish, from the University’s archives and elsewhere, with a view to facilitating future research on the revolutionaries of 1916-23. Throughout the year, he will also engage with local community groups across the country, and assist with a planned exhibition marking Galway’s role in the Great War and the Irish Revolution. Dr Mary Harris, Senior Lecturer in History at NUI Galway and Co-ordinator of the University’s 1916 Commemorative Programme, noted: “The largest mobilisation outside Dublin in Easter Week 1916 took place in Co. Galway, where over 600 men and women rose. Many dreamed of a Republic, others were motivated by the prospect of land reform. In previous years, however, those involved in the Gaelic and Anglo-Irish revivals saw the West in a more romantic light, as the repository of authentic Gaelic culture. This commemorative programme examines the events of 1916 from a variety of perspectives at local, regional and national levels.” For more information on NUI Galway’s events commemorating the 1916 Rising visit www.nuigalway.ie/anationrising. -Ends- Seolann an tAire Humphreys Clár Comórtha 1916 OÉ Gaillimh mar chuid den tionscnamh Éire 2016: Clár Comórtha Céad Bliain ‘Éire á múscailt: Comóradh ar 1916 agus ar lean é’ Inniu sheol an tAire Ealaíon, Oidhreachta agus Gaeltachta, Heather Humphreys TD Clár Imeachtaí 1916 OÉ Gaillimh, ‘Éire á múscailt: Comóradh ar 1916 agus ar lean é’, mar chuid den tionscnamh Éire 2016: Clár Comórtha Céad Bliain. Déanfaidh an Ollscoil comóradh ar an gcéad bliain le raidhse taispeántas, comhdhálacha, foilseachán agus seimineár, i nGaeilge agus i mBéarla araon. Beidh ealaíontóirí seanbhunaithe agus nua i mbun léiriúcháin ealaíonta, dhrámata agus cheolmhara mar chuid den chlár. Cuimseoidh an clár an pobal níos leithne chomh maith, áit a roinnfear eolas ag cainteanna poiblí, féilte agus ceardlanna. Ag labhairt di ag an seoladh, dúirt an tAire Heather Humphreys: “Mar cheann de na hollscoileanna is iomráití sa tír, beidh ról thar a bheith tábhachtach ag OÉ Gaillimh agus muid ag féachaint siar ar imeachtaí 1916 agus an tionchar a bhí acu ar Iarthar na hÉireann go háirithe. Is cuid lárnach iad institiúidí tríú leibhéal na tíre de chomóradh na bliana seo chugainn; cuirfidh na hollscoileanna go háirithe ardán ar fáil do phlé agus do dhíospóireacht i measc mac léinn, comhaltaí foirne, alumni agus go deimhin lucht spéise náisiúnta agus idirnáisiúnta. Ba mhaith liom buíochas a ghlacadh le OÉ Gaillimh as an gcur chuige láidir comhpháirtíochta atá glactha aici agus an clár iontach seo á chur le chéile do 2016; clár a áiríonn ceann de na mór-chomhdhálacha náisiúnta a bheidh ar siúl an bhliain seo chugainn.” Dúirt an Dr Jim Browne, Uachtarán OÉ Gaillimh: “Is iomaí cúlra, creideamh agus tuairim éagsúil a bhí ag na fir agus na mná a bhí taobh thiar d’imeachtaí 1916, ach bhí siad ar fad meáite ar Éirinn níos fearr a chruthú. Agus an náisiún ag teacht le chéile chun fís na ndaoine sin a chomóradh, tá pobal éagsúil na hOllscoile tagtha le chéile chomh maith. Táim an-sásta an oiread comhghleacaithe as lear mór disciplíní a fheiceáil ag glacadh páirte sa chlár, go háirithe comhaltaí foirne sna Dána agus sna Daonnachtaí. Is iontach an meas d’oidhreacht 1916 atá á léiriú ag an saineolas, an fuinneamh agus an díograis atá acu i leith an chomórtha. Is mór an pléisiúr dom cuireadh a thabhairt daoibh féachaint siar ar bhliain chomh tábhachtach i stair ár náisiúin.” Mar chuid den Chlár Comórtha, eagróidh OÉ Gaillimh mór-chomhdháil acadúil náisiúnta 1916-2016 i mí na Samhna 2016, áit a dtiocfaidh lucht acadúil le chéile as réimse leathan ollscoileanna agus institiúidí teicneolaíochta na hÉireann mar aon le ceannródaithe idirnáisiúnta. Tá Scoláire Cónaitheach 1916 ceaptha ag an Ollscoil chun comhordú agus eagrú a dhéanamh ar go leor de na himeachtaí ar Chlár Comórtha na hOllscoile. Tá an Dr Conor McNamara lonnaithe in Institiúid de Móra agus tabharfaidh sé faoi thaighde ar Éirí Amach 1916 agus a chomhthéacs i gCo. na Gaillimhe agus in Iarthar na hÉireann. Cuirfidh sé catalóg acmhainní le chéile, i mBéarla agus i nGaeilge, bunaithe ar chartlanna na hOllscoile agus ar fhoinsí eile, d’fhonn taighde a éascú amach anseo ar réabhlóidithe 1916-23. I gcaitheamh na bliana, oibreoidh sé le grúpaí pobail áitiúil ar fud na tíre, agus cabhróidh sé le taispeántas a chur le chéile d’fhonn ról na Gaillimhe sa Chogadh Mór agus i Réabhlóid na hÉireann a cheiliúradh. Dúirt an Dr Mary Harris, Léachtóir Sinsearach le Stair in OÉ Gaillimh agus Comhordaitheoir Chlár Comórtha 1916 OÉ Gaillimh: “Ba i gCo. na Gaillimhe a tharla an slógadh is mó lasmuigh de Bhaile Átha Cliath i rith Sheachtain na Cásca 1916, áit ar éirigh os cionn 600 fear agus bean amach. Ba é aisling na Poblachta a bhí mar threoir ag cuid acu, bhí cuid eile spreagtha ag leasú chóras na talún. Sna blianta roimhe sin, áfach, bhí íomhá níos rómánsúla d’Iarthar na hÉireann acu siúd a bhí bainteach le hathbheochan na Gaeilge agus leis an athbheochan Angla-Éireannach; dar leo bhí sé mar stór den fhíorchultúr Gaelach. Leis an gclár comórtha seo déantar scrúdú ar imeachtaí 1916 ó pheirspictíochtaí éagsúla ar leibhéal áitiúil, réigiúnach agus náisiúnta.” Chun tuilleadh eolais a fháil faoi imeachtaí OÉ Gaillimh chun Éirí Amach 1916 a chomóradh téigh chuig www.nuigalway.ie/anationrising. -Críoch-

