Wednesday, 4 September 2019

First cohort of PhD graduates to receive world class training in genomics data science led by NUI Galway in areas such as cancer, rare diseases, gut health and agrigenomics NUI Galway has officially launched a new SFI Centre for Research Training in Genomics Data Science at a conference this week (3 September). The NUI Galway-led Centre has received €13 million in funding from Science Foundation Ireland to train 115 PhD students over the next seven years. These PhD students will be trained in the analysis of big genomic data sets enabling them to take up future high-skills careers across the range of genomics applications. The new Centre is one of six Science Foundation Ireland Centres for Research Training and is the first with a whole-island remit, including cross-border collaboration to maximise the benefits of genomics data science on the island of Ireland. The conference was attended by President of NUI Galway, Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh, researchers from the new Centre’s partner institutions, as well as the first cohort of PhD students providing the students with a unique opportunity to interact with world class researchers in this emerging field. Genomics researchers from throughout the island of Ireland presented work on the applications of genomics data science in diverse areas such as cancer, rare diseases, gut health and agrigenomics. Keynote speakers included Shamil Sunyaev, Harvard Medical School, US, Anton Nekrutenko, Penn State University, US, Eimear Kenny, Icahn School of Medicine, Mount Sinai, US, Remco Loos, Celgene Institute for Translational Research, Spain and Orla Hardiman from TCD. There were also presentations showcasing genomics research at each of the institutions participating in the Centre: NUI Galway, UCC, UCD, RCSI, QUB and TCD. DNA is the genetic material that we inherit from our parents. We inherit half of our DNA from our mother and half from our father and this DNA contains the complete set of instructions to build a person. DNA that contains the complete instructions to build an organism is called its genome. The human genome contains approximately three billion DNA base pairs that encode the information required to build the human body. The size of a genome doesn’t reflect the complexity of the organism that it makes. For example, the genome of an onion is about six times bigger than the human genome. This means that it’s not just the size of the genome that is important but also its structure and organisation and how the information that is there is used. This new Centre will train 115 graduates in this area and will enable developments in data analytics to be applied to big data generated using genomics technologies. Professor Cathal Seoighe, Director of the SFI Centre for Research Training in Genomics Data Science, NUI Galway, said: “We are delighted to welcome such a distinguished group of speakers to our launch conference and are very excited about this new Centre. The enthusiasm shown by these experts and the many other partners and collaborators involved, both in Ireland and internationally, is a testament to the importance of this initiative.” Professor Seoighe added: “The Human Genome Project, established almost 30 years ago, involved many laboratories and required billions of dollars and over a decade of work to complete. Today, a human genome can be sequenced in a few days for less than a thousand dollars. This revolution, driven by new technologies, generates data on an enormous scale and promises to increase scientific understanding and drive innovation. But data on this scale carries many challenges. Highly trained data scientists with the skills to turn genomics data into useful insights are urgently needed.” Genomics has impacts across a broad range of sectors, including human health, industrial biotechnology, food science and agriculture. In health, genomics is already beginning to be used to diagnose rare genetic disorders. For example, around 30% of children with early onset epilepsy can now receive a precision diagnosis through genomic sequencing. It can also predict the risk of common, complex disorders, such as obesity and Type II Diabetes, in which lifestyle plays a role, raising the possibility of interventions targeted towards at-risk individuals. New cancer therapies now target specific genomic mutations found in cancer cells, particularly in the case of lung, colorectal, skin, breast and some blood cancers. By sequencing the genome of the cancer cells, these treatments can be tailored to individual patients. For more information about the Centre for Research Training in Genomics Data Science, email genomicsCRT@nuigalway.ie and visit: https://genomicsdatascience.ie/. -Ends-

Tuesday, 3 September 2019

Author Dr Kathryn Mannix in conversation with Caitriona Crowe NUI Galway will hold a talk and reading with author Dr Kathryn Mannix on Thursday, 12 September at 7pm in room G018, Institute for Lifecourse and Society (ILAS) on the North Campus. The event is taking place during Palliative Care Week, a campaign to raise awareness and increase understanding of palliative care, taking place across the island of Ireland from 8 to 14 September, and Dr Mannix will give a special reading from her best-selling book, With the End in Mind, which draws on long experience in palliative care and in cognitive behaviour therapy in England. As well as reading from her book, Dr Mannix will discuss its themes with Catriona Crowe, historian and curator of the First Thoughts Talks events at the Galway International Arts Festival. Dr Mannix’s mission is to get people to understand dying, so that we can be better prepared and less afraid. She hopes that by talking more openly, planning ahead and using real words instead of euphemisms, we can live better as well as die better, and With the End in Mind is an invitation to reclaim the forgotten wisdom about life’s ending. Told through a series of beautifully crafted stories taken from nearly four decades of clinical practice, With the End in Mind answers the most intimate questions about the process of dying with touching honesty and humanity. Kathryn makes a compelling case for the therapeutic power of approaching death, not with trepidation, but with openness, clarity, and understanding. Brendan Kennelly, Lecturer with NUI Galway’s J.E. Cairnes School of Business and Economics and event organiser, said: “Kathryn has learned that people have generally little or no idea what dying is like. People often have misconceptions about the process that makes them very afraid of it. Kathryn has generally found that people’s fears are reduced once the process of dying is explained to them in a kind respectful way. In particular, she believes that it is very important that everybody should be familiar with the normal, relatively predictable, steps that a dying person goes through. By understanding the dying process, grieving families will take the comfort of witnessing their loved one experience normal, gentle dying into their bereavement with them. In countries such as Ireland, dying is too often regarded primarily as a medical event. Kathryn thinks that dying is primarily a human event that has a medical dimension. She suggests that we should start planning for our own deaths while we are well.” Tickets are €10 (€8 for unwaged) and can be purchased at the door or in advance at https://bit.ly/2lyUpVH. Copies of With the End in Mind will be available for purchase at the event. -Ends-

Monday, 2 September 2019

Groundbreaking Consent Education Team from NUI Galway Now Using Drama To Create Dialogue With College Audiences Alumni of NUI Galway’s Drama and Theatre Studies will perform an original play, The Kinds of Sex You Might Have at College, as part of a limited national tour to Irish universities between September and October 2019 with stops currently scheduled in Galway, Limerick, Dundalk and Dun Laoghaire. The play is a product of the Active Consent programme- a collaboration between NUI Galway’s School of Psychology and Drama and Theatre Studies.  Working on the basis of implementing evidence-informed resources in mainstream settings, the team aims to reach large numbers using participatory methods of engagement in order to promote positive, active consent. The Kinds of Sex You Might Have At College turns the Active Consent Programme’s core messages into a live theatrical event aimed at college-age audiences.  It is a play about what you want, how you want it, if you want it and what happens when you don’t. Performed by an energetic ensemble of actors who play multiple roles, this theatrical performance brings audiences through a range of sketches that dramatize sexual scenarios and viewpoints that you may encounter during college life. Tackling experiences from across all genders, all relationships and all sexualities (or as many of them as we could fit into one hour), The Kinds of Sex You Might Have At College combines humour, satire and drama to share diverse experiences.  This play will equip audiences with a more proactive understanding of consent to apply to their future intimate encounters if they choose to have them. Audiences should be advised that this performance contains language of a sexual nature and themes of sexual violence. The production team includes Dr Charlotte McIvor (Director), Jérémie Cyr-Cooke (Movement Director), Mike O’Halloran (Technical Design), and Megan O'Connor (Stage/Tour Manager), alongside a four-person cast featuring Alice Keane, Michael Foley, Fiona Buckley and Gavin Friel, graduates of NUI Galway’s BA and MA programmes in Drama and Theatre Studies. The Kinds of Sex You Might Have At College has been in development since 2014 in a process led by McIvor and was written collaboratively by multiple cohorts of Drama and Theatre Studies students over the years.   In addition to their core four-year funding from the Lifes2good Foundation, the Active Consent programme team were also recently awarded a three-year Social Innovation Fund Ireland Arts to Impact Fund grant to drive forward the creative arts part of their mission. Social Innovation Fund Ireland recognise the power of arts and culture to improve lives. The Arts to Impact Fund aims to support the most innovative projects across the country that are using arts and culture as a means to create positive social impact in Ireland. Dr Charlotte McIvor, Lecturer in Drama and Theatre Studies, says “This groundbreaking theatre was created with young people for young people.  We hope it empowers audiences to critically examine their own attitudes about sexuality and the way they communicate with partners concerning consent.  We approach the subject unflinchingly in our treatment of assault, harassment and rape, but also with humour and optimism.  This is because we hope our audiences leave better informed and prepared to act in terms of calling out unacceptable behaviours and attitudes and pursuing more mutually pleasurable and consensual sexual practices if they want to.” There will be three free performances open to the public and the NUI Galway campus community on 12 September (5PM) and 13 September (1PM and 5PM) at the O’Donoghue Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance.  Tickets are available on Eventbrite: https://www.eventbrite.ie/o/drama-and-theatre-studies-nui-galway-18754269314 -Ends-

Monday, 2 September 2019

NUI Galway invites young science enthusiasts and filmmakers to participate in the 2019 ReelLIFE SCIENCE video competition NUI Galway is challenging young science enthusiasts and filmmakers to produce engaging and educational short videos for this year’s ReelLIFE SCIENCE competition. Topics for consideration include Climate Action, Healing the Body, How Things Work and Science in Space. Contest organisers are inviting participants from primary and secondary schools, youth organisations, community groups and clubs to show their passion for STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics). Videos can be produced on smartphones, tablets or cameras and can engage and educate the public on any aspect of science, including its impact on individuals, society and the environment. Winning videos will be selected by a panel of special guest judges including: author and BBC Science presenter Dr Adam Rutherford; BT Young Scientist and Technologist of the Year Adam Kelly; and meteorologist and RTÉ presenter Joanna Donnelly, who said: “ReelLIFE SCIENCE is a brilliant idea. I’m really honoured to be a judge and can't wait to see the videos. You never stop learning when you love science and I can’t wait to see what this year’s students have to teach me.” Supported by Science Foundation Ireland’s SFI Discover Programme, the Community Knowledge Initiative, the CÚRAM SFI Research Centre for Medical Devices, the National Centre for Biomedical Engineering Science and the Cell EXPLORERS science outreach programme, ReelLIFE SCIENCE will award more than €5,000 for the best science videos of 2019. Speaking about the competition’s launch, Dr Ruth Freeman, Director of Science for Society at Science Foundation Ireland, said: “We are delighted to support this initiative, which cleverly combines science literacy and creativity, while providing a great opportunity for students and teachers to think about how to communicate scientific topics in a novel way. ReelLIFE SCIENCE encourages young people to connect with the science and technology in their everyday lives, and to bring that knowledge to a wider audience, while promoting current Irish scientific research and development.” Closing date for submissions is Friday, 18 October, and the best videos at each level (primary school, secondary school, community) will be announced during Science Week 2019, which runs from 10-17 November. The winning filmmakers will be invited to attend a public screening and awards ceremony hosted at the Galway Science and Technology Festival on 24 November. Since launching in 2013, more than 11,000 people in 350 schools and community groups around Ireland have taken part in the ReelLIFE SCIENCE programme, which is organised by Dr Enda O’Connell and a team of scientists and science communication enthusiasts from NUI Galway. Previous year’s winning videos and more information about taking part in the 2019 competition can be found at www.reellifescience.com. -Ends-

