Wednesday, 1 August 2018

Small to Medium Enterprises (SMEs) can now apply online to receive up to €60,000 in financial support to develop innovative ideas, products, and technology within the field of personal nutrition for older adults. NUI Galway is leading the market strategy on the H2020 ‘INCluSilver’ project which aims to support collaboration between SMEs from different sectors to create better nutritional solutions for older adults and improve their quality of life. A €3 million Innovation Voucher Scheme to develop new products and services in this area is currently open for applications with the closing date on Saturday, 15 September 2018. The projects must represent one of INCluSilver’s five collaborative sectors in: agro-food, health, packaging, ICT and creative industries. The INCluSilver project offers three types of innovation vouchers that range in value from €3,000 to €60,000. SMEs from the Republic of Ireland, Denmark, France, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Spain, Sweden, and the UK can apply. The three types of innovation vouchers include: The Ideas Innovation Voucher, which seeks to support the maturation of relevant ideas and project needs. The Proposal Innovation Vouchers, which seek to support: scalability and internationalisation, demonstration of technology readiness, transferability potential, and economic feasibility analysis. The Intellectual Property Rights Innovation Voucher, which seeks to support SMEs in protecting foreground and results of projects with appropriate tools. Dr Jane Walsh from the School of Psychology at NUI Galway and market strategy lead of INCluSilver, said: “This project provides an excellent opportunity for SMEs working in the nutrition field to avail of much needed support to develop their products.” Irish SMEs interested in applying for the voucher scheme can contact jane.walsh@nuigalway.ie  or further information. -Ends-

Monday, 30 July 2018

Partners to work together across a number of new initiatives  Galway International Arts Festival and National University of Ireland Galway have announced the signing of a new multi-year partnership, which will see Ireland’s leading cultural organization and the Sunday Times University of the Year 2018 working together across a number of initiatives designed to provide inspiring cultural and creative opportunities for students.  Galway International Arts Festival and NUI Galway have a long-standing history of working together, with the University acting as Education Partner for the festival since 2011.  The new partnership comes in the wake of Galway being announced as European Capital of Culture in 2020 (ECOC 2020) and the announcement of the government’s Creative Ireland programme, which both parties see as a timely opportunity to develop a new type of partnership that supports and develops the cultural sector in Galway.  Galway International Arts Festival will work with the University on the development of a number of education initiatives that complement the existing suite of culture-related courses provided by the University. In addition, the University’s Alive programme will work with the festival to further develop the festival’s expanding volunteer programme as a best practice experience.  A formal arrangement will be put in place with the library to archive Galway International Arts Festival’s activities and Galway International Arts Festival will work with the university on the promotion of its new BA in Music programme. The new partnership will also see greater ties between Galway International Arts Festival’s First Thought Talks programme and the University, with the campus becoming much more closely associated with this discussion platform. A new First Thought Talks event will be developed and delivered on campus during the 2018-2019 academic year, with a view to developing it as an annual event. As Galway International Arts Festival further positions itself as a producer and tourer of new work, NUI Galway will also form key associations with Irish work in each year’s festival programme, supporting the creation of new work created by Irish artists that will premier in Galway and tour. Galway International Arts Festival CEO John Crumlish said: “This new partnership represents an exciting new development in the relationship with NUI Galway. It is a natural fit for the festival, as it is hoped the University will produce the graduates who will have a major role developing, producing and working on new productions in the future. “The association with such work further reinforces the University’s culture campus brand with audiences wherever the work is seen, while also further building the Galway brand internationally.” NUI Galway President Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh said: “The Galway International Arts Festival and NUI Galway are partners with a shared focus on harnessing the creative spirit of the region, which is such a cultural strength that results in work in many local sectors having an impact throughout the world. “This year, we’ve welcomed thousands of national and international visitors to the campus as part of the Festival, while the University has led a number of First Thought Talks and a vibrant programme of post-show discussions. As Education partner, we see our cultural hinterland as central to our mission and look forward to working with the festival over the coming years to support the next generation of creative artists, producers and cultural entrepreneurs.” For further information, please contact: Hilary Martyn, Communications & Development Manager, Galway International Arts Festival Phone: 00 353 91 509700

Friday, 27 July 2018

Researchers from NUI Galway and Trinity College Dublin will host this year’s largest and most important scientific gathering on alternative fuels and fuel efficiency, when the 37th International Symposium on Combustion comes to Dublin from 30 July to 3 August. This is the first time the biennial Symposium has been held in Ireland and is a major coup for the small but growing fuels research community in Ireland. Over 1,800 delegates from across the globe will attend the week’s technical presentations in the Convention Centre Dublin. Over 90% of the energy used in Ireland is delivered by burning fuels, the vast majority of which is imported. This energy is needed for everything from lighting and heating our homes and preparing our meals, to powering our industries and fuelling our planes, trains and automobiles. The immediate challenges posed by climate change, declining air quality, increasing energy bills, and energy supply security, especially with Brexit around the corner, means that cleaner, cheaper, more reliable forms of energy are urgently needed. The International Symposium on Combustion will highlight recent advances in: The development and testing of renewable fuels including solid biomass, biomethane, liquid biofuels and hydrogen. The use of waste products like agri-forestry wastes, sludge’s and municipal waste as fuels. Efforts to reduce harmful emissions of carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxides and particulate matter. Increases in engine efficiency through a better understanding of how existing and new fuels burn and how engines can be redesigned around this new knowledge. It will also deal with the study of how fires spread, what can be done to better predict this, and how emergency planning and evacuations can be improved. This has been thrown into tragic light last year in Grenfell Tower and this week in Greece. The importance of combustion research was recently highlighted by the launch of the €4.4 million Sustainable Energy and Fuel Efficiency (SEFE) Spoke at the Research Centre for Marine and Renewable Energy. With financial backing from Science Foundation Ireland and national and international industry, SEFE researchers at NUI Galway, TCD, UCC, UL and Teagasc will develop the next generation of renewable fuels and cleaner engines. The hosting of the Symposium in Ireland is particularly timely given the recent announcement from the Climate Change Advisory Council that the country is “completely off course” to achieve its 2020 and 2030 climate targets. This event will serve as a rallying call to the energy research and policymaking communities that unless Ireland takes immediate action on the development alternative fuels, the country is in line for hundreds of millions of euros worth of annual fines from the EU. Chairperson of the Local Host Team, NUI Galway Emeritus Professor John Simmie, said: “Given society’s heavy reliance on fuels, combustion is more relevant now than ever. While the recent popularity of electric vehicles is to be welcomed, technological limitations and high costs mean that all energy forecasts show significant combustible fuel use until well into the second half of the 21st century, especially for heavy, long-distance transportation.” Head of Strategy at Science Foundation Ireland, Dr Peter Clifford, highlighted the scientific excellence of the event, saying: “The International Symposium on Combustion is the premier gathering of the fuels and combustion research community. Its presence here underscores the efforts and growing reputation of the combustion research community in Ireland.” The Symposium is supported financially by Science Foundation Ireland through the Exceptional Conference Award, Fáilte Ireland, and a wide array of Irish and international industry sponsors. The Local Host Team is Emeritus Professor John Simmie and Dr Rory Monaghan from the College of Engineering and Informatics, NUI Galway, and Dr Stephen Dooley of TCD. More information is available at: http://www.combustionsymposia.org. -Ends-

Friday, 27 July 2018

Two researchers supported by NUI Galway have been awarded significant European Research Council (ERC) Starting Grants for their research into bone fragility in Type-2 Diabetes and the roles and voices of youths in the study of minority and regional language preservation. In total the European Research Council awarded the ERC grants to 403 talented early career researchers in the fields of Physical Sciences and Engineering, Life Sciences, and Social Sciences and Humanities. Researchers will benefit from €603 million in total and up to €1.5 million each, to create their own research teams and conduct pioneering projects. The grants are part of the ‘excellent science’ pillar of the EU’s current Research and Innovation programme, Horizon 2020. On this occasion, Carlos Moedas, European Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, said: “In addition to supporting early stage European researchers, the ERC Starting Grants also help enrich the European research field by attracting and retaining foreign scientists in Europe. More than one in ten grantees come from outside the EU or its associated countries. Europe is open to the world!” Dr Ted Vaughan, a Lecturer in Biomedical Engineering from the College of Engineering and Informatics at NUI Galway, has been awarded a €1.5 million European Research Council Starting Grant to conduct ground-breaking research into his project, Multiscale Mechanics of Bone Fragility in Type-2 Diabetes. Speaking about the project, Dr Vaughan said: “Type-2 Diabetes is associated with a higher risk of skeletal bone fractures and contributes to the 3.5 million bone fragility fractures that occur annually in Europe. Interestingly, the elevated risk of fracture in patients with Type-2 Diabetes is not accompanied with any reduction in their bone density. This is in stark contrast to Osteoporosis, probably the most widely studied bone disease, where bone density is significantly reduced. Currently, there is a limited understanding of the physical changes that take place in diabetic bone disease. Also, it is not known why such changes compromise the structural integrity of bone tissue and this presents distinct clinical challenges in terms of both assessment and treatment of bone fragility in Type-2 Diabetes.” Dr Vaughan and his research team will use novel experimental and computational techniques to understand the mechanics of bone fragility in Type-2 Diabetes. A multiscale framework will be used to evaluate fracture processes at several different length scales in the tissue, including state-of-the-art techniques that will identify the role of individual molecules on bone fracture behaviour. The research programme will significantly advance our understanding of the physical mechanisms responsible for bone fragility in Type-2 Diabetes and Dr Vaughan will use this information to develop an innovative clinical diagnostic strategy for this patient population. Research in this area forms a critical need with the ever-increasing world-wide prevalence of Type-2 Diabetes. Dr Ríona Nic Congáil, a scholar of the Irish language and of Irish culture has been awarded €1.27 million for her project, Youth Engagement in European Language Preservation, 1900–2020 (YEELP) with the support of the NUI Galway Research Office. YEELP is the first in-depth, comparative, transnational and interdisciplinary study of the intersection between European youth and the preservation of minority or regional European languages in the period since 1900. The project focuses on three languages of differing statuses and rates of usage – Irish, Welsh and Catalan – and it unites two growing fields of contemporary scholarship: the study of youth, and the study of language preservation. Speaking about the research, Dr Nic Congáil, said: “In the study of minority and regional language preservation, the roles and voices of youths aged between 12-19 years, have been consistently overlooked. In order to address this fundamental gap in contemporary research, this project takes a multifaceted approach to the intersection between youth and language. It does so at a critical period for the study of endangered European languages, with several languages in decline and some facing extinction. Until youth is included in considerations of language preservation, we will not be able to answer fully the question of why some languages thrive while others die out.” Professor Lokesh Joshi, Vice President for Research at NUI Galway, said: “European Research Council Starting Grants are one of the most prestigious and competitive awards for researchers in Europe. This particular award identifies excellent emerging talent and we are delighted that our University has attracted two awards. These awards also highlight our strengths and the depth of our international standing and reputation in the fields of biomedical engineering and the humanities.” Grantees from 44 countries across the world received grants, from as far afield as Vietnam and Argentina. The competition therefore enabled some researcher mobility and the spread of scientific knowledge as 40 grantees will move country to take up their grant, and 16 will come from outside the EU and H2020 associated countries. These Starting Grants will help the selected scientists build their own research teams, leading to job creation as an estimated 1,500 Postdocs, PhD students and other staff could be employed to support them. -Ends-

Thursday, 26 July 2018

Researchers from the Ryan Institute at NUI Galway and the Herpetological Society of Ireland have just published the first record of a spider feeding on a reptile in Ireland. The Noble False Widow spider, which has colonised much of Ireland since first being recorded here twenty years ago, has been observed feeding on Ireland’s only native terrestrial reptile, the Viviparous lizard. The report has just been published in the Biology and Environment: Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy journal. The unusual scene was recorded in a private garden in Killiney, Co. Dublin in May 2017 when the 8.5cm juvenile Viviparous lizard was found entangled on a web with the 3.3cm Noble False Widow spider feeding on its flesh. The somewhat gruesome scene is not uncommon in the tropics, where a handful of spider species are known to occasionally feed on birds, rodents or reptiles but it is not something we are accustomed to in Ireland.   Noble False Widow spiders are remarkably adaptable and possess fast-acting neurotoxic venom that can cause neuromuscular paralysis in terrestrial vertebrates (organisms that possesses a spinal column or vertebra and lives predominantly on land) and occasionally feed on small reptiles. Dr Michel Dugon from the Venom Systems Laboratory in the Ryan Institute at NUI Galway, says: “This report is quite significant for two reasons. One, it is the first time a terrestrial vertebrate has fallen prey to a spider in Ireland and second, the Viviparous lizard is a protected species in Ireland while the Noble False Widow is a recent alien species that is still actively colonising Ireland. This poses the question of the delayed impact of overlooked invasive species on iconic native organisms. It also raises the question of the true impact of the Noble False Widow on our native ecosystems.” John Dunbar, lead author of the study and PhD researcher at the Venom Systems Laboratory in NUI Galway, said: “While Black Widows are known to prey on small reptiles, there are only two previous accounts from other species of False Widow spiders preying on a lizard in Iran and on a snake in Bulgaria. Surprisingly, this is the first time the False Widow spider that is currently colonising Ireland has been documented preying on vertebrates. In addition to its venom possessing a powerful vertebrate specific neurotoxin, it can produce very strong silk which gives it a real advantage over our native spiders in entangling large prey.” Co-authors Collie Ennis and Rob Gandola from the Herpetological Society of Ireland, caution: “With the Noble False Widow spider following the increasing urban spread into our countryside, the possibility of them coming into contact with native wildlife will no doubt increase.” The researchers added: “We are right in the middle of the lizard birthing season and this is when most lizard sightings are made and when juveniles are likely to turn up in gardens. Female lizards give birth to between 6-11 babies that are jet black and about 40mm long. It’s the juveniles that disperse to new areas but given their tiny size you can see how this is a dangerous endeavour. We’d ask people who are lucky enough to have lizards near or on their property to keep a watch out and report any sightings of Noble False Widows predating on lizards. It would be really helpful to get an idea of how frequent these interactions occur and even the size classes involved, it may not only be young lizards that fall prey.” Noble False Widow spiders have made regular headlines in recent years as they have become more prevalent in Irish homes. While not thought to be life threatening to humans, a bite from the Noble False Widow delivers a fast acting neurotoxic venom which can cause pain and discomfort for a few days. The Venom Systems Laboratory at NUI Galway is the only one in the world currently working on extracting venom from the Noble False Widow spider for potential therapies. This particular species of spider is having a detrimental effect on other local species and other spiders in Ireland due to their competitiveness and fast breeding nature. The Noble False Widow lives for five to seven years whereas most other spider and bug species in Ireland only lives for a maximum of one year. In Ireland, Noble False Widow spiders live close to buildings and houses inhabited by people. Dublin, Cork and Wexford have the highest number of Noble False Widows to date. To report Noble False Widow spider and Viviparous lizard sightings in Ireland, contact michel.dugon@nuigalway.ie or 091 494491. To read the full report in the Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy journal, visit: https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.3318/bioe.2018.05 -Ends-

