Tuesday, 10 November 2020

Global law firm DLA Piper has today announced the launch of the Terence O’Malley DLA Piper Scholarship in partnership with NUI Galway's School of Law. The new scholarship, which is named after Terry O’Malley, Chairman Emeritus (US), will provide funding and support to students in financial need studying in the University’s award-winning School of Law. As well as the scholarship, which will provide support to successful students over the course of their degree, a separate annual Terence O’Malley DLA Piper bursary will be awarded to the student achieving the highest grade in the University’s new Law and Innovation module. As part of the partnership, Mr. O’Malley, who has family roots in the West of Ireland, will also host an annual lecture with law students at the University. Commenting on the announcement, Terry O’Malley, Chairman Emeritus, DLA Piper said: “Ireland holds a special place in my heart, and I am delighted to be associated with this awards programme. I look forward to helping develop this programme in the coming years.” David Carthy, Country Managing Partner Ireland, DLA Piper said: “NUI Galway’s School of Law is ranked 85th in the world for Law in the 2021 Times Higher Education World University Rankings by Subject,  and we are proud to partner with the school to support deserving students as they pursue their studies in law. “At DLA Piper, we pride ourselves in being an innovative law firm, committed to embracing technology and adapting to meet the needs of global business. We look forward to seeing what innovative thinking the recipients of the annual Terence O’Malley DLA Piper bursary contribute to the industry in the future and we wish all of the students the very best in their studies.” Dr Charles O’Mahony, Head of the School of Law, NUI Galway added: “We are delighted to announce this exciting partnership with DLA Piper, who are recognised as one of the most innovative global law firms. We are very proud of our law students and greatly welcome this scholarship scheme and prize funded by DLA Piper, which will support students in reaching their full potential.” Applications for the scholarship are now open and further details of the scholarship are available at www.nuigalway.ie/dlapiperscholarship.

Tuesday, 10 November 2020

A researcher in women’s studies has been selected to take part in the 7th Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings on Economic Sciences, to highlight the costs of violence against women. Dr Mrinal Chadha, a postdoctoral researcher at NUI Galway’s Centre for Global Women’s Studies, will engage with Nobel laureates and academics on the need for policy change on the issue. The 7th Lindau Meeting on Economic Sciences #LINOEcon will bring together young economists and Laureates of the Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel on Lake Constance in August 2022. The Lindau is a unique scientific forum normally held every three years to foster exchange of ideas between different generations, cultures and disciplines from all over the world.  An expert in feminist and development economics, Dr Chadha was nominated by the School of Political Science and Sociology and recommended by the Irish Research Council. He is one of 373 young economists from 60 countries who have been selected to take part. Dr Chadha said: “The Covid-19 pandemic has only exacerbated violence against women and girls, especially domestic violence. With my work, I aim to highlight the economic costs of this violence, with the ultimate goal of policy changes to positively impact the lives of women. “While humanity has evolved over thousands of years, our society still hasn’t given women what they deserve, which is an equal status with men. I hope to use the opportunity at Lindau to share my ideas and evidence for much needed change.” The Lindau Meeting on Economic Sciences was originally scheduled to take place last summer. It has been postponed until 2022 due to the impact of Covid-19. Dr Chadha added: “Beyond gender-based violence, I am also a passionate advocate of reducing inequality in the world which has worsened due to the pandemic. While high income countries have the resources to fight this pandemic and provide necessary supports to their citizens, most low income countries don’t”. “High income countries have a responsibility to provide much larger supports to low income countries, compared to what they are currently providing. I hope to collaborate on this with fellow young economists in Lindau.” Ends   

Tuesday, 10 November 2020

Findings include increased anxiety, learning less at home, and decline in interest Researchers from the School of Education at NUI Galway have published the findings of the online survey of parents’, children’s and young people’s experiences of ‘schooling at home’. The report, ‘Schooling at Home in Ireland during COVID-19: Perspectives and Experiences of Primary and Second-level Students and their Parents’, was conducted between June and August of this year and carried out in collaboration with the National Parents’ Council Primary. Responses were obtained from 2,733 parents, 896 primary school students and 293 second-level students. Dr Niamh Flynn, lead researcher on the study and lecturer with NUI Galway’s School of Education, said: “A priority of the research was to capture the voices of children and young people in relation to their lived experiences of ‘schooling at home’ during the period of the school building closures. Taking advantage of a time-point that allowed for reflection on the entire period of school building closures, the study illuminates students’ perceptions of learning less, becoming less motivated over time, and being more stressed and anxious in the ‘schooling at home’ context relative to the traditional school context.” Key findings from the study: Perceptions of poorer learning progress at home than at school: A small majority of primary school participants (52%) and a large majority of second-level participants (73%) felt that they had learned less at home than at school. Decline in interest in ‘schooling at home’ over time: Parents and students were clear that interest and engagement in ‘schooling at home’ had decreased significantly over the relevant time period (82% of primary parents, 71% of second-level parents, 67% of second-level students). Inadequate technology to support ‘schooling at home’ in some homes: Approximately 27% of both primary and second-level parents reported that they did not have enough devices to support ‘schooling at home’. 8.3% of primary parents and 12.2% of second-level parents reported that they had inadequate internet connection. Increased stress and anxiety among parents and students: Many students and parents reported experiencing increased levels of stress and anxiety. Students greatly missed their friends and the social interaction inherent in school life. Parents worried about their children’s academic progress, social-emotional development, and mental health. A small number of parents felt that their children benefited from individual support, more family time and freedom to learn new or different things. The impossibility of juggling work-home-children responsibilities: Working parents and/or parents with several children, with no childcare, found juggling multiple work-home-children responsibilities exhausting, “impossible”, and unsustainable. Need for children to return to school full-time: A very prominent theme in parent responses was the need for children to return to school full-time for academic, social, and mental health reasons. In general, students were positive about returning to school. Calls for more consistency and direction from the Department of Education and Skills (DES): Some parents and students emphasised the need for more live teaching and feedback on completed work if ‘schooling at home’ were to resume. A strong desire for more consistency and direction from the DES in relation to remote learning provision by schools was emphasised by parents. Dr Elaine Keane, co-researcher of the study and Senior Lecturer with NUI Galway’s School of Education, said: “The study speaks to the unsustainability for working parents and/or parents with several children, with no childcare, of juggling support for ‘schooling at home’ across multiple learning levels with work-home-childcare responsibilities during a period of school closures.” Professor Gerry MacRuairc, co-researcher and Head of the School of Education at NUI Galway, said: “Appropriate support and training is needed for all principals and teachers in developing good practice for remote and blended teaching and learning. It would seem timely to focus now on ensuring a more integrated model of learning that draws on the more explicit integration of online platforms and teaching and learning strategies into future pedagogy as a matter of course.” The full report and executive summary of the study findings is available at: https://tinyurl.com/Schoolingathome -Ends-

Tuesday, 3 November 2020

Research on cell analysis to drive new cancer treatment, adapting nature to clear pollution and developing new animal feed to reduce methane emissions are among the NUI Galway projects being supported by Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) funding. More than €6.5million is being provided to progress the studies under SFI’s Frontiers for the Future Programme announced by Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science Simon Harris TD. Among the projects being funded is research by Dr Aideen Ryan, from NUI Galway’s School of Medicine, which is focused on new ways to boost the body’s natural ability to fight colorectal cancer. Dr Ryan’s research is seeking to understand how the sugars that naturally coat cancer cells affect how those cells grow and interact with their surroundings. If successful, the project could point to a new way to treat cancer. “The key to finding new immunotherapies is understanding how cells within the tumour communicate with our immune system,” Dr Ryan said. “In colorectal cancer only a proportion of patients respond to or are eligible for current immunotherapies. I am delighted to have the opportunity to lead this research which will uncover new ways to restore immune cell function in colorectal cancer focusing on interactions between tumour associated glycoproteins and immune cells in colorectal cancer. Our aim is to improve therapeutic options and outcomes for patients.”  Also included in the SFI funded programme are two projects led by academics in NUI Galway’s School of Natural Sciences. One project led by Professor Vincent O’Flaherty is looking at new additives for animal feed and manure, to reduce agricultural greenhouse gas emissions and get more value from manure. “Our research is looking at using two naturally occurring additives in animal feed, or adding them to the manure or slurry that they produce,” Professor O’Flaherty said. “By using these we can temporarily switch off some microbes. We can lock in gases like methane and we can ensure the animals get more nutrients from their food. About one third of Ireland’s greenhouse emissions come from agriculture, so progressing research like this and seeing how it can be applied on farms is huge in terms of the environmental implications, cost saving and getting the best from our animals and land.” The second project from the School of Natural Sciences is led by Dr Ronan Sulpice who is researching how sea lettuce could be grown on the coast to clean pollution from wastewater and estuaries. “The research is looking at sea lettuce varieties – seaweeds which can grow in brackish water - to see which would be suitable to help clean municipal or agricultural waste water,” Dr Sulpice said. “Our study will see if we can use them to reduce nitrates in the sea or estuaries by diverting waste water into special pools where the seaweeds would be grown. Then we will also be able to study how we can use the seaweeds when they are harvested. It is like looking for nature’s cure for a human problem.” Commenting on the SFI funding programme, Minister Harris said: “The funding will support researchers who are already carrying out excellent work in Ireland, as well as those in the early stages of their research careers who hold incredible potential. It is through investment like this that Ireland will become an innovation leader and provide solutions and opportunities for our society and economy.” Here are the NUI Galway projects being supported under the SFI Frontiers for the Future Awards: Dr Aideen Ryan – School of Medicine. Research to understand how sugars that naturally coat cancer cells affect how the cancer cells grow and interact with their surroundings. If successful, the project could point to a new way to treat cancer. Award - €697,606 Professor Vincent O’Flaherty – School of Natural Sciences. A research team will develop new additives for animal feed and manure, to reduce agricultural greenhouse-gas emissions and get more value from manure. Award - €762,365 Ronan Sulpice – School of Natural Sciences. Research on how sea lettuce could be grown in coastal regions to ‘depollute’ wastewater and estuaries. Award - €478,783 Noel Lowndes – School of Natural Sciences. Canonical and non-canonical roles for ATR in maintenance of genomic integrity. Award - €877,338 Dimitrios Zeugolis – School of Engineering. Cell Assembled Tissue Engineered Remedies for Enhanced Regeneration (CATERER) Award - €998,390 Professor James O'Gara – School of Natural Sciences. Targeting membrane transporters to increase antibiotic susceptibility in bacterial pathogens. Award - €477,395 Eilís Dowd – School of Medicine. Harnessing the potential of biomaterials for improving stem cell-derived brain repair for Parkinson’s disease €459,527 Gerhard Schlosser – School of Natural Sciences. Cofactor-dependent functions of Eya1 in sensory neurogenesis. Award - €393,893 Katarzyna Goljanek-Whysall – College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences. Pre-clinical development of oxi-mir inhibitors for muscle wasting. Award - €475,909 Professor Charles Spillane – School of Natural Sciences. Harnessing haploid inducers & cyto-nuclear interactions for enhanced plant growth and heterosis effects for sustainable agriculture (CytoHeterosis). Award - €479,966 Dr Andrew Simpkin - School of Mathematics, Statistics and Applied Mathematics (along with Norma Bargary UL). Functional data Analysis for Sensor Technologies. Award - €467,569 Ends

