Ten Projects at NUI Galway Win Research Frontiers Funding

Ten Projects at NUI Galway Win Research Frontiers Funding-image

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Ten exciting research projects at NUI Galway have been funded as part of Science Foundation Ireland’s 2011 Research Frontiers Programme. The awards, which were announced recently by the Minister for Research and Innovation, Seán Sherlock T.D., aim to support the development of Ireland’s human capital by providing employment and training to some of Ireland’s most talented researchers. In total, the Government committed funding of €15 million to be provided over the next four years to 79 research projects, across 15 research institutions. The ten cutting-edge projects at NUI Galway are: Dr Eilís Dowd: Harnessing adult stem cells for neurotrophin delivery to the degenerating brain. Dr Andrea Erxlebe: Functionalized locked nucleic acids that cleave the RNA component of human telomerase. Dr Dane Flannery: A new foundation for computing with linear groups over infinite domains. Dr Conor O'Byrne: Stress perception in the human pathogen Listeria monocytogenes: seeing the light. Professor Colin O'Dowd: (INFORM) Integrated volcanic ash forecasting system. Dr Zoe Popper: Characterisation of algal cell wall components for future biotechnological applications. Dr Nathan Quinlan: Towards a non-thrombogenic prosthetic mechanical heart valve: measurement of hinge flow fields at microscale resolution. Dr Michelle Roche: Endocannabinoid regulation of neuroinflammatory responses following bacterial and viral infection. Dr Gerhard Schlosser: Evolutionary innovation by rewiring of gene networks - Origin of sense organs in the vertebrate New Head. Dr Cindy Smith: Pathogen detection, survival and sheltering in a model water distribution system. Making the announcement, Minister Sherlock said: “It is vital that Ireland has a robust and competitive research environment that contributes to economic recovery. The projects announced today are very much part of this drive to further build Ireland’s research capability in support of our economic development. Science Foundation Ireland is a key organisation in driving this in terms of indentifying opportunities for top-class research in Ireland.” Minister Sherlock added “These projects are of direct relevance to our daily lives. Discoveries that can be achieved in these sectors will have an impact on computer science, the environment, health and other important fields with the potential to create and sustain top-quality jobs in Ireland.”   ENDS  

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NUI Galway Launches Rugby Youth Academy

NUI Galway Launches Rugby Youth Academy-image

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

NUI Galway has announced the establishment of a Rugby Youth Academy to cater for teenagers in Galway. The Youth Academy is an integral part of the existing University Rugby club which was formed in 1874 and is a founder member of the IRFU. Notable rugby graduates of NUI Galway Rugby Club include Ciaran Fitzgerald who captained both Ireland and the British and Irish Lions. The development of the Youth Academy, coupled with the University’s Sports Scholarship, is aimed primarily at strengthening the University’s AIL U20 squad in the medium-term. According to Dr James J. Browne, President of NUI Galway: “The youth academy is a good fit for the University’s outreach and community support initiatives. It is envisaged that this new academy will add greatly to the development of youth rugby in the city and its environs. It will also be of great benefit for the University Rugby Club into the future.” In its first season, the academy will cater for U13 boys only, but will expand over the next five years up to under 18’s. Coaching, mentoring, and administrative resourcing will come from within the existing University Rugby Club and will be augmented by support from the mini rugby club - Na Bairneachaí (U8s to U12s) established in Barna/Knocknacarra area in 2007. Neil Keaveney, President of Na Bairneachaí, said: “We are very excited by this new venture within NUI Galway. It builds on the hard work and community involvement in the development of Rugby in the west side of Galway city. Simply put, it is a great opportunity for more kids to play more games in what we hope will be an enjoyable yet competitive setting.” The NUI Galway Youth Academy enjoys the full support of the Connacht Branch of the IRFU who are delighted to see the expansion and high profile the game is attracting, especially in the first year of Connacht’s participation in the European Rugby Cup. Gerry Kelly, CEO of Connacht Rugby, commented: “Connacht Rugby has enjoyed huge success in the last year and we are particularly excited about this year’s inclusion in the Heineken Cup. We see this development as a reflection of this success while also confirming the important role the University plays in Connacht Rugby.” Open day and registration will take place on Saturday, 3 September, in Dangan, Galway for NUI Galway Youth Academy and Na Bairneachaí. Training for U13 Boys, born in 1999, commences 17 September at 10.30am in Dangan. ENDS

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Final Call to Job Seekers for Applications for Free NUI Galway Places