Monday, 2 September 2019

NUI Galway will host the 44th Sir Peter Freyer Memorial Lecture and Surgical Symposium, the largest Surgical Conference in Ireland, from 6-7 September 2019. This years’ keynote addresses will be delivered by two of Ireland and the world’s leading female surgeons Professor Hilary Sanfey and Professor Deborah McNamara. Professor Hilary Sanfey will deliver the Memorial Lecture entitled ‘Perspectives on the Future of Surgery: Safeguarding our Patients, our Trainees and our Colleagues’ on Friday, 6 September at 5pm. Professor Sanfey is Professor of Surgery and Vice-chair for Surgical Education at Southern Illinois University.  Professor Deborah McNamara will deliver the State of the Art Lecture entitled ‘The Surgeon As Catalyst for Improvement’ on Saturday, 7 September at 1pm. Professor McNamara is Consultant General & Colorectal Surgeon at Beaumont Hospital, Dublin, and Clinical Professor in Surgery at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland. Professor of Surgery at NUI Galway, Michael Kerin, who is hosting the event along with his colleague Professor Oliver McAnena, said: “We are delighted to welcome Professor Sanfey and Professor McNamara to our University. Their work focuses on delivering high quality surgical care and achieving best outcomes for patients in the modern era, encompassing issues related to service provision, surgical training and support and gender equality in healthcare.  Both lectures are the centre-points of a large programme containing some of the best surgical research from this country. This conference signals the start of the academic year and has been a mainstay of the National Academic Surgical Platform with input from a diverse group of Consultants and Trainees across all specialties in Irish Surgery.”  Named in memory of the Galway-born surgeon, Sir Peter Freyer, who performed the first successful surgical operation to remove an enlarged prostate in 1900, the Symposium comprises of research and education sessions across the various surgical subspecialties, two keynote addresses and a discussion forum around the future of Surgical Training in Ireland. For further information on the event please contact 091 544203 or visit www.freyer.ie -Ends-  

Thursday, 29 August 2019

General Practices in Donegal, Sligo and Leitrim with more than one GP are invited to take part in medication reviews of patients with multimorbidity A research team from NUI Galway including partners from Queen’s University Belfast have been awarded funding for a cross-border primary care study called MyComrade+, focusing on people with multiple long-term health conditions, known as multimorbidity. The team is currently recruiting General Practices with more than one GP based in Donegal, Sligo and Leitrim to participate in the study. The MyComrade+ multimorbidity project was awarded €500,000 in funding from the *CHITIN intervention trials project where people from border counties (Donegal, Leitrim, Sligo, Cavan, Monaghan and Louth) will benefit from new health and social care research trials. Every day, General Practitioners (GPs) are seeing people living with multimorbidity. How patients are treated and the evidence used to draw up guidelines for doctors are usually based on one single condition. For example, research is conducted on patients with diabetes and guidelines are developed for managing patients’ diabetes treatment plan. However, for patients with multimorbidity, there are many challenges, one of which is the management of multiple medications and treatment plans. A wide range of issues arise from multimorbidity for individuals, families, society and health services, that directly impacts people’s quality of life when dealing with multiple treatment plans, navigating a range of medical specialists for different conditions, and costs, such as medicine, travel and appointments. Treatment recommendations by GPs are generally made by looking up evidence-based guidelines. However, since everyone living with more than one condition is different, guidelines are not always very helpful. Research has shown that the overwhelming experience of the GP in managing treatment for people living with multimorbidity is of isolation. GPs can feel uncertain and unsupported professionally, to make the best medication recommendations for their patients. Professor Andrew Murphy, School of Medicine and MyComrade+ project lead, said: “General Practitioners face many and increasing demands and challenges. The MyComrade+ study may help to address a common and difficult challenge for GPs and growing numbers of members of the public alike, on how best to manage the many medicines that patients are now taking.” The MyComrade+ cross-border primary care initiative includes a team of partners from Queen’s University Belfast, General Practitioners, nurses, psychologists, and is led by Professor Andrew Murphy from the College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences in NUI Galway and clinician at Galway University Hospitals. Dr Carol Sinnott (Cambridge University) developed the MyComrade+ intervention. Dr Sinnott embarked on a programme of research while based at UCC back in 2012 to understand and address the issues facing GPs in relation to multimorbidity management. Dr Sinnott utilised recommended tools for developing interventions that target complex healthcare problems, to understand the problem of multimorbidity management and design an effective solution, MyComrade+ by engaging with GPs as well as a multi-disciplinary team of experts. General Practitioners in Donegal, Sligo and Leitrim who wish to participate in the study or require further information can contact lisa.hynes@nuigalway.ie or phone 091 492951. The CHITIN Project has enabled €8.84 million in funding of 11 health intervention trials in the priority areas of Population Health, Primary Care and Older Peoples Services, Mental Health, Acute Services, Disability Services and Children’s Services.  Match-funding for the project has also been provided by the Department of Health in Northern Ireland and Ireland. For more information, visit: https://research.hscni.net/chitin-trials -Ends-

Thursday, 29 August 2019

Discovery could enable longer lasting and better functioning of devices—including pacemakers, breast implants, biosensors, and drug delivery devices Researchers from the National University of Ireland Galway (NUI Galway), Massachusetts Institute of Technology and AMBER, the SFI Research Centre for Advanced Materials and BioEngineering Research have today (Thursday, 29 August) announced a significant breakthrough in soft robotics which could help patients requiring in-situ (implanted) medical devices such as breast implants, pacemakers, neural probes, glucose biosensors and drug and cell delivery devices. The implantable medical devices market is currently estimated at approximately US$100 billion (2019) with significant growth potential into the future as new technologies for drug delivery and health monitoring are developed. These devices are not without problems, caused in part by the body’s own protection responses. These complex and unpredictable foreign body responses impair device function and drastically limit the long-term performance and therapeutic efficacy of these devices. One such foreign body response is fibrosis, a process whereby a dense fibrous capsule surrounds the implanted device which can cause device failure or impede its function. Implantable medical devices have various failure rates that can be attributed to fibrosis ranging from 30% to 50% for implantable pacemakers or 30% for mammoplasty prosthetics. In the case of biosensors or drug/ cell delivery devices the dense fibrous capsule which can build up around the implanted device can seriously impede its function, with consequences for the patient and costs to the health care system. A radical new vision for medical devices to address this problem was published today in the internationally respected journal, Science Robotics. The study was led by researchers from NUI Galway, MIT and the SFI research centre AMBER, among others. The research describes the use of soft robotics to modify the body’s response to implanted devices. Soft robots are flexible devices that can be implanted into the body. The transatlantic partnership of scientists have created a tiny mechanically actuated soft robotic device known as a dynamic soft reservoir (DSR) that has been shown to significantly reduce the build-up of the fibrous capsule by manipulating the environment at the interface between the device and the body. The device uses mechanical oscillation to modulate how cells respond around the implant. In a bio-inspired design, the DSR can change its shape at a microscope scale through an actuating membrane. Professor Ellen Roche, senior co-author of the study and Assistant Professor at MIT, and a former researcher at NUI Galway who won international acclaim in 2017 for her work in creating a soft robotic sleeve to help patients with heart failure, said: “This study demonstrates how mechanical perturbations of an implant can modulate the host foreign body response. This has vast potential for a range of clinical applications and will hopefully lead to many future collaborative studies between our teams.” Professor Garry Duffy, Professor in Anatomy at NUI Galway and AMBER Principal Investigator, and a senior co-author of the study, added: “We feel the ideas described in this paper could transform future medical devices and how they interact with the body. We are very excited to develop this technology further and to partner with people interested in the potential of soft robotics to better integrate devices for longer use and superior patient outcomes. It’s fantastic to build and continue the collaboration with the Dolan and Roche labs, and to develop a trans-Atlantic network of soft roboticists.” The first author of the study Dr Eimear Dolan, Lecturer of Biomedical Engineering at NUI Galway and former researcher in the Roche and Duffy labs at MIT and NUI Galway, said: “We are very excited to publish this study as it describes an innovative approach to modulate the foreign body response using soft robotics. I recently received a Science Foundation Ireland Royal Society University Research Fellowship to bring this technology forward with a focus on Type 1 diabetes. It is a privilege to work with such a talented multi-disciplinary team and I look forward to continuing working together.” To read the full study in Science Robotics, visit: http://robotics.sciencemag.org/lookup/doi/10.1126/scirobotics.aax7043 -Ends-  

Wednesday, 28 August 2019

Researchers from NUI Galway are leading the all-island initiative, Evidence Synthesis Ireland, which aims to build knowledge, awareness and capacity in the methods used to gather and build evidence (known as evidence synthesis) and using it effectively to inform health and healthcare decisions in Ireland. Policy makers, healthcare institutions, clinicians, researchers and the public will stand to benefit. Evidence synthesis, also sometimes called “systematic reviews”, is a way of combining information from multiple studies that have investigated the same thing, to come to an overall understanding of what they found. This helps determine how effective a certain treatment or drug is, or how people have experienced a particular health condition or treatment. For example, steroids given to women who are about to give birth prematurely can save the life of the newborn child. However, this treatment wasn’t routinely put into practice until all the individual clinical trials were brought together. It was only when this evidence synthesis was done that the overall benefits became clear - that the steroids saved the lives of premature babies when compared to not giving the steroids. Evidence Synthesis Ireland is funded for an initial three years by the Health Research Board for €1.5 million and the Research and Development Division of the Public Health Agency in Northern Ireland for €0.5 million. Importantly, this new initiative also includes the relaunch of Cochrane Ireland, the Irish branch of Cochrane, which is an international non-profit organisation with 11,000 members from more than 130 countries worldwide. The mission of Cochrane is to promote evidence-informed health decision-making by producing high-quality, relevant, accessible systematic reviews and other synthesised research evidence. To develop capacity in this area, Evidence Synthesis Ireland activities are providing an extensive training programme and webinar series, a Fellowship programme and Studentship scheme. The training programme includes workshops and events to develop knowledge and skills in different types of syntheses, for multiple audiences. The Evidence Synthesis Ireland Fellowship Scheme 2019 gives Fellows the opportunity to join experienced national and international evidence synthesis teams from across the globe to work on generating reviews with potential for strong policy and/or practice impact. Cochrane Ireland and Evidence Synthesis Ireland is being led by a team from the School of Nursing and Midwifery at NUI Galway. Professor Declan Devane, Director of ESI and Cochrane Ireland, Dr Elaine Toomey, Associate Director of Cochrane Ireland and Ms Sheena Connolly, Senior Administrator. Professor Declan Devane, Director of ES/Cochrane Ireland and School of Nursing and Midwifery, NUI Galway, says: “We are delighted to receive this funding award and excited by the potential it has to make a difference to healthcare decisions across the Island. Healthcare decisions should be based on the full range of information that is available on a topic; it can’t rely on one or more individual pieces of information, or studies. We want to build people’s capacity to understand, conduct and use synthesis of evidence across health topics.” Dr Elaine Toomey, Associate Director of Cochrane Ireland at NUI Galway, said: “We are very excited about this new initiative, and look forward to both strengthening our existing Cochrane community in Ireland, and also to growing and expanding our community, with people’s engagement and advocacy playing a key role in this.” A joint symposium will be held in collaboration with Cochrane UK and Cochrane Ireland in Dublin on 21-22 April 2020, with further details being published soon. The next call for the Fellowship programme and Studentship scheme will be September 2019, with details available on: www.evidencesynthesisireland.ie/fellowships and to stay informed contact esi@nuigalway.ie, or follow on Twitter at @CochraneIreland, @EvidSynIRL For more information about Cochrane Ireland and Evidence Synthesis Ireland, visit: www.evidencesynthesisireland.ie or www.ireland.cochrane.org  -Ends-