Tuesday, 3 November 2020

A new report from NUI Galway examines farmers’ attitudes and preferences for climate change adaptation. The overarching aims of the report are to present findings on farmers’ beliefs regarding climate change, the drivers and barriers of climate change adaptation and the willingness of Irish farmers to engage in specific adaptation measures related to insurance protection for their own farm and improved flood protection for downstream communities.   The report is part of the RiskAquaSoil project led by Association Climatologique de la Moyenne-Garonne et du Sud-Ouest (A.C.M.G) with partners from the Whitaker Institute in NUI Galway. The project aims to develop a comprehensive management plan for risks in soil and in water to improve the resilience of the Atlantic rural and agricultural areas to climate change.  To achieve this, the project has three key aims: Improved early warning and diagnosis of meteorological phenomena for rural areas Improved soil and water management for risks associated with climate change  Enhanced capacity building and training of local communities The report found that over one-third of Irish farmers are concerned about extreme weather events impacting their farming activities and that farmers are most concerned about the impacts of storms, droughts and flooding. Within the study, farmers were asked whether they would be willing to help reduce the risk of flooding to downstream communities, over 40% of farmers indicated they would. Almost 70% of farmers indicated a willingness to use insurance as a method to protect their farm financially against damages caused by extreme weather events. Edel Doherty, Lecturer in Economics at the J.E. Cairnes School of Business and Economics at NUI Galway and co-author of the study, said: “The farmer is the central decision-maker in achieving farm adaptation to climate change, therefore it is critical to understand from the farmer’s perspective what they view as the key barriers and enablers of adaptation.” The report found that while Irish farmers are aware of the effects of climate change on weather, they felt unprepared for very severe weather. Farmers highlighted a number of resource constraints (related to financial, time and capacity) that impeded their ability to undertake adaptation. Moreover, farmers felt unsure of what adaptation measures they could undertake on their own farm and they felt they lacked practical and reliable information concerning adaptation. In general, farmers are most willing to undertake farm adaptation or mitigation if it was economically beneficial to do so. To help adaptation, additional resources, including financial resources and training, the availability of tailored information on specific adaptation measures for individual farms, locally-based agri-environment schemes and farm networks were mentioned by farmers as important enablers. To discuss the report, NUI Galway are holding a free webinar on Thursday, 12 November from 1-2pm. The webinar will present an overview of the report alongside findings from the wider RiskAquaSoil project that will include presentations on: Farmers Attitudes and Preferences for Climate Change Adaptation: An Irish case study - Dr Edel Doherty, Whitaker Institute, NUI Galway Study of Local Communities Views for a New Culture of Risk in the Face of Climate Change - Julia James, The Climatologic Association of Middle Garonne and South-West of France (A.C.M.G) Climate Change Media Communication in Ireland and Portugal -Neide P Areina, Centre for Social Studies, University of Coimbra, Portugal Soils in partnership - Dr Laurence Couldrick, Westcountry Rivers Trust Details of the event and registration are available at: https://bit.ly/37ZiECV. To read the full report, visit: http://whitakerinstitute.ie/project/risk-aqua-soil/. -Ends-

Monday, 2 November 2020

The NUI Galway Laptop Loan Scheme allows students from low income households to receive a laptop for the duration of their studies In the first round of the NUI Galway Laptop Loan Scheme which opened in September, over 600 students will receive a free laptop from the university to assist them with their online learning. The scheme, which is being run through the NUI Galway’s Access Centre, is part of the package of COVID-19 supports for higher and further education institutions, with funding provided by the Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science to support disadvantaged students in the higher education sector in accessing ICT devices. Under this scheme undergraduate, postgraduate and part-time students who meet the eligibility criteria may receive a laptop, on long-term loan, in order to assist with online learning for the duration that they are registered students with NUI Galway. Imelda Byrne, Head of the Access Centre at NUI Galway, said: “This scheme is of huge benefit to our most disadvantaged students. This year in particular, when it has been necessary to move learning online, the purchasing of laptops could potentially be a major stumbling block for those in low income households, this scheme is easing that burden for many students. So many of the students were overjoyed when collecting their laptops.” Distribution of the laptops, complicated by COVID-19 restrictions, was carried out by the Chaplaincy team and James Hardiman Library at NUI Galway. Eligibility is prioritised on a needs basis. Students from low income households and the identified target groups who demonstrate that they or their family do not have the means to purchase such a device themselves qualify to apply for the scheme. The second round of the Laptop Loan Scheme opens today (Monday, 2 November).  For more information on the scheme, criteria and application process visit: www.nuigalway.ie/laptoploanscheme -Ends-

Monday, 2 November 2020

NUI Galway has welcomed two students from Donegal who have been awarded the Optum Healthcare Scholarship. Optum Ireland, part of the UnitedHealth Group, has announced this year’s scholars at the University - Artur Kryszkowski, formerly a student at St Eunan’s College, Letterkenny who is studying Biomedical Science and Siobhán Griffin, formerly a student at St Columba’s Stranorlar, who is studying the recently launched BSc Genetics and Genomics. NUI Galway Deputy President and Registrar Pól Ó Dochartaigh praised the Optum Healthcare Scholarship and highlighted the impact it is making for students and their families in Donegal.  “The scholarship is giving young people access to university, to academic study and to a future that may otherwise have been closed to them,” Professor Ó Dochartaigh said. “The programme is a shining example of a multinational supporting families and individuals in the community where it is based and trying to open doors to a bright and exciting future for them. I wish Optum every success with its operations in Letterkenny and I wish the students on the scholarship every success for the future.” The Optum Healthcare Scholarship at NUI Galway, established in 2018, is designed to support students who come from less advantaged backgrounds and may face additional challenges accessing third level education. This year’s scholars will benefit from annual financial assistance, as well as other support they may require to complete their undergraduate studies. Three other students from Donegal are already benefitting from the scholarship programme at NUI Galway – Liam Orr, studying Medicine, Charlotte Timony studying Psychology and Shaneen Graham studying Biopharmaceutical Chemistry. All of the successful scholars are studying healthcare and related programmes. Padraig Monaghan, chief executive of Optum Ireland, said: “Optum has a presence in the North West for more than 20 years. Our scholarship program is designed to meet the needs and realities of this cross border region and support the local healthcare system. We are delighted that our contribution comes at a time when there is an acute focus on the healthcare service and an increased level of application to third level healthcare courses in Ireland." Artur Kryszkowski said: “This scholarship means everything to me. It allows me to focus on my studies whilst not having to worry about the financial side of college."  Siobhan Griffin said: “Receiving the Optum Scholarship is a huge honour for me and it will enable me to pursue my dream career. I feel very privileged that my determination and potential have been recognised and this has further inspired me to succeed in all future endeavours. This scholarship will be an immense support, especially during these challenging times, and I am incredibly grateful." Liam Orr, from Letterkenny, an Optum Healthcare Scholar in his third year studying medicine in NUI Galway, said: “Living away from home, the cost of living accommodation and travel is considerable. The Optum scholarship has taken the pressure off myself and my family. There is a great sense of security knowing that the support is there and the support, coming as it does from a local company, has meant a lot. I have been able to focus more on my studies and I’ve been able to travel home and stay connected to my family and community. My ambition is to work in a community-based practice at home in Donegal.” The Optum Healthcare Scholarship Program for 2021/22 will be launched in January 2021. ENDS

Monday, 2 November 2020

Irish Research Council Government of Ireland awards will fuel the pipeline of early-stage researchers across all disciplines NUI Galway has been awarded funding for 39 Postgraduate Scholarships and Postdoctoral Fellowships under the Irish Research Council’s Government of Ireland programmes. Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, Simon Harris TD announced funding for a total of 209 Postgraduate Scholarships and 87 Postdoctoral Fellowships. The awards represent an investment of over €21 million in early career researchers across all academic disciplines. The NUI Galway award recipients will conduct research into a multitude of topics ranging from effective targeted immunotherapy in a local refillable delivery system for ovarian cancer; cognitive deficits in schizophrenia; humanitarian aid in hostile environments; food provision and the homeless population; changing patterns of political violence and peaceful protest in European democracies; adaptive optics performance for the European Extremely Large Telescope; and providing insights from climate archives. Welcoming this year’s awardees, Minister Harris, said: “I am delighted to announce this investment by government in developing the next generation of research leaders across disciplines. Across higher education, enterprise, civil society and the public sector, expert knowledge and skills is a critical need for our present and our future. The awards announced will support a pipeline of research talent which will be at the forefront of addressing the many challenges and opportunities we face.” Professor Lokesh Joshi, Vice President for Research at NUI Galway, said: “It is wonderful to receive this investment from the Irish Research Council’s Government of Ireland programmes. I congratulate this year’s talented group of 39 postgraduate scholars and postdoctoral fellows, whom I have no doubt will contribute greatly to critical societal needs through their multi-disciplinary research that will have a positive impact across all sectors of society.” This year’s 30 postgraduate scholars from NUI Galway include: Judit Villena Rodó, Law, will study - Migrant Women, Coercive Control and Intimate Partner Violence: an examination of women’s ability to access remedies in Ireland and Spain. Roisin O'Malley, Psychology, will identify - Learning from what goes well: Improving the quality of primary care. Nikolett Warner, Psychology, will investigate - Being diagnosed with cancer promoting genetic mutations BRCA 1 and 2 in Ireland: Development of an intervention to enhance coping skills and improve knowledge. Aislaigh Cahillane, Literature, will study - Narratives of Water (In)Justice in Contemporary Hydrofictions from Australia, Ireland and the United States of America. Clara Mallon, Theatre Studies, will study - Invisible Ireland? Performing and Representing the Working-Class in Irish Theatre during the Celtic Tiger Era. Dakota Holmes, Physical Geography, will study - Providing Insights from Climate Archives: a multiproxy approach for the reconstruction of Atlantic meridional overturning circulation (AMOC) response to Quaternary climate events. Maria Cullen, History, will study - Humanitarian aid in hostile environments: comparing the emergency relief operations of Oxfam and Médecins sans Frontières in the Global South, 1979-1986. Siobhán Hamon, Microbiology, Virology and Mycology, will study - Therapeutic potential of parasite-derived immunomodulatory peptides in the treatment of sepsis and acute kidney injury. Divya Ravikumar, Sociology, will study - Food provision and the homeless population: working together to enable solutions. Emma Corley, Psychology, will investigate - Cognitive Deficits in Schizophrenia: Characterising the Combined Effects of Common Genetic Variation and Early Life Adversity. Alan Keane, Medical Biotechnology, will investigate - The Development of a Next-Generation Mesenchymal Stromal Cell Therapy for Critical Limb Ischaemia. V’cenza Cirefice, Geography, will examine - Local environmental resistance to extractivism in Ireland: A feminist environmental justice lens. Beatrice Canossi, Law, will examine - The use of truth commissions’ evidence in prosecutions: bridging gaps and information sharing between international prosecutions and truth seeking mechanisms. Deborah Malone, who studies Optics, will investigate limitations on Adaptive Optics performance for the European Extremely Large Telescope. Deborah Mireles, Business and Management, will study - Understanding Subsidiary Managers Engagement in Strategic Activities. Deborah also won the Irish Academy of Management Best Paper Award at the 2020 Doctoral Colloquium for her paper on this same research topic. Elizabeth Quirke, Literatures, will study - When They Talk About Mothers’: Investigating Queer Kinship in Contemporary Poetry. Federica Modafferi, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, will study – Investigating the Transgenerational Inheritance of Centromeres using a Bovine In Vitro Fertilisation Model System. Francesca Guido, Classics, will study - Recovering the sources, influence and transmission of Charisius’ Latin grammar. John Ivory, Microbiology, Virology and Mycology, will investigate the reliability and diagnostic validity of clinical manifestations of biofilm in venous leg ulcers. Kathy Dillon, French, will examine - Representing the ‘Other’: The Sociological Importance of Contemporary Francophone women writers: Leïla Slimani, Noufissa Sabï and Houria Boussejra Keith Lyons, Zoology, Ornithology, Entomology and Behavioural Sciences Biology, will study - Venomous Invaders: Investigating the role of venom in ecological invasions. Laura Cutugno, Microbial Genetics, will investigate - Genetic characterisation of the Vibrio vulnificus stressosome and its role in stress response and virulence. Lioba Verena Speicher, Classics, will study - The Old Norse Sagas of Antiquity: a study in cross-cultural Classical reception and transnational networks in Medieval Scandinavia, Ireland, and Europe. Lorene Lefebvre, Agricultural Biotechnology, will examine - Deciphering mechanisms of Biological Nitrification Inhibition in forage and model grasses. Martin Kenny, Theatre Studies, will study - Queer Connections: identifying and expanding a sense of a queer national consciousness through the production, presentation and reception of Irish theatre and performance, from 1960 – 2020. Mary Hopkins, Zoology, Ornithology, Entomology, Behavioural Sciences Biology, will investigate - Preclinical and clinical investigation of the endocannabinoid system as a viable novel target for diagnosis and treatment of low back pain. Marylette Roa, Microbiology, Virology and Mycology, will examine - Diversity and ecology of squamate gut microbiome. Meghan Winterlich, Macromolecular and Materials Chemistry, will investigate - Synthesis and characterisation of novel magnetic metal organic frameworks for a targeted delivery of anti-cancer drugs through magnetic dynamic therapy. Michela Dianetti, Italian, will study - The Narrative of Objects as Ethical Facts in Iris Murdoch and Elsa Morante. Seun Adebayo, Education, will examine - Developing more culturally responsive pedagogies with Irish primary school teachers using a learning study approach. This year’s 9 postdoctoral fellows from NUI Galway are: Joanne O’Dwyer, Cell Biology, will investigate - Creation of effective targeted immunotherapy in a local refillable delivery system for ovarian cancer. Dieter Reinisch, History, will study - Changing patterns of political violence and peaceful protest in European democracies: A historical comparison of social movements in Germany and Ireland. Ciaran Arthur, History, will study - Intentional Obscurity and ‘Divine Speech’ in Early English Texts. Cliona Hensey, French, will examine - Reconstructive Memory Work: Trauma, Witnessing and the Imagination in Contemporary Writing by Daughters of Harkis. Dnyaneshwar Garad, Medicinal and Biomolecular Chemistry, will investigate - Sulfamidates as Electrophilic Reagents for the Site-Specific Incorporation of Biologically Relevant Post-translationally Modified Lysine Residues into Protein. Dualta O Fionnagain, Astronomy and Space Science, will study - Characterising high speed transient radio emission from planetary electrostatic discharges using the Owens Valley Low Wavelength Array. Gabriel Krasovec, Developmental Biology, will examine - Exploring the morphogenetic functions of apoptosis in the cnidarian Hydractinia symbiolongicarpus. Mehmet Gurdal, Medical Biotechnology, will examine - Development and assessment of full-thickness scaffold-free human corneal equivalents using macromolecular crowding. Saidulu Konda, Medicinal and Biomolecular Chemistry, will study - Fabrication of bioinspired artificial extracellular matrix scaffold for diabetic wound care. Congratulating this year’s awardees, Irish Research Council Director, Peter Brown, said: “The Irish Research Council Government of Ireland awards form a critical pillar within Ireland’s research and innovation eco-system. The two programmes, addressing postgraduate and postdoctoral research, are the only ones of their kind in Ireland, funding excellent research across all disciplines and are highly competitive, nationally and internationally. Awardees benefit greatly from having obtained a research award in their own name, demonstrating world-class potential in their chosen field from early-career stage. Through this and other IRC programmes, the Council continues to deliver the best and brightest research talent for Ireland. Working hand-in-glove with our research-performing organisations, awardees will expand the frontiers of knowledge and generate the research and innovations that will help to address national and global societal challenges.” Each year the Government of Ireland Programmes collaborate with strategic funding partners to run themed calls. A number of this year’s awardees are supported by the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Foreign Affairs. The 2021 calls are now open on the IRC website and offer new collaborative funding opportunities with additional themed calls from the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Met Éireann and the Department of Rural and Community Development. Further information about the Irish Research Council’s Government of Ireland programmes is available at www.research.ie.   -Ends-