Friday, 2 October 2015

The School of Psychology at NUI Galway, with the support of Cancer Care West is currently recruiting people experiencing persistent fatigue since the completion of cancer treatment (treatment completed at least three months ago). A new online programme called REFRESH (Recovery from Cancer-Related Fatigue) has been developed at NUI Galway to help people learn how to better manage fatigue symptoms following cancer treatment. The programme was developed as part of four years of research into cancer-related fatigue by Cancer Care West and Hardiman Scholar, Teresa Corbett who launched the programme with Cancer Care West CEO, Richard Flaherty recently. Over the last three years, Ms Corbett has met with individuals who have persistent and lingering fatigue after cancer. Fatigue is one of the most debilitating and frustrating symptoms patients endure following cancer treatment. For some, these symptoms can last for months or even years after treatment. This can have an emotional and functional impact on peoples’ lives and such overwhelming fatigue can hold people back from resuming ‘normal life’ after cancer. The REFRESH trial will provide eight free online treatment sessions to people in the comfort of their own home. The content is based on the principles of cognitive-behavioural therapy, a psychological therapy that has proven to be effective in the management of symptoms such as fatigue. The online sessions will focus on what people do and think in response to their fatigue symptoms. Participants will be provided with instructions on a range of activity-pacing techniques to encourage more consistent levels of activity from day-to-day. Useful relaxation techniques and how to sleep better will also be provided. Teresa Corbett, co-ordinator of the study at NUI Galway, said: “I have met so many people who are fatigued after cancer treatment. Often they feel frustrated and confused about their symptoms. Programmes like this can be beneficial. Unfortunately, people often feel that they do not get the support they need to re-adjust to life after cancer. We want to help people to learn skills to enable them to move on with their lives. In this trial, we will offer our programme to adults who have completed anti-cancer treatment for any type of cancer.” Ms Corbett added, “We are very keen to keep this online study personal, so that people know there is a supportive team behind it. Online programmes can allow many people to access high quality care from their own home, but we know how important it is to have human contact too.” The study is open to people throughout Ireland and will take place over the coming months. General Practioners and cancer support networks around the country are encouraged to get in touch and refer suitable people with fatigue to the study. For further information contact Teresa Corbett, School of Psychology at NUI Galway on nuigrefresh@gmail.com or visit the website https://nuigrefresh.wordpress.com/ -Ends-

Monday, 5 October 2015

Dr Emily Porter has been awarded the prestigious postdoctoral fellowship from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) to join a large European Research Council project at NUI Galway. This two-year fellowship is awarded to one of Canada’s most promising researchers with leading edge scientific and research skills. Dr Porter is a recent PhD in Electrical Engineering graduate of McGill University, Montreal, Canada, where she studied microwave radar for breast health monitoring. She will join the ERC research group in the new Translation Research Facility at University Hospital Galway, a custom-build facility to enable state-of-the-art medical research. She will be supervised by Dr Martin O’Halloran, a Science Foundation Ireland Investigator, who recently secured over €1.8 million from the European Research Council to examine the dielectric properties of human tissue, as a platform for the development of new medical devices. Working alongside NUI Galway’s Dr Róisín Dwyer and Professor Michael Kerin in the Lambe Institute for Translational Research, Dr Porter will develop improved methods for measuring the dielectric properties of biological tissue. These properties are of fundamental importance to understanding the interaction of electromagnetic fields with the human body. In particular, these quantities determine the absorption of electromagnetic fields in human tissues. Dielectric property research is extremely relevant to the advancement of electromagnetic medical devices for the detection, diagnosis, and treatment of cancers and other diseases, and will provide a basis for her colleagues at the Translational Research Facility to investigate and apply such techniques. -Ends-

Monday, 5 October 2015

Secondary school students interested in studying at NUI Galway are invited to an information evening in Tralee on Thursday, 15 October. Parents and guardians are also particularly welcome to the event which runs from 7 to 9pm in the Brandon Hotel, Tralee, Co. Kerry. 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 at information stands to answer any individual questions in relation to courses offered by the University and about practical issues like accommodation, fees and scholarships, and the wide range of support services available to our students. The ever-increasing popularity of NUI Galway is in-part due to a suite of innovative programmes, developed in response to the changing needs of the employment market. Unique programmes include a suite of Arts degree programmes including Drama, Creative Writing and Human Rights, an Energy Systems Engineering degree which is taught in the University’s new Engineering Building, Ireland’s largest School of Engineering, a Maths and Education degree aimed at training Maths teachers, and a Marine Science degree. Visitors to the information evening will also get information on NUI Galway’s newest degree programmes, a Bachelor of Commerce (Global Experience), Bachelor in Children’s Studies and the new Bachelor of Arts (Joint Honours). Celine O’Donovan, Senior Marketing Officer at NUI Galway, said: “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 County Kerry, while also providing all the practical information on accommodation, CAO points, fees, scholarships and courses. With so many courses on offer, this event in Tralee is a perfect opportunity for prospective students to meet current students and lecturers to see what degree might be the right fit for them.” To find out more about the information evening in Tralee, contact NUI Galway's Schools Liaison Officer, Johanna Walsh on 086 7851730 or johanna.walsh@nuigalway.ie. -Ends-

Monday, 5 October 2015

NUI Galway applied mathematician collaborates with Chinese researchers to find brain matter is softer than a gelatine gel, and may have promising results for neurosurgery A team of Chinese researchers from Tsinghua University in Beijing has collaborated with an applied mathematician at NUI Galway to measure how soft brain matter really is. The researchers were able to determine that brain matter is extremely soft, even softer than common gelatine. The study appears in the October issue of Biomechanics and Modelling in Mechanobiology. The research was carried out by generating ‘acoustic beams’ on the surface of the brain, and focusing the beams to interact at a location inside the brain. The interaction amplified the magnitude of the beams and eventually a sound wave was launched in the bulk of a brain. The sound wave was then observed in an ultrafast image through an ultrasound scanner, similar to those used in obstetrics. The speed of the wave was measured, and then related to stiffness of the brain matter through mathematical equations, like the pitch of a plucked string can be related to its tension. The connection between wave speed and stiffness was made through advanced modelling and simulations, which were mainly carried out at NUI Galway. Professor Michel Destrade, School of Mathematics, Statistics and Applied Mathematics at NUI Galway and affiliated with the International Brain Mechanics and Trauma Lab at Oxford University said: “Previously I had compared the brain to glue by testing cubic samples of the brain. During this study the brain was fully intact and compared to a very, very soft gelatine gel, basically a wobbly liquid.” Results from the research showed that brain matter is at least three times softer than a gelatine gel. This extreme softness helps explain why brain matter is so susceptible to impacts and rapid accelerations of the head, such as those occurring in sporting accidents, car accidents or following a bomb blast. The research has promising results for neurosurgery, if it can be used to measure the stiffness of healthy tissue compared to that of brain tumours. At the moment neurosurgeons have to rely on crude estimates to determine the extent of a brain tumour, as it is visually undistinguishable from the surrounding healthy tissue. First they remove a part of the skull to access the brain, and then use finger palpation to estimate how soft or hard a region is, before deciding which part to remove, a procedure which has barely improved in the last 100 years. For more information contact Professor Michel Destrade, School of Mathematics, Statistics and Applied Mathematics, NUI Galway on michel.destrade@nuigalway.ie or 091 492344. To view the paper visit http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10237-015-0658-0  -Ends-

Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Two NUI Galway PhD students were awarded first place medals at the Irish Pain Society Annual Scientific Meeting which took place in Dublin recently. The medals were awarded to Marie Fitzgibbon from Oola, Co. Limerick and Hannah Durand from Galway City. The research poster presentations were judged by a panel of international experts who commended the high quality of the research. Researchers from the Centre for Pain Research and Galway Neuroscience Centre at NUI Galway have had an outstanding record of success in this competition over the years, being among the prize winners on every occasion. Marie Fitzgibbon, a fourth-year PhD candidate in the Discipline of Physiology, won the Pre-Clinical Pain Research Medal for her presentation ‘Peripheral inhibition of FAAH attenuates formalin-evoked nociceptive responding in a mouse model of IFN-α-induced analgesia.’ Marie’s research, supervised by Dr Michelle Roche and Professor David Finn, involves the investigation of mechanisms underlying co-existent mood and pain disorders as well as the identification of future therapeutic targets. Marie’s research is funded by Molecular Medicine Ireland Clinical and Translational Research Scholars Programme and Science Foundation Ireland Research Frontiers Project. Hannah Durand, a first-year PhD candidate in the School of Psychology, won the Clinical Pain Research Medal for her presentation ‘Persistent and recurrent pain in childhood: Patterns of childhood chronic pain over two years (PRIME-C).’ Hannah’s research, supervised by Dr Siobhan O'Higgins and Dr Brian McGuire, examined the characteristics of children who reported chronic pain at more than one time point in the PRIME-C survey, which evaluates the prevalence, impact, and cost of chronic pain for 5–12 year old children living in Ireland. PRIME-C is funded by the Health Research Board Interdisciplinary Capacity Enhancement Award. Leader of the Galway Neuroscience Centre and Co-Director of NUI Galway’s Centre for Pain Research, said: “We are delighted to see NUI Galway researchers win these prestigious prizes for their work. Our pain research aims to advance the understanding and treatment of chronic pain, a major unmet clinical need affecting at least 20% of the population.”   The meeting also witnessed the launch of the new Irish Pain Research Network (IPRN), a new initiative that will run as a special interest group of the Irish Pain Society. Professor Rolf-Detlef Treede, President of the International Association for the Study of Pain, launched the new research network, together with Professor David Finn, incoming President of the Irish Pain Society. The aim of IPRN is to bring together all active pain researchers on the island of Ireland for the purposes of sharing research results and ideas and facilitating cross-institutional collaboration in the area of pain research. -Ends-

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Volunteers recorded 628 species on campus in 24 hours  For the second year running,NUI Galway has won the top award for most biodiverse campus at Ireland’s Intervarsity BioBlitz competition, beating off stiff competition from UL, UCC, and Maynooth University. Over a 24 hour period, volunteers combed the University’s campus and recorded a total of 628 species. Last year the University recorded 581 species. With extensive semi-natural habitats across the NUI Galway estate, the BioBlitz teams logged 324 plants and tree species, 91 mosses, 34 bird species, 31 terrestrial and freshwater slugs and snails, 29 flies, 15 mammals,14 butterflies and moths, 14 diatoms, 13 beetles, 12 terrestrial and freshwater bugs, 11 fungi, 10 caddisflies and 10 ants/bees and wasps, 3 millipedes and 3 spiders, 2 lichens, 2 leeches, and 2 worms and a fish, earwig, mayfly, grasshopper, woodlouse, water hoglouse, mite and a flatworm. Along with NUI Galway staff, students and graduates, volunteers included staff and students from GMIT, and members of the public. Ireland’s BioBlitz is designed to increase public awareness of the variety of life in Ireland, and to highlight some of the ecological services that biodiversity provides to enhance our quality of life at a global and local level. The Bioblitz demonstrates the high level of skill and expertise necessary to study many aspects of Ireland’s biological diversity. It also demonstrates the importance of being able to survey and identify plants and animals as these are important aspects of Ireland’s biodiversity and skills that are taught at NUI Galway. Dr Caitriona Carlin of the Applied Ecology Unit at NUI Galway, said: “The win reflects the wonderful variety of life on campus and the effort of the recorders in being able to identify so much wildlife - and it was great fun!” This initiative was supported by NUI Galway’s School of Natural Sciences, the Buildings Office and the Green Campus team. NUI Galway’s statistics from the BioBlitz competition can be viewed at http://www.biodiversityireland.ie/intervarsity-bioblitz-2015-final-result/. -Ends-

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

As part of the worldwide celebration of the Italian language, NUI Galway will mark Settimana della lingua italiana nel mondo (Week of the Italian Language in the World) with a talk focusing on Italian music. ‘The Culture of Italian Music: Opera and Colonialism’ will take place on Thursday, 29 October from 6-8pm in the Hardiman Research Building, NUI Galway. The theme of this year’s events is “L’italiano della musica, la musica dell’italiano” (The Italian of music, the music of Italian), with special emphasis on the educational role of music. Professor Paolo Bartoloni, Head of Italian at NUI Galway, said: “This year’s theme is particularly significant and engaging. Italian music, and the Italian operatic tradition is recognised throughout the world for its tremendous contribution to music, outstanding quality, and inclusion of universal themes. By focusing on the language of music, and the ways in which the Italian language adapts to it, the uniqueness of Italian musical theatre is brought into relief.” ‘The Culture of Italian Music: Opera and Colonialism’ will be opened with an introduction by Professor Bartoloni, and followed by two talks by Mario Inglese, a Research Scholar at the University and Alessandro Luchetti, an NUI Galway PhD student. Mario’s talk, ‘The Italian Language and Opera: Verdi and Puccini’ will focus on showing that although the careers of these two giants of operatic music coincided for a short span of time, the language of the libretti of the operas composed over the same period does differ considerably. The second talk by Alessandro Luchetti is ‘The Music of Italian Colonization in Africa: Racism and Sexism’. The talk will center on the impact of colonial propaganda songs on fascist society. A selection of songs from the late 1930’s will be analysed in order to observe how racist and sexist stereotypes helped build a consensus around the colonial enterprise. Professor Bartoloni explained: “The combination of two different genres, the classical opera and popular song will provide original perspectives for the understanding and appreciation of contrasting styles, and the history of Italian music. Further, the focus on the music of colonisation provides innovative insights into one of the most tragic and damaging periods of Italian history, fascism, and its use of popular music for propaganda purposes.” The Week of the Italian Language in the World takes place annually and is promoted by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and its cultural offices within Embassies and Consulates throughout the world, under the auspices of the Presidency of the Italian Republic and in collaboration with the Accademia della Crusca, the preeminent institution for the study and the promotion of Italian as a language of classical and contemporary culture. -Ends-

