NUI Galway Researchers Awarded Funding for Irish Biomedical Research Projects

NUI Galway Researchers Awarded Funding for Irish Biomedical Research Projects -image

Friday, 13 May 2011

Two NUI Galway researchers, Professor Abhay Pandit, Network of Excellence for Functional Biomaterials (NFB) and Professor Rhodri Ceredig of the Regenerative Medicine Institute (Remedi) were among five awardees funded under an innovative new research programme funded by the Johnson & Johnson Corporate Office of Science and Technology (COSAT) and Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) this week. The research projects, all in the biomedical sphere, were launched by the Minister for Research and Innovation Mr Sean Sherlock TD. The Healthcare Innovation Programme Award (HIPA), which was established by SFI with the support of COSAT is aimed at encouraging biomedical exploration in the specific areas of immune-modulated inflammatory diseases, including osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, graft-vs-host disease, psoriasis, lung disease, renal disease, inflammatory bowel disease, and neurodegenerative diseases. Speaking about the significance of the programme, Minister Sherlock said “Given that inflammatory disorders are a major cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide, there is now an urgency in expediting the discovery of novel therapeutic targets in inflammation, in developing new treatment approaches and in moving to translate these developments to clinical applications.” The Minister added “This timely partnership identifies Irish based researchers who will help accelerate the translation of basic research into therapies useful in the treatment of inflammatory diseases” Professor Pandit, in collaboration with Professor John Laffey, Department of Anaesthesia, NUI Galway will conduct a study on a novel treatment for acute lung injury. Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS) and acute lung injury (ALI) constitute the leading cause of death in paediatric and adult critical care; it is a devastating disease process for which no therapy exists. This study will use biomaterial-based nanospheres to deliver the optimal dosage of the SOD gene, to the lung using a nebulizer. This is a non-invasive approach, which will ensure translation to the clinical setting. Speaking about the award, Professor Pandit said “We are delighted, and very grateful, to receive this grant supporting our research. We at the NFB are keen to translate our research to the clinical setting and this award supports that ambition.” Professor Ceredig in collaboration with Professor Benjamin Bradley of the Institute of Technology, Tralee will conduct a drug discovery programme using by-products obtained from processing of natural materials. Some of these products have been shown to have immune-modulatory activity. Using a screening assay whereby whole blood is incubated in the presence of these materials, the funds will be used to identify novel immune-modulatory drugs from these natural sources. There are so many examples where novel drugs, such as aspirin and penicillin have been discovered from natural sources. Speaking about the award, Professor Ceredig said “We are honoured to receive this prestigious award for a collaborative venture between NUI Galway and the Institute of Technology, Tralee. We are hopeful that this form of collaboration will result in the discovery and development of novel therapies for immune and inflammatory diseases.” -Ends-

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New National Initiative for Irish Citizens Launched

New National Initiative for Irish Citizens Launched -image

Friday, 13 May 2011

We the Citizens is a new, national, independent initiative to show how Ireland could benefit by citizens coming together in new ways of public decision-making. Funded by Atlantic Philanthropies and endorsed by the IUA, the main objective of the new initiative is to renew trust in politics at this time of social and economic crisis in Ireland. A number of citizen information events will take place throughout Ireland in May and June and these will culminate in a national citizens assembly at the end of June. Cork - Wednesday, 18 May at 7pm in the Clarion Hotel, Lapps Quay, Cork City Galway - Tuesday, 24 May at 7pm in the Radisson, Lough Atalia Road, Galway Blanchardstown - Tuesday, 31 May at 7pm in the Crowne Plaza, Blanchardstown, Dublin 15 Tallaght - Wednesday, 1 June at 7pm in the Maldron Hotel Tallaght, Whitestown Way, Tallaght Donegal - Tuesday, 7 June at 7pm in the Radisson, Paddy Harte Road, Letterkennny, Co Donegal Athlone - Tuesday, 14 June at 7pm in the Sheraton, Gleeson St, Athlone, Co. Westmeath Each event will close with a political comedy performance and Gary Cooke and Barry Murphy of Après Match fame are among some of the special guests lined up. To secure your place, or for further information, visit www.wethecitizens.ie or call 01 6706362. -Ends-

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NUI Galway Researchers Awarded Research Council Fellowships