Final Call to Job Seekers for Applications for Free NUI Galway Places -image

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

NUI Galway has issued a final call for applications to the six courses it is offering as part of the Springboard initiative.  These programmes range in subject area from Environmental Sustainability, to Medical Device Science and Technology Commercialisation, to Innovation Management. All of these part-time courses are available in a modular, flexible format and can be taken via distance learning for students who are unable to attend the campus on a weekly basis. The Springboard initiative offers free higher education for jobseekers, without affecting the social welfare benefits they receive. “Springboard is primarily designed to help people who have lost their jobs as a result of the recession, and who need to up-skill or re-skill to gain sustainable employment again”, explains Nuala McGuinn, Adult Education Development Officer at NUI Galway.  “These courses would suit those who want to attain a qualification while actively seeking employment. The subject areas are directly focused on employment and the emerging skill needs of Irish industry.” While five of the six courses the University is offering as part of Springboard are level 8 and level 9, NUI Galway is also putting in place a Foundation Diploma in Science, Technology and Engineering. This level 6 programme is designed for people who have been out of the formal education system for some time and provides an ideal starting point for those wishing to embark on a longer term diploma or degree programme NUI Galway has a long history of working with adult learners, either those approaching third-level for the first time or those returning to study. Extra supports are put in place to provide students with the additional skills, computing and study skills, which they may need as part of their studies. All of the Springboard courses commence in early September so interested candidates are advised to check out course details as soon as possible.  Details and an online application process is available on www.bluebrick.ie/springboard.  Alternatively contact the Adult Education Office at NUI Galway on 091 495845. -ENDS-

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Demand Follows Jobs Market as Points Increase at NUI Galway

Demand Follows Jobs Market as Points Increase at NUI Galway-image

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

This year CAO applicants had their eyes firmly fixed on the job market as programmes in Science and Technology were among the most popular college choices at NUI Galway. Points for General Science, Information Technology and Biomedical Science all soared in the CAO first round offers from NUI Galway to prospective students hoping to start their third-level education this autumn. NUI Galway’s popular Biomedical Science degree jumped 30 points to 515 this year. As Ireland’s leading university for biomedical science, graduates of the programme enjoy excellent career opportunities, with many of Ireland’s multinational and indigenous medical device companies clustered in the Galway region. The Computer Science and Information Technology course also saw a huge leap from 325 to 390 points. This increase in interest in Information Technology is hugely significant and reflects the strength of the IT sector in the West of Ireland. Also particular to the west is the area of Marine Science, with NUI Galway offering the country’s only denominated Marine Science degree which increased by 30 points to 400 this year, reflecting this niche area of research and study at NUI Galway. While the General Arts degree is down in points nationally, NUI Galway’s denominated Arts choices continue to remain popular. In particular Arts with Creative Writing (495 to 505), Human Rights (455 to 470) and Irish Studies (400 to 415) all jumped points this year. The University’s Maths and Education course, which was developed to meet the shortage of qualified Maths teachers, also leaped by 40 points bringing it to 420 this year. Commenting on the overall trends and increases, NUI Galway President, Dr James J. Browne, said: "We are seeing a clear trend this year towards programmes in the Science, Technology and Engineering fields as students focus on the job market of the future. Applicants are making well-informed decisions; they are choosing courses where the University has unique strengths and a well-established reputation. In particular, our Biomedical Science, IT, Engineering, Human Rights and Creative Writing courses have proved very popular this year". NUI Galway’s new Engineering Building, the largest of its kind in Ireland, was recently opened and appropriately Engineering programmes at the University have increased in popularity. In particular the Biomedical (405 to 425), Environmental (310 to 470) and Mechanical (430 to 435) Engineering courses all saw substantial increases in CAO points levels. The new world-class teaching and research facility will open its doors in September to accommodate some 1,100 students and 110 staff. The 14,250 sqm building will support an emerging generation of engineers, engaged in a new wave of technologies, embracing innovation and entrepreneurship. -ends-

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Applying Artificial Intelligence Theme of NUI Galway Events

