Thursday, 4 October 2018

Winners of the Inaugural NUI Galway Explore Innovation Awards 2018 Announced   Creating life-like skin, helping disabled drivers and introducing philosophy to children among winning concepts   Thursday, 4 October, 2018: The winners of a new competition to uncover innovative ideas with significant potential to become a business or social enterprise have been announced by NUI Galway.   The inaugural ‘Explore Innovation Awards’ uncovered some of the most promising and innovative activity on campus. Winning ideas included: creating life-like skin for use by surgical trainees; helping disabled drivers locate parking spots; and introducing philosophy to primary school children.   NUI Galway staff and students attended a special prize-giving ceremony hosted by the University’s Innovation Office where the winners across the two separate categories for staff and students were announced.   In the student awards category: First prize was awarded to Bronwyn Reid McDermott a Masters student in the College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences at NUI Galway for her novel innovation “Sutureself’ a simulated skin for advanced surgical trainees. Second prize went to Eoghan Dunne, Eviasmar Almeida and Guilherme Vaz de Melo Trindade, PhD students in the Translational Medical Device Labs in NUI Galway for their project ‘I can see you now’ which seeks to use imaging technology to develop a medical device to improve patient diagnosis for prostate cancer. Third prize was awarded to Aidan Breen, a PhD student in the College of Engineering and Informatics whose social innovation ‘Blue Spots Parking’ aims to help disabled drivers locate accessible parking spots in Ireland. This social innovation project will launch later in 2018.   In the staff awards category: First prize was awarded to Dr Orla Richardson from the Philosophy Discipline at NUI Galway for ‘P4C’. The project works with schools, community groups and organisations that want to think more deeply and effectively, together. Second prize was awarded to researchers Dr Peadar Rooney of CÚRAM, a researcher with CÚRAM, Dr Diana Gaspar of REMODEL, and Joshua Chao of REMEDI. Their project ‘Three Blind Mice’ aims to create Podcasts to promote science communication to non-scientific audiences. Third prize went to Dr Ed Osagie from Insight whose project ‘CDN’ aims to utilise crowd discounts utilising network effect models. Speaking at the event David Murphy, Director of Innovation at NUI Galway said: “The depth and breadth of proposals in these our inaugural Explore Innovation awards shows the diversity and creativity that we have across our campus. These awards give both students and staff the opportunity to flourish and develop their innovative ideas in a supportive, enabling and results driven environment. Over 30 applications to the competition were received and we are delighted to invest close to €10,000 in supporting these early stage ideas. The team will support the students and staff involved through the next stage of their projects.”   NUI Galway has been actively fostering new ideas and supporting over 100 collaborative staff and student projects since 2012 through its EXPLORE programme. EXPLORE is part of a wider innovation ecosystem at NUI Galway, explains David Murphy: “Many of the outputs of NUI Galway’s extensive research portfolio are licensed to industry or leads to a new spin-out company. Our Business Innovation Centre and the wider campus is currently home to over 40 companies, where we provide business supports and excellent facilities including labs and co-working spaces to start-ups. This all feeds into and connects with the wider region, supporting innovation and enterprises here in the west of Ireland.”   For more information about Explore, visit: http://www.nuigalway.ie/explore/   -Ends-

Thursday, 4 October 2018

NUI Galway Symposium to Critically Examine the Grey Areas of Sexual Consent   Negotiating sexual consent Today: What Role Can Performance Play in Changing the Script?   NUI Galway will host a one-day symposium that will bring together leading theatre practitioners and scholars to reflect on performance’s role in critically examining the boundaries and grey areas of sexual consent. The event is free and open to the public and will take place in the O’Donoghue Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance at NUI Galway on Friday, 12 October from 10am-6pm.   Featuring live performance, film screenings and panel discussions, participants include; Marc D. Rich and company members from the internationally acclaimed US-based social justice interACT Performance Troupe, cast members from Landmark Productions’ adaptation of author Louise O’Neill’s, Asking For It (adapted by playwright Meadhbh McHugh), and Lisa Fitzpatrick, author of Rape on the Contemporary Stage.   This symposium puts the participants work in conversation with ongoing NUI Galway-based Sexual Consent research led by Dr Charlotte McIvor from Drama and Theatre Studies and Dr Padraig MacNeela and Dr Siobhan O’Higgins from the School of Psychology, on the role of theatre, film and media in sexual attitude and behavioural change amongst third-level students. This follows on from the researchers’ autumn 2018 launch of their education and awareness campaign, Consent=OMFG (Ongoing, Mutual, Freely Given) designed in collaboration with Drama Theatre and Performance and Psychology students at NUI Galway during the 2017-2018 academic year.   The symposium will also premiere the second of four short interactive consent films Dr Charlotte McIvor has developed with her Drama and Theatre Studies students as part of the Consent=OMFG multimedia public health campaign for third level students. The new film, ‘Kieran and Jake,’ one of a short series of four, was collaboratively written and researched by the students led by Dr McIvor. The interactive film gives the viewer control over characters’ decisions at key points, leading to three possible endings to each film. The four films (co-directed by McIvor and Mick Ruane) portray sexual encounters from heterosexual and LGBTQ perspectives, as well as long-term and casual sexual relationships.    Dr Charlotte McIvor says: “These short interactive films on consent invite viewers to experiment actively with the idea that one sexual encounter can have many possible outcomes when it comes to the negotiation of consent between partners. Through these interactive short films and the Consent=OMFG campaign, we aim to empower third-level students with the knowledge and confidence to make informed and ethical choices everyday regarding consent in their sexual lives across all relationships, all genders, and all sexual orientations.”   The Consent=OMFG awareness campaign sends out the message that consent should always be ongoing, mutual, and freely given. The campaign amplifies the messages at the heart of Dr MacNeela and Dr Higgin’s ‘SMART Consent’ workshops in order to spread them throughout the campus community. SMART Consent workshops were created through research led by MacNeela on sexual consent and sexual experiences of third-level students in Ireland, in partnership with organisations including Rape Crisis Network Ireland.   SMART Consent workshops have been provided at NUI Galway, UL, QUB, DCU, NCAD and GMIT, with over 2,000 students taking part to date resulting from research data from over 3,000 students nationwide being utilised to design the activities used within the SMART Consent workshops. To launch the campaign, the NUI Galway researchers launched a new report, ‘Are Consent Workshops Sustainable and Feasible in Third Level Institutions?’ last August.   During 2017-18, the researchers trained over 100 facilitators to lead SMART Consent workshops at NUI Galway, Queens University Belfast, the National College of Art and Design, Dublin City University, the University of Limerick, and Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology. The report compares Pre-Workshop and Post-Workshop attitudes of 761 of the students who took part in a workshop with those trained facilitators during 2017-18:   This symposium is supported by the School of Drama and Theatre Studies, School of Psychology and the College of Arts, Social Sciences and Celtic Studies Research Support Scheme The first film, ‘Tom and Julie’ can be viewed at: http://www.nuigalway.ie/consent=omfg/ and the second film ‘Kieran and Jake’ will be available on the same link on the day of the symposium.   To register for the symposium, visit: www.eventbrite.ie and search for ‘Negotiating Sexual Consent’.   For more information about Consent=OMFG (Ongoing, Mutual, Freely Given)campaign, visit: www.nuigalway.ie/consent=omfg/.   To read more about Smart Consent, visit: www.nuigalway.ie/smartconsent/.    For more about interACT Performance Troupe, visit: http://www.cla.csulb.edu/departments/communicationstudies/interact/our-team/.   -Ends-

Thursday, 4 October 2018

NUI Galway Scientist’s TEDx Talk Will Broadcast to a Global Audience of 30 Million on TED.com Dr Michel Dugon from the Ryan Institute at NUI Galway has had his TEDxGalway 2017 talk, ‘Spider Dust and Scorpion Juice: Are Bugs the Future of Therapeutic Drugs?’ selected by TED.com and it will feature on their website on Friday, 5 October, 2018. The talk will be distributed to over 30 million registered TED.com users around the world, a significant opportunity for an Irish academic to showcase their work to a global audience. Dr Michel Dugon, a lecturer in Zoology and founder and lead researcher of the Venom Systems and Proteomics Laboratory in NUI Galway, investigates the toxicity and the medical properties of spider venom with the hope of developing next generation antibiotics. His work focuses on the evolution of venom systems and on the potential of arthropod venom as a source of novel therapeutic agents. In his TED talk, Dr Dugon outlines the potential of spider venom as a source of novel chemicals and therapeutic compounds. Only about 0.01% of spider venom compounds have been characterized so far and millions remain to be discovered. Some of these complex compounds may be harvested in the future to address global concerns such as antimicrobial resistance. Dr Dugon is also the founder and director of the Eco Explorers science outreach programme at NUI Galway where he dedicates a sizable amount of his time promoting ecological awareness in the media and in schools throughout Ireland. Dr Dugon’s work has been featured on national and international networks including RTÉ, the BBC, Euronews and Sky. Dr Dugon says: “TED.com offers the largest online stage for academics to share ideas with a global audience. It is a huge honour to be featured on their website and this would not be possible without the fantastic work by organisers of local TEDx events throughout Ireland. I hope that my experience will encourage other academics to take to the stage in the future and inspire members of the public to engage with Irish science and technology.” Michel Dugon was awarded the 2015 Irish National Teaching Award in Higher Education and the 2017 NUI Galway Ryan Award for Innovation, and is currently working on developing the Venom Investigations for the Development of Antimicrobial Agents (VIDAA) network in collaboration with Irish, French and Belgian researchers. To ‘Take Action’ and support Dr Dugon’s continued research into Venom Investigations for the Development of novel Antimicrobial Agents, visit: http://www.nuigalway.ie/zoology/research/venom/ To view Dr Michel Dugon’s talk on TED.com on Friday, 5 October at 11am EST, visit: www.go.ted.com/micheldugon To read more about antimicrobial resistance and how the scientific community tries to address it, visit World Health Organization, at: http://www.who.int/antimicrobial-resistance/en/ -Ends-

Wednesday, 3 October 2018

NUI Galway Publish Study on Economic Impact of Childhood Autism Spectrum Disorders in Ireland    A new study published by NUI Galway researchers provides original insights into the economic impact of childhood autism spectrum disorders in Ireland. The study highlights the extent to which families pay for services relative to state funded services and provides a compelling case for significant additional state funded investment. The study was published this week  in the international journal, Autism – The International Journal of Research and Practice.   Findings from the study showed that on average, the annual cost per child for families amounted to over €28,000 as a result of paying for private autism spectrum disorders (ASD) services, lost income and informal care, while over €14,000 of state funded services were consumed. Families whose children were more severely affected and those with more than one child affected faced significantly higher costs. While 15% of children with autism spectrum disorders in the survey were from lone parent families who faced particular challenges in meeting needs.   The study was based on a national survey undertaken by NUI Galway in collaboration with staff from the Centre of Public Health in Queens University Belfast and was funded by the Irish Research Council and Autism Ireland.   Áine Roddy from the J.E. Cairnes School of Business and Economics at NUI Galway, and the study’s lead author, said: “The study shows that access to autism spectrum disorders services in Ireland is overly dependent on the ability of families to pay for those services and places substantial financial hardship on families already facing many challenges in meeting the complex needs of children with an ASD.”    Professor Ciaran O’Neill, Adjunct Professor of Health Economics at NUI Galway and co-author of the paper, said: “The study provides valuable insights into a neglected area of research. The findings should spur policy makers in Ireland to rethink the support provided to children with ASD and their families.”   To read the full study entitled ‘The Economic Costs and its Predictors for Childhood Autism Spectrum Disorders in Ireland: How is the Burden Distributed?’ in Autism – The International Journal of Research and Practice, visit: http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/1362361318801586   -Ends-