Friday, 23 August 2019

International conference will discuss and present innovative processes to decarbonise the energy system to achieve a carbon-neutral industry, sustainable agriculture and sustainable cities NUI Galway will host the 8th International Conference on ‘Biotechniques for Air Pollution Control and Bioenergy’. This major international conference will focus on the topic of Waste Gas Treatment and will involve over 80 researchers from 20 countries around the world. It will take place at NUI Galway from the 28-30 August. New research from NUI Galway’s New Energy Technologies laboratory will present novel developments in hydrogen gas production using microbes from waste, as well as the production of valuable chemicals from carbon dioxide gas. For example, biogas formed during manure decomposition on farms can be used as a fuel. To do so, the biogas must go through a purification stage, which is currently being investigated by the NUI Galway research team. Experts from around the world will meet and share their latest research findings on a range of established and emerging topics in waste gas research including: biogas purification and upgrading by using bacteria; converting industrial waste gases into useful biofuels; and analytical and modelling methods to monitor the functioning of waste gas treatment systems. The Biotechniques 2019 conference covers a range of topics related to the application of environmental biotechnology to control air pollution, mitigate greenhouse gas emissions as well as produce and upgrade biofuels. The conference will feature over 50 presentations and aims to open new doors to academic and industrial partners in order to facilitate research cooperation between academia and industry, potentially allowing commercialisation of the innovative bioprocesses that will be presented at the conference. Chair of the conference, Professor Piet Lens, a leading expert in environmental biotechnology and Established Professor of New Energy Technologies at NUI Galway’s College of Science and Engineering, will deliver the opening address. Professor Piet Lens, Established Professor of New Energy Technologies, NUI Galway, said: “This is a unique conference, organised biannually to discuss biological processes to treat waste gas emissions from industry and agriculture. At the conference, innovative processes to decarbonise the energy system will be discussed in order to achieve a carbon-neutral industry, sustainable agriculture and sustainable cities. Hands-on technologies will be presented at the conference that are required to meet the targets set in Ireland’s All-of-Government Climate Action Plan to Tackle Climate Breakdown, published earlier this year.” Conference Keynote Speakers: Patrick Kenny, EPA Air Quality Manager will discuss the National Ambient Air Quality Monitoring Programme in Ireland. Associate Professor, Guangxue Wu, Tsinghua University, China will discuss biogas production from sulfate-containing wastewaters. Associate Professor, Jingying Xi, Tsinghua University, China will discuss industrial waste gases that are currently being treated in China. Professor Christian Kennes, Professor of Chemical Engineering, University of A Coruña, Spain will discuss how microorganisms can convert waste gases into biofuels and platform chemicals. Professor Henry Curran, Director of the Combustion Chemistry Centre, NUI Galway will discuss how biofuels will become part of our energy sources in the future. Professor Xinmin Zhan, Professor of Civil Engineering at NUI Galway will discuss the role of digestate management when producing biogas from waste on farms. The conference will take place in the Ó Tnúthail Lecture Theatre, Arts Millenium Building, South Campus, NUI Galway from 28-30 August. To register for the conference visit: https://campusliving.clr.events/ and to stay informed, Follow @ietsbio3 on Twitter for updates. -Ends-      

Wednesday, 21 August 2019

The Health Economic and Policy Analysis Centre in collaboration with PPI Ignite @ NUI Galway will host a seminar on the Challenges and Perspectives of Public and Patient Involvement in Health Economics Research. The event is open to researchers, academics, healthcare professionals and all with an interest in hearing about the importance of the voice of the patient in health research, particularly health economics research,  The seminar takes place on Friday, 30 August at NUI Galway. Public and Patient Involvement (PPI) is increasingly recognised as an essential component of health research. PPI is defined as research carried out ‘with’ or ‘by’ members of the public. Health Economics provides a framework for thinking about how society should allocate its limited health resources (for example, money, staffing, equipment) to meet people’s demands and needs for health care services, health promotion and prevention. The rationale for involving patients and the public in health economics research is that it promotes research quality and relevance to service users.                                                 Supported by the Health Research Board, people attending the seminar will hear about Public and Patient Involvement from various different perspectives, including why we should have PPI in our health economics research; the researcher’s perspective; the patient’s voice in healthcare; how we can reflect and evaluate PPI, for example, how the research may have been improved through PPI; and the current state of play regarding PPI in health research from the perspective of the Health Information Quality Authority (HIQA). Attendees will be encouraged to reflect on; Why involving patients and the public in health economics research is important? What value can PPI bring? How can PPI in health economics research be evaluated? Is there a role for the public and patients in Health Technology Assessments? Key speakers at the seminar Dr Conor Teljeur, Health Information Quality Authority (HIQA) will talk about how PPI fits into the health technology assessment processes in Ireland, and the challenges. Kristina Staley, Director, TwoCan Associates will talk about patient involvement in research that benefits the researchers, by informing their thinking and plans, leading to better research and meets the needs of patients and carers. Andy Gibson, Associate Professor in PPI, University of West Leeds will talk about involving the public in health research to ensure that research questions and outcomes reflect the issues that matter to patients and the public, and to incorporate the ‘real world’ experiences of patients into how research is designed and carried out. Liz Goodwin, Research Fellow in Health Economics, University of Exeter will talk about a particular example of involving people with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) in health economics research, using a task-based approach to work together on a specific aspect of research design, and will share some of the lessons learned from this experience. Dr Rebecca Kandiyali, Research Fellow in Economic Evaluation, Health Economics Bristol will talk about lessons learnt from her own experience of PPI in trial-based economic evaluation and future directions for research and practice. Dr Michelle Queally, Health Economist, NUI Galway will talk about PPI in health economics research and lessons learned from two case studies. Dr John Cullinan, Health Economist, NUI Galway will talk about the impact and burden of Myalgic Encephalomyelitys (ME) in Ireland: developing a collaborative patient-driven research agenda and approach. James Larkin, Health Economist, NUI Galway will talk about integrating PPI into a Mutimorbidity (multiple health conditions) and health economics PhD programme. Dr Michelle Queally, Lecturer in Economics, J.E. Cairnes School of Business and Economics NUI Galway, said: “We are very much looking forward to this seminar where we will open discussions around Public and Patient Involvement in health research, particularly health economics. We will be discussing how to build partnerships that allow the public and patients to influence the health economics research we conduct and also how we might evaluate this involvement. Our overarching aim in this seminar is to show how health economics research might be informed by PPI. We will hear from health economists’ experiences of PPI through case studies, reflect on our learnings, and make suggestions for future research practice, and frameworks that we can apply in order to evaluate what contribution PPI has made to a specific project.” It will take place in the Institute for Lifecourse and Society (ILAS), North Campus, NUI Galway from 10:30am-3:15pm on Friday, 30 August. For full seminar details and registration visit: www.eventbrite.ie and type in ‘Public and Patient Involvement’. -Ends-

Monday, 19 August 2019

Tá beagnach a dhá oiread cúrsaí anois in OÉ Gaillimh a bhfuil os cionn 500 pointe CAO luaite leo i gcomparáid le 2018 Nochtadh réimsí spéise rang na Ardteistiméireachta, 2019 inniu le heisiúint tairiscintí an CAO, agus tá méadú tagtha i mbliana ar an éileamh ar ábhair STEM (Eolaíocht, Teicneolaíocht, Innealtóireacht agus Matamaitic).  Ar chláir OÉ Gaillimh a bhfuil ardú mór tagtha ar líon na bpointí arís i mbliana, tá Innealtóireacht Shibhialta, Innealtóireacht Leictreonach agus Ríomhaireachta, Ceimic Bhithchógaisíochta agus Innealtóireacht Córas Fuinnimh, rud a léiríonn an tsuim mhór atá in ábhair STEM, idir réimsí thraidisiúnta agus úrnua. Bhí éileamh ard arís i mbliana ar Eolaíocht Bhithleighis (533 pointe) agus ar Innealtóireacht Bhithleighis (519 pointe). Bhí an méid seo le rá ag Bainisteoir Earcaíochta Mac Léinn agus For-rochtana OÉ Gaillimh, Sarah Geraghty: “Léiriú ar an tóir leanúnach atá ag mic léinn ar OÉ Gaillimh iad na harduithe suntasacha atá tagtha ar líon na bpointí CAO do chúrsaí san Ollscoil. Tá beagnach a dhá oiread cúrsaí anois in OÉ Gaillimh a bhfuil os cionn 500 pointe CAO luaite leo i gcomparáid le 2018. Léiríonn roghanna na bliana seo go bhfuil níos mó mac léinn tarraingthe i dtreo gairmeacha beatha in earnáil na teicneolaíochta agus na nuálaíochta, agus feictear go bhfuil an-tóir ar chúrsaí Teicneolaíochta-Leighis (MedTech) go mór mór.  “Tugann an t-éileamh ar chláir nua OÉ Gaillimh, Dlí agus Cearta an Duine agus Rialtas (Polaitíocht, Eacnamaíocht agus Dlí) le fios go roghnóidh mic léinn cúrsaí a thabharfaidh deis dóibh gairmeacha beatha a bheith acu a ligfidh dóibh tionchar dearfach agus cumhachtach a bheith acu ar an saol mórthimpeall orthu.”   Ar chuid de na pointí spéise eile bhí: Ardú suntasach ar na cláir Dlí uile in OÉ Gaillimh, an chéim nua do 2019 Dlí agus Cearta an Duine ar 510 pointe CAO san áireamh. Ar na cláir nua eile a tharraing spéis bhí Rialtas (Polaitíocht, Eacnamaíocht agus Dlí) ar 402 pointe CAO agus Oideachas (Eolaíocht Ríomhaireachta agus Staidéir Mhatamaitice) ar 401 pointe CAO. Tá an-tóir i gcónaí ar an gcéim ghnó suaitheanta, an BComm (Eispéireas Domhanda), ar 509 pointe CAO. Tháinig ardú ar na pointí do na cláir innealtóireachta ar fad in OÉ Gaillimh. Bhí trí cinn de na harduithe is mó i mbliana in Innealtóireacht Shibhialta (509 pointe CAO), Innealtóireacht Leictreonach agus Ríomhaireachta (509 pointe CAO)agus Innealtóireacht Córas Fuinnimh (532 pointe CAO). Léiríonn sé sin an spéis láidir i réimsí na hinnealtóireachta traidisiúnta mar aon leis na réimsí innealtóireachta sin atá ag teacht chun cinn. Beidh deis ag mic léinn a bhain na pointí CAO cuí amach chun cúrsa céime san innealtóireacht a dhéanamh in OÉ Gaillimh ach nach bhfuil an marc riachtanach acu sa mhatamaitic tabhairt faoi scrúdú cáilíochta Matamaitice ar an 20 Lúnasa.  Tá éileamh ard i gcónaí ar chéimeanna sna Dána in OÉ Gaillimh, agus tóir faoi leith ar chláir sa tSíceolaíocht, Ceol, Iriseoireacht, Béarla agus Staidéar na Meán, Scríbhneoireacht Chruthaitheach agus Drámaíocht, Amharclannaíocht agus Taibhléiriú. Is léiriú ar láidreacht agus ar cháil OÉ Gaillimh sna hEolaíochtaí Bitheacha é an tóir a bhíonn ar an Eolaíocht Bhithleighis (533 pointe) agus an Innealtóireacht Bhithleighis (519 pointe). Ar na cláir san Eolaíocht ina bhfeictear arduithe móra i bpointí CAO tá Biteicneolaíocht (473 pointe CAO) agus Ceimic Bhithchógaisíochta (510 pointe CAO). Tháinig ardú 43 pointe ar líon na bpointí don Leigheas Cosliachta, ar céim ar leith í de chuid OÉ Gaillimh sna heolaíochtaí sláinte, agus éileamh mór ar an gclár i mbliana. Lean an tUasal Geraghty ag rá: “Tuigimid go mbíonn cinntí móra le déanamh ag mic léinn agus iad ag dul ar aghaidh go dtí an tríú leibhéal, agus tá beolíne ar leith do mhic léinn na chéad bhliana ar fáil anois chun cúnamh a thabhairt do mhic léinn le ceisteanna faoi shaol an choláiste in OÉ Gaillimh.” Beidh Beolíne OÉ Gaillimh do Mhic Léinn na Chéad Bhliana ar oscailt ón 12 Lúnasa go dtí an 30 Meán Fómhair 2019. Is féidir glaoch ar an mbeolíne ag +353 (0) 91 493999 agus tá sé ar oscailt Luan go hAoine ón 9am-5pm. -Críoch-

