Winter Conferrings at NUI Galway

Winter Conferrings at NUI Galway-image

Monday, 21 November 2011

Over 1,600 students will graduate from across the five colleges at NUI Galway at the University's winter conferring ceremonies, which take place from 23 to 25 November. Liam Ferrie will also be conferred with an honorary Master of Commerce degree.   A native of Scotland, Liam is now living in Menlo, Co. Galway. In 1987 he founded the Irish Emigrant, a weekly online newsletter covering Irish news, and has been working as Editor and writer of the publication since then. He is also Founder of Irish Emigrant Publications, Ireland's longest-established Internet publishing company, producing online publications such as Professional Ireland, BookView Ireland, Arts Ireland and Sports Ireland.   Speaking in advance of the ceremonies, President of NUI Galway, Dr Jim Browne, said: “NUI Galway is fortunate to be associated with many outstanding honorary graduates throughout its history. Today we are proud to honour Liam Ferrie for his contribution to the Irish diaspora. As founder and publisher of the Irish Emigrant he has fostered a sense of community among the global Irish diaspora, by delivering news from Ireland through his weekly online publication, the Irish Emigrant newsletter.”    In addition, degrees, higher diplomas, Masters and PhDs will be awarded to students graduating over the three days from the College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences; College of Engineering and Informatics; College of Business, Public Policy and Law; College of Science; and the College of Arts, Social Sciences and Celtic Studies.   -ENDS-

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NUI Galway to Hold Information Evening in Cork

NUI Galway to Hold Information Evening in Cork-image

Monday, 21 November 2011

Secondary school students interested in NUI Galway are invited to an information evening in Cork on Thursday, 1 December. Parents and guardians are also particularly welcome to the event which runs from 7 to 9pm in the Silver Spring Moran Hotel in Cork City.   The evening will begin with short talks about NUI Galway and some of the 60 courses it offers. Afterwards, current students and NUI Galway staff will be on hand at information stands to answer any individual questions in relation to courses offered by the University and about practical issues like accommodation, fees and scholarships, and the wide range of support services available to our students.   The ever-increasing popularity of NUI Galway is in part due to a suite of innovative new programmes, developed in response to the changing needs of the employment market, including an Energy Engineering degree and a Maths and Education degree aimed at training Maths teachers.   Visitors to the information evening will also get information on NUI Galway’s newest degree programme, a BA in Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies which is brand new for 2012.   “NUI Galway has a great deal to offer. Our own students tell us our lecturers are inspirational and challenge them to achieve their full potential. The student experience in Galway is second to none, and we want to bring a taste of that to Cork, while also providing all the practical information on accommodation, CAO points, fees, scholarships and courses. With so many courses on offer, this event in Cork is a perfect opportunity to meet current students and our lecturers to see what degree might be the right fit”, says Caroline Loughnane, Director of Marketing and Communications at NUI Galway.   To find out more about the information evening in Cork, contact NUI Celine O’Donovan, Schools Liaison Office at NUI Galway, on 087 239 1219 or   -Ends-

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NUI Galway College of Science Research Day

NUI Galway College of Science Research Day-image

Monday, 21 November 2011

The College of Science at NUI Galway recently showcased PhD research in its various disciplines in a ‘Research Horizons’ evening.  Invited speakers from Queen’s University Belfast, Oxford University and University College Dublin gave detailed talks on their work and with students from all Schools in the College of Science presenting their work in a competition that was judged by the three invited speakers.   The winner of the competition was Claire Concannon, a Biochemistry student from Tralee, Co. Kerry, who spoke on ‘The role of the proteasome in triplet repeat DNA expansions’.  Second place was presented toPharmacology and Therapeutics student Sandra O’Brien from Galway City, who spoke on ‘Early life fluoxetine exposure: Behavioural effects in adulthood’. Third place was awarded to Biochemistry student, Lynda O’Leary from Ballinrobe, Co. Mayo, who described her work on ‘An alternative TRAIL to killing cancer’.   The external speakers included: Professor A.P. de Silva, Queen's University Belfast who delivered a talk on ‘2011: A small space odyssey with luminescent molecules’; Professor Alain Goriely, Oxford University, spoke on ‘The mathematical mind of Professor Moriarty: all the mathematics you will not see in the new Sherlock Holmes movie’; and Dr Emma Teeling, University College Dublin, who described ‘What bats can tell us about the evolution of sensory perception in mammals’.   The ‘Research Horizons’ event presented a broad and exciting range of cutting-edge research at NUI Galway and should help inspire other students to consider a career in scientific research.   -ENDS-

