Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Civil Society Coalition on Legal Capacity Reform Today, a broad disability rights alliance called on the Irish government to finally replace outdated ‘lunacy’ laws and end the crisis of widespread human rights violations against people with disabilities in Ireland. On the eight-year anniversary of Ireland signing the UN Convention on the Rights of Person with Disabilities, it called for an end to the foot-dragging on the Assisted Decision-Making (Capacity) Bill 2013  and for it to finally move to Committee Stage in the Dáil. Dr Eilionóir Flynn, Acting Director, Centre for Disability Law & Policy, NUI Galway said: “It seems unimaginable that a country would use a ‘Regulation of Lunacy Act’ from the 1800s to govern decision-making issues for people with disabilities. While horrific disability abuse scandals make national headlines, the 2013 Bill has been long-fingered by the government. The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities entered into force in 2007. Yet Ireland is one of only three EU governments that has failed to ratify it.” The government has promised to enact the Assisted Decision‐Making (Capacity) Bill following a law reform process that was initiated in 2008. This is a necessary precursor to Ireland’s ratifying the UN Convention. Yet reports indicate that the Bill published in 2013 may fail to be enacted in 2015. Tina Leonard, Head of Advocacy & Public Affairs, Alzheimer Society of Ireland, said: “People’s lives are being impacted by this delay. Today, thousands of people in residential centres, hospitals and in their own homes are having decisions about their lives and care made for them, not by them. These include decisions like what to eat or what they may spend their money on, as well as very serious decisions like what invasive health procedures they should have. This is a systematic abuse of their human rights caused by the ongoing lack of a legal framework on legal capacity." Colm O’Gorman, Executive Director, Amnesty International Ireland said:  “We  urgently need legislation that  enables  people to exercise their legal capacity and  autonomous decision-making. They should have access to the supports they need to fully exercise those rights rather than have decisions about their day‐to-day lives made by others. Otherwise they remain voiceless with no control over their own lives, and at risk of coercion, neglect or abuse.” Áine Hynes, Irish Mental Health Lawyers Association said: “We are calling on the Government today to take urgent action to bring the Bill to Committee Stage. We are also asking the Government to have a fresh look at our recommendations for how this Bill should be strengthened. It particularly needs to reform ‘informal decision making’ so potential for abuse is removed, and put in place safeguards for people who are effectively deprived of their liberty in residential settings.” Gráinne McGettrick, Policy and Research Manager, Acquired Brain Injury Ireland, said: “It is not just people with disabilities who are being let down by this failure to bring the Bill to Committee Stage in the Dáil. It is families who may feel forced to make their loved one a ‘ward of court’ to support them to manage financial assets. It is older people with age-related disabilities who remain open to abuse and lack of support. It is people whose informed consent is not currently required for mental health treatment, including electroconvulsive therapy, to be administered against their will. It is for all people who may require decision ­making assistance and safeguards at some point in their life. In other words, the Bill is for all of us.” Shari McDaid, Director, Mental Health Reform, said: “We are calling on the Government to keep its promise to bring the Bill to committee stage before the summer recess. We are also asking the Government to have a fresh look at our recommendations for strengthening the Bill, and in particular to affirm that people with mental health difficulties can have their advance decisions respected during mental health treatment.” Paddy Connolly, CEO, Inclusion Ireland said: “The Áras Attracta scandal in December 2014 shocked the Irish nation. But the revelation of abuse of people receiving disability support services is only the tip of the iceberg. The abuse shows the need for human rights-compliant capacity legislation to be swiftly passed and implemented as a matter of urgency.” -ends-

Tuesday, 31 March 2015

ALIVE Certificate Awards ceremony celebrates student commitment to community NUI Galway’s ALIVE Programme today celebrated 12 years of student volunteering with the presentation of awards to 1,000 student volunteers at a special ceremony on campus. The ALIVE certificate acknowledges volunteering efforts by NUI Galway student both on and off campus in a range of clubs, societies and community-based organisations. In attendance were community organisations from across Ireland to help recognise the valuable contribution student volunteers have made to their work and to society. Lorraine Tansey, NUI Galway Student Volunteer Programme Coordinator, said: “We come together annually as a university community with our community partners to acknowledge students’ commitment to volunteering. The ceremony is an important opportunity to pause and say thank you while also reinforcing positive engagement.” The goal of NUI Galway’s internationally-acclaimed student volunteering programme, ALIVE, is not only to connect students with volunteer vacancies but also mould and design graduates that make meaningful contributions to society as future volunteers and community members. Since the start of this academic year in September, students have organised fundraising events for Saving Grace, Irish Cancer Society, Serve, and Suas to name but a few. Volunteers have given their time weekly and generously to school programmes, Childline, Ability West, Shave or Dye events, computer skills programmes, Riding for the Disabled Ireland, Galway Healthy City research and scouting. Through these important community activities students are given a rich opportunity to build their skills for future employment and personal development. Volunteering also has a huge impact on health and well-being for all members of community. “With over 1,000 students achieving award for the contribution to enhancing the life of the campus and the communities across Ireland and internationally, NUI Galway are proud to support student engagement and all its benefits”, added Lorraine Tansey. This year’s ceremony featured a keynote speech from John Gilmore, NUI Galway Alumni and member of the International