Monday, 19 August 2019

Funding to advance development of Tight Alright device to treat venous leg ulcers, the first device capable of continuously monitoring compression therapy outside the clinical setting FeelTect, a connected-health, wound care start-up company established from the NUI Galway laboratory of CÚRAM investigator, Professor Garry Duffy, has been presented with an *EIT Health Headstart award worth €50,000 to advance the development of their ‘Tight Alright’ pressure sensing device to treat venous leg ulcers. The competition finals saw 22 finalist teams of medtech start-ups from across the UK and Ireland pitching their technologies to a panel of investors, healthcare professionals, and medtech experts. FeelTect’s technology, Tight Alright, is a wireless, pressure sensing device for measuring and monitoring sub-bandage pressure during compression therapy, primarily for the millions of people worldwide with venous leg ulcers (VLUs). Venous leg ulcers are chronic wounds that stem from venous insufficiency. Venous insufficiency is a medical condition affecting the circulation of blood to the lower limbs. The tiny valves that normally force blood back up towards the heart no longer function, causing blood to pool up in the legs, and the veins of the legs become distended, resulting in an accumulation of fluid in the lower limbs. Venous leg ulcers are associated with a variety of risk factors including age, increased body mass index (BMI), low physical activity, high blood pressure, venous insufficiency, deep vein thrombosis, and family history. Compression therapy is the gold-standard treatment for venous leg ulcers helping to overcome venous insufficiency and restoring blood flow, however it is ineffective if applied too loosely, and dangerous if applied too tightly. Yet studies have shown that even experienced wound care clinicians can find it difficult to achieve a targeted pressure with existing compression products.   Despite major advances in certain wound care areas, such as regenerative medicine, moisture balance, infection management, and tissue oxygenation, the basic tools for compression therapy have been largely untouched by significant (“disruptive”) innovation in recent decades. FeelTect aims to change this through the digital capabilities of Tight Alright, which will enable improvements in the application and maintenance of evidence-based compression therapy, ensuring safety while reducing healing times. In fact, due to global wound care industry trends, such as the expiry of patents, entry of low-cost competitors, and a lack of advanced wound care specialisation amongst clinicians, many leaders in the segment have turned their focus to digital, outcomes-based, and value-based innovations that complement their existing product portfolios. FeelTect is fully aligned with these needs, resulting in very strong interest from potential strategic partners. FeelTect founder and CEO, Dr Andrew Cameron, highlighted the impact the award will have on the company’s progression towards market entry: “The funding provided by EIT Health will allow us to progress the miniaturisation of Tight Alright to a truly wearable product, making it the first device capable of continuously monitoring compression therapy outside the clinical setting. We’ll also be able to further our initial clinical validation, which was supported by Health Innovation Hub Ireland, demonstrating the ability of Tight Alright to improve the achievement of targeted, evidence-based pressure during compression application. “We have planned our first clinical study involving VLU patients with our clinical collaborator, Professor Mary-Paula Colgan in St James’s Hospital. After having experienced wound care nurses from Galway University Hospitals, and Dr Georgina Gethin from the School of Nursing and Midwifery at NUI Galway validating the functionality of the Tight Alright prototype, with substantial improvements in the achievement of targeted bandage pressure on healthy volunteers, the FeelTect team is excited to see these results translated to benefit patients.” Inventor, Co-founder and CÚRAM investigator, Professor Garry Duffy, NUI Galway, stated: “It’s very exciting to see the first commercial product from our labs at NUI Galway move closer to the clinic. NUI Galway has the perfect ecosystem to support translational medical devices including the BioInnovate Ireland programme, where this unmet clinical need was identified, and the critical mass of expertise provided through the CÚRAM investigator network which is supporting the development of the product. Through Enterprise Ireland’s initial support and now with EIT Health Headstart funding we plan to continue the clinical validation of the Tight Alright technology and move it close to positive outcomes for patients with venous leg ulcers.” FeelTect began its journey in the renowned BioInnovate Ireland programme based at NUI Galway, where the underlying clinical need was identified by 2017 BioInnovate Fellow Dr Andrew Cameron, in collaboration with CÚRAM investigator, Dr Georgina Gethin, as well as an Enterprise Ireland Commercialisation Fund project within the Duffy Lab in the School of Medicine at NUI Galway, where the proof-of-concept research and development was conducted. The team is currently in discussions with potential partners and has launched a seed round for fundraising to support the progression of Tight Alright into clinical practice. For more information about FeelTect, based at NUI Galway, visit: https://www.feeltect.com/. For more about CÚRAM, the Science Foundation Ireland Research Centre for Medical Devices based at NUI Galway, visit: http://curamdevices.ie/. -Ends-

Thursday, 15 August 2019

Number of courses commanding in excess of 500 CAO points at NUI Galway has almost doubled since 2018 Demand for courses in STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) at NUI Galway has grown this year, as CAO offers issued today highlighted the areas of interest of the Leaving Certificate class of 2019.  NUI Galway programmes which have seen the greatest year-on-year increases in points include Civil Engineering, Electronic and Computer Engineering, Biopharmaceutical Chemistry and Energy Systems Engineering, demonstrating a strong interest in both traditional and emerging STEM subject areas. Meanwhile, there was continued high demand for both Biomedical Science (533 points) and Biomedical Engineering (519 points). NUI Galway’s Student Recruitment and Outreach Manager, Sarah Geraghty said: “NUI Galway has seen significant increases in CAO points reflecting a continued growth in interest in the University and its programmes. The number of courses commanding in excess of 500 CAO points at NUI Galway has almost doubled since last year. This year’s choices indicate an increased interest in careers in the technology and innovation sector, with MedTech courses proving particularly popular.  “The demand for NUI Galway’s new programmes, Law and Human Rights and Government (Politics, Economics and Law), provide evidence of demand for courses leading to careers where graduates can have a powerful and positive impact on the world around them.”   Other points of interest include: Interest in all Law programmes at NUI Galway increased significantly, including the new Law and Human Rights degree for 2019 coming in at 510 CAO points. Other new programmes attracted good interest including  Government (Politics, Economics and Law) at 402 CAO points and Education (Computer Science and Mathematical Studies) CAO 401 points The flagship business degree BComm (Global Experience) continues to attract high demand, cutting off at 509 CAO points. Points increased across all engineering programmes at NUI Galway. Three of the highest year-on-year increases were in Civil Engineering (509 CAO points), Electronic and Computer Engineering (509 CAO points) and Energy Systems Engineering (532 CAO points), demonstrating a strong interest in both traditional and emerging engineering subject areas. Students who achieved the CAO points for an undergraduate engineering degree course at NUI Galway but who have not met the obligatory maths requirement have the opportunity to take a Maths qualifying exam on August 20th. Demand for NUI Galway’s Arts degrees remains strong, with programmes in Psychology, Music, Journalism, English and Media Studies, Creative Writing and Drama, Theatre and Performance proving particularly popular. NUI Galway’s strength and reputation in Biosciences is also reflected with continued high demand for both Biomedical Science (533 points) and Biomedical Engineering (519 points). Science programmes which experienced significant increases in CAO cut off points include Biotechnology (473 CAO points) and Biopharmaceutical Chemistry (510 CAO points). Podiatric Medicine, a health sciences degree unique to NUI Galway, experienced significant growth in demand, result in a 43 points increase (434 CAO points). Ms Geraghty continued: “We are conscious that students are faced with big decisions as they move to third level, and a dedicated first year student hotline is now open to help with queries about college life at NUI Galway.” NUI Galway First Year Student Hotline will be open from 12 August to 30 September 2019. The hotline is at +353 (0) 91 493999 and is open Monday to Friday from 9am-5pm. It opens Saturday, 17 August, from 10am-1pm, or visit https://www.nuigalway.ie/startinguniversity/ -Ends-

Tuesday, 13 August 2019

The College of Engineering and Informatics at NUI Galway has announced details of this year’s Engineering Maths Qualifying Exam which gives students a second chance to pursue a career in engineering. The exam, which takes place on Tuesday, 20 August, is for students who achieve the CAO points for an undergraduate engineering degree course at NUI Galway but who have not met the obligatory maths requirement. For more than 20 years NUI Galway has provided this exam to help applicants who did not achieve the required grade H4 or better in higher level mathematics. Those who took lower level maths in the Leaving Certificate may also apply for the exam. Students who pass this examination will be deemed to have satisfied the maths requirement and, providing they have the necessary points, may receive an additional CAO offer at Round Two. Due to capacity constraints, not all candidates who have the necessary points and who achieve a pass in the examination may receive an offer. NUI Galway will also hold an intensive preparatory course for applicants intending to sit the exam. This free course will run from 14 to 19 August. The aim of the course is to bridge the gap between the Leaving Certificate lower level and that required to be successful in the exam. This will be achieved by tackling a variety of problems of increasing difficulty. Learning how to approach a problem and apply the knowledge available will be emphasised. Professor Peter McHugh, Head of the School of Engineering and Informatics at NUI Galway, said: “Engineers are designers and problem solvers, who innovate and generate the technology of tomorrow. Because of this, engineering programmes are focused on developing analytical and problem solving skills, and therefore require significant use of mathematics and applied mathematics. Every year we see a number of promising students who perform poorly on the day of the Leaving Cert exam. The Engineering Mathematics Qualifying Examination provides students with a second chance to demonstrate that they have the necessary standard in maths. Over the years, we have had some exceptionally talented students graduate and pursue successful careers in engineering because they were given the second chance which this exam represents.” NUI Galway offers students an undenominated entry to engineering. This programme is specifically designed for students who are interested in becoming an engineer, but are uncertain as to which field they want to specialise in. This programme offers students the option of studying engineering in a general way for one year before going on to specialise in their chosen field in year two. For information on the exam, the preparatory maths course and to apply for the Engineering Maths Qualifying Exam please visit: http://www.nuigalway.ie/engineering-informatics/undergraduatestudents/engineeringmathsqualifyingexamination/ -Ends-

Tuesday, 13 August 2019

Seans Eile á thabhairt ag OÉ Gaillimh do Mhic Léinn na hArdteistiméireachta trí Scrúdú Cáilíochta Matamaitice de chuid na hInnealtóireachta a Reáchtáil Tá Coláiste na hInnealtóireachta agus na hIonformaitice in OÉ Gaillimh i ndiaidh sonraí a chur ar fáil faoi Scrúdú Cáilíochta Matamaitice de chuid na hInnealtóireachta, scrúdú a thugann seans eile do mhic léinn tabhairt faoi ghairm na hinnealtóireachta. Beidh an scrúdú ar siúl Dé Máirt, an 20 Lúnasa, agus tá sé dírithe ar mhic léinn a bhaineann na pointí cuí CAO amach chun cúrsa céime san innealtóireacht a dhéanamh in OÉ Gaillimh ach nach bhfuil an marc riachtanach acu sa mhatamaitic. Le breis agus scór bliain anuas, tá an scrúdú seo á reáchtáil ag OÉ Gaillimh chun cabhrú le hiarratasóirí nár éirigh leo an grád riachtanach H4 nó os a chionn a bhaint amach sa pháipéar matamaitice ardleibhéil. Féadfaidh daoine nach ndearna ardleibhéal matamaitice san Ardteistiméireacht cur isteach ar an scrúdú chomh maith. Má fhaigheann mac léinn pas sa scrúdú seo beidh an riachtanas matamaitice comhlíonta aici/aige agus gheobhaidh sí/sé tairiscint eile ó CAO i mBabhta 2, ach na pointí riachtanacha a bheith aici/aige. Chomh maith leis sin, beidh dianchúrsa ullmhúcháin ar siúl in OÉ Gaillimh roimh ré dóibh siúd ar mian leo an scrúdú a dhéanamh. Beidh an cúrsa saor in aisce seo ar siúl ón 14-19 Lúnasa. Is é an aidhm atá leis an gcúrsa seo cur lena mbíonn foghlamtha ag daltaí ag an ngnáthleibhéal san Ardteistiméireacht, le go n-éireoidh leo sa scrúdú matamaitice. Cuirfear é seo i gcrích trí dhul i ngleic le fadhbanna éagsúla ag leibhéil éagsúla deacrachta. Cuirfear béim ar an gcaoi le tabhairt faoi fhadhb agus ar an gcaoi a gcuirfear an t-eolas atá ar fáil i bhfeidhm. Dúirt an tOllamh Peter McHugh, Déan na hInnealtóireachta agus na hIonformaitice in OÉ Gaillimh: “Is ionann innealtóirí agus dearthóirí agus daoine atá go maith ag réiteach fadhbanna, a chruthaíonn agus a chuireann teicneolaíocht na linne seo romhainn ar fáil. Dá bharr seo, tá na cláir innealtóireachta seo dírithe ar fhorbairt a dhéanamh ar scileanna anailíseacha agus ar scileanna chun fadhbanna a réiteach, agus dá bhrí sin, caithfear úsáid shuntasach a bhaint as matamaitic agus as matamaitic fheidhmeach. Gach bliain feicimid daltaí cumasacha nach ndéanann chomh maith agus a d’fhéadfaidís ar lá an scrúdaithe Ardteistiméireachta. Tugann an Scrúdú Cáilíochta Matamaitice de chuid na hInnealtóireachta deis eile do dhaltaí léiriú go bhfuil an caighdeán riachtanach sa mhatamaitic bainte amach acu. I gcaitheamh na mblianta, d’éirigh le roinnt mic léinn a raibh cumas eisceachtúil iontu céim a bhaint amach agus dul sa tóir ar shlí bheatha dóibh féin san innealtóireacht mar go bhfuair siad an dara deis leis an scrúdú áirithe seo.” Tá cúrsa neamhainmnithe san innealtóireacht ar tairiscint do mhic léinn in OÉ Gaillimh. Tá an clár seo dírithe go háirithe ar mhic léinn a bhfuil suim acu a bheith ina n-innealtóirí ach nach bhfuil siad cinnte cén réimse ar mhaith leo díriú air. Tugann an clár seo deis do mhic léinn staidéar ginearálta a dhéanamh ar an innealtóireacht ar feadh bliana sula roghnaíonn siad a réimse speisialtóireachta i mbliain a dó. Chun eolas a fháil faoin scrúdú, faoin gcúrsa matamaitice ullmhúcháin agus chun iarratas a dhéanamh ar an Scrúdú Cáilíochta Matamaitice, téigh chuig http://www.nuigalway.ie/engineering-informatics/undergraduatestudents/engineeringmathsqualifyingexamination/ -Críoch-

