Older Women Lose out in Pension Provision

Older Women Lose out in Pension Provision-image

Friday, 24 February 2012

New research looks at older women workers’ access to pensions Fewer than one in three female pensioners in Ireland receive the maximum contributory pension and two-thirds rely on the non-contributory pension, leaving many women disadvantaged in later life, says a new report today. The report Older Women Workers’ Access to Pensions: Vulnerabilities, Perspectives and Strategies was written by Dr Nata Duvvury, Dr Áine Ní Léime and Aoife Callan of NUI Galway, and Dr Linda Price and Mark Simpson of Queens University Belfast, with funding from the Centre for Ageing Research and Development in Ireland (CARDI). The research highlights the issue of gender inequality in pension provision in Ireland, north and south. It underlines the vulnerability of older women and examines the factors that contribute to lower pension incomes among women, including level of labour force participation and time spent caring for dependants. The report also looks at strategies used by older women and finds many depend on partners’ or husbands’ incomes for a secure future, even though they may well outlive them as women tend to have longer life expectancies. Inez McCormack, who was the first female president of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions, will officially launch the report at the National University of Ireland Offices in Merrion Square today: “This report comes at a crucial time in light of the changes to pensions recently announced in the Republic of Ireland[i] and Northern Ireland. It makes the issue of women and pensions visible – a crucial step towards the state living up to its obligation to protect the most vulnerable with regard to social security, which is a human right.” Key findings: Older women workers experience limited access to pensions because of low pay, poor conditions of work and their primary role in caring. Women account for only 27% of those receiving the maximum contributory pension. Women are likely to be involved in non-pensionable employment and/or in seasonal, part-time and short-term contracts, making it difficult for them to contribute regularly to pensions. Reliance on partners’ income is common, but is a risky strategy in the event of separation, divorce, widowhood, illness or redundancy. The economic crisis, with the imposition of the government levies and charges, has further reduced women’s ability to pay into pensions. Typically, women were not aware of the importance of personal pension provision until quite late in life or in situations of change such as husband’s job loss or family disruption. For some women who could afford to contribute to private pensions, the failure of the banking system resulted in significant losses to the value of their pension funds. Dr Nata Duvvury, co-Director of the Global Women’s Studies Programme at NUI Galway, one of the lead investigators of the report commented: “Women are often the holders of low pay and part-time jobs which will dramatically affect their ability to build pensions. With the economic crisis, this particular group in society is being put under even more financial pressure and the long-term result looks set to be financial insecurity in older age.” Roger O’Sullivan, Director of CARDI, said: “Gender inequality in pension incomes is an important issue affecting many tens of thousands of older people in Ireland, north and south – and the number of women aged 65+ will rise by more than half a million in the next 30 years. This research underlines the gender gaps in the pension systems in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland and makes an important contribution to understanding how such gaps might be closed by policy makers to ensure all older people can enjoy a secure and healthy old age.” Dr Áine Ní Léime, co-principal investigator at the Irish Centre for Social Gerontology at NUI Galway, commented: “While pension policy in Ireland, north and south, has begun to address some of the obstacles to women’s access to pensions, there is a clear need for a coherent approach across the policy areas of employment, taxation and social welfare, as well as pensions to ensure that women have an adequate income in later life.” Dr Linda Price, Lecturer in Spatial Planning, who led the research at Queen’s University, Belfast commented: “The life course approach taken in the research has led to an appreciation of the continuing impact of gender relations, caring responsibilities and fragmented and often low-paid employment on women’s ability to retire in our society in an era when popular conceptions are that gender equality has been achieved.” -ends-

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50 Years in the Making - President Higgins Returns to Alma Mater to Launch Autism Centre