Applying Artificial Intelligence Theme of NUI Galway Events-image

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

The 7th Reasoning Web Summer School, bringing together an international group of postgraduate students and renowned lecturers, commenced today at NUI Galway. The event will be followed next week by the 5th International Web Rules and Reasoning Conference. Both events are organised by the Digital Enterprise Research Institute (DERI) at NUI Galway. The Reasoning Web Summer School and the Web Rules and Reasoning Conference are established international events in the area of applying Artificial Intelligence on the Web. Professor Stefan Decker, Director of DERI, says: “It is the first time these two events are held together and we are proud to have attracted them both to NUI Galway. By co-locating the summer school and conference and also by providing low registration fees particularly for students attending the conference, we aim to further promote interaction between researchers, practitioners and students in this exciting research field. This will also raise the international profile ofGalwayas a centre of excellence for high-tech research and employment.” The summer school received over 100 applications from students worldwide, from which 70 students were chosen to attend. This year, the focus is on reasoning for the emerging ‘Web of Data’, with 15 distinguished lecturers from theUS,South America,Germany,Switzerland,Slovenia, theUKandIreland. NUI Galway’s Dr Aidan Hogan is one of the participating lecturers: “The Reasoning Web Summer School is all about making the Web smarter and easier for us to navigate. If you take a step back and look at the global phenomenon that is the Web today, it is utterly astonishing. Now imagine the Web in five, ten, twenty, fifty years time. We are planting those seeds right now.” Dr Hogan added: “As more and more structured data like Wikipedia becomes available on the Web, we can deploy smarter techniques to better leverage this information for the users, enabling more intelligent Web searches or allowing companies linking data from the Web with their own databases in unforeseen ways.” The co-located conference will attract researchers and practitioners exchanging latest research results, including keynotes by Professor Marcelo Arenas (Chile) and Professor Marie-Laure Mugnier (France) as well as an industry tutorial from IBM. Some 50 international participants from academia and industry are expected to attend the conference which will focus on cutting-edge research results on applying intelligent inference methods to the Web. The Digital Enterprise Research Institute (DERI) is a Centre for Science, Engineering and Technology (CSET) established in 2003 with funding from Science FoundationIreland. Since 2003, DERI has grown to over 120 people. The Institute has strong ties to local and national industry with involvement by multinational companies and SMEs, and is leading research in its fields in various national and European research projects.  DERI emphasises education and technology transfer, which directly contributes to the Irish government’s plan of transformingIrelandinto a competitive knowledge economy. Current research results include semantic search engines, novel collaborative and social media, as well as sensor network technologies.   -ENDS-  

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NUI Galway Conference Highlights European Marine Biotechnology

NUI Galway Conference Highlights European Marine Biotechnology-image

Monday, 22 August 2011

Marine biotechnology is the focus of a one-day conference being hosted by NUI Galway on Thursday, 25 August, entitled ‘Networks as Knowledge – Biotechnology Networks in the Atlantic Area’. The event is organised by the Marine Institute initiative Marine BiotechnologyIrelandand the Socio-Economic Marine Research Unit (SEMRU) at NUI Galway, with the support of the European INTERREG project ShareBiotech and in association with the Centre for Innovation and Structural Change (CISC) in NUI Galway. The conference will present the results of a recent survey that examined the needs and barriers in the biotechnology R&D sector inIreland, and will discussIreland’s position in the wider Atlantic area. Invited speakers fromIreland,Franceand theUKwill describe their experiences in the creation, management and use of shared skills and infrastructures in the life sciences sector. The objectives of the conference are to learn how networks of knowledge and infrastructures can contribute to innovation and to investigate what models oforganisation are available for the marine biotechnology sector. Speaking on behalf of NUI Galway and SEMRU, Dr Ilaria Nardello - National Coordinator of Marine BiotechnologyIreland, and ShareBiotech principal investigator, said, “The first objective of the Atlantic Area Trans-National Programme is to promote transnational entrepreneurial and innovation networks, which is fully in support of Marine BiotechnologyIreland.” Dr Peter Heffernan, Chief Executive of the Marine Institute, stressed howIreland, though the implementation of the programmeoutlined inSea Change,Ireland’s Marine Knowledge, Research & Innovation Strategy 2007-2013 is uniquely positioned to reap the benefits from an early investment in supporting such research. “Marine BiotechnologyIrelandis engaged in an array of activities that are relevant toIreland’s efforts to become a leader in the commercial exploitation of our extensive marine bioresources by continuing to develop and build onIreland’s excellence in marine biotechnology research.”This free event will take place in NUI Galway, at 10am on Thursday, 25 August. A tour of one of the technological core facilities (TCF) on campus will also take place as part of the conference on the day. For full details and online registration, please visit: http://www.conference.ie .   -ENDS-