Monday, 12 August 2019

Loci Orthopaedics awarded €2.5 million grant, has US patent granted, and enters into new technology licence agreement Loci Orthopaedics, based in the Innovation Centre at NUI Galway, is lead partner in a consortium awarded in excess of €2.5 million to advance one of the company’s products to market, the “InDx Implant” under the European Commission’s ‘Fast Track to Innovation’ fund. The InDx Implant product has been designed for the treatment of arthritis of the thumb base joint. This condition affects over 30 million people across the EU, and results in significant hand pain, and restrictions in mobility and independence. In the next three years, the company will focus on launching the InDx Implant in hospitals throughout Europe and the USA. Loci Orthopaedics was founded as a spin-out from NUI Galway in 2017 by Dr Brendan Boland and Mr Gerry Clarke and is dedicated to improving the lives of patients suffering from arthritis through the development of novel, but evidence-based orthopaedic technologies. In 2018 the company closed an investment round of €2.75 million. The additional Fast Track to Innovation funding will bring the total funding raised for the InDx Implant product to almost €6 million, reflecting the major unmet clinical need that is being addressed. Speaking about this recent grant, CEO of Loci Orthopaedics, Dr Brendan Boland, said: “The orthopaedics market is one of the fastest growing segments in medical devices, and the area we are working in is the fastest growing sub-section in orthopaedics. Being the lead partner on such a prestigious European Commission sponsored grant is a great endorsement for the company of the unmet clinical need, the growing market, and the innovativeness of our own technology.” Mr Gerry Clarke, Chief Technology Officer at Loci Orthopaedics, said: “The InDx implant is the only thumb implant that is an evidence-based design. We have been working with three of the world’s leading hand surgeons from Stanford University, Brown University, and KU Leuven Belgium, to develop the first implant that can fully mimic the natural motions of the thumb base joint. This grant further supports the core technology of the product, as well as allowing us to accelerate the product to market to relieve the daily suffering of many millions of patients across the world.” The Fast Track to Innovation consortium includes EndoLab (Germany), NAMSA (UK) and Medvie (Ireland), and was one of only 15 consortiums from across the EU to receive such a prestigious funding award. Recently, the patent for the InDx Implant was granted by the US Patent and Trademark Office entitled “Implant for a Bone Joint” and is the first patent to issue from Loci Orthopaedics growing intellectual property portfolio. The company has further patents pending as well as several international patent applications across the field of Orthopaedic Medicine. In addition to this portfolio, the company has entered into an agreement with NUI Galway, for a world-wide exclusive licence to the NUI Galway–developed “OsteoAnchor” technology. The OsteoAnchor technology is an additively manufactured surface finish for use in orthopaedic implants, which enables an implant to gain immediate fixation, via sharp claws, and long-term fixation, as the native bone grows around pillars and struts. This technology has been proven to provide enhanced fixation and osteointegration (bone growth around the implant), compared to other surface finish methods such as, plasma-spray coating. This is particularly useful in patients who require orthopaedic implants but have poor quality bone, for example, due to osteoporosis.  It is estimated that the combined market potential for these two products (InDx Implant and OsteoAnchor) alone is over $1.5 billion per annum.  Dr Boland commented: “Having the US patent granted for the core InDx Implant technology, as well as rapidly expanding the company’s Intellectual Property (IP) portfolio, is a very exciting time. We are developing a pipeline and platform of technologies to meet unmet clinical needs in the fastest growing market in orthopaedic medicine.”  For more information about Loci Orthopaedics, visit: http://www.lociorthopaedics.com/ or follow the company on Twitter @lociortho -Ends-

Wednesday, 7 August 2019

CÚRAM and Galway Film Centre’s ‘Science on Screen’ films celebrate continued international screenings and award successes in the US and Australia A Tiny Spark, the most recent film produced through the ‘Science on Screen’ initiative created by CÚRAM, the Science Foundation Ireland Research Centre for Medical Devices at NUI Galway and Galway Film Centre, has been awarded Best Medical Short at Sci On! Film Festival in Nevada. The film focuses on the first study of its kind in the world, which is being led by NUI Galway Neuroscientist, Dr Karen Doyle and involves the analysis of removed blood clots to determine what information they may yield and could point to big improvements to people’s lives. The film, directed by Niamh Heery and produced by Caroline Kealy of Swansong Films with animations by Eric Dolan, meets three stroke survivors Rebecca, Trevor and Helen who talk about life after a stroke and their individual roads to recovery. This research is an international collaborative study between NUI Galway, hospital partners in Beaumont Hospital and throughout Europe and the Mayo Clinic, USA.  Awarding the prize, one of the festival judges at Sci On! Film Festival had this to say about the film: “Such a powerful and perfectly-made film. The subject matter is so vital and relevant. It’s hard to find the words to describe such a meaningful and compassionate treatment of a condition that has impacted so many of us directly or indirectly, personally or through a friend or family member. Thank you for helping raise awareness - and to show that there is hope.” While a second judge remarked: “Absolutely superb and engaging documentary, with an excellent and sensitive blending of interviews with animated scenes.”  A Tiny Spark, which had its international festival premiere in March 2019 at the Oregon Documentary Festival, also screened at the SCINEMA International Science Film Festival in Australia, the largest science film festival in the Southern Hemisphere. The film has also just been selected for DOCUTAH Film Festival in Utah in September 2019 and more screenings will be announced soon. The CÚRAM and Galway Film Centre ‘Science on Screen’ initiative offers funding to filmmakers to produce a documentary that engages with research currently underway at CÚRAM in NUI Galway. This funding strand for creative documentaries set in the world of science is now in its fourth year. Other ‘Science on Screen’ films are also still screening to audiences around the globe. The 2017 film Bittersweet, directed by Hugh Rodgers and produced by Anna Rodgers and Zlata Filipovic of Invisible Thread Films, scooped the Best Educational Media Award at the Raw Science Film Festival 2019 in Los Angeles. Bittersweet follows the personal stories of young people who are living with diabetes and their daily challenges to manage it. Over the course of the film, audiences discover ground-breaking research and development in pharmacology and biomedical science, capturing the important work of CÚRAM’s Professor David Brayden and his team at UCD’s School of Veterinary Medicine, where they are developing new ways of delivering insulin to the body.  Bittersweet premiered in 2017 and has since screened at film festivals globally, as well as broadcasting on RTÉ 1 TV and at special screenings for healthcare professionals, and for school children and academics throughout Ireland. It recently screened at Galway University Hospitals to the Paediatric team in conjunction with Diabetes Ireland. The film’s success to date emphasizes the key goal of ‘Science on Screen’ which is to bring science to new audiences in the form of great storytelling through the medium of film.  Bittersweet is available on the RTÉ Player: https://www.rte.ie/player/movie/bittersweet/83918888259  A Tiny Spark Trailer is available here: https://vimeo.com/291731458 and for more about ‘Science on Screen’ visit: http://curamdevices.ie/curam/public-engagement/science-on-screen/ -Ends-

Tuesday, 6 August 2019

NUI Galway, Galway County Council Heritage Service and Skehana Heritage Group are collaborating on a photographic showcase on Galway Estates as part of Heritage Week, which takes place from 17 to 25 August. In 2016 Skehana Heritage Group first began displaying images of some of Galway’s “Big Houses”, the buildings from which landed estates large and small were managed for over 200 years. They were the multi-nationals of their day in providing employment. Sadly, however, their legacy was frequently one of control and which perpetuated an increasingly unsustainable economic model. The estates’ demise principally came about in the first decades of the twentieth century when the government-sponsored Land Acts advanced the money to tenant farmers to purchase their holdings and become owner-occupiers. It has been estimated that east Galway, in particular, had a larger proportion of such houses, large and small, than any other county in Ireland. The Skehana initiative complements the research conducted at NUI Galway’s Moore Institute in the Irish Landed Estates project which has been in existence since 2007. For more information on the Irish Landed Estates project see http://www.landedestates.ie/. The Heritage Week event will see hundreds of photographic images of these houses - some intact, some ruined, some whose memory only exists on the landscape in the form of a map or drawing from an earlier century – on display in banner format in the O’Donoghue Building foyer, from 19 to 24 August. An added attraction will be facsimile copies of leases, maps, memoirs and marriage settlements from the over 20 landed estate archival collections housed in the James Hardiman Library’s Archives and Special Collections. NUI Galway will also host a half day seminar, Galway Estates from the Archives, on Saturday, 24 August from 9.30am to 1.30pm. The seminar will explore how historians and other researchers employ these documents to tell the stories of their families, local areas, landscapes and communities. Marie Boran, NUI Galway Special Collections Librarian and Landed Estates researcher, said: “This is the first time the Galway Big Houses banners will be on display in Galway City, though they have been exhibited in various parts of the county. It will be a wonderful opportunity for Galway people and visitors alike to learn more about these buildings which are so central to our past.” Attendance at the event is free. Details of booking and information are available at: https://www.heritageweek.ie/whats-on/event/galway-estates-from-the-archives -Ends-

Tuesday, 6 August 2019

The Health Research Board - Trials Methodology Research Network (HRB-TMRN) based in the School of Nursing and Midwifery at NUI Galway has launched a new and innovative initiative, The People’s Trial, which challenges the public to get involved in creating, designing and running their very own fun clinical trial.  The initiative is one of the first of its kind in Ireland to establish an online virtual clinical trial platform and to fully engage with the general public at every step of the trial process, from question selection, to recruitment, to data analysis and beyond. For the first time, a fun clinical trial will be fully dependent on the public for its success, not just as study participants, but as trialists creating the trial at each step, deciding the trial question, selecting the outcomes and how they will be measured, and sharing the findings. The overall aim of this study is to help create a greater understanding of the clinical trial process, so that the public can be better informed as to why we need clinical trials and also how they can be used to answer a question. While randomised trials are expensive, time-consuming studies to plan and carry out, they are considered the gold standard of how to evaluate health care interventions. An intervention is anything that aims to make a change to someone’s health for the better. For example, providing a counselling service, prescribing a drug, or giving people information and training, are all described as interventions. The decision about which group a person joins in a randomised trial is at random, which means that a person is put into one of the intervention groups by chance.  Professor Declan Devane, Scientific Director of the Health Research Board - Trials Methodology Research Network at NUI Galway, said: “In a world where the public are bombarded through multiple mediums with differing health choices and claims, we feel it is important that members of the public have the skills to consider the validity of these claims. This is how randomised trials become really important.”  Dr Sandra Galvin, HRB-TMRN Programme Manager at NUI Galway, said: “The People’s Trial offers the general public the rare opportunity to take over the controls of a fun, low risk, clinical trial and ask any question they like. Does taking a cold shower every day help improve physical and mental wellbeing? Does eating cheese before bedtime cause nightmares? Does taking a walk at lunchtime help improve work productivity in the afternoon? These are just some of the types of questions that this type of trial may seek to answer, but ultimately the general public will decide.” Speaking about the initiative, Dr Darrin Morrissey, Chief Executive at the Health Research Board, said: “Building public understanding of clinical trials is essential to increase participation. This project is a brilliant way to engage people in the trial process in a way that will build trust and understanding of the process of developing innovative clinical interventions. It is great to see the HRB-TMRN push new boundaries in the approach to clinical trials and embrace public and patient involvement in a proactive way.” The study is funded by the Health Research Board under the Knowledge Exchange and Dissemination Scheme Award.  For further information, visit: https://thepeoplestrial.ie/ or email info@thepeoplestrial.ie and hrb-tmrn@nuigalway.ie. Follow on Twitter @thepeoplestrial and People’s Trial on Facebook and peoples_trial on Instagram. -Ends-