Monday, 2 November 2020

Five-part documentary series by RTÉ and the Irish Universities Association which shines a light on seven university students helping to change the face of higher education including NUI Galway Doctoral Student Róisín Farragher The Irish Universities Association has partnered with RTÉ to create My Uni Life, a five-part series which follows the lives of seven students at various stages of their university journey. Whether it’s dealing with the challenges of having a disability, the stereotypes associated with socially disadvantaged backgrounds or having the courage to go to university at a later stage in life, these students represent just 7 out of more than 5000 students each year whose desire to succeed at third level education is facilitated and supported by the Access and Disability programmes run by Irish Universities.  Each student comes from a different background, accessing university through a variety of routes, but with determination that is key to the personal difficulties they have faced. Filmed over the past 12 months, the series provides a unique and authentic insight into the lives of seven students across the country, as they navigate through personal challenges and the current Covid-19 pandemic while trying to grapple with the move to remote learning. Speaking about her success in higher education, despite being the first in her family to attend University and having a difficult childhood, Róisín Farragher, a doctoral student at NUI Galway, stated: “I hope that people watching the documentary will feel motivated. I hope that when they watch it, they see me, but do not pity me. Rather they think about pushing themselves further and challenging themselves. I hope people take every opportunity offered to them and never let a horrible or tough childhood or any other challenges stand in their way. I hope they see that they have a right to everything good that comes to them and so they take those opportunities and be grateful.” Every year approximately 1000 students from underrepresented groups enter NUI Galway. Commenting on the impact of access schemes at NUI Galway, Imelda Byrne, Head of the Access Centre said: “Our belief is that Access is more than a student’s initial pathway into higher education. For those from traditionally under-represented groups, we believe Access means students having the supports to successfully participate and remain in higher education, to achieve graduation and the opportunity thereafter to progress in their chosen career or to further postgraduate study. As a University we remain committed to diversity and equality of opportunity, to combating educational disadvantage in our region and beyond, and to ensuring university education is for everyone. This documentary shows that NUI Galway supports all students from all backgrounds succeed, irrespective of their circumstances of birth.” Outlining the role Irish universities play, Jim Miley, Director General of the IUA said: “Irish universities play a crucial and growing role in fostering and enabling social inclusion and mobility. The many access routes the universities support are key to building a long-term inclusive society in Ireland. As a result of the work done by the Access and Disability programmes run by Irish Universities the student body is becoming a more and more diverse group. It is incredibly positive to see that in the 2017/18 academic year 15% of entrants were from socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds, while almost 10% of new entrants had some form of disability and 6.6% were mature students. But, we have much more to do. It is paramount that we do everything possible to support increased access for all students who need it.” Beginning on Friday, 6 November, at 7.30pm, the series will run for five weeks across RTÉ One featuring seven different students and their own personal journeys to higher education. The students are: Róisín Farragher from Galway and studying at NUI Galway; Adam Freegrove from Dublin studying at UCD; Cathal Blake from Meath studying at DCU; Alpha Ike from Cavan studying at MU; Courtney McGrath from Cavan studying at TCD; Chrisdina O’Neill from Cork studying at UCC; and Shaun Fogarty from Tipperary studying at UL. More information on the series can be found on www.iua.ie/myunilife  -Ends-

Monday, 2 November 2020

The project will facilitate and enhance the digital skills and competences of those working in housing and property, real estate, and associated activities across Europe. NUI Galway’s Centre for Housing Law, Rights and Policy (CHLRP) has been successful in its bid for an EU ERASMUS+ funding award of €500,000 with five European partners. Over three years, the project will design and create an international online course for housing and property professionals in the public and private sectors. The modules, materials and learning tools will include PROPTECH – a term which includes blockchain, smart contracts, as well as online transactions and platforms for housing, property and real estate exchange and management. These will enhance digital skills and competences, and produce a skills management tool for housing and real estate operations, based on a mobile micro-learning platform. One part focusses on developing learning tools for professionals managing apartments/condominiums. Dr Padraic Kenna, Director of the Centre for Housing Law, Rights and Policy at NUI Galway,, said: “This award recognises the European perspective of our work at NUI Galway, and makes our expertise and knowledge of housing and property issues available to an EU-wide audience. Our European and Irish housing and property law expertise at NUI Galway was integral to the successful €500,000 bid. The project will develop state of the art online learning tools to enhance learner engagement, motivation and participation. The ultimate training will be available for professionals involved in the housing, property and real estate fields, as well as policymakers.” ERASMUS+ is the EU's programme to support education, training, youth and sport. With a budget of €14.7 billion for 2014-2020 it provides opportunities for over four million participants to study, train, gain experience, and volunteer abroad. In addition to offering grants, Erasmus+ also supports teaching, research, networking and policy debate on EU topics. The European partners in this project with NUI Galway are UNESCO Housing Chair (Spain), University of Silesia (Poland), Union Internationale de la Propriete Immobiliere (Belgium), Infrachain, a.s.b.l. (Luxembourg) and Fundacion Iberioamericana del Conocimiento (Spain).  Recently, the Centre for Housing Law, Rights and Policy published a set of Briefing Papers on integrating housing rights into the EU economic governance framework. This is available at http://www.nuigalway.ie/chlrp/news/this-time-it-will-be-different.html -Ends-

Thursday, 29 October 2020

NUI Galway Speech and Language academics and students have embarked on a new telehealth clinical placement offering approximately 30 online appointments daily in English and Irish. This clinical placement, using the HSE online platform Attend Anywhere, is run in collaboration with therapists from the HSE West, HSE Donegal and Voices for Down Syndrome Galway. The new facility not only offers learning opportunities and the ability for students to complete their practice education training through clinical placements, but also allows clients to access health care services and therapy from the comfort and safety of their homes. Laura Loftus, Practice Education Coordinator, Speech and Language Therapy at NUI Galway said: “Speech and Language Therapist students are required to complete their practice education training through clinical placements in hospitals and healthcare facilities where they acquire and develop these skills. As a consequence of Covid-19, clinical placements became scarce due to reduced speech and language therapy services, increased measures of infection control and the redeployment of therapists to COVID-19 related duties. To deal with this crisis and provide enough clinical hours for our students, the discipline of Speech and Language Therapy at NUI Galway turned to telehealth. “This is the first time that clinical placements for Speech and Language Therapy students are based on providing telehealth and not face-to-face work with clients. Every week, under supervision, 27 fourth year Speech and Language Therapy students offer approximately 30 telehealth appointments daily. To support the delivery of appointments the students are creating a bank of video podcasts which demonstrate activities they will be targeting in therapy. This ensures families have support material to review between sessions.” The students work with clients of all ages including some with Down Syndrome, Autism, Parkinson’s Disease, or clients who have had strokes and children with speech and language needs. Initially they contact clients to explain the service, then arrange appointments and send out the materials used for each session. Sessions last from 20-45 minutes and are supervised by a qualified Speech and Language Therapist. Afterwards follow up material is sent to the client based on the progress that they made. NUI Galway are also working with parents and schools to provide advice and offer much needed therapy programmes. Laura continued: “From the Clinical Educator perspective we can see how the students’ confidence, team work, problem solving and adaptability has developed over the last number of weeks and we are loving how they are growing in their ability and knowledge with every day that passes. We are also enthused by the positivity of clients. These telehealth clinical placements are a way of future-proofing the students for the world into which they will graduate, making them highly desirable healthcare employees. Telehealth has a dual benefit, the students are continuing to develop their clinical competencies and many patients, who otherwise would be on waiting lists, are now receiving treatment.” Speaking about the experience, Final Year Speech and Language Therapy student Mia Hanrahan from Ennis Co. Clare said: “I was apprehensive at first as I had never seen telehealth being used and knew that patients would be unsure as to how it would work for them in comparison to what they are used to. However, it's been a unique experience as we have been able to make a difference in the lives of children and adults without putting anyone at risk. It's been a great opportunity to learn how to problem solve and adapt traditional therapy techniques to an online format. I'm grateful to everyone who has taken part in therapy as it has shown to us just how beneficial telehealth can be.” Marie, a user of the service from Galway who has Parkinson’s Disease, commented: “It has been a very positive experience working with the students. Whilst I was somewhat sceptical at first I reminded myself that I was a student once and, like the girls, needed real hands on experience. They have made a huge effort to understand my specific needs and come up with exercises that are appropriate and productive as well as being suitable for the on-line platform. Both they and I have a vested interest in making this work- they need the experience and I need their specialist knowledge, so it is mutually beneficial scenario. The telehealth appointments are currently being rolled out across counties Galway and Donegal with plans to extend nationwide in due course. -Ends-