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

A major new collection on 1916 has been co-edited by Dr Seán Crosson, Lecturer with NUI Galway’s Huston School of Film and Digital Media. Towards 2016: 1916 in Irish Literature, Culture & Society reflects the mul­tiple perspectives and events that are associated with 1916 in Ireland and their con­tinuing relevance to Irish literature, culture and society. Towards 2016: 1916 in Irish Literature, Culture & Society, also co-edited by Professor Werner Huber of the University of Vienna, considers a broad range of cultural forms and soci­etal issues, including politics, theatre, traditional music, poetry, James Joyce, greyhound sports, graph­ic novels, contemporary fiction, documentary, the media, language, political represen­ta­tion, and the Irish economy with contributions from both emerging academics and established scholars. Among the contributors is acclaimed film director and novelist Neil Jordan (in an interview conducted by novelist Patrick McCabe), who provides insight to his life and work, including his biopic Michael Collins (1996), a production which includes one of the most memorable renderings of the Rising and its aftermath. NUI Galway’s Professor Alan Ahearne also contributed to the collection and examines if Irish economic sovereignty (a principle concern of the Rising’s leaders) is a thing of the past: “The sentiments underlining the 1916 proclamation con­tinue to resonate in post-Celtic Tiger Ireland today, and the notion of economic sove­reignty has again been prominent in the national dialogue over recent years as politicians and commentators regularly refer to the loss of sovereignty asso­ci­ated with the country’s EU/IMF programme that began in December 2010 and ended in December 2013. However, the idea that Irish policy­makers can have full control of our economy is delusional. For Ireland, the lar­gest chunks of economic sovereignty were willingly ceded when the country joined the EU and especially when it adopted the single currency.” Among the questions considered in the collection are: What were the formative influences on one of leaders of the Rising, James Connolly? What effect had the Rising on Ire­land’s fledgling labour movement? What impact did the Rising have on the Abbey and Irish theatre? What connects 1916, James Joyce, and the Cuban Revolution? What is the relevance of 1916 to Irish traditional music? What place has 1916 in contemporary Irish fiction and poetry? What are the relations between the Rising, sequential art, popular culture, and memory? A century after the 1916 Proclamation spoke of equality between women and men, could Ireland be finally about to realise equal gender distribution in politics? Does ‘Irish sovereignty’, a central concern of the Rising leaders, have any relevance for Ireland in the contemporary globalised and European Union context? Dr Seán Crosson, co-editor and NUI Galway Lecturer, said: “1916 marked an important moment in the development of modern Ireland. The continuing reso­nance of the Rising to contemporary Ireland was evident in the now much quoted edi­torial of The Irish Times in November 2010, the day after it was announced Ireland was to receive a financial bailout from the EU and IMF. ‘Was it for this?’ the editorial asked, ‘the men of 1916 died’, thus also highlighting the gendering of the com­memo­ration of that event.” “However, the Rising was but one of a range of significant events in 1916. Beyond the political sphere, 1916 marked the publication of James Joyce’s first novel, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, and also saw the foundation of Ire­land’s first indigenous film production company, The Film Company of Ireland, whose co-founder James Mark Sullivan was arrested after the Rising and charged with complicity. Our collection is cognisant of the variety of perspectives and areas in which 1916 continues to resonate,” continued Dr Crosson. Towards 2016: 1916 in Irish Literature, Culture & Society is published as part of the prestigious peer-reviewed Irish Studies in Europe publication series, produced under the aegis of the European Federations of Associations and Centres of Irish Studies (EFACIS). Previous volumes in the series have featured prominent writers and academics including (the late poet and Nobel Laurette Seamus Heaney, former Ireland Professor of Poetry Harry Clifton, acclaimed poet Rita Ann Higgins and academics Declan Kiberd, Anne Saddlemeyer, and Ruth Barton. -Ends-

Monday, 12 October 2015

Scholarships available in five key research areas Applications are being accepted for fully-funded PhD scholarships at NUI Galway. The Hardiman and Dr Tony Ryan Research Scholarships will support students to undertake four-year Structured PhD programmes, by providing a stipend of €16,000 per annum. The deadline for applications is 20 November, 2015. The scholarships are focused on five key areas of research in which NUI Galway offers world-leading expertise: Applied Social Sciences and Public Policy Biomedical Science and Engineering Environment, Marine and Energy Humanities in Context, including Digital Humanities Informatics, Data Analytics, Physical and Computational Sciences Scholarships will be awarded only to those who will engage full-time in research during the period of the award in NUI Galway. NUI Galway Dean of Graduate Studies, Dr Lucy Byrnes, said: “These scholarships provide opportunities for excellent students to complete a doctoral degree at NUI Galway in our priority research areas. Our structured PhD programmes support the development of innovative individuals who will advance our understanding through their research and make valuable contributions to society.” Applications forms and further information are available at http://www.nuigalway.ie/hardiman-scholarships/ with closing date for applications at 5pm on 20 November. -Ends-

Monday, 12 October 2015

NUI Galway held a range of events to mark Mental Health Week, which took place nationally last week. The initiative is to encourage and facilitate students and staff to develop and maintain positive mental health.  The events that took place on campus captured a glimpse of the activities and programmes in NUI Galway which support the development of positive mental health. They included information workshops, resources, practical suggestions and proactive ways to cultivate health and wellbeing which have proven beneficial to others. Throughout the week there was a specific focus on the ‘Little Things Campaign’ which is an initiative of the Health Service Executive to promote mental health. The #littlethings campaign focuses on how simple little things can make a big difference on how we feel, such as keeping active, talking about problems, looking out for others, doing things with others, eating healthily, staying in touch, drinking less alcohol and sleeping well. The events for Mental Health Week were organised by NUI Galway’s Student Services and the Students Union in partnership with a number of external agencies. -Ends-