Thursday, 1 August 2019

Legislation developed by the School of Law at NUI Galway has been passed by the Oireachtas. The Land and Conveyancing Law Reform (Amendment) Act 2019 enables courts to consider better solutions for distressed mortgagers.  The Act has its genesis in the Keeping People in their Homes Bill, which was introduced in the Dáil in 2017 by Minister of State, Kevin ‘Boxer’ Moran TD. This legislation was originally inspired and drafted by Dr Padraic Kenna, Senior Lecturer in Housing and Property Law at NUI Galway, and NUI Galway Alumnus, Eugene Deering, BA, LLB, LLM, and Special Adviser to Minister Moran, following detailed research at the Centre for Housing Law, Rights and Policy Research in NUI Galway and discussions with Department of Justice officials.  The original Bill contained the key provisions of the new Act, including the critical ‘proportionality test’ – finding the outcome involving least interference with rights of respect for home, and taking into account the circumstances of all household members, advocated by Dr Kenna and Mr Deering.  Dr Padraic Kenna, School of Law, NUI Galway, said: “This legislation builds on existing Government initiatives designed to assist people in mortgage distress, and reflects government policy of keeping people in their homes, and ensures that the circumstances of everyone living in the home, including children, are fully considered in mortgage possession cases.”  Minister of State, Kevin ‘Boxer’ Moran TD, presented and advanced the Act in the Oireachtas. The passage of the legislation was facilitated by officials in the Department of Justice and Equality, former Minister, Frances Fitzgerald (now MEP), and current Minister, Charles Flanagan TD. It was also supported by Jim O’ Callaghan TD, Fianna Fáil spokesperson for Justice and Equality, and passed by agreement of all TDs in July 2019. The legislation enables a court or registrar to consider whether the making of a possession order would be proportionate in all the circumstances, whether the lender has put forward a statement to the borrower which would enable the borrower and their dependants to remain in the home and settle the matter, and “additional matters it thinks appropriate.” The court must now also consider the circumstances of the borrower and any dependants living in the home. This will include the circumstances of any children, and persons with a disability. The new Act also enables a court or registrar to consider any proposal made by the borrower to the lender, which would allow him/her, and any dependants, to remain in the home, or to secure alternative accommodation – as well as the response of the lender to that proposal. The court will be able to review the conduct of the mortgage lender, as well as the borrower, in their attempts to find a resolution. Dr Charles O’ Mahony, Head of the School of Law at NUI Galway, said: “This significant legislative development will enable Irish courts to fully consider the circumstances of those at risk of losing their home. It was inspired and drafted originally in the School of Law, following detailed research on EU developments, and clearly demonstrates the impact of our research and engagement at NUI Galway’s School of Law.”  The Act is available to download at: https://www.oireachtas.ie/en/bills/bill/2019/19/ For more information about the Centre for Housing Law, Rights and Policy Research, NUI Galway, visit: http://www.nuigalway.ie/chlrp/ -Ends- 

Friday, 30 August 2019

NUI Galway has secured €15 million in funding under the Higher Education Strategic Infrastructural Fund (HESIF) - Project Ireland 2040, announced by Minister for Education Joe McHugh T.D. for the redevelopment of the James Hardiman Library. The project - the new Library and Learning Commons - will redevelop, reconceptualise and fundamentally transform the James Hardiman Library building at NUI Galway in order to embrace, promote and support evolving approaches to teaching and learning. Welcoming the announcement, Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh, President of NUI Galway said: "I am delighted to welcome this very substantial support for NUI Galway’s library redevelopment which is a strong endorsement for teaching and learning at this University. This development will have a distinctively transformative impact on the learning experience of our students at NUI Galway. “Renewing higher education for the needs of our time and our place demands new types of space that allow deeper forms of engagement and new forms of connection between teaching, learning, research, and scholarship. This investment provides an opportunity to reconceive the library as an inclusive, accessible centre for active learning, a place of shared curiosity and for the co-development of knowledge and understanding in the world and for the world. I would like to thank the Department and the HEA for acknowledging our vision for HE in Ireland and in particular here in the west. “This is great news for NUI Galway, as well as for our broader University community. Today's announcement is a clear signal of our ambition for a new chapter in our University’s proud history.” John Cox, University Librarian, commented: “The transformed Library will be an inspirational, welcoming, space for learning and creativity, facilitating collaborative discovery and interdisciplinary engagement, with access to the world’s knowledge via a comprehensive digital library.”   ENDS Cuireann Uachtarán OÉ Gaillimh fáilte roimh Fhógra maidir le Maoiniú €15m don Leabharlann   D'fhógair an tAire Oideachais, Joe McHugh, TD inniu (Déardaoin, 29 Lúnasa) go bhfuil maoiniú €15 mhilliún faighte ag OÉ Gaillimh faoin gCiste Bonneagair Straitéisigh Ardoideachais (HESIF) - Tionscadal Éire 2040 - chun Leabharlann Shéamais Uí Argadáin a athfhorbairt. Déanfaidh an tionscadal - Ionad nua na Leabharlainne agus na Foghlama - athfhorbairt, athchoincheapú agus athrú bunúsach ar fhoirgneamh Leabharlann Shéamais Uí Argadáin in OÉ Gaillimh chun cuir chuigí atá ag teacht chun cinn i leith an teagaisc agus na foghlama a ghlacadh chugainn féin, a chur chun cinn agus a thacú. Agus é ag cur fáilte roimh an bhfógra, bhí an méid seo a leanas le rá ag an Ollamh Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh, Uachtarán OÉ Gaillimh: “Tá an-áthas orm fáilte a chur roimh an tacaíocht ollmhór seo d’athfhorbairt na leabharlainne in OÉ Gaillimh, rud atá ina thacaíocht láidir don teagasc agus don fhoghlaim san Ollscoil seo. Beidh tionchar ó bhonn ag an bhforbairt seo ar thaithí foghlama ár mac léinn in OÉ Gaillimh. “D’fhonn an t-ardoideachas a athrú chun freastal ar riachtanais na linne seo teastaíonn cineálacha nua spáis a chothaíonn cineálacha éagsúla rannpháirtíochta agus cineálacha nua ceangail idir teagasc, foghlaim, taighde, agus léann. Tugann an infheistíocht seo deis dúinn an leabharlann a athmhúnlú mar lárionad cuimsitheach, inrochtana don fhoghlaim ghníomhach, mar áit don fhiosracht chomhroinnte agus tugann sí deis freisin dúinn eolas agus tuiscint a chomhfhorbairt sa domhan. Ba mhaith liom buíochas a ghabháil leis an Roinn agus leis an ÚAO as a dtuiscint ar ár bhfís don ardoideachas in Éirinn agus go háirithe anseo san iarthar.   “Is dea-scéala amach is amach é seo do OÉ Gaillimh, agus do phobal na hOllscoile i gcoitinne. Is comhartha soiléir é fógra an lae inniu ar a uaillmhianaí is atáimid maidir le caibidil nua i stair bhródúil na hOllscoile.”   Bhí an méid seo a leanas le rá ag John Cox, Leabharlannaí na hOllscoile: “Fágfaidh an t-athrú ó bhonn seo ar an Leabharlann gur spás fáilteach inspioráideach a bheidh ann don fhoghlaim agus don chruthaitheacht, áit ina ndéanfar éascaíocht don fhionnachtain chomhoibríoch agus don rannpháirtíocht idirdhisciplíneach, agus ina mbeidh rochtain ar shaíocht an domhain trí leabharlann dhigiteach chuimsitheach.”   CRÍOCH  

Wednesday, 31 July 2019

A new study by the LUNG SAFE Investigator group led by academics from NUI Galway, Galway University Hospitals, University of Toronto and University of Milan-Bicocco, have examined the differences in the management and outcomes of critically ill women and men who were diagnosed with Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS) and found that mortality rates were significantly higher in women diagnosed with severe confirmed ARDS and highlight the potential for better ventilatory management in females to improve their outcomes.  Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS), is a form of acute lung injury that results from damage to the lung, in response to an injury such as pneumonia, sepsis or major trauma. When the breathing unit becomes inflamed it results in a reduced ability for gases including oxygen to be absorbed and carbon dioxide to be excreted. The condition occurs in a tenth of all patients admitted to the Intensive Care Unit, and nearly a quarter of all patients that require mechanical ventilation. There is no direct treatment for ARDS, and current management focuses on supporting lung function with artificial ventilation. ‘Protective’ lung ventilation approaches, which use patient height to guide the size of the breath delivered by the ventilator to the patient, help to reduce the risk of further lung damage, and improve survival in these patients. Professor John Laffey, Professor of Anaesthesia and Intensive Care Medicine, NUI Galway and Galway University Hospitals and Professor Giacomo Bellani, University of Milan-Bicocco were the joint leads of the LUNG SAFE study, that included a group of over 1,000 researchers from 549 Intensive Care Units across 50 countries throughout the globe. The LUNG SAFE study gave the clearest picture of the incidence of ARDS globally. ARDS was seen in 10% of all patients admitted to Intensive Care Units and 20% of all patients requiring artificial ventilation. The current study, published today (30 July 2019) in the European Respiratory Journal, examined differences in risk factors, management and outcomes between women and men who were admitted to an Intensive Care Unit with ARDS. The investigators reported important sex differences in the management and outcomes of patients with ARDS. Only half of females received protective lung ventilation, with shorter women more likely to receive non-protective ventilation compared even to men of similar height. Of particular concern, mortality rates were significantly higher in women with confirmed severe ARDS. Females with ARDS require particular care in order to optimise their ventilatory management and to improve their outcomes. These findings highlight the potential for better ventilatory management in females to improve their outcomes from ARDS. Speaking about the study’s findings, Professor John Laffey from NUI Galway, said: “We found that shorter females with ARDS were at high risk to receive injurious lung ventilation, while mortality rates were significantly higher in women with confirmed severe ARDS. We concluded that better ventilatory management may improve outcomes in females with ARDS.” Dr Bairbre McNicholas, Galway University Hospitals and joint first author of the study, stated: “The study brings to attention physiological differences between men and women in their response to acute lung injury - women could potentially fare better with ARDS if we are meticulous about how we manage their ventilation.” This new study is a follow-up to the LUNG SAFE study in 2014, and is the largest observational study ever undertaken to understand the global impact of severe acute respiratory failure. The study found that ARDS has a higher incidence than previously thought, and is frequently underdiagnosed by physicians. Protective lung ventilatory strategies that reduce lung injury were not widely implemented across the world. The study looked at outcomes for countries based on how wealthy the country is based on their GDP as this would influence the availability of Intensive Care Unit resources. It found that despite differences in the wealth of countries, there was less differences in the incidence of ARDS than previously reported. Overall mortality for the condition is 40%, higher for patients with more severe versions of the disease. This new LUNG SAFE study included a research group of scientists and intensivists (physicians who specialise in the care of critically ill patients in intensive care), was led by principal investigator Professor John Laffey, Professor of Anaesthesia and Intensive Care Medicine, NUI Galway and Galway University Hospitals, intensivist and joint co-author of the study, Dr Bairbre McNicholas, Intensive Care Unit, Galway University Hospitals, and Dr Claire Masterson and Dr Shahd Horie, researchers in Lung Biology at NUI Galway. The new LUNG-SAFE study was sponsored by the European Society of Intensive Care Medicine (ESICM) trials group.  To read the study in the European Respiratory Journal, visit: https://erj.ersjournals.com/content/early/2019/07/08/13993003.00609-2019 or for a full pdf version of the study contact Gwen O’Sullivan at gwen.osullivan@nuigalway.ie. -Ends-