Tuesday, 24 July 2018

A team of engineering students from NUI Galway has been awarded first place for technical innovation at Europe’s premier competition for ultra-efficient vehicles, Shell Eco-marathon Europe. The Galway energy-efficient car, or Geec, is Ireland’s most efficient car, capable of travelling over 350 km on one unit, or kilowatt-hour (kWh), of electricity, which means driving from Galway to Dublin for less than 15 cents’ worth of electricity, and gets the equivalent of 10,000 miles per gallon of diesel. Congratulating NUI Galway students, staff and project supporters, University President, Professor Ciarán ó hÓgartaigh said: “Problem-solving at the service of society is at the very heart of our students’ learning experience. With their award-winning work on the Geec project, our NUI Galway Engineering students have brought their talent and ingenuity to bear on one of the most important challenges of our time – energy efficient transportation. I am delighted to pay tribute to their international success and I commend colleagues – academics, mentors and technicians from the College of Engineering and Informatics – and all those involved in supporting this important student initiative.” This year 149 of the best engineering schools and universities in Europe qualified, built cars and sent teams to Shell Eco-marathon Europe in London. Over 2,000 students, from Morocco to Siberia, took part. The award recognises the single best innovation on any car across all competition categories. The Geec is Ireland’s first, and so far, only competitor at Shell Eco-marathon Europe, the world’s toughest test for ultra-efficient vehicles. Student teams battle it out in a 15-km race where efficiency, not speed, is what counts. All the world’s cars, vans, trucks, buses, trains, airplanes and boats consume a third of the world’s energy and belch out a quarter of earth’s human-made greenhouse gas emissions, so developing highly efficient, low-emissions technologies is of paramount importance. Competitors design, build, test and drive their own creations in a true test of ingenuity, grit and driving skills. For the last four years, the Geec has flown the flag for Ireland in the battery-electric category, finishing 23rd out of 50 in 2015, rising to 13th in 2017. This year’s Geec won the prestigious Technical Innovation Award, which is presented by Shell to the team which demonstrates outstanding technical ingenuity along with optimal use of new materials, components and inventions in their drive train, chassis, body, instrumentation and tyres. The award was given to the NUI Galway team for an effective and simple approach to lower aerodynamic undercarriage drag. The wheels of a car can be a major source of aerodynamic drag or wind resistance, especially when the car’s main body has very low drag, like the teardrop-shaped, three-wheeled Geec. The innovation attacks this problem and is largely due to student Tom Dillon from Barna, Co. Galway, but is just one of the latest stages in a complex team project that has evolved for five years. Tom explains: “Our new innovation is an aerodynamic seal that minimises the gap between the wheels and the car's body at all times. From computer simulations of our car, we found that this new design offers a potential 27% reduction in aerodynamic drag.” Professor Peter McHugh, Dean of Engineering and Informatics at NUI Galway, said: “This result puts us firmly on the map as one of the premier engineering schools in the world for the depth and quality of our education and for our mentorship and support of students.” The Geec is a collaboration between the disciplines of Mechanical Engineering and Electrical and Electronic Engineering. The team consists of approximately 25 students of those programmes and the interdisciplinary Energy Systems Engineering degree, with some additional involvement from other Engineering and Informatics students. For fourth-year students the Geec is part of their coursework, while for the others it is extra-curricular. The car is designed, developed and raced by the students, with the guidance of academic staff and the extensive practical support of NUI Galway’s team of engineering technical officers. International competition at the end of every academic year gives intense focus to their efforts and an unforgiving but thrilling test of their work. It is a unique opportunity for ambitious young engineers to hone their knowledge and skills. The Geec team gratefully acknowledges the support of the Tony Ryan Trust through the Galway University Foundation, Shell E&P Ireland, Jaguar Land Rover, ÉireComposites, MaREI, Blackstone Launchpad, MBW Bike Shop, CADFEM UK & Ireland, Mathworks, OutdoorLiving.ie, Tocana Plastics, Molex, EasyComposites, and Irish Ferries. For more information, please visit www.theGeec.ie, facebook: theGeec.ie, or Twitter @theGeec. -Ends-

Monday, 23 July 2018

Robot submarine and detailed seabed maps used to find sensitive underwater habitat  A team of marine scientists have returned to Galway after spending three weeks at sea investigating Ireland’s deep ocean territory 300 miles off the west coast. The deep sea expedition led to new discoveries using the Marine Institute’s remotely operated vehicle (ROV) Holland 1 onboard the ILV Granuaile. The high definition ROV-mounted video captured a number of ‘firsts’ in Irish waters, including a species of octocoral of the genus Corallium, which grows into huge fans with a delicate porcelain-like skeleton, and a species of black coral different to others described to date, which may prove to be an entirely new species. The survey confirmed Irish deep-waters as a haven for these rare and delicate deep-sea black corals. The team of scientists also reported areas of potential ‘sponge reef’ on the Rockall Bank, a highly unusual accumulation of living and dead sponges forming a complex habitat for many other creatures. Such formations are very rare and have previously only been recorded in Canadian waters. Cold water coral reefs are ecosystems that host a diverse range of marine animals including sea fans, sponges, worms, starfish, crustaceans and a variety of fish species, making them vitally important habitats for marine biodiversity. These fragile deepwater reefs are commonly associated with topographic features subject to strong bottom currents, for example continental margins, seamounts and mid-ocean ridges, because as filter feeders, the corals depend on suspended food particulate matter. The high resolution bathymetric dataset acquired as part of the national seabed mapping programme –Integrated Mapping For the Sustainable Development of Ireland’s Marine Resource (INFOMAR) - was used to target potential locations of reef habitat for this survey by identifying specific seabed morphological features likely to support cold water coral. The last two decades have seen a dramatic increase in our understanding of the cold water coral reef ecosystems, their susceptibility to environmental change, and their low resilience to human impact. Professor Louise Allcock, NUI Galway, who is funded by Science Foundation Ireland and the Marine Institute to study the pharmaceutical potential of deep-sea corals and sponges added: “This project highlights collaboration and cooperation between Irish and international marine scientists, helping us to further our understanding of these sensitive ecosystems and has also been able to provide training opportunities and sea-going experience for young scientists.” Chief Scientist on the SeaRover survey, David O’Sullivan, Marine Institute said: “We are very pleased to discover what appear to be new coral species and a rare sponge reef, neither of which have been previously documented in Irish waters. These sensitive habitats are very important and this study is key to getting a better understanding of Irelands’ deep sea. Our key objective is to discover, protect and monitor Ireland’s rich offshore marine biodiversity so we can manage our marine resources effectively. Without a knowledge of what lives on our seabed we are at risk of never fully understanding and appreciating Ireland’s invaluable marine environment.”  Dr Kerry Howell, Plymouth University said: “This is the first time I have seen a sponge reef like this in nearly 20 years of studying the deep NE Atlantic. This is an important find. Sponges play a key role in the marine ecosystem providing habitat for other species and recycling nutrients. They may even be a source of new antibiotics. These new data will help us to better understand where and why these reefs occur.” The ‘SeaRover’ survey is the second of three planned expeditions jointly funded by the Irish Government and the EU’s European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF). The cross government initiative is supported by the Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine, Department of Culture, Heritage and Gaeltacht, and Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment (DCCAE) as part of the Marine Institute’s implementation of the Marine Biodiversity scheme.  Survey operations were coordinated and led by the DCCAE funded INFOMAR programme, which is a joint venture between the Geological Survey Ireland and the Marine Institute. This year’s expedition extended the habitat exploration area to the Rockall Bank, the farthest offshore extent of Ireland’s Economic Exclusive Zone. Scientific experts onboard to witness the exciting findings were from the Marine Institute, National Parks and Wildlife Service, National University of Ireland Galway and Plymouth University. Ends

Monday, 23 July 2018

Dr Jackie Uí Chionna, a historian based at the Moore Institute for Research in the Humanities and Social Sciences at NUI Galway, has been awarded a prestigious research fellowship at Cambridge University.  The Archives By-Fellowship at Churchill College Cambridge has been awarded to Dr Uí Chionna to enable her to undertake work on her current research project, a biography of Emily Anderson OBE (1891-1962). Anderson was the daughter of the President of UCG at the time, Alexander Anderson, and she herself became Professor of German at the University at the age of just 26, in 1917. She formally resigned her Chair in 1919 to take up a position with the British Foreign Office, but in reality she had already been working for a number of years on intelligence work for the fledgling British Secret Service, ultimately becoming the foremost female code breaker of her generation. She retired in 1952. Alongside Emily Anderson’s code breaking work, she continued her passionate interest in music, and used her considerable skills to become a world-renowned musicologist, and author of both The Letters of Mozart and his Family and The Letters of Beethoven, works which remain standard references for music students and scholars alike. Emily Anderson was awarded the OBE by the British for her intelligence work during the Second World War, but remarkably she was also awarded the Order of Merit, First Class, the highest award of the Federal Republic of Germany, for her work on Beethoven - the Germans being entirely unaware of her secret intelligence work through two World Wars. Cambridge is the acknowledged world centre for scholarly research in the history of Intelligence, and the Churchill College Archives Centre, where Dr Uí Chionna will be working, houses the finest collection of diplomatic and intelligence related archives in the UK.  Dr Uí Chionna will spend an academic term at Churchill College, said: “The Awarding of the By-Fellowship is a tremendous honour for me, and more importantly, a significant recognition of the enormous significance of Emily Anderson in an international context. Interest in women code breakers has never been higher, and Anderson was the best of them all, yet until now virtually nothing has been known about her. That will all change with this biography, and I am enormously grateful to Churchill College Cambridge for their recognition of the importance of this research. I am also extremely grateful to Professor Daniel Carey and the Moore Institute, for awarding me the Visiting Fellowship which enabled me to begin work on the book. ” Dr Uí Chionna will take up her By-Fellowship in 2019. -Ends-

Thursday, 19 July 2018

NUI Galway is delighted to announce a new bursary which will be awarded to the Best Overall Student in Master of Science in Health Economics. The bursary is sponsored by Janssen Sciences Ireland. NUI Galway has a close working relationship with Janssen Sciences Ireland with the company offering placements to many NUI Galway students and a number of these placements have evolved into full-time positions in market access and health economics. Also, approximately 50% of the Market Access team in Janssen Sciences Ireland are graduates from the programme. In addition, representatives from Janssen, including their CEO in Ireland, Dr Leisha Daly, have featured in the MSc in Health Economics guest lecturer programme. The bursary, a fund of €2,500, will be awarded at the end of this coming academic year and will cover the cost of the recipient attending the European International Society for Pharmaeconomics and Outcomes Research (ISPOR) conference which will be held in Barcelona in November. Brendan Kennelly, Lecturer in Economics at NUI Galway, said: “We are delighted to partner with Janssen Science Ireland in this new student bursary. The annual ISPOR conference consists of a very exciting mix of academics and professional presentations and courses. Attending the conference will be a fantastic educational and professional opportunity for the awardee and represents an appropriate way of acknowledging the achievement of the successful student.” The MSc in Health Economics introduces students to the principles underlying the economic analysis of health care decision-making within an evolving context of technological development, population ageing and changing patient expectations. The programme is designed for people interested in pursuing a career in the government, the health service, the pharmaceutical and medical device industries, or in research and consultancy agencies. The programme examines the challenges of scarcity for health care provision, analyses alternative systems of finance and delivery and provides an introduction to the techniques of evaluation used in health care. -Ends-