Monday, 12 October 2015

Beidh dhá rogha úra ag mic léinn céim trí Ghaeilge i Léann na Cumarsáide a bhaint in Ollscoil na hÉireann, Gaillimh ó Mheán Fómhair 2016. Cuirfear céim ainmnithe BA (Cumarsáid & Gaeilge) ar fáil, céim a bhféadfaí a bhaint in imeacht ceithre bliana; nó staidéar a dhéanamh ar Léann na Cumarsáide mar ábhar roghnach sa chéim ghinearálta sna Dána (GY101) in imeacht trí bliana. Céim dhá ábhar a bheidh sa BA (Cumarsáid & Gaeilge) feasta, a chuirfidh le deiseanna fostaíochta chéimithe OÉ Gaillimh i dtionscail na meán agus in earnáil na Gaeilge. Beidh blianta 1, 2, agus 4 den chéim seo ar siúl ar champas na hOllscoile i nGaillimh, agus beidh an tríú bliain (seimeastar Gaeltachta agus taithí oibre sna meáin) lonnaithe in Ionad na hOllscoile ar an gCeathrú Rua i nGaeltacht Chonamara. Beidh an clár á thairiscint ag Acadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge i gcomhpháirt le Roinn na Gaeilge san Ollscoil. An dara rogha a bheidh ag mic léinn ná Léann na Cumarsáide a roghnú mar ghnáthábhar sa BA (Dhá Onóracha) san Ollscoil (GY101), agus beidh teacht acu ar chuimse ábhar eile. Ina measc siúd tá Gaeilge, Béarla, Fraincis, Stair, Léann an Aistriúcháin, Iodáilis, Spáinnis, Teicneolaíocht na Faisnéise, Síceolaíocht agus Léann na Socheolaíochta agus na Polaitíochta. Ag brath ar a gcuid torthaí sa chéad bhliain, beidh deis ag na mic léinn a roghnaíonn Léann na Cumarsáide aistriú sa dara bliain go dtí an chéim ainmnithe BA (Cumarsáid & Gaeilge), más maith leo. Den chéad uair beidh cáilíocht aitheanta sa Ghaeilge ag céimithe an chúrsa ainmnithe nua a chuirfidh ar a gcumas dul le múinteoireacht freisin. Cuirfear tús le Seimeastar Gaeltachta a thairiscint do mhic léinn OÉ Gaillimh i Meán Fómhair 2016. Beidh mic léinn an BComm le Gaeilge ag gabháil de chúrsa iomlán lánaimseartha seimeastair ar an gCeathrú Rua agus beidh socrúchán oibre teangabhunaithe acu ina dhiaidh sin in Earrach 2017. Tá sé i gceist go mbeidh suas le 150 mac léinn páirteach sa Seimeastar Gaeltachta in aghaidh na bliana in Ionaid na hOllscoile sa Ghaeltacht faoi 2020. “Forbairt thráthúil é seo ar Léann na Cumarsáide in OÉ Gaillimh, agus cuideoidh meascán den iniúchadh acadúil agus den oiliúint phraiticiúil san iriseoireacht, sa léiriú teilifíse agus raidió, sa chraoltóireacht, sna hilmheáin agus i réimse ábhar eile lenár gcuid mac léinn barrthaitneamh a thabhairt don chúrsa úr," a deir Riarthóir Léann na Cumarsáide, Uinsionn Mac Dubhghaill. Dúirt Dónall Ó Braonáin, Acadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge: "Clár acadúil téagartha é seo a chuirfidh sároiliúint ar mhic léinn i Léann na Cumarsáide agus sa Ghaeilge. Beidh scoth na ndeiseanna fostaíochta acu dá bharr agus cuirfidh muid fáilte roimh mhic léinn a bhfuil spéis acu sa chruthaitheacht agus in ardscileanna teanga.”  CRÍOCH New Choices for Media Studies through Irish at NUI Galway NUI Galway has announced two new choices for students wishing to study media through Irish at the University from September 2016. The BA (Cumarsáid & Gaeilge) is a dual-honours programme taught over four years, including work experience in media organisations and a Gaeltacht semester in third year, while students will also have the option of taking Léann na Cumarsáide (Communications Studies) as a choice on the general three-year arts degree. The BA (Cumarsáid & Gaeilge) will enhance graduates’ employment opportunities in the growing media and Irish-language sector. Years 1, 2 and 4 will take place on the main campus in Galway, while third year (work experience in the media and Gaeltacht semester) is based at NUI Galway’s Gaeltacht campus in An Cheathrú Rua, Co. Galway. It is being offered by Acadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge in conjunction with the University’s Irish Department. Students who opt to take Léann na Cumarsáide as a subject in the dual-honours general arts programme (GY101), will be able to pair this choice with a broad range of other subjects. These include Irish, English, French, History, Léann an Aistriúcháin (translation studies through Irish), Italian, Spanish, Information Technology, Psychology and Sociological & Political Studies. Depending on their first year results, students who take Léann na Cumarsáide as part of the general arts degree will also have the option of switching to the specialised BA (Cumarsáid & Gaeilge) after first year, should they wish. For the first time graduates of this programme will have a recognised qualification in Irish which will enable them to become Irish teachers following postgraduate study. Students at NUI Galway will also have enhanced opportunities to study in the Gaeltacht as part of expanded choices from September 2016. Students on the BComm with Irish will undertake a full-time semester-long course in An Cheathrú Rua, and they will also be given work placements in Irish-language organisations during the following spring. Up to 150 students will be enrolled in various semester programmes at the University’s Gaeltacht campuses by the year 2020. “This is a timely development of media studies through Irish at NUI Galway, and students will enjoy the broad mix of academic study and practical training in journalism, television and radio production, broadcasting, multimedia and other subjects,” according to the course director, Uinsionn Mac Dubhghaill. “This is a robust academic programme that will give students a top-class education in media and Irish. It will give them excellent job opportunities, and we welcome students who want to develop their creativity and achieve a high standard of fluency in Irish,” said Head of the Acadamh, Dónall Ó Braonáin. -ENDS-

Monday, 12 October 2015

SFI-funded study provides new insights to the understanding of hybrid vigour and opens up new approaches for boosting crop yields through harnessing epigenetic effects that are driven by genome dosage increases  Hybrid vigour is an elusive property that has contributed to major yield gains in agriculture for crops and livestock. Offspring of some combinations of parents display hybrid vigour when their characteristics (e.g. height, weight, yield) exceed those of their parents. The Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) research team at NUI Galway led by Professor Charles Spillane screened the growth patterns of hundreds of different plant offspring, in collaboration with colleagues in Wageningen University, recently published in plant research journal New Phytologist. Hybrid vigour is also known as heterosis. Both terms were coined in the early 1900s by George Schull (1914) and Donald Jones (1918). Over the past century, multiple theories have been proposed to explain the genetic basis of heterosis. Most such theories are based on an assumption that offspring displaying heterosis have to be genetic hybrids generated from genetically different parents. Professor Spillane’s SFI research team in the Plant and AgriBiosciences Research Centre (PABC) at NUI Galway have demonstrated that genetically identical parents can generate genetically identical offspring that display hybrid vigour. This was achieved by generating offspring ‘triploid’ plants that contained three sets of chromosomes by crossing together parents that either had two sets or four sets of chromosomes.  Remarkably, the team discovered that a triploid plant that contained two sets of chromosomes from the father and one from the mother displayed a major boost in plant yields. The lead lab researcher on the SFI project Dr Antoine Fort indicated that, “Our research opens up exciting new variety combinations possibilities, a potential often overlooked in plant breeding, by simply crossing plants of different ploidies (number of copies of the genome) to potentially increase yield and/or biomass.” Professor Spillane said: “Our SFI-funded study provides new insights to the understanding of hybrid vigour and opens up new approaches for boosting crop yields through harnessing epigenetic effects that are driven by genome (chromosome) dosage increases. Our next steps are to work with partners in Ireland and internationally to determine whether our approach can be translated to increase yields in the world’s major crops to help meet the rapidly growing planetary demand for crop biomass derived products (food, feed, fibre, fuel and chemicals).” View New Phytologist on http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/nph.13650/full For further information contact Professor Charles Spillane, Plant and AgriBiosciences Research Centre (PABC), NUI Galway at charles.spillane@nuigalway.ie or visit www.plantagbiosciences.org -Ends-  