Wednesday, 3 October 2018

Frankie Gavin and Alec Finn to Perform at Launch of NUI Galway’s Arts in Action Programme Irish music legends Frankie Gavin and Alec Finn will delight audiences with a very special performance as part of NUI Galway’s 2018-2019 Arts in Action programme launch today (Wednesday, 3 October) in the O’Donoghue Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance from 1pm-2pm. Gavin and Finn recently reunited to celebrate 40 years of De Danann and will launch their new album as the opening event of the Arts in Action programme. Arts in Action presents a very exciting line-up of the best in Irish and international artists from around the world including; Declan O’Rourke, Donal Lunny, Zoe Conway, Máirtín O’Connor, Mercury Prize nominated English folk singer, Sam Lee and playwright Thomas Kilroy in conversation with Vincent Woods. Speaking about the programme, Arts in Action producer and artistic director, Mary McPartlan from NUI Galway, said: “What is powerfully unique to NUI Galway is the natural connection that exists between the creative arts and the existing academic structures, providing the students with access to continuous high end international and professional arts in all genres, which also creates credit bearing opportunities in academic modules. The new programme for 2018-2019 also reflects the growing collaboration between NUI Galway and the many other local and national arts organisations to bring rich and rewarding performances for the students and staff on a weekly basis.” In association with the James Hardiman Library at NUI Galway, Arts in Action will present a very special evening with the legendary traditional musician, Joe Burke who will be in conversation with piper and RTÉ broadcaster, Peter Browne, with live music from Deirdre McSherry, Eileen O’Brien, Conor Tully and Frankie Gavin. From Reykjavik in Iceland, the internationally celebrated, amiina, will perform Fantômas, an original live score to the silent masterpiece French film from 1913. amiina cut their teeth performing with Icelandic powerhouse Sigur Rós. They formed in the late nineties as an all-girl string quartet and now operating as a quintet, they have released four albums since their debut critically acclaimed album, Kurr in 2007. Music for Galway will present a series of concerts as part of the Arts in Action programme including: renowned classical pianist, Thérèse Fahy and flautist Madeleine Staunton; Hungarian Trio featuring pianist David Szábo, violinist Gergely Kuklis and clarinetistRobert Solyom; Baroque music trio, O’Brien, Robinson and Sweeney; celebrated composer and viola player, Sebastian Adams and Irish cellist, Yseult Cooper Stockdale; and Austrian duo, cellist Thomas-Michael Auner and pianist Maximilian Flieder; and a special performance by the Galway Music Residency Apprentice Ensemble Showcase. In theatre, Belfast Theatre Company Kabosh will present a production of Those You Pass on the Street. Written by Laurence McKeown, the play explores the complexities of dealing with the legacy of conflict, especially when that conflict is localised and personal. Other cultural delights include: Icelandic trumpet player, Birkir Matthiasson in a jazz collaboration with Galway-based musicians Matthew Berrill and Aengus Hackett; Flamenco Dancer, Irene La Serranilla from Granada in Spain; The NUI Galway Medical Orchestra will present Vena Vitae and will be joined by an ensemble of well-known jazz and traditional musicians, directed by Máirtín O’Connor. Arts in Action in association with An Taibhdhearc and Lelia Doolan will present the life and legacy of Lelia’s friend, the great actress, Siobhán McKenna featuring Rita Connollysinging the songs of Shaun Davey. The programme will also present the Annual Joe Heaney Lecture emphasizing his songs as performed by noted singers, Máire Ní Mhaoilchiarainand Caitríona Ní Cheannabháin, produced by Marianne Ní Chinnéide and Lillis Ó Laoirefrom NUI Galway. Students from Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies at NUI Galway will share new work they have written and devised in response to Thomas Kilroy’s extraordinary archives housed at NUI Galway. Staging the Archive – Thomas Kilroy is directed by NUI Galway’s Charlotte McIvor and Catherine Morris with dramaturgical support from Barry Houlihan from the James Hardiman Library. To download the full Arts in Action programme, visit: http://www.nuigalway.ie/artsinaction/ -Ends-

Wednesday, 26 September 2018

NUI Galway Hosts Education Day for Public and Patient Involvement to Inform Healthcare Research   NUI Galway will host ‘EMPOWER’, an information and education day for the public, with a series of free workshops introducing ‘Public and Patient Involvement’ and developing the skills required to partner with researchers to guide and influence their work. All members of the public with an interest in health and social care research who would like to find out more are welcome to attend on Saturday, 6 October.   The Public and Patient Involvement (PPI) Ignite Programme aims to bring about a culture change in how healthcare research is conducted across NUI Galway. It supports health and social care researchers to involve members of the public in meaningful ways across the full research cycle and connects the public, patient and community organisations to researchers who are seeking PPI partners. This means that people who are likely to be using new treatments are directly involved in and shape the decisions made to produce them.   The EMPOWER workshops will be of interest to people who have ever wondered; how health research works: who comes up with ideas for research: and how does research bring about change – or does it?   Professor Sean Dinneen, Director of PPI Ignite at NUI Galway, said: “We are very keen to develop a public community who are interested in guiding and influencing researchers. Never has it been more important that the public voice and the voice of patients is clearly heard. These workshops will help those who attend to be able to articulate their opinions and make an impact on health research, practice and policy.   The workshops, some of which will be led by both researchers and members of the public, will feature the following topics:   Who, me? How each of us can make a difference to research - introduces research and Public and Patient Involvement. Clinical trials of new treatments – when can we believe the results? - looks at how to know what to believe about new health treatments. Deciding who gets the (research) money: how the public can have their say. Speaking up: advocacy training - develop your public speaking skills. Telling it as it is: communicating clearly - addresses a particular bug-bear for many, the importance of eliminating jargon and communicating in plain English. Some of the workshops will be of particular interest to people who have already been involved in Public and Patient Involvement, to further develop these skills, and other workshops are for people who have no previous experience.     The event is funded by the Health Research Board. The workshops are free and will run from 10am-4pm on Saturday, 6 October in the Institute for Lifecourse and Society (ILAS) building, North Campus, and people are welcome to attend all or some of the workshops.   Register on www.eventbrite.ie (search for EMPOWER) or email ppi@nuigalway.ie.   For more information, contact Bláthín Casey at ppi@nuigalway.ie or 091 492731. Follow on Twitter @PPI_NUIG or visit  www.nuigalway.ie/ppi.   -Ends-

Wednesday, 26 September 2018

NUI Galway Study on ‘Diversity Gap’ between Student and Teacher Populations in Ireland   Study raises serious questions with regard to the equity and diversity in Ireland’s future primary teaching body   Dr Manuela Heinz and Dr Elaine Keane from the School of Education in NUI Galway have carried out the first comprehensive and nationwide study in Ireland, which explores the socio-demographic backgrounds of entrants to primary teacher education programmes. The research was published this week (24 September 2018) in the peer-reviewed academic journal, Irish Educational Studies and looked at future primary teachers’ sex, nationalities, ethnicity, first language, social class, dis/ability and religious affiliations.   Key findings from The Irish Research Council funded Diversity in Initial Teacher Education (DITE) National Study:  99% of respondents identified as White Irish Settled and 100% specified either English or Irish as their first language. These figures contrast starkly with the greatly diversified pupil and general populations (Central Statistics Office, 2016: 11.6% of the population specified as non-Irish nationality, 82.2% of the population identified as White Irish Settled, and 13% of Irish residents speak a language other than English or Irish at home). 8% of undergraduate primary teacher entrants declared a disability, just over half the proportion recorded for entrants to higher education (8.0%). Undergraduate primary teacher entrants with physical and/or learning disabilities are significantly underrepresented compared to disabled higher education entrants. The participation rate of individuals with a learning difficulty was also significantly higher among postgraduate post-primary teacher education entrants. 4% of undergraduate primary teacher entrants were female and 17.6% were male. Initial teacher education entrants claiming Irish nationality only, are significantly overrepresented compared to the general population (88.4% Irish). The total absence of individuals of non-Irish nationality is also in stark contrast with the rising percentage of residents with non-Irish nationalities in Ireland (5.8% in 2002 to 11.6% in 2016. The top ten non-Irish nationalities living in Ireland according to Census 2016 are: Polish, UK, Lithuanian, Romanian, Latvian, Brazilian, Spanish, Italian, French and German nationals.) Roman Catholics are overrepresented (90%) and non-religious individuals (5%) are underrepresented in the undergraduate primary teacher entrant cohort compared to the post-primary student teacher cohort (86% Roman Catholic and 10% non-religious), and the general population in Ireland (78% Roman Catholic and 10% non-religious). Principal Investigators of the study, Dr Manuela Heinz and Dr Elaine Keane from the School of Education at NUI Galway, highlight: “DITE’s (Diversity in Initial Teacher Education National Study) core aim is to promote a diverse and inclusive teaching profession in Ireland by informing policy makers and educational practitioners about the current ‘diversity gap’ (between pupil and teacher populations) and by promoting discussions of the benefits and challenges associated with a more diverse teaching population, as well as the barriers that may discourage or prevent individuals from underrepresented groups from considering or pursuing teaching careers in Ireland.”   The study calls for further discussion of measures that can be taken to attract and recruit more individuals from minority groups into the teaching profession. Alongside the potential academic and Irish language barriers, it challenges educators and policy makers to consider other possible barriers preventing individuals from minority backgrounds from considering entering or, indeed, successfully progressing in teaching careers (such as, the culture of Ireland’s teaching profession and schools, hiring practices in schools, career guidance practices in schools, financial issues including programme fees, living costs, access to grants and other financial supports, the religious (mostly Catholic) ethos of Irish schools and primary Institute of Technical Education institutions, negative and discriminatory experiences).   Dr Manuela Heinz, said: “Our analyses of entrance patterns to, and diversity in, undergraduate primary initial teacher education is timely and highly significant in the context of the enormous diversification of school populations in Ireland over the past two decades. It is important that we take notice of the widening ‘diversity gap’ and that we critically interrogate structures and cultural practices of the Irish education system to identify potential barriers for individuals from underrepresented groups. Some of the more obvious barriers are related to the selection system which focuses on academic achievement and which specifies competency in Irish as an essential criterion.   “For many students who are refugees, have certain learning difficulties, or have come from abroad and did not speak English when they enrolled in school, the door to primary teaching is closed early as they can be granted an exemption from the otherwise obligatory Irish instruction at school where Irish, English and Maths are essential subjects for applicants to primary teacher education programmes in Ireland, a barrier to non-Irish nationals who weren’t educated in Ireland. The predominantly denominational (and mostly Catholic) Irish primary school and initial teacher education system may act as a further deterrent for people who do not share the religious beliefs and values espoused by the great majority of primary schools as well as colleges of education.”   Dr Elaine Keane, emphasised: “For national policy on widening participation in higher education to be evidence-based and effective, participation patterns within specific professional contexts and careers must be tracked and taken into account. Our findings point to the need to identify particular target groups specific to the teaching profession, and these may differ to those identified in the National Access Plan’s target groups for widening participation in higher education more generally. Patterns of access and participation for various socio-demographic groups often vary in different professions, and this will become increasingly significant into the future, as we need to extend widening participation focus and policy to include postgraduate and employment realms – into the professions - as other countries have already done – and as we are now doing in Ireland with respect to teaching.   Dr Manuela Heinz added: “We are hoping that this research will trigger more thinking about teacher demand and supply and the characteristics and qualities we are looking for in teachers. We also need to think ahead. Hopefully we will be able to recruit more students from minority backgrounds into initial teacher education programmes in the near future. A more diverse student teacher and teaching population will challenge teacher educators as well as schools, and for teachers to critically interrogate many taken-for-granted practices, for example in relation to what and how we teach on initial teacher education programmes, what supports students from minority backgrounds may need and what adaptations may be required at school placement level.”   The study also highlights the need for research that explores career motivations and decision making of students from minority groups as well as their experiences of initial teacher education and of teaching in Ireland.   The study was funded by the Irish Research Council as part of the ‘NUI Galway Diversity in Initial Teacher Education in Ireland’ (DITE) research project.    To read the full study in Irish Educational Studies, visit: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/03323315.2018.1521731   -Ends-