50 Years in the Making - President Higgins Returns to Alma Mater to Launch Autism Centre-image

Friday, 24 February 2012

The Irish Centre for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Research at NUI Galway to be launched by Michael D. Higgins, President of Ireland, 50 years after he enrolled as a mature student President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins will make his first official visit to NUI Galway to launch its new Irish Centre for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Research on Friday, 24 February, 2012. The visit takes place 50 years after he was initially enrolled as a mature student at the University. The Irish Centre for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Research (ICAN) is dedicated to ensuring improvements for individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and their families not only through scientific research but also through education and providing services to the community. Co-funded by Galway University Foundation, the Centre is the first centre of its kind outside North America that uses an integrated approach to the delivery of postgraduate education, research and the delivery of autism support services. NUI Galway’s Dr Geraldine Leader is the Director of ICAN: “A diagnosis of autism can have a devastating effect on a family. The lack of autism services in Ireland places an enormous burden on parents. Yet parents and families are the true advocates for those diagnosed. Our Centre aims to support families by training highly-skilled practitioners in the management and care of persons with ASD, conduct research that will provide practical solutions for parents and by providing support services for families.” Dr Leader added: “Neurological disorders such as autism affect individuals and their families across the life span. Our centre aims to target many of these challenges by conducting research into social and communicative deficits, adaptive behaviour needs, restricted interests and repetitive/challenging behaviours.” Autism is a complex disorder that inhibits a person’s ability to communicate, form friendships and relate to the outside world.  It is characterised by restrictive and sometimes repetitive patterns of behaviour, interests and activities.  It may also be accompanied by behaviour problems.  The prevalence of autism is on the rise.  In the United States, the Centers for Disease Control estimates that 1 in 110 children will be diagnosed with autism.  Among boys the incidence is 1 in 70.  Although there are no comparable studies on autism in Ireland, it is believed the prevalence is similar to that found in the US.  Ita Fitzgibbon, is the parent of a 12 year old son with autism and Chairperson of Abalta Special School Galway, said: “Abalta has a very strong relationship with the MSc in Applied Behaviour Analysis in NUI Galway, providing placements to many students on the programme, each year. Our school has seen the benefits of receiving the very best expertise first hand and the impact it has had on the lives of our students and their families. There is a lack of understanding of autism in Ireland and it is only through research that we can hope to generate a greater awareness of this condition. The opening of ICAN at NUI Galway will bring leading international experts together to use their knowledge, insight and research to enhance the lives of those affected and touched by autism in Ireland. This centre will help those diagnosed with autism in Ireland to reach their potential and achieve their goals.” ICAN offers both an MSc and PhD programme in Applied Behaviour Analysis at NUI Galway. These programmes are preparing students to become highly skilled practitioners in the care and management of ASD and related neurodevelopmental conditions.  Students are making an important contribution to services as they are placed in either Early Intensive Behavioural Intervention programmes that are home and school based, ASD Units within mainstream schools, special schools and adults services. Neurological disorders such as Autism affect individuals and their families across the life span.  Our centre aims to target many of these challenges by conducting research into social and communicative deficits, adaptive behaviour needs, restricted interests and repetitive/challenging behaviours. A major international conference recently hosted by NUI Galway, Autism Speaks and the American Ireland Fund, highlighted new technologies and practical strategies for managing challenges faced in schools for helping children on the autism spectrum. Key international experts in the field discussed treatment of associated medical conditions and presented the latest research on early signs of autism and the use of medication for people on the autism spectrum. President of NUI Galway, Dr Jim Browne, said the establishment of this new centre highlights NUI Galway’s commitment to autism research and underscores the translational dimension of the University’s work.   He said, “This Centre will be a landmark for those concerned with ASD.  Students will benefit from research-led teaching at a centre which is affiliated with the best international centres in this field.  The Centre’s outreach programme will ensure that the latest research and educational strategies will reach those families living with ASD. I believe that the launch of this Centre by President Higgins will be an important landmark for families affected by autism.”   