Thursday, 28 May 2015

NUI Galway will host the 30th Summer Conference on Topology and its Applications (SumTop30) from 23-26 June. This is the first time this conference will take place in Ireland. Hosted by NUI Galway’s School of Mathematics, Statistics and Applied Mathematics, SumTop30 is an annual major international event in mathematical research and is held primarily in North America. With an expected attendance of more than 150 international delegates, this event will distinguish Ireland as a model of excellence in mathematical research communication, mentorship and collaboration. This year the conference has an ambitious scientific programme that showcases state-of-the-art research in topology with particular emphasis on connections and applications. Speakers this year include some of the most exciting new talents, alongside the most distinguished players in the field. With scientific excellence and its communication as a primary objective, the conference will present a diverse range of speakers in terms of career-point, geographical location, research interest and gender. Keynote speakers include Jan van Mill, University of Amsterdam, Justin Tatch Moore, Cornell University and Ross Geoghegan, Binghamton University, New York. The 18th Galway Topology Colloquium will also take place at NUI Galway on Monday, 22 June. The Colloquium is distinguished by its particular focus on graduate and early-career researchers, providing a relaxed and informal environment in which to discuss and develop research interests. Special features for the Colloquium include working groups of participants to prepare in particular for the SumTop30 workshops, and also a panel discussion whose panel will be populated by key SumTop30 invited speakers. Dr Aisling McCluskey, Conference Co-organiser and Senior Lecturer with NUI Galway’s School of Mathematics, Statistics and Applied Mathematics, said: “The conference with its broad scientific focus indicates the strength of Ireland’s research position within pure mathematics generally, and within topology and its applications specifically on the world stage. It will showcase a diverse range of topological research with applications that will attract young graduates to a correspondingly diverse range of career options within STEM particularly.” The conference is sponsored by Science Foundation Ireland, NUI Galway, National Science Foundation (USA), Fáilte Ireland and Irish Mathematical Society. -ends-

Thursday, 28 May 2015

Research findings presented at a conference today (Thursday, 28 May) in NUI Galway reveal that arts and creative activities are of real benefit to young children. As well as building confidence, and encouraging critical reflection and creative thinking, they also provide a powerful base for team working, problem solving and future development. The research was carried out by the UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre at NUI Galway and looked at an innovative three-year project, BEAST!, developed and operated by Baboró International Arts Festival for Children in Galway. BEAST! (Baboró: Environment, Arts, Science and Technology) took the form of an educational arts and science initiative for primary school children, aged predominately between 9 and 12 years. The project worked with schools on using the arts as a teaching methodology to achieve a higher profile for science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects. Some of the exercises involved the pupils learning about energy usage and climate change with Dr Edward Curry, a scientist from Insight at NUI Galway.  They carried out energy audits in their homes to learn ways of reducing their energy footprint and they also worked with artists to create cartoon animations and storyboards as a means of expressing what they’d learnt. These exercises allowed science to be taught in a more practical and accessible way. Commenting on result findings, which will be presented at the conference ‘Opening the Door to Creative Teaching and Learning’ today, Professor Pat Dolan, Director of the UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre at NUI Galway said: “The development of education of children through creativity and the arts should be given equal attention as learning through reading writing and mathematics. Apart from being the gateway to human expression and innovative learning, it affords children the opportunity to see school as a forum for empathy development, resilience building and attainment of mastery and is in essence an ‘antidote’ to classroom bullying. It is imperative that the Department of Education enable and enhance such capacity building in all schools, and particularly for younger students in need of support.” Dr Cormac Forkan who led the social research team at NUI Galway commented that: “At the highest level, the project enabled the children to be reflective in their own activities and to develop critical thinking. Ultimately education is not just about education for a job, it’s about developing critical citizens.” The research findings showed that: There was a high level of engagement in the workshops by children and teachers. Children talked about changes in the ways that they perceived science and showed a deeper understanding of science concepts. Parents noted their children demonstrated an increasingly positive attitude towards science and that their thinking about the role of science had changed. Children were taught about various art forms in a highly engaging and collaborative way, allowing children to learn about the societal value of the arts and about the importance of collaborating and sharing with others. Teachers were very positive about the benefits of the more open, creative and flexible approach adopted by the science and arts practitioners and stated they were adapting their own teaching styles, to incorporate cross-curricular and more creative and interactive approaches. The research process provided space to consider and develop a theoretical base for BEAST! from the academic literature, linking the project to concepts such as collaboration, creativity, engagement and participation, creative teaching and creative learning. Creativity is a multi-layered concept that involves multiple actors participating in continuous interactive processes of knowledge sharing, learning and engagement. Embedding an ethos of creativity in the curriculum is not a linear or straightforward process. There are numerous barriers to enhanced creativity that include attitudes towards creativity and knowledge, behaviours established practices, time and resources and others that mediate against improving creativity in the curriculum. Paul Collard, CEO from Creativity, Culture and Education in the UK, is guest speaker at the conference: “Without creative skills, problem-solving skills, collaborative skills and a good work ethic young people will not be able to succeed in the world of employment. Now is the time to start thinking about how we reimagine education to put the development of these skills at the heart of the curriculum in order to develop the young people we need, to build the society of tomorrow.” The conference is aimed at parents, teachers and anyone interested in improving levels of confidence, creative and critical thinking and problem solving in primary school children. Speakers at the conference include Professor Pat Dolan, UNESCO Chair and Director of the UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre at NUI Galway; Dr Cormac Forkan, NUI Galway; Paul Collard, CEO of Creativity, Culture and Education and Lali Morris and Teenagh Cunningham from Baboró. Delegates will also have an opportunity to meet with pupils, artists, scientists and teachers who took part in the project to see the work they created. Baboró’s BEAST! conference, ‘Opening the Door to Creative Teaching and Learning’, takes place on Thursday, 28 May, at the Lifecourse Building, NUI Galway from 10am to 4pm. More info at http://www.baboro.ie/events. Enquiries to the Baboró office on 091 562667 or beast@baboro.ie  The BEAST! project has been funded by NUI Galway, Science Foundation Ireland, The Ireland Funds, Galway City and County Councils and Galway Local Enterprise. -ends-

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Students of Enactus NUI Galway recently held a project launch and showcase event. Enactus is a global student-lead initiative where students, along with the guidance of business and faculty advisors, create projects which benefit society socially, economically and environmentally and in doing so engage members of society. The recent event gave Enactus students the opportunity to present this year’s four projects, including the Wallflower Initiative, Bike Back, Eat Your Words and TARA, as well as the future plan for these projects. NUI Galway was one of the founding Irish teams of Enactus Ireland and this year will mark its fourth year of involvement. Guided by academic advisors and business experts, participating students from all disciplines form a team on their university campus and apply business concepts to create and implement community empowerment projects around the globe. The current Team Leader and master’s student at NUI Galway, Elizabeth O’Brien, has been involved in Enactus for three years and also attended the Enactus World Cup 2014 which took place last year in Beijing, China. Elizabeth said: “Enactus has given me the opportunity to improve our local community but also enhance my educational experience. It has helped me to understand special challenges and issues, develop solutions and make a difference in people’s lives. It was an honour to open our launch event and share the good work that we are doing.” Michael Campion, a lecturer at NUI Galway’s J.E. Cairnes School of Business and Economics, and Faculty Advisor for Enactus NUI Galway, said: “The typical student who engages with Enactus is enthusiastic and passionate about making things better for others. Designing and developing Enactus projects is not easy due to the criteria laid down and it challenges students to be creative, enterprising and tenacious. It’s a privilege to work with and support such students in their Enactus endeavours.” In May, Enactus NUI Galway students, along with seven other third-level institutions, will gather at the Chartered Accountants of Ireland in Dublin for the Enactus Ireland National Final 2015. This will give one team the opportunity to travel to Johannesburg, South Africa to represent Team Ireland for this year’s World Cup Final where Enactus students from 36 countries will be represented and each team will present their projects to a judging panel of global business leaders. -Ends-  

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Professor Brian McStay, from, NUI Galway has secured €1.5 funding from the SFI-HRB-Wellcome Trust Biomedical Research Partnership to study uncharacterised regions of the genome that could advance our understanding of a wide range of human diseases.                                         According to Professor McStay, who works in the Centre for Chromosome Biology, School of Natural Sciences at NUI, Galway: "This project will explore some of the unmapped regions of the human genome that play a key role in how ribosomes, which make proteins, are made. We will look at the genetic factors that influence how ribosomes themselves are put together. We know that unregulated ribosome production plays an important role in many types of cancer, so a better understanding of what impacts ribosomes has obvious potential to help our understanding of cancer and a range of human diseases which are collectively termed ribosomopathies." Commenting on the award, Graham Love Chief Executive at the Health Research Board says, "This funding is not easy to get and competition is intense, so Brian’s success should be acknowledged.  Biomedical research like this, which will help us to better understand our fundamental human make up, is central to providing new avenues for scientists to explore in the search for better and more effective treatments." Dr Michael Dunn, Head of Genetics and Molecular Sciences at the Wellcome Trust, adds, "Wellcome Trust Investigators represent some of the very brightest minds in biomedical science.  We are delighted to make an award to Professor Brian McStay whose work aims to address an important aspect of basic chromosome biology that is still poorly understood.  The award provides generous, long-term, flexible funding, which we hope will enable Professor McStay to make significant advances in knowledge in this important field and thereby help the Wellcome Trust to achieve its mission of improving human and animal health." Professor Mark Ferguson, Director General Science Foundation Ireland and Chief Scientific Adviser to the Government of Ireland said,  "The SFI-HRB-Wellcome Trust Partnership supports research into some of the most pressing biomedical and clinical research questions in health, ultimately delivering a social impact by enhancing the quality of patients care.  This joint funding scheme also boosts Ireland’s biomedical research credentials internationally, thereby attracting investment and ultimately creating jobs.  The fact that Professor McStay’s study secured the funding ahead of international competition underlines the quality of the world class research taking place in Ireland." -Ends-