Tuesday, 25 September 2018

NUI Galway Study Discovers Novel Approach to Tackle Bowel Cancer   Scientists from the Regenerative Medicine Institute in the School of Medicine at NUI Galway, in collaboration with Queen’s University Belfast, have found a new function for normal cells, called stromal cells, within tumours that point the way in better understaning and preciction of response to immunotherapy. The study has been published in the internationally renowned journal,Cancer Immunology Research.   Colon cancer is one of the most common cancers affecting both men and women in Ireland. Current treatments can combine radiotherapy, surgery and chemotherapy, but response rates in late stage disease can be disappointing. To date, therapeutic developments to tackle the problem of bowel cancer spreading to other parts of the body have had limited success and new methods are urgently needed to improve survival for patients.   Immunotherapy is a new form of treatment where different medicines or cells can re-engineer a patient’s immune system to better target cancer cells for destruction. In some forms of cancer, immunotherapy has led to marked improvements in patient outcome for particular patients. Cancer cells can express substances to cloak themselves from attack from the immune system. These protein substances are a usually a vital part of regulating why the normal immune system doesn’t attack all cells but these normal protective mechanisms can be hijacked in tumours protecting the cancer from damage.  Immunotherapy attempts to overcome these hijacked systems and allow the immune system to kill cancer cells.   While these treatments hold potential for improving the treatment of therapy-resistant cancers with potentially fewer side effects, in general colon cancers respond poorly. The research findings indicate that normal stromal cells which surround a tumour could potentially contribute to that protective cloaking from the immune system and simultaneously drive the dangerous spread of these cells to other parts of the body.   By combining laboratory models with patient samples, the research team, led by Dr Aideen Ryan in the School of Medicine at NUI Galway, has shown for the first time that PD-L1 (one of the protein substances involved in cloaking cells and tumours from the immune system), is expressed not only on the tumour cells but also on the normal stromal cells within the tumour. The expression of PD-L1 by these stromal cells essentially “switches off” the killing activities of the immune system, even before it reaches the cancer cells. The expression of stromal cell PD-L1 is even higher, in certain conditions such as inflammation, which can occur within the tumour. The combination of the cloaking processes in the stromal cells and tumour reduces the chances of the immune system killing the cancer cells and can drive these cells to spread and metastasise.   Using colon cancer cells and either normal or tumour exposed stromal cells, the research team found that blocking PD-L1 signalling increased the production of immune activating signals and increased the number of tumour killing T cells. Furthermore, in a pre-clinical model of colon cancer, anti-PD-1 therapy reversed the ability of tumours to grow and metastasize, increasing the effectiveness of anti-tumor T cells. In human samples, PD-L1 expression was observed to be higher in stromal cells exposed to human tumours than in the tumour cells themselves. Additionally, in tissue from two small groups of colon cancer patients, they confirmed higher expression of PD-L1 in the stromal cells compared to the colon cancer cells. This is an important finding as patients are currently chosen to receive this therapy based only on if the tumour cells express PD-L1 or not.   Lead author of the study, Dr Aideen Ryan from the School of Medicine at NUI Galway, said: “This study proposes a change in thinking. Until now, if we wanted to know whether a colon cancer patient was likely to respond to immunotherapy, we would look at their tumour cells. This study has shown us that instead of just looking at the tumour cells we need to look at the environment surrounding the tumour as well.  Our findings address previous observations of positive anti-tumor responses to PD-1 immunotherapy in patients whose tumours have been deemed PD-L1 negative. Our findings  provide a clear motivation to assess stromal cell PD-L1 expression in order to better choose patients for immunotherapy.”   Dr Ryan added: “Our future research will investigate the exact ways by which the colon cancer cells interact with and dictate the function of noraml stroma within tumours to prevent recognition by immune cells. Understanding exactly how this happens may help to discover new ways in which we can prevent this, and enhance responses to new immune based therapy.”   Dr Robert O’Connor, Head of Research at Irish Cancer Society, commented:“This important study illustrates the extent of cutting-edge cancer research being undertaken by hugely talented scientists across Ireland. The findings by Dr Ryan and her colleagues are significant because they may point the way to much needed new applications of immune-based treatments for bowel and possibly other forms of cancer. Such findings are only made possible through many years of investment in high calibre researchers like Dr Ryan and her colleagues and we need continued support to generate further advances in our improving cancer outcome.   The study was supported by Science Foundation Ireland, Irish Cancer Society, Irish Research Council, and Galway University Foundation.   To read the full study in Cancer Immunology Research, visit: http://cancerimmunolres.aacrjournals.org/content/early/2018/09/18/2326-6066.CIR-17-0443   -Ends-

Tuesday, 25 September 2018

  NUI Galway Conference Will Look at How Ireland has Changed Since the Financial Crisis  “More reforms are needed to reduce economic and financial vulnerabilities. Ten years on, it is important that we debate what has really changed, and what else needs to change.” Professor Alan Ahearne, NUI Galway NUI Galway’s Whitaker Institute and Moore Institute will host a conference ‘10 Years On: How Ireland Has Changed since the Financial Crisis’ in the Institute for Lifecourse and Society at NUI Galway on Friday, 28 September.  In the fateful decade since the collapse of Lehman Brothers and the Bank Guarantee of September 2008, much has happened in Ireland – financial crisis, deep recession, bailout by the ‘Troika’, a protracted period of austerity followed by vigorous economic recovery. But what has really changed over the last ten years? What developments in the financial and political system have taken place and what has been the cultural effect of the crisis? Will we repeat the same mistakes or find ways to avoid them? This major public event convened by the Whitaker Institute and the Moore Institute will examine these questions with a high profile group of participants, including keynote speeches by former Central Bank of Ireland governor, Patrick Honohan and playwright and author, Colin Murphy whose new two-part TV drama The Bailout on TV3/Virgin Media One, is based on his play of the same name, it looks back at how Ireland’s government had to seek a €64 billion EU/IMF bailout following the crash, and is a follow-up to Colin’s hugely successful The Guarantee. Professor Alan Ahearne, Director of the Whitaker Institute at NUI Galway, said:“During the bubble years in the mid-2000s, Irish banks ballooned their lending to an overheated housing market, funded by short-term borrowing from international money markets. The Irish economy and government finances became dangerously dependent on the property sector. This time ten years’ ago, the chickens were coming home to roost. The financial crisis that followed prompted policymakers around the world to change the rules by which banks are regulated, government budgets are managed, and economic imbalances are identified and corrected.  But many of these new systems are untested. Effective early-warning systems are not yet fully developed. New challenges have surfaced over the past decade which may require new global multilateral institutions. And more reforms are needed to reduce economic and financial vulnerabilities. Ten years on, it is important that we debate what has really changed, and what else needs to change.” Professor Daniel Carey, Director of the Moore Institute at NUI Galway, said: “The Financial Crisis has defined a decade of Irish life. This event gives us a chance to think of the impact of the crisis and the changes it has brought, in economic, cultural and political life. Have we created the conditions to prevent a repeat of this experience? Can we recover from the shadow of austerity without launching into a new crisis? Looking back at the last ten years of global economic crisis, how has Ireland coped with this calamity compared to other countries? The UK responded by going back to its elites, vesting confidence in Eton and Oxbridge-educated politicians and then plunging into Brexit. The US took another course, with people tearing one another apart politically as their financial fortunes eroded. In Ireland, different cultural resources came into play. A certain dose of fatalism, low expectations from the political process, and memories of a country without money proved an unexpected resource. Ireland was the envy of Europe in how accepting we have been of retrenchment and austerity. (Water charges became the unexpected scapegoat!) Will all of this make us better prepared to avoid a repeat experience or more liable to slip into old errors and simply shrug when things are going wrong? What are the psychological effects of going from a Tiger to a lamb in need of outside protection?” Guest panelists include: Angela Knight CBE, former Chief Executive, British Bankers’ Association; Fiona Ross, Chair, CIÉ; Professor John McHale, College of Business, Public Policy and Law, NUI Galway; Frances Ruane, former Director, Economic and Social Research Institute; Stephen Collins, former Political Editor, The Irish Times; Professor Kate Kenny, Queen’s University Belfast and Gearóid Ó Tuathaigh, Emeritus Professor of History, NUI Galway. The conference will take place on Friday, 28 September, 2018 in the Institute for Lifecourse and Society lecture theatre, North Campus, NUI Galway from 2pm-6pm. The conference is free and open to the public but advance registration is essential at: http://whitakerinstitute.ie/event/10-years-on-how-ireland-has-changed-since-the-financial-crisis/ -Ends-

Monday, 24 September 2018

  NUI Galway to Co-Host Major International Conference in Dublin in 2019  Minister Creed welcomes the awarding of First Annual Scientific Meeting of the One Health European Joint Programme to Ireland Monday, 24 September, 2018: NUI Galway’s Centre for Health from Environment, Ryan Institute is delighted to announce that they will co-host a major international conference, the First Annual Scientific Meeting of the One Health European Joint Programme, which will take place in Dublin from 22-24 May 2019. The event was welcomed by Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed. People and animals have a lot in common. We depend on each other to survive. We share the same environment and sometimes the same couch. What’s good for the health of one is usually good for the health of the other. What is bad health for one is also very often bad for the other. For example, both humans and animals use a lot of antibiotics. This has led to the problem of antibiotic resistance which impacts not only humans, but also animals and our environment. The critical link between the health of people, animals and the environment is seen as increasingly important on a very crowded planet. This is captured in the global concept of ‘One Health’ promoted by UN agencies, including the World Health Organization, the World Organisation for Animal Health and the Food and Agriculture Organisation. The One Health European Joint Programme (EJP) is a European Commission co-funded scientific collaborative research programme to help prevent and control food-borne and environmental contaminants that affect human health and is co-funded under the EU Research and Innovation Framework Programme, Horizon 2020. The One Health European Joint Programme will strengthen cooperation between its 40 partners (including the Med-Vet-Net Association) from 19 Member States. NUI Galway are one of only five Universities in the One Health European Joint Programme consortium. Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed, said: “The hosting of this prestigious meeting arises out of the participation of my Department, Teagasc and NUI Galway in the EU Research and Innovation funded (Horizon 2020) - European Joint Programme on One Health, Zoonoses and Emerging Threats, which is coordinated by the French Agency ANSES.  The One Health project commenced on the 1st January 2018 and represents a significant coordinated investment by participating EU Countries and the EU Commission to combat foodborne zoonoses, antimicrobial resistance and emerging risks.” Dr Dearbháile Morris, lecturer in the School of Medicine at NUI Galway, Deputy Director of the Ryan Institute’s Centre for Health from Environment, and Co-Chair of the organising committee, said: “We are delighted to welcome our European partners to Ireland for the first annual scientific meeting of the One Health EJP. Adopting a One Health approach is key to managing existing and emerging risks to human health. Hosting the first Annual Scientific Meeting of the One Health European Joint Programme in Ireland provides an ideal opportunity to showcase national and international research in the One Health area, foster and enhance ongoing relationships with major research institutes across Europe and build the capacity of Irish researchers to participate in ‘One Health’ research.” NUI Galway and Teagasc are the Irish scientific partners in the One Health European Joint Programme and were jointly successful in a bid to host the first Annual Scientific Meeting in Ireland. The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine strategically participates in the project and has established an Irish EJP Mirror Group for strategic dissemination and exploitation purposes. Professor Charles Spillane, Director of the Ryan Institute at NUI Galway highlighted: “NUI Galway are delighted to be working with Teagasc under our Strategic Research and Education Alliance to co-host this important conference on One Health. There is an urgent need for more integrated research, innovation and implementation measures on One Health to ensure that zoonotic diseases and antimicrobial resistance do not compromise the health of our societies, both in Ireland and globally.” The programme has been built upon the principle of co-funding from the participating institutes and the European Union Horizon 2020, the EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation. As the largest European Joint Programme investment, it will cost €90 million, where 50% of its funding will come from the European Commission and 50% from the participating Member States.   For more information about the Centre for Health from Environment at NUI Galway, visit: http://www.nuigalway.ie/cheonehealth/. -Ends-