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Bowel Cancer Specialist to Deliver Sir Peter Freyer Memorial Lecture at NUI Galway

Bowel Cancer Specialist to Deliver Sir Peter Freyer Memorial Lecture at NUI Galway-image

Monday, 22 August 2011

NUI Galway will host Ireland’s largest surgical conference, the 36th Sir Peter Freyer Memorial Lecture and Surgical Symposium, on 2-3 September. Internationally renowned surgeon, Professor R.J. Heald, OBE, will deliver the Memorial Lecture on ‘Colorectal Cancer Surgery - Open, Key Hole, Endoscope or Robot - Where are we Going?’. Colorectal cancer, commonly known as bowel cancer, is the third most commonly diagnosed major cancer in the world. Professor of Surgery at the North Hampshire Hospital and Surgical Director of the Pelican Cancer Centre, Basingstoke, R.J. Heald’s main interest for the past 20 years has been the research and development of the Total Mesorectal Excision (TME) technique for rectal cancer. Professor Heald pioneered TME which has now become the new gold standard for the treatment of bowel cancer, as it improves cure rates and reduces local recurrence. With TME, not only is the cancer tumour removed but all the surrounding fat, lymph glands and blood vessels – thus minimising the risk of the cancer recurring. The annual Sir Peter Freyer Memorial Lecture and Surgical Symposium provides a platform for healthcare professionals to present their research and clinical work and allows for the merging of both scientific and clinical information. It is named in memory of the Galway-born surgeon, Sir Peter Freyer, who performed the first successful surgical operation to remove an enlarged prostate in 1900. Michael Kerin, Professor of Surgery at NUI Galway, says: “We are delighted to welcome Professor Heald to our university. He is focused on advancing the most effective techniques in precision surgery for bowel cancer, aimed at improving survival and quality of life.” On the second day of the Surgical Symposium, Professor Eilis McGovern, President of the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland and Consultant Cardiothoracic Surgeon at St. James's Hospital will present the State of the Art Lecture entitled Surgical Training and Surgical Service – Are we getting the Formula Right. To register, or for further information, visit www.freyer.ie.   -ENDS-

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NUI Galway Student Shortlisted for Media Award

NUI Galway Student Shortlisted for Media Award-image

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

A final year student of the Huston School of Film & Digital Media at NUI Galway has been named on the shortlist of the Best-in-Show 2011* competition organised by The Digital Hub. SpellingRules.ie is the work of student Claire McNeilis and is shortlisted under the Multimedia category. Claire McNelis, originally from Buncrana, Co. Donegal, developed and designed the website, SpellingRules.ie, to explore the use of digital interactive media and computer games in literacy teaching, with regard specifically to children with dyslexia. The website demonstrates that interactive media can be used to help children with dyslexia to learn spelling rules in a way that is primarily self-directed and enjoyable. The use of games to reinforce the content suggests that exploiting the inherently motivational nature of computer games to help children to learn is a viable possibility not only for literacy instruction, but any subject. Dr Rod Stoneman, Director of the Huston School of Film & Digital Media congratulated Claire and commented: “We are thrilled for Claire and highly commend her work. In this shortlisted project, Claire highlights the way that, at present, spelling rules tend to be taught in a classroom setting in a way that is not necessarily accessible for the dyslexic student. Her computer application explains spelling rules, presents them in a way specifically designed for dyslexic users, and allows them to practise the rules in a simple computer game may help dyslexic students to learn and retain existing grammatical rules.” Ms McNeilis explained her motivation for the project: “While computers can be used to teach material as effectively as teachers, there is not currently an effective, age-appropriate, affordable computer-based application which helps students with dyslexia to learn spelling rules. Thus, it was undertaken to design such an application with the intention of hosting it online and making it freely available. The product teaches spelling rules in a way that is accessible specifically to people with dyslexia. It combines audio with written words (many of the problems that dyslexic people have with reading and spelling stem from a phonological processing deficit).” The final product demonstrates that interactive media can be used to help children with dyslexia to learn spelling rules in a way that is primarily enjoyable and self-directed. The use of games to reinforce the content suggests that exploiting the inherently motivational nature of computer games to help children to learn is a viable possibility not only for literacy instruction, but any subject. McNeilis added: “The games have different levels for different abilities. The experience is more like games than lessons. The games include an inbuilt reward system. The product includes multiple examples of the rules in action and is aimed at learners aged between 8 and 14 years.” The shortlist is currently under evaluation and the overall winner will be announced on 14 September 2011. Details of the shortlist is available at Best-in-Show 2011 Click here to visit SpellingRules.ie   ENDS 