Thursday, 2 April 2015

NUI Galway recently conferred special certificates on the seventh cohort of ‘graduates’ from its Youth Academy, with 225 primary school children from across the western region receiving their certificates. Established in 2012, the Youth Academy aims to inspire entry to university by introducing primary school students and their families to university life. Since its foundation, over 1,000 students have graduated from a variety of  courses on Saturday mornings ranging from Italian to Film Studies, Engineering to English Literature, Cell-EXPLORERS and Kitchen Chemistry to Smart Act-Aisteoirí óga anseo!, and The World of Cops and Robbers to Drama. The Youth Academy runs for a six week period and works with high-ability fourth, fifth and sixth class primary school children to support their learning and academic development, in partnership with their primary schools. Speaking at the event, Registrar and Vice-President of NUI Galway, Professor Pól Ó Dochartaigh, said: “The Youth Academy is a very important initiative by this University. We feel that it responds to the educational needs of our most important young citizens and gives talented young students the opportunity to get experience of learning in a university. NUI Galway is committed to the sharing of knowledge with the wider community and ensuring that the pathways to university are open to all. I hope that initiatives such as the Youth Academy can highlight how the university can and does serve its community, not only here Galway but in society in general.” For further information on the courses and participation please contact Geraldine Marley, NUI Galway Youth Academy Coordinator, at youthacademy@nuigalway.ie. -Ends-

Thursday, 2 April 2015

The findings from the national stakeholder consultation process present “compelling evidence of the timely need to create a comprehensive registry and biobank.” 93% of respondents to a national survey believe that a registry and biobank for autism in Ireland is needed, according to the findings from a nationwide stakeholder consultation process launched today on World Autism Awareness Day. The consultation process engaged with all stakeholders affected by or involved with autism or other related neurodevelopmental disorders including self-advocates, families, clinicians, health professionals, service providers, advocacy agencies and researchers. The aim of the initiative is to advance world-class clinical, biomedical and environmental research in Ireland and inform best practice in health, education and service provision for individuals with ASD/ NDD and enable the best possible quality of life. The Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders Research Group at Trinity College Dublin partnered with the Irish Centre for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Research (ICAN) at NUI Galway and the US-based Autism Speaks for this initiative. The consultation process was launched following a private members bill, The Autism Bill, brought forward to Government in 2013 and the National Review of Autism Services in 2012, both of which called for the creation of a national database for Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) and neurodevelopmental disorders (NDD). The authors of the report and the respondents believe the biobank and registry would support policy decisions by providing reliable information on the scale of these conditions in Ireland as well as their social and economic costs. The key concern most respondents had was around the area of data privacy and protection and in particular who would have access to the data. Currently in Ireland there is no effective health information system or biobank gathering essential data for ASD/NDD, nor are there any accurate prevalence rates, despite the fact that ASD and NDD are lifelong conditions which have significant implications for families, state services, society and the individuals themselves. Professor of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at Trinity, Louise Gallagher said: “It is clear from the responses of those who took part in the national survey and the regional town hall meetings that there is a huge and positive appetite for the establishment of a registry and biobank for Autism in Ireland. Parents said it was the first time they had ever been asked what would make their child’s life better.” Professor Gallagher continued: “It is now timely to act and invest resources to build this registry and biobank with the potential to alleviate the rising financial and resource challenge on Irish public health system and align with upcoming government health strategies, e.g. Progressing Disability Services for Children and Young People. This is Ireland’s opportunity to propel world-class research and its application for the public good with an innovative unique registry and biobank for a major public health challenge.” Dr Geraldine Leader, Director of the Irish Centre for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Research at NUI Galway commented that: "The lack of reliable and systematic information on ASD/NDD not only affects children with these conditions but also impacts adolescents, adults and older adults. There are huge gaps in service provisions and care for adults and the elderly with ASD. They can be left undiagnosed, receive inappropriate services or struggle with no access to proper enabling environments which would assist with employment and independent living. The development of an autism specific registry and biobank targeted at the health, educational and long term needs of the Irish autism community will be a vital resource to inform service planning and delivery and will also support a range of important research questions.  The Irish Autism Registry and Biobank will be transformative in accelerating the pace of autism research in Ireland.” June O’Reilly, parent and chairperson of the stakeholder advisory group spoke about the benefits from a parent’s perspective: “When you receive a diagnosis for your child there are so many questions that you search for answers to in order to maximize your child’s potential. Questions like what interventions should my child be getting, what type of education would be best, or how will they progress as they get older.  The registry gives all stakeholders an opportunity to work in partnership and address these questions.  It will help indicate the most effective approaches, throughout the lifespan from early intervention and treatments for young children through to adulthood, giving informed feedback to parents and stakeholders about best outcomes.” She continued: “I am excited about the registry and biobank as I see it impacting best-practice service provision and education for our children, leading to research discoveries in new treatments and empowering our children who have immensely inspirational strengths and talents.” Dr Amy Daniels, Assistant Director of Public Health Research from the US-based Autism Speaks said: "We are excited to present these findings from the stakeholder consultation, as they document an overwhelming support from the community for developing a national registry for autism and related neurodevelopmental disabilities in Ireland. From the perspective of the advocacy community, our hope is that the registry will be a valuable tool for informing how best to enhance services and the quality of life for individuals with autism and their families now and in the future." The collaborative research team are currently in the process of developing and implementing a pilot registry and are working on this with OpenApp, who provide Quality Assurance and Disease Registry type software solutions for Healthcare within the Irish and other health service settings. The full report on the Consultation for a National registry and Biobank for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders is available here: www.iarb.ie/national-stakeholder-consultation-report/  -Ends-  

Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Two NUI Galway postgraduate courses have been shortlisted for the national postgradireland Postgraduate Course of the Year Awards 2015. The award winners will be announced on Thursday, 30 April at a reception in the Mansion House in Dublin. The annual Postgraduate Course of the Year Awards recognises excellence amongst Irish postgraduate course providers. The winning courses are judged on the success of the course including employability of graduates, recognition of the course’s quality or ranking by external bodies, research record of academic staff, and providing a good experience for students. Judges also take feedback from students into consideration when selecting a winner. The Higher Diploma in Software Design & Development (Industry Stream) is shortlisted in two categories: Postgraduate Course of the Year in Engineering Award and also in the Postgraduate Course of the Year in IT Award. The MSc (Biotechnology) programme is shortlisted in the Postgraduate Course of the Year in Science category. Valerie Leahy, Postgraduate Recruitment Officer at NUI Galway, said: “We are delighted to again make the shortlist for these important national awards; it’s great that the calibre of our postgraduate courses is being acknowledged, as is their effectiveness in terms of employability, and interaction with industry and business. The courses in question are accepting applications now and those interested can apply online via the Postgraduate Applications Centre at www.pac.ie/nuigalway. This year we’re also offering generous full-time taught masters scholarships for first-class students, so that’s another reason to consider NUI Galway for postgraduate studies.” NUI Galway offers a wide range of fourth level courses, developing programmes based on its traditional academic strengths of Arts, Social Sciences, Celtic Studies, Commerce, Medicine, Nursing, Health Science, Law, Engineering, Informatics and Science. These areas have been augmented with innovative Research Centres in areas as diverse as Biomedical Engineering, International Human Rights, Digital Media & Film Studies, and Regenerative Medicine. Almost 3,500 postgraduate students (including international students) currently attend NUI Galway. For further information on any of the postgraduate courses available at NUI Galway call 091-495148 or visit www.nuigalway.ie/courses. -Ends-  

Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Nanomedicine has published a special focus edition on the combined force of nanomedicine and regenerative medicine; two fields that continue to develop at a dramatic pace. Titled ‘Engineering the nanoenvironment for regenerative medicine’, the issue is guest edited by Professor Matthew Dalby of the University of Glasgow, UK, and associate editor of Nanomedicine, with Dr Manus Biggs of the of the newly established Centre for Research in Medical Devices (CÚRAM) at NUI Galway. It comprises nine primary research articles and three reviews covering topics relevant to the current translation of nanotopography and nanofunctionalization for nanoscale regenerative strategies in medicine. Indeed, the field of ‘nanoregeneration’ has grown exponentially over the last 15 years, and fields of study focusing on the nanobiointerface now include nanotopographical modification, formulation of existing biomaterials and modification of the extracellular matrix, as well as the development of targeting techniques using nanoparticles. Nanoscale platforms are becoming increasingly recognized as tools to understand biological molecules, subcellular structures and how cells and organs work. Therefore, they could have real applications in regenerative medicine and increase our knowledge of how stem cells work, or in drug discovery and cell targeting. “The fields of nanomedicine and regenerative medicine continue to evolve at a dramatic pace, with new and exciting developments almost a daily occurrence. This special focus issue highlights the translational research, reviews current thinking and ‘shines a light’ on the future potential of a field where nanomedicine converges with regenerative medicine,” said Michael Dowdall, Managing Commissioning Editor of Nanomedicine. “We feel this is an important subject for our readers to have a comprehensive and contextual overview of. The special focus issue helps provide this context for researchers, by framing the potential applications of nanomedicine/nanoengineering in terms of the current ‘state of the art’ regenerative medicine techniques.” Dr Biggs commented: “This special issue on regenerative medicine within the nanorealm focuses on basic and translational aspects of nanofabrication and nanofunctionalization strategies, and also gives perspective to future developments in biomedical nanotechnology and the challenges associated with clinical translation. Critically, leading experts in the field have contributed to the special issue, in which we outline the latest developments in nanomedicine.” Members of RegMedNet, the online community for those working in the field of regenerative medicine, can access select articles from the special focus issue through the online platform. A full listing of articles included in the issue is available at: http://www.futuremedicine.com/toc/nnm/10/5 -Ends-