Thursday, 29 October 2020

Tá lucht acadúil agus mic léinn Urlabhra agus Teanga OÉ Gaillimh ag dul i mbun socrúcháin chliniciúil nua teileashláinte. Cuirfear thart ar 30 coinne ar fáil ar líne gach lá i mBéarla agus i nGaeilge. Cuirtear an socrúchán cliniciúil seo ar fáil trí leas a bhaint as ardán ar líne FSS Attend Anywhere, i gcomhar le teiripeoirí ó FSS an Iarthair, FSS Dhún na nGall agus Voices for Down Syndrome i nGaillimh. Ní hamháin go dtugann an áis nua seo deiseanna foghlama agus an cumas do mhic léinn a gcuid oiliúna san oideachas cleachtais a chur i gcrích trí shocrúcháin chliniciúla, ach tugann sé deis do chliaint rochtain a fháil ar sheirbhísí agus ar theiripe cúraim sláinte ón mbaile agus iad ar a gcompord agus slán sábháilte. Dúirt Laura Loftus, Comhordaitheoir don Oideachas Cleachtais, Teiripe Urlabhra agus Teanga in OÉ Gaillimh: “Caithfidh mic léinn Teiripe Urlabhra agus Teanga a gcuid oideachais cleachtais a chur i gcrích trí shocrúcháin chliniciúla in ospidéil agus in áiseanna cúraim sláinte áit a shealbhaíonn agus a fhorbraíonn siad na scileanna seo. Mar thoradh ar Covid-19, bhí socrúcháin chliniciúla gann mar gheall ar sheirbhísí laghdaithe teiripe urlabhra agus teanga, bearta méadaithe maidir le rialú ionfhabhtaithe agus teiripeoirí a bheith athlonnaithe chuig dualgais a bhaineann le COVID-19. Chun déileáil leis an ngéarchéim seo agus dóthain uaireanta cliniciúla a sholáthar dár gcuid mac léinn, bhain disciplín na Teiripe Urlabhra agus Teanga in OÉ Gaillimh leas as teileashláinte. “Is é seo an chéad uair a bhfuil socrúcháin chliniciúla do mhic léinn Teiripe Urlabhra agus Teanga bunaithe ar theileashláinte a sholáthar seachas ar bheith aghaidh ar aghaidh leis an duine. Gach seachtain, faoi mhaoirseacht, cuireann 27 mac léinn Teiripe Urlabhra agus Teanga sa cheathrú bliain thart ar 30 coinne teileashláinte ar fáil gach lá. Chun tacú leis na coinní seo a chur ar fáil tá na mic léinn ag cruthú bailiúchán podchraoltaí físe a léiríonn gníomhaíochtaí a mbeidh siad ag díriú orthu sa teiripe. Cinntíonn sé seo go bhfuil ábhar tacaíochta ag teaghlaigh le breathnú air idir na seisiúin.” Oibríonn na mic léinn le cliaint de gach aois, cuid acu a bhfuil Siondróm Down, Uathachas, Galar Parkinson orthu, nó cliaint a raibh stróc acu agus leanaí a bhfuil riachtanais urlabhra agus teanga acu. Ar dtús déanann siad teagmháil le cliaint chun an tseirbhís a mhíniú dóibh, ansin socraíonn siad coinní agus seolann siad na hábhair a úsáidfear i ngach seisiún chucu. Maireann seisiúin 20-45 nóiméad agus déanann Teiripeoir Urlabhra agus Teanga cáilithe maoirseacht orthu. Ina dhiaidh sin, seoltar ábhar leantach chuig an gcliant bunaithe ar an dul chun cinn a dhéanann siad. Tá OÉ Gaillimh ag obair le tuismitheoirí agus le scoileanna freisin chun comhairle a sholáthar agus cláir theiripe a bhfuil géarghá leo a thairiscint. Dúirt Laura an méid seo chomh maith: “Ó thaobh an Oideachais Chliniciúil de, is léir gur fhorbair muinín, obair foirne, réiteach fadhbanna agus inoiriúnaitheacht na mac léinn le roinnt seachtainí anuas agus is breá linn go bhfuil a gcumas agus a gcuid eolais ag méadú gach lá. Táimid an-tógtha le díograis na gcliant freisin. Is bealach iad na socrúcháin chliniciúla teileashláinte seo chun na mic léinn a chosaint sa todhchaí don saol ina mbainfidh siad céim amach, rud a fhágfaidh gur fostaithe cúram sláinte thar a bheith inmhianaithe a bheidh iontu. Tá dhá bhuntáiste le Teileashláinte, tá na mic léinn ag forbairt a n-inniúlachtaí cliniciúla i gcónaí agus tá go leor othar, a bheadh ar liostaí feithimh murach sin, ag fáil cóireála anois.” Ag labhairt di faoin taithí, dúirt Treasa Ní Mhíocháin, mac léinn Teiripe Urlabhra agus Teanga i mbliain deiridh na céime, as Leitir Ceanainn, Tír Chonaill: “Caithfidh mé a rá go bhfuil an t-ádh orainn go bhfuaireamar an taithí seo. Bhí sé i gcónaí ar intinn agam obair a dhéanamh le heagraíocht cosúil le “Voices for Galway”. Tá an t-ádh orainn freisin go mbeimid ag baint céime amach agus taithí againn ag obair ar líne. Táim ag baint an-sult as an socrúchán seo. Táim iontach buíoch do na léachtóirí uile chomh maith leis na hoidí."  Dúirt Marie, úsáideoir na seirbhíse as Gaillimh a bhfuil Galar Parkinson uirthi: “B’iontach an taithí é a bheith ag obair leis na mic léinn. Cé go raibh mé rud beag amhrasach ar dtús chuir mé i gcuimhne dom féin gur mac léinn a bhí ionam féin tráth agus, ach an oiread leis na cailíní, go raibh taithí phraiticiúil ag teastáil uaim. Rinne siad an-iarracht mo riachtanais shonracha a thuiscint agus chuimhnigh siad ar chleachtaí a bheadh oiriúnach agus éifeachtach chomh maith le bheith oiriúnach don ardán ar líne. Tá spéis ar leith acu féin agus agamsa san obair seo a dhéanamh - teastaíonn an taithí uathusan agus teastaíonn a saineolas uaimse, mar sin is tairbhe dúinn ar fad é. Tá na coinní teileashláinte á gcur i bhfeidhm faoi láthair ar fud chontaetha na Gaillimhe agus Dhún na nGall agus tá sé i gceist iad a chur ar fáil ar fud na tíre in am trátha. -Críoch-

Thursday, 29 October 2020

Dr Patrick McGetrick, a Lecturer in Civil Engineering at NUI Galway, recently won the Young Researcher Award at the biennial Civil Engineering Research in Ireland (CERI) conference. The award recognises the excellence of research carried out to date, and the potential of the awardee to grow further as an expert in their field in the future. The event also saw Best Paper awards won by NUI Galway Civil Engineering students Orlaith McGinley and Michael Conway, beating off stiff competition from submissions in their respective fields from around the country. Dr McGetrick, originally from Sligo, has over 12 years of experience in Civil Engineering, undertaking collaborative funded research on smart infrastructure and sensing technologies. He specialises in structural design, dynamics, testing, and monitoring of infrastructure such as bridges and buildings, utilising sensors and drones. Patrick McGetrick is a Principal Investigator on the Modular Mass Timber Building for the Circular Economy project at NUI Galway, which focuses on the design, development and experimental testing of a sustainable modular timber building solution, maximising the use of Irish timber in cross-laminated timber panels, and optimising the modules for future deconstruction and reuse. Dr McGetrick is currently co-supervising PhD research on the structural health monitoring of bridges using sensors and applications of image processing techniques, and 3D photogrammetry for structural inspections using drones. Speaking about the award, Dr Patrick McGetrick, College of Science and Engineering, NUI Galway, said: “I am delighted to receive this award in recognition of my contribution to Civil Engineering research, both nationally and internationally. My ongoing research at NUI Galway aims to deliver engineering solutions which support the sustainable development of future cities and transport networks worldwide. It is also fantastic to see our students’ research being recognised. It is reflective of the excellent ongoing work in Civil Engineering at the University.” Orlaith McGinley from Derry, is a PhD student in Civil Engineering at NUI Galway. She received the Best Paper in Energy award for her paper entitled ‘Key considerations in the design of a One-Stop-Shop retrofit model’, co-authored by Dr Paul Moran and Dr Jamie Goggins. The paper provides a definition and review of One-Stop-Shop retrofit delivery models for energy efficient retrofitting of existing dwellings in Ireland and Europe, which aims toimprove comfort, health, and well-being in support of the Irish Government’s Climate Action Plan. Michael Conway from Galway, a recent graduate of the Master of Engineering (ME) course in Civil Engineering at NUI Galway, received the Best Paper in Structures award for his paper entitled ‘Reinforcement of Timber Elements in Compression Perpendicular to the Grain using Compressed Wood Dowels’, co-authored by Dr Conan O’Ceallaigh, Mr Sameer Mehra and Professor Annette Harte of the Timber Engineering Research Group (TERG). Michael worked alongside TERG to complete his ME thesis research on the experimental testing of advanced engineered timber products. The CERI 2020 event was hosted by Cork Institution of Technology on behalf of the Civil Engineering Research Association of Ireland (CERAI). It was a fully virtual event this year, attracting 230 attendees from academia and practice and hosted seven keynote lectures, and 130 papers and presentations across nine technical streams. For more about the Modular Mass Timber Building for the Circular Economy project, visit: http://www.nuigalway.ie/terg/modcons/. For more about the Timber Engineering Research Group at NUI Galway, visit: http://www.nuigalway.ie/terg/. For more about the Sustainable and Resilient Structures Research Group, visit: http://www.nuigalway.ie/structures. -Ends-

Wednesday, 28 October 2020

Venari Medical, an innovative medical device company based in Galway recently raised $5.3 million (€4.5 million) in seed equity funding to accelerate the development of its ground-breaking BioVena™ device for the treatment of chronic venous disease. Venari Medical is a spinout from the BioInnovate Ireland fellowship programme for medical device innovation at NUI Galway, which is sponsored by Enterprise Ireland. The investment round was led by Nipro Corporation, a world-leading medical product manufacturer based in Osaka, Japan. The Western Development Commission and Enterprise Ireland also contributed to the investment, in addition to international medical device experts and vascular surgeons. Chronic venous disease (CVD) affects up to 30% of adults across the globe resulting in a significant deterioration in quality of life for sufferers, especially those with advanced skin breakdown known as venous leg ulcers. The market opportunity of CVD treatment is over $2 billion annually in the US & EU. Recent high-quality clinical evidence, supporting the benefits of acute intervention to improve overall healing of venous leg ulcers, has the potential to add over $1.5 billion to this opportunity. CVD management places a huge burden on healthcare systems amounting to $33 billion (€28 billion) per year in the US and EU alone, representing 2.5% of total healthcare expenditure. Venari CEO and co-founder Stephen Cox commented “This seed investment accelerates a huge opportunity to improve the quality of life of sufferers of chronic venous disease (CVD) across the globe. This funding enables the clinical validation of our BioVena™ medical device, which we are confident will offer patients a less invasive and highly effective office-based treatment that is also an intuitive procedure for physicians treating CVD. We believe that widespread adoption of the BioVena ™ device has significant cost saving potential for healthcare systems.” Commenting on their investment, Toshiaki Masuda, Managing Director at Nipro Corporation said “We are very excited to invest in Venari Medical. Their focus on Chronic Venous Disease is an area of great patient need due to its high prevalence internationally and significant impact on quality of life. This less invasive solution under development will offer physicians an entirely new treatment option for all CVD patients. The Venari Medical team have impressed us greatly with this cutting-edge approach to venous disease treatment, from their novel pre-clinical research in vein biology, to collaborations with internationally recognised experts in venous disease treatment.” Tomás Ó Síocháin, CEO, Western Development Commission commented “This technology will improve the lives of a huge number of people, and that has been the primary focus of Stephen Cox and the team at Venari since the outset. Equally, however, this investment, underlines the importance of supporting innovation driven enterprises, building on the success of the existing medtech ecosystem in Ireland’s western region” Manager of Enterprise Ireland’s High Potential Start-Ups Division, Jennifer Melia said; “This significant investment is as a result of Venari co-founders Stephen, Sean and Nigel’s commitment to strengthening treatment practices in healthcare and will allow them to transition to the next stage in business for Venari. As BioInnovate Ireland fellows, the Venari team are an example of how this collaborative programme funded by Enterprise Ireland is connecting experts and producing the next generation of healthcare entrepreneurs focused on improving lives. Their break-through, innovative BioVena™ device has not just the potential to transform lives the world over but to also reduce cost for healthcare systems treating chronic venous disease. Venari has been on Enterprise Ireland’s radar since it was first established and was one of 10 ambitious start-ups chosen to exhibit at Enterprise Ireland Big Ideas showcase last year having previously availed of the Commercialisation Fund. We are so pleased to support its development as the business set their sights on new global markets and we are excited to see what is next.” Established in 2018, Venari Medical has since developed a strong intellectual property position by perfecting a purely mechanical endovascular approach for the treatment of venous disease. Utilising the body’s natural healing mechanism, the Venari BioVena™ novel catheter system achieves effective mechanical vein disruption at a cellular level to cure symptoms. This allows for a less invasive and more effective treatment for all CVD patients, but critically patients suffering from venous leg ulcers will benefit most. Venari expects to create 20 new jobs in both senior management and technical, quality and regulatory roles over the next 3 years as a result of this investment. Venari Medical was founded by Stephen Cox MBA (CEO), Sean Cummins (CTO) and Dr. Nigel Phelan (Chief Medical Officer). Venari Medical’s mission focus is on innovation of unparalleled safe, effective, patient-centred medical devices that improve quality of life for those with debilitating vascular disease. See more at https://venarimedical.com/. -Ends-