Tuesday, 13 October 2015

Professor Afshin Samali, Director of the Apoptosis Research Centre (ARC) and Investigator with CÚRAM, the Centre for Research in Medical Devices, based at NUI Galway, has secured €3.7million to lead a consortium of researchers called the TRAIN-ERS network, on a new project to research endoplasmic reticulum stress (ER stress). ER stress is an emerging feature in the pathology of numerous diseases including cancer, neurodegenerative disorders, metabolic syndromes and inflammatory diseases that affect millions of people worldwide each year and pose an enormous cost to the health sector. The funding award has been made through the Horizon 2020 grant programme, under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie European Training Networks action. ER stress represents a potential therapeutic intervention point that can be exploited to develop novel new therapies for a wide range of diseases. To date, the development of such therapies has been hampered by the shortage of scientists with interdisciplinary training, who can navigate between academic, industrial and clinical sectors with skills to convert research findings into commercial and clinical applications. The TRAIN-ERS Network will address this by providing 14 early stage researchers (ESRs) with the knowledge and the cutting edge scientific and technical skills that will drive our understanding and exploitation of the ER stress response for therapeutic purposes. The programme will utilize the unique skill sets, infrastructure and expertise of consortium partners to gain a global, mechanistic and quantitative understanding of the ER stress response, establish the contribution of the ER stress response to disease development and progression, and exploit the potential of targeting the ER stress response as a therapeutic strategy for diseases including cancer, neurodegeneration and inflammation. “Our project will bring young researchers together with world-leading academics, clinicians and industry personnel who are united in their goal of forming a network of excellence aimed at understanding the ER stress response, and applying this understanding to identify and validate the most suitable intervention points for the treatment of ER stress-associated diseases”, explains Professor Afshin Samali. This will provide the ESRs with a unique training experience and equip them with a toolbox of transferable skills that will significantly benefit them in their future careers and which will facilitate Europe’s 2020 ‘Innovation Union’ flagship initiative by producing researchers with the skills to convert knowledge and ideas into products and services. Speaking about the award, Professor Abhay Pandit, Director of CÚRAM said: “This is one of a number of current projects funded under this programme that are being carried out by CÚRAM researchers. CÚRAMs key strength lies in our ability to create unique, synergistic networks across academic, industry and clinical institutions. Because of this, our research and output capabilities in the medical device sector span a much wider spectrum than ever before. The TRAIN-ERs Network consortium will further expand the possibilities for conceptualization, discovery, development and clinical translation of novel, ‘smart’ solutions to bring about a better future for sufferers of chronic illnesses.” ARC, a well-established research centre focusing research on aspects of cellular stress and cell death and its relevance to human disease, works closely with CÚRAM, the National Centre for Research in Medical Devices which is funded by Science Foundation Ireland and Industry partners. Its goal is to radically improve health outcomes for patients with chronic and degenerative disease through the development of ‘smart’ implantable medical devices. The TRAIN-ERS network research consortium, led by Professor Samali includes academic groups from Austria, Sweden, Germany, Belgium, France and the UK. Industry partners of the programme include Randox Teoranta and Optimata. -Ends-

Tuesday, 13 October 2015

Nine Irish environmental communicators recently met former U.S. Vice President Al Gore as part of his global movement to increase climate change awareness and action. The Irish delegation joined more than 1,200 other Climate Leaders from 85 countries in Miami, Florida to receive training on how to communicate the climate crisis and solutions to the public. Mr. Gore agreed to a brief private meeting with the Irish delegation where they discussed the challenges of climate communication in Ireland. Among the group was Elizabeth O’Reilly, a Research Assistant for the Socio-Economic Marine Research Unit (SEMRU) at NUI Galway: “It was a privilege to meet the former Vice President and I hope I can do his message justice. It is one I believe in and hope I can highlight to an Irish and Galway audience.”   Irish film maker, Raja Nundlall, participated in the Climate Leader training and documented the trip as part of a film project. Raja explained; “It was an honour to come to Miami to participate in the Climate Reality initiative and meet the former Vice President, Academy award winner, and Nobel Peace prize recipient. His film, ‘An Inconvenient Truth’, was the first movie that explained climate change in a way I could relate to.”   The delegation was joined by Ireland’s first Climate Leader, Dr Cara Augustenborg, who participated as a mentor with the Climate Reality team. Cara became a Climate Leader in 2013 and has since given over 25 public climate talks to more than 1,500 people in Ireland.   Upon reflecting on meeting Al Gore, Cara explained: “I was amazed at Mr. Gore’s generosity in agreeing to meet the Irish delegation in the midst of his busy schedule. With the United Nation’s climate negotiations only nine weeks away, now is a critical time to improve public understanding of climate impacts and solutions. That urgency for climate action was reflected in the amount of attention Mr. Gore gave these new Climate Leaders. It was a thrill to watch the Irish delegation develop into effective climate communicators over the course of the training.” To date, Al Gore has trained more than 9,000 people to become Climate Leaders and over 19,000 climate presentations have been delivered as a result. In return for receiving the Climate Reality training, Climate Leaders agree to give at least ten climate talks in their local communities based on Al Gore’s own climate presentation, which featured in his Oscar-winning documentary, ‘An Inconvenient Truth’.   The new Climate Leaders are now available to give presentations based on Al Gore’s own climate presentation. The talks are expected to be particularly well received in the lead up to the United Nation’s climate negotiations in Paris this December. Irish Climate Leaders can be contacted through their new website, www.ClimateTalkIreland.com.   The Irish delegation was sponsored in part by the Ireland’s Environmental Protection Agency and through their own personal fundraising efforts. -Ends-