NUI Galway Researchers Awarded Research Council Fellowships -image

Monday, 9 May 2011

Six NUI Galway Researchers have been awarded Fellowships by the Irish Research Council for Science, Engineering and Technology (IRCSET). Over € 3.3 million will be made available under the IRCSET Empower scheme to support a total of 37 researchers who will carry out a research and professional development programme over the next two years. The NUI Galway recipients include Dr Fiona Brennan, Dr Olivier LeRoux, Biology; Dr Rory Coffey, Dr James Murphy, Earth/Environmental Sciences; Dr Alexander Rahm, Mathematics and Dr Micheal Scanlon, Chemistry. IRCSET programmes are aimed at knowledge creation within Ireland for the future benefit of society and the smart economy. The EMPOWER Scheme is targeted at developing the country s international reputation as an important location in which to carry out world class research, so that Ireland retains and attracts the highest level Research and Development capabilities for the future. The scheme was open to applicants worldwide who wish to carry out research in Ireland. Announcing the posts, Martin Hynes, Director of IRCSET commented: “Now in its ninth year, the EMPOWER Scheme continues to assist in building the strong Irish research system by facilitating talented young researchers to develop their careers in Ireland. These individuals both contribute to and gain from the experience of established research teams, developing the necessary skills to equip them for successful careers in a wide range of employment sectors. The scheme also facilitates international mobility within the research community by attracting researchers from other countries to Ireland. Each year it attracts a large number of applications from very high-quality candidates worldwide, and the scheme’s international assessment committee continue to be impressed by the exceptionally high calibre of the successful candidates.” Congratulating the six NUI Galway researchers, Vice President for Research at NUI Galway Professor Terry Smith said; “The IRCSET Empower scheme is an important scheme which gives our researchers at an early stage of their research career the opportunity to build upon and broaden their research and professional skills, which contribute to the excellent research being undertaken at NUI Galway.” All applications to this highly competitive scheme were subject to assessment, strictly on merit, by international assessment committees who are specialist in each domain. The decision to grant funding is based on research career to date, project description, proposed research environment and references from recognised research leaders. Further details are available at www.ircset.ie. -Ends-

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Distinguished Lecture on Inequalities, Interculturalism and Diversity

Distinguished Lecture on Inequalities, Interculturalism and Diversity -image

Monday, 9 May 2011

The Lifecourse Institute (LCI) at NUI Galway is holding its annual Honorary Public Lecture on Wednesday, 18 May entitled Inequality and Diversity across the Lifecourse: Intercultural Perspectives. The main speaker, UNESCO Chair, Professor Jagdish Gundara will address the issues of interculturalism, diversity, in-equality and how groups of children and families, older people and people with disabilities are affected. The lessons learnt from interculturalism in the UK and elsewhere will be drawn on, as well as looking at the Irish perspective and where we stand now within a recession context and going forward. Professor Gundara is a distinguished academic in the area of intercultural education and human rights and holds the UNESCO Chair in Intercultural Education in the University of London. He has also acted as an advisor to a range of Governments on intercultural approaches, including the former Prime Minister of the UK, Tony Blair. His presentation will be followed by a response from an Irish perspective by Dr. Siobhán Mullally of the Law Faculty of University College Cork. Dr. Mullally is an expert on international human rights law and its applicability in Ireland and elsewhere and has published and presented widely on issues on interculturalism, equality, gender issues. She has also acted as an advisor to a range of UN bodies and international NGOs. Dr. Siobhán Mullally has held visiting posts in a range of international universities, including Harvard and Cornell Law Schools. The Lifecourse Institute comprises a multidisciplinary facility which is intended to integrate and enhance the work of three existing centres at NUI Galway: the Centre for Disability Law and Policy, the Child and Family Research Centre, and the Irish Centre for Social Gerontology. The aim of the Lifecourse Institute is to impact positively on future policies for children and families, persons with disabilities and older people through advancing an integrated approach to research, policy and services. Professor Pat Dolan, UNESCO Chair and Director of the LCI, commented: “We are delighted to host such distinguished speakers and to open up the debate to the floor on such an important topic that has implications for many groups in Irish society.” Ireland is currently at a crossroads in terms of how we address diversity going forward and the type of society we want to become. Professor Dolan added: “Less than five years ago, Ireland was discussing how it could import migrants to meet the requirements of the labour market and now we are feeling the effects of the recession and the resulting hardships, including emigration. Ireland has, however, become more multicultural over the last decade and it is essential that we look at how we can become a more inclusive society and ensure that newcomers are welcomed and interculturalism and integration are promoted.” The lecture is open to all and it is hoped to have a lively debate after the presentations. The Lifecourse Institute Annual Honorary Public Lecture will be held on Wednesday, 18 May at 5:30 to 7:00pm in MY243 Aras Moyola at NUI Galway. Bookings and further information on the seminar can be obtained from Iwona Jakubczyk ‎at iwona.jakubczyk@nuigalway.ie. -Ends-