ENDS For further information visit www.nuigalway.ie/ican 50 bliain ag teacht – Filleann an tUachtarán Ó hUiginn chuig a Alma Mater chun Ionad Uathachais a sheoladh Seolfaidh Uachtarán na hÉireann, Micheál D. Ó hUiginn an tIonad Éireannach um Thaighde ar Uathachas agus ar Néar-Fhorbraíocht in OÉ Gaillimh, 50 bliain i ndiaidh dó féin clárú mar mhac léinn lánfhásta. Tabharfaidh Uachtarán na hÉireann, Micheál D. Ó hUiginn, a chéad chuairt oifigiúil ar OÉ Gaillimh chun an tIonad nua Éireannach um Thaighde ar Uathachas agus ar Néar-Fhorbraíocht a sheoladh Dé hAoine, an 24 Feabhra 2012. Tagann an chuairt seo 50 bliain i ndiaidh dó féin clárú den chéad uair mar mhac léinn lánfhásta san Ollscoil. Tá an tIonad nua Éireannach um Thaighde ar Uathachas agus ar Néar-Fhorbraíocht (ICAN) tiomanta feabhsúcháin a chinntiú do dhaoine aonair a bhfuil neamhord ar speictream an uathachais (ASD) ag gabháil dóibh agus cúnamh a thabhairt dá dteaghlaigh. Déanfar é seo ní hamháin trí thaighde eolaíoch ach trí oideachas agus trí sheirbhísí sa phobal a chur ar fáil. Tá an tIonad á chómhaoiniú ag Fondúireacht na hOllscoile, agus is é an chéad ionad dá leithéid é taobh amuigh de Mheiriceá Thuaidh a úsáideann cur chuige comhtháite maidir le hoideachas iarchéime, taighde agus seirbhísí tacaíochta uathachais a sholáthar.  Deir an Dr Geraldine Leader, comhalta foirne in OÉ Gaillimh agus Stiúrthóir ICAN:  “Nuair a fhaigheann teaghlach amach go bhfuil uathachas ag gabháil do dhuine acu is féidir leis tionchar uafásach a bheith aige orthu. Cuireann an easpa seirbhísí uathachais atá ar fáil in Éirinn ualach mór millteach ar thuismitheoirí. Ach is tuismitheoirí agus teaghlaigh a sheasann an fód dóibh siúd le huathachas. Tá sé mar aidhm ag an Ionad seo tacú le teaghlaigh trí oiliúint a chur ar chleachtóirí a bhfuil ardscileanna acu maidir le daoine le ASD a bhainistiú agus aire a thabhairt dóibh. Tabharfar tacaíocht do theaghlaigh freisin trí thaighde a dhéanamh a thabharfaidh freagraí praiticiúla do thuismitheoirí agus trí sheirbhísí tacaíochta a chur ar fáil do theaghlaigh.” Chomh maith leis sin dúirt an Dr Leader: “Bíonn tionchar ag neamhoird néareolaíocha cosúil le huathachas ar dhaoine aonair agus ar a dteaghlaigh i rith a saoil. Tá sé mar aidhm ag an ionad seo díriú ar go leor de na dúshláin seo trí thaighde a dhéanamh ar easnaimh shóisialta agus chumarsáide, riachtanais iompraíochta oiriúnaitheacha, leasanna srianta agus iompraíochtaí athchleachtacha/dúshlánacha.” Is neamhord casta é an t-uathachas a chuireann bac ar chumas duine cumarsáid a dhéanamh, cairde a dhéanamh agus tuiscint a bheith aige ar an domhan mórthimpeall. Bíonn pátrúin shrianta agus uaireanta athchleachtacha iompraíochta, leasanna agus gníomhaíochtaí i gceist le huathachas. Is féidir go mbeadh fadhbanna iompraíochta i gceist chomh maith. Tá forleithne uathachais ag méadú. Sna Stáit Aontaithe, measann na hIonaid um Ghalar a Rialú go mbeidh páiste amháin as gach 110 páiste diagnóisithe le huathachas. I measc buachaillí, is buachaill amháin as gach 70 buachaill a bheidh diagnóisithe le huathachas. Cé nach bhfuil aon staidéar comparáideach ar uathachas in Éirinn, creidtear go mbeidh na figiúirí mórán mar a chéile is atá sna Stáit Aontaithe. Dúirt Ita Fitzgibbon, a bhfuil mac 12 bhliain d’aois aici a bhfuil uathachas ag gabháil dó agus atá ina Cathaoirleach ar Scoil Speisialta Ábalta, Gaillimh: “Tá caidreamh thar a bheith láidir ag Ábalta leis an gclár MSc in Anailís Iompraíochta Fheidhmeach in OÉ Gaillimh, agus tagann mic léinn ar shocrúchán oibre chugainn gach bliain. Feiceann scoil sin againne na buntáistí a bhaineann leis an saineolas is fearr a fháil ar an láthair agus an tionchar a bhíonn aige sin ar ár scoláirí agus a dteaghlaigh. Tá easpa tuisceana ar an uathachas in Éirinn agus caithfear taighde a dhéanamh ionas go mbeidh feasacht níos leithne ag daoine. Le hoscailt ICAN in OÉ Gaillimh tabharfar saineolaithe idirnáisiúnta le chéile chun a n-eolas, a léargas agus a dtaighde a úsáid chun feabhas a chur ar an saol dóibh siúd a bhfuil uathachas ag gabháil dóibh in Éirinn. Cabhróidh an tIonad seo leo siúd a bhfuil uathachas ag gabháil dóibh in Éirinn a bpoitéinseal agus a spriocanna a bhaint amach.” Cuireann ICAN clár MSc agus clár PhD in Anailís Iompraíochta Fheidhmeach ar fáil in OÉ Gaillimh. Tá na cláir seo ag cur oiliúna ar mhic léinn go mbeidh siad ina gcleachtóirí ardoilte i gcúram agus i mbainistiú ASD agus riochtaí néarfhorbartha lena mbaineann.  Tá mic léinn ag cur go mór le seirbhísí mar go mbíonn siad ag obair ar chláir Luathdhian-Idirghabhála Iompraíochta atá bunaithe sa bhaile nó sa scoil, nó in Ionaid ASD laistigh de scoileanna príomhshrutha, scoileanna speisialta agus seirbhísí d’aosaigh. Bíonn tionchar ag neamhoird néareolaíocha cosúil le huathachas ar dhaoine aonair agus ar a dteaghlaigh i rith a saoil.  Tá sé mar aidhm ag an ionad seo díriú ar go leor de na dúshláin seo trí thaighde a dhéanamh ar easnaimh shóisialta agus chumarsáide, riachtanais iompraíochta oiriúnaitheacha, leasanna srianta agus iompraíochtaí athchleachtacha/dúshlánacha. Ag oll-chomhdháil a chuir OÉ Gaillimh, Autism Speaks agus an American Ireland Fund i láthair le déanaí, tarraingíodh aird ar theicneolaíochtaí nua agus ar straitéisí praiticiúla chun aghaidh a thabhairt ar na dúshláin a bhíonn i scoileanna chun cabhrú le páistí ar speictream an uathachais. Labhair príomh-shaineolaithe idirnáisiúnta sa réimse faoin gcóireáil a úsáidtear do riochtaí cosúla leighis agus chuir siad an taighde is déanaí i láthair maidir le luathchomharthaí uathachais agus úsáid chógais ar speictream an uathachais. Dúirt Uachtarán OÉ Gaillimh, an Dr Jim Browne, go léiríonn bunú an ionaid nua seo tiomantas OÉ Gaillimh do thaighde ar uathachas agus leagann sé béim ar an ngné aistritheach d’obair na hOllscoile.   Dúirt sé, “Is áit cheannródaíoch a bheidh san Ionad seo do dhaoine a mbaineann ASD leo.    Gheobhaidh mic léinn buntáiste as an teagasc taighde-bhunaithe san ionad a bhfuil baint aige leis na hionaid idirnáisiúnta is fearr sa réimse seo.  Cinnteoidh clár for-rochtana an Ionaid go mbeidh an taighde agus na straitéisí oideachasúla is déanaí ar fáil do theaghlaigh atá ag maireachtáil le ASD. Creidim gur ócáid cheannródaíoch a bheidh sa seoladh seo a dhéanfaidh an tUachtarán Ó hUiginn ar an Ionad seo do theaghlaigh a mbaineann ASD leo.”   CRÍOCH