Wednesday, 28 October 2020

First in world chemical free PPE product that will pave the way for safer methods of decontamination that do not cause harm to humans or the environment Aquila Bioscience, a medical technology company from NUI Galway, has successfully proven that its breakthrough Pathogen Capturing Technology safely removes 99.99% of coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2 that causes COVID-19) from human skin. This is the first time a nature inspired, safe and non-toxic technology that is free from all harmful chemicals, has been proven to remove COVID-19 from human skin with such efficiency. The environmentally friendly Class I device safely captures, removes and neutralizes harmful pathogens and viral infections like coronavirus from the skin and surfaces. The breakthrough is significant and occurs at a time when protecting society and controlling the spread of COVID-19 in the community is paramount. The results show that this novel technology is equally if not more effective as the highest performing chemical-based methods currently on the market but without any of the environmental or health problems. The proprietary Pathogen Capturing Technology is currently saturated onto a large wipe, sterilized and individually packaged. This Anti Bioagent Decontamination (ABD) Device is free from alcohol and toxic chemicals and can be safely and frequently used on sensitive areas of the human body including the eyes, nose and mouth without causing any adverse side effects as well as on sensitive equipment such as computer screens and non-corrosive surfaces. Unlike other products on the market, ABD Devices are environmentally safe as they are made from natural materials. Originally developed to protect first-responders and defence forces personnel from a potential biological attack from agents such as anthrax, plague and ricin, Aquila Bioscience has redirected the technology to make available to the government and corporate organisations as a decontamination solution in the fight against the spread of COVID-19. The ABD Device is currently approved by the Department of Education for use as emergency Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) across 4,000 primary and post primary education institutions in Ireland and used by the Irish Defence Forces. Lokesh Joshi, Founder of Aquila Bioscience and Professor in Glycoscience at NUI Galway, said: “The Aquila Bioscience’s innovative and ground breaking technology is a major game changer in the future of pathogen and infection control, and will pave the way for safer methods of decontamination that do not cause harm to humans or the natural world.” The study was carried out by an independent laboratory, NeoVirtech in Toulouse, France with expertise in Virology using donor human skin from cosmetic surgeries. When applied to the skin surface, the laboratory found that the ABD device removes pathogens from affected surfaces by binding to the pathogens with microscopic molecular hooks. Professor Joshi continued: “Currently we are very much focused on supplying this technology to the Irish markets. We are also interested in working with other international partners on how best to bring this technology to other global markets.” Garrett Murray, National Director for Horizon 2020 at Enterprise Ireland, said: “This is a great development and Aquila Bioscience is an excellent example of an Irish spinout that is engaging with the national and European research systems to support their scaling strategy. The Enterprise Ireland Horizon 2020 team is looking to engage with companies with similar ambition to support engagement with the European research and innovation system.” Lieutenant Colonel, Ray Lane (Retired), said: “In 2014 in my role of Commanding Officer of the Defence Forces Ordnance School, we worked closely with Professor Lokesh Joshi and his staff in future proofing our mutual capabilities. With the active support of the European Defence Agency, we looked at the threat from biological agents and designed scenarios for Professor Joshi. To see the innovative/novel development of the ABD today is a source of great pride and humility. As we began our work together in 2014, we agreed on our mission statement ‘Cooperation and Coordination saves lives’. This capability will indeed save many lives.” The technology was developed in collaboration with the Defence Forces in Ireland and the Czech University of Defence, and is supported by the European Defence Agency, the European Union Horizon 2020, and the European Innovation Council. For more information about Aquila Bioscience visit: www.aquilabioscience.com/. -Ends-

Tuesday, 27 October 2020

A recent study from researchers at CÚRAM, the Science Foundation Ireland Research Centre for Medical Devices at NUI Galway, explores the use of optogenetics as a method to relieve chronic pain. Optogenetics uses genetically-encoded proteins that change position and shape in the presence of light to turn brain cells on or off.   Pain is comprised of both sensory (physical intensity) and affective (emotional distress) components. A part of the brain involved in the emotional component of pain is called the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC). Dr Sarah Jarrin, CÚRAM, NUI Galway and first author of the paper, said: “There is significant overlap in the neural circuitry of pain and anxiety in our brains. Sensory pain is our body’s natural alarm system, it is an important mechanism that alerts us to injury and danger. So rather than turning off that alarm system, we are targeting the distress component of pain, a promising target for chronic pain relief that is not addressed by current treatments. “The technique of optogenetics is opening up lots of possibilities for further neuroscience research. With the use of light-activated proteins called opsins, optogenetics allows us to switch on or off a selective population of neurons that control this affective component of pain.” The study, funded by Science Foundation Ireland (SFI), focused on the two components of pain (physical and emotional), the distinct roles they play in the pain experience, and how they can often influence one another. Chronic pain and anxiety frequently go hand in hand. People with chronic pain are also more likely to have anxiety and depression than the general population. The research looked specifically at the role of glutamatergic neurons of the ACC (glutamatergic neurons release the chemical transmitter glutamate, responsible for signalling between nerve cells) and changes in a protein marker of neuronal activity, known as c-Fos, in the ACC. The study was able to show that when the glutamatergic neurons in the ACC were silenced, it is possible to abolish the aversion to pain without affecting the sensory component of pain. The study also showed that optogenetic activation of glutamatergic neurons of the ACC has a differential effect in males and females in terms of pain response. Dr Jarrin added: “The inclusion of both sexes in pain studies is critical, because of differences in pain that have been observed between the sexes. Little is known about differences in the regulation of the physical and emotional components of pain in the male and female brain. Studies have found differences in the functional connectivity between the ACC and other brain regions of important regulating pain in males and females, which may account for differences in the effect of optogenetic treatment." Being able to target the emotional component of pain specifically could be therapeutically beneficial for patients with chronic pain, however further research to better understand the neural circuitry is required to develop these improved treatments. Professor David Finn, Co-Director of NUI Galway’s Centre for Pain Research and principal investigator on the published study, said: “We are excited to publish these interesting data which advance our understanding of how the brain regulates pain, and how this may differ between males and females.” The study was carried out as part of Dr Sarah Jarrin’s PhD project, jointly supervised by Dr David Finn, Dr Michelle Roche and Dr Abhay Pandit at NUI Galway. -Ends-

Tuesday, 27 October 2020

University partners with Sahajanand Medical Technologies to test new device for interventional cardiology NUI Galway and leading medical device company Sahajanand Medical Technologies (SMT) have teamed up to conduct a clinical trial of a new generation of stents on patients suffering the most severe form of coronary artery disease. The Multivessel Talent trial is running at more than 50 locations in eight countries and involves 1550 patients with three-vessel coronary artery disease, which affects about one fifth of all people with heart disease. The trial is sponsored by NUI Galway and will be centrally coordinated by the University’s Corrib Research Centre for Advanced Imaging and Core Laboratory. University Hospital Galway (UHG) is the first European site that has start enrolling patients in the trial. So far four patients have been successfully treated. The trial will run over several years and the research team will periodically assess participating patients. The principal investigator on the trial in Ireland, Professor Faisal Sharif, Professor of Translational Cardiovascular Medicine and Innovation at NUI Galway and Consultant Interventional Cardiologist at UHG, said: “As well as it being the most severe form of coronary artery disease, three vessel disease is increasingly an issue for younger people. “Coronary heart disease means that the blood supply to heart muscle is reduced or blocked due to build-up of fatty tissue, which is known as atherosclerosis. There are many risk factors for this condition but unhealthy lifestyle plays a critical role in its progression. “Coronary artery stenting has made great progress in terms of ease of use, clinical outcomes and technological advances. Three vessel coronary artery disease represents one of the most severe forms of the disease and this clinical trial is important as it will assess a new generation of coronary stents for these high-risk patients." Professor Sharif added: “The key aim of the study is to assess future treatments of coronary arteries, long-term patient survival and quality of life.” Professor Timothy O’Brien, Dean of the College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences at NUI Galway, said: “The commencement of this Multivessel Talent trial, sponsored and led by NUI Galway in partnership with Sahajanand Medical Technologies, will enhance engagement with the regional, national and international medtech industry. “It highlights the central role NUI Galway plays in the medtech sector, both in Ireland and internationally, and it marks a momentous recognition of the excellence of research and development and clinical trial activities here in the University. It also aligns closely with the University’s and national strategic priorities in medtech.” The Multivessel Talent trial is a randomized, multi-centre study implementing best practice interventional cardiology to compare clinical outcomes between two CE-mark approved contemporary coronary devices - SUPRAFLEX Cruz and SYNERGY drug eluting stents. The trial will take place in 50 centres across Europe. All patients will be treated for three vessel disease. This severe form of coronary artery disease is usually seen in patients with diabetes mellitus, high blood pressure, a strong family history of heart disease and smoking. Eligible patients from the west of Ireland who have not previously had by-pass surgery will be offered the opportunity to participate in the trial. The trial is co-chaired by CORRIB Research Center for Advanced Imaging and Core Laboratory Professor Patrick W Serruys, Established Professor of Interventional Medicine and Innovation at NUI Galway, and Professor William Wijns, Science Foundation Ireland Professor of Interventional Cardiology at NUI Galway, both of whom are internationally renowned experts in interventional cardiology and cardiovascular disease. Prof Yoshi Onuma, Professor of Interventional Cardiology and medical director of CORRIB Research Centre, is deputy chairman of the trial. Prof Helge Moellmann (Dortmund), Prof Manel Sabate (Barcelona) and Prof Azfar Zaman (Newcastle) will act as global Principle Investigators. Professor Serruys said: “The Multivessel Talent trial is a pan-European trial, applying best practice principles endorsed by the European Society of Cardiology. In addition to assessing the contemporary stents, the trial will also investigate novel methods to assess coronary artery stenosis severity. “SMT is a forefront manufacturer of stents in India, with an international reputation for state-of-the-art stents with ultra-thin struts. This company is partnering with NUI Galway and the CORRIB Research Centre at NUI Galway which will coordinate this study.” Professor Onuma added: “All angiographies will be centrally analysed with Quantitative Flow Reserve (QFR) using MEDIS software in the independent CORRIB Core Lab at NUI Galway that will provide the investigators with clear identification of flow-limiting narrowing. “The hope is that this trial will simplify the treatment for patients with three vessel disease undergoing coronary angioplasty, a non-surgical procedure used to treat narrowing of the coronary arteries of the heart.” NUI Galway has partnered extensively with the medical device industry in both research and development and in clinical trial activities through the HRB Clinical Research Facility, Galway. Ends      

Tuesday, 27 October 2020

Projects created to foster innovation and collaboration between the research community and public sector Four NUI Galway researchers have received SFI Public Service Fellowship funding awards announced (22 October) by Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, Simon Harris, TD. The Minister announced 12 research Fellowship awards representing a total grant funding in excess of €700,000. The SFI Public Service Fellowship programme offers academic researchers a unique opportunity to be seconded to Government Departments, agencies and the Library and Research Service of the Oireachtas, to work on specific collaborative research projects. The fellowships awarded will foster innovation within the Public Sector by supporting the development and implementation of data-driven and evidence-based approaches. Minister Harris, said: “I am delighted to support the SFI Public Service Fellowship initiative which will contribute to the Government’s objective of promoting a culture of innovation through collaboration, knowledge exchange and the development of data-driven and evidence-based solutions. The successful researchers will play a pivotal role in enhancing collaboration between the research community and Government for the benefit of society.” The Fellowships will have a duration of between three and 12 months and the researchers from NUI Galway will undertake the following research projects: Dr Áine Ní Leime, Deputy Director, Irish Centre for Social Gerontology, received a funding award of €88,751 and will be hosted by the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth for her project, The Economic Cost of Discrimination and the Benefits of Diversity in the Workplace. Dr Ní Leime’s project will measure the cost of discrimination and assess the benefits of diversity in the workplace in order to understand both the needs and potential of a more diverse workforce in Ireland. The research will also assess how the benefits of workplace diversity can be measured and the factors that maximise those benefits both for the economy and for individual organisations. It will assess the cost to the economy of not managing workplace diversity and will help identify the barriers that prevent access to the workplace of people in specific groups - particularly people with disabilities and migrant groups. It will also identify barriers to promotion for certain groups, including migrants and certain groups of women. Dr Rónán Kennedy, School of Law, NUI Galway, received a funding award of €26,460 and will be hosted by the Oireachtas Research and Library Services for his project, Algorithms, Big Data and Artificial Intelligence in the Irish Legal Services Market. Dr Kennedy’s project will examine how information technology is enabling new approaches to legal practice and the work of courts, and how Irish law should respond to the rapid innovation that is taking place. Artificial Intelligence-based tools could reduce legal costs and make it easier for individuals to get better-quality legal advice where and when they need it. However, they could also lead to smaller firms being left behind, and the use of Artificial Intelligence to assist with judicial decision-making (as already happens in other countries) could take control away from judges and strengthen existing social biases and prejudices. Dr Kosala Yapa  Mudiyanselage, Discipline of IT, Insight Centre for Data Analytics, NUI Galway, received a funding award of €67,288 and will be hosted by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform for his project, Distributed Ledger Technology - Identifying and Solving Public Service Problems Using the Blockchain. Dr Kosala’s project will explore how to use blockchain technology to improve public sector services. Blockchain is a promising technology to develop trusted and transparent applications. He investigates potential use cases and develops prototypes while discussing with relevant departments. Currently, Dr Kosala has developed a prototype to check the authenticity of courts’ judgements for the courts service in Ireland. Dr Fatemah Ahmadi Zeleti, Insight Centre for Data Analytics, NUI Galway, received a Fellowship award for her project, Research on measuring the benefits and impact of Ireland’s Open Data Initiative, and will be hosted by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform. Dr Ruth Freeman, Director Science for Society, Science Foundation Ireland said: “Congratulations to all of the Public Service Fellowship award recipients announced today during Public Service Innovation Week. The SFI Public Service Fellowship programme recognises the importance of connecting the Irish research community with public sector organisations to help inform new policy and improve the services that they deliver. The projects announced today will enhance collaboration of the research community with public bodies while also allowing researchers to advance their work and further develop their careers.” -Ends-