Monday, 24 September 2018

NUI Galway Announce 2018 Honorary Degrees Recipients Catherine Corless, Sharon Shannon, Helen Rochford Brennan, Brendan Dunford    NUI Galway today announced the names of those to be conferred with Honorary Degrees at the 2018 Autumn Conferring. The four individuals to be conferred during the week of 15 October are:  Catherine Corless, local historian, campaigner on behalf of survivors and deceased of the Tuam Mother and Baby Home Sharon Shannon, internationally-recognised traditional Irish musician Helen Rochford Brennan, activist for rights of people with dementia Brendan Dunford, biodiversity campaigner and founder of BurrenBeo Trust. Speaking on the announcement, NUI Galway President, Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh said: “NUI Galway is fortunate to be associated with many outstanding honorary graduates throughout its history and those being honoured this year form a particularly distinguished group. Each one has made an outstanding and distinctive contribution in their field.  In honouring these exceptional individuals, we signal what we value in areas that matter to us and to our society - local history, disability rights, music and environmental sustainability. NUI Galway is very pleased to be in a position to recognise these exceptional individuals.  Each of those we honour also have a special bond with our region - drawing on the unique experiences, strengths and challenges with which we as a University also engage – history, environment, social policy and creative arts. On behalf of NUI Galway I am delighted to honour them and their achievements in this way.”   Catherine Corless is a local historian known for her research into the Mother and Baby Home in Tuam, Co. Galway and advocacy work on behalf of the survivors and the children who lost their lives.  She has been awarded the Bar of Ireland Human Rights Award in recognition of ‘exceptional humanitarian service’, and a Rehab Group People of the Year Award in 2018.   Sharon Shannon is a renowned traditional Irish musician from Co. Clare based in Galway who has influenced a generation of musicians.  With over 10 multi-award winning albums she has received many awards including Hot Press and Meteor Awards, and was the youngest ever recipient of the Meteor Lifetime Achievement Award.   Helen Rochford Brennan has been at the forefront of developing new ideas and human rights strategies for people with dementia in Ireland and Europe since her diagnosis with dementia in 2012.  Currently Chair of the EWGPWD in Alzheimer Europe she has an international track record as activist for people with dementia.   Brendan Dunford has been instrumental in re-invigorating biodiversity within the Burren through his initiative around Burren LIFE and the Burren programme.  He has applied science to a societal problem of biodiversity and heritage loss, working with communities to produce more sustainable food systems.  He was an instigator of The Burrenbeo Trust – a landscape charity dedicated to connecting all of us to our places and highlighting our role in caring for them.   -ends-     Céimithe Oinigh 2018 Fógartha ag OÉ Gaillimh Catherine Corless, Sharon Shannon, Helen Rochford Brennan, Brendan Dunford Inniu d’fhógair OÉ Gaillimh ainmneacha na ndaoine a mbronnfar Céimeanna Oinigh orthu ag Bronnadh an Fhómhair, 2018. Seo a leanas ainmneacha an cheathrair a mbronnfar céim orthu an tseachtain dar tús an 15 Deireadh Fómhair:  -          Catherine Corless, staraí áitiúil, feachtasóir ar son na ndaoine a bhásaigh in Áras Máithreacha agus Naíonán Thuama agus ar son iad siúd a tháinig slán as -          Sharon Shannon, ceoltóir traidisiúnta Éireannach a bhfuil cáil dhomhanda uirthi -          Helen Rochford Brennan, gníomhaí do chearta daoine a bhfuil néaltrú ag gabháil dóibh -          Brendan Dunford, feachtasóir bithéagsúlachta agus bunaitheoir Iontaobhas BurrenBeo. Ag labhairt dó faoin bhfógra, dúirt Uachtarán OÉ Gaillimh, an tOllamh Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh: “Tá an t-ádh ar OÉ Gaillimh céimithe oinigh den scoth a bheith aige in imeacht na mblianta agus is cinnte gur grúpa ar leith iad céimithe oinigh na bliana seo. Tá a c(h)ion féin déanta ag gach céimí oinigh daoibh ina réimse féin.  Trí chéim oinigh a bhronnadh ar na daoine iontacha seo, táimid ag tabhairt aitheantais do na nithe a bhfuil meas againn orthu i réimsí atá tábhachtach dúinn féin agus dár sochaí - stair áitiúil, cearta míchumais, ceol agus inbhuanaitheacht comhshaoil. Tá an-áthas ar OÉ Gaillimh a bheith in ann aitheantas a thabhairt do na daoine eisceachtúla seo.”  Tá ceangal ar leith ag gach duine a bhfuilimid ag bronnadh céim oinigh orthu lenár réigiún – agus cleachtadh acu ar an taithí, na láidreachtaí agus na dúshláin uathúla a bhaineann linne mar Ollscoil chomh maith - stair, comhshaol, polasaí sóisialta agus na healaíona cruthaitheacha. Thar ceann OÉ Gaillimh tá áthas orm ceiliúradh a dhéanamh orthu agus ar a gcuid éachtaí.” Is staraí áitiúil í Catherine Corless agus tá cáil uirthi mar gheall ar an taighde a rinne sí ar Áras Máithreacha agus Naíonán Thuama, Co. na Gaillimhe agus mar gheall ar an obair abhcóideachta a rinne sí ar son na ndaoine a tháinig slán as agus ar son na leanaí a bhásaigh ann.  Mar aitheantas ar a ‘sársheirbhís dhaonnúil’ bronnadh Gradam Chearta an Duine de chuid Chomhairle Bharra na hÉireann uirthi agus bronnadh Gradam Rehab do Phearsa na Bliana uirthi sa bhliain 2018. Is ceoltóir traidisiúnta Éireannach cáiliúil í Sharon Shannon as Co. an Chláir atá ag cur fúithi i nGaillimh agus chuaigh sí i gcion ar ghlúin ceoltóirí.  Tá gradaim amach bainte amach ag 10 n-albam dá cuid agus is iomaí duais atá buaite aici lena n-áirítear Gradaim Hot Press agus Gradam Meteor, agus bhí sí ar an duine ab óige riamh ar bronnadh Gradam Saoil Meteor uirthi. Tá Helen Rochford Brennan ar thús cadhnaíochta maidir le smaointe nua agus straitéisí chearta an duine a fhorbairt do dhaoine a bhfuil néaltrú ag gabháil dóibh in Éirinn agus san Eoraip ón uair a dúradh léi go raibh néaltrú ag gabháil di féin in 2012.  Faoi láthair tá sí ina Cathaoirleach ar EWGPWD in Alzheimer Europe agus tá a cion déanta aici ar leibhéal idirnáisiúnta mar ghníomhaí do dhaoine a bhfuil néaltrú ag gabháil dóibh. Bhí Brendan Dunford lárnach i mborradh in athuair a chur faoi bhithéagsúlacht i mBoirinn trína thionscnamh Burren LIFE agus trí chlár Bhoirne.  Bhain sé úsáid as eolaíocht chun dul i ngleic le fadhb shochaíoch bhithéagsúlachta agus caillteanas oidhreachta, agus é i mbun oibre le pobail chun córais bhia níos inbhuanaithe a tháirgeadh.  Bhí sé ar dhuine den dream a chur tús le hIontaobhas Burrenbeo - carthanas tírdhreacha dírithe ar muid ar fad a cheangal lenár n-áiteanna agus aird a tharraingt ar an ról atá againn maidir le haire a thabhairt do na háiteanna sin. -críoch-

Wednesday, 19 September 2018

NUI Galway Conference to feature banking, business and financial experts NUI Galway’s Whitaker Institute and Moore Institute will host a conference ‘10 Years On: How Ireland Has Changed since the Financial Crisis’ in the Institute for Lifecourse and Society at NUI Galway on Friday, 28 September.  In the fateful decade since the collapse of Lehman Brothers and the Bank Guarantee of September 2008, much has happened in Ireland – financial crisis, deep recession, bailout by the ‘Troika’, a protracted period of austerity followed by vigorous economic recovery. But what has really changed over the last ten years? What developments in the financial and political system have taken place and what has been the cultural effect of the crisis? Will we repeat the same mistakes or find ways to avoid them? This major public event convened by the Whitaker Institute and the Moore Institute will examine these questions with a high profile group of participants, including keynote speeches by former Central Bank of Ireland governor, Patrick Honohan and playwright and author, Colin Murphy. Guest panelists include: Angela Knight CBE, former Chief Executive, British Bankers’ Association; Fiona Ross, Chair, CIÉ; Professor John McHale, College of Business, Public Policy and Law, NUI Galway; Frances Ruane, former Director, Economic and Social Research Institute; Stephen Collins, former Political Editor, The Irish Times; Professor Kate Kenny, Queen’s University Belfast and Gearóid Ó Tuathaigh, Emeritus Professor of History, NUI Galway. The event will be hosted and chaired by Professor Alan Ahearne, Director of the Whitaker Institute and Professor Daniel Carey, Director of the Moore Institute at NUI Galway. President of NUI Galway, Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh will provide opening remarks. The conference will take place on Friday, 28 September, 2018 in the Institute for Lifecourse and Society lecture theatre, North Campus, NUI Galway from 2pm-6pm. The conference is free and open to the public but advance registration is essential at: http://whitakerinstitute.ie/event/10-years-on-how-ireland-has-changed-since-the-financial-crisis/ -Ends-

Tuesday, 18 September 2018

A new European-wide training network for early stage researchers in the field of disability rights has received €4.1m in funding from the European Commission’s Marie Curie programme. This network is known as the DARE Project (Disability Advocacy and Research for Europe) and will be co-ordinated by the Centre for Disability Law and Policy at NUI Galway, with the collaboration of seven partner institutions: the Institute for Social and Political Sciences, Portugal; Maastricht University, Netherlands; University of Leeds, UK; the European Disability Forum; the European Association of Service providers for Persons with Disabilities; the University of Iceland; and Swiss Paraplegic Research. Prof. Eilionóir Flynn, Principal Investigator at NUI Galway, said: “The primary aim of DARE is to equip a new generation of researchers to respond to global challenges facing persons with disabilities and policy makers. Its goal is to give legitimacy, through research, to the lived experience of persons with disabilities, as a basis for law reform.” Fifteen Early Stage Researchers will be recruited across the network on a full-time basis over three years starting in September 2019 and will explore and develop recommendations for disability law and policy reform in light of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.  All of the researchers will also have the opportunity to gain invaluable and funded work experience with leading civil society and public service organisations such as; JUSTICE, UK; AGE Platform Europe, Belgium; the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, Switzerland; the International Foundation for Electoral Systems, USA; the European Network of National Human Rights Institutions, Belgium; Pi Consultancy, Netherlands; University of Limerick, Ireland; Lumos, UK; Christian Blind Mission, Ireland; European Social Network, Belgium; European Association of Palliative Care, Belgium; and Vision Sense, UK. -Ends-

Monday, 17 September 2018

NUI Galway’s Irish Centre for Human Rights has formed a new collaboration with GLAN (Global Legal Action Network), which sees the creation of a placement scheme linking the Centre’s students to GLAN's high profile international legal actions. The collaboration is the first of its kind in Ireland and involves GLAN relocating some of its operations from London to Galway. The collaboration will be officially launched with a public seminar on ‘Transnational Lawyering in the Public Interest’ on Tuesday, 18 September in the Aula Maxima. The event is free and open to the public, including students and legal practitioners, and the audience will be able to hear the reflection of two guest senior practitioners, Kirsty Brimlow, QC and Colm O’Dwyer, SC on the potential for GLAN’s innovative strategy and their own experiences. GLAN’s collaboration with the Irish Centre for Human Rights will develop a legal education exchange where the Centre’s students can gain valuable experience working directly on legal actions tackling issues such as climate change, war crimes, torture and modern-day slavery. This collaboration follows on foot of a successful pilot scheme over the past summer. The event will be a chance for people to learn about GLAN’s unique line of work, taking legal actions across borders challenging powerful actors involved in human rights violations. Keynote speaker at the seminar, Kirsty Brimlow, Queen’s Counsel (QC) of Doughty Street Chambers in the UK, Chair of the UK’s Bar Human Rights Committee and a member of GLAN’s Advisory Committee, will talk about her own legal work on overseas human rights issues in Nigeria, Colombia, Iraq and Iran to name but a few. Kirsty practices in international human rights, public law and criminal law and has led trainings of Nigerian Bar Association barristers in the rights and protections of Internally Displaced People and Environmental Law and Alternative Dispute Resolution in the Niger Delta. Kirsty will speak about her role in work on Guantanamo Bay cases before the United States Military Commission and on behalf of the Yazidis to the International Criminal Court. Colm O’ Dwyer, Senior Counsel (SC) will moderate the event. Colm is an Irish barrister who specialises in human rights, asylum, immigration and public law. He regularly pleads before the Superior Courts in Ireland and has appeared for the applicants/plaintiffs in a number of significant and frequently cited cases in the areas of asylum, protection, citizenship, EU and immigration law. Colm is a former member of the Bar Council and was the first chair of the Bar of Ireland Human Rights Committee. He is currently chair of the non-governmental organisation, Ruhama, which assists and supports women affected by prostitution and victims of trafficking. Other speakers include Professor Siobhan Mullally, Director of the Irish Centre for Human Rights in NUI Galway and Dr Gearóid Ó Cuinn, Director of GLAN, whose team will be working directly with LLM and PhD students at the Irish Centre for Human Rights, on a range of transnational lawyering projects. Welcoming the new collaboration, Dr Gearóid Ó Cuinn, Director of GLAN, said: “This unique collaboration will provide GLAN with an Irish base to continue exploring new ways of tackling international human rights violations. As the Irish Centre for Human Rights has a track record of attracting highly capable students we have no doubt this placement scheme will strengthen our goal of identifying and pursuing impactful legal actions.” Professor Siobhán Mullally, Director of the Irish Centre for Human Rights at NUI Galway, said: “We are delighted to launch this project with GLAN, to ensure that our graduates develop the legal skills necessary to secure accountability for human rights violations. GLAN’s work on the rights of migrants, climate change and air strikes in Yemen, addresses some of the most pressing issues of human rights and international humanitarian law today.” The event will take place in the Aula Maxima, NUI Galway from 5pm-6.30pm on Tuesday, 18 September 2018. For more information about GLAN, visit: https://www.glanlaw.org/our-work -Ends-