Tuesday, 7 April 2015

To celebrate International DNA Day 2015 on Saturday, 25 April, NUI Galway’s School of Natural Sciences will hold a special event for second-level students in senior cycle Biology. ‘DNA day – Learn how to unlock the DNA code’ is a free three hour practical experience in the NUI Galway Biomedical Sciences laboratories. Human DNA contains the blueprint for many aspects of what makes us who we are - what our eye, skin and hair colour will be, how tall or short we may grow to be, and even if we are more susceptible to getting certain diseases. During the workshop students will learn how scientists identify differences in the DNA code and how we can use these techniques to diagnose genetic disorders or determine if one person may be more susceptible to a disease than another. The DNA workshop is organised by Dr Derek Morris, Programme Director for the BSc in Biomedical Science and Dr Muriel Grenon, Director of the Cell EXPLORERS Science Outreach Programme, both from the School of Natural Sciences, NUI Galway. Dr Derek Morris, a human geneticist, will discuss his research which focuses on understanding how small changes in our DNA code can put us at risk of lots of common illnesses such as diabetes, asthma, cancer and schizophrenia. By studying the DNA code in different people, Dr Morris aims to identify genes that are responsible and develop new methods of diagnosis and treatment that can help patients. The DNA day practical experience will teach students about the power of genetics by providing them hands-on experience of DNA analysis in a research laboratory setting. They will be mentored by a team of young postgraduate researchers into performing authentic experiments individually. The practical activities proposed have been optimised by a group of final year Biochemistry students as part of the Cell EXPLORERS science outreach programme. The activities have been designed to introduce these topics in a fun and exciting way, allowing the students to take the lead and providing a real insight into science at university level. Dr Morris said: “The amazing instruction book contained in each of our cells is celebrated every year on DNA Day, 25 April. This is a special day in DNA’s history as on this day in 1953 the structure of DNA was published and on the same day in 2003 it was announced that the Human Genome Project, a mission to sequence all the human genes, had been completed. These remarkable achievements have led to huge advances in the fields of genetics and have allowed scientists to uncover many of the mysteries of how DNA controls our make up and impact on our health.” This event will take place on Saturday, 25 April, from 2-5pm and coincides with the NUI Galway Open Day. Students attending this event can spend the day on campus and also find out more about at the third-level courses available at NUI Galway, such as the flagship Biomedical Science undergraduate course. To register go to www.cellexplorers.com, download the application form and return it by post before Friday, 17 April to: Dr Derek Morris, School of Natural Sciences, NUI Galway. -Ends-  

Thursday, 9 April 2015

Research funded by Irish Cancer Society and led by NUI Galway wins prestigious European Association for Cancer Research Award Irish researchers have found that switching off a specific protein in bowel cancer cells can stimulate an anti-tumour immune response which can reduce the spread of cancer to other parts of the body. The breakthrough research by Dr Aideen Ryan of NUI Galway, which was funded by the Irish Cancer Society, has been awarded the prestigious European Association for Cancer Research (EACR) Young Investigator Award. Dr Ryan works in the area of Biosciences as an Irish Cancer Society Research Fellow with the Immunology Group in REMEDI. Bowel cancer is one of the most common cancers affecting both men and women. With approximately 2,400 new cases and almost 1,000 people dying from this cancer each year, bowel cancer represents a significant health concern in Ireland. To date, therapeutic developments to tackle the problem of bowel cancer spreading to other parts of the body have had very little success and new methods are urgently needed to improve survival for patients. This award winning research found that the activity of a key protein known as NF-kappaB, with the help of a type of immune cell, called tumour-associated macrophages (TAMs), promotes the spread of cancer cells from the bowel to the abdominal cavity. TAMs are present within or close to tumour tissue and can act in tumour-promoting or a tumour-killing manner, depending on their surrounding environment. Dr. Ryan and colleagues in NUI Galway found that TAMs can be switched from being tumour-promoting to being tumour-killing by turning off the NF-kappaB protein in bowel cancer cells, thereby causing a significant reduction in bowel cancer spread to the abdominal cavity. Dr Ryan said “I am delighted to have been presented the EACR Young Investigator Award for this research. Our findings have, for the first time, uncovered the effect of targeting the NF-kappaB protein in bowel cancer cells. We are continuing this important research in order to develop a new treatment approach for bowel cancer which could potentially result in better treatments for patients with this disease.” This research adds to recent developments in bowel cancer research conducted with the support of the Irish Cancer Society whereby Irish scientists are now developing a simple and inexpensive blood test which can be used as an early detection tool for bowel cancer. Irish Cancer Society funding, provided through the Society’s Research Fellowship Programme to Dr Gregor Kijanka, Dublin City University, was instrumental in the initial development and validation of this new test. Commenting on the research, Dr Robert O’Connor, Head of Research, Irish Cancer Society said, “We are delighted to see that the Society’s investment in bowel cancer research is generating exciting new findings which will make a difference to patients. We congratulate Dr Aideen Ryan on receiving the EACR Young Investigator Award which is testament to the significant contribution she has made to the area of bowel cancer with her ongoing research. This research, which was made possible by Irish Cancer Society research funding, opens new avenues for the development of novel treatment approaches which will hopefully benefit bowel cancer patients in Ireland.” The announcement of Dr Ryan’s award comes as the Irish Cancer Society launches Bowel Cancer Awareness Month. The campaign is calling on men and women throughout Ireland to be aware and act on the early signs and symptoms of bowel cancer. These include: A change in your normal bowel motion, such as diarrhoea or constipation Feeling you have not emptied your bowel fully after a motion Pain or discomfort in your abdomen (tummy) or back passage Trapped wind or fullness in your tummy Weight loss Tired and breathless (due to anaemia from blood loss) Rectal bleeding or blood in stools A lump in your tummy area Dr Ryan’s research was published in Oncogene, one of the world's leading cancer journals, and Dr Ryan was awarded the European Association for Cancer Research (EACR) Young Investigator Award at the annual Irish Association for Cancer Research (IACR) conference. This award is presented to outstanding young researchers in the field of cancer research for a recent, significant contribution to the field. Anyone who is concerned about Bowel Cancer should call the Irish Cancer Society’s National Cancer Helpline on 1800 200 700. ENDS

Monday, 13 April 2015

NUI Galway’s School of Law Annual Distinguished Lecture 2015 will be delivered by the Right Honourable Sir Declan Morgan, the Lord Chief Justice of Northern Ireland on the topic of ‘The role of the judiciary in the vindication of human rights’. The event, which takes place in the Aula Maxima at 8pm on Friday, 24 April, will be chaired by the Chief Justice of Ireland, Ms. Justice Susan Denham. Announcing the event, Professor Donncha O’Connell, Head of the School of Law at NUI Galway, said: “It is a great honour for the School of Law at NUI Galway to host the Chief Justices from both jurisdictions on the island of Ireland for our Annual Distinguished Lecture. We hope that this event will be an opportunity for our students and alumni to hear from two outstanding jurists who hold the highest judicial offices at a critical time for both of their legal systems.” Previous speakers in the Annual Distinguished Lecture series include: Professor Christopher McCrudden of Oxford University; Judge John T. Noonan of the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit; Professor Neil Walker of Edinburgh University; Baroness Brenda Hale of the UK Supreme Court; Ms. Justice Catherine McGuinness of the Irish Supreme Court; and Mr. Justice Nial Fennelly of the Irish Supreme Court. The event is held on an annual basis to mark the end of the academic year and is open to students and graduates of the School of Law, NUI Galway as well as interested members of the public. -Ends-  