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UCB and DERI’s Linked Data Research Centre to enhance open source RDB2RDF mapper D2RQ through joint collaboration

UCB and DERI’s Linked Data Research Centre to enhance open source RDB2RDF mapper D2RQ through joint collaboration   -image

Friday, 24 February 2012

UCB and The Digital Enterprise Research Institute (DERI) at NUI Galway are pleased to announce the start of a collaboration to enhance the D2RQ open source software project. D2RQ has long been the software of choice when exposing relational data sources as Linked Data. UCB is pleased to be able to fund the next evolution of D2RQ with the main aim of the project to enhance some core enterprise features and introduce new and exciting product features including alignment with the latest R2RML W3C standards. Linked Data principles are key to enable efficient data integration by providing a common format and language for data exchange and alignment. Enterprise spends billions globally dealing with data integration. The Linked Data approach seeks to drastically reduce this cost and greatly increase data effectiveness within an organisation. However traditional enterprise systems do not expose data in this universal format and third party applications such as D2RQ are required to achieve this. We believe the D2RQ enhancements will enable the enterprise to expose Linked Data in the most efficient and appropriate manner for their business. This is increasingly important as the Linked Data movement gains increasing momentum across the enterprise community. This project is the first step in helping D2RQ to become the de-facto standard that is used across the enterprise, no matter if they are looking at Linked Data for the first time or implementing a quality solution. -ends-

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International Housing Conference at NUI Galway