Wednesday, 18 July 2018

Five students from the MSc in Information Systems Management course at NUI Galway have developed and launched the website ‘PrimaryFit’ under the guidance of their lecturer, Dr Trevor Clohessy. The website was created as a solution to help communities tackle child obesity in Ireland. The students developed an operation transformation type platform for primary school students as part of a project within their course module. They engaged with the local community to gather information which provided them with specific requirements on how the website should look and feel. ‘PrimaryFit’ consists of easy to access meal and exercise plans with a designated discussion forum for teachers and parents and for community engagement. The website also offers features such as Exercise Plans, Time Based Workouts, Healthy School Meals, a Body Mass Index (BMI) calculator, Weight Tracker and a Calorie Counter. There is also a section where people can connect with local nutrition and physical exercise experts to get their opinions on relevant issues. Dr Trevor Clohessy from the J.E. Cairnes School of Business and Economics at NUI Galway, said: “We are very proud of the students’ efforts to create such a wonderful platform. This website is one of the first to tackle the growing issue of childhood obesity. Latest statistics compiled by the NCD Risk Factor Collaboration and reported in The Lancet medical journal, outlined how almost a third of Irish children are now overweight. Motivated by the national success of the operation transformation initiatives, I tasked the students to create a platform which would be community led. “This platform will allow primary school teachers to not only access a variety of information resources with regards to fun exercise programmes, meals and nutritional advice which are suitable for specific age groups but also enable them to report how effective they were and also contribute to the platform. The primary aim of this website will be to harness the wisdom of the community in order to promote an environment which encourages healthy physical activity and eating habits.” Speaking about the project, the NUI Galway students, said: “The fact that this project consisted of us tackling a real-life problem brought some passion and inspiration to the table as we all wanted to try and make a difference to the local community. Child obesity is an issue which is spiralling out of control in Ireland, everyone on the team knows at least one child who is affected by child obesity and as a result their future is negatively impacted, which is concerning when it can be easily avoided with correct practices in place. “We would like this platform to be a community driven initiative and we have provided an option to submit ideas for children’s exercise or nutrition plans with a mechanism to moderate the submitted content. We believe that we have designed a platform which will brighten the future of many young people suffering from the negative aspects of child obesity in Ireland, through community collaboration and participation.” The students developed the platform and hosted it on the internet by using technologies and techniques they learnt through a wide range of modules from the MSc in Information Systems Management course at NUI Galway. They setup user management and moderation facilities to combat the negative aspects of discussion forums, gathered extensive feedback during the design phase of the website and used design techniques such as card sorting, prototyping and design thinking. Akshay Oswal, Louis Queally, Paul O'Leary, Rajit Patel and Yash Paithankar are the five NUI Galway students who created the ‘PrimaryFit’ website. To view the website, visit: http://www.primaryfit.ie/ -Ends-

Tuesday, 17 July 2018

A New Wave of MedTech companies to be supported by NUI Galway’s BioExel programme, Ireland’s first accelerator programme, following the success of initial cohorts Tuesday, 17 July, 2018: Following on from the success of the initial round of BioExel programme applicants at NUI Galway in 2017-2108, the MedTech Accelerator programme is now accepting applications for the second cohort 2018-2019, with recruitment starting from 20 July to 1 September 2018. Based at NUI Galway, BioExel offers €95,000 in seed funding to successful applicants along with six-months of intensive training, mentoring, lab space and supported interactions with potential investors. The programme allows participants to build and commercially validate their technologies by working with existing entrepreneurial networks, mentors and management team. BioExel is managed by MedTech Director, Dr Sandra Ganly, also a co-founder of BioInnovate Ireland and Senior Research Fellow in NUI Galway, and Fiona Neary, Commercial Director and co-founder of BioExel, and Manager of the Business Innovation Centre at NUI Galway. Fiona Neary at NUI Galway, said: “This first cohort of BioExel candidates have an array of innovations that have grown over the months at a rapid pace, de-risking their technologies and advancing in critical areas of MedTech challenges. BioExel is key to transforming these opportunities as we deliver the next generation of investor ready, first class medical technologies to the marketplace.” The first cohort of companies to complete the 2017-2018 BioExel programme joined a showcase and celebration of Ireland’s MedTech ecosystem in Galway recently, attended by Minister for State Seán Kyne.     The six cohort of companies who have completed the BioExel programme 2017-2018: Bioprobe Diagnostics Ltd. Developing diagnostic products in a new regulated generation of water quality testing. Having spun out of NUI Galway in 2017, Bioprobe Diagnostics has developed a ground-breaking technology to quickly detect Legionella bacteria in water. The water-borne bacteria can lead to the life threatening form of pneumonia known as Legionnaires Disease. Bioprobe Diagnostics’ one-step test is five times faster and 30% cheaper in direct costs than what is currently on the market. The company is currently raising funds and getting ready to launch their product in 2019. Bluedrop Medical Ltd. Predicting and preventing diabetic foot ulcers using computer vision, mapping associated complications and costs. Bluedrop Medical has developed a system for early Diabetic Foot Ulcers detection and patient compliance for health care systems. Daily temperature monitoring has been shown to prevent 70% of ulcers in three randomised controlled trials. Bluedrop Medical has incorporated this technology into a novel home based device, and linked it up with an Artificial Intelligence (AI) remote monitoring system to provide actionable alerts to clinicians, enabling early intervention to prevent diabetic foot ulcers. Diabetic foot ulcers result in over 150,000 amputations per year in Europe. Bluedrop Medical has developed a system that can prevent 70% of them. Giant Leap Biotechnology Ltd. Designing a neuro regenerative product using cellular therapies and biomaterials delivery for spinal cord injury. GiantLeap Biotechnology is an Irish company focused on developing a veterinary therapy for spinal cord injury in canines which is estimated to be a $225 million annual market in the US. The technology has been created over a seven year research period by the founder Martin Codyre. GiantLeap Biotechnology is developing a biomaterial implant that will have protected intellectual property that combines with cells taken from the animal and implanted into the injured spinal cord. Hidramed Solutions Ltd. A wound care kit for effective management of chronic wounds, addressing patients’ unmet needs, providing comfort and adhesive free, secure dressing retention. Hidramed Solutions has developed a patentable two-part wound care kit that dramatically improves the wound care routine for patients. Of specific focus are individuals with Hidradenitis Suppurativa, (HS), a chronic debilitating skin disease. The condition is thought to be underdiagnosed and misdiagnosed, with a prevalence rate of 1-4% of the general population. The locations of the lesions makes it difficult for standard dressings to be worn comfortably and the options available are currently ineffective. Hidramed Solutions aim to transform the day-to-day comfort and quality of lives of suffers of Hidradenitis Suppurativa. Immunogrow Ltd. ImmunoGrow’s New Personalised Cancer Therapy aims to simplify production, thereby reducing costs and enhancing patient safety. Adoptive cell transfer is an anti-cancer approach that enhances the natural cancer-fighting ability of the body’s cells by removing immune system cells, growing and/or making changes to them outside of the body, and then re-infusing them back into the patient. ImmunoGrow aim to simplify production, reduce costs and enhance patient safety. Today, complex manufacturing processes limit the potential of cell-based cancer immunotherapies from the bespoke, operator intensive setting of the academic research lab to a commercially viable, good manufacturing practice-compliant environment. Innunogrow has mimicked in vivo (in the body of a living organism) growth conditions for T Cells (a subtype for white blood cells) by replicating the body’s natural growth conditions. This process improves output, reduces significant risk of invalid cell product, simplifies manufacturing requirement for skilled operator input and is easily integrated into automatic cell processing platforms. CompanionQMS Ltd. CompanionQMS is a cloud-enabled, secure, and scalable solution, delivering superior document management, intelligent workflows and reporting tools in one single interface. Developing QMS bespoke quality management software exclusively for medical device companies. Research has proven the need for an easy to implement and use, competitively priced QMS software. CompanionQMS is quality management software designed for medical device companies that provides a solution to this problem. CompanionQMS will enable companies to streamline product development and compliance while setting new standards for ease of use and flexibility of design. The Western region already has a strong MedTech ecosystem and this is actively supported by the expertise and infrastructure at NUI Galway. The University is home to Ireland’s only centre for stem cell manufacturing, extensive translational and clinical facilities, biomedical sciences research laboratories, and the CÚRAM Centre for Research in Medical Devices. This is further strengthened by NUI Galway’s expertise in funding grants, knowledge transfer, and programmes such as BioInnovate and BioExel. BioExel is a partnership programme funded by Enterprise Ireland, Western Development Commission, Galway University Foundation, Bank of Ireland seed and early stage equity fund, and hosted by NUI Galway. To apply please contact the BioExel team for an application form at bioexelinfo@nuigalway.ie or phone 091 493150. For more information, visit: www.bioexel.ie -Ends-

Monday, 16 July 2018

The Europlanet Consortium, a €9.95 million project funded by the European Commission under Horizon 2020, has announced that it will be supporting the ‘Connacht Schools Planetary Radio Telescope Network’ through the 2018 round of its Outreach Funding Scheme, that aims to encourage new ways of bringing planetary science to audiences across Europe and inspire the next generation of scientists and engineers. The award will fund the installation of eight dual dipole antenna radio telescopes on the grounds of rural secondary schools in counties Galway, Roscommon and Mayo. Each radio telescope, about twenty feet long, ten feet high and looking rather like two washing lines, will be used by teachers and students to observe the equivalent of the northern lights above the polar regions of the planet Jupiter. These observations will contribute to the larger network of NASA’s Radio Jove facilities used to monitor the giant planet’s active magnetosphere, observing and analysing natural radio emissions of Jupiter, the Sun, and our galaxy. Observations can be conducted regardless of the weather, and the low population densities around each of the schools will limit the background ‘radio-frequency interference’. Each observatory when operational will feed real-time data to a server in NUI Galway. The project leader, Dr Aaron Golden from the School of Mathematics, Statistics and Applied Mathematics in NUI Galway, explains: “Practical activities in astronomy have great potential for inspiring school students in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) subjects. However, there are limited opportunities due to the need for specialised equipment and facilities, to work at unsocial hours and, of course, clear skies, certainly for optical astronomy. Radio astronomy offers a very cost effective alternative for teachers and students to participate in actual observations of radio-bright objects such as the Sun and the planet Jupiter, and be able to participate in the wider astronomical community’s study of this most fascinating of the solar system’s planets.” Participating schools in the Connacht Schools Planetary Radio Telescope Network: Scoil Muire Agus Pádraig, Swinford, Co. Mayo. Ardscoil Mhuire, Ballinasloe, Co. Galway. Mount St. Michael Secondary School, Claremorris, Co. Mayo. Coláiste Chiaráin, Athlone, Co. Roscommon. Ballinrobe Community School, Ballinrobe, Co. Mayo. Joseph’s Patrician College, Galway. Presentation College Headford, Co. Galway. Coláiste na Coiribe, Gaillimh. The project, along with others selected as part of the Europlanet Public Engagement Prize and Funding Scheme Showcase will be formally launched at the European Planetary Science Congress (EPSC) 2018 in Berlin this September. For further details visit: https://meetingorganizer.copernicus.org/EPSC2018/session/29978 -Ends-

Friday, 13 July 2018

A study carried out by Dr Elaine Dunleavy in the Centre for Chromosome Biology at NUI Galway, has uncovered an unexpected new link between genes that normally function in energy production, and male fertility. Results from the research were published today (13 July 2018) in the renowned scientific journal, Nature Communications. The study was carried out on the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster, which serves as an excellent model organism in which to study gene function. In the cell, the function to produce energy is carried out in a compartment called the mitochondrion, while the genetic material (DNA) is housed in a different compartment, the nucleus. The authors identified a previously unknown and surprising role for a set of mitochondrial proteins in the nucleus. Senior author of the study, Dr Elaine Dunleavy at NUI Galway, said: “We were surprised to uncover a new nuclear function for proteins that normally function exclusively in the synthesis of ATP, the cell’s energy production. Our use of the fruit fly allowed us to carry out genetic experiments that would have been very difficult to perform in humans.” The results provide insights into how cells arrange DNA to produce the male sex cell, sperm. Dr Dunleavy found that the fruit fly was unable to arrange its DNA to produce sperm cells if it didn’t have this particular protein. In the past century, global fertility rates have reduced dramatically. Given that approximately 60% of genes found in the fruit fly are also found in humans, the findings are potentially relevant to human sperm development and fertility studies to further investigate disrupting this pathway on individuals who experience fertility problems. Professor Noel Lowndes, Director of the Centre for Chromosome Biology at NUI Galway, said: “Dr Dunleavy, our newest recruit to the Centre for Chromosome Biology, has made a surprising link between the cell’s energy production machinery and the production of sperm, which has resulted in a highly impactful publication in one of the world’s major journals. In the Centre we take advantage of simple cellular systems to discover new biology of relevance to humans and, in this case, the work of Elaine and her team will have impact in the field of human fertility.” Dr Dunleavy’s work studies the genetics of fruit flies as a way to understand human health and as a model to understand the cell division that gives rise to eggs and sperm. Her research aims to discover the genes that are important for fertility in males and females and understanding how the genes work in the fruit fly will help explain how they work in humans. To read the full study in Nature Communications, visit: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-018-05093-9  For more information about the Centre for Chromosome Biology, visit: www.chromosome.ie -Ends-