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New Book on Prison Sentencing

New Book on Prison Sentencing-image

Monday, 21 November 2011

Sentencing: Towards a Coherent System by Tom O’Malley, a Senior Lecturer in Law at NUI Galway, has just been published by leading law publishers, Thomson Reuters.   As prison populations in Ireland and elsewhere reach record levels, governments are being forced to rethink many of the policies which held sway in recent decades, especially in regard to the use of mandatory sentences and rigid sentencing guidelines.   This book provides a detailed analysis of the nature of judicial discretion and claims that a just and effective sentencing system can be devised by retaining this discretion provided it is accompanied by various judicial support systems. It includes a survey of measures adopted internationally since the early 1980s to structure judicial sentencing discretion and argues that, in small jurisdictions in particular, a reasonable balance between flexibility and consistency can be achieved without resort to some of the more drastic measures introduced in the United States and elsewhere.   The book also includes a substantial foreword by Chief Justice Susan Denham who, prior to her appointment as Chief Justice, had chaired the Irish Sentencing Information system project (of which Mr O’Malley was a member) and also the committee which recommended the establishment of a permanent Court of Appeal. In her foreword she notes that a permanent court of appeal would be required if some of the recommendations made in this book were to be implemented.   The author, NUI Galway’s Tom O’Malley, said: “This book is not intended as an analysis of existing sentencing law. Instead, it treats sentencing as an important aspect of public policy which carries heavy social and economic costs. In many cases, those costs are justified but we must always strive to develop and refine policies which will make the system as socially productive and cost-effective as possible. Our School of Law is now part of the College of Business, Public Policy and Law, and I hope that this book will enhance our contribution to public policy discourse, nationally and internationally.”   Mr O’Malley is already the author of leading Irish treatises on criminal law, criminal procedure and sentencing law, and he has recently been invited to deliver a postgraduate course on comparative criminology at the University of Leiden Law School in the Netherlands in spring 2012.    -ends-

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Galway Science & Technology Festival Exhibition Expects 20,000 Visitors

Galway Science & Technology Festival Exhibition Expects 20,000 Visitors-image

Monday, 21 November 2011

The 14th annual Galway Science and Technology Festival which is part of National Science Week will run until Sunday, 27 November. The two-week free event has provided shows, demonstrations and activities to 130 primary and secondary schools encompassing 22,000 students and will culminate with a fantastic family day out at the Festival Exhibition on Sunday, 27 November at NUI Galway. The Festival aims to increase the uptake and popularity of the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) subjects among young people by taking shows to primary and secondary schools throughoutGalwaycity and county. The free Festival Exhibition on Sunday, 27 November, will be attended by the European Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science, Máire Geoghegan-Quinn and will take place from 10am-6pm at the Bailey Allen Hall, Orbsen and IT Buildings at NUI Galway and other campus venues. There will be hundreds of scientists, engineers and business innovators showcasing their work at 78 interactive stands representing areas including research, education, industry and the environment and visitors will be able to participate in experiments, watch demonstrations and discuss ideas with researchers. Different exhibits will allow the public to learn more about topics such as life-saving medical devices, renewable energy, a Cloud Computing presentation by 6th class students fromBriarhillSchool, IT in the future, Kitchen Chemistry, and much more. NUI Galway’s museums will all be open on the day, and the popular 3D Tour of the Universe makes a welcome return. Visitors can experience 78 exciting interactive exhibition stands from severalGalwaybased science and technology companies. A free Park and Ride service atCorribVillage,Newcastle,Galwaywill be in operation on the day. This year a booking system is in place through to help people plan their day. Festival Chairman, Tom Hyland commented: “The Festival Exhibition has become a calendar highlight for families and educators with over 20,000 visitors to last year’s exhibition. We are very thankful to NUI Galway for providing facilities on campus to host the 78 interactive exhibitions this year. The Board of Galway Science and Technology Festival would also like to express their gratitude to main sponsor Medtronic and to all of the other sponsors including The Galway Enterprise Board, Discover Science & Engineering and Boston Scientific – Avaya, SAP, GMIT, Cisco, IDA Ireland, HP, Covidien, Merit Medical,LakeRegion,EnterpriseIreland, Údarás na Gaeltachta, Marine Institute and Transitions Optical. All of these companies in their own way help bring excitement and fun to science and technology for children and families across the city and county.” Last week students enjoyed school shows like the K’NEX Roadshow which fosters an interest in science and robotics, an explosive Dr Thompson’s Laboratory and the Mad Science Air Blast Show. This week schools can look forward to shows like Magic Mathworks, Sue McGrath’s Chemistry Show, Cosmic Explorer’s with Robert Hill, Blackrock Castle Observatory’s StarDome and Mr Bug with Matt Lewis. Gerard Kilcommins, VP Global Operations & General Manager Medtronic commented: “In 2001, Medtronic became the main sponsor of the Galway Science and Technology Festival and, while we had no doubt in our minds about the importance of the initiative locally, we could not have imagined it would develop into such a successful event and highlight in the calendars of the educational and science communities. Now, more than ever, harnessing the power of science and technology, and engaging our younger generation in this area so that we can produce high-calibre scientists and engineers in the future, is pivotal toIreland's economic destiny.” NUI Galway is running many interesting shows and events to stimulate the mind including Computer Game Programming with Kinect, an invitation to Senior Cycle Physics Students to the newEngineeringBuildingand a talk for students, parents and teachers on Cyberbullying.  The Zoology andGeologyMuseumwill be open for tours along withIreland’s onlyComputer & CommunicationsMuseum.  President of NUI Galway, Dr Jim Browne, commented: “For many years, Galway Science and Technology Festival has generated real excitement for young people about the wonders of science and technology. As a University, NUI Galway shares this belief in the importance of making science and technology attractive to the next generation. Why? Because never before has Irish industry and society depended so much on bright, talented graduates to buildIreland's capacity in technology, research and innovation.  We are delighted to work closely with the Festival as it gives us in the University a chance to open our doors, so that we can share the boundless possibilities and the sheer fun of science!” GMIT will host tours of all facilities including science, technology and engineering laboratories. There are also various interesting workshops for students including Modern Medicines, The Chemistry of Smoking Addiction and NicotinePatches and a Forensic Investigation. This year a Mentoring Program by local engineers is available to senior cycle students looking for career advice. Galway Senior Hurler and Enginner at Medtronic, Damien Joyce is one such mentor. Engineers from over 11 different companies participating in this initiative will visit schools and talk to the students about their subject choices, give practical career advice and share their work experience. To book shows visit The 2011 Programme of events and School Booking Forms are available at   -ends-