International Housing Conference at NUI Galway-image

Monday, 27 February 2012

Housing is at the root of the global financial crisis – but it is also at the heart of personal, social and community development. Resolving the conflict between these approaches, nationally and internationally, is a core element of contemporary housing law and policy and the Centre for Housing Law, Rights and Policy at NUI Galway are delighted to announce an international conference exploring this challenge. ‘Key Contemporary Housing Issues in a Changing Europe’ will examine key issues of law, rights, regulation and policy relating to housing. The conference, which will also hear presentations on important aspects of people’s experiences, both positive and negative, in today’s housing systems, will take place at NUI Galway from 20 to 21 April.  The conference brings to Galway an unprecedented platform of speakers drawn from the legal, economic, political, and academic spheres at both national, European and international level. It will offer opportunities to participants and presenters to explore and exchange information on contemporary developments in housing finance, law, regulation, rights, policy and current thinking across Europe. Event organiser and Lecturer with the NUI Galway School of Law, Dr Padraic Kenna, said: “This conference brings to Galway the leading writers and researchers on housing law, finance, rights and policy in Europe. It will offer a valuable forum for an informed discussion of the nature and role of housing systems, both today and in the future. Can we bridge the gap between the competing paradigms of housing as a market and housing as a home? How do we create a fresh inspiration and model of housing for the future, in the midst of the current crisis? These are the types of issues that will be discussed during at the conference.” Speakers at this International Housing Conference at NUI Galway include: Professor Stefan Gerlach, Deputy Governor of the Central Bank; Miss Justice Mary Laffoy, High Court of Ireland; Jan O'Sullivan T.D., Minister for the Department of Environment, Community and Local Government with special responsibility for Housing and Planning; and Regis Brillat, Head of the Department of the European Social Charter, Council of Europe. Leading international housing researchers will also present papers within dedicated seminars on important contemporary housing issues, such as housing and independent living, public interest law and housing, tenures, housing rights and homelessness, contemporary issues in mortgage regulation and consumer protection, migration, housing education, development, planning and housing law. The conference will be of particular interest to those who are involved in housing law, finance, those involved in policy-making and implementation, academics, researchers, public officials and representatives, planners, NGOs, housing rights advocates and students. Fees for the conference will cover admission to all seminars and presentations, book of abstracts, copies of relevant papers, lunches and coffee. Continuing Professional Development (CPD) points will be available for attendance. Full conference attendance (12 CPD points) is €175, and single day attendance (6 CPD points) is €95. To register online for this event please visit www.conference.ie/Conferences/index.asp?Conference=135 For further information contact Dr Padraic Kenna at housingconference@gmail.com. -ENDS- Speakers at the conference will also include:  Ionnis Dimitrakopoulos, Head of Equality and Citizen’s Rights, European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights. Professor Sergio Nasarre-Aznar, Universitat Rovira I Virgili, Tarragona, Coordinator of Legal Aspects of Housing, Land and Planning Group, European Network of Housing Researchers. Professor Martin Partington, Law Commission of England and Wales, and Bristol University Law School. Jamie Burton, Barrister with Doughty Street Chambers, London. Mike Wright, Founder-Director of Keyring Housing Association. Professor Lorna O’Mahoney-Fox, Law School, University of Durham.

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HP and NUI Galway Announce New Masters in Cloud Computing Research

HP and NUI Galway Announce New Masters in Cloud Computing Research-image

Monday, 27 February 2012

NUI Galway and Hewlett-Packard have announced a new Master of Science degree in Cloud Computing Research. Identified by the Government, Forfás and the IDA as one of the best potential high-value growth areas for Ireland, and a vehicle for future jobs, cloud computing is set to provide a new generation of infrastructure, services and solutions for businesses. Designed by the J.E. Cairnes School of Business & Economics at NUI Galway together with Hewlett-Packard Galway’s Cloud Services Innovation Centre, the new degree is the first of its kind in Ireland, in providing a programme of advanced research on high-value, business-focused aspects of cloud computing and services.Cloud computing allows businesses and individuals to use software and access data and services on service providers’ remote computers, usually connecting over the internet, and typically using a web browser or mobile application.Dr Chris Coughlan, Manager of Hewlett-Packard’s Worldwide Cloud Services Innovation Centre, said: “This innovative and international masters degree is a critical support component in developing and sustaining Ireland’s smart economy ahead of the curve, and in the creation of high value employment within Ireland.”The MSc in Cloud Computing Research is a one-year fulltime or a two-year part-time research-based course, commencing in September 2012.NUI Galway’s Dr Tom Acton, architect of the programme, said: “Through direct dialogue with key industry partners such as Hewlett-Packard, Information Mosaic and others, we constructed this degree to meet the needs of these and other companies moving into the cloud space, and to provide a vehicle for the realisation of knowledge-intensive research into cloud computing.” Dr Emer Mulligan, Head of the J.E. Cairnes School of Business & Economics at NUI Galway added: “The course is evidence of what can be achieved through close ties between academia and industry, in building upon synergies both regionally and nationally, and provides an innovative degree capable of producing high calibre and much sought-after graduates.”  There are two routes of entry to the course: persons already working in the ICT sector or within a technology-related role in other sectors with a qualifying degree or related experience, or persons with an undergraduate degree containing information systems, technology management or equivalent.  The University also recognises degrees from other institutions for entry, including the Bachelor of Business Studies (Information Systems Management stream) and the BA in Information Systems Management degree programmes provided by GMIT. -ends-