Monday, 9 July 2018

MaREI secure €4.4 million to support Ireland’s indigenous biomass and bioenergy industry The Research Centre for Marine and Renewable Energy Ireland (MaREI) has secured an additional €4.4 million in funding from Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) and industry partners under the Sustainable Energy and Fuel Efficiency (SEFE) SFI Spokes Programme, to be based at NUI Galway. Speaking at the launch Minister of State at the Department of Rural and Community Development and the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment, Seán Kyne TD, said: “Climate Action has never been more important to the continued growth and prosperity of our nation as it is now. Ireland has an abundance of natural resources with enormous potential for sustainable energy output, but we need to continue to invest in more efficient technologies for harnessing this potential. I am delighted to see researchers from the SFI Research Centre, MaREI exploring new and innovative technologies to support Ireland’s ambition of meeting national environmental, energy and climate targets, as well as those set by the European Commission.” The Sustainable Energy and Fuel Efficiency research programme led by Professor Henry Curran at NUI Galway and Professor Jerry D Murphy, UCC, leverages the scientific expertise of ten of Ireland’s top academics in bioenergy research across four Universities (NUI Galway, UCC, UL, TCD) and Teagasc. The programme of work will include the technical and commercial expertise of 10 national and international companies. This four-year collaborative programme aims to identify viable routes to increase the efficient utilisation and supply of sustainable energy, and to support Ireland’s ambition to meet National and EU environmental targets. The Sustainable Energy and Fuel Efficiency Spoke, which is affiliated to the Ryan Institute at NUI Galway, and run by MaREI funded researchers, has an ambition of developing new processes, technologies and markets through the co-operation of a number of scientists from various disciplines across a number of institutes and working with 10 innovative companies to support Ireland’s energy transition. Professor Henry Curran from the School of Chemistry and Ryan Institute at NUI Galway, said: “The granting of the Spoke award by SFI and the national and multi-national industry commitment endorses and strengthens the research being undertaken in sustainable energy systems by the participating universities and Teagasc.  I look forward to collaborating on world class research that will underpin the transition to a sustainable, low-carbon future.” Professor Murphy, Director of MaREI and head of the bioenergy research group, stated: “The benefit of the SFI Research Centres has been immense for research and innovation; Ireland now has a one-stop-shop system for research expertise that includes the best researchers across the island, coupled with the most relevant industrial partners. This removes the previous competition between researchers and enhances research impact through multi-disciplinary, multi-institute input into industrially relevant cutting edge work. This partnership will bring together the top academics and industry in bioenergy and biofuels, with an overarching ambition of meeting the national objective of decarbonising energy and facilitating Ireland’s transition to a low carbon technology.” The Spoke research teams will collaborate in developing technologies capable of converting a wide variety of residues and by-products to homogenous energy carriers and optimising performance of internal combustion engines using advanced fuels including biofuel blends. The Spoke work programme will complement existing MaREI activities in the bioenergy sector as well as adding new competencies in the area of advanced thermal treatment, combustion modelling and design. The outputs of the Spoke work programme will contribute in a measurable way toward important EU and national environmental and economic objectives in the areas of energy decarbonisation, wastewater treatment, sustainable transport, resource recovery, clean air and water, rural development and diversification of agriculture. The technologies to be advanced by the SEFE Spoke will address some of the drawbacks associated with Ireland's reliance on imported biofuels and intermittent renewables by improving the efficiency and reducing the carbon intensity of power generation and transport from combustion and boosting the supply of renewable heat, which makes up 41% of Ireland’s energy consumption, as well as meeting sustainable waste management challenges. Professor Brian Ó Gallachóir, Co-Director of MaREI, commented: “I am particularly enthused by the industry support for this project. Our research in MaREI is greatly enriched through the partnership we have with our industry partners. In addition to deepening our collaboration with Gas Networks Ireland, this project enables us to benefit from collaborating with a wide range of new partners including ABP Food Group, Arigna Fuels, Siemens and NVP Energy. This investment will in turn enable these industry partners to harness and benefit from the research and innovation capacity we have in MaREI.”   Deputy Director General of Science Foundation Ireland, Dr Ciarán Seoighe welcomed the announcement, saying: “Science Foundation Ireland is delighted to support the Sustainable Energy and Fuel Efficiency Spokes project, which comes at a time when the need for new and innovative means to tackle climate change are sorely needed. The Spokes Programme offers a valuable means for research-active companies to align with any of the 17 SFI Research Centres and utilise the world-renowned expertise and state-of-the-art infrastructure therein. Partnerships such of this support Ireland’s drive towards an environmentally sustainable future and places us at the forefront of renewable energy research.” -Ends-

Tuesday, 10 July 2018

NUI Galway’s J.E. Cairnes School of Business and Economics recently welcomed over 80 secondary school students to its annual Business Summer School. The students were a mix of transition year, fifth year and Leaving Certificate students who had an interest in pursuing a Business Degree upon completing their final year in second level education. On the day students were greeted by speakers from the five disciplines within the School of Business and Economics, including: Dr Deirdre Curran, Management; Mairead O’Connor, Business Information Systems; Frank Conaty, Accounting; Laura Carter, Economics; and Dr Patricia McHugh, Marketing. Michael Campion also spoke to the students about the Innovation, Creativity and Enterprise module which final year Commerce students take part in. A number of engagement activities were held throughout the day including networking sessions amongst the students from different schools and counties and also team bonding activities. The aim was for students to take the first step in getting to know people and make connections, which is crucial in business. Lisa Hynes, event organiser and member of the Marketing and Student Recruitment team at J.E. Cairnes School of Business and Economics, said: “This year’s Business Summer School was another huge success with students attending from across Ireland and also two students from Spain. Not only was it great to give these secondary school students a glimpse into the study of Commerce but it was also fantastic to welcome them onto campus and give them a sense of life at University. It was great to see the ease at which these students mingled and networked with each other, which is a true sign of successful business students! We are looking forward to the Business Summer School 2019 and have already commenced planning.” For students interested in finding out more about studying Business at NUI Galway contact business@nuigalway.ie. -Ends-

Tuesday, 10 July 2018

Research to investigate a yet unknown mechanism that guides specialised cells to revert to unspecialised stem cells that directly contribute to tissue regeneration Professor Uri Frank from the Centre for Chromosome Biology at NUI Galway has received an Investigator Award through the SFI-HRB-Wellcome Partnership, for his research into the ‘Mechanisms that induce dedifferentiation to drive regeneration in the absence of stem cells.’ The study will address the mechanisms that are activated following tissue and organ loss, driving specialised cells in the body, like muscle cells and neurons, to exit their status and become unspecialised stem cells. These stem cells can then contribute to the regeneration of lost body parts. Since humans and other mammals have poor capabilities to regenerate, these experiments will be performed on Hydractinia, a native Irish marine invertebrate, closely related to jellyfish, sea anemones, and corals. Like many of its kin (collectively known as cnidarians), Hydractinia can regenerate any lost body part, including the head, and is easy to maintain and manipulate in the laboratory. Professor Frank’s team discovered that Hydractinias, which normally regenerate by using resident stem cells, can activate a ‘plan B’ to regenerate in the absence of stem cells. A yet unknown mechanism guides specialised cells to revert to unspecialised stem cells that directly contribute to tissue regeneration and the research funded by Wellcome aims to identify this mechanism. All animals, humans and jellyfish included, are related, having descended from a single common ancestor. Therefore, they share many genetic and cellular mechanisms. Hydractinia's stem cells should be very similar to their human counterparts, and studying them may provide information on human stem cells and help develop new strategies to be used in regenerative medicine. Speaking about his SFI-HRB-Wellcome Partnership award, Professor Uri Frank, a developmental biologist from the Centre for Chromosome Biology at NUI Galway, said: “This funding will allow us to study the molecular mechanisms that drive decision-making in cells.” Professor Noel Lowndes, Director of the Centre for Chromosome Biology at NUI Galway, said: “This large and highly prestigious award makes it a total of four Wellcome funded researchers based in NUI Galway’s Centre for Chromosome Biology. Professor Frank now joins Professor Brian McStay (Investigator Award), Dr Elaine Dunleavy (Research Career Development Award) and Professor Ciaran Morrison (Seed Award) as Wellcome Trust Awardees.” Dr Ciarán Seoighe, Deputy Director General of Science Foundation Ireland, said: “We are delighted to partner with the HRB and Wellcome to co-fund research that can bring significant societal benefit to Ireland. Professor Uri’s work is a prime example of this. The SFI-HRB Wellcome Biomedical Partnership Awards demonstrate what can be achieved through collaboration between funding agencies that share a common ambition of supporting impactful research.” The Centre for Chromosome Biology is the leading unit in Ireland for fundamental research into the structure of chromosomes and how they are replicated, repaired and segregated during cell division. This award is co-funded by Science Foundation Ireland and the Health Research Board under the SFI-HRB Wellcome Research Partnership. For more information about the Centre for Chromosome Biology, visit: http://www.chromosome.ie Videos of Professor Uri Frank’s research: Stem cell migration towards an injury site in the cnidarian Hydractinia: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rZ4mPgFxR8Q Hydractinia polyps: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FZVDLVRL13c Appearance of stem cells in a Hydractinia embryo: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dbnDhp_xEzw -Ends-

Tuesday, 10 July 2018

Study will focus on service utilisation for both the carer and the person with dementia and will investigate the type of supports required and valued in the period following a diagnosis Monday, 9 July, 2018: The Centre for Economic and Social Research on Dementia at NUI Galway are leading the first ever study in Ireland looking at supports and services available for people with dementia and their families following a recent diagnosis. The study aims to recruit informal carers from Kerry, often family members, who are providing regular care and support to a loved one diagnosed with dementia in 2017 or 2018. There are an estimated 2,160 people with dementia living in Kerry, many of whom are living at home supported by a family member or friend. It is not known how many of these have a diagnosis or at what stage they receive diagnosis. Carers may feel uncertain following the diagnosis of a loved one with dementia. The study is focused on identifying the most important services and supports at different stages of the illness. The results of the study will inform policy in relation to the supports and services that need to be in place to help carers and people with a recent diagnosis of dementia to deal with uncertainty and plan for future care needs. The aim of the study is to inform practice and policy regarding services and supports required by carers and people with dementia in the period following a dementia diagnosis and how these needs change over time. The primary focus is on post-diagnostic supports for people with dementia and their principal caregiver. The person receiving care must have received a diagnosis of dementia, or probable dementia, since January 2017. Dr Patricia Carney, a Health Economist at the Centre for Economic and Social Research at NUI Galway who is leading the study, said: “New investment in dementia care must reflect the preferences and needs of both the person with dementia and their informal carer. Carers require more tangible and practical supports to allow them do the job that most love doing. The consequences of not supporting them will be significant for people with dementia and for society. This study has the capacity and potential to improve the lives of people with dementia and their carers’ in Ireland, especially in the time following diagnosis.” Professor Eamon O’Shea, Director of the Centre for Economic and Social Research on Dementia in NUI Galway, said: “Carers play a crucial role in looking after people with dementia and we need to know much more about their needs and preferences for different kinds of services and supports.” If you provide regular support or care to a person recently diagnosed with dementia and want to participate in the study or find out more please email Dr Patricia Carney at DemCarer@nuigalway.ie or call Patricia on 086 0230772. To participate in the study visit: www.nuigalway.ie/dementiacare/ -Ends-

Monday, 9 July 2018

Following the recent increase in lion’s mane jellyfish sightings and stings experienced by swimmers across parts of Ireland, jellyfish research experts from the Ryan Institute at NUI Galway and UCC have issued the following information. If you are stung, the Irish Water Safety authority recommends that you rinse the affected area copiously with seawater and apply a cold pack. You must seek medical attention at the nearest emergency department if you are  Research published by NUI Galway in the international journal Toxins in 2017 showed that the best first aid treatment for a lion’s mane sting is to rinse with vinegar (or the commercial product Sting No More® spray) to remove tentacles, and then immerse in 45°C (113°F) hot water (or apply a heat pack) for 40 minutes. Dr Doyle will meet with the Beaumont Poison Centre at Beamount Hospital Dublin to discuss these findings in the next few weeks. The lion’s mane jellyfish is a large jellyfish (up to 1 metre bell diameter) with thousands of long tentacles located beneath the bell. In Irish and UK waters, lion’s mane jellyfish can be encountered from June until late September. It is one of the least abundant jellyfish in Irish and UK waters, typically occurring as single individuals rather than in blooms or aggregations. Despite being one of the least abundant jellyfish, relatively high densities of large lion’s mane jellyfish have been recorded close to high population areas in recent weeks, and therefore stings have been a recurrent concern. Five people have now been hospitalised after being stung. Jasmine Headlam, PhD and Fullbright Researcher from the Ryan Institute at NUI Galway, says: “We often see lion’s mane jellyfish on the east coast, where the water is cooler, around hotspots like the Forty Foot diving area in Dun Laoghaire and popular beaches like Bettystown, Co. Meath and Clogherhead, Co. Louth. In the last few weeks we’ve had reports of large adult lion’s mane from the west coast in places like Salthill, Kinvara, Carna and Oranmore in Galway as well as Newquay in Clare and even Cork harbour. We urge sea swimmers and coastal visitors to report any sightings with photographs if possible to the National Biodiversity Data Centre website and the Big Jellyfish Hunt Facebook page. “Lion’s mane stings, though not generally considered fatal, can cause a lot of pain. Stings from large lion’s mane can be particularly dangerous, as the thousands of thin tentacles can each extend to several meters long. Initially, a sting may result in itching or localised pain that may radiate to other areas of the body, potentially progressing to severe pain within 20 minutes or more. In some cases, stings can result in Irukandji-like syndrome. This syndrome, named after a type of box jellyfish, can involve symptoms including back pain, nausea, abdominal cramps, sweating and hypertension.” Dr Tom Doyle, zoology lecturer at UCC’s school of biological, earth and environmental sciences, added: “Lion’s mane are spreading geographically, with sightings in the Celtic Sea and Atlantic waters in recent weeks. It is not correct to say this is the first time they have been spotted on the west coast, as we had reports for the last two years, but they are particularly large and mature. The typical jellyfish lives in the water column for six to eight months, having been released as a juvenile in December, but we believe these jellyfish may have over-wintered and may be on their second season.” Jasmine Headlam will travel to Hawaii in 2019, as a Fulbright Marine-Institute awardee, to investigate the venom of the lion’s mane jellyfish in state of the art facilities with Dr Yanagihara at University of Hawaii at Manoa. -Ends-