Monday, 13 April 2015

€8.3 million Atlantic Philanthropies (AP) funding grant will: Help young people and families get supports early and at local level Embed MEITHEAL - Tusla led national practice model Promote enhanced interagency cooperation Tusla – Child and Family Agency today (Monday 13th April 2015) announced details of a comprehensive programme of early intervention and preventative work. The Prevention, Partnership and Family Support (PPFS) Programme will take place over three and a half years (2015 – 2018) and will embed early intervention and prevention within the Agency.   The aim of the programme is to prevent risks to children and young people arising or escalating through building sustainable intellectual capacity and manpower within Tusla and partner organisations to perform early intervention work. The work is being made possible as a result of a once-off non-discretionary grant of €8.3 million from Atlantic Philanthropies (AP) and is supported by the UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre, NUI Galway. Speaking at the announcement, Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Dr James Reilly, TD says: "This extensive programme builds on the change of emphasis in the development of child welfare and protection services over recent years. It constitutes a significant step in achieving the policy objective of moving towards a stronger focus on prevention and early intervention rather than crisis management. This was a key rationale for the Government's establishment of the Child and Family Agency at the beginning of 2014 and is clearly reflected in the statutory responsibilities it has been assigned. I commend Atlantic Philanthropies for the substantial support it is providing to the programme and thank it for the very considerable investment it has made to the cause of developing parenting and family support services in Ireland over many years. I wish Tusla well in the important and challenging work that lies ahead" President of NUI Galway, Dr Jim Browne said at the launch: “Our University is very pleased to be centrally involved in the efforts of Tusla: Child and Family Agency to develop a robust and effective Early Intervention & Prevention Work Programme. Parenting and family support is a key element of all aspects of Tusla’s Child and Family Services Work, including social work activity, early years support, community-based youth work, foster care, residential care, special care and services to women in domestic abuse situations.Supported by a major investment from Atlantic Philanthropies’ NUI Galway will work with Tusla to support the national implementation of a new Prevention, Partnership and Family Support model through the research and evaluation expertise of our UNESCO Child and Family Research Centreand through the project management expertise of Galway University Foundation.  This is a truly transformative project which goes to the heart of developing effective supports for children and young people in Ireland. Our leading researchers, working with social and community partners will produce high-calibre research and public policy which will have positive societal impacts.” Norah Gibbons, Chairperson, Tusla explains: “The AP grant is a once in a generation opportunity to change how we do child protection and family support. It will enable Tusla to build sustainable capacity to deliver early intervention and preventative work, which would not have been possible without the support of AP. “Importantly, it will create space to develop and embed a new way of working without detracting resources from existing services to children and young people at risk.” Throughout the programme of work, emphasis will be placed on the training and building of capacity within Tusla and external partners.  This will include the development of a strategic approach to commissioning children’s services from the community and voluntary sector.  The approach will ensure that resources available for children, young people and families are used in the most efficient, equitable, proportionate and sustainable way.  The rollout of Meitheal, the national practice model for family support led by Tusla – Child and Family Agency, is a key component of the work.  The model enables children, young people and their families to get supports locally when needed through a range of statutory and non-statutory agencies, working in a cooperative and coordinated fashion with Tusla. Commenting Fred McBride, Chief Operations Officer Tusla says “The primary aim of the programme is to stop problems getting worse or, indeed, to stop problems arising in the first place. Tusla is acutely aware of the need to provide accessible services to children, young people and their families who are not at crisis point. “This will be achieved through the provision of parenting and family supports designed to prevent problems from arising or from escalating.   These supports will be delivered by a range of statutory and non-statutory agencies, working in a cooperative and coordinated fashion. “It also involves the creation of 26 new posts, 24 of which Tusla has committed to maintaining after the initial three year period which will ensure the continuation of the programme in the long-term.” International evidence shows that effective early intervention and preventative strategies are a core feature of the lifecycle approach to preventing poverty and disadvantage and Tusla remains committed to constantly improving our services to ensure the best outcomes for children, young people and families. -Ends- 

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Popular North Sea fish such as haddock, plaice and lemon sole could become less common on our menus because they will be constrained to preferred habitat as seas warm, according to a study published this afternoon in Nature Climate Change and authored by a team including Professor Mark Johnson of the Ryan Institute at NUI Galway. The team took survey data dating back as far as 1980 and used the change is distribution between decades to derive predictive models. In the last 40 years the North Sea has warmed four times faster than the global average and further warming is predicted over the coming century. The North Sea is associated with fish landings valued at over $1 billion, leading to great interest in how changing environmental conditions will impact on commercial species. Fish distributions are limited by a number of factors, including water temperature, and some species can only thrive in certain habitats and depths. The research developed models that combining long-term fisheries datasets and climate model projections to predict the abundance and distribution of the consumers’ favourite fishes over the next 50 years. As the North Sea warms, species appear to choose habitat of a suitable depth over the benefits of moving to cooler waters. Due to higher temperatures in the future, many of the species studied are may reduce in relative abundance. “The modelling technique we used allowed us to look at important variables as we try to predict what will happen should the North Sea continue to warm. It turns out that the right depth is more important than temperature, so that the fish are more likely to stay where they are than move. This will mean that populations will be living at higher temperatures, with the effect of this depending on how well species can cope with the warmer temperatures”, explained Professor Johnson. The modeling technique used in this analysis performed remarkably well when tested on available long-term datasets. This provides real confidence in the model’s ability to predict future patterns of fish distributions around the UK and similar processes may be at work around the coasts of Ireland. Louise Rutterford, postgraduate researcher at the University of Exeter, said: “Our study suggests that we will see proportionally less of some of the species we eat most of as they struggle to cope with warming conditions in the North Sea. We provide new insight into how important local depths and associated habitats are to these commercial species. It’s something that is not always captured in existing models that predict future fish distributions.” Dr Steve Simpson, Senior Lecturer in Marine Biology & Global Change at the University of Exeter, said the findings are important for both consumers and the fishing industry: "We will see a real changing of the guard in the next few decades. Our models predict cold water species will be squeezed out, with warmer water fish likely to take their place. For sustainable fisheries, we need to move on from haddock and chips and look to Southern Europe for our gastronomic inspiration.” ‘Future fish distributions constrained by depth in warming seas’ is published in the journal Nature Climate Change. ENDS

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Findings highlight over 13% increase in reported workplace bullying INMO to launch a ‘Code of Advice’ for members  The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO), in partnership with NUI Galway and the National College of Ireland (NCI), has published findings of a large-scale survey of nurses and midwives in Ireland on the current levels of workplace bullying being experienced by its members. The survey, which provides an updated analysis of one conducted by the University of Limerick (UL) of nurses, in conjunction with the INMO, in 2010, highlights that over the past four years there has been an increase of over 13% in perceived incidences of bullying. The study was headed by Professor Maura Sheehan at NUI Galway who has published widely on issues of workplace discrimination and injustice. Some of the key findings are as follows: Over the past 4 years there has been a 13.4% increase in perceived incidences of bullying (the ‘likelihood’ of bullying); Almost 6% of respondents (nurses and midwives in Ireland) reported that they are bullied on an almost daily basis; The percentage of non-union members who experience almost daily bullying is almost double that of union members; and, Government cutbacks are a probable explanation for the significant rise in reported bullying between 2010 and 2014. According to Ms Sheehan: “The finding that almost 6% of respondents perceive to be bullied on an almost daily basis is very disturbing.  The personal consequences in terms of health, well-being and family relationships of people who experience workplace bullying are extremely serious.” Ms Sheehan went on: “Almost all organisations (93.5%) have a formal anti-bullying policy in place.  Clearly there is a significant gap between the presence and implementation of such policies.  There needs to be a fundamental culture change in hospitals and care facilities – a zero tolerance policy for any bullying must be implemented.  This must apply to all employees, no matter how senior, specialised and experienced.” Workplace bullying was found to have negative consequences both personally and professionally for example: Having more time off work through sickness; Thinking or talking about leaving the job; Decreased job satisfaction; Increased levels of stress leading to reduced performance at work; and, Actively searching for work elsewhere. Phil Ni Sheaghdha, INMO Director of Industrial Relations said: “Unfortunately this result is not a surprise as it confirms some of the information our members have been reporting to us. They believe the problem has been accelerated due to the effects the cutbacks in health care have had in the workplace, particularly as the activity levels have increased, hospitals are constantly overcrowded and staffing levels have reduced.  Employers need to be proactive now and become aware of trends and intervene early to ensure policies are fit for purpose and managers are trained to intervene early and appropriately.” The INMO will now seek an early engagement with employers on these issues and we will also launch a ‘Code of Advice’ for members being bullied with key points as follows:                                                                                                S – Stay calm and walk away A – Act to document incidence F – Follow bullying procedures E – Engage support.   An Executive Summary of the survey on bullying in the workplace can be found on www.inmo.ie   after the press conference.    -Ends-  

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

NUI Galway’s annual Spring Open Day will be held on Saturday, 25 April from 10am to 3pm. The University will welcome thousands of CAO applicants, fourth and fifth year students, parents/guardians, mature students teachers and Guidance Counsellors to campus. The Open Day is an opportunity for students, along with their parents and families, to learn more about the over 60 degree courses on offer at NUI Galway, talk to lecturers and view the campus facilities. NUI Galway, one of Ireland’s top universities for graduate employability, increased its CAO first preference again this year, highlighting its popularity with Leaving Certificate students. With emphasises on careers and employability, the degree courses on offer are designed to develop students academically and professionally. NUI Galway’s partnerships and links with industry has played a huge part in preparing graduates for the workforce. Throughout the Spring Open Day lecturers and current students will be on hand to talk to students and parents at the main exhibition area in the Bailey Allen Hall, with over 80 subject-specific exhibition stands to answer questions on degree courses of interest, CAO points, employability, and career progression routes. Degree course taster sessions will run throughout the day, designed to give a real insight into studying at NUI Galway, with hands-on interactive Science Experience workshops a particular highlight. A wide range of short subject talks and career and sports talks, together with interactive Engineering and IT Zones will also form part of the packed programme for the day.  Tours of the campus will feature the state-of the-art sports complex and gym, the Engineering Building and tours of student accommodation. Popular highlights for parents will a ‘A Parent's Guide to University’ which will provide parents with information on important issues such as fees and funding, careers, accommodation, career destinations and support services for their sons and daughters. Bríd Seoige, Senior Marketing Officer at NUI Galway, said: “Attending the Open Day is the perfect opportunity for parents and students to get a taste of university life and to gain access to all of the information they need to make that important decision. We are encouraging anyone with an interest in studying at NUI Galway to come along, talk to our lecturers and current students, find out about the courses, check out the facilities and decide for yourself whether NUI Galway feels right for you. Spring Open Day has proved invaluable in the past to many students, particularly those considering their options before the CAO change of mind deadline of 1 July.” Talk highlights include: Scholarship schemes for 2015 including the NUI Galway Performance Points Scheme in Sports and Creative Arts. Career talks - “Where are the jobs? What are my employment prospects after University?” Taster sessions designed to give a real insight into studying at NUI Galway and will include: Physics – ‘A brilliant career from lasers to the Universe’, an interactive session with photonics, Android GoPhoton! Apps and more. Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences – an introduction to Medicine and the Healthcare Programmes. Arts – the new BA Joint Honours, BA Connect Programme in Drama, Theatre and Performance studies. NUI Galway is an internationally recognised university with a distinguished reputation for teaching excellence and research. Currently ranked third of the Irish universities in international rankings, NUI Galway is only one of two Irish universities to be awarded the prestigious top rating of five stars in the latest QS Stars rating system. Five stars are awarded for exceptional developments in education, including teaching and research activity, as well as for top quality facilities. The University is also one of the top two universities in Ireland for student retention and graduate employment. NUI Galway recognises the academic excellence of new undergraduate students annually with the presentations of Excellence Scholarships valued at €2,000 to students who achieve exceptional Leaving Certificate results, while generous Sports Scholarships are awarded to high performing athletes. To get the most out of the Open Day visitors are encouraged to view the timetable of talks at www.nuigalway.ie/opendays and plan your day or call 091 494 145 or email visit@nuigalway.ie for more information. -Ends-