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NUI Galway to Hold Information Evening in Derry

NUI Galway to Hold Information Evening in Derry-image

Monday, 27 February 2012

Secondary school students interested in NUI Galway are invited to an information evening in Derry on Thursday, 8 March. Parents and guardians are also particularly welcome to the event which runs from 7 to 9pm in the The Everglades Hotel, Prehen Road, Derry City.The evening will begin with short talks about NUI Galway and some of the 60 courses it offers. Afterwards, current students and NUI Galway staff will be on hand at information stands to answer any individual questions in relation to courses offered by the University and about practical issues like accommodation, fees and scholarships, and the wide range of support services available to our students.The ever-increasing popularity of NUI Galway is in part due to a suite of innovative new programmes, developed in response to the changing needs of the employment market, including an Energy Engineering degree and a Maths and Education degree aimed at training Maths teachers.Visitors to the information evening will also get information on NUI Galway’s newest degree programme, a BA in Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies which is brand new for 2012.“NUI Galway has a great deal to offer. Our own students tell us our lecturers are inspirational and challenge them to achieve their full potential. The student experience in Galway is second to none, and we want to bring a taste of that to Derry, while also providing all the practical information on accommodation, CAO points, fees, scholarships and courses. With so many courses on offer, this event in Derry is a perfect opportunity to meet current students and our lecturers to see what degree might be the right fit”, says Caroline Loughnane, Director of Marketing and Communications at NUI Galway.To find out more about the information evening in Derry, contact NUI Galway's Schools Liaison Office, Gráinne Dunne, Schools Liaison Office on 087 2440858 or grainne.dunne@nuigalway.ie.-Ends-

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Eight Research Projects for NUI Galway Announced by Minister Sherlock