Wednesday, 31 July 2019

Gig workers in the UK are twice as likely as the wider population to be in the early stages of setting up a business, largest global study of entrepreneurs finds Sharp fall in entrepreneurship among BAME Britons and immigrants Rise of crowdfunding and peer-to-peer lending sees people increasingly willing to invest in “strangers with good ideas” Workers in the gig economy are increasingly seeing their “side hustle” as a launchpad into longer-term entrepreneurship, according to the largest annual survey of UK entrepreneurs. Although often portrayed as a precarious option to supplement low pay, latest data from the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM), has found gig workers are twice as likely as the wider population to be planning to start a business or to be early-stage entrepreneurs. But more worryingly, the study also suggests that previously-higher entrepreneurship rates among black and minority-ethnic (BAME) British people and BAME immigrants to the UK have nosedived since 2017, reducing to levels similar to non-minority and non-immigrant residents. The researchers behind the UK edition of the global report, sponsored by NatWest, believe the findings show the changing shape of the UK economy may be benefiting some groups more than others, with Brexit fears weighing disproportionately on minorities and migrants. The Global Entrepreneurship Monitor tracks rates of entrepreneurship in 49 economies, making it the world’s most authoritative comparative study of entrepreneurial activity. Researchers from NUI Galway, Aston University in Birmingham, Queen’s University Belfast and Strathclyde Business School analysed responses from more than 9,000 people. The GEM report’s key measure of Total early-stage Entrepreneurial Activity (TEA) tracks the proportion of people who are ‘nascent entrepreneurs’ at the early stages of setting up a business, as well as new business owners who have been running their firm for between three months and three-and-a-half years. Using the most up-to-date data collected in 2018, the researchers found that the TEA rate of 7.9% in the UK compares favourably to France (6.1%) and Germany (5.0%) but is lower than that of the US (15.6%). This year’s survey is the first to look in detail at entrepreneurship among gig economy workers. It found that 19.2% of people doing gig work for firms like Uber and Deliveroo were intending to start a business within three years, compared to 8.5% of the general population, while almost 9% considered themselves ‘nascent entrepreneurs’, compared to 4% of all people. A further 25% of gig workers describe themselves as new or established business owners, suggesting their ‘side hustle’ is part of a wider embrace of entrepreneurship. The study also found differences in entrepreneurial activity according to gender, ethnicity, migration status and socio-economic group. Around one in ten men were at some stage on the entrepreneurship journey, compared to one in 20 women. And in a reversal of the long-running trend for ethnic minorities and immigrants to display higher entrepreneurship rates, the TEA rate for BAME British people fell by more than half in a single year, from 14.5% to 6.9%. For immigrants to the UK of all ethnicities there was a similar collapse, with their TEA rate falling from 12.5% in 2017 to 7.2% in 2018, but this drop was particularly pronounced among non-white immigrant groups, whose TEA rate fell from 17.5% to 4.9%. By contrast, UK-born people of any ethnicity who had lived abroad were the most likely of any group to be early-stage entrepreneurs, at 12.2%. Regional and socio-economic differences were also observed, with the highest rates of entrepreneurship found amongst the most deprived fifth of areas in England (12.6%), with lower rates in the other UK nations. The GEM report also suggests that attitudes among entrepreneurs towards external finance are changing. Over half (53%) of entrepreneurs intend to fund their venture themselves, with 15% looking to banks for support and 6% to crowdfunding sites. Meanwhile, while only 2.8% of the population invested in someone else’s business in 2018, mainly close friends and family, 23% of these informal lenders gave their money to a “stranger with a good idea” through peer-to-peer lending, up from 16% the previous year. Jonathan Levie, Professor of Entrepreneurship and Regional Development, J.E. Cairnes School of Business and Economics, NUI Galway, said: “What’s troubling is the big drop in entrepreneurship we’ve seen among BAME communities and immigrants to the UK. In the past, these groups have set the pace of enterprise among our population, so we have to question what factors could have caused such a pronounced collapse in such a short space of time. Starting a business is an act of faith in the future. This finding suggests that BAME immigrants see their future in the UK as more uncertain now than before. If this is the start of a new trend rather than a blip in the data, then we should be investigating the reasons for it urgently.” Mark Hart, Professor of Small Business and Entrepreneurship at Aston Business School, said:“Interestingly, the gig economy seems to be an attractive way of working for those intending to start a business or who are in the early stages. Given the flexibility inherent with this type of work it would seem ideal for those individuals who wish to spend time getting their business off the ground and earn a wage at the same time. The latter point is particularly important for those early-stage entrepreneurs who may not yet have a steady monthly income arising from their business venture.” Commenting on the launch of the GEM Report, Paul Thwaite NatWest MD, Head of Sales, Specialist Businesses & Business Banking said: “NatWest is delighted to sponsor this report, the most authoritative research into entrepreneurial activity and trends in the United Kingdom. This year’s report highlights that the UK’s entrepreneurial spirit is still strong, with 20% of working age individuals engaged in some type of entrepreneurial activity or intending to start a business within the next three years. However, it also highlights some areas where more attention is required, and this insight helps us ensure that our Entrepreneur Accelerator programme is tailored to reflect the needs of entrepreneurs at every stage, whether they are an early stage start-up, established SME, or a high growth business looking to scale. As the UK’s biggest bank for business, we understand that SMEs are the lifeblood of the economy and are committed to supporting entrepreneurs achieve their ambitions.” To read the full Global Entrepreneurship Monitor study, visit: https://www2.aston.ac.uk/aston-business-school/research/working-with-business/gem -Ends-

Tuesday, 30 July 2019

Professor Abhay Pandit, Scientific Director of CÚRAM at NUI Galway has been elected to Fellowship of the Irish Academy of Engineering. This distinction has been bestowed on Professor Pandit by the Academy in recognition of his “exceptional career and contribution to the advancement of engineering and economic and social progress in Ireland”.  The Irish Academy of Engineering is an all-island body with a mission to advance the wellbeing of the country by marshalling the expertise and insights of eminent engineers to provide independent advice to policy makers on matters involving engineering and technology. Fellowship of the Academy recognises outstanding distinction in engineering in Ireland and overseas, covering academia, public sector, industry and engineering consultancy, with a current membership of 146.  Abhay Pandit is an Established Professor of Biomaterials. He is Scientific Director of CÚRAM, the Centre for Research in Medical Devices at NUI Galway, a multi-disciplinary academic-industry-clinician translational research centre funded by Science Foundation Ireland. Professor Pandit’s research integrates material science and biological systems in developing solutions for chronic diseases. Professor Pandit has developed advanced drug delivery vehicles, which facilitate highly controlled localised and sustained delivery of multiple biomolecules to target injury mechanisms at the molecular and cellular levels. These biomaterial platforms have been demonstrated to act as templates for constructive reorganisation of existing tissues and for the induction of new functional, site-appropriate, tissue formation. These platforms have been developed for neural, musculoskeletal and cardiovascular clinical targets with numerous other targets currently under development. Professor Pandit has received numerous awards and distinctions. He was the first Irish academic to be inducted as an International Fellow in Biomaterials Science and Engineering by the International Union of Societies for Biomaterials Science and Engineering and elected as a Fellow of the Tissue Engineering and Regenerative International Society. He was also elected to the American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE) College of Fellows in recognition of his outstanding contributions to establishing a national centre which will develop transformative device-based solutions to treat global chronic diseases. Abhay Pandit has been an elected member on the Council for both the Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine International Society and European Society for Biomaterials Society. He has hosted the TERMIS-EU meeting in 2010 and ESB in 2011, both for the very first time in Ireland. He is also the current chair-elect of TERMIS-EU since 2019. Professor Pandit has published more than 250 papers in peer-reviewed journals, filed numerous patent applications and has licensed four technologies to medical device companies. Professor Pandit serves on the Executive Editorial Board of the Tissue Engineering journal and is an Associate Editor of the Biomaterials journal. He has coordinated four EU grants to date and has generated research contracts from industry and government funding agencies totalling €90 million. President of NUI Galway, Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh, said: “On behalf of colleagues at NUI Galway, I extend warmest congratulations to Abhay on this recognition by the Irish Academy of Engineering. His election to Fellowship signals the immense and continuing contribution which Abhay continues to make to the field of engineering in Ireland, in particular to the area of tissue engineering. I’m delighted to see his achievements so justly recognised by the Academy in this way.” Speaking about his Fellowship, Professor Abhay Pandit, NUI Galway, said: “It is an honour to be elected to the Irish Academy of Engineering. I look forward to building on this achievement to further enhance the impact of tissue engineering at NUI Galway and to further the growth and international recognition of the medical device sector here in the West of Ireland.”  For more information about the Irish Academy of Engineering, visit: http://iae.ie/ -Ends-

Thursday, 25 July 2019

Qpercom Observe assesses clinical skills of Medicine, Veterinary Medicine, Dentistry and Nursing students through a consecutive series of scenarios performing critical clinical tasks : NUI Galway spin out, Qpercom has been awarded a national tender in Norway to deliver their advanced assessment solution, Qpercom Observe, used in healthcare education to assess the clinical skills of students. The tender represents all higher education institutions in Norway including the four major universities; University of Oslo, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, University of Tromsø (The Arctic University of Norway) and the University of Bergen. Established in Galway in 2008, Qpercom supplies advanced assessment solutions to universities worldwide, including the University of Dundee, Karolinska Institute and the National University of Singapore. The successful outcome of the Norwegian tender comes just after Qpercom’s recent win at the prestigious e-Assessment Awards for Best Use of Summative Assessment for Observe. Dr Thomas Kropmans, co-founder and CEO of Qpercom, said: “There is no room for error when it comes to making decisions on life and death during high-stake exams and ultimately in clinical practice in Medicine and Health Sciences in Norway or elsewhere in the world. Winning the Norwegian tender just after winning the e-Assessment award re-confirms the value of Observe as an assessment solution globally.” Objective Structured Clinical Examinations (OSCEs) are used worldwide to assess clinical skills in Medicine, Veterinary Medicine, Dentistry, Nursing and other health sciences. Students go through a consecutive series of scenarios performing critical clinical tasks, being observed and marked by an assessor. Compared to training and assessment in Aviation, Medicine and associated sciences have a lot to learn where pass marks vary between 50 to 85%. “ Dr Kropmans states: “I don’t think a pilot would get away with a positive result if only 50% of their flight scenarios were completed successfully. We come across situations where junior doctors walk away with a pass mark of 50%. Standards in Norway are very high and we expect our software and analysis solution will assist in taking the remaining error out of the procedures used.” The Norwegian tender required a service to automate the administration of practical examinations, a flexible digital process support for exam activities and results, and an integrated, user-friendly and scalable service for all exam user groups. According to Senior Adviser, Per O Bruvold from University of Bergen, Norway: “The main difference between Qpercom and the other tenderers is Qpercom already have the best service with rich functionality. Qpercom have a nice user-friendly administrative tool for setting up practical exams. Therefore, they fulfilled our first two goals better than the others. Qpercom also have an advantage in terms of the ability to monitor the marking process in real time, allowing a streamlined interaction between markers and administrators, as a simultaneous marking process with dozens of markers required.” For more information about Qpercom, visit: www.qpercom.com or follow on Twitter @qpercom.  -Ends-