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Róisín Ní Mhainín, Sean-nós Dancer in Residence at NUI Galway

Róisín Ní Mhainín, Sean-nós Dancer in Residence at NUI Galway-image

Friday, 18 November 2011

The Centre for Irish Studies at NUI Galway is delighted to announce the appointment of Róisín Ní Mhainín, a native of Rosmuc, as Sean-nós Dancer in Residence for 2012.  Recognised as one of the first generation of female sean-nós dancers to gain widespread popularity, Róisín has developed a distinctive style of dancing and is acknowledged by her peers as a leading exponent of sean-nós dance in the new millennium.  Her success at An tOireachtas further demonstrates her leading role among sean-nós dancers and within the wider traditional arts community.  Róisín has performed extensively in stage productions such as ‘Between the Jigs and the Reels’ and ‘The Well’ in Vicar St and further afield at the Milwaukee Festival.  At the reception to mark her appointment, Róisín captivated family, friends and admirers with her performance. Treasa Ní Mhiolláin, the outgoing Sean-nós Singer in Residence for 2011 described the first time that she saw Róisín perform as a skilful young dancer, and was particularly pleased to pass on the artist in residency baton to Róisín for 2012.  In announcing her appointment, Professor Gearóid Denvir observed that Róisín drew from the wellspring of traditional culture in Connemara through her steps and her appointment as Sean-nós Dancer in Residence emphasises the University’s commitment to, and recognition of, the value of that tradition. As part of her residency, Róisín will participate in a series of performances throughout the year and also importantly, will give a series of sean-nós dance workshops at NUI Galway. The workshops will be open to the public and commence in January 2012. In addition to the Centre for Irish Studies, this scheme is supported by Ealaín na Gaeltachta, Údarás na Gaeltachta and An Chomhairle Ealaíon. ENDS

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Wellcome Trust Announce Continued Support for School Debating Competition