Thursday, 22 October 2020

Researchers at NUI Galway have found that being in nature makes us feel better, more connected to one another, and helps us to care for the environment. The NEAR Health project, jointly funded by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Health Service Executive (HSE), was one of the first in Ireland to investigate how Nature and Environment can help society Attain and Restore Health. The findings emphasise the need to invest in and plan for greater access and use of nature-rich outdoor public spaces, ethically and sustainably. People value nature for multiple reasons, for example social, spiritual, emotional, environmental as well as economic, but some people feel disconnected from nature. Recognising the lack of accessible “how to” guides, the NUI Galway researchers have produced a toolkit to help people individually and, in their communities, to engage with nature. The toolkit highlights: how people value and experience nature, health and wellbeing the barriers and bridges to nature connection what people want from their healthy future environment how nature-based activities benefit people’s health and wellbeing. These insights are supported by in-depth, participatory research and collaboration with almost 600 people from communities across Ireland with relevance for individuals, groups, voluntary sector, practitioners and educators, health professionals, policy-makers, planners and local authorities. Workshop participants co-created action plans for a healthy future environment which are a template to live more sustainably helping to build community resilience, as the public make transformative changes post-pandemic and adapt to climate change.  Nature-based activities (NBAs) in Ireland include sea swimming, surf therapy, sailing, nature walks and bat monitoring. Involving a diverse mix of groups, including asylum seekers, those who are less able-bodied, and those recovering from ill-health including mental health, across the lifecourse, benefits included enhanced social connection and wellbeing, reduced stress and anxiety. Dr Caitriona Carlin, NEAR Health project leader, said: “These activities build a sense of pride, and purpose; encouraging people to be more active as well as promoting environmental awareness. Clean-ups and other citizen science initiatives help our environment and contribute valuable records to the National Biodiversity Data Centre, while helping to implement Getting Ireland Active, as part of Ireland’s National Physical Activity Plan, and meet other Healthy Ireland targets. Momentum could be gained from funding partnerships across sports, recreation, health, education and nature conservation sectors. In Ireland, biodiverse spaces have high potential for activities that foster a greater sense of connectedness (with ourselves, with others, and with nature), as well as promoting an ethic of care. “Connecting with nature helps us make sense of the world in changing times, and helps us to feel better, but not everyone has equal access or opportunity to do.We need to share, promote, and celebrate new stories and experiences about how and why a healthy, biodiverse environment matters for our health and wellbeing, and lead to a deeper care for the environment.” The toolkit is available at http://www.epa.ie/pubs/reports/research/health/nearhealth-toolkit.html The full report is available at http://www.epa.ie/pubs/reports/research/health/research348.html or view highlights of the project at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o1lO8SN1CNs&feature=youtu.be This project is jointly funded by HSE and EPA. The EPA Research Programme is a Government of Ireland initiative funded by the Department of Environment, Communications, and Climate Action. It is administered by the Environmental Protection Agency, which has the statutory function of co-ordinating and promoting environmental research. -Ends-

Thursday, 22 October 2020

Ireland’s first science film festival asks audiences to ‘Join the conversation’ in a time when the public rely heavily on accurate and sensitive scientific facts and research Today marks the official launch of the ‘Science on Screen Film Festival Ireland’ an exciting new annual Irish Film Festival, running from the 5-8 November 2020 online. The free online Festival will showcase the best of science in film and this year incorporates themes of representation and diversity in science and the value of art-science collaborations. The Festival tagline, ‘Join the conversation’ invites audiences of all types to immerse themselves in scientific storytelling, hear from filmmakers and researchers on critical topics such as climate change and health research, and take the opportunity to question leading scientists on cutting-edge research. The Festival is hosted by CÚRAM, the SFI Research Centre for Medical Devices, and Galway Film Centre who established the successful Science on Screen scheme in 2016. The Festival programme will be announced at the end of October 2020 and will include science themed feature films and short film programmes, as well as all of the original Science on Screen documentaries. These documentaries tell the stories of patients living with chronic conditions like Parkinson’s, diabetes and stroke recovery and the Irish researchers working to improve their quality of life. Over 200 primary school children from around Ireland have submitted their questions for the ‘Ask A Scientist’ panel session, to be broadcast online on Friday, 6 November at 11am, following a selection of three minute science films created by school children for ReelLIFE SCIENCE’s programme in recent years. The Ask A Scientist session will be chaired by two sixth class students from Gaelscoil Riabhach in Loughrea, Co Galway, who will put the questions to a panel of three top researchers in biological, engineering and environmental sciences. The opening feature for the Science on Screen Film Festival, called ‘Picture a Scientist’ will be hosted as part of the Science Foundation Ireland Annual Summit. Picture a Scientist chronicles the groundswell of researchers who are writing a new chapter for women scientists. Biologist Nancy Hopkins, chemist Raychelle Burks, and geologist Jane Willenbring lead viewers on a journey deep into their own experiences in the sciences, ranging from brutal harassment to years of subtle slights. Along the way, from cramped laboratories to spectacular field stations, we encounter scientific luminaries - including social scientists, neuroscientists, and psychologists - who provide new perspectives on how to make science itself more diverse, equitable, and open to all. The film will be followed by a panel discussion on representation and diversity in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM). Professor Abhay Pandit, Scientific Director, CÚRAM, NUI Galway, said: “We are very proud to be launching the first Science on Screen Film Festival this year. Ireland really is a nation of scientists and storytellers, something that has been illustrated particularly well through the award winning documentaries produced through the Science on Screen programme in recent years. CÚRAM’s public engagement programme aims to provide easy opportunities for the public to ‘join the conversation’ about Irish research and the role of science in society generally. This year the programme will focus on themes of representation, diversity and public trust in science, as well as looking at ideas and opportunities for greater collaboration between science and the arts to create better access to and awareness of research that impacts us all.” Alan Duggan, Manager, Galway Film Centre, said: “We are delighted to be launching Ireland’s first Science Film Festival in partnership with CÚRAM. Building on the success of the Science on Screen documentaries, which have reached an audience of over one million worldwide, the festival will showcase the engaging and thought provoking content that is born from collaboration between our industries. In a time when our reliance on the accurate and sensitive portrayal of scientific facts and research is more important than ever, there is no better moment to ask audiences to join the conversation.” Dr Ruth Freeman, Director of Science for Society, Science Foundation Ireland (SFI), said: “SFI has been developing initiatives to improve the participation of women in STEM careers for some time, as well as funding projects that can help to ensure inclusivity and a diversity of voices in STEM research. There is still much collective work to be done however, to address bias, harassment and the lack of opportunity, diversity and equality for underrepresented groups, such as people of colour, those with disabilities, migrants, those from economically disadvantaged backgrounds and the LGBTQ+ community. “I am particularly pleased to see the Science on Screen Festival promote the ‘Join the conversation’ hashtag, as it is only through multiway dialogue, and by actively listening to those impacted, that we can really improve institutional and toxic workplace culture. The ‘Picture a Scientist’ film is a powerful example of courageous individuals breaking barriers, which in turn can create lasting cultural and political change, which I believe will prove to be both inspirational and motivational to the research community here.” The Science on Screen Film Festival forms part of CÚRAM’s public engagement programme ‘Breaking Barriers’, which aims to forge collaborations between researchers and the community to support the Science Foundation Ireland goal of having the most informed and scientifically engaged public. ‌ View the Festival Trailer here: https://vimeo.com/470302101 Further information on the film programme, speakers and themes will be released on the Festival website at the end of October at www.curamdevicesengage.ie. For more information contact sosfestival@galwayfilmcentre.ie. The Festival is free to attend, but ticket numbers are limited and registration is essential. -Ends-

Wednesday, 21 October 2020

The book interrogates the human consequences of conflict and displacement, challenges the thinking of statist security agendas that divide the world into zones of sanctuary and abandonment, and reflects critically upon our interconnected global sense of precarity NUI Galway Lecturer, Dr John Morrissey has published his fifth book, Haven: The Mediterranean Crisis and Human Security, which presents a transformative understanding of security in responding to the Mediterranean refugee crisis by drawing critically on the UN concept of ‘human security’. From a range of Arts, Humanities and Social Science disciplines, and through case studies incorporating key governmental, NGO and refugee perspectives, the book critiques the major geopolitical, economic and social issues of the crisis. It documents the prioritisation of population management techniques that are underpinned by conventional territorial logics of security, before considering the alternative priorities of human security that can facilitate an active human rights framework and a more holistic and humanitarian interventionism. In advancing a human security approach to the crisis, Haven: The Mediterranean Crisis and Human Security interrogates the human consequences of conflict and displacement, challenges the impoverished thinking of statist security agendas that divide the world into zones of sanctuary and abandonment, and reflects critically upon our interconnected global sense of precarity, particularly so in the Covid-19 world. Dr Morrissey said: “Haven: The Mediterranean Crisis and Human Security was inspired by three-year-old Alan Kurdi’s tragic drowning in September of 2015. I was deeply affected by the photographs of his little body washed up and hauntingly alone on a Turkish beach. The book is dedicated to all those who have died in the Mediterranean over the last five years, and dedicated too to a determined calling out of our responsibility in Europe to safeguard human rights and human security for all. “My thanks to the wonderful colleagues and graduate students who fed so inspiringly into an Irish Research Council project I received funding for in 2016. The book is a culmination of that project, and the contributions, which come from leading international writers, Irish Navy personnel, students and activists, reflect a deep empathy and concern for solidarity in an interconnected world – a world whose precarities have become even more acute and visible since the outbreak of Covid-19.” Dr Morrissey is a Senior Lecturer in Geography, Programme Director of the MA in Environment, Society and Development, and Associate Director of the Moore Institute for Humanities at NUI Galway. He has published widely in the areas of geopolitics, security and international development. His other books include: Negotiating Colonialism; Key Concepts in Historical Geography; Spatial Justice and the Irish Crisis; and The Long War: CENTCOM, Grand Strategy and Global Security. His research has been supported by various grants, from the British Academy and UK Economic and Social Research Council, to the Irish Research Council and Clinton Institute for American Studies, and in recent years he has held prestigious visiting fellowships at City University of New York, Virginia Tech, the University of Cambridge, the University of Oxford and Australian National University. The book was supported by the Academic Council on the United Nations System, an NUI Publications Prize and an NUI Galway Grant-in-Aid Award. -Ends-

Wednesday, 21 October 2020

The first session of this semester’s Druid Academy, open to NUI Galway students and staff, will take place today (Wednesday, 21 October) from 4pm- 6pm online. Following on from NUI Galway’s close partnership with Druid Theatre Company, the Department of Drama and Theatre Studies are delighted to work with Druid to present the Druid Academy, where students have the opportunity to connect with, and learn from, practitioners working in the field across a large number of roles - from producing, directing, performance and playwrighting, to creative roles such as costume and set design, to administrative roles such as marketing and fundraising. Professor Patrick Lonergan, Drama and Theatre Studies, NUI Galway, says: “This week’s focus is Costumeand we will be kicking off the Druid Academy for this semester with an interview with Clíodhna Hallissey, costume designer for Druid's recent production of Tom Murphy’s one-act play On the Outside and costume supervisor for Druid’s landmark tour of the one-act plays of Lady Gregory, DruidGregory. Clíodhna is a graduate of the Drama and Theatre Studies department and we’re delighted to have her back to speak about her career in professional theatre to date.” The session will take the form of a 45 minute interview followed by questions. Clíodhna will talk about her work in costume supervision and costume design, and early-career trajectories in theatre in Galway and Ireland. The following is the full schedule for the Druid Academy for this semester (please note that this is subject to change, based on practitioners’ availability).  All sessions will take place online on Wednesdays from 4pm - 6pm. Druid Academy Schedule 2020-2021 – Semester 1 28/10/20 - Reading and Development Week 04/11/20 – Brian Fenton, Producer – Starting out as a producer, commissioning new work and producing during a pandemic 11/11/20 - Sonja Kelly, Playwright – Playwrighting, writing for a commission, creating and acting in your own work 18/11/20 – Sara Joyce, Director – Directing and assistant directing 25/11/20 – Alison Greene, Marketing and Communications – Audience engagement, marketing and communications (Alison is a former graduate of Drama and Theatre Studies at NUI Galway) Clíodhna Hallissey is arecent graduate of the BA in Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies and English at NUI Galway. Clíodhna was the 2019/2020 recipient of the Marie Mullen Bursary for female theatre artists working in the fields of design, directing and dramaturgy. Clíodhna has worked with Druid on a number of productions, most recently as Costume Designer for On the Outside and Costume Supervisor for DruidGregory.  She was Assistant Costume Designer and Dresser for The Cherry Orchard and Costume Dresser for DruidShakespeare: Richard III at the Abbey Theatre, Dublin. Her other work in theatre includes: Costume Designer for Ar Ais Arís (Brú Theatre/Galway 2020); An Dara Réalt, Yummy Mummy (An Taibhdhearc); Aisling? (Ealaíon na Gaeltachta); BAOITE (An Taibhdhearc / Abbey Theatre); Costume Assistant and Dresser for Grief is the Thing with Feathers (Landmark Productions); The Country Girls (Abbey Theatre). Clíodhna’s work in film and television includes: Costume Designer for Living with a Fairy 2; Costume Assistant for Mr. Mender and The Chummyjiggers; Costume Trainee for Wild Mountain Thyme. The Druid Academy is a ten year partnership with NUI Galway that covers a range of undergraduate and postgraduate programmes in Drama, Theatre and Performance, as well as PhD research opportunities. Borne out of a vision of Galway as a location for the creation of excellent theatre, teaching in the Druid Academy follows the Druid approach, focusing on ensemble as a mode of performance, rigorous critical analysis of theatre, by both practitioners and audiences, and an awareness of the importance of audience, in a variety of locations: locally, regionally, nationally and internationally. The Druid Academy sessions take place online through Blackboard and can be accessed at: https://eu.bbcollab.com/guest/5ab05488c4cf44658e63a2124c2652a5. -Ends-