Wednesday, 14 October 2015

Silicon Valley Startup Compact Imaging and NUI Galway’s TOMI Lab Successfully Co-Developing Miniature, Low-Cost Optical Sensor Technology Compact Imaging, Inc. and NUI Galway today (14 October, 2015) jointly announced the second extension of their innovative research collaboration in MRO™ (Multiple Reference OCT), Compact Imaging’s miniature low-cost optical sensor technology. Multiple Reference OCT brings the powerful non-invasive imaging and biometry capabilities of optical coherence tomography (OCT) to high volume non-clinical applications, such as mobile health monitoring, identity verification and non-destructive testing (NDT). The original collaboration agreement was signed in 2012 and first extended in 2014. The new extension between both organisations runs through to 2017. “Compact Imaging’s MRO technology is highly disruptive, offering greater than 100 times reduction in size and cost compared to conventional OCT systems,” said Don Bogue, CEO of Compact Imaging. “Ultimately, MRO photonic modules will be consistent in size, cost and operating power with integration into mobile monitoring devices.” Compact Imaging’s multiple reference OCT, or MRO, technology addresses the size, cost, complexity and operating power limitations of conventional clinic-scale OCT systems. Conventional OCT was first commercialised in the early 2000’s and its noninvasive, non-ionizing imaging capabilities have revolutionized diagnostic imaging in clinical and research settings. MRO, by contrast, is designed for use in high volume mobile monitoring applications. The Company’s IP centres on its MRO system. Professor Martin Leahy, Chair of Applied Physics at NUI Galway and Director of the Tissue Optics and Microcirculation Imaging (TOMI) Laboratory, will continue to direct the collaboration’s research efforts in Galway. Professor Leahy said: “This further substantial cash investment is a very welcome endorsement of our work by the board of Compact Imaging and its investors. The collaboration has been very successful because both sides understand the need to align our interests. Our interest in providing substantial research topics for our PhD students and publishing our results has always been wholeheartedly supported by Compact Imaging, not least through their rapid assessment and protection of generated intellectual property. In turn, together we have been able to deliver substantial advances of the technology and its applications which are clearly valued by Compact Imaging.” The research collaboration combines NUI Galway’s globally-recognised expertise in OCT and other advanced biological imaging techniques with Compact Imaging’s engineering development and intellectual property in OCT and MRO. Compact Imaging and NUI Galway researchers have been working together since 2012, leading to the successful demonstration of several new MRO applications, creation of significant IP and publication of numerous research papers. The original two-year research collaboration successfully demonstrated the application of MRO technology in areas such as creating subdermal fingerprint images and production testing of industrial materials. -Ends-

Wednesday, 14 October 2015

Irish and Italian scientists reveal new link between oceanic plankton, viruses, clouds and climate, published today in Scientific Reports An international team of researchers led by Professor Colin O’Dowd from NUI Galway’s School of Physics and Centre for Climate and Air Pollution Studies have found that the release of plankton-produced organic matter, which leads to a global-cooling effect that could partially off-set the warming caused by greenhouse gases, is triggered by marine virus attack. The results were published today (14 October, 2015) in leading journal Scientific Reports. Plankton plays an important role in the global carbon budget and biogeochemical cycling of Carbon Dioxide (CO2), the dominant greenhouse gas. The ocean contains 50 times more carbon than the atmosphere, and at least half of the oxygen we breathe comes from the photosynthesis of marine plants such as plankton. Currently, 48% of the carbon emitted to the atmosphere by fossil fuel burning is sequestered into the ocean. However, the future fate of this important carbon sink is quite uncertain because of potential climate change impacts on ocean circulation, biogeochemical cycling, and ecosystem dynamics, the latter often determined by marine viruses. Recent research has suggested a trophic predator-prey dance between phytoplankton, viruses and climate change as the growth of plankton blooms not only responds to temperature change but also acts as a Carbon Dioxide sink, ultimately leading to a reduction in global warming. This new study, led by NUI Galway, finds that the demise of the plankton blooms, or the bloom’s death disco, also has the potential to counteract global warming through the release of organic matter which becomes concentrated at the ocean surface and enters into sea-spray produced by bursting bubbles. This spray forms haze and cloud layers that block out some of the sun’s heat, leading to a cooling effect. This cooling effect partially off-sets the warming caused by greenhouse gases. The organic matter enriched in the sea-spray effectively increases the cooling effect of the spray’s haze and cloud layers, but, to date, it has proven elusive to find the underlying reasons for the production of organic matter from the blooming plankton. The team of Irish and Italian scientists found that the release of the organic matter is triggered by an attack from marine viruses, the most abundant biological particles in the world, leading to the demise of the bloom. And in doing so, releasing massive amounts of organic matter much more so than if the bloom was to die more naturally, leading to more abundant haze and cloud layers. The team was led by Professor Colin O’Dowd from NUI Galway’s School of Physics and Centre for Climate and Air Pollution Studies, and included Dr Dagmar Stengel from Botany and Plant Science at the School of Natural Sciences, NUI Galway. The Italian contributions were led by Dr Maria Cristina Facchini, Institute for Studies of Atmosphere and Climate and Professor Roberto Danovaro, University of Marche. Professor O’Dowd said: “This represents a major breakthrough in our understanding of the coupling between the climate system and the marine biosphere. The breakthrough could only have been achieved through the collaboration within a multi-disciplinary team comprising world-leaders in atmospheric physics, atmospheric chemistry, ocean chemistry and ocean biology, utilising state-of-the-art technology to quantify aerosol particles and viruses on the nano-scale, to Earth Observation satellites on the global scale.” To view Scientific Reports paper visit: www.nature.com/articles/srep14883  -Ends-