Eight Research Projects for NUI Galway Announced by Minister Sherlock-image

Monday, 27 February 2012

Last Thursday, 23 February, Minister for Research and Innovation, Seán Sherlock TD, announced Government funding via the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation of over €6.5 million covering 58 research awards.  NUI Galway received 8 of these awards to a total value of almost €1 million. The investment is made as part of Science Foundation Ireland’s Technology Innovation Development Award (TIDA) programme and will enable SFI-funded research groups to focus on the first steps of an applied research project which may have a commercial benefit if further developed. The eight NUI Galway projects under the Programme and their leaders are: Professor Terry Smith ‘Rapid molecular detection of pathogens from bio-pharmaceutical process water and sterile products’. Currently, process water monitoring is by microbiological methods which are slow.  This project will investigate the feasibility of an isothermal point-of-need device for the rapid detection of the bacterial pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa, which is the species most frequently isolated from pharmaceutical process water and water-for-injection. This is the bacteria which was responsible recently for several infant deaths in a Belfast hospital. Professor Rhodri Ceredig, ‘Personalised stem cell therapy for inflammatory diseases: a feasibility study of whole blood testing for optimising patient specific stem cell potency and efficacy’. In this project, researchers from NUI Galway’s Regenerative Medicine Institute (REMEDI) Immunology Group and additional collaborators will develop rapid-turnaround, whole-blood assays to measure the anti-inflammatory potency of therapeutic stem cell products for individual patients.  This is of relevance to the use of stem cell products for the treatment of diseases that cause inflammation. Professor Abhay Pandit, ‘Scale-up feasibility of a polymeric diatom replica as the next generation drug delivery system’. This project seeks to develop a novel drug delivery system for ‘hard-to-deliver’ therapies such as cannabinoid drugs. The system is based on a polymer (plastic) version of a naturally occurring structure in diatoms, which are algae. Diatoms are of interest because they are encased within a unique cell wall made of silica, which is ideal for drug delivery. Professor Paul Murphy, ‘Development of new anti-metastatic agents’. Tumour metastasis, or spread, is the primary cause of death of cancer patients. A molecule called migrastatin - which occurs naturally in some bacteria - and its analogues have potential as therapies against tumour spread. This project proposes to build on SFI-funded research to generate a wide range of new migrastatin analogues for biological evaluation. Professor Murphy’s group has a competitive new method to manufacture known tumour migration inhibitors and has the capability to extend this know-how to prepare the new analogues. Dr Andrew Flaus ‘Recombinant chromatin substrates for the epigenetics market’. Research that looks at DNA structure and stability can help shed light on biological processes and point to potential drug targets. This project proposes to undertake a feasibility study into the potential for building a comprehensive catalogue of molecules as reagents and kits to target the chromatin and epigenetics research and development sectors. The group has established methods for efficient large-scale production of recombinant molecules. Proof-of-concept demonstrations and a business plan will be produced. Professor Lokesh Joshi ‘Glycoprotein micelle mediated capture of bacteria’. Despite major advances in hygiene practices worldwide, outbreaks of bacterial gastroenteritis still occur with serious public health consequences and economic impacts. This project will demonstrate a low-cost, natural ‘glycelle’ (glycosylated micelle) strategy that can be used to prevent disease-causing bacteria from sticking to cells of the gut and can be used to remove pathogens from water. Dr Adrienne Gorman, ‘Host cell engineering approach to increase product titre in a mammalian cell expression system’. A major issue exists in the biopharmaceutical sector in the production of biologics and biosimilars, such as recombinant proteins and monoclonal antibodies. Current methods are expensive and yield low amounts of protein. This project explores the commercial potential of a recent finding by Dr Gorman’s group that a protein, Hsp70, could enhance survival and secretion of mammalian cells. The outcome of this project will be a system that increases protein production yields and enhances survival of the cells, leading to a decreased cost of protein production. Professor Robert J Woods, ‘Development of anti-adhesion therapeutics for the inhibition of influenza’. The flu is caused by an infection with an influenza virus, and a key step in this process is the virus sticking to cells in the host. That step is mediated by a molecule on the surface of the virus called hemagglutinin.  Professor Wood’s group is developing a new class of carbohydrate-based anti-influenza agents that block this initial hemagglutinin-mediated adhesion of the virus to host cells.  The proposed research is likely to lead to commercially exploitable results in the form of therapeutics for treating or preventing influenza A in both humans and livestock. Commenting on the awards, Professor Terry Smith, Vice-President for Research at NUI Galway, said: “The success of NUI Galway under the TIDA Programme represents an important endorsement of on-going research at NUI Galway and its potential for commercial and economic development.  We are excited about exploiting these opportunities, facilitated by SFI, to deliver research excellence with impact.” Making the announcement at Dublin’s RDS, Minister Sherlock said: “The TIDA Programme focuses on the first stages of an applied research project.  It provides financial support to research teams to enable them to get from concept to market.” Minister Sherlock also took the opportunity to urge the wider research community to support all endeavours towards commercialisation of research, stating: “While today is an endorsement of research endeavours, it is also very much a call to action for all higher education institutions to get behind and support their researchers in every way possible towards facilitating the commercialisation of their research.” The Minister concluded by saying “The spirit of convergence and collaboration that has characterised Irish scientific research over the past decade is not only the best way forward – it is the only way forward.” Welcoming the Minister’s announcement, Director General of Science Foundation Ireland, Professor Mark Ferguson, said: “The TIDA awards being announced today will make a telling impact on how academia and enterprise intertwine towards commercialisation. The projects present significant opportunities for commercialization of research and potential treatments in diverse areas such as new drug delivery system, new transistor devices, 4G wireless communication, cornea repair, SMART needles, hay fever, diabetes, cystic fibrosis, biomass, wastewater treatment and acoustic sensors to detect damage in pipes. Enterprise Ireland has played a key role in the programme’s selection process, further underpinning the market potential of the award recipients.” ENDS

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Winners of NUI Galway Societies Bursary Announced

Winners of NUI Galway Societies Bursary Announced-image

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

The winners of the UCG Spirit of 78/80 Socs Bursary were announced at a special ceremony at NUI Galway recently. Last year the UCG Spirit of 78/80 Socs Bursary was set up to celebrate and encourage outstanding students in NUI Galway. Each year six prizes, in the form of bursaries, worth €1000 each are rewarded to students with exceptional talent who wish to pursue their field of interest. The bursaries are a project which fosters co-operation and vision from the past and present to promote student creativity and empowerment within NUI Galway. The bursaries were divided into performance and non-performance categories. Performances included entrants from backgrounds in dance, alternative, jazz, traditional Irish and rock music as well as singing, juggling, theatre and performance. The recipients of the bursaries were: Soloist Category: Peter Berrill from Headford, Co. Galway. Groups Category: Joint winners: Choral Societies acapella group, ‘Sing n Tonics’, and Orchestra Society’s Colm O’Rourke from Walsh Island, Co. Offaly and Steven Conroy from Port Arlington, Co. Offaly. Performance Category: Sean Leonard from Galway City. Behind the Scenes/Event Management Category: Laura Donnelly from Galway City. Volunteering Category: Eva-Marie Costello from Ballyglunin, Co.Galway. Audience Choice: Oisín Minogue from Nenagh, Co. Tipperary. Speaking after the ceremony Riona Hughes, Societies Officer at NUI Galway, said: “We are delighted with the outcome of the Bursaries Award which culminated in a wonderful night of top class entertainment. These bursaries help our very talented students to support them in realising their dreams.” The bursaries are jointly funded by NUI Galway’s societies and from sponsorship by NUI Galway Alumni from the class of 1978 – 1980. To find out more about the Societies Bursary visit www.socs.nuigalway.ie. -ENDS-