Tuesday, 18 September 2018

4,000 students, parents and teachers expected from 5-6 October as new courses attract attention NUI Galway is launching a number of new degree courses in 2019 and will be showcasing them at NUI Galway’s up-coming Open Days on Friday, 5 and Saturday, 6 October. There is a packed programme of events lined up for the two days, including over 100 talks and masterclasses designed to give students a real insight into their options. Among the new courses on offer are BA (History and Globalisation), BA Education (Computer Science and Mathematical Studies), Law and Human Rights, and a new Law and Business degree amongst others. Lecturers and current students will be available at subject-specific stands in the main exhibition area in the Bailey Allen Hall. They will answer questions on courses, CAO points, employability, career progression routes, study abroad opportunities and other information such as accommodation and fees. SUSI, the grant awarding body will also be there to help answer any questions around eligibility and the application process. Advising students and parents on the search for the right course Caroline Duggan, Student Recruitment Officer has six top tips: “Start your research online and get a copy of the NUI Galway prospectus. Once you have reviewed course structure and content it is vital to attend an Open Day, talking to those lecturing on the course and those who are already studying on the course gives students and parents an invaluable insight into what the content of the course is like, but also what university life is like in Galway.” Stressing the importance of being completely informed Ms Duggan recommends making the most of Open Days by asking as many questions as possible: “Ask lots and lots of questions. NUI Galway hosts a special information session for parents which is an invaluable forum to get information on student supports, fees and accommodation.” Lastly Caroline Duggan recommends parents and students get off campus: “Remember you are not just choosing a course you are choosing where you are going to live for the next three to four years so it’s important that you can see yourself living there and being happy.” The information session for parents will be hosted by John Hannon, Director of Student Services, and will take place in the Aula Maxima on Saturday, 6 October at 11am, and will be repeated again at 1pm. To get the most out of the Open Days, which run from 9am to 3pm, visitors are encouraged to view the timetable of talks and full programme in advance at http://www.nuigalway.ie/opendays/programme/. To find out more visit www.nuigalway.ie/opendays, phone 091 494398 or email visit@nuigalway.ie. -Ends-

Tuesday, 18 September 2018

International planning consultants BDP to support development plan for Nun’s Island lands NUI Galway today (Tuesday 18th September) announced the appointment of master planning consultants to assist in the preparation of a plan which will result in a strategy for a structured approach to regeneration of the lands at Nun’s Island in Galway City. The former industrial area in Galway City currently contains a number of uses including residential, education, commercial, civic and cultural as well as a number of disused buildings in the ownership of NUI Galway, unused spaces and a valuable public realm which includes a number of waterways. The University and Galway City Council are collaborating to develop a master plan to investigate the potential to optimise the use of this underutilised city centre space through the appropriate mix of redevelopment and public realm spaces. International planning and design consultants BDP have been appointed as master planners and bring global experience in planning, urban design, landscape architecture and community engagement. BDP were the master planner and lead architect for Liverpool’s city centre urban renewal scheme and have also developed the master plan for the River Lagan area of Belfast in recent years.   The first phase of the process which will commence over the coming months will involve a programme of consultation with the public, including focused engagement with local residents, community and business groups as well as other interested parties. This consultation process will inform the development of an integrated masterplan scheduled to be completed next summer. Speaking today President of NUI Galway, Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh said: “This piece of Galway City has the potential to generate a range of community, economic, social, environmental and educational benefits and this master planning exercise will deliver fresh perspectives on the development of University lands and properties on Nun’s Island. “Our advancement as a University is influenced strongly by the strengths of our hinterland and we welcome all views that will contribute to the long-term development of Nun’s Island for the betterment of our community. This process will result in a plan with options for regenerating the area and we look forward to hearing the ideas of local residents, businesses, community groups and other interested parties as we collectively look to the future for this part of the city.” The plan will be developed in partnership with Galway City Council as part of the commitments in Policy 5.1 of the Galway City Council Development Plan 2017-2023. Brendan McGrath, Chief Executive of Galway City Council said: “Nun’s Island is a significant land bank within Galway City Centre. A visionary plan for its regeneration that takes account of the objectives of the City Development Plan is paramount to the future of Galway City. Galway City Council looks forward to collaborating with NUI Galway to secure a high quality redevelopment of this important area to the benefit of the city and its people”. The outcome of the process will be a developed strategy for regeneration, taking into account the current social and economic environment, so the plan can be fully realised. It will take cognisance of the statutory City Plan and the measures included in the Galway Transport Strategy. This appointment will complement and shortly coincide with the Galway City Council’s appointment of consultants to prepare a Public Realm Strategy for the city centre and will see all parties coordinating to deliver the best options for regeneration and rejuvenation for the city. The University will shortly publish details of its public consultation plan which will afford opportunities for all to have an input to shape the process. The first community meetings on the subject will happen in during October & November. All local residents and businesses will be contacted directly and invited to participate in the process.  Other interested parties can email nunsisland@nuigalway.ie to be kept informed.  ENDS

Monday, 17 September 2018

A lecture series hosted by the College of Arts, Social Sciences, and Celtic Studies at NUI Galway, will continue with the University’s new Established Professor of Modern Irish Tadhg Ó hIfearnáin. The event will take place on Thursday, 4 October at 5pm, in Room GO10 in the Moore Institute. Drawing on work among speakers of Irish and the other Gaelic languages, Professor Ó hIfearnáin’s talk will discuss three concepts at the core of minority language sociolinguistics; nativeness, anonymity and language transmission. Maintenance and revival in minority languages have emphasised nativeness, dúchas, the inherent link between a language, its community of speakers and the unique place they are from. In contrast, while widely spoken languages also have their historic homelands, their modern standard varieties owe their power to their anonymity – they are advanced as being the languages of order, reason, commerce and development, international culture and communication. They are seen as the languages of everywhere and yet of nowhere in particular. Language policy and practice for minoritised language revival has to negotiate a path that values traditional language and culture but moves beyond nativeness alone to make the language more ‘anonymous’ - available to everyone for all normal uses in contemporary society. Tadhg Ó hIfearnáin is Established Professor of Modern Irish in NUI Galway. He was previously at the University of Limerick from 1996-2017, and with the Department of Breton and Celtic at University of Rennes 2 from 1990, after periods as a lecturer and research student in the University of Ulster at Coleraine and Utrecht University. He holds a BA and PhD in Irish from the University of Ulster at Coleraine. His research and teaching mostly focuses on questions of language and society, from the 17th century to date, and in particular the contemporary linguistics and sociolinguistics of Irish and other minoritised languages. Dr Seán Crosson, Vice-Dean College of Arts, Social Sciences and Celtic Studies at NUI Galway, said: “We are delighted to continue this lecture series which provides a great opportunity for the University to make the general public more aware of the world-leading innovative research being undertaken in the college.” Upcoming speakers in the New Professors’ Inaugural lecture series will include: Professor Molly Byrne, School of Psychology, on Thursday, 8 November, at 5pm Professor Enrico Dal Lago, History, on Thursday, 13 December, at 5pm -Ends- Léacht faoi Shochtheangeolaíocht Teangacha Mionlaigh le tabhairt ag an Ollamh Bunaithe le Nua-Ghaeilge in OÉ Gaillimh Tabharfaidh an tOllamh Bunaithe nuacheaptha le Nua-Ghaeilge, Tadhg Ó hIfearnáin, léacht mar chuid den tsraith léachtaí atá á reáchtáil ag Coláiste na nDán, na nEolaíochtaí Sóisialta agus an Léinn Cheiltigh in OÉ Gaillimh. Beidh an ócáid ar siúl ar 5pm Déardaoin, an 4 Deireadh Fómhair i Seomra GO10 in Institiúid de Móra. Agus é ag tarraingt ar a chuid oibre i measc cainteoirí Gaeilge agus teangacha Gaelacha eile, pléifidh an tOllamh Ó hIfearnáin trí chroí-choincheap a bhaineann le sochtheangeolaíocht teangacha mionlaigh; an dúchas, an anaithnideacht agus seachadadh teanga. Cuireadh béim i gcaomhnú agus in athbheochan teangacha mionlaigh ar an dúchas, an nasc nádúrtha idir teanga, a pobal cainteoirí agus an áit faoi leith as a dtagann siad. Ar an taobh eile den scéal, cé go bhfuil a ndúiche stairiúil féin ag teangacha a labhraítear go forleathan chomh maith, is í a n-anaithnideacht cnámh droma na leaganacha caighdeánacha nua-aimseartha díobh – deirtear gurb iad sin teangacha an chórais, an réasúin, na tráchtála agus na forbartha, an chultúir idirnáisiúnta agus na cumarsáide.   Glactar leo mar theangacha a bhaineann le gach áit ach glactar leo chomh maith mar theangacha nach mbaineann le haon áit ar leith. Má táthar ag iarraidh teanga mhionlaithe a athbheochan, caithfear bealach a aimsiú i bpolasaithe agus i gcleachtas teanga ina mbeidh meas ar an teanga agus ar an gcultúr traidisiúnta ach a rachaidh níos faide ná an dúchas amháin chun go mbeidh an teanga níos ‘anaithnide’ - is é sin, go mbeidh sí ar fáil do gach duine le gnáthúsáid a bhaint aisti sa tsochaí chomhaimseartha. Is é Tadhg Ó hIfearnáin an tOllamh Bunaithe le Nua-Ghaeilge in OÉ Gaillimh. Bhí sé ag obair in Ollscoil Luimnigh ó 1996-2017, agus le Roinn na Briotáinise agus na Ceiltise in Ollscoil Rennes 2 ó 1990, i ndiaidh dó tréimhsí a chaitheamh ina léachtóir agus ina mhac léinn taighde in Ollscoil Uladh, Cúil Raithin agus in Ollscoil Utrecht. Tá BA agus PhD sa Ghaeilge aige ó Ollscoil Uladh, Cúil Raithin. Díríonn sé ina chuid taighde agus a chuid teagaisc ar cheisteanna teanga agus pobail, ón 17ú haois i leith, agus go háirithe ar theangeolaíocht agus sochtheangeolaíocht chomhaimseartha na Gaeilge agus teangacha mionlaithe eile. Bhí an méid seo le rá ag an Dr Seán Crosson, Leas-Déan Choláiste na nDán, na nEolaíochtaí Sóisialta agus an Léinn Cheiltigh in OÉ Gaillimh: “Tá an-áthas orainn go bhfuilimid ag leanúint leis an tsraith léachtaí seo a thugann deis iontach don Ollscoil an pobal a chur ar an eolas faoin taighde nuálaíoch agus ceannródaíoch atá ar bun sa choláiste.” Is i mBéarla a bheidh an léacht seo, le díospóireacht dháthteangach  ina dhiaidh I measc na gcainteoirí a bheidh páirteach i sraith léachtaí tionscnaimh na nOllúna Nua, beidh an bheirt seo a leanas: An tOllamh Molly Byrne, Scoil na Síceolaíochta, Déardaoin, an 8 Samhain, ag 5pm An tOllamh Enrico Dal Lago, Roinn na Staire, Déardaoin, an 13 Nollaig, ag 5pm -Críoch-