Tuesday, 20 October 2020

NUI Galway has contributed to a documentary about the death by hunger strike, one hundred years ago, of Terence MacSwiney, who is regarded as one of the most important events in the history of the Irish revolutionary period. 74 Days: The Hunger Strike of Terence MacSwiney will broadcast on Wednesday, 21 October on RTÉ One at 9.30pm. Presented by NUI Galway historian, Dr Sarah-Anne Buckley, ’74 Days’ uses contemporary science insights alongside the original medical notes recorded during MacSwiney’s hunger strike to recreate the story of the last 74 days of his life, and to shine fresh perspective onto a pivotal moment in recent history. Terence MacSwiney’s 74-day hunger strike is one of the longest on record. His actions subsequently inspired similar acts worldwide, most notably by Mahatma Gandhi and Nelson Mandela. Born in Cork in 1879, Terence James MacSwiney was an Irish playwright, author and politician. He was elected as Sinn Féin Lord Mayor of Cork during the Irish War of Independence in 1920. He was arrested by the British Government on charges of sedition and imprisoned in Brixton Prison where he died by hunger strike on October 1920. MacSwiney’s hunger strike was a catalyst for the intensification of Ireland’s War of Independence. Following his death, and the publicity garnered across the world by the circumstances in which he died, the British government returned to the negotiating table in respect of Ireland. The eventual outcome of which was the establishment, in 1922, of the Irish Free State. Dr Sarah-Anne Buckley, Discipline of History, NUI Galway, said: “Terence MacSwiney’s hunger strike is not only a pivotal moment in the history of the Irish revolution, but in the history of resistance and activism globally. Central to this story are the women in MacSwiney’s life, his sisters Mary and Annie and his wife Muriel and their treatment both during the strike and after his death. For me, the programme reveals much about how this strike felt and was experienced, while also exploring MacSwiney the individual, his life, his family, and his legacy.” Terence MacSwiney’s hunger strike is one of the great, marginal stories from modern Irish history: he is arguably better known internationally - in places like Vietnam and Catalonia – than he is at home. Dr Sarah-Anne Buckley argues that his story needs to now be told at home.  In this documentary, Dr Buckley builds a thesis using the personal letters, diaries and witness statements of three extraordinary women central to the hunger strike and who were by MacSwiney’s bedside throughout it: his wife Muriel and his sisters Annie and Mary. These three women were witnesses to history, as well as active participants and victims of it. Elsewhere, Sarah-Anne works closely with Dr Phil Kieran and Clinical Psychologist Eddie Murphy to shed contemporary medical insight onto the impact of hunger striking. Combining first-person, eye-witness testimony from the period with high-end digital technology, they re-create a contemporary medical model that captures MacSwiney’s hunger strike on a day-by-day basis.  Contributors include John Borgonovo, Ciara Breathnach, Daniel Breen, Linda Hogan, Tomás MacConmara, Laurence McKeown, William Murphy, Niall Murray, Helene O’Keeffe, and Anne Twomey. 74 Days: The Hunger Strike of Terence MacSwiney was directed by Ciara Hyland of ForeFront Productions for RTÉ and funded by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland with the Television Licence fee. -Ends-

Tuesday, 20 October 2020

NUI Galway has launched a unique dual Medicine-Engineering, or Physicianeer, programme. The new dual programme will allow students to pursue a specialised Engineering stream in their Undergraduate Medical degree programme, awarding the student with both a Medical and Biomedical Engineering degree (MB, BCh, BAO, BE) upon completion. Developed by NUI Galway’s Professor Derek O’Keeffe and Dr Ted Vaughan, this is the first European dual Medicine-Engineering academic degree track which is currently only available in select institutions worldwide including the Harvard-MIT Health Sciences Technology programme USA and the National University of Singapore. This world class dual Medicine–Engineering programme will only be available to a stellar cohort of less than five students, who will be selected to the Physicianeer programme based on aptitude, academic merit and interview. Professor Derek O’Keeffe, Professor of Medical Device Technology NUI Galway and Consultant Physician at University Hospital Galway, said: “Physicians working in the healthcare environment regularly identify clinical problems that need to be solved and Engineers have the skillset to achieve this. This combined Physicianeer programme offers an interdisciplinary learning environment and will allow the development of technology, systems and solutions encompassing the full innovation cycle from bedside to bench to bedside. “The Physicianeer programme at NUI Galway represents a new paradigm in medical education by integrating Engineering training to produce patient centred innovation. We are looking for students with a strong track record of academic excellence, the best of the best to take part in this pioneering programme to improve patient lives.” Dr Ted Vaughan, Senior Lecturer in Biomedical Engineering at NUI Galway, said: “This programme will build upon the strong links between Biomedical Engineering and Medicine at NUI Galway and will deliver a breadth of knowledge across both disciplines, placing a significant emphasis on problem-solving skills that will produce future innovators for the med-tech sector.” Dr Vaughan continued: “Ireland is uniquely placed to develop a dual Medicine–Engineering Undergraduate degree as we have a leading role in the global medical technology sector. We currently have 450 medical technology companies in Ireland of which 50% are indigenous and eight of the top 10 global medical technology companies are represented here in Galway. “Over 29,000 people are employed in this sector, the highest per capita proportion of workforce than any country in Europe. Ireland is currently the world leader in the production of drug eluting stents and produces half of the world’s hospital ventilators and a third of all contact lenses globally. We are currently the second largest exporter of medical technology products in Europe valued at €12.6 billion.” Dr Sinead Keogh, Director of Med-Tech and Engineering at IBEC, welcomed the announcement saying: “This innovative Physicianeer programme will produce graduates ideally placed to contribute to and grow the medical technology sector as well as improving patient care.” The first student intake of the Physicianeer programme will be in September 2021. For more information visit: http://www.nuigalway.ie/physicianeerdegree/. -Ends-

Monday, 19 October 2020

NUI Galway will host their Autumn Undergraduate Open Day on Saturday, 24 October from 12-4pm. The event, which has been reimagined as a virtual event in line with current public health guidelines, will provide an extensive interactive online experience which will allow students, parents and guidance counsellors to explore courses and careers and to connect with NUI Galway staff and students throughout the day. During the Open Day participants will have the opportunity to explore courses, careers and support services by visiting the virtual exhibition which will include 89 virtual stalls, where visitors can download relevant details, watch videos, and web chat to the stall representatives.  NUI Galway offers over 70 undergraduate courses which can be explored both at the relevant stalls and also at the live online presentations. The 45 live presentations will take place across five parallel rooms and visitors are encouraged to view the schedule in advance and plan their day. Live online talks include introductions to broad subject areas including arts, business, law, engineering, science, medicine and nursing, as well as introductions to more niche, specialised courses. New courses for entry in 2021 are also featured in the schedule of live talks including the new Bachelor of Science (Agricultural Science) and the new Bachelor of Arts (Global Media). A key part of any open day is the opportunity to hear from current students and their experiences. The Virtual Open Day will begin with a live panel discussion, ‘Student Voices: Preparing for College 2021’, featuring students from across a range of disciplines sharing their top tips for choosing courses, starting college and managing pressure. Sarah Geraghty, Director of Student Recruitment and Outreach at NUI Galway, said: “The Leaving Certificate class of 2021 are facing a challenging year and the aim of our Open Day is to support students and parents as they start to think about college options for next year. We hope the Open Day will be an informative and dynamic event which will help students to focus on the study and career opportunities that awaits them, and how they can prepare now for their life at university.” Representatives from NUI Galway’s support services teams will be available to chat with students and parents, including stalls dedicated to accommodation, admissions, fees and other professional and support services. The Access Centre will provide information on the alternative entry routes to third level education including Mature Students’ entry, HEAR/DARE schemes and QQI/FETAC Level 5 places. Staff from Shannon College of Hotel Management and St. Angela’s College Sligo will also be available on the day. Registration is required in advance of the event to access the virtual open day platform at www.nuigalway.ie/opendays, or email visit@nuigalway.ie for further information. -Ends-

Monday, 19 October 2020

Reáchtálfaidh OÉ Gaillimh Lá Oscailte Fochéime an Fhómhair Dé Sathairn, an 24 Deireadh Fómhair ó 12-4pm. Is ócáid fhíorúil a bheidh anseo de réir na dtreoirlínte sláinte poiblí reatha ach is eispéireas fairsing idirghníomhach ar líne a bheidh ann a thabharfaidh an deis do dhaltaí, do thuismitheoirí agus do chomhairleoirí gairmthreorach eolas a chur ar chúrsaí agus ar ghairmeacha) agus nascadh le foireann agus le mic léinn OÉ Gaillimh i rith an lae. Le linn an Lae Oscailte beidh deis ag rannpháirtithe eolas a chur ar chúrsaí, ar ghairmeacha beatha agus ar sheirbhísí tacaíochta trí chuairt a thabhairt ar thaispeántais fhíorúla ina mbeidh 89 seastán fíorúil, áit ar féidir le cuairteoirí sonraí ábhartha a íoslódáil, féachaint ar fhíseáin, agus comhrá gréasáin a dhéanamh le hionadaithe na seastán.  Cuireann OÉ Gaillimh os cionn 70 cúrsa fochéime ar fáil. Is féidir iad a fheiceáil ag na seastáin ábhartha agus ag na láithreoireachtaí beo ar líne freisin. Beidh na 45 cur i láthair beo i gcúig sheomra ag an am céanna agus moltar do chuairteoirí breathnú ar an sceideal roimh ré agus a lá a phleanáil. I measc na gcainteanna beo tá blaiseadh de réimsí leathana ábhair cosúil leis na dána, gnó, dlí, innealtóireacht, eolaíocht, leigheas agus altranas, chomh maith le blaiseadh beag de chúrsaí eile níos sainiúla. Tá cúrsaí nua a bheidh ag tosú in 2021 i measc na gcainteanna beo lena n-áirítear an Baitsiléir Eolaíochta nua (Eolaíocht Talmhaíochta) agus an Baitsiléir nua sna Dána (Meáin Dhomhanda). Cuid lárnach d’aon lá oscailte is ea an deis cloisteáil ó mhic léinn reatha faoina dtaithí féin. Tosóidh an Lá Oscailte Fíorúil le plé painéil beo, ‘Guthanna na Mac Léinn: Ag ullmhú do Choláiste 2021’, áit a mbeidh mic léinn ó réimse disciplíní ag roinnt a gcuid leideanna maidir le cúrsaí a roghnú, tosú sa choláiste agus brú a bhainistiú. Bhí an méid seo le rá ag Sarah Geraghty, Stiúrthóir Earcaíochta Mac Léinn agus For-rochtana in OÉ Gaillimh: “Tá bliain dhúshlánach os comhair rang Ardteistiméireachta 2021 agus is é aidhm ár Lá Oscailte tacú le daltaí agus lena dtuismitheoirí agus iad ag tosú ag smaoineamh ar roghanna coláiste don bhliain seo chugainn. Tá súil againn go mbeidh neart eolais le fáil ag an ócáid dhinimiciúil seo a chabhróidh le daltaí díriú ar na deiseanna staidéir agus gairme atá rompu, agus ar an gcaoi ar féidir leo ullmhú anois dá saol ollscoile.” Beidh ionadaithe ó sheirbhísí tacaíochta OÉ Gaillimh ar fáil freisin le labhairt le daltaí agus le tuismitheoirí agus beidh deis lóistín, iontrálacha, táillí agus ceisteanna eile gairmiúla agus tacaíochta a phlé ag seastáin ar leith. Cuirfidh an tIonad Rochtana eolas ar fáil faoi na bealaí iontrála éagsúla chuig oideachas tríú leibhéal cosúil le háiteanna do Mhic Léinn Lánfhásta, scéimeanna HEAR/DARE agus áiteanna QQI/FETAC Leibhéal 5. Beidh comhaltaí foirne ó Choláiste Ósta na Sionna agus ó Choláiste San Aingeal, Sligeach ar fáil ar an lá freisin. Ní mór clárú roimh an ócáid chun rochtain a fháil ar ardán fíorúil an lae oscailte ag www.nuigalway.ie/opendays, nó seol ríomhphost chuig visit@nuigalway.ie le haghaidh tuilleadh eolais. -Críoch-