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NUI Galway and GMIT sign Strategic Partnership

NUI Galway and GMIT sign Strategic Partnership -image

Friday, 6 May 2011

NUI Galway and Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology (GMIT) are pleased to announce a new strategic partnership to serve the educational, social and economic needs of their students and the wider regional, national and international communities. The agreement, formally signed in GMIT this evening (Thursday 5th May), provides for collaborative opportunities in teaching and learning, research, entrepreneurship, regional development, commercialisation, programme design, distance education, and work-based learning. Increasingly, higher education institutions are finding new ways of pooling expertise, knowledge and resources as a means of releasing new energy and vision in the national interest. This agreement has been drawn up in that spirit of co-operation and collaboration. Both institutions will work closely together in promoting flexible learning, flexible programme delivery, student placements, internships, staff development and the development of adjunct research positions. GMIT and NUI Galway will also devise a joint Teaching, Learning and Assessment strategy to provide programmes that focus on the needs of students, the workplace and the world of professional practice in the region, nationally and internationally. A key objective of the agreement is to ensure that research programmes are of the highest quality and delivered in accordance with best international practice. Recognising NUI Galway as the lead institution in the research domain, and the established research experience of GMIT in particular areas, both institutions will work together to develop a collaborative strategy for research. It is envisaged that research staff and students will also have access to each other’s research facilities. In addition, in another very significant development, GMIT and NUI Galway will actively develop joint and dual research awards at Masters and Doctoral levels. Both institutions are also committed to supporting the emerging vision for Galway 2040 and engaging with local businesses and the community in developing and delivering key projects to ensure that Galway continues to grow and prosper. Speaking from the US where he is currently on University business, NUI Galway President Dr James J. Browne said: “This partnership between NUI Galway and GMIT underlines the fact that both our educational institutions are working with the strengths and needs of our region and in the interest of the regional and Irish economy. GMIT has an excellent record in teaching and learning and NUI Galway is proud to collaborate with the Institute to support research and education at both institutions. NUI Galway is committed to building national and international alliances which will serve society, support industry and generate economic activity.” GMIT President Michael Carmody said: “I very much welcome this important and historic alliance between our two higher education institutions. Collaborations of this kind are key strategies in the future development of higher education nationally and internationally. ” “I would like to acknowledge the important contribution of GMIT Chairman Rory O’Connor whose term as Chairman ends later this month and who was instrumental in bringing this agreement to fruition.” added Mr Carmody. -Ends-

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New Report Identifies Importance of Life Course Perspective to Policy Planning

New Report Identifies Importance of Life Course Perspective to Policy Planning -image