Monday, 9 July 2018

NUI Galway-based medical device spin-out company, Loci Orthopaedics have announced today the closing of a €2.75 million seed round investment to commercialise a new orthopaedic joint implant for a common but crippling joint condition. Loci Orthopaedics is an independent leader in the development of a potentially life-changing, ergonomic, and clinically evidence-based solution to address the increasing unmet clinical need for thumb base joint arthritis. The company is developing the InDx Implant to meet this need and access a market estimated at over €550 million per annum. Arthritis of the thumb base joint causes significant functional impairment of the hand. Those with this condition are either restricted in, or often lose the ability to perform, everyday tasks such as using a mobile phone, turning keys in a door, and even writing due to increasingly severe pain. This unmet clinical need was identified by the co-founders of the company, Dr Brendan Boland a clinician, and Mr Gerry Clarke a medical device industry veteran with over 40 years medical device experience, while they were Fellows on the BioInnovate Ireland Programme, which is co-funded by Enterprise Ireland. During this programme, Brendan and Gerry were based in UCC and undertook several hundred hours of clinical monitoring in Cork University hospitals to identify hundreds of unmet clinical needs, from which the surgical management of thumb base joint arthritis stood out as a particularly significant unmet need with a large affected patient population. Enterprise Ireland funded the development work at NUI Galway through a Commercialisation Fund programme. The Commercialisation Fund programme is co-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) under Ireland’s European Union Structural and Investment Funds Programme 2014-2020. 5% of the population suffer severe thumb base arthritis. This equates to over 40 million people in the US and EU with significant symptoms. This condition is most common in those aged over 65. As the population of the US and EU ages, the number affected by this debilitating condition is set to increase dramatically in the next 15 years. There are more than 200,000 surgical procedures carried out each year in the EU and the US combined for severe thumb base arthritis. Due to the lack of a reliable and clinically satisfactory solution, there is a wide gap between symptomatic patients and patients currently progressing to surgery, demonstrating the substantial growth potential for new therapy solutions. The total current total addressable surgical market for thumb base arthritis procedures in the US and EU is estimated at over $600 million per annum. This market size is set to increase further due to several concurrent market growth drivers, such as an aging population, an increase in those most affected, and a lack of tolerance of poor hand function. This funding will provide financing for 24 months and will be used to advance product development in preparation for clinical trials, initiation of US commercialisation, initiation of EU regulatory approval, clinical follow-up and regulatory approval by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Dr Brendan Boland, Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Loci Orthopaedics, said: “Securing this seed round funding will put Loci Orthopaedics firmly on track to achieve the short and medium-term goals required towards getting this product to market to relieve the daily suffering of many patients.” Mr Gerry Clarke, Co-founder and Chief Technology Officer of Loci Orthopaedics, said: “Thumb base arthritis has a huge impact on the quality of life, and on the independence of patients as they age. Can you imagine having pain on simple day to day tasks such as turning keys in a door, opening a jar, or using your phone? This is the prospect faced by millions of people who are restricted in their daily activities and enjoyment of life. It is these patients we want to help, by bringing the first evidence-based implant design to market for this common but disabling condition.” The Loci Orthopaedics team have been working with three of the world’s leading hand surgeons and have used their most cutting-edge research as the basis for the implant design. These surgeons based in Stanford University, Brown University and KU Leuven in Belgium are key-opinion leaders in this area of orthopaedic medicine. The InDx Implant is the only implant that can fully mimic the natural but complex motions of the thumb joint as it provides two points of rotation that can move both concurrently and independently of each other while enabling the joint to move in all six degrees of freedom. The device is also easier to insert and less invasive than any currently available surgical treatment option for this condition. As a result, the InDx Implant will provide excellent clinical outcomes and decrease the risk of surgical and clinical complications. The device offers an exciting new, patient-sensitive treatment option to patients and surgeons and has been designed in conjunction with three of the world’s leading hand surgeons ensuring all end-user requirements are met. Alan Hobbs, Enterprise Ireland High Potential Start-Up Manager, commented: “Enterprise Ireland is delighted to support Loci Orthopaedics, a High Potential Start-Up driving innovation in medcare. Loci are a great example of a market led innovative company addressing unmet medical needs and a substantial market opportunity. We congratulate them and look forward to continue working with them to achieve their global ambitions.” David Murphy, Director of the Technology Transfer Office in NUI Galway, said: “The founders have strong Intellectual Property and have amassed a world class team around them. We are confident that this combination will enable them to progress quickly in this next phase of their journey. We congratulate Loci Orthopaedics on reaching this important milestone.”  Dr Faisal Sharif, Director of BioInnovate Ireland in NUI Galway, said: “We are delighted to see Loci Orthopaedics close a €2.75 million seed round investment. This funding will enable them to commercialise their InDx Implant device that will considerably improve patients’ lives. This is a significant step in getting this device to those who need it. The mission of BioInnovate Ireland is to grow the indigenous Medtech sector through dedicated training in medical device innovation. BioInnovate Ireland supports fellows to identify unmet needs in different clinical areas through a dedicated fellowship programme which is co-funded by Enterprise Ireland. The success of Loci Orthopaedics signifies the importance of identifying such unmet clinical needs.” Preliminary research indicates that this device design may also have clinical indications in other small joints of the hands and feet, as well as other joints with complex biomechanics such as the shoulder and elbow. The €2.75 million funding is provided by a combination of institutions comprising of: the investment arm of KU Leuven University in Belgium, which was recently ranked by Forbes as Europe’s most innovative university, Enterprise Ireland and the Western Development Commission. These institutions are complemented by some MedTech industry veterans. For more information about Loci Orthopaedics, visit: www.lociorthopaedics.com -Ends-

Tuesday, 3 July 2018

Bridging the gap between medicine and science through teaching future medics and facilitating cutting-edge research Minister for Health, Mr Simon Harris TD will today (Monday, 2 July) officially open NUI Galway’s €34 million Human Biology Building, bringing together the existing disciplines of Anatomy, Physiology and Pharmacology & Therapeutics at the University. The building will be home to undergraduate and post-graduate teaching and will carry out cutting-edge research by academics from throughout the campus in the areas of Science and Medicine, and Engineering. The Human Biology Building, funded by the Higher Education Authority (HEA) and NUI Galway will create a platform for discovery, development and delivery. It will also build on the output of NUI Galway’s cluster of world-leading biomedical research groups in areas such as regenerative medicine and stem cell research, cancer biology (particularly breast and prostate cancer) biomechanics and biomaterials. Speaking at the opening, Minister for Health, Mr Simon Harris TD, said: “I’m delighted to officially open this building and its facilities, which will extend the capacity for and delivery of biomedical research at NUI Galway. NUI Galway researchers are tackling some of the most pressing issues of our times and the opening of this new building will, I hope, help to strengthen the university’s deserved international reputation as being amongst the very best in the provision of research-led education.” Teaching The Human Biology building has been designed and developed as a joint teaching and research facility to provide these long established disciplines of Anatomy, Physiology and Pharmacology & Therapeutics, a platform to deliver: core pre-clinical teaching to Medical and allied Health Science students core teaching to Science, Biomedical Science and Engineering students provide a purpose-designed venue for discipline-specific training at undergraduate and postgraduate level and enhance learning and teaching within a research-led environment There is currently teaching to over 200 medical undergraduates in the building along with transformative clinical teaching also taking place in state-of-the art laboratories. There are an additional 100 final year Science undergraduate students studying the three disciplines of Anatomy, Physiology and Pharmacology & Therapeutics along with postgraduate students on taught masters programmes from areas of Science and Medicine. Research The building will house academics from various research groups on campus such as CÚRAM, REMEDI, School of Psychology, and Galway Neuroscience Centre. There are also PhD students working in the three disciplines of Anatomy, Physiology and Pharmacology and Therapeutics through research funded by the Irish Research Council (IRC), Health Research Board (HRB), Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) and industry partners. The opening of the Human Biology Building sees the completion of a capital projects programme undertaken by the University some decades ago, which was enabled by a combination of philanthropy and State support, while funding from the European Investment Bank, in its first ever loan to the University, assisted in the completion of this new building. In recent years the University has opened a new Engineering building, a new Biomedical Sciences building, and a unique clinical and translational research facility. Taken together these three facilities along with the new human biology building complete an ecosystem of education, research, innovation and healthcare in the West of Ireland.   NUI Galway President, Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh, said: “We are delighted to mark the opening of our new Human Biology Building, which will transform the learning environment for our health science students.  By having access to the best facilities, our students will be supported to realise their potential and make a real impact in their chosen field. Investment in education is vital for our regional development and continued funding is imperative so that our new buildings can be great places to learn, teach and research in. Our students compete with the best of the world and so must we.” The Building The Human Biology Building is a five-storey state-of-the-art building with a gross floor area of 8,200m².  It is strategically located in the University’s south campus with close proximity to University Hospital Galway. The building has been developed on a previously developed site on which stood the former National Diagnostics Laboratory building. It was designed by award-winning architects, Scott Tallon Walker Architects, in conjunction with international design firm, Building Design Partnership, while BAM Building Ltd. was the contractor. Professor Timothy O’Brien, Dean of the College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences at NUI Galway, said: ‘The Human Biology Building will provide the next generation of scientists, doctors and healthcare professionals with a world class learning environment and will also provide our academics and researchers with state of the art facilities to further the teaching and research mission of the University. The structure of the building is state of the art, will greatly facilitate enhanced interactions between staff and students, and will provide superior technical and operational capabilities that underpin a research and innovation intensive environment.”   ENDS Seolann an tAire Sláinte an tÁras Bitheolaíochta Daonna in OÉ Gaillimh Ag líonadh na bearna idir an leigheas agus an eolaíocht trí liachleachtóirí na todhchaí a theagasc agus taighde ceannródaíoch a éascú Bitheolaíochta Daonna €34 milliún OÉ Gaillimh inniu (Dé Luain, 2 Iúil), ina dtabharfar le chéile disciplíní na hAnatamaíochta, na Fiseolaíochta  agus na Cógaseolaíochta & Teiripe san Ollscoil. Tabharfar faoi theagasc fochéime agus iarchéime san áras agus déanfaidh acadóirí atá ag obair ar an gcampas trí chéile taighde ceannródaíoch ann i réimse na hEolaíochta agus an Leighis, agus na hInnealtóireachta. Éascófar ardán d’fhionnachtain, forbairt agus seachadadh san Áras Bitheolaíochta Daonna, atá maoinithe ag an Údarás um Ard-Oideachas (HEA). Cuirfidh sé freisin leis an aschur ó na grúpaí taighde bithleighis is fearr ar domhan, a bhfuil braisle díobh in OÉ Gaillimh, i réimsí cosúil le leigheas athghiniúnach agus taighde gascheall, bitheolaíocht ailse (go háirithe ailse bhrollaigh agus phróstataigh), bithmheicnic agus bithábhair. Ag caint dó ag an oscailt, bhí an méid seo a leanas le rá ag an Aire Sláinte, Simon Harris: “Tá an-áthas orm an t-áras seo agus a áiseanna a oscailt. Cuirfidh sé le cumas OÉ Gaillimh taighde bithleighis a dhéanamh agus a thabhairt chun críche. Tá taighdeoirí in OÉ Gaillimh ag dul i ngleic le roinnt de na saincheisteanna is tábhachtaí lenár linn agus tá súil agam, le hoscailt an árais nua seo, go láidreofar cáil idirnáisiúnta na hOllscoile mar áit ina bhfuil oideachas taighdebhunaithe ar ardchaighdeán á chur ar fáil.” Teagasc Dearadh agus forbraíodh an tÁras Bitheolaíochta Daonna mar áis taighde agus teagaisc araon chun go gcuirfear ardán ar fáil do dhisciplíní fadbhunaithe na hAnatamaíochta, na Fiseolaíochta  agus na Cógaseolaíochta & Teiripe chun na nithe seo a leanas a chur i gcrích: teagasc croíláir réamhchliniciúil a sholáthar do mhic léinn Leighis agus mic léinn Eolaíochtaí Sláinte gaolmhara teagasc croíláir a sholáthar do mhic léinn Eolaíochta, Eolaíochta Bithleighis agus Innealtóireachta ionad atá tógtha go speisialta a chur ar fáil d’oiliúint atá sonrach don disciplín ag leibhéal fochéime agus iarchéime agus cur le foghlaim agus teagasc laistigh de thimpeallacht atá á treorú ag taighde Tá breis agus 200 fochéimí leighis á dteagasc faoi láthair san fhoirgneamh, agus tá teagasc cliniciúil bunathraitheach ar siúl sna saotharlanna nua-aoiseacha. Anuas air sin, tá 100 mac léinn fochéime Eolaíochta sa bhliain deiridh i mbun staidéir ar thrí dhisicplín na hAnatamaíochta, na Fiseolaíochta  agus na Cógaseolaíochta & Teiripe in éineacht le mic léinn iarchéime ar chláir mháistreachta mhúinte i réimse na hEolaíochta agus an Leighis. Taighde Beidh acadóirí ó ghrúpaí taighde éagsúla ar an gcampas lonnaithe san fhoirgneamh, leithéidí CÚRAM, REMEDI, Scoil na Síceolaíochta, agus Ionad Néareolaíochta na Gaillimhe. Tá mic léinn PhD ann freisin i mbun taighde i dtrí dhisicplín na hAnatamaíochta, na Fiseolaíochta  agus na Cógaseolaíochta & Teiripe, ar taighde é atá á mhaoiniú ag Comhairle Taighde na hÉireann (IRC), an Bord Taighde Sláinte (HRB), Fondúireacht Eolaíochta Éireann (SFI) agus ag comhpháirtithe tionscail. Tá clabhsúr curtha ar chlár tionscadal caipitil na hOllscoile le hoscailt an Árais Bitheolaíochta Daonna, ar clár é ar tugadh faoi os cionn scór bliain ó shin agus ar tacaíodh leis trí dhaonchairdeas agus tacaíocht Stáit. Chabhraigh maoiniú ón mBanc Eorpach Infheistíochta, i bhfoirm a chéad iasachta riamh don Ollscoil, chun an foirgneamh nua seo a chríochnú. Le blianta beaga anuas, tá áras Innealtóireachta nua oscailte ag an Ollscoil, chomh maith le háras nua do na hEolaíochtaí Bithleighis, agus áis uathúil do thaighde aistritheach agus cliniciúil. Nuair a chuirtear le chéile na trí shaoráid seo in éineacht leis an áras bitheolaíochta daonna nua, tá mórchóras iomlán againn don oideachas, taighde, nuálaíocht agus cúram sláinte in Iarthar na hÉireann.   Seo mar a labhair Uachtarán OÉ Gaillimh, an tOllamh Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh: “Tá an-áthas orainn ceiliúradh a dhéanamh ar oscailt an Árais Bitheolaíochta Daonna nua. Fágfaidh sé go n-athrófar ó bhonn an timpeallacht foghlama dár mic léinn eolaíochta sláinte.  Agus teacht ag ár mic léinn ar na háiseanna is fearr dá bhfuil ar fáil, cabhrófar leo barr a gcumais a bhaint amach agus tionchar ceart a bheith acu sa réimse a roghnaíonn siad. Tá infheistíocht san oideachas ríthábhachtach dár bhforbairt réigiúnach agus is den riachtanas é go leanfar leis an maoiniú ionas gur ionaid den scoth a bheidh inár n-árais don fhoghlaim, don teagasc agus don taighde. Ní mór dár mic léinn dul in iomaíocht le scoth na mac léinn ar fud an domhain, agus is amhlaidh dúinne." An Foirgneamh Foirgneamh cúig stór úrscothach atá san Áras Bitheolaíochta Daonna, agus tá oll-achar urláir 8,200m² ann.  Tá suíomh straitéiseach aige i gcampas theas na hOllscoile, agus tá Ospidéal na hOllscoile, Gaillimh in aice láimhe. Tógadh an foirgneamh ar shuíomh a raibh forbairt déanta cheana air agus is ann a bhí an Diagnóslann Náisiúnta, mar a bhí, roimhe sin. Is iad na hailtirí, Scott Tallon Walker Architects, a bhfuil go leor duaiseanna bainte acu, a rinne an dearadh ar an bhfoirgneamh i gcomhpháirt leis an ngnólacht deartha idirnáisiúnta, Building Design Partnership, agus is é BAM Building Ltd. a bhí ina chonraitheoir. Dúirt an tOllamh Timothy O’Brien, Déan Choláiste an Leighis, an Altranais agus na nEolaíochtaí Sláinte in OÉ Gaillimh: Cuirfear timpeallacht foghlama den scoth ar fáil san Áras Bitheolaíochta Daonna don chéad ghlúin eile eolaithe, dochtúirí agus gairmithe cúraim sláinte. Bainfidh acadóirí agus taighdeoirí leas freisin as na háiseanna úrscothacha, rud a chuirfidh le misean teagaisc agus taighde na hOllscoile. Tá struchtúr an fhoirgnimh go hiomlán nua-aoiseach agus cuirfidh sé go mór leis an gcaidreamh idir an fhoireann agus na mic léinn. Tá deiseanna teicniúla agus oibriúcháin ar ardchaighdeán ar fáil ann chomh maith a thacóidh le timpeallacht dhian taighde agus nuálaíochta.   CRÍOCH