Wellcome Trust Announce Continued Support for School Debating Competition-image

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Wellcome Trust, the largest independent charity in the United Kingdom, has announced that it will support the Debating Science Issues (DSI) project for a fifth consecutive year.  Co-ordinated by Danielle Nicholson, Outreach Officer with REMEDI at NUI Galway, this All-Ireland competition encourages young people to engage in debate on the cultural, societal and ethical implications of advances in biomedical science. Schools taking part initially receive a three-hour biomedical, bioethical workshop to facilitate discussion on the ethical issues raised by stem cell research, genetically modified food, nanotechnology, health and self-testing kits or flu vaccinations. School students then carry out research further in preparation for the debate. DSI is a cross border schools science debating competition involving nine collaborating partners:  the Regenerative Medicine Institute (REMEDI) at NUI Galway; W5 in Belfast; Biomedical Diagnostics Institute at DCU; Royal College of Surgeons, Ireland; CRANN at TCD; CLARITY at UCD; the Centre for Cross Border Studies in Armagh; Cork Institute of Technology; and Alimentary Pharmabiotic Centre at UCC.  Commenting on the announcement, NUI Galway’s Danielle Nicholson said: “Next year 48 schools will be involved and organisers will create a new topic surrounding the funding allocation made to develop treatments and research rare diseases.  A new dedicated DSI website is also being developed.” Boston Scientific, Abbott Ireland, Merck-Millipore and Pfizer Ireland are sponsors of the provincial trophies and prizes.    -ENDS-

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Students Take to the Stage at Druid

Students Take to the Stage at Druid-image

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

From 24-26 of November, NUI Galway’s Dramsoc are performing Tom Murphy's The Morning After Optimism in the Druid Lane Theatre. The performance is being facilitated as part of the NUI Galway partnership with Druid Theatre Co. Three of four members of the cast are currently studying on the BA CONNECT Theatre & Performance programme at NUI Galway, while the production team includes engineering, maths, creative writing and Irish language students. Darren Coppinger, an engineering PhD student in NUI Galway, directs the production. He says: “The producer and I discovered this play about two years ago, in the Abbey Theatre bookshop. It jumped out at me immediately and I wanted to put it on. The play had its first run last year, in the Bank of Ireland Theatre, NUI Galway. Thereafter, we felt the play had a huge amount to offer and we are lucky enough to be able to stage it in Druid – home of Tom Murphy - for a second run this year.” He continues, “It’s a play about James and Rosie – the pimp and the whore. In the course of the play, they discover their better selves, as well as idealized lovers in Edmund and Anastasia, a prince and a maiden. It’s a play of opposites: on one side you have the sinners and on the other, the saints. Murphy places them in a surreal forest, as a means of exploring these contrasts and assessing whether they can survive in the one space. In the play, James, the pimp talks about his indoctrination in the form and the language of fairytale. To me, the play is a dialogue about false hopes. It looks at the demise of our childhood illusions, which tend to inhibit us from dealing with harsh reality. The work has universal appeal and although first performed in 1971, it feels contemporary. The concept of fairytales of the past clashing with the cold reality of modernity corresponds, I think to conflicting feelings about where we are as a society. Like James and Rosie, we are asked to confront our illusions and decide where we want to go next.” The play is heavily influenced by on the music of Berlioz (Symphonie Fantastique). It deploys dashes of colour, unusual props, expressive gesture and movement to create its own unique world. Unlike most of Murphy’s works, The Morning After Optimism uses little Irish dialect. He concocts a new vernacular of storybook clichés, rediscovered vocabulary, proverbs, manic imagery and phrases from songs. Thomas Kilroy wrote of it that it ‘exists between the rabid, spilling language of the streets and the language of fairytale. Great lunatic monologues in which these two realities clash and mix and outrage one another’. This production is the second occasion on which NUI Galway Dramsoc has performed in Druid Lane Theatre. Last year, the society hosted the Irish Student Drama Association (ISDA) Festival, and used the theatre as one of its main venues. The Festival itself went on to win the prestigious title of ‘Event of the Year’ in NUI Galway, winning Dramsoc the title of ‘Society of the Year’ at the NUI Galway Society Awards. Darren continues: “The University and Druid formalized their relationship by means of an academic partnership last year. This production, we hope will be the first of many Dramsoc plays to be performed in this iconic theatre. The society is one of the largest on campus, and produces more than 25 productions annually. It is great to see Druid supporting Dramsoc and NUI Galway – already, students are benefitting from the relationship and long may it continue.” The NUI Galway Dramsoc’s production of the play, The Morning After Optimism, by Tom Murphy runs in Druid Lane Theatre from November 24-26. Shows start at 8pm, and tickets are €5/€8, from the Socs Box in Áras na Mac Léinn. Reservations can also be made by emailing or phoning 086 1632868.   -ends-

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Stopping Bugs that Smash Antibiotics