Friday, 6 May 2011

A life course approach to policy planning now will promote solidarity between future generations A report into the developmental welfare state was launched today by Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton TD, at the Royal Irish Academy in Dublin. The research report is entitled ’Community Engagement in Ireland’s Developmental Welfare State: A Study of the Life Cycle Approach.’ The research was funded by the Irish Research Council for the Humanities and Social Sciences. “This research demonstrates the understanding that community organisations have of the needs of ordinary people in the current economic climate. It is extremely relevant to Government because it provides a clear picture of the realities of policy-making in challenging times,” said Minister Burton. The NUI Galway research report is the product of an 18-month study and consultative research process by researchers at the Irish Centre for Social Gerontology and School of Business and Economics. The result is a highly relevant and timely research report that sheds light on current and future policy priorities for vulnerable groups. Research results show that successful social policy planning requires a focus on the future, which means taking a life course perspective and a ’person-centred’ approach [i.e. planning for the childhood, maturity and old age of babies born today]. The report states that achieving that person-centred approach is challenging but achievable. The key is to put the citizen at the centre. “The idea that ’people matter’ in policy planning is recognised by international organisations such as the UN,” said lead author of the report, Dr. Gemma Carney. “In Ireland, we are fortunate to have an engaged and resourceful community sector that is willing to speak up for less fortunate groups. The test now is how we use that resource in challenging economic circumstances,” she added. There is room for learning in terms of how policy is developed for current and future generations. Best practice for one vulnerable group should be used to inform development of policy for others. “A life course perspective is about being both strategic and practical,” says Dr. Carney. “Recommendations of the National Positive Ageing Strategy, when that is published, should be mindful of what is already published in the National Women’s Strategy. This hasn’t been done in the past and, as a result, lack of educational opportunities, combined with caring responsibilities leave many women without an old age pension. If we were planning for the whole life course, our system of social protection would help women avoid these sorts of later life traps.” The researchers concluded that the broad range of strategies used by community activists inside and outside social partnership are an asset for good governance. Dr Tony Dundon, co-author of the report, added: “By embracing diversity and engaging in social dialogue, new opportunities for creativity and participation can benefit society more generally. Our research shows that the vitality of the community and voluntary pillar in Ireland is an exemplar of equity, voice and governance in policy-making.” Research participants from the Community and Voluntary pillar demonstrated a wide range of policy innovations in supporting vulnerable citizens across all life stages. Children’s rights, long-term care for older people, implementation of national strategies, and unemployment are among some of the key outstanding issues. Community activists who engaged in the research cited the Developmental Welfare State, itself an initiative of social partnership, as highly significant. The research recommends that a clear national strategy should be established in order to accomplish the Developmental Welfare State by embracing diversity and inclusion in both social and economic policy-making. -Ends-

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NUI Galway's Moore Institute to Host Workshop on Modernism

NUI Galway's Moore Institute to Host Workshop on Modernism-image

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

As part of the research project '1916 and After', the Moore Institute and the School of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures, NUI Galway, will hold a one-day workshop entitled The Shadows of Modernism on Thursday, 12 May, 2011 at the Moore Institute Seminar Room, NUI Galway. The workshops, led by Margaret Higonnet (University of Connecticut), and Mario Perniola (University of Rome, Tor Vergata) will interrogate aspects and issues of modernism which have been neglected or are still unsought in the context of the rapid transformation of aesthetic and social phenomena. Margaret Higonnet's workshop is titled Breaking Down and Building Up: Women, War and Modernism. Mario Perniola's workshop will deal with The Stalling of Western Aesthetics and the Rising of Oriental Thought. The workshops will have a master-class format with opportunities for discussion and interaction. For further information please contact Paolo Bartoloni at paolo.bartoloni@nuigalway.ie. Registration to the workshop is free. To make a booking please email mooreinstitute@nuigalway.ie This project is sponsored by a NUI Galway Research Support Fund. -Ends-

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NUI Galway Comic Book Society Scoop National Society Award

NUI Galway Comic Book Society Scoop National Society Award-image

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

The NUI Galway Comic Book Society has won the Best New Society Award at the recent Board of Irish College Societies (BICS) Awards ceremony held at NUI Galway. BICS, the Board of Irish College Societies is dedicated to providing a national forum for the societies across Ireland s Universities, Colleges and Institutes of Education and promoting their interests and working towards best practice in the sector. The National Awards are the highlight of the year for the Societies nationwide where the best from each institution compete for the coveted awards. According to this year's Awards coordinator and NUI Galway Societies Officer Ríona Hughes, "NUI Galway was delighted to host the largest awards to date. The standard was outstanding congratulations to all the winners." Full details of the Awards at www.bics.ie -Ends-

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15 NUI Galway Research Students Awarded Health Related Scholarships