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Piggins, Noggins & Hens Indoors The public are invited to attend a special lecture about how life was lived in cottages and farmhouses in Ireland from 1700–1950. The richly illustrated lecture will be given by Claudia Kinmonth, Ireland’s leading historian of indigenous furniture. The event takes place at 5.30pm on Wednesday, 22 April, in the Moore Institute Seminar Room (G010), Hardiman Research Building, NUI Galway. Dr Kinmonth will describe the main features of Irish farmhouse furniture, such as dressers, multi-purpose settles and beds. She will also explore her new research on small furnishings, before the advent of electricity and running water. These include vessels for carrying water or milk ‘piggins’, how they were made and how women carried them on their heads. The lecture will also describe how people tended young animals indoors, in the so called ‘byre dwelling’, and the adaptations this required. Dr Kinmonth will shed new light on drinking vessels (noggins), the dash churn for making butter as well as hen coops and ways of cooking over the open fire. Currently, Dr Kinmonth is a Moore Institute Visiting Fellow at NUI Galway where she has been using special collections in the James Hardiman Library to expand her account of Irish furniture. Director of the Moore Institute, Professor Daniel Carey, spoke of the appeal of the upcoming event: “The talk will offer a unique insight into domestic life in Ireland from the eighteenth century to the middle of the twentieth. There are also going to be examples of small furnishings on display, which will be of particular interest to the audience.” The story of Irish furniture from 1700 to 1950 conveys a vivid sense of how life was lived at home in the cottages and farmhouses of rural Ireland. Ingenious and unique furniture designs were developed in the country and used by a majority of the population in this period. Dr Claudia Kinmonth is the author of Irish Country Furniture 1700-1950, published by Yale University Press in 1991, the standard work on the subject. Her book won two major literary awards. She is currently revising the book for a second edition and doing new research to expand it. The talk at 5.30pm on Wednesday 22 April in the Moore Institute Seminar Room is free and open to all members of the public. For further information contact 091 493902. -ends-

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Organ donations and embryonic stem cells will be themes in final debates The eighth All-Ireland Finals of Debating Science Issues (DSI) will take place on Wednesday, 29 April at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland in Dublin. The competition originated at NUI Galway as a regional event. Through a process of single elimination, the field of 32 secondary schools narrowed to just four representing all four provinces in Ireland. Ballinrobe Community School will be one of four provincial schools competing at the Finals event. This is the first time that a school from County Mayo will represent the west of Ireland. Other schools competing in the Finals include: Clonakilty Community School, Co. Cork; Our Lady and St Patrick’s College, Knock, Belfast; and St Vincent’s Secondary School, Dundalk, Co. Louth. This All-Ireland science debating competition encourages young people to engage in dialogue on the cultural, societal and ethical implications of advances in biomedical science. On the day, there will be two semi-final rounds of debate focussing on the moral obligation to research with embryonic stem cells to develop new medical treatments. The winners of the two semi-final rounds will go on to debate the allocation of organs donated for transplantation. “Ballinrobe students have worked very hard in this competition, and to reach the finals, is a major achievement for them. Not only has it had visible effect on their confidence, but it has also elevated the level of interest in scientific issues across the school community,” said Eoin Murphy, science teacher with Ballinrobe Community School and NUI Galway graduate. Preceding the competition, all participating schools avail of a three hour workshop addressing an area of biomedical research and the surrounding societal and ethical issues. A workshop to highlight the implications and the treatment of lifestyle-related diseases was facilitated at the Ballinrobe Community School last year by REDDSTAR’s Dissemination Officer Danielle Nicholson, Coordinator of the Debating Science Issues project. The nine DSI partners in 2015: REDDSTAR coordinated at NUI Galway; Alimentary Pharmabiotic Centre at UCC; Biomedical Diagnostics Institute at DCU; The Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland; Amber at Trinity College; W5 in Belfast; INSIGHT at UCD; Cork Institute of Technology; and the University of Ulster, Coleraine. The DSI 2015 Finals have been supported by Science Foundation Ireland Discover Programme project award. More information on the competition can be found at www.debatingscienceissues.com. -Ends-

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

One of the most famous GAA clubs in Ireland, O'Donovan Rossa GAC Belfast, is teaming up with one of Ireland’s leading universities NUI Galway. NUI Galway is to become a club sponsor for the nextyear in a partnership that will promote both sport and education. Tipperary hurling manager and Professor of Economics at NUI Galway, Eamon O’Shea was in Belfast today for the announcement, along with the University’s Registrar and Deputy President, Professor Pól Ó Dochartaigh. O'Donovan Rossa was represented by members of the clubs under-16 hurling and football teams who tried on their new kit. Speaking at today’s announcement, Professor O’Shea said: “It’s a real privilege to meet these talented young players. Investing in and fostering young sporting talent is very important. Not only does it improve outcomes on the pitch, but dedication to sport is later reflected in a commitment to education and developing a career. Sport can teach people so much, particularly in regard to focus, determination, resilience, team work and communication.” Sport is central to academic life at NUI Galway where students can avail of excellent facilities and over 50 sports clubs offer a chance to balance study with the best of sporting activities. Last month, O’Donovan Rossa tasted All-Ireland success when it won the Intermediate hurling club All-Ireland in Croke Park. The underage section of the club has been exceptionally strong especially over the past 10 years, with the minor teams winning the Antrim A finals in both footballer and hurling in 2014. Paddy Trainor Chairman of Rossa juvenile committee believes“Developing a strong link with a world-renowned institution like NUI Galway will ensure our underage teams will keep developing .We know that many of our young players will be going to university in the near future so it is great for them to have this positive connection with  third-level education.” The announcement comes at a time when universities in the Republic are becoming more accessible to students from the North. According to NUI Galway’s University’s Registrar and Deputy President, Professor Pól Ó Dochartaigh: “The recent introduction of new A Level equivalences in the Irish system mean almost all courses are now within the reach of students with three A-Levels. Universities in the south, especially our own which is in the top 2% globally, have great reputations for excellent teaching and career prospects. Combined with low fees, the relatively affordable cost of living and its sheer proximity, NUI Galway is becoming an option really worth considering.” The O'Donovan Rossa under-16 team will tog out competitively in their new kit for the first time on Thursday to take on Glenariff in the Antrim under 16 hurling league. -ends-  

Monday, 20 April 2015

NUI Galway has today signed a co-operation agreement with Addis Ababa Science and Technology University (AASTU), in which the Irish university will support its Ethiopian counterpart in establishing itself as an international hub of science, innovation, and education in East Africa. AASTU was founded by the Ethiopian government in 2011 with a mission to become a leading force in higher education in Ethiopia, a country with one of the fastest growing economies in the world. It is part of Ethiopia's five-year Growth and Transformation Plan, aimed at developing Ethiopia from its reliance on subsistence agriculture to a capacity for market-led production and innovation. While Ethiopia is regarded among African countries as one of the favourites to achieve the Millennium Development Goals for primary education, it has yet to catch up with the African average in terms of tertiary education expansion and student participation. In 2013, through its Embassy in Dublin, the Ethiopian government approached NUI Galway to invite it to serve as a development partner to the new university. NUI Galway will assist AASTU in developing its institutional practices and programmes, and will share its expertise in areas such as academic administration, quality assurance, programme development, community outreach, industry engagement, and librarianship. There is also provision for staff and student exchanges. NUI Galway's Dean of International Affairs, Professor Brian Hughes said: “We are very proud to sign this agreement with AASTU. NUI Galway has a long history, and we have benefited greatly from the assistance of our colleagues around the world. We are privileged now to provide assistance to AASTU as it establishes itself as a new university. “Our engagement with AASTU will be very much a two-way partnership. Ethiopia is experiencing rapid social, cultural, and economic change and is embarking on an ambitious national development programme. We feel we have much to learn from working with our colleagues in Addis Ababa as they enter this new and exciting phase of Ethiopian history.” An NUI Galway delegation led by Professor Hughes is currently in Addis Ababa. The delegation includes Anna Cunningham, Director of International Affairs, Mary Ryan, Director of Academic Administration, and Dr Bryan McCabe, Head of Civil Engineering. In addition to engaging with colleagues at AASTU, the delegation will meet with the Ethiopian Government Ministries of Science and Education, and with the Irish Embassy. Today's signing ceremony was witnessed by the Irish Ambassador to Ethiopia, Aidan O'Hara. -Ends-   