Wednesday, 4 July 2018

New film will focus on research into removed blood clots that can lead to stroke, which is currently underway at NUI Galway and the first study of its kind in the world CÚRAM, the Science Foundation Ireland Centre for Research in Medical Devices based at NUI Galway and Galway Film Centre are delighted to announce A Tiny Spark as the recipient of the 2018 Science on Screen scheme. The selected film, A Tiny Spark, to be directed by Niamh Heery and produced by Caroline Kealy of Swansong Films, will examine the effect of stroke on people’s lives and will specifically look at research into clots. This year’s Science on Screen applicants were invited to submit ideas for a documentary that engages with research into cardiovascular illnesses and stroke, currently underway at CÚRAM. A Tiny Spark will focus on research, being led by Dr Karen Doyle from the Discipline of Physiology at NUI Galway, which involves analysis of removed blood clots to see what information they may yield. This is the first study of its kind in the world and is an international collaborative study between NUI Galway, hospital partners in Beaumont Hospital and throughout Europe and the Mayo Clinic in the US. Contributors to the documentary will include individuals who have had a stroke, as well as the scientists and clinicians who work in the stroke area in Galway and Dublin. Filming will take place in Dublin, Limerick and Galway throughout July 2018. The Swansong Films team has an adventurous plan to 3-D animate the brain highlighting the functions that the various parts serve such as the Amygdala, which is the emotional part of the brain and is responsible for affection. They will also use this method to highlight the journey of blood clots and their potential for destruction. Professor Abhay Pandit, Scientific Director of CÚRAM at NUI Galway, said “This year’s film will focus on stroke and clot research which is yet another area which will have a significant impact on audiences all over the country. These stories, narrated through our Science on Screen documentaries, show the real challenges that people face when living with chronic illness but also how we are trying to address them here at CÚRAM, to improve quality of life for all.” Galway Film Centre Manager, Alan Duggan, said: “The Science on Screen commission scheme shows the real human side of the application of science. We are delighted to continue working with CÚRAM on this scheme and we will be supporting Niamh, Caroline and the filmmaking team in bringing A Tiny Spark to the screen this year.” The Science on Screen scheme has been running since 2016 and has awarded €35,000 each to three documentaries on topics such as Parkinson’s disease (Feats of Modest Valour), tendon injury (Mending Legends) and diabetes (Bittersweet: The Rise of Diabetes). The films have reached audiences of over 0.5 million and have received accolades at festivals internationally. The 2017 Science on Screen film, Bittersweet: the Rise of Diabetes, directed by Hugh Rodgers and produced by Anna Rodgers and Zlata Filipovic of Invisible Thread films will be screened at the Galway Film Fleadh on Wednesday, 11 July at 11am in the Town Hall Theatre.   A Tiny Spark will premiere in Galway in November 2018. Video of Dr Karen Doyle speaking about her stroke research: https://youtu.be/vXZjRI6dfqM -Ends-

Wednesday, 4 July 2018

NUI Galway staff and students promoting Irish through sports Gaeil na Gaillimhe, an Irish language GAA Club based in Galway City which promotes the use of the Irish through sport, will hold a community event, ‘Team Together/Foireann le chéile’, on Saturday, 14 July. Team Together/Foireann le chéile, organised by NUI Galway students and staff members, aims to invite new and existing members of the community to join and promote cultural and community inclusion through engagement with sport. The club currently has one Senior Mens’ and Ladies’ Gaelic football teams. They will also run an Irish language Cúl Camp for younger players, aged 5-13 years, from 16-20 July. Áine Gallagher, Manager of the ladies’ team, said: “Gaeil na Gaillimhe adds something unique to the sporting culture in Galway. It provides a supportive space for people who may have never played sport before, to begin playing now. We also encourage our members to hear and speak the Irish language in a fun and friendly way. Previous experience of football or Irish is absolutely not necessary. Our club is open to everyone.” In order to further advance the ethos of the club, Gaeil na Gaillimhe has partnered with ‘Walk the Talk’, a community organisation which aims to promote inclusion of people living in Direct Provision through engagement in physical activity. This collaboration will host ‘Team Together’ on 14th July 2018. ‘Team Together’ is an event which invites all members of the community to join, whether you have just moved to Ireland, have never played sport before or never even knew there was an Irish language. The event will comprise of an introduction to the basic rules of Gaelic football and a fun Gaelic Football Blitz competition. It aims to encourage and celebrate community integration and cultural diversity within the GAA community. Refreshments from One World Tapestry catering company will be available after the event in Áras na nGael on Dominick Street. Garrett Mullan, Executive Director of Show Racism the Red Card, commented: “Gael na Gaillimhe are one of a number of clubs taking part in the Club Welcome programme of Show Racism the Red Card.  The programme is designed to support the integration of refugees within sport. We are delighted with the initiative of Gael na Gaillimhe in organising an open day at their club inviting people who have come to Ireland to try our sports.  The club has reached out to residents in direct provision accommodation and others who are refugees to include them in their activities.  The open day will be an opportunity for people who have never tried Gaelic games before to try the basics.  Who knows, they may even enjoy it and continue to play.” Áine Teahan, an NUI Galway PhD Researcher and member of the Ladies Gael na Gaillimhe, said: “I feel really lucky to be a part of such a welcoming and supportive team. I think this event will be a great opportunity to open up Gaeil na Gaillimhe to the wider community and give people from many different backgrounds the chance to play football and learn cúpla focal!” The event is free and catered to people aged 16 and over. However, parents with younger children are also welcome and can learn about Gaeil na Gaillimhe’s upcoming Irish language GAA Summer Camp for young people. The Team Together Event will take place in the Claddagh Football Pitch from 3-5pm with refreshments served in Arás na nGael at 6pm on Saturday, 14 July. To register or for more information please contact us at teamtogethertoday@gmail.com The event is supported by The Club Welcome programme of Show Racism the Red Card. -Ends-

Tuesday, 3 July 2018

Over 30 second level students recently attended this year’s annual Computer Science and Information Technology Summer School in NUI Galway, where they were treated to a host of guest lectures and workshop activities across a range of themes. One of the many highlights throughout the Summer School involved the recurring theme of Artificial Intelligence and how it is directly contributing to our daily lives across a range of applications. Students were shown how NUI Galway students are leading the way in developing the next generation of AI related applications which can transform how we interact with technology. The benefits of training as a programmer, and software development professional is clearly one of the most crucial career paths open to the next generation as we require more and more expertise in in so many aspects of society.    Academic Coordinator Dr Enda Howley, said: “The annual event was another major success, with a wide range of schools in the region in attendance from Counties Galway, Mayo, Roscommon, Sligo, Leitrim, Louth and Carlow. We always look forward to the opportunity of welcoming second level students onto the campus and giving them a sense of university life alongside the huge potential of studying Computer Science. The job opportunities are limitless and industry employers simply cannot get enough software developers at the moment. Young people see this as a career that offers huge opportunities to achieve the ultimate work life balance, with endless opportunities to control the trajectory of your career around your own circumstances. The enthusiasm and energy of these mostly Transition Year students is almost infectious and we are already looking forward to our 2019 Summer School.” A large number of prizes were distributed throughout the day for a range of fun and interactive activities. The Summer School was organised by staff and students in the Discipline of Information Technology which included Dr Enda Howley, Tina Earls, Karl Mason, Rachael Shaw and Fionnuala O’Malley. NUI Galway’s Dr Josephine Griffith and Dr Des Chambers hosted an interactive Q&A session on applying to university via the CAO and options for studying Computer Science and Information Technology at NUI Galway. -Ends-

Tuesday, 3 July 2018

Three NUI Galway students receive student sustainability leadership awards Three NUI Galway Students were awarded Student Sustainability Leadership Awards as part of the University’s drive to advance student participation in sustainability efforts on campus. The awards were made across three project themes areas namely Energy, Water and Nature and Ecosystems.  Award recipients include Róisín Doherty, from Westport Co. Mayo, who is studying with the College of Science; and Enda Gilgarriff from Headford, Co. Galway, and Séan Harkin from Lifford, Co. Donegal who are students with the College of Engineering and Informatics. The students will share the €10,000 prize and undertake summer internships with the NUI Galway Community and University Sustainability Project team (CUSP) to gain experience in sustainability related research application, networking, and communication with experts in the field. The NUI Galway Student Sustainability Awards Programme is part of the NUI Galway Sustainability Strategy 2017-2020. The Strategy sets out a vision of establishing NUI Galway as a top-class, green, smart and healthy campus. The Strategy was developed by the Community and University Sustainability Project Team (CUSP) following a campus-wide inclusive and holistic engagement process. Speaking at the announcement of the Awards, Michelle O’Dowd Lohan, Sustainability Engagement Associate at NUI Galway, said: “CUSP recognises the key role that students will play in establishing a sustainable university as key drivers and developers of change. We are keen to develop student leaders that are dedicated and enthusiastic about developing a more sustainable campus and community and student input is crucial to support the implementation of Strategy targets and objectives.” The awards programme is funded by NUI Galway Student Union through the Student Project Fund.  -Ends-