Friday, 16 October 2015

NUI Galway recently celebrated the success of a select group of first-year students with a special ceremony on Thursday, 15 October, in recognition of the high points they achieved in the recent Leaving Certificate Examination. As part of the University's annual Excellence Scholarships, 61 students received €1,500 each. Each year the Excellence Scholarships are given to new entrants at NUI Galway who reached a minimum of 560 points in their Leaving Certificate examination, except in Medicine. For Medical students 10 Scholarships were awarded certificates, based on the combined results in the Leaving Certificate and the new Admissions Test (H-PAT Ireland). The Excellence Scholarships are designed to recognise and reward Leaving Cert success for the highest-achieving students, and encourage their ongoing commitment to academic excellence during their time at NUI Galway. The awards may be held with any other scholarships or grants, including the University's Postgraduate Scholarships, Mature Student Scholarships, Sports Scholarship Scheme and schemes specific to individual colleges for those who excel in their University exams. Speaking in advance of the Awards presentation, NUI Galway President Dr Jim Browne, said: “I am delighted to present the scholarships to these 60 outstanding individuals in recognition of their academic talent. NUI Galway constantly strives to support and promote academic excellence across all disciplines. The purpose of these Awards is to encourage each student to develop his/her academic potential to the fullest, by setting a realistic threshold of excellence and rewarding every student who attains that level. It is also a chance to give due credit to their parents and teachers for their important contribution to such success.” This year Excellence Scholarships were awarded to students from 40 individual schools throughout Ireland. The winners represented 13 counties including Clare, Donegal, Galway, Kerry, Kildare, Kilkenny, Limerick, Longford, Mayo, Offaly, Roscommon, Tipperary, and Wicklow. -Ends- Ceiliúradh in OÉ Gaillimh ar Scothmhic Léinn a rinne Éacht san Ardteistiméireacht Rinneadh ceiliúradh in OÉ Gaillimh le gairid ar ghrúpa ar leith mac léinn chéad bhliana ag searmanas speisialta Déardaoin, an 15 Deireadh Fómhair, mar aitheantas ar na pointí arda a ghnóthaigh siad i Scrúdú na hArdteistiméireachta. Mar chuid de shearmanas bliantúil na hOllscoile le Scoláireachtaí Sárchaighdeáin a bhronnadh, bronnadh scoláireachtaí ar fiú €1,500 an ceann iad mar aon le scrolla speisialta ar 61 mac léinn. Bronntar na Scoláireachtaí Sárchaighdeáin gach bliain ar mhic léinn atá díreach tosaithe ag freastal ar OÉ Gaillimh agus a fuair 560 pointe, ar a laghad, i Scrúdú na hArdteistiméireachta, seachas mic léinn leighis. Sa Leigheas, bronntar deich Scoláireacht bunaithe ar thorthaí na hArdteistiméireachta agus na Tástála Iontrála nua (H-PAT Ireland) araon. Tá na Scoláireachtaí Sárchaighdeáin ann chun luach saothair a thabhairt do na daltaí is fearr a n-éiríonn leo san Ardteistiméireacht, agus chun a dtiomantas leanúnach i sárchaighdeán acadúil a spreagadh le linn a dtréimhse in OÉ Gaillimh. D’fhéadfaí go mbeadh scoláireachtaí nó deontais eile ag an té a fhaigheann na scoláireachtaí seo, Scoláireachtaí Iarchéime na hOllscoile, Scoláireachtaí do Mhic Léinn Lánfhásta, Scéim Scoláireachtaí Spóirt na hOllscoile agus scéimeanna a bhaineann go sonrach le coláistí agus iad siúd a n-éiríonn thar barr leo sna scrúduithe Ollscoile san áireamh. Ag labhairt dó roimh bhronnadh na ngradam, bhí an méid seo a leanas le rá ag Uachtarán OÉ Gaillimh, an Dr Jim Browne: “Is cúis áthais dom na scoláireachtaí seo a bhronnadh ar an 60 duine den scoth seo mar aitheantas ar a gcumas acadúil. Déanann OÉ Gaillimh iarracht i gcónaí tacú le sárchaighdeán acadúil i ngach uile dhisciplín agus é a spreagadh. Tá na Gradaim seo ann le gach mac léinn a spreagadh le lántairbhe a bhaint as a gcumas mar mhic léinn, trí thairseach réalaíoch sárchaighdeáin a leagan amach agus luach saothair a thabhairt do gach mac léinn a bhaineann an leibhéal sin amach. Deis atá ann freisin le haitheantas a thabhairt don tsárobair atá déanta ag a dtuismitheoirí agus ag a múinteoirí.” I mbliana bronnadh na Scoláireachtaí Sárchaighdeáin ar scoláirí ó 40 scoil ar fud na hÉireann. Bronnadh scoláireachtaí ar mhic léinn as na 13 chontae seo a leanas – an Clár, Dún  na nGall, Gaillimh, Ciarraí, Cill Dara, Cill Chainnigh, Maigh Eo, Luimneach, Tiobraid Árann, Ros Comáin, Longfort, Uíbh Fhailí, agus Cill Mhantáin. -Críoch-

Friday, 16 October 2015

NUI Galway is now taking bookings for a full day of science-related activities for children aged 7 to 13 years old. Organised by three science outreach initiatives based at NUI Galway, Cell EXPLORERS, Eco EXPLORERS and Kitchen Chemistry, the Science Camp will take place on Wednesday, 28 October, and includes activities such as discovering microscopes, colourful chemical reactions and working with live exotic animals. With Cell EXPLORERS, children will learn about the fascinating world of cells which are the basic building blocks of all living things. They will take a close look at living things under the microscope in a fun discovery trail. Kitchen Chemistry will teach children how to make their own glow sticks and grow crystals at home, and Eco EXPLORERS will complete the day with an exciting display of live exotic animals, ranging from tarantulas to snakes and stick insects. Dr Muriel Grenon, member of the organising team and Director of Cell EXPLORERS said: “It is a unique opportunity for young people to practice discovery science in a university laboratory and meet students and staff passionate for science and education. This one day on campus stimulates children’s natural curiosity to explore and discover nature in a hands-on and fun way.” All three workshops will be delivered by NUI Galway students and staff who want to share their enthusiasm for science. The cost for the full day (10am – 3pm) is €10 per child, with discounts available for multiple bookings (€18 for 2 children, €25 for 3 children, €30 for 4 children). To register email cellexplorers@nuigalway.ie and include the names and ages of the children who would like to participate (maximum 4 children per booking). Places are limited so early booking is advised. -Ends-

Monday, 19 October 2015

The Chimera Art and Science Programme Presents: The Future is Here; a collection of work resulting from the artists in residence programme at CÚRAM, the Centre for Research in Medical Devices at NUI Galway. An exhibition of work by the Artists in Residence, Joanna Hopkins and Siobhan McGibbon, will open at Galway City Museum on 30 October at 5pm and continues until 23 December. The Chimera Art and Science Programme has seen both artists work alongside CÚRAM researchers, with full access to its laboratory facilities for the past six months, with the aim of investigating the meeting point of art and science. The Programme was founded by Andrea Fitzpatrick who acts as its director and curator. Andrea Fitzpatrick said: “The focus of the Chimera Art and Science Programme is to develop a visual arts research project within CÚRAM’s laboratories, exploring experimental practice and investigating the resulting composite space of enquiry.” Investigating the theme of empathy, Joanna Hopkins will present a series of multimedia works. Exploring the areas of the brain believed to be responsible for empathy in human beings, one of which is the Supramarginal Gyrus, Hopkins has developed installations based on her investigation into neurons in the research labs at CÚRAM. Through a series of drawings, video and interactive installations, Hopkins also explores our evolving world of multiple 'Touch-screen' video devices. Artist Siobhan McGibbon will present a complex and hypothetical narrative around the creation of a future human species that merges the superior biological elements of tadpoles and zebra fish. The works are created collaboratively with the scientists in CÚRAM utilising the scientific processes and materials used in the development of medical devices, and function as a collection of interconnected ideas explored during the artist’s engagement with the research groups in CÚRAM. The programme also incorporates a student-led project, comprising of eleven students from the Centre for Creative Arts and Media at Galway Mayo Institute of Technology. Work by Blaithin Hughes, Connor Robertson, Elizabeth Lartey, Ewa Zdybel, Helena Grady, Katie Higgins, Lisa Conroy, Mark White, Nicole Roan, Therese Murphy and Tom McLean will be exhibited at NUI Galway’s Gallery during Science Week in early November. Speaking about the programme, Professor Abhay Pandit, Director of CÚRAM, said: “We are very excited about the upcoming exhibitions and our scientists have been very engaged in the process. Residency programmes are a key part of our public engagement programme here at CÚRAM and we will be expanding these programmes in the future.” The programme is funded by the Science Foundation Ireland Discover Programme which aims to support and develop Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) education and the public engagement sector in Ireland. The Exhibition will run from 30 October to 23 December at Galway City Museum, Spanish Arch, Galway with opening hours from 10am-5pm Tuesday to Saturday. Admission is free. -Ends-