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NUI Galway Midlands Alumni Club Launch

NUI Galway Midlands Alumni Club Launch-image

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

The launch of the Midlands Branch of the NUI Galway Alumni Association will take place on Tuesday, 13 March in the Custume Barrack in Athlone, Co. Westmeath. Hosted by the Officers Mess at the Custume Barracks, the launch will take place at 8.30pm and all graduates and friends of NUI Galway are welcome to attend. According to Sinéad Lenehan of the NUI Galway Midlands Alumni Club, “The Midlands Alumni Club will provide an outlet for graduates to keep in touch with other graduates and University staff, renew friendships and keep up-to-date with developments in the University.” Registration for the event is necessary and can be obtained online at www.nuigalway.ie/alumni or by contacting Máire Aherne on 091 492721. -ENDS-

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Leabhar Nua ar Impleachtaí an Dátheangachais don Ghaeilge á Sheoladh ag OÉ Gaillimh

Leabhar Nua ar Impleachtaí an Dátheangachais don Ghaeilge á Sheoladh ag OÉ Gaillimh   -image

Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Seolfaidh an Dr Éamon Ó Ciosáin leabhar nua, An Chonair Chaoch: An Mionteangachas sa Dátheangachas, san Aula Maxima, OÉ Gaillimh, Dé Luain 5 Márta ag 6pm. Tá an leabhar eagraithe ag Ciarán Lenoach, Conchúr Ó Giollagáin agus Brian Ó Curnáin. Sa leabhar seo tugtar aghaidh ar thaithí chomhaimseartha chainteoirí Gaeilge ar an dátheangachas comhuaineach. Pléitear go mion sa chnuasach aistí seo an taithí thrioblóideach atá ag cainteoirí mionteanga ar an dátheangachas sóisialta. Maíonn údair an leabhair go ndéanann an dátheangachas aontreoch (.i. aontreoch ón nGaeilge go Béarla) atá á chleachtadh sa phobal mionteanga leas sóisialta agus teangeolaíochta na mórtheanga agus aimhleas na mionteanga. Ach na tuiscintí is nua-aimseartha ar an taithí seo a chur ar fáil, leathnófar an díospóireacht acadúil agus an plé poiblí ar an dátheangachas agus díreofar aird ar na ceisteanna is cinniúnaí i leith inmharthanacht na Gaeilge agus na Gaeltachta mar phobal sainiúil teanga. Is Breac-Ghaeltacht atá fágtha anois den Ghaeltacht stairiúil, nach bhfuil inmharthana mar atá sí. Pléitear anseo mar sin cur chuige réadúil, fearacht na moltaí atá sa Staidéar Cuimsitheach Teangeolaíoch ar Úsáid na Gaeilge sa Ghaeltacht (2007), le dul i ngleic leis na dála seo, chun an Ghaeltacht mar phobal Gaeilge a athnuachan. Is é dea-scéala an phlé atá sa leabhar seo ná go dtuigimid gur drochscéala atá sa dátheangachas comhuaineach sa Ghaeltacht agus nach gcuirimid dallamullóg orainn féin i dtaobh impleachtaí na tuisceana seo don fhéiniúlacht Ghaelach. Le plé eolaíoch macánta agus le léargas fírinneach ar dheacrachtaí ár ndála is ea is féidir linn aghaidh mhisniúil a thabhairt ar an gcinniúint a shárú – coiscéim tosaigh an bheartais dóchais í an tuiscint. “Tá plé oscailte macánta ionraic le fáil sa leabhar seo ar bhuncheisteanna tráthúla (ach achrannacha agus conspóideacha) faoin nGaeilge, agus an plé sin suite i gcomhthéacs scolártha an léinn idirnáisiúnta. Cuirfidh an leabhar seo go mór leis na díospóireachtaí is na dioscúrsaí reatha ar an nGaeilge in Éirinn agus ar mhionteangacha an domhain chomh maith.” An tOllamh Roibeard Ó Maolalaigh, Roinn na Ceiltise is na Gàidhlige, Ollscoil Ghlaschú. D’eascair an leabhar seo as téamaí agus léargais éagsúla a pléadh le linn léachtaí, seimineár agus imeachtaí acadúla eile a reáchtáladh in Acadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge, Ollscoil na hÉireann, Gaillimh. -CRÍOCH-

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