Monday, 17 September 2018

Commitment to six-point plan to achieve a sustainable, competitive university system  for Ireland’s future talent  Ireland’s seven universities have today (September 17th, 2018) committed to a Charter to grow and develop the university education system for this and future generations of students. Ireland’s Future Talent - A Charter for Irish Universities commits to transform capability and performance across a range of key criteria to deliver a sustainable, competitive university system for Ireland’s foreseeable needs. Professor Patrick O’Shea, President of UCC and Chair of the Irish Universities Association said: “Ireland has long extoled the virtue of our indigenous talent, nurtured by our education system. However, a decade of under-investment by the State, the demographic bulge and a dynamic, competitive international education environment forces us all to confront stark realities. It is incumbent on the State, on universities and on society to implement initiatives to develop and fully realise our national talent. The time for talking is over. The time for change has come.”              “The importance of the Charter is that it underpins a commitment to substantial change. It calls out the challenges. It identifies solutions. It puts meat on the bones of the Government’s ambition. As a society, we must commit to and enable this change. This Charter captures our commitment and it is now incumbent on the Government to meet the challenge,” he concluded.    The Charter identifies six central objectives and commits to delivering a fit for purpose university system for the evolving demands of society. Its target is to enable the Irish education system to become the best in Europe by 2026, thereby achieving the Government’s ambition for the national education sector. The development of the Charter, the first of its kind in third level education history, has been engineered by the Irish Universities Association and was launched at an event in Dublin today. Jim Miley, Director General of the Irish Universities Association said: “Universities worldwide are transforming and the Charter to which we have committed today is designed to move Irish universities to the forefront of that change by jointly committing to a range of measures that better support students, staff and research and that will deliver in the national interest. This is a mission-critical initiative for the combined universities. The political community now needs to step up to the challenge and match the ambition and commitment demonstrated by the universities.” He added: “We require a transformation of how university education is controlled including freeing universities from the grinding levers of State to allow them innovate and grow. This requires more flexible structures combined with strong governance and accountability.” “Every politician is aware of the major funding deficit for third level, yet no progress has been made on re-vamping the overall structure, despite clear options proposed by the Government-appointed expert group. Too many are hiding behind the fig leaf of the option they don’t like.  Meanwhile, the scale of funding deficit continues to grow as more and more students enter our universities. We share the government’s ambition for education but that ambition needs to be matched with a commitment to provide the structures and funding required to deliver it. It’s time to get real on this,” he concluded.               Ireland’s Future Talent - A Charter for Irish Universities can be accessed in full at: https://www.iua.ie/iua-launch-irelands-future-talent-a-charter-for-irish-universities-17-sept-2018/ The Charter sets out six core commitments by universities, which will work in partnership with government and other stakeholders, to fully deliver. In summary they are: 1.       Build on the quality of the student experience in a digital age. The student population in Irish universities will surge by 25,000 by 2030, coinciding with rapid advances in digital learning and a need to expand lifelong learning opportunities. To meet these challenges, universities commit to: Developing a national programmein digital learning in partnership with government; Increasing lifelong learning for people aged 25 to 64 from the current 6.5% to the EU average of 10.7% by 2030; Increasing our international reach by increasing international student numbers to 15%of the overall student population and enabling 20% of students to undertake study or placement abroad by 2025. This requires investment to refurbish decaying infrastructure, build capacity and provide the systems needed for an increasingly digital and flexible learning environment. 2.       Increase the scale, scope and impact of investment in research and innovation. While sustained public investment in R&D continued through the recession, Ireland still lags behind the OECD average of 2.4% of GDP at just 1.2%. To build capacity for world-class research, universities commit to: Expanding engagement between universities and industry on knowledge transfer and innovation; Increasing the output of PhD graduates by at least 30% over the next 10 years. Growing R&D investment to at least 2% of GPD will require an investment of €680 million per annum. Securing additional EU funds from the Horizon Europe EU Research Programme should be a core Government priority. 3.       Expand student access and increase engagement with communities and industry. The Disability Access Route to Education programme has resulted in a 70% increase in new entrants with disabilities, while the Higher Education Access Route programme has grown the numbers from priority socio-economic target groups by 31%. Universities will further grow these numbers, address progression rates and build on the success of Campus Engage. Universities commit to: Increasing access numbers by a further 30% by 2025; Providing better opportunities for students to work with civoc society organisations through accredited learning, growth in engaged research and promotion of studentvolunteer.ie; Strengthening and deepening industry links to align with workforce demands and build more partnerships. 4.       Support a programme of staff development and increased equality and diversity. University staff numbers and pay scales are controlled by central government, which limits universities’ capacity to respond flexibly to rapidly changing needs. All seven Irish universities have now been awarded Athena Swan Bronze status, a key indicator of progress on equality and diversity. To build on this, universities commit to: Implementing a professional development framework for university staff; Implementing the recommendations of the Gender Equality Taskforce on Higher Education to advance diversity, inclusion and equality. Securing agreement on a Researcher Career Development and Employment Framework to provide a secure basis for researchers to develop a career path. To allow delivery of these commitments, the rigid and centralised control on university staffing should be changed to allow greater flexibility for each university to develop bespoke HR plans. 5.       Create more flexible and accountable structures. International evidence points to the fact that the most successful universities are those with the greatest levels of independence coupled with strong governance and accountability. Universities are committed to: Working with government on legislative reform to deliver a more flexible operating structure, with a better capacity to respond to the needs of the economy and society in general. Improving accountability through better governance structures, in accordance with best international practice. To deliver a more effective and efficient university system we need the removal of restrictive measures in relation to employment, in line with the principles set out in the National Strategy for Higher Education to 2030; 6.       Secure the investment and resources to achieve our ambitions. While the Government has commenced reversing the funding decline, long-awaited policy decisions on revamping the overall structure of funding have been delayed. A definitive decision on a sustainable funding model for higher education is urgently required to prevent risks to our economic competitiveness. A more sustainable university system can be delivered by: Increasing State investment in Higher Education in each of the next three budgets by €150m, €180m and €230m respectively. A more detailed plan for the capital investment in higher education, referenced in Project Ireland 2040, is required and should include a dedicated refurbishment programme.  Ends

Monday, 17 September 2018

NUI Galway’s Irish Centre for Human Rights has formed a new collaboration with GLAN (Global Legal Action Network), which sees the creation of a placement scheme linking the Centre’s students to GLAN's high profile international legal actions. The collaboration is the first of its kind in Ireland and involves GLAN relocating some of its operations from London to Galway. The collaboration will be officially launched with a public seminar on ‘Transnational Lawyering in the Public Interest’ on Tuesday, 18 September in the Aula Maxima. The event is free and open to the public, including students and legal practitioners, and the audience will be able to hear the reflection of two guest senior practitioners, Kirsty Brimlow, QC and Colm O’Dwyer, SC on the potential for GLAN’s innovative strategy and their own experiences. GLAN’s collaboration with the Irish Centre for Human Rights will develop a legal education exchange where the Centre’s students can gain valuable experience working directly on legal actions tackling issues such as climate change, war crimes, torture and modern-day slavery. This collaboration follows on foot of a successful pilot scheme over the past summer. The event will be a chance for people to learn about GLAN’s unique line of work, taking legal actions across borders challenging powerful actors involved in human rights violations. Keynote speaker at the seminar, Kirsty Brimlow, Queen’s Counsel (QC) of Doughty Street Chambers in the UK, Chair of the UK’s Bar Human Rights Committee and a member of GLAN’s Advisory Committee, will talk about her own legal work on overseas human rights issues in Nigeria, Colombia, Iraq and Iran to name but a few. Kirsty practices in international human rights, public law and criminal law and has led trainings of Nigerian Bar Association barristers in the rights and protections of Internally Displaced People and Environmental Law and Alternative Dispute Resolution in the Niger Delta. Kirsty will speak about her role in work on Guantanamo Bay cases before the United States Military Commission and on behalf of the Yazidis to the International Criminal Court. Colm O’ Dwyer, Senior Counsel (SC) will moderate the event. Colm is an Irish barrister who specialises in human rights, asylum, immigration and public law. He regularly pleads before the Superior Courts in Ireland and has appeared for the applicants/plaintiffs in a number of significant and frequently cited cases in the areas of asylum, protection, citizenship, EU and immigration law. Colm is a former member of the Bar Council and was the first chair of the Bar of Ireland Human Rights Committee. He is currently chair of the non-governmental organisation, Ruhama, which assists and supports women affected by prostitution and victims of trafficking. Other speakers include Professor Siobhan Mullally, Director of the Irish Centre for Human Rights in NUI Galway and Dr Gearóid Ó Cuinn, Director of GLAN, whose team will be working directly with LLM and PhD students at the Irish Centre for Human Rights, on a range of transnational lawyering projects. Welcoming the new collaboration, Dr Gearóid Ó Cuinn, Director of GLAN, said: “This unique collaboration will provide GLAN with an Irish base to continue exploring new ways of tackling international human rights violations. As the Irish Centre for Human Rights has a track record of attracting highly capable students we have no doubt this placement scheme will strengthen our goal of identifying and pursuing impactful legal actions.” Professor Siobhán Mullally, Director of the Irish Centre for Human Rights at NUI Galway, said: “We are delighted to launch this project with GLAN, to ensure that our graduates develop the legal skills necessary to secure accountability for human rights violations. GLAN’s work on the rights of migrants, climate change and air strikes in Yemen, addresses some of the most pressing issues of human rights and international humanitarian law today.” The event will take place in the Aula Maxima, NUI Galway from 5pm-6.30pm on Tuesday, 18 September 2018. For more information about GLAN, visit: https://www.glanlaw.org/our-work -Ends-

Monday, 17 September 2018

Culture Night will return on Friday, 21 September with a large number of venues and public spaces across Ireland opening their doors to host a programme of free entertainment, as part of an all-island celebration of arts, heritage, science and culture. Now in its thirteenth year, the free annual event encourages more people of all ages to visit cultural venues and to experience culture in their own locality. Following a very popular collaboration on Culture Night 2017, staff and students of NUI Galway will partner with the Galway Music Residency again this year. Together, they will kick off Culture Night with a lunchtime experience of music, song, sculpture and performance on the theme of ‘Space’. On the O’Donoghue Centre stage and in the adjacent buildings at 1pm, the ConTempo Quartet, NUI Galway Staff Singers, NUI Galway Drama and Performance Studies students and sculptor James Fleming will present an audio-visual show that invites viewers to look to the sky and reimagine the space around them. CÚRAM, the Science Foundation Ireland Research Centre for Medical Devices at NUI Galway, is also teaming up with the National Aquarium (Galway Atlantaquaria) to showcase the science behind the shores of Galway Bay. ‘Sea-search: Marine Inspired Research’ is an interactive, educational science investigation of the links between marine science and medical devices. Researchers taking part in the event will talk about a range of research across these two fields currently underway in Galway, from microplastics and animal regeneration, to drug delivery and barnacle inspired glues! Participants will meet at 5:45pm on Grattan beach for a walk through the Salthill seascape, followed by a trip to the Galway Atlantaquaria to learn about how marine life has inspired modern advances in medicine and technology. Sea-search is an ideal family event where participants of all ages get to experience the worlds of medical and marine science and discover amazing facts and experiments designed to inspire the next generation of ‘Sea-searchers’. To book a place on this free event visit www.seasearch.ie. The Computer and Communications Museum of Ireland at the Insight Centre for Data Analytics will open its doors from 6-8pm. The public are invited to enjoy the sights and sounds of the early days of computer gaming from the 1970s and 1980s with classics such as Pacman, Tetris, the commodore Vic-20, and many more. Canadian poet, Chad Norman, will also perform a special poetry reading in the James Hardiman Library from 1-2pm. Chad will be joined at this lunchtime event by local poets Celeste Auge, Gerry Hanberry and Mary Madec. Admission to these events are free and open to all and early arrival is recommended. For further information on all the events taking place for Culture Night 2018 visit https://culturenight.ie/. -Ends-