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NUI Galway Hold Information Evenings Across the Country for New Students

NUI Galway Hold Information Evenings Across the Country for New Students-image

Monday, 15 August 2011

NUI Galway will hold its twelfth annual series of information evenings across Ireland for students starting their studies at the University in September 2011. Parents/guardians are also invited to the information evenings or 'Student Send-Offs' which will take place at various locations across the country. At the evening sessions, representatives from Student Services, Students' Union and Academic Staff will advise students on what to expect when arriving at NUI Galway, and will answer any questions relating to university life. The topics covered will include Study at University, Accommodation, Finance, Student Support Services, Recreational Opportunities and general advice in relation to the First Year Experience.The 'Student Send-Offs' will take place at 7pm in the following venues: · Westmeath, Thursday, 25 August: Radisson SAS Hotel, Athlone, Co. Westmeath. · Dublin, Friday, 26 August: The Clarion Hotel, Liffey Valley, Dublin. · Donegal, Monday, 29 August: The Abbey Hotel, Donegal Town, Co. Donegal. · Mayo, Tuesday, 30 August: TF Royal Hotel, Castlebar, Co. Mayo. · Sligo, Wednesday, 31 August: Sligo Southern Hotel, Strandhill Road, Sligo Town. · Clare, Thursday, 1 September: Temple Gate Hotel, The Square, Ennis, Co. Clare. · Galway, Monday, 5 September: The Bailey Allen Hall, Áras na Mac Léinn, NUI Galway. Matt Doran, Administrative Officer with Student Services at NUI Galway, said: “The Student Send-Offs are a great opportunity to get valuable advice in relation to the first year at University. Students and parents always have lots of questions which they have answered at these information evenings.” For further information on the information evenings or to register in advance please contact Eimear on 086 8585171 or email studentsendoff@nuigalway.ie. For any other queries contact the NUI Galway First Year Hotline on 091 493999. -ENDS-

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NUI Galway Students Step Up Maths Education

NUI Galway Students Step Up Maths Education-image

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Bridging the Transition from Primary to Post Primary Education Maths students are Stepping Up! at NUI Galway, as a week-long enrichment programme designed to support students’ transition from primary to secondary school, with a special emphasis on Maths Education, will begin. The programme is hosted by the Number Crunchers team, a group of nine Maths and Education students who are working with staff from the School of Education, NUI Galway as part of their degree course. The Stepping Up! programme will take place form 15 – 19 August and is open to school goers attending their first year in secondary school in September 2011. The Number Crunchers aspire to help prepare students for the changes associated with the move to secondary school with an interactive and fun approach to both maths and school related social issues that affect young teens. The main aims of this programme are to improve maths skills, to be more at ease with the differences between primary and secondary school, and most important of all, to have fun! Modules in this course include Number Systems, Introduction to Algebra, Geometry, Probability and Puzzles and Codes. Dr Catherine Paolucci, NUI Galway Lecturer in Mathematics Education, said: “This is an excellent opportunity for students to explore a variety of real applications of mathematics and reinforce essential skills in preparation for advancing their mathematical knowledge in a new school environment.” In addition to an academic focus, the Number Crunchers also aim to prepare students for the significant social changes that young students face in their first year of a new school environment. Lessons on adapting to the new school environment, student-teacher relationships, bullying, and study skills will be interwoven into this course. Participants will also have an opportunity to meet other students throughout Galway and make new friends. Speaking about the ethos of the course, student Michael Kieran, a member of Number Crunchers, said: “There is a huge difference between primary and secondary mathematics, from the topics covered to the teaching approaches. The relaxed, fun approach of this programme will help encourage students to enjoy maths and look forward to their new schooling experience.” Stacey Burke, also of the Number Crunchers team, says: “It’s an exciting but nerve-wrecking time making the transition to secondary school; we want to encourage students to enjoy this process in a fun environment that interweaves maths education with social issues which will help to alleviate any anxiety that students may feel.” The programme takes place from 15 - 19 August 2011 and is open to any student who will be attending their first year in secondary school in September 2011. A fee of €20 per student applies. As the course runs next week, this is final chance to reserve a place at http://www.conference.ie/Conferences/index.asp?Conference=130 or contact Jean Kenny on 087-4147733 or j.kenny8@nuiglaway.ie ENDS

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