Tuesday, 3 July 2018

Five tips from NUI Galway academic on how to improve our decision-making Dr Christopher Dwyer from the School of Psychology at NUI Galway has published the book, Critical Thinking: Conceptual Perspectives and Practical Guidelines, which gives a unique and distinctive insight into how to improve our decision-making and a new way of looking at critical thinking in the 21st century. Over the past 20 years, we have seen the emergence of a new knowledge economy in light of the online information explosion. While Critical Thinking is often highlighted to students, researchers and academics, it is relevant to everyone. Dr Christopher Dwyer from the School of Psychology at NUI Galway, said: “We are faced with more information than ever before, making critical thinking an essential skill in our daily lives as well as our professional lives. In the case of social media, we need the ability to apply critical thinking because of the constant bombardment of both accurate and inaccurate information out there, not only the information we look at and engage with, but also the information we share.” Dr Dwyer recommends five things to consider when applying critical thinking in day-to-day situations: Save your critical thinking and cognitive energy for things that matter; things you care about. Do your critical thinking in the morning in order to avoid the cognitive load and fatigue experienced from the thousands of decisions made in a day; make sure to complete the work that ‘matters most’ in the morning. Take a ‘reflective step back’ and think about the argument or problem a little bit longer. It is vital to take your time in developing or inferring a solution or conclusion. Play Devil’s Advocate. Our intuition is always going to tell us what it thinks we should do. In the context of critical thinking, a good way of learning to overcome this bias and ‘auto-pilot processing’ of our gut feeling is through playing Devil’s Advocate and by truly considering alternatives. Leave emotion at the door. If we want to be able to think critically, we must remove our emotions from our thinking. The book is designed for anyone who cares about Critical Thinking and has three fundamental purposes: to provide a general history of critical thinking conceptualisation aimed at teachers and researchers; to act as a practical guide for students (which is included as a module in current courses at NUI Galway), as well as anyone who wants to improve their ability to think critically; and to act as a guide for educators on how best to teach critical thinking. Dwyer's book, Critical Thinking is available at Cambridge University Press and Amazon at: https://bit.ly/2KsGlsE To read Dr Christopher Dwyer’s blog on Critical Thinking, visit: https://www.psychologytoday.com/intl/experts/christopher-dwyer-phd -Ends-

Thursday, 28 June 2018

Fulbright Irish Awardees 2018-2019 to conduct research and teach in the USA in areas of place-based learning, poisonous jellyfish and the Irish language Three NUI Galway reseachers were presented with Fulbright Irish Awards for 2018-2019. An Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade,Simon Coveney TD, and Chargé d’affaires of the U.S. Embassy in Ireland, Mr Reece Smyth, announced the 37 Fulbright Irish Awardees who were recently presented with their awards at a Ceremony in the U.S. Ambassador’s Residence, Phoenix Park. Students, academics and professionals from 13 Higher Education Institutions in Ireland and Europe will go to 33 leading US institutions to study and collaborate with experts in their fields. This year’s Fulbright recipients are from diverse disciplines spanning science, languages, technology, medicine, literature and the arts. The three NUI Galway Fulbright Awardees are: Jasmine Headlam, a PhD candidate at the School of Natural Sciences in NUI Galway. Her research focuses on harmful jellyfish species such as the mauve stinger and the lion’s mane jellyfish, which are known to negatively impact coastal industries such as causing large fish mortalities in the salmon aquaculture industry. Jasmine’s PhD research is funded under the EU’s Horizon 2020 Climate Change and European aquatic RESources (CERES) project, which is examining how climate change will influence Europe’s most important fish and shellfish resources. As a Fulbright Marine-Institute awardee, Ms Headlam will be mentored in state of the art techniques to investigate the structural and functional characteristics of cnidae (microscopic stinging capsules on the tentacles of jellyfish) and the composition of venom by Fulbright Specialist, Dr Angel Yanagihara, Director of the Pacific Cnidaria Research Laboratory, University of Hawaii at Manoa. Sally McHugh, a PhD candidate at NUI Galway. She received her BA in Archaeology and IT and her MA in Digital Media from NUI Galway. Her current research explores how creative and constructionist computing can be designed and deployed to enhance children’s learning with their local cultural heritage in formal and informal learning environments. As a Fulbright-Creative Ireland Museum Fellow to The Exploratorium: The Museum of Science, Art and Human Perception in San Francisco, Sally will conduct a place-based learning project within the Museum’s Fisher Bay Observatory. Her place-based learning project, ‘A Sense of Place’, carried out with San Francisco youth will focus on their engagement with the ‘local’, encompassing both cultural and natural heritage. Rita Donnellan completed a BA in Modern Irish and English an M.A and a Dióploma Iarchéime san Oideachas at NUI Galway. Since graduating Rita has worked as a secondary school teacher and escapes to the Connemara Gaeltacht every summer to work with Irish Colleges. As a Fulbright FLTA, she will teach the Irish language and take courses at Davidson College, North Carolina. Congratulating the awardees, Professor Lokesh Joshi, Vice President for Research at NUI Galway, said: “Since the 1950s, the Fulbright Programme has strengthened collaborations and exchange between Ireland and the US. This year’s NUI Galway Fulbright Awardees are to be congratulated for being selected onto this prestigious programme. All three individuals demonstrate the innovative thinking and collaborative approach which is one of our strengths here in Galway. We are proud to have them represent our university in this way, and I wish them every success in the US.” An Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Simon Coveney TD, said: “I am delighted to extend my warmest congratulations to the 37 Irish Fulbright Awardees for 2018– 2019. People are at the heart of the extraordinary relationship between Ireland and the United States, and the Fulbright Commission has an unrivalled record in selecting the very best people as Fulbrighters. This year’s Awardees will have the exciting opportunity to study, work, and experience life in the U.S., to forge new relationships, and to represent the best of contemporary Ireland to the United States. I wish this year’s Awardees every success for their time in the United States.” Chargé d’affaires Reece Smyth, U.S. Embassy, said: “I warmly congratulate the 2018-2019 cohort of Irish Awardees. The Fulbright Awards are highly competitive, globally recognised, and associated with excellence and prestige. We are proud to have such bright minds embarking on educational and cultural exchanges to the United States, and we look forward to seeing the fruits of their studies and research when they return to Ireland.” The next round of applications for Fulbright Irish Awards will open on 31 August 2018, interested applicants should visit www.fulbright.ie for more information.  -Ends-

Friday, 29 June 2018

Report on Ireland’s marine ecosystem service values ‘Valuing Ireland’s Blue Ecosystem Services’ The Minister for Housing and Urban Development, Damien English TD, and Minister for Natural Resources, Community Affairs, and Digital Development Seán Kyne, this morning launched the latest report, Valuing Ireland’s Marine Ecosystem Services by NUI Galway’s Socio-Economic Marine Research Unit (SEMRU), at the 5th Annual Ocean Wealth Conference, as part of Ireland’s national maritime festival ‘SeaFest’. To date, SEMRU has produced bi-annual reports on the direct economic value of Ireland’s ocean economy, valued at €1.8 billion or approximately 1% of gross domestic product (GDP) in 2017. This new research however, focuses on the ecosystem service benefits that society receives from Ireland’s marine environment. Marine ecosystem services are provided by the processes, functions and structure of the marine environment that directly or indirectly contribute to societal welfare, health and economic activities. These services are vital to ensuring blue growth in the ocean economy. Factoring marine ecosystem service values into ocean economy account frameworks may help to ensure a sustainable ‘blue economy’ for Ireland by making sure that growth in the ocean economy does not exceed the carrying capacity of the marine environment. While the value of some of these goods such as fish and aquaculture are somewhat easier to measure, the value of many other benefits such as carbon sequestration, waste assimilation and marine related recreation are often not captured by a price in any established markets. However, without incorporating these values into marine planning processes, these benefits may be ignored or underestimated leading perhaps to suboptimal decision making. The Marine Institute welcomed publication of the report on Ireland’s marine ecosystem service benefits with Dr Peter Heffernan, CEO, Marine Institute, commenting: “This assessment of Ireland’s marine ecosystem services and their value is an important step in incorporating ecosystem services into policy and decision making related to Ireland’s marine and coastal zones.” Summary of Economic Contribution of marine ecosystem services: The provisioning marine ecosystem services of fisheries and aquaculture is estimated to be worth €473 million per annum to all fleets and producers operating in Irish waters. Seaweed harvesting is valued at €4 million and aquaculture at €150 million. The regulating and maintenance ecosystem services of carbon sequestration are valued at €815 million per annum, waste assimilation services €317 million and coastal defence services of €11.5 million. The cultural ecosystem services of scientific and educational services are valued at €11.5 million, and the added value per annum to housing stock of being at the coast (aesthetic services) is valued at €68 million. On an annual basis, recreational services provided by the marine ecosystems are estimated to have an economic value of €1.7 billion. Even though not all of the ecosystem services provided by the marine environment can be monetarized the report indicates that the value of those that can is substantial. Dr Stephen Hynes, Director of SEMRU in the Whitaker Institute at NUI Galway, said: “Blue growth is about fostering development in marine economic activities in such a manner that the long term ability of the marine environment to continue to provide ecosystem service benefits is not compromised. This is exactly what Harnessing Our Ocean Wealth: An Integrated Marine Plan for Ireland is aimed at achieving.  Knowing what those benefits are and what they are worth is vital for deciding on the best use of our marine resources and to ensure blue growth for our ocean economy far into the future.” Until recently, very little information was available in relation to the value of the many services provided by the marine environment; services such as carbon sequestration, waste assimilation, coastal defence, aesthetic services and recreational opportunities that are provided by our marine ecosystems have by and large gone unvalued. Harnessing Our Ocean Wealth: An Integrated Marine Plan for Ireland highlights as a key action the need for further research into generating “economic values of marine biodiversity and ecosystem services to ensure best practice planning and management of the ocean resource”. This report is a first step at filling this research gap. Commenting on the significance of the report, Dr Micheál Ó Cinnéide, Director of the Office of Communications and Corporate Services at the Environmental Protection Agency, said: “This latest report from the two Galway based research clusters in NUI Galway and GMIT adds greatly to our understanding of the value of our Marine province. Anybody who was able to see the marvellous RTE documentary on Ireland’s Deep Atlantic in 2018 and who follows the pioneering work of researchers in the Marine Institute, Galway and Cork can appreciate that we are unlocking the treasures of our offshore world. As this report shows, the true value has to include the natural capital, economic potential, cultural and spiritual values. The EPA and the Irish Forum on Natural Capital looks forward to a wider national debate on safeguarding this priceless marine ecosystem for future generations.” The Valuing Ireland’s Marine Ecosystem Services report is based upon research supported by the Irish Environment Protection Agency under Grant Award No. 2014-NC-MS-1 and on previous research conducted under the Marine Institute Beaufort Award. The full report is available to download online at: www.nuigalway.ie/semru/publications.html   The technical version of the report is available at: http://www.epa.ie/pubs/reports/research/water/Research_Report_239.pdf   -Ends-

Thursday, 28 June 2018

To celebrate the first ever International LGBT+ STEM Day, members from the LGBT+ Network in NUI Galway will host a number of events on campus on Thursday, 5 July, to demonstrate its commitment to supporting its staff and students who are members of the LGBT+ community and who significantly contribute to the University’s STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) disciplines. Chris Noone, Co-chair of LGBT+ Staff Network and lecturer in the School of Psychology at NUI Galway, said: “The NUI Galway LGBT+ Staff Network is committed to creating a safe and inclusive environment for staff of all sexual identities and genders at the University and to advocate for and raise awareness of LGBT+ issues. It is well documented that staff and students within the STEM disciplines face added difficulty in being out compared to those in other disciplines and we are proud to support International LGBT+ STEM Day and House of STEM, an Irish-based network dedicated to connecting and supporting LGBT+ scientists in Ireland. “NUI Galway is home to many members of the LGBT+ community who contribute to our teaching and research in STEM disciplines. Our students go on to contribute to STEM research and industry and are valued members of the LGBT+ community in Ireland. For example, NUI Galway graduate, Shaun O’Boyle founded House of STEM and is spearheading the development of International LGBT+ STEM Day.” LGBT+ Staff Network members who will talk about their work at NUI Galway include: Dr David McNamara, Co-chair of LGBT+ Staff Network and lecturer in Earth and Ocean Sciences, NUI Galway. Talk title - An Energetic Geologist David is a structural geologist whose research mainly focuses on energy and mineral resources with the aim of assisting in their sustainable and environmental extraction to work towards decarbonisation of our society. He recently returned to Ireland after seven years researching energy in New Zealand.  Social Media handle @mcnamadd - Twitter, Facebook Cameron Keighron, LGBT+ Network Steering Committee member and Masters student in Regenerative Medicine, NUI Galway. Talk title - The perspective of an early stage researcher Having completed his undergraduate studies in Biotechnology at NUI Galway, Cameron is currently studying for his Masters in Regenerative Medicine at the University and hopes to build his research career from there. He has been involved in a few research projects at NUI Galway over the last number of years, most notable the D1 Now study, which aims to improve health outcomes for young adults with Type 1 Diabetes. He is a member of the LGBT+ Staff network steering group and the Vice Chairperson of AMACH! LGBT. Social media handle – Twitter: @CameronKeighron and Instagram: @Queertransboy The LGBT+ Staff Network will also host talks by those working in the Galway STEM industry and in STEM research abroad: Aoife Fitzgibbon-O’Riordan and Elizabeth Flanagan, Co-founders of Togán Labs Talk title: Queering entrepreneurship: starting up in a toxic startup world.  Togán Labs is a boutique open source software development and consulting firm specialising in the Internet of Things. It was set up in Cork by Aoife and Elizabeth in 2016.  Social Media handle: @ToganLabs Steve Muir, EA Games Talk title - Diversity and Inclusion at EA Steve is a Gaymer who moved to Galway from Glasgow in 2011 to work in the gaming industry. Social media handle - Twitter: @ScottishSteveo Dr Stefaan W. Verbruggen, Marie Skłodowska-Curie Research Fellow at Queen Mary University of London. Talk title: A window on the womb: how strong is a baby's kick? Dr Stefaan W. Verbruggen is currently based in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Columbia University, New York where his research focuses on the mechanobiology of cancer, and how it metastasises to bone from other areas of the body. Prior to his fellowship, Dr Verbruggen conducted his PhD research in the Biomechanics Research Centre at NUI Galway, followed by postdoctoral research in the Developmental Biomechanics Lab at Imperial College London. Social Media handle: @docbruggsbunny Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh, President of NUI Galway will open LGBT+ STEM Day in the Alice Perry Engineering Building at 1pm on Thursday, 5 July and events will take place directly afterwards. For more details about LGBT+ STEM Day, visit: https://lgbtstem.eventbrite.ie For more information about the Office for Equality and Diversity at NUI Galway, visit: http://www.nuigalway.ie/equality/ -Ends-