15 NUI Galway Research Students Awarded Health Related Scholarships-image

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Fifteen NUI Galway School of Medicine research students were recently awarded Summer Student Scholarships by the Health Research Board (HRB). The aim of the HRB Summer Student Scholarships is to encourage an interest in health research and to give students an opportunity to become familiar with the research process, research techniques and methodologies through conducting a summer project. The students will be supervised by academic and clinical staff at NUI Galway and Galway University Hospital and at the School Affiliated teaching Academies. The fifteen awardees from the School of Medicine are: Cliona Small from Knocknacarra, Galway; Maria Duignan from Boyle, Co Roscommon; Catherine Crowe from Ballaghaderreen, Co Roscommon; Máirtín Ó Maoláin from Dangan, Galway; Sorcha Kearney Wolnik from Shantalla, Galway; Fiachra O Deasmhunaigh from Bishoptown, Co Cork; Sarah Cormican from Oranmore, Co Galway; Domhnall O'Connor from Tullamore, Co Offaly; Tariq Esmail from Burlington, Canada; Dympna O' Dwyer from Mullagh, Co Clare; Mark Gurney from Grange, Co Sligo; Kate Dinneen from Barna, Co Galway; Robert McGrath from Loughrea, Co Galway; Urszula Donigiewicz from Carigtwohill, Co Sligo, Darren Kilmartin from Rosses Point, Co Sligo and Alan Jacobsen from Castlegar, Co Galway. The Scholarship scheme is open to undergraduate students who are studying in a health-related discipline in a university in Ireland and who are not in the final year of their degree course. The research project must be in one of the following research areas: applied biomedical research, clinical research, health services research and population health sciences research. The Scholarship will support the students' participation in research over the summer and they will receive €250 per week for a maximum of eight weeks. Professor Fidelma Dunne, Head of the School of Medicine at NUI Galway, said: "This is fantastic news for the School of Medicine and demonstrates yet again the success of our students nationally. It also demonstrates the mentorship provided by our clinical and academic staff in the partnership arrangement. In total we have 60 undergraduate students participating in research this summer, 15 of whom will now be supported by HRB. We have also a number of applications pending with the Welcome Foundation. The work of the students and their supervisors will culminate in an Undergraduate Research Day later in the year and to many publications in the national and international Medical literature." -Ends-

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NUI Galway Opens its Doors for Summer Schools

0503_summer_schools.jpg" width="169" height="80" class="right" alt="NUI Galway Opens its Doors for Summer Schools-image" />

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

NUI Galway is offering secondary school students the choice of three separate Summer Schools in June, across the disciplines of Computing, Engineering and Science. Aimed at students in transition, fifth and sixth year, the summer schools are specially designed to give prospective students a real taste of University life through a wide range of hands-on practical activities. Caroline Loughnane, Director for Marketing and Communications at NUI Galway, says: "This is our third year of summer schools and they are proving hugely popular. Not only are summer schools a great opportunity to experience University life, but they also help participants to really find out what subjects and courses they will be best suited to in college. We recommend that secondary school students choose subjects they enjoy for their CAO options, and these summer schools are a great way of helping students to discover where their interests lie." From Monday 13 to Friday 17 June, the Computing Summer Camp introduces computing in a novel, fun and interactive way. Students, from first to sixth year, will have the opportunity to explore and experiment with a range of digitally-inspired topics including Digital Media, Games, Robotics, Programming and Animation. Participants will have the opportunity to use leading-edge technologies, from constructing and controlling robots that can interact with their environment, to directing a virtual 'mini-movie' that can be uploaded to a website and shared with friends. On Thursday, 23 June, the Engineering Summer School will offer a taste of experiences as wide-ranging as controlling a wastewater treatment plant remotely, building an eco-house; and for future Formula 1 engineers, designing a go-kart. There will also be a 'Frankenstein Design Feature' on how bioengineers make new body parts. Participants in the Engineering Summer School will also have the unique opportunity of being the first students ever to use the University's new Engineering Building. The state-of-the-art facility opens to all students in September. From Monday 27 to Tuesday 28 June, the Science Experience Summer Event will offer students two whole days to delve into a wide range of scientific disciplines in world class research facilities and institutes. The workshop will feature all disciplines of the College of Science including Biology, Chemistry, Maths and Physics. Prospective students will get a taste of life as a scientist with the opportunity to gain a closer view of the research facilities with tours, to take part in lab experiments and demonstrations and to speak to the lecturers and the scientists at NUI Galway. Spaces for all Summer Schools are limited so early booking is advised. The last date for receipt of applications is Tuesday, 31 May. To find out more or for applications visit www.nuigalway.ie/summer-schools. -Ends-

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