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Efficient enough to drive from Galway to Dublin on less than €1 of electricity A super fuel-efficient car which is 20 times more economical than typical road cars was launched at NUI Galway today. It has been designed and road-tested by NUI Galway engineering students. Today (21 April) Connacht Rugby star Eoin McKeon officially unveiled the Geec and it was driven in public for the first time. The Geec (the Galway energy-efficient car) will represent Ireland next month at Shell Eco-marathon Europe in Rotterdam on 21-24 May. This is the first time there will be an Irish entry in the long-standing competition, and the Geec team will compete with 200 other teams consisting of 3,000 students. The contest is open to future engineers and scientists aged 16-25, from over 25 countries. Success is measured on who can drive the furthest on the equivalent of 1 kilowatt-hour of electricity or 1 litre of fuel, thanks to their creative designs and technical know-how. The Geec will race in the prototype electric category. The three-wheeled car combines battery-electric drive with a streamlined composite body, a low driving position and low-resistance tyres. Designed from scratch to be as lean as possible, it is efficient enough to drive from Galway to Dublin on less than €1 worth of electricity, or the equivalent of 1,700 miles per gallon. The team consists of students across the Mechanical, Electrical and Electronic and Energy Systems Engineering disciplines, with the full backing of the University’s College of Engineering and Informatics. The team has finished testing and tuning the car and will shortly ship it to Rotterdam for the competition. The car will have two drivers in the competition, Niamh Keogh from Oughterard, Co. Galway and Maryrose McLoone from Glenties, Co. Donegal. According to Maryrose, who is a fourth year mechanical engineering student: “The car looks great and is easy to drive. This has been a real hand-on learning experience for us all to get the car finished, and it’s a great success for all involved. now, the excitement is really building for Rotterdam.” Speaking at the launch Dr Jim Browne, President of NUI Galway, said: “I am delighted to see students from our College of Engineering and Informatics participating in this competition that challenges students across the world to design build and race ultra-efficient vehicles. Never before has an Irish team competed in this event, but this has changed in 2015 with NUI Galway's contribution to the world of eco-friendly transport. This is a great team of students! I commend them for their work in the design, construction and racing of Ireland's most fuel efficient car and I really wish them well. This shows what our emerging engineers can accomplish, with the right support from the University and in partnership with local industry.” Ronan Deasy, Managing Director at Shell Ireland also attended the launch and said: “Shell Ireland is delighted to support NUI Galway’s Energy Efficient Car (GEEC). The Eco-marathon, which is 30 years old this year, is one of the most challenging engineering student competitions in the world. The GEEC team will compete with over 3,000 students from across Europe and I would like to wish them all the very best as they make their final preparations and look forward to hearing about their success in Rotterdam.” The Geec team is generously supported by Shell E&P Ireland, Wood Group Kenny, Belcross Enterprises, Central Bearing Supplies, Smurfit Kappa, Sinbad Marine, Maxon Motor, QuickTec Computers, and Enform Plastics. For more information on NUI Galway’s ultra-efficient car visit the team’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/theGeec.ie or www.theGeec.ie. -Ends-

Thursday, 23 April 2015

President of NUI Galway Student’s Union has presented Dr Jim Browne, President of NUI Galway, the results of an online petition with over 3,500 signatures in support of the University’s opposition to proposed routes for the N6 Bypass. The students are in one voice with the University as facilities such as the Student Sports Centre (pictured) or the Dangan Sports Grounds will be destroyed. The ongoing online petition initiated by NUI Galway students, targeting current students, staff and NUI Galway’s Alumni, has reached over 100,000 people online since the campaign started 2 weeks ago. SU President, Declan Higgins said: “There can be little doubt that a number of the proposed routes would have a massively detrimental effect on our student body if they were to proceed. We are ever conscious of the need for our members to have full access to sports facilities and amenities during their time in university, and some of these proposed routes could have a massively negative impact on this. More creative thinking ought to occur within the NRA and the City and County Councils.” NUI Galway last month submitted its opposition to proposals in the N6 Galway City Transport Project. The University, which is central to the life of the city and surrounding region, is one of the major employers in the city; it hosts a population of over 20,000 students and staff and has invested €400m over the last decade in capital development. The University believes that what currently makes the NUI Galway campus an attractive location – for Irish and international students and staff – would be irretrievably damaged should proposed routes be accepted. The physical growth of the University has been carefully planned over many decades. A programme of land acquisition in Dangan has allowed the University to increase the area for new buildings while simultaneously acquiring space for sports facilities. The unified campus is now an educational base for over 17,000 students. The University continues to climb in world rankings, reflecting significant improvements in research activity and overall performance. Its progress would be severely disrupted by the current proposals. President Browne thanked the students for their support and paid tribute in particular to the Students’ Union leadership for taking such a serious interest in the plans affecting the campus for current students and for future generations of students, who it is hoped will enjoy the same benefits and facilities currently available to those attending the University. “NUI Galway is proud of its unified campus which has emerged as a result of decades of planning and forethought. The University sees particular benefit in an integrated campus which comprises of a mix of teaching and research buildings, allowing for interdisciplinary academic activity; it has invested in an array of sports facilities, readily available to students and staff – offering a healthy work-life balance; and the University believes that its grounds provide a major recreational facility for the campus, the city and for the wider community. The University will therefore continue to strongly object to current proposals and call for alternative options for the future of Galway transport planning.  I thank the students for taking the time out of their busy exam schedules to support their University in this way.  I also thank the many thousands of alumni who have endorsed NUI Galway’s opposition to the proposed developments.”   ENDS

Friday, 24 April 2015

Major Conference will explore the legacy of the Gate Theatre in Ireland and beyond  Friday, 24 April, 2015: NUI Galway’s Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance, together with the Irish Theatrical Diaspora Project (ITD) and the Gate Theatre, Dublin, will be presenting the first academic conference dedicated solely to the Gate Theatre. The conference features public talks, academic panels, and rehearsed readings of plays by Samuel Beckett and Bernard Shaw. Those taking part in the panels and talks include world experts on Irish theatre, the Gate and its history (such as Christopher Fitz-Simon, Nicholas Grene, Emilie Pine, Richard Pine, Paige Reynolds, Anthony Roche, and Elaine Sisson), as well as theatre practitioners associated with the Gate including Gate artistic director Michael Colgan and designer Joe Vanek. The two rehearsed readings, which are being presented with support from the Irish Research Council, feature well-known actors associated with the Gate. The reading of Beckett’s The Old Tune (a free translation of Robert Pinget’s French play La Manivelle) stars Barry McGovern, the great Beckett actor, and Bryan Murray, familiar from his star turns in Fair City, Strumpet City, Brookside, and The Irish R.M.; McGovern and Murray play two old Dublin codgers, exiled in England. The reading of Shaw’s World War I play O’Flaherty, V.C. stars Michael James Ford, known for his work on the Gate and Abbey stages and from productions that have toured across Ireland and the world. Ford is joined by three actors who have appeared in critically-lauded Dublin productions in recent years: Elliot Moriarty, Karina Power, and Hanna Tatschl. Speaking about the conference, NUI Galway Professor of Drama Patrick Lonergan stated that the event will provide a long overdue assessment of the Gate. “The Gate Theatre is one of Ireland’s great theatres. It has given the world many great actors, launching the careers of Orson Welles, James Mason and Michael Gambon, among many others. It has transformed our understanding of Samuel Beckett and Harold Pinter, two of the great dramatists of the twentieth century. And it has premiered major Irish plays, notably Brian Friel’s Philadelphia, Here I Come! Our conference will give new attention to the actors, writers, designers and managers who have made the Gate what it is – from the era of Hilton Edwards and Micheál MacLiammóir to Michael Colgan today.” This joint event with the Gate marks one of many links between NUI Galway and Irish theatre companies. In 2012, it launched a project to digitize the entire archive of the Abbey Theatre (a task that will be completed in 2016), and last year established the Druid Academy with Druid Theatre. It also has links with Galway International Arts Festival and many other companies. Its BA in Drama, Theatre and Performance is one of the university’s most popular programmes, and it recently launched new full-time and part-time MA programmes in Irish theatre, theatre practice, and playwriting. In advance of the conference, Michael Colgan, Artistic Director at The Gate said: “The Gate Theatre has always enjoyed a strong relationship with NUI Galway and welcomes the opportunity to further collaborate with the University on this year’s 12th Annual Irish Diaspora Conference.  We are honoured that the theme of the conference will be the history of the Gate Theatre and continue to be grateful to NUI Galway for their interest in the Gate and their continuous dedication to Irish theatre.” The conference takes place on 30 April and 1 May at the Gate Theatre in Dublin. Attendance is free, but registration in advance is required. For more details regarding this free conference – including how to register – please visit: www.gatetheatre.ie/section/IRISHTHEATRICALDIASPORACONFERENCEGATETHEATRE. ENDS