Stopping Bugs that Smash Antibiotics-image

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Many common infections that were once a scourge, such as typhoid and cholera, have been almost forgotten in Europe.  This is largely because of improved water supply and sanitation but also because we have had safe antibiotic treatments that work to treat serious infections for the last 50 years. A lot of this progress is at risk now because bacteria that can resist antibiotic treatment are becoming more common, according to Martin Cormican, Professor of Bacteriology at NUI Galway’s School of Medicine. Friday, 18 November, is European Antibiotic Awareness Day. It is a reminder of how much the discovery of antibiotics has helped us all to live longer and healthier lives, but also of how much is at stake if we do not act to save antibiotics.  According to Professor Cormican: “As bacteria become resistant to all the older antibiotics, we know that drug companies are finding very few new antibiotics. If we do not have antibiotics that work, certain types of surgery and cancer treatments will become almost impossible do safely because the risk of infection in patients will be too great.”   NUI Galway scientists and doctors in the School of Medicine are working with others in Ireland and Europe to track the spread of antibiotic resistant bacteria in Ireland and on finding better ways to cut down on overuse of antibiotics. “Our work at NUI Galway shows that bacteria can change their genes and even swap genes with other bacteria very quickly. Some genes can give bacteria the power to smash the antibiotics into pieces before they have a chance to work. The more often we use antibiotics, the better the chance that a bacteria with a gene that breaks down the antibiotic will develop and spread. Every time drug companies manufacture a new antibiotic we see the same thing happen within months or years. Right now we are working with people around the country to track the latest big antibiotic-resistant problem which is called CPE. These CPE bacteria have now been found in seven different labs in Ireland – there are many different kinds of CPE and many of these bacteria are resistant to almost all of the antibiotics that we have to treat infection.” For Professor Cormican, there are some very simple things that can be done to slow down the advance of resistant bacteria. “We need to use less antibiotics, and we can do this safely if we all stop using antibiotics when there is no need for them. Antibiotics are prescribed by a doctor and so part of our research with the Discipline of General Practice and funded by the Health Research Board is to look at ways to help doctors use antibiotics in better ways.” He also points out that many people still think that they should get antibiotics from the doctors for colds, coughs and sore throats and other minor infections. Many minor infections do not need antibiotics and many are caused by a virus and antibiotics do not help even a little bit for infection with virus. However, it is also important to know that taking antibiotics you don’t need, will kill your good bacteria and can cause diarrhoea and thrush. “So keep your good bacteria safe by taking antibiotics only when you really need them,” says Professor Cormican. The Environmental Protection Agency has also supported the work at NUI Galway, which found that some antibiotics and antibiotic resistant bacteria escape from places including hospitals into the environment. “We do not know yet how much this adds to our problems but there is reason to believe it could make things worse”, explains Professor Cormican. “We also need to be careful if we have left-over antibiotics. Do not pour them down the sink or the toilet, do not put them in the bin as they might eventually get back into rivers, lakes and drinking water. We can only dispose of them safely by taking them back to the pharmacy.” Professor Cormican concluded: “If we all work together on this we can help to keep antibiotics that work for our children and grandchildren.” -ends-

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NUI Galway PhD Graduate Awarded Prestigious European Doctoral Award

NUI Galway PhD Graduate Awarded Prestigious European Doctoral Award-image

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Dr Michael Keeney, a PhD graduate of NUI Galway, has been awarded the prestigious European Doctoral Award for his PhD studies. The award is made annually by the European Society for Biomaterials and confers added value to the Doctoral Degree already gained by Dr Keeney, who is originally from Donegal Town.  The award is complementary to the PhD degree, and recognises the European or international dimension of work, acting as a proof of quality.  The award also acknowledges the PhD supervisor, in Michael’s case, Professor Abhay Pandit of the Network of Excellence for Functional Biomaterials (NFB), NUI Galway, proving the integration of their research at an international level. This is the first European Doctoral Award in the field of Biomaterials won by an Irish student or University. Michael completed his Doctoral Degree at NUI Galway having graduated in 2010. His research, funded by IRCSET and SFI, was undertaken at the NFB and involved tissue regeneration of bone defects; the thesis was entitled “Design and Functionalisation of Collagen/Calcium Phosphate Scaffolds for Non-Viral Gene Delivery in Bone Tissue Engineering”. In order to qualify for the award, Michael spent time at the Jansen Laboratory, at Radboud University in the Netherlands, where he performed in-vivo studies on bone formation, a placement that was supported by the European Molecular Biology Laboratory. After a brief period working as a research assistant at NUI Galway, Michael was offered a postdoctoral research fellowship at Stanford University in the United States.  At Stanford, Michael currently works on tissue engineering and drug delivery in the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery. Speaking about his receipt of this award, Michael said: “It is an honour to receive such a prestigious award from the European Society of Biomaterials and it is a credit to all the hard work being performed at the NFB.” -ends-

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