Monday, 19 October 2020

Survey led by NUI Galway and the Western Development Commission shows that 23% of respondents would consider relocating, while 7% have already moved Researchers from the Whitaker Institute at NUI Galway and the Western Development Commission have published summary data from the second phase of the national remote working survey. The remote working study findings inform employers about employee experiences of remote working. The survey focused on those employees who are currently working fully remotely or a mix of and onsite and remote.  The survey gathered responses from more than 5,600 employees six months after lockdown. Led by Professor Alma McCarthy and Dr Katerina Bohle-Carbonell at NUI Galway, and Tomás Ó Síocháin and Deirdre Frost at Western Development Commission, the survey found that, among those who can work remotely, 94% were in favour of working remotely on an on-going basis for some or all of the time. The majority of those, 54%, said they would like to work remotely several times a week, 27% said five days a week, and 13% said several times a month. Those who would like to work remotely five days a week (27%) is more than double those who shared that view in the first national survey conducted by the NUI Galway and the Western Development Commission team in April when it was 12% in the immediate aftermath of the lockdown. The overwhelming majority (94%) is a significant increase from the 83% who wanted to work remotely in the April survey. Conversely, only 6% indicated in the second phase that they did not wish to work remotely to any extent – a drop from 16% who gave that response in April. The number of respondents working fully remotely fell from 87% in April to 68% in the first week of October as there was more of a mix of onsite and remote in the latest survey. 23% of respondents said they would consider relocating within Ireland based on their experience of remote working since COVID-19. A further 7% said they had already moved and the West (Galway, Mayo, Roscommon), the South-west (Cork and Kerry) and the Mid-West (Clare, Limerick, Tipperary) were the top regions respondents have relocated to. 16% said they may consider moving, while just over half (54%) said they would not consider relocating. Loneliness and isolation, staying motivated and difficulties with the physical workspace were identified as the main challenges to working remotely. These challenges had changed since April, when not being able to switch off from work, collaborating and communicating with colleagues and poor physical workspace were the main challenges identified. There was no change to the top three benefits of working remotely; identified as no traffic and no commute, greater flexibility in how to manage the working day and reduced costs of going to work and commuting. Interestingly, in the context of work/life balance, 36% of respondents said that they did not respond to emails outside of working hours. Of all respondents, one in four (26%) respond because they choose to, while another 26% respond because of workload. It is important to note that the survey asks about remote work, which includes both working from home and working from another location, for example a hub. Speaking about the second national survey, Professor Alma McCarthy, Professor of Public Sector Management, J.E. Cairnes School of Business and Economics, NUI Galway, said: “The second NUI Galway/Western Development Commission national remote working survey has, once again, gained huge interest with over 5,600 responses. There is a resounding demand from employees to continue to work remotely post-crisis. The remote working experience presents a game-changer for how many organisations will manage their workforce into the future.  For those who can work remotely, they seem to have settled into it quite effectively six months on from lockdown.”     Tomás Ó Síocháin, CEO of the Western Development Commission, said: “The information collected in these surveys will help to ensure that the correct measures are in place to support those working remotely. Identifying the opportunities and challenges will mean that remote working infrastructure such as broadband and remote working hubs, for example, will allow both individuals and communities to minimise the challenges and to make the most of this fundamental shift in the way we work.” The research team has expedited the analysis of initial summary findings of the second national remote working survey which are available on both NUI Galway’s Whitaker Institute and the Western Development Commission websites.  Further publications will be made available. The report and key statistics from the first national survey in April are also available on these websites. To view both surveys on the Whitaker Institute’s Project page, visit: http://bit.ly/remote-working-survey. -Ends-

Monday, 19 October 2020

UCD calls on Galway company who specialize in advanced digital assessment solutions used in medical exams to facilitate online clinical exams after Dublin moves to Level 3 restrictions Qpercom, a Galway-based IT company and NUI Galway spin out has provided a software solution to facilitate the first of a series of final year clinical skills exams using remote video technology, for UCD School of Medicine and Medical Sciences. Qpercom Observe is an advanced digital assessment solution used in medicine, nursing, veterinary, dentistry and health sciences by universities across the globe. With video integration added to help universities maintain their exam schedules during the Covid-19 pandemic, the technology is now seen as crucial and is available to a wider educational community. St. Vincent’s University Hospital and Mater Misericordiae University Hospital are the two main centres where UCD Medical students carry out their Psychiatry clinical placements but the introduction of Level 3 Covid-19 restrictions in Dublin meant that clinical exams could not go ahead at these venues as normal this semester. Every year, approximately 200 students attend St Vincent’s or the Mater to participate in a staged Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE), an examination used by education institutions to test clinical skills. When it became clear that Dublin was to be placed under Level 3 restrictions, Professor Allys Guérandel of St Vincent’s Department of Psychiatry embraced the option of facilitating the exams using video technology and called on Dr Thomas Kropmans, Qpercom’s CEO and a senior lecturer at NUI Galway’s School of Medicine, to facilitate. Dr Thomas Kropmans, CEO, Qpercom, said: “Zoom, MS Teams and Google Meet have changed the world of communications, however this particular exam requires a flow of students going through a series of consecutive stations (video rooms) with simulated patients or actors while examiners complete their assessment form while observing the same video room. This functionality is missing in these established platforms but Qpercom’s platform can manage the process with ease.” Professor Allys Guérandel, St Vincent’s Hospital, Department of Psychiatry, said: “These exams are crucial for our medical students and we are obliged to ensure that students are competent and well equipped to practice medicine. Adding video to Qpercom Observe is unique in its kind and allows us to assess students remotely, no matter where they practice medicine.” On designing the online clinical exams, Enda Griffin, Technical Sales Executive at Qpercom, said: “It was not easy. Technically and logistically it was a major challenge but thankfully we managed the examination and 90% of students were examined remotely without being in close contact with actors or examiners. This opens doors for other oral examinations and communication skills examinations in many other industries.” David Cunningham, Qpercom co-founder and Chief Technology Officer, saying: “Moving students from one video station to the next, while all parties participate remotely, be they actor/patients or examiner/interviewer and the retrieval of assessment data, all represent major logistical and technical challenges but they are challenges which we believe we have solved using Qpercom Observe.” Kelvin Nunn, Project Manager at Qpercom, said: “We’re not fully there yet but we are very grateful to Professor Guérandel and her team for their trust today as the first research department in Europe supporting this proof of concept.” For more information about Qpercom visit: https://www.qpercom.com. -Ends-

Monday, 19 October 2020

NUI Galway’s College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences have announced the appointment of Derek Stewart OBE as Honorary Professor for his work as a patient advocate involved in health research. Born in Ayr, Scotland, Derek was treated successfully for cancer of the larynx in 1995. A former teacher in Glasgow and Nottinghamshire, he subsequently became involved in numerous aspects of patient involvement at local, national and international levels. Derek has made significant contributions to Public and Patient Involvement (PPI) in research in the UK, holding many important roles over the years and was awarded an OBE in 2006 for his services to health, in particular cancer care. He is recognised internationally as a public involvement champion and brings meaning and insight into the value of PPI for research. In recent years, he has played a key role supporting the development of PPI in NUI Galway, contributing substantially to many programmes of research including PPI Ignite @ NUI Galway, the HRB-Trials Methodology Research Network and Evidence Synthesis Ireland. PPI Ignite @ NUI Galway aims to bring about a change in how research is planned and conducted, so that the communities or people who will be affected by the research findings work as partners with researchers to increase the relevance and improve the quality of the research. The HRB-Trials Methodology Research Network, among many other areas of work, are creators of iHealthFacts.ie where the public can quickly and easily check the reliability of a health claim circulated by social media and also led The People’s Trial, a public-led virtual randomised trial. Evidence Synthesis Ireland was responsible for providing up-to-date evidence in answering COVID-related questions for national and international decision-makers during the pandemic. Derek willingly shares his knowledge and experience of PPI with researchers across the University, and brings his experienced patient perspective to help shape complex research studies. As a champion of patient involvement in researchhis reflective and incisive contributions to research discussions present new, public and patient perspectives to researchers, often challenging conventional thinking. He has contributed significantly to the growing recognition of NUI Galway as a leader in PPI. On achieving this Honorary Professorship Derek Stewart OBE said: “I feel very privileged to be associated in this manner with NUI Galway, an internationally recognised centre of learning, particularly in the way the public can get involved with health research.” Mary Roche, a PPI Contributor in NUI Galway, said: “When I heard Derek talking about his PPI work, I found him inspirational, enlightening, humorous and thought-provoking. Given Derek’s journey through his care and treatment for throat cancer, I will never forget his powerful statement ‘while you’ve still got a voice, use it’. Derek made me feel confident that, as a PPI contributor, it is precisely my direct experience that can provide insights that are of great value to those providing health and social care services or seeking to do research.” Professor Declan Devane, Professor of Midwifery, NUI Galway, said: “I am very pleased that Derek has been appointed as Honorary Professor to NUI Galway. I’ve had the pleasure of working with Derek across a number of important projects. He brings not only a wealth of expertise but a generosity in sharing his insight to ensure that patient and public involvement and engagement in research is both meaningful and purposeful. Partnerships between patients, the public and the University and its work are important goals in our University's strategy. I am delighted for Derek, his wife Pat and his family, and for our University. I have no doubt that Derek’s contribution will also help ensure that our contribution remains focussed on, and develops further, in a meaningful and purposeful way." Professor Sean Dinneen, Professor of Diabetic Medicine, NUI Galway and Consultant Endocrinologist, Galway University Hospitals, Galway, Ireland has welcomed this conferral: “Honorary Professor Derek Stewart has been a huge support to our local efforts in NUI Galway to embed PPI in our research processes. His understanding of what constitutes meaningful PPI has been an inspiration to us. We look forward to further contact with Derek in the years ahead.” NUI Galway President, Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh will welcome Honorary Professor Derek Stewart in delivering his Inaugural Professorial Lecture online on Wednesday, 4 November at 1pm. The lecture is open to the public and registration is via Eventbrite: https://bit.ly/DerekStewartHonProf For further information please contact the PPI Ignite Office @ NUI Galway at ppi@nuigalway.ie. -Ends-

Friday, 16 October 2020

NUI Galway, in collaboration with Foróige, have been awarded research funding for a new project “Bridging Worlds - New Learning Spaces for New Times”, which aims to bridge the gap between formal and non-formal learning context and space. Funded by Rethink Ireland and the Innovate Together fund the project has been conceptualised, from the outset to support young people, teachers, school leaders and youth workers - with a shared focus on the quality of all young people’s learning. While the focus is on all learners, the project has a core objective of enhancing and reimagining the educational infrastructure around learning spaces for marginalised and disadvantaged learners who typically struggle. The project is seeking participation from schools in Galway city and county, Co. Mayo and Co. Roscommon – particularly Transition Year teachers. The project wants to work with and provide training for TY teachers who would you like to upskill in new projects that could be interesting and delivered in TY. Training in online and blended  learning provision will be provided along with learning more about youth work and nonformal approaches to education provided by Foróige. The project will introduce innovative evidence based programmes developed for nonformal settings to be delivered in and out of school. The “Bridging Worlds - New Learning Spaces for New Times” project is a collaboration between NUI Galway’s School of Education and UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre and Foróige, collaborating with Insight Research Centre for Data Analytics and NUI Galway Student Services. The research is being led by a team at NUI Galway - Dr Cornelia Connolly, Dr Bernadine Brady, Dr. Cliona Murray, Professor Gerry MacRuairc, and Professor Pat Dolan, and Seán Campbell, CEO and Sarah Haslam, Director of Programmes & Research from Foróige. Dr Cornelia Connolly, School of Education, NUI Galway, said: “The legacy of this work will be contributing to a reconceptualization of where and how children and young people learn, with specific reference to an outcome that ensures that all children and young people can benefit from the intersection of formal and non-formal education.” For more information about the project please contact learningspaces4newtimes@gmail.com or follow on twitter @bridging_worlds -Ends-