Friday, 14 September 2018

NUI Galway researchers lead air pollution study showing that solid fuels including ‘climate friendly’ biomass residential solid fuels lead to extraordinarily high levels of air pollution An air pollution study, led by researchers at NUI Galway’s School of Physics and Ryan Institute’s Centre for Climate and Air Pollution Studies have found that Dublin’s PM2.5 air pollution (Particulate Matter airborne smog, smoke and haze particles smaller in size than 2.5 microns) can surpass the World Health Organisation’s recommended 24-hour Air Quality Guideline. Over the 2-month winter period from late November 2016 to late January 2017, the daily Average Quality Guideline (AQG) was breached every one in five days and during the main emission period of these events (late evening), hourly levels were frequently 10 times higher than the 24-hour AQG threshold (25 µg m-3). The Average Quality Guideline is more-strict than current regulatory levels but is not to be regarded as a safe level since adverse health impacts can still occur well below the AQG threshold. This research, which was funded by the Environmental Protection Agency Research Programme 2014-2020, was published today (14 September 2018) in the international journal, Nature Sustainability. The research team, led by NUI Galway’s Dr Jurgita Ovadnevaite, deployed a pilot air pollution network (AEROSOURCE), comprising highly-sophisticated, next-generation air pollution fingerprinting technology, with the capability of identifying specific sources of even the smallest amounts of air pollution. AEROSOURCE, the first national network of its kind, attributed 70% of the extraordinarily-high pollution levels during these events to peat and wood burning, despite only a small percentage of residential homes using peat or wood as a primary fuel type (13% based on the closest census data). Irrespective of the different timescales of these events and census data, all of the exceedance levels were driven by peat and wood rather than coal or oil, or even non-residential sources such as traffic. The contribution from coal use is strikingly low and highlights the success of the Smoky Coal Ban which was first introduced in Dublin in 1990 and has since been introduced in many towns and cities across the country. Like most severe air pollution events, they are associated with cold and generally stagnant winter days when fuel consumption is high and dispersion is low. However, the study found these exceedance levels are driven by solid fuels, some of which are marketed as more ‘climate-friendly’ than fossil-fuels. The climate policy shift from fossil fuels to ‘low-carbon’ or ‘carbon-neutral’ fuels is aimed at mitigating the atmospheric accumulation of greenhouse gases responsible for driving global warming, but in terms of residential heating, this shift is often towards wood (including pellets), considered as ‘low-carbon’ or ‘carbon-neutral’ biomass fuels and other solid fuels, which can lead to disproportionately poor air quality. That is to say, what is considered climate-friendly is not necessarily environmentally friendly across the board. Professor Colin O’Dowd, Director of NUI Galway’s Centre for Climate and Air Pollution Studies, said: “The disproportionate sensitivity of air pollution levels to solid fuel, including climate-friendly ‘low-carbon’ solid biomass fuel is quite concerning since fuels like wood are one of the most popular choices of ‘low carbon’ biomass fuel and consumption of this fuel type is set to double across Europe by 2020 (from 2016), and to triple globally by 2030. The results from this study suggest that along with promoting low-carbon or carbon-neutral solid fuels, it is especially important to fully consider the health impact from any associated air pollution emission. “The EU is currently conducting a major review of its Clean Air for Europe directive with a view to delivering on the aim of its 7th Environment Action Program to adopt World Health Organisation air quality values by 2020. It is important that this innovative research, which highlights the disproportionate impact of solid fuels on air quality, is fully considered in developing future EU legislative and regulatory frameworks to protect public health and the environment. The smoky coal ban did its job where it was applied and the nationwide extension in 2019 will be of further benefit but we need to remain vigilant and consolidate those victories by developing policies that continue to reduce air pollution and improve public health.” Professor O’Dowd added: “These striking results also illustrate the importance of considering the wider impacts of climate policy to avoid negative health impacts, as occurred with diesel vehicles, and ensure positive co-benefits and win-win outcomes, so that actions to mitigate against climate change benefit air quality and vice versa.” The study, comprising an international team from NUI Galway, University College Cork, Italian CNR-ISAC in Bologna and the Chinese Academy of Science in Xi’an was funded by the Irish Environmental Protection Agency, Science Foundation Ireland-MaREI Centre and the Chinese Academy of Science. To read the full study entitled ‘Extreme Air Pollution from Residential Solid Fuel Burning’ in Nature Sustainability, visit: https://www.nature.com/natsustain/ -Ends-

Monday, 3 September 2018

His Excellency Paolo Serpi, Ambassador of Italy to Ireland, and Professor Brian Hughes, Dean of International Affairs, NUI Galway, will officially open a new exhibition, Cover Revolution! Illustrators and the New Face of Italian Publishing, at NUI Galway on Wednesday, 26 September. The exhibition, curated by Melania Gazzotti, will run in the Hardiman Building from 26 September to 28 October. A revolution is taking place on Italian book­stores shelves, and more and more often illus­trators are being asked to use their colour palettes and distinctive marks to update publishers’ visual identities or redefine an author’s image. A handful of publish­ers, talented art directors, and a group of internationally acclaimed Italian illustra­tors, known for their original and powerful work, are responsible for this change. The idea to document this propitious moment in Italian illustration came to life after ob­serving this phenomenon, and this exhibition brings to light the work of some of the most loved and respected Italian illustrators: Fran­co Matticchio, Lorenzo Mattotti, Emiliano Ponzi, Guido Scarabottolo, Gianluigi Toc­cafondo, and Olimpia Zagnoli. Professor Paolo Bartoloni, Established Professor and Head of Italian at NUI Galway, said: “This exhibition provides a unique opportunity to observe the synergy between the creative practices of visual artists and those of authors, and the ways in which the written word evokes incredibly powerful and captivating images. The colours in this exhibition are vibrant, and the echoes of various styles, especially surrealism and modernism, uncanny.” The exhibition launch, which is open to the public, will take place in G010, Hardiman Building, NUI Galway from 6-8pm. -Ends-

Friday, 14 September 2018

Applauds local newspapers’ successes – they remain trusted brands in their regions Urges local newspaper editors to be ‘brave and innovate’ in the digital space Recommends Oireachtas Committee on Communications hold hearings into the future of local journalism and its funding Suggests new public broadcasting charge be used to support local journalism Timely reform of the libel laws in Ireland are needed to protect local newspapers against frivolous defamation action according to the new Head of Journalism at NUI Galway, Tom Felle. He made his remarks in a keynote address to local newspaper editors from across the country this week at a conference in NUI Galway marking the 10th anniversary of the establishment of the Press Council and Office of the Press Ombudsman in Ireland.  “Ireland’s arcane libel laws were eventually reformed in 2009. A lot has happened in the meantime and the legislation is now completely outdated in terms of dealing with defamation on social media. It’s also now timely to look at updating the legislation, in particular the balance between protecting a person’s right to a good name, and allowing the media to conduct robust journalism in the public interest.  “The high costs of legal fees in defending defamation actions is also a major difficulty for local media. In some cases litigants are bypassing the Press Ombudsman’s office completely and launching expensive litigation seeking damages for often minor mistakes in print, or worse still in an attempt to silence the truth in cases where a newspaper has done an excellent job in exposing wrongdoing of some kind.  Felle warned that investigative journalism in local communities is under threat because of the high costs of defending libel actions.   “Defending defamation actions even when a newspaper is 100 per cent in the right comes at a huge cost in terms of stresses on often very small editorial teams, and in legal fees. Editors and owners need to make a judgement call not on the merits of the case, but whether it would be cheaper to settle rather than risk huge costs in a trial. This is having a chilling effect on good quality local investigative journalism because editors and their owners cannot afford to defend libel claims, even if certain their journalism is factually accurate. Democracy will suffer if this balance is not redressed,” he said.  Felle also commended editors at the helm of local newspapers for their collective commitment to local journalism, and also urged them to be brave and innovate more.  “It’s really important to acknowledge the work you have done in staying afloat during the economic crisis from 2008 on. You remain trusted brands in your local communities and a focal point for news, information, entertainment, blow by blow details of wars won and lost on the sporting battlefields, in that all important role of holding local government to account, and in recording that first rough draft of local history.  “Your journalism has never been more popular, but the funding model to support that journalism is certainly in difficulty. It’s time to innovate, to be brave, to think about how your quality journalism can be sustained and supported in the local community. The UK Houses of Parliament produced a report on the future of local journalism. In the UK the BBC supports 150 local democracy journalists a year who work for local newspapers, funded by the licence fee. We certainly need Oireachtas Committee hearings to look at options for supporting local journalism in Ireland,” he added.  ENDS

Thursday, 13 September 2018

The UNESCO Child and Family Centre at NUI Galway has finalised a four-year study that has found significant improvements in Tusla’s Prevention, Early Intervention and Family Support services. The reports were launched with Tusla-Child and Family Agency today (13 September 2018) in Dublin. In 2016, 47,399 child protection and welfare referrals were made to Tusla-Child and Family Agency, and 6,267 children and young people were in its care in 2016. More and better prevention and early intervention is needed to reduce these numbers.    Key Report Findings Overall, the research shows Tusla is getting better at providing early help for children, young people and their families. Significantly, the research is showing that Tusla’s flagship new programme for providing early help, Meitheal, is welcomed by families and is making a positive difference to their lives. When fully in place, the system may help reduce the numbers entering the child protection system. Importantly Meitheal is improving outcomes for children and young people over time, particularly from the perspective of mothers. Maternal well-being was the most significant predictor of family outcomes suggesting that supporting mothers is key to supporting families. The study also demonstrates good work by Tusla, benchmarked against international best practice, in listening to and including children, in its policies and the capacity of the front-line workers. There is strong evidence of children and young people’s participation being embedded across Tusla. The research results indicate promising results from Tusla’s work in supporting parents through its innovative Parent Support Champions programme. Overall, while the public’s awareness of Tusla increased over the four-year study, the research findings have shown that in the main, families turn to and depend on family and close friends for help and support. The NUI Galway research reports concluded that the culture of Tusla is changing and that it is becoming more preventative in focus and inclusive of parents and children. This is demonstrated across the work of the Prevention, Partnership and Family Support programme. The research also identified areas for improvement across the programme. Ongoing organisational support and funding is needed to ensure that the PPFS is fully operational across all Tusla areas.  There is a need for greater awareness of programme components (Meitheal, children’s participation, parenting support) across the wider organisation. The general public need to be made more aware of Tusla’s prevention, early intervention and family support within its full service offering. More is to be done on integrating the programme fully within Tusla’s organisation and in day-to day-operations, and in connecting the Meitheal programme in particular with other agencies and government departments. The individual research reports indicate changes, adaptations and improvements in each of the programme areas. The research is contained in six research reports (see link below): Meitheal and Child and Family Support Networks Children’s Participation Parenting Support and Parental Participation Commissioning Public Awareness Systems Change Dr John Canavan, Associate Director and Senior Lecturer from the UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre at NUI Galway, said: “Our research demonstrates that Tusla has developed and implemented a national programme of work that should increase the numbers of children and families receiving early help to prevent problems they face getting worse. It also demonstrates that Tusla is putting in place systems, training and procedures to ensure that its meets its responsibility to listen to and act on the views of children.” Dr Carmel Devaney, lead researcher from the UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre at NUI Galway, said: “With regard to help-seeking for a parenting or family problem, personal support networks, family and friends, were the main source of support for the public. Members of the public turned to their local GP primarily if they could not manage a parent or family problem, while increasing numbers of people are asking a teacher for assistance in this area. Family members also reported their appreciation of being included in the process of identifying their needs and in deciding on a helpful response to these. Children and young people highlighted that they felt listened to with some noting improvements in their lives as a result of taking part in Meitheal. “Our findings also suggested that both the public and the media do not clearly differentiate the concept of family support from child protection, and children in care. And 98.5% of the population confirmed they had received services from Tusla when they sought them this year.” Speaking at the launch, Tusla Chief Executive Fred McBride, stated: “The Prevention, Partnership and Family Support (PPFS) programme is growing, and with our Tusla National Child and Family Support Week promotional campaign underway from September 17-23, we hope that even more people will seek help from our range of family support services. Staff at the UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre have been at our side to develop, and critically assess the PPFS programme. This work provides us with a rich understanding of the PPFS programme and it’s potential. The research carried out by NUI Galway has been executed in an academically robust and systematic manner, and provides us with a clearly defined body of knowledge that allows us to examine what we are doing, and why we are doing it.” To read and download the full research reports and key findings, visit: http://www.childandfamilyresearch.ie/cfrc/mainstream/ourworktodate/ -Ends-