Monday, 27 April 2015

Government funding will support 100 research positions working on 23 research projects involving 40 companies NUI Galway will lead three of the proposed projects and collaborate on a fourth Minister for Skills, Research and Innovation, Damien English TD today announced over €30 million of research funding for 23 major research projects. The funding will be delivered by the Department of Jobs, Enterprise & Innovation through the Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) Investigators Programme. The Programme will provide funding over a four to five year period, for 23 research projects involving over 100 researchers. Funding for each project will range from €500,000 to €2.3 million. Three of the projects are led by NUI Galway researchers, and in partnership with University of Limerick, are significantly involved in a fourth project. According to the NUI Galway’s Vice-President for Research, Professor Lokesh Joshi: ‘Research aimed at understanding osteoporosis, reducing the cost of drugs, treating wastewater and creating new modelling tools for industry will undoubtedly yield societal and economic benefits. The excellent performance of NUI Galway researchers in the Investigators Programme is to be applauded and testifies to the scientific excellence and relevance of on-going innovative research at NUI Galway.” Minister for Skills, Research and Innovation, Damien English T.D., said: “This funding provides assistance to individual researchers to advance their investigations and address key research questions in sectors such as energy, medicine, food and nutrition, technology and agriculture. It allows researchers to further their careers and build partnerships with leading industry partners who also benefit from access to some of the leading academic talent on this island. The Investigators Programme is an important contributor to Ireland’s credentials as a research leader in a number of sectors.” The NUI Galway projects include: Dr Laoise McNamara, NUI Galway - This research project will advance understanding of mechanobiology to develop treatment approaches for bone pathologies. Tissues of the human body can adapt in response to mechanical forces by a cellular process known as mechanobiology. Although mechanobiological processes are fundamental to normal bone physiology and may play an important role in the development of osteoporosis, the role of mechanobiology in bone development and changes occurring during ageing are not yet fully understood. Moreover mechanobiological responses have not been targeted as treatments for osteoporosis, nor have they been sufficiently exploited to develop novel regenerative tissue strategies. Dr Alan Ryder, NUI Galway - Many drugs for human health are complex biological molecules like proteins which are made in living cells on an industrial scale. Both the cell food (media) and the protein products have to be carefully analysed to make sure that they are good and safe. Both media and proteins are very complex mixtures that are difficult to analyse. Here we will build a faster, cheaper, and non-contact way of testing using light to generate chemical information from these mixtures. This information will then be analysed using advanced statistical methods (chemometrics) and the results used to improve manufacturing, and reduce drug costs. Professor Vincent O'Flaherty, NUI Galway - This research targets new technologies for treatment of wastewaters from industry (food production) and households (sewage). The output will be a system for simultaneous purification of wastewater, production of renewable energy and recovery/recycling of valuable nutrient resources (phosphorus). The proposed system relies on microorganisms, which transform wastewater pollutants into a readily usable fuel (methane/natural gas) by digestion of organic matter. Methane provides a competitive low-carbon fuel source, which can be used for transport, home heating and electricity production. The proposed research will have positive impacts towards more sustainable food production, economic competitiveness and innovation, environmental protection and climate change. Professor Sean Leen of NUI Galway, in conjunction with Professor Noel O’Dowd University of Limerick – This project aims to develop new modelling tools for Irish industry for more accurate design and assessment of materials and structures. The focus will be on welds, which are the most common location of failure in engineering components. The tools will be used to provide tailored combinations of welding and heat treatment parameters, to design material structures at the nano-, micro- and macro-scale. Specific applications are the design for optimum grain size in power-plant steels and improved designs for steel pipelines used in oil and gas offshore platforms. The SFI Investigators Programme supports excellent scientific research that has the potential to impact Ireland’s society and economy. The 23 projects were selected by competitive peer review involving 400 international scientists after a call for proposals across a number of thematic areas of national and international importance. The awards include research in areas such as materials science, data management, medicine and pharmaceuticals, food and nutrition, agriculture and veterinary research and have links to 40 companies. Professor Mark Ferguson, Director General of Science Foundation Ireland and Chief Scientific Adviser to the Government of Ireland, added: “The SFI Investigators Programme provides important support to researchers in Ireland, creating employment opportunities and allowing them to leverage State funding to access additional funding streams, such as the EU’s Horizon 2020 Programme. Their research focuses on areas such as Alzheimer’s disease and cancer, animal breeding and disease prevention, ICT and data storage, as well as bioenergy among other topics. These are areas that will make a difference to both Ireland’s economy and society.  All of the successful projects have been peer reviewed by international experts to ensure scientific excellence and we have funded every project deemed to be of the highest standard internationally.” -ends-

Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Thought leaders from the seemingly disparate worlds of human rights and the arts will come together for the Galway International Summer School on the Arts and Human Rights from 9-11 July. This landmark event, a world-first, is hosted by NUI Galway’s Irish Centre for Human Rights, and will take place in the days immediately before the Galway International Arts Festival. Bringing together arts and human rights practitioners and others interested in the topics, events will take the form of panel discussions, exhibitions and performances. There will also be three parallel workshops on the topics of literature and human rights, the visual arts and human rights, and music and human rights. The Summer School is co-directed by Professor Michael O’Flaherty, Director of the Irish Centre for Human Rights and Dr Dominique Bouchard, Curator at the Hunt Museum. The organisers envisage that the event will provide a platform for cross-fertilisation of ideas from the two disciplines of the arts and human rights, both of which are strongly aligned with issues such as social justice, cultural expression and cultural freedom. The summer school, which is currently open for enrolment, will follow the theme of ‘Belonging’ as seen from an arts and a human rights perspective. The opening speaker will be United Nations’ leading expert on human rights and culture, Farida Shaheed (the United Nations Special Rapporteur for Cultural Rights). Among the other speakers are: Professor Manfred Nowak, University of Vienna; Dr Guido Gryseels, Director Royal Museum for Central Africa, Belgium; Julian Fifer, Musicians for Human Rights; Vered Cohen Barzilay, Founder and Director of Novel Rights; Professor Rod Stoneman, Director of the Huston School of Film and Digital Media, NUI Galway; Mary Lawlor, Founder, Front Line Defenders; Professor Sarah Joseph, Director of the Castan Centre for Human Rights Law, Monash University, Australia; Professor Paul Seawright, Professor of Photography and Head of Belfast School of Art at the University of Ulster; Bob Collins, Chairman of the Arts Council of Northern Ireland; Rita Duffy, Artist; Dr Neil Jarman, Director of the Institute for Conflict Research, Belfast; Katerina Šedá, Artist; Jennifer Johnston, Novelist; Barbara Bukovska, Article 19; Leila Doolan, Film maker; Dominic Thorpe, Artist; Vincent Woods, Poet and broadcaster; and Susan McKay, Author. As part of the Summer School, a unique exhibition will be mounted at St Nicholas’ Collegiate Church in Galway City, the 1949 UNESCO photographic exhibition illustrating the then recently adopted Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This exhibition toured the world at the end of the 1940s to build awareness and understanding of human rights. The exhibition will go on from Galway to be shown at UN headquarters in New York. Side by side with the 1949 exhibition the winning images from a new photographic competition, The Galway International Human Rights Photographic Competition will be displayed. This competition will invite images that depict the situation of human rights today. NUI Galway’s James Hardiman Library will also mount an exhibition to run during the days of the Summer School. ‘Staging Belonging’ is a digital exhibition from the Theatre Archives of the University’s Library. The Summer School will also incorporate performance. Confirmed performers include: Ariel Dorfman’s “Speak Truth to Power: Voices from Beyond the Dark”, directed by Professor Patrick Lonergan, Director of NUI Galway’s Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance. ‘Tell me your Story”, The Irish Traveller with Music and Song’ with music from Uilleann Piper, Mickey Dunne; Brid Dunne on fiddle; Carl Hession on piano; songs by Mary Mc Partlan and narration by Donncha O’Connell. Professor Michael O’Flaherty, Director of the Irish Centre for Human Rights at NUI Galway, said: “We are very excited to have developed this world class and unique event. The interaction of the arts and human rights is neglected and the practitioners in both areas need to get to know and understand each other much better. There is no better a place to do this than the city of Galway with its fantastic record in the arts and the University’s international reputation for human rights research, teaching and advocacy.” Dr Dominique Bouchard, Co-director of the Summer School, said: “Museums and contemporary art are exploring the relationship between art and social justice and the summer school offers a rare opportunity to contribute a new dimension and to help drive that dialogue. We hope the summer school will provide artists and human rights practitioners not only a chance to work together, but also the opportunity to challenge each other. The format of the programme is intended to maximise interaction and we look forward to the surprising outcomes which will no doubt emerge from such an experimental approach to these areas.” For more details, to register or to see the full list of speakers visit http://www.conference.ie/Conferences/index.asp?Conference=418. -ends-

Wednesday, 29 April 2015

 The voice of the child is not being heard in areas of such as education and decisions about where a child lives Parents spoke of children being excluded from mainstream schools because of “health and safety concerns” A new report on access to justice for children with cognitive disabilities in Ireland has been published by the Centre for Disability Law and Policy at NUI Galway. The project focused on access to justice in three main areas of a child's life: education, decisions about where a child lives and the criminal justice system. One issue raised by the report was that the child’s voice was often not heard in proceedings. Existing laws are not interpreted or used consistently to accommodate for the voice of the child in Ireland, according to the report. Interviews with experts consistently showed that cultural and attitudinal barriers often operate to exclude children with cognitive disabilities in non-criminal proceedings. The report’s co-author Dr Eilionóir Flynn, Acting Director of the Centre for Disability Law & Policy at NUI Galway, said: “We need to involve children with disability. The mantra should be ‘nothing about us without us’. Access to justice for children with cognitive disabilities in Ireland would include first and foremost access to education (including mainstream education) and educational supports for children with cognitive disabilities. Importantly, children with cognitive disabilities should be meaningfully involved in decision making about where they attend school. The appeals procedure should include views of the child and have the requisite supports to enable a child with a cognitive disability to do so.” Jennifer Kline of the Centre for Disability Law & Policy at NUI Galway, who co-authored the report, said, “Children with disabilities face real barriers, for example, in term of inclusive education. Parents spoke of children being excluded from mainstream schools because of “health and safety concerns” which they found very hard to contest. The key barriers identified included the timeframe for complaints and the lack of support to make a complaint. Also of concern were delays and inaccessibility of hearing processes, and retaliation for complaints made.” The report is part of an EU funded-project involving similar studies in Lithuania, Slovenia, Spain, Romania, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Latvia and the United Kingdom. The project gathered data in these EU countries on access to justice for children with mental disabilities and developed standards in relation to protection of privacy, child participation, accessible information, legal representation and protective measures. As well as promoting this research, it developed training and educational materials for use by policy-makers, the judiciary and the police. -ends-

Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Academics and employers name the world’s top universities in 36 disciplines NUI Galway has come out strong in the QS Rankings by Subject 2015, scoring in all 30 subjects and achieving a ranking in 9 subjects, an improvement from 4 in 2014.  In the nine subject areas, NUI Galway makes the Top 150 in History and the Top 200 in Computer Science & Information Systems, English Language & Literature and Earth & Marine Sciences. Five more subject areas are ranked in the top 200-350 range. Domestically, NUI Galway performed well and is ranked second in Ireland in Earth & Marine Sciences and third in History, Mathematics and Computer Science & Information Systems. Subject Rankings: English Language and Literature (151-200) History (101-150), third in Ireland Computer Science & Info Systems (101-150) , third in Ireland Engineering - Electrical (251-300) Medicine (201-250) Biological Sciences (201-250) Chemistry (251-300) Mathematics (301-350), third in Ireland Earth & Marine Sciences (151-200), second in Ireland Dr Jim Browne, President of NUI Galway spoke of the relevance for subject rankings and how it important it is to see NUI Galway improving its ranking from 4 subject areas to 9 subject areas. “Across the globe NUI Galway graduates value their alma mater featuring in global rankings as it provides employment opportunities especially across Asia and the US where Rankings are a relevant feature of job applications. The QS World University Rankings is one of the best regarded evaluations of higher education in the world and we are consistently improving our position on this global platform which is testament the developments in teaching and research that have taken place at this University in recent years.” The fifth edition of the QS World University Rankings by Subject, released today on TopUniversities.com, features a record-breaking 36 disciplines making it the largest ever ranking of its kind. The expert opinion of 85,062 academics and 41,910 employers informed the results, alongside the analysis of 17.3 million research papers and over 100 million citations (Scopus/Elsevier bibliometric database). Ten Irish Universities feature in these rankings, taking up 88 places across the tables. Of these, 69 are within the Top 200. Compared to last year’s performance, 36 places maintained the same 2014’s position a further 22 have moved up, 14 are new entries and 16 dropped. American universities dominate in terms of the number of subjects in which they lead, just as they do in all the global institutional rankings. Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) continue to take the lion’s share of top places, leading in 21 subjects between them. However, UK universities have improved their positions overall, with six separate institutions leading in at least one subject. Fifteen different institutions top at least one of the subjects covered in the QS World University Rankings by Subject for 2015. Ben Sowter, QS head of research says: “The growing number of academics and employers all around the world who take part in our polling has enabled us to expand the exercise considerably. We hope to cover even more subjects in future because we are keenly aware that students want to know about the course they plan to take, as well as the standing of the university.” Sowter continues: “While US and UK remain the dominant players, our ranking shows that academic excellence is widely distributed around the globe. The 894 universities ranked in at least one subject are based in 60 different countries. The 200 universities we list for business, for example, are in 32 nations, and the 400 we rank for medicine in 47.” ENDS

Wednesday, 29 April 2015

NUI Galway’s Irish Centre for Social Gerontology (ICSG) is recruiting participants aged 55 or over who are living in Galway city and county to participate in a free, short course. The new programme, Touchstone, aims to develop the skills and knowledge of people who wish to play a part in helping to make their communities more age friendly. Touchstone will run over six weeks, with each weekly session lasting around two hours. Initially, the course will be held on two different days each week, Tuesday and Wednesday. The Wednesday course will run in the mornings starting on 20 May, with the Tuesday course running in the afternoons starting on 2 June. Lunch provided during each session. Participants will develop new skills, explore a range of interesting and topical issues, as well as carry out practical projects. No previous experience or qualifications are required. All sessions will be held in the new Institute for Lifecourse and Society Building on the Upper Newcastle Road next to the University’s park and ride car park. The course is led by a team based at the Irish Centre for Social Gerontology, NUI Galway, with input from Active Retirement Ireland, Age & Opportunity and Third Age. Touchstone has been developed by the Active Aging Partnership and also involves the cooperation of Age Friendly Ireland. For more information, or to register for the course, please contact Ann Marie Atkins, Touchstone Galway Co-ordinator at 086-0261408 or annmarie.atkins@nuigalway.ie. Places are limited and will be allocated on first-come, first-served basis. -Ends-

Thursday, 30 April 2015

‘Seas Suas’ is a new initiative encouraging student-to-student mentoring Thursday, 30 April, 2015: Over 70 students were awarded their ALIVE certificates for participating in ‘Seas Suas’, NUI Galway’s innovative student-to-student mentoring programme. ‘Seas Suas’ is a new initiative between NUI Galway’s Student Services and Students’ Union designed to encourage students to be proactive in helping fellow students. It aims to improve the health, well-being and engagement of students, enabling them to get the most out of their time at NUI Galway. The objective of the ‘Seas Suas’ Programme is to encourage students to be more observant of fellow students in need of help and to increase motivation to help fellow students. The programme, which is based on the Bystander Model used in the University of Arizona, aims to help students to develop skills to safely respond and expand a culture of support and care in the University’s community. Student volunteers from a range of academic disciplines in NUI Galway completed training sessions on topics such as mental health, alcohol, sexuality and suicide prevention, and volunteers were trained about how best to safely respond to such issues. Training includes gaining knowledge about challenging issues and corresponding supports, developing strategies for effective helping, and learning skills to intervene safely or refer appropriately. After training, volunteers were encouraged to put the aims of ‘Seas Suas’ into action in a variety of ways. Volunteers are currently contributing to a number of specific events such as the Green Ribbon Campaign promoting mental health, helping with the Exam Support Team and preparing for Student Orientation Week in September 2015. The ‘Seas Suas’ Programme has successfully developed sustainable partnerships between students, staff and external agencies. Father Ben Hughes, Dean of Chaplaincy Services and ‘Seas Suas’ Project Leader at NUI Galway, said: “It is really encouraging to work with generous young people who are willing to learn new skills so that they can successfully negotiate challenges and help each other manage life more effectively.” The Award Ceremony was also the occasion to recognise six courageous students who received ‘Seas Suas’ Medals of Honour for heroic acts of intervention. These six have demonstrated the value of human kindness and proactive concern for other reflecting the ethos of Vision 2020, NUI Galway’s Strategic Plan for the period 2015-2020. For more information on the Seas Suas programme contact Fr Ben Hughes, NUI Galway’s Chaplaincy Services at chaplains@nuigalway.ie or 091 49 5055. -Ends-  

Monday, 2 March 2015

NUI Galway’s Mountaineering Club Maamturks Challenge will take place on Saturday, 18 April. Celebrating the 40th anniversary of the challenge, this hillwalking event is considered one of the toughest in Ireland, covering 24.3km over tough, mountainous terrain with a total ascent over the course of the walk of 2,336 metres. First organised by Mountaineering Club members in 1975, it comprises of a route covering the full Maamturks hill range in Connemara. Typically participants start the walk at 5am at the base of Corcóg, to finish 8-11 hours later in Leenane. Along the route, NUI Galway Mountaineering Club crew, with the Galway Radio Experimenters Club will be at eleven checkpoints watching over participant’s safety and wellbeing, supported by the Galway Mountain Rescue Team. NUI Galway Mountaineering Club Captain, Cathal Breathnach, said: “This year we are celebrating the 40th anniversary of the event. This is definitely a milestone in the history of the Mountaineering Club; it is a great accomplishment that each year, a dedicated team of volunteers have organised this event for the general public.” To celebrate the 40th jubilee and recognise the volume of organisation and voluntary work required to make this event such a success, the Club aim to make a documentary about the Challenge. This documentary will be shown during a special commemoration ceremony after the walk in Leenane Hotel. Cathal continued: “We have reached capacity for the Maamturks challenge, but we would like to invite all who are, or have previously been, involved in the Maamturks’ Challenge to attend the celebrations in the Leenane Hotel, at 8pm.” Participation from past members of the organising committees, past participants, and members of the public are encouraged to submit photos, stories and anecdotes from the past 40 years for inclusion in the documentary. For more information on the Maamturks Challenge visit http://www.nuigmc.com/maamturks/. To submit material for the documentary please email maamturks@nuigmc.com -Ends-

Monday, 2 March 2015

Six NUI Galway academics were among the recipients of the inaugural Royal Irish Academy Charlemont Grant Awards, which were presented at a special ceremony in Academy House in Dublin recently. Funded by the Academy, the Charlemont Grants are designed to act as a career springboard to assist scholars in strengthening their international mobility and developing international collaborative networks. These are small grants, with high impact, and are complimentary to larger programmes offered by other funders including the Irish Research Council and SFI. The NUI Galway recipients were: Dr Margaret Brehony, Centre for Irish Studies; Dr Sarah-Anne Buckley, History; Dr Eoin Daly, School of Law; Dr Jessica Hayes, REMEDI; Dr Martin O'Halloran, NCBES; and Dr Anuradha Pallipurath, School of Chemistry. Grants are available for short visits to any country to support primary research in any subject area. The duration of visits is generally between one week and six weeks in length, the key objectives being to initiate one-to-one collaborations, explore opportunities to build lasting networks and gain access to ideas, research facilities, and complementary equipment. Funds are available to facilitate initial project planning and development; to support the direct costs of research; or for visits by or to partner scholars. The 2016 call for applications will open in early autumn, for further details please visit www.ria.ie. -Ends-