Wednesday, 24 July 2019

NUI Galway awarded research fellowship for project to carry out the first study in Ireland investigating the background level of exposure to the herbicide, glyphosate among families NUI Galway has been awarded a research fellowship to carry out the first study in Ireland to investigate the background levels of exposure to glyphosate among families. The NUI Galway researchers with collaborators from the Institute for Prevention and Occupational Medicine in Bochum, Germany will collect and analyse urine samples from 50 non-farm families and 50 farm families for glyphosate and its main metabolite Aminomethylphosphonic acid. Each family will be asked to produce one urine sample each (two parents and one child aged between 6–17 years) and complete a questionnaire from each participant. The herbicide glyphosate is the active ingredient in over 750 products including Roundup®. Glyphosate is the highest volume herbicide used globally, and extensively used in agriculture and horticulture to combat weeds, and is sprayed as a pre-harvest drying treatment on certain food crops. It is also widely sprayed in parks, public spaces, lawns, gardens and roadsides as well as for amateur use. Dietary exposure through pesticide residues that remain on fruit, vegetables and grains after spraying, or home use of glyphosate based pesticide products, are thought to be the most common exposure routes among the general population. This new research fellowship follows on from a four-year study that identified low levels of pesticide exposures among professional gardener’s and amenity horticultural workers in Ireland, led by Exposure Science lecturer Dr Marie Coggins and Dr Alison Connolly from the School of Physics at NUI Galway. Postdoctoral scientist, Dr Alison Connolly, was awarded the research fellowship to conduct this new study, the IMAGE project: ‘Ireland’s bioMonitoring Assessment of Glyphosate Exposures’- an environmental assessment of exposures to glyphosate among the Irish population using a human biomonitoring sampling strategy. The previous NUI Galway study among amenity horticultural workers conducted human biomonitoring studies where urine samples were collected and analysed for the detection of glyphosate. One human biomonitoring study of 50 Irish adults working in horticultural amenity was conducted to estimate background levels of exposure among the Irish population. Of the 50 samples analysed, 10 (20%) of the participant’s urine samples had detectable trace levels of glyphosate. The median concentration of the detectable data (10 samples) was 0.87 µg L-1. Though these are low level exposures, it warrants further investigation. Dr Marie Coggins, Principal Investigator of the Image project and Exposure Science lecturer, School of Physics, NUI Galway, said: “There is a lack of data across Europe on human exposure to chemicals such as pesticides. Although detectable levels were low, studies such as this one are required to fully understand how chemical exposures affect human health, and to inform policy and manage exposure.” Fellowship recipient, Dr Alison Connolly, School of Physics, NUI Galway said: “I am delighted to have been awarded this prestigious research award to continue research from my PhD. The IMAGE project will produce important results on human exposures to a chemical of public concern, as well as highlighting the benefits of using human biomonitoring for the evaluation of human exposures and characterisation of risk for chemicals.”  Dr Connolly’s Fellowship was awarded through The Irish Research Council Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions COFUND Postdoctoral Fellowship Programme entitled CAROLINE – ‘Collaborative Research Fellowships for a Responsive and Innovative Europe’. The IMAGE study is a co-fund project of the Irish Research Council Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions programme. To participate in the project, contact Dr Alison Connolly at alison.connolly@nuigalway.ie, visit: www.nuigalway.ie/image and on Twitter @IMAGE_IRE. -Ends-

Monday, 22 July 2019

NUI Galway campus bedrooms, which are marketed during the summer months for visitors staying in Ireland, have been successfully accredited as ‘Approved Tourist Accommodation’ under Fáilte Ireland’s Welcome Standard Programme. This development comes following a comprehensive assessment by Fáilte Ireland, which resulted in over 8,000 campus accommodation bedrooms across the country successfully achieving the quality assurance award. The emphasis of the Fáilte Ireland Welcome Standard Quality Assurance Programme places particular focus on the customer journey - meeting customer expectations and the quality of the overall experience. Welcoming over 22,000 visitors to the NUI Galway campus in 2019 alone, excellent customer service is at the forefront of Campus Living’s offering, with the company also recently receiving a Fáilte Ireland Customer Service Excellence award. According to Karl Reinhardt, General Manager at Campus Living: “We are delighted to receive both Fáilte Ireland’s Service Excellence Award and accreditation to the Welcome Standard. These awards recognise our ongoing commitment to providing our guests with a positive, genuine and memorable experience. Whether it’s a family or friends looking to experience the wonderful city of Galway or explore the Wild Atlantic Way, staying at Corrib Village in one of Ireland’s most attractive University campuses is a fantastic option, and it is great to be recognised for this.” With its riverside location on the University grounds, Campus Living accommodation offers guests a unique experience. Museums, an art gallery and a biodiversity trail are just some of the interesting attractions open to visitors at NUI Galway, which was recently shortlisted as ‘A Great Visitor Experience’ by InflightFlix International. Campus Living offers summer rooms and self-catering apartments, ideal for individuals or groups looking to explore the West of Ireland. To make an enquiry about summer visitor accommodation at NUI Galway, which is available from May – August, contact Campus Living at info@campusliving.ie or 091 527112. For information about accommodation in any of Ireland’s university campuses, visit the On Campus website at: www.oncampus.ie. -Ends-

Friday, 19 July 2019

Report on technology transfer offers 12 business models to help research centres commercialise their discoveries A new report led by the IESE Business School in Spain in collaboration with NUI Galway and other European Partners, sets out to address a major issue faced by leaders of research centres around the world: how to achieve economic sustainability while preserving academic quality. The report is based on an in depth analysis of 3,881 research centres in 107 countries, and it offers an informative guide for how research leaders can best commercialise their discoveries. While research centres are crucial for developing new technologies and scientific discoveries, every year many are shutdown. The authors say these closures often stem from a failure to turn research ideas into economic value, rendering the innovation research unsustainable or broken.  To counteract this, the 40-page report tracks three phases of a research centre’s work: (1) research (discovery), (2) transformation (invention) and (3) commercialisation (innovation). It then presents a quick overview of six gaps to watch out for, 18 mechanisms to address them and 12 business models (with successful examples) that are working at research centres within universities, industry and government. The report was created in collaboration with the STARTED Project which is coordinated by NUI Galway and aims to reinforce and structure a European network for promoting entrepreneurship and innovation in the Research and Development (R&D) area while improving the flow of knowledge and win-win cooperation between Higher Education Institutions and businesses. From NUI Galway, Professor John Breslin is the STARTED project coordinator and Mr Gabriel Mullarkey is the project lead with support from Dr Paul Flynn. All three are part of TechInnovate at NUI Galway, a forum which combines resources to catalyse and lead technology innovation. Professor John Breslin, NUI Galway, said: “Leveraging innovations should be a priority for all HEIs and R&D-active companies, however the lack of entrepreneurial skills within these organisations results in lost commercialisation potential. “Fundamentally, the STARTED Project, funded by Erasmus+, will empower researchers to transfer innovative research projects through to becoming robust startup opportunities through our new project-based entrepreneurship training approaches.” Mr Gabriel Mullarkey, NUI Galway, said: “The STARTED Project consortium is made up of a diverse group of experienced partners consisting of HEI institutes, SMEs and a European entrepreneurship network. This diversity ensures we take a real-world approach in building the entrepreneurial supports for researchers; uncovering their unmet needs in the commercialisation of their innovations and providing them with new tools and resources to start up.” The STARTED Project will ultimately lead to the setting up of a European Research to Startup Centre (ERSC) allowing for a paradigm shift in entrepreneurship teaching and learning approaches. The report was led by Josemaria Siota and Antonio Dávila of IESE Business School, in collaboration with STARTED Project partners NUI Galway, Roma Tre University, European Young Innovators Forum, VentureHub and Translated with contribution from Opinno’s Xavier Contijoch, the European Commission. For expressions of interest from researchers and research centres interested in learning entrepreneurial skills from the STARTED Project, please email info@startedproject.eu. To read the full report ‘Technology Transfer: Commercialising Discoveries at Research Centres Through Linked Innovation’ visit: https://www.ieseinsight.com/doc.aspx?id=2225&idioma=2 or www.iese.edu/ -Ends-

Thursday, 18 July 2019

A team at NUI Galway has been awarded funding of US$300,000 from The Michael J Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research to develop a novel approach to brain repair for Parkinson’s disease. Parkinson’s is a condition that primarily affects a person’s ability to control movement leading to a progressive deterioration in ability. The symptoms of the condition are caused by the degeneration and death of brain cells that regulate movement. Brain repair for Parkinson’s involves replacing these dead cells by transplanting healthy brain cells into the brain, but the widespread roll-out of this therapy has been hindered by the poor survival of the implanted cells. In research that made global headlines recently, Dr Eilís Dowd’s research team at NUI Galway demonstrated that the survival of the cells was dramatically improved when they were implanted into the brain within a supportive gel made from the natural material collagen. The funding from The Michael J Fox Foundation will allow Dr Dowd to take this research to the next level where she will test if the collagen gel can also improve the survival of healthy brain cells generated from adult stem cells. Commenting on the funding award, Dr Eilís Dowd at NUI Galway, said: “In our previous research published in the Nature journal, Scientific Reports, we showed that collagen provides the cells with a nurturing, supportive environment in the brain and helps them to survive the aversive transplant process. This funding from The Michael J Fox Foundation will allow us to test if this approach can also improve survival and reparative ability of healthy brain cells derived from adult stem cells. If so, this could lead to a dramatic improvement in brain repair approaches for Parkinson’s – a field that has been hampered for years by poor transplant survival.” The Michael J Fox Foundation is dedicated to finding a cure for Parkinson’s disease and to ensuring the development of improved therapies for those living with Parkinson’s today. Dr Liliana Menalled of The Michael J Fox Foundation, said: “Cell replacement therapy is a promising approach to restoring cell function and easing symptoms of Parkinson’s. This approach of enhancing cell survival with collagen is an innovative way to overcome a persistent challenge and may significantly advance these therapeutics for the many people living with this disease.” The research will be led by Dr Eilís Dowd, in collaboration with colleagues from the Galway Neuroscience Centre and CÚRAM, the Science Foundation Ireland Centre for Research in Medical Devices at NUI Galway, and University of Edinburgh. Dr Dowd’s ongoing research in this field featured in the short documentary Feats of Modest Valour which won the coveted Scientist Award at the Imagine Science Film Festival in New York, as well as the Professional Documentary Award at the Raw Science Festival in California. Dr Eilís Dowd has been working in the field of pre-clinical Parkinson’s research for almost 20 years, and her research focuses on understanding the cause of the condition and on developing novel pharmacological, cell, gene and biomaterial therapies for it. She received her PhD from University of Edinburgh, after which she completed post-doctoral research at University of Cambridge, McGill University, Canada and Cardiff University. Dr Dowd is currently president of Neuroscience Ireland, Ireland’s official neuroscience society. She sits on the governing councils of both the Federation of European Neuroscience Societies and the International Brain Research Organization. To view a short trailer of the documentary Feats of Modest Valour, visit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dbMX3QVLwIw For more about The Michael J Fox Foundation, visit: www.michaeljfox.org/ -Ends-

Wednesday, 17 July 2019

CÚRAM, the Science Foundation Ireland Centre for Research in Medical Devices at NUI Galway has announced a formal collaboration with Rutgers University, New Jersey regarding complementary medical device programs. The formal Agreement will focus on developing multi-disciplinary collaborations involving research on medical device technologies, commercialisation of medical technologies, and business incubation and acceleration. As global leaders in the field of medical device research, and because of its close collaboration with MedTech industry leaders, CÚRAM's expertise was sought by a delegation from Choose New Jersey, an economic development organisation with a mission to encourage and nurture economic growth throughout New Jersey. The organisation is developing an innovation HUB in New Brunswick which will have two million square feet of office, laboratory and incubator space. Together with Rutgers University, the delegation travelled to NUI Galway to learn from the experience and knowledge of CÚRAM with a view to creating a similar program at the HUB, potentially in partnership with CÚRAM. The signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between Rutgers and CÚRAM took place with Scientific Director of CÚRAM, Professor Abhay Pandit, Dr James Walsh and Vincent Smeraglia from Rutgers University, and representatives from Rowan University, Hackensack Meridian Healthcare, DEVCO, the HUB in New Brunswick and BioInnovate Ireland. Speaking at the signing, Professor Abhay Pandit, Scientific Director at CÚRAM, said: “This event is a testimony to CÚRAM's position as a global leader in the field of medical device research and we welcome the opportunity to share our expertise with our colleagues in New Jersey. We look forward to working with them further as they develop the HUB.” Dr James Walsh, Senior Director for Innovation, Rutgers University, said: “On behalf of Chancellor Christopher J. Molloy and Provost Prabhas Moghe, we are very excited to launch this alliance with our friends and colleagues in Galway. We believe that together, we can build on the strong links between New Jersey and Ireland’s highly innovative indigenous and multinational MedTech companies. Rutgers’ extensive research capabilities, faculty expertise, and business incubation leadership offer the alliance a strong foundation. We look forward to building on this with our colleagues at NUI Galway and Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology.” For more information about Rutgers University, visit: https://www.rutgers.edu/ and for Choose New Jersey, visit: https://www.choosenj.com/ -Ends-