Thursday, 13 September 2018

The over-arching goal of the water sector reform programme was to establish a water utility that could independently borrow to finance a heavy programme of investment in water infrastructure For this to happen, the water utility had to be classified outside the general government sector by passing the so-called ‘Eurostat test’ which was a treacherous basis for policy There was a serious disconnect between policy design and implementation NUI Galway’s Whitaker Institute will today (13 September 2018) host a conference on ‘How (Not) To Do Public Policy’, and launch a report which examines the failure of water charges and the success of the Local Property Tax in Ireland. The conference will gather senior policymakers, public servants, academics, and other experts to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the policy-making process in Ireland with a view to suggesting how the quality of policy-making might be improved, including how policies are conceived, designed, implemented, communicated, and reviewed.  The new report, meticulously researched and based on exceptional access to senior policymakers, looks back forensically at a recent policy success, the Local Property Tax (LPT) and a recent policy failure, water charges, and explores what it was about the policy-making process in each case that contributed to success or failure. The aim of the report is to better understand this recent episode in the history of public administration in Ireland and to extract appropriate lessons for policy-making. Economist Jim O’Leary, author of the report and Senior Research Fellow at the Whitaker Institute in NUI Galway, said: “A sense of trying to achieve too much too soon is suggested by the approach to the overall water sector reform programme. All in all, in examining policy on water, our reading of the evidence is that it was driven by a vision that would have been more appropriate for a 7–10-year timeframe than a 3–5-year period. “Passing the so-called ‘Eurostat test’ was a treacherous basis for policy. It is a curious fact that, while the Commission of Taxation’s proposals in 2009 in relation to property taxation provided the blueprint for the Local Property Tax, its proposals on water charges were ignored and were in several essential respects the antithesis of what government chose to do. At the end of the day, the government decisively lost the battle for the hearts and minds of the people.” Alan Ahearne, Director of the Whitaker Institute in NUI Galway, said: “Through meticulous desk research and interviews with many of those who were insiders in the policymaking process, Jim O’Leary has produced an extremely well-informed, thorough and compelling study. This is a report that I am confident will have impact on how policy is made. What we have learned is that good policymaking requires all options and all aspects of the options to be investigated and that policymakers should be careful not to let perfect be the enemy of good.” Key findings from the research in relation to the relative success of the Local Property Tax versus the failure to introduce water charges: The over-arching goal of the water sector reform programme was to establish a water utility that could independently borrow to finance a heavy programme of investment in water infrastructure. For this to happen, the water utility had to be classified outside the general government sector by passing the so-called ‘Eurostat test’. This was a treacherous basis for policy. Policy choices such as the universal free allowance and universal metering were made before their implications were properly understood and without the alternatives being rigorously assessed. There was a serious disconnect between policy design and implementation. The Local Property Tax was successfully introduced because its design was infused with a keen awareness of the importance of anticipating implementation challenges. In this regard, a key moment was the decision to give responsibility for collection and administration to the Revenue Commissioners. Comments and discussion of the report will be provided by: Josephine Feehily, Chairperson, Policing Authority and former Chairman, Revenue Commissioners. Maria Graham, Assistant Secretary, Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government. Eamon Ryan TD, Leader of the Green Party. Don Thornhill, former Secretary General, Department of Education and Science. The conference will also feature a broad discussion of the policy-making process in Ireland and ways to make it more effective, including a keynote speech by: Robert Watt, Secretary General, Department of Public Expenditure and Reform. Panel and open discussion of the policy-making process moderated by Dave O’Connell, Group Editor of the Connacht Tribune to include: Richard Boyle, Head of Research, Institute of Public Administration. Joan Burton, TD, former Tánaiste and Leader of the Labour Party Kevin Cardiff, former Secretary General, Department of Finance Jill Rutter, Programme Director, Institute for Government, London This research project was supported by Galway University Foundation. To read the full report, visit: http://whitakerinstitute.ie/ -Ends-

Tuesday, 11 September 2018

Four NUI Galway graduates and students were recently recognised at the Civil Engineering Research in Ireland (CERI) Conference. The conference is organised by the Civil Engineering Research Association of Ireland (CERAI), and aims to nurture early-career researchers and offer opportunities wherever possible to the next generation of leaders in research and industry. Two researchers and NUI Galway graduates were recognised at the conference for their outstanding contribution to research and practice at an early stage in their careers. Dr Magdalena Hadjukiewicz, a postdoctoral researcher at NUI Galway, specialising in the use of computational fluid dynamics in building energy performance. Having successfully competed for and won seven significant research contracts amounting to some €13m over the last five years, including two substantial Horizon 2020 projects, she demonstrates an ability to work closely with industry, converting research into practice. NUI Galway graduate Declan Gavigan lead a multi-disciplinary team of 12 engineers at Openhydro Ltd conducting research into tidal energy and collaborated with third level institutions in winning H2020 funding amounting to some €18m in the last three years and had a patent filed last year.  During the conference awards were also presented for the best papers with a student as lead author in a number of streams of civil engineering. The NUI Galway award winners included Alan Carty for his paper on ‘An investigation into hydrodynamic effects on vortex drop structures liners using fluid-structure interaction techniques’; and Jennifer Kirkpatrick on ‘The Effect of Climate Change on Flooding in Cork City’. Professor Peter McHugh, Dean of the College of Engineering and Informatics at NUI Galway, said: “It is fantastic to see young researchers who are alumni of NUI Galway being recognised in this way by the Civil Engineering research community in Ireland. The success of both Magdalena and Declan at attracting significant funding from the European Commission Horizon 2020 programme is testament to the regard our peers in Europe have for the high quality research going on in NUI Galway and Ireland. Both have a very bright future, one which I have no doubt will have a very positive impact on our society in Ireland and beyond. I would also like to congratulate Alan Carty, a PhD candidate in Civil Engineering, and Jennifer Kirkpatrick, who recently completed a taught MSc in Water Resource Engineering, on winning best papers with a student as lead author. There were also papers presented at the conference whose lead authors were students who completed the work as part of their undergraduate degree in NUI Galway, which is reflective of the research lead teaching approach that we embed in our college.” -Ends-

Tuesday, 11 September 2018

A new book, Civil War and Agrarian Unrest: The Confederate South and Southern Italy, has been published by NUI Galway historian, Professor Enrico Dal Lago. The book will be officially launched by distinguished historian Professor Nicholas Canny, former President of the Royal Irish Academy and member of the European Research Council, in the Moore Institute, NUI Galway on Wednesday, 19 September at 5pm. Civil War and Agrarian Unrest: The Confederate South and Southern Italy analyses the American Civil War and the effects of slave emancipation in comparative perspective with another, little-known, civil war fought prevalently by southern Italian peasants against the Italian government in the same years 1861-65. The 150th anniversary of the American Civil War (2011-15) sparked renewed interest all over the world in the violent end of slavery in the United States. The effects of the conflict still remain, with numerous films, books, and series exploring Abraham Lincoln’s effort as President to end slavery and the defeat of the Southern Confederate forces.  Professor Dal Lago takes a comparative approach in order to challenge assumptions about the nature of Confederate nationalism. The elitism and intolerance of the Southern states’ social order, based on hierarchy, makes it very comparable to nineteenth-century Italian nationalism. He compares the resistance activity of American slaves with the rebellion staged by southern Italian peasants. The goal of both groups was the acquisition of land, not just freedom. Professor Daniel Carey, Director of the Moore Institute at NUI Galway, said: “This major study establishes Professor Dal Lago as the leading historian charting new ways of thinking about American slavery. His use of comparison casts new light on this painful legacy, reminding us that conflicts of this kind were not isolated affairs but part of a wider struggle among ordinary people in what might be called the agrarian world.” For more information contact Professor Dal Lago at enrico.dallago@nuigalway.ie. -Ends-

Monday, 10 September 2018

Encouraging multidisciplinary approaches to teaching science The Science Foundation Ireland Research Centre for Medical Devices (CÚRAM), at NUI Galway is now enrolling for its third ‘Teachers in Residence Programme’ with applications being accepted up to 19th October 2018. Teachers in residence work with CÚRAM researchers to develop high quality content for the classroom that is relevant, exciting, practical and easy to use. During the residency, teachers work directly with world class researchers and get private tours of CÚRAM laboratories in the Biomedical Sciences building at NUI Galway, to learn about the medical device research and its impact on healthcare in Ireland and globally. The residency runs from October 2018 until March 2019 for nine evenings. As part of the residency, teachers and their students are invited to attend interactive workshops run by CÚRAM, and participants of the programme will be granted a small honorarium to assist with any travel costs. Teachers from all disciplines are invited to participate, in support of encouraging multidisciplinary approaches to teaching science. The CÚRAM Teachers in Residence Programme has ten places available for five primary and five secondary school teachers this year, with priority placement given to teachers from DEIS schools.  Participants will learn about and receive resources for the classroom including science engagement activities, science capital teaching approaches, and lesson plan kits developed by teachers for teachers, that are linked with the primary and junior cycle science curricula. Professor Abhay Pandit, Scientific Director of CÚRAM at NUI Galway, said: “We have been delighted with the innovation and creativity shown by the primary and secondary teachers who have participated in the first two years of the programme. The lesson plans and resources developed for both primary and secondary school classrooms have now been fully evaluated and are available to primary and secondary teachers nationwide. If we can inspire our teachers by providing access to current, cutting edge Irish research and work with them to incorporate it into classroom activities, our hope is that they in turn can inspire their students for years to come.” In 2018, CÚRAM has also partnered in the Department of Education and Skills’ Junior Cycle for Teachers (JCT) STE(A)M to develop a continuing professional development workshop for Junior Cycle teachers around MedTech research and career opportunities. The JCT STE(A)M workshops will allow for interdisciplinary responses to societal challenges in subject-specific and cross-curricular contexts. Lesson plan kits developed from previous years’ teachers can be downloaded at: http://www.curamdevices.ie/curam/public-engagement/teachers-in-residence/. To apply for a place in the Teachers in Residence Programme or find out more information, please contact sarah.gundy@nuigalway.ie. -Ends-

Monday, 10 September 2018

NUI Galway’s International Affairs Office and College of Science have just announced a tailor-made programme in Marine Science and Biology for international students coming to Galway for a semester or year for a study abroad experience. The practice-based programme focuses on marine life and environments, and the biological principles that underlie the science of the sea. Students will gain an understanding of how marine life is distributed and evolves, and how it is affected by human activity in the unique marine environment of Galway Bay and further afield. J.B. Terrins, International Mobility Manager at NUI Galway’s International Office, said: “The marine environment is all around us in Ireland, and Galway is internationally renowned for its marine research and teaching. NUI Galway has been hosting visiting university students, most typically from the US, for over 30 years, and this programme recognises an increasing demand for science courses in specialisms for which it is known globally.” Professor Mark Johnson from the Ryan Institute and Head of the Marine Science programme at NUI Galway, says: “We are the only university in Ireland to offer an undergraduate degree in Marine Science, and Galway has the highest concentration of marine scientists in Ireland. This includes researchers in NUI Galway’s Ryan Institute, our Marine Research Station in Carna, County Galway, and colleagues in the Marine Institute in Oranmore. The work ranges from studying the science of marine ecosystems to co-operation with industry and state agencies on how to work with the sea.” For more information about the new Marine Science and Biology Study Abroad programme, contact Dr Cyril Reddington, International Affairs Office, NUI Galway at cyril.reddington@nuigalway.ie or 091 492105. To read more about the Study Abroad course for visiting international students, visit: www.nuigalway.ie/science/international-students/studyabroad/marinescience/index.html -Ends-

Monday, 10 September 2018

NUI Galway will host the annual conference of the European Network for Research on Supplementary Pensions (ENRSP) from 20-21 September.  Pensions are a major area of social policy and spending, and affect all residents who contribute to and benefit from a country’s pension system, currently or in the future. Currently pension systems in Ireland and around the world are undergoing radical changes. These reforms raise questions about inclusion, communication, and accountability, such as: the best way to include unpensioned groups (young, female, low paid, disabled, ethnic minorities and/or SME employees) in a pension system? Or, in a defined contribution and privatised pensions world, can communication and education encourage individuals to make better financial decisions to improve their future financial security? And, as governments move to reduce over-reliance on public pensions, who is accountable for ensuring that future old age income is not eroded by fees and poor pension decisions? These are the topics which will be covered throughout the two-day conference. The conference will be opened by Brendan Kennedy, the Chief Executive of the Pensions Authority. Brendan has spent almost his entire career in pensions.  Before joining the Authority in 2004, he held a variety of life insurance and consulting positions. Brendan is a Fellow of the Society of Actuaries in Ireland, of the Institute of Actuaries and of the Irish Institute of Pensions Management. He is a former chair of the Occupational Pensions Committee of the European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority.  Susan Kiuvalainen, Head of Research at the Finnish Centre for Pensions, will deliver the keynote address. Susan will speak about Finland’s recently implemented pension reforms intended to secure the financing of earnings-related pensions (ERPs), promote sufficient retirement income and achieve intergenerational fairness. Kiuvalainen oversees the research in support of the evaluation and development of ERPs in Finland. The European Commission presents Finnish reforms as a model for a sustainable European pension solution. Maureen Maloney, Lecturer in Management at NUI Galway and one of the conference organisers, said: “There could be no better time to welcome academics from Europe and the US to discuss pension issues. The last major change to the pension system in Ireland was in 2003. Understanding the experiences from other countries will help us to make the right changes that will benefit all of us when we retire.” The conference is hosted by NUI Galway and the Pension Policy Research Group. Contributions were received from The Pensions Authority, the Pension Policy Research Group, and NUI Galway’s Registrar's Office, The Irish Centre of Social Gerontology and the Discipline of Management. For more information on the conference contact Maureen Maloney at maureen.maloney@nuigalway.ie or visit http://www.conference.ie/Conferences/index.asp?Conference=563. -Ends-