Thursday, 28 June 2018

NUI Galway has published its latest figures on Ireland’s Ocean Economy that shows in 2017 the direct economic value of the ocean economy was €1.97 billion representing a 22% increase on 2015 NUI Galway’s Socio-Economic Marine Research Unit (SEMRU) has released its latest update on Ireland’s Ocean Economy as part of their ongoing process of collection and analysis of marine socio-economic data in Ireland. This work has involved revising the previous 2015 estimates with the latest released data for that year from the Central Statistics Office, fisheries and aquaculture data from Bord Iascaigh Mhara, shipping and cruise information from the Irish Maritime Development Office as well as SEMRU’s own survey data with 2017 estimates. The updated figures indicate that in 2017, the direct economic value of Ireland’s ocean economy was an estimated €1.97 billion or approximately 1% of gross domestic product (GDP), which represents a 21% increase on 2015 figures. The 2017 estimates also suggest that our ‘blue economy’ continues to grow at a faster pace than the general economy. Dr Stephen Hynes, Director of SEMRU from the Whitaker Institute for Innovation and Societal Change at NUI Galway, says: “The latest figures indicate that Ireland’s ocean economy continues to see substantial growth across both established and emerging marine industries. While 2016 saw a large increase in activity in the oil and gas industry on the back of the Corrib gas project coming on line, more recent growth in 2017 is being driven by strong performances in the aquaculture, sea fisheries, shipping and marine tourism industries, as well as continued growth in the emerging ocean industries.” Summary for 2017 The ocean economy had a turnover of €5.49 billion in 2017. The indirect economic value in 2017 amounted to €1.75 billion, with a total direct and indirect gross value added (GVA) value of €3.71 billion, which represents 1.85% of GDP. The ocean economy provided employment to over 32,500 individuals, full-time equivalents in 2017.  Established Marine Industries had a turnover of €5.1 billion and provided employment to 30,000 full-time equivalents in 2017, representing 92% of the total turnover and 93% of total employment in Ireland’s ocean economy in 2017. Oil and gas exploration and production, marine aquaculture and tourism and leisure in marine and coastal areas, all experienced a significant increase in activity, with turnover, GVA and employment increasing across the sector in the 2015-2017 period. In line with an estimated increase in tourism activity generally in Ireland it is assumed that the tourism in marine and coastal areas increased by 6.7%. The shipping and maritime transport sector also exhibited increases, as seen by the 6% increase year on year in the Irish Maritime Development Office (IMDO)’s i-ship index in 2017. The i-ship index is used by the IMDO to gauge the health of the Irish maritime industry. Emerging Marine Industries had a turnover of €398 million and provided employment to over 2,000 full-time equivalents representing 8% of the turnover and 7% of employment in Ireland’s ocean economy in 2017. The emerging industries include advanced marine technology products and services, maritime commerce, marine biotechnology and bioproducts and marine renewable energy. Commenting on the latest figures, Professor Alan Ahearne, Director of the Whitaker Institute at NUI Galway, said: “It’s clear from this latest evidence that the Ocean Economy has made a significant contribution to Ireland’s overall economic recovery. Marine industries have delivered new jobs and extra income to every corner of the country. With our vast ocean resources, technological knowledge and innovation talent, there is huge potential for further sustainable growth in Ireland’s Blue Economy.” Harnessing Our Ocean Wealth – An Integrated Marine Plan for Ireland, published in July 2012, outlines a number of specific targets which seek to expand Ireland’s ocean economy. One of those targets aims to double its value to 2.4% of GDP by 2030. This 2.4% figure was based on a total estimate (both direct and indirect Gross Value Added) in 2007 for the Irish Ocean economy that amounted to 1.2% of GDP at that time. The latest marine industry statistics from SEMRU indicate that the total direct and indirect value of the Irish ocean economy is €3.71 billion which represents 1.85% of GDP in 2017. For more information on the latest figures please visit: http://www.nuigalway.ie/semru/documents/oceaneconomy2017_update.pdf For more information on SEMRU, please visit www.nuigalway.ie/semru/ -Ends-

Monday, 11 June 2018

Archive tells story of Ireland’s most significant rural community development movement of the twentieth century NUI Galway is opening to scholars and the public the archive of Muintir na Tíre (People of the Land), Ireland’s most significant rural community development movement of the twentieth century. The archive, donated to the University in 2016, is a major resource for understanding the development of rural Ireland in the last century and is now catalogued, selectively digitised and available for use. Professor Maurice Manning, Chancellor of the National University of Ireland, opened the archive during a two-day conference at NUI Galway on rural Ireland in the twentieth century. Muintir na Tíre, was founded as a rural renewal movement in 1931. Its extensive archive, contains an abundance of material relating to social and economic conditions in rural Ireland, Irish rural civil society, the involvement of the Catholic clergy in local community organising, and rural civil society/state relationships over a period spanning more than 80 years. The collection consists of the administrative records of the headquarters of Muintir na Tíre, based in Tipperary Town, as well as records of some of the leading figures within the movement including Canon John Hayes, Archbishop Thomas Morris, Tomás Roseingrave, Jim Quigley and Pat Doyle. Coverage includes rural electrification, the parish plans of the 1950s, and a variety of national and European community development schemes from the 1970s onwards, most notably the Community Alert scheme. There are around 400 archival boxes of material in the collection. Dr Caitriona Clear, Department of History, observes that “The Muintir na Tire archive tells of a hidden twentieth-century Ireland of community effort and enterprise, of men and women coming together to try to improve the lives of the many, rather than the few.   We are accustomed to seeing the history of early-twentieth-century Ireland as a narrative of failure, stagnation and repression. The story of Muintir and its members testifies to energy, optimism and sheer hard work over decades of difficulty.” Over many years NUI Galway, in its teaching and research, has developed an internationally recognised specialist expertise in rural and community development. In addition, the more recent developments in Health Studies and Family Studies have witnessed fresh attention being paid to issues of social inclusion and intergenerational relationships in rural society. The Muintir na Tíre archive will significantly complement the University Library’s existing extensive collections relating to landed estates and social and economic conditions in rural Ireland. In tandem with collections at NUI Galway such as the John McGahern and Thomas Kilroy papers it will facilitate a better understanding of both the representation of Irish rural life in Irish fiction and of the social, cultural and political conditions in which Irish writers have functioned in the post-independence period. Researchers from outside the University will make extensive use of the archive. The catalogue of the archive is accessible at https://tinyurl.com/yaf8l2fs and two of Muintir na Tíre’s journals, The Landmark and Rural Ireland, have been digitised and published online at https://tinyurl.com/ya8d2vt6. John Cox, University Librarian, commented: “The archive of Muintir na Tíre is a great addition to our collections on rural Ireland. I have been particularly struck by the huge interest in it across a range of disciplines expressed by researchers at NUI Galway and other institutions in and beyond Ireland. It will be a valuable resource for teaching as much as research and our students will get great benefit from this generous donation by Muintir na Tíre.” ENDS                      Cartlann Mhuintir na Tíre Bronnta ar OÉ Gaillimh Tá scéal na gluaiseachta forbartha pobail tuaithe is tábhachtaí san fhichiú haois le fáil sa chartlann Tá OÉ Gaillimh ag cur chartlann Mhuintir na Tíre, an ghluaiseacht forbartha pobail tuaithe ba thábhachtaí in Éirinn san fhichiú haois, ar fáil do lucht léinn agus don phobal. Is áis thábhachtach an chartlann seo, a bronnadh ar an Ollscoil in 2016, a chuideoidh linn tuiscint a fháil ar fhorbairt na tuaithe in Éirinn sa chéad seo caite. Tá catalógú déanta ar an gcartlann agus tá digitiú déanta ar chuid di. Tá fáil uirthi anois. Sheol an tOllamh Maurice Manning, Seansailéir Ollscoil na hÉireann, an chartlann ag comhdháil dhá lá in OÉ Gaillimh faoin saol faoin tuath in Éirinn. Bunaíodh Muintir na Tíre mar ghluaiseacht athnuachana tuaithe in 1931. Ina gcartlann fhairsing tá flúirse ábhair a bhaineann le cúinsí sóisialta agus eacnamaíocha shaol na tuaithe in Éirinn, sochaí shibhialta na tuaithe in Éirinn, an bhaint a bhí ag an gcléir Chaitliceach le himeachtaí pobail áitiúla, agus an caidreamh idir sochaí shibhialta na tuaithe agus an stát ar feadh níos mó ná 80 bliain. Is éard atá sa bhailiúchán ná taifid riaracháin cheanncheathrú Mhuintir na Tíre, atá lonnaithe i mBaile Thiobraid Árann, chomh maith le taifid a bhaineann le cuid de na daoine mór le rá sa ghluaiseacht, an Canúnach John Hayes, an tArdeaspag Thomas Morris, Tomás Roseingrave, Jim Quigley agus Pat Doyle san áireamh. I measc na n-ábhar a luaitear ann tá leictriú na tuaithe, pleananna paróiste na 1950í, agus scéimeanna forbartha tuaithe náisiúnta agus Eorpacha éagsúla ó na 1970í i leith, an scéim Pobal ar Aire go háirithe. Tá thart ar 400 bosca cartlainne den ábhar sa bhailiúchán. Bhí an méid seo le rá ag an Dr Caitríona Clear, Roinn na Staire  “Insíonn cartlann Mhuintir na Tíre dúinn faoi Éire cheilte an fhichiú haois, faoi iarrachtaí agus fiontair phobail a bhí ar bun, faoi fhir agus mná ag teacht le chéile ag iarraidh saol an phobail trí chéile seachas saol an bheagáin a fheabhsú.   Nuair a thráchtar ar stair an luathfhichiú haois in Éirinn is gnáth go labhraítear ar theip, ar mharbhántacht agus ar chos ar bolg. Ach is scéal faoi fhuinneamh, dóchas agus obair chrua a bhí ar siúl ar feadh na scórtha bliain drochshaoil é scéal Mhuintir na Tíre agus a cuid ball.” De thoradh an teagaisc agus an taighde atá ar siúl san Ollscoil le blianta fada, tá saineolas ag OÉ Gaillimh i bhforbairt tuaithe agus phobail agus aitheantas idirnáisiúnta aici dá bharr. Chomh maith leis sin, i bhfianaise a bhfuil tarlaithe le gairid i Léann na Sláinte agus Léann an Teaghlaigh, tá aird á tabhairt athuair ar cheisteanna a bhaineann le cuimsiú sóisialta agus caidrimh idir ghlúine éagsúla i bpobail tuaithe. Cuirfidh cartlann Mhuintir na Tíre go mór leis na bailiúcháin fhairsinge atá ag Leabharlann na hOllscoile cheana féin, a bhaineann le háitribh talún agus le cúinsí sóisialta agus eacnamaíocha sa saol faoin tuath in Éirinn. Díreach mar a dhéanann bailiúcháin eile in OÉ Gaillimh ar nós pháipéir John McGahern agus Thomas Kilroy cuirfidh an chartlann seo ar chumas daoine tuiscint níos fearr a fháil ar an léiriú a thugtar ar an saol faoin tuath in Éirinn i bhficsean na hÉireann agus ar na cúinsí sóisialta, cultúrtha agus polaitíochta inar fheidhmigh scríbhneoirí Éireannacha sa tréimhse i ndiaidh don tír neamhspleáchas a bhaint amach. Bainfidh taighdeoirí lasmuigh den Ollscoil an-leas as an gcartlann. Tá teacht ar an gcartlann ag https://tinyurl.com/yaf8l2fs agus tá digitiú déanta ar dhá iriseán de chuid Mhuintir na Tíre, The Landmark agus Rural Ireland, agus tá siad foilsithe ar líne ag https://tinyurl.com/ya8d2vt6. Bhí an méid seo a leanas le rá ag John Cox, Leabharlannaí na hOllscoile: “Cuireann cartlann Mhuintir na Tíre go mór leis na bailiúcháin atá againn a bhaineann le saol na tuaithe in Éirinn. Chuir sé an-iontas orm an spéis mhór atá á cur ag taighdeoirí ó dhisciplíní éagsúla in OÉ Gaillimh agus as institiúidí eile in Éirinn agus níos faide ó bhaile inti. Is áis luachmhar a bheidh inti don teagasc agus don taighde araon agus bainfidh ár gcuid mac léinn an-tairbhe as an mbronntanas flaithiúil seo ó Mhuintir na Tíre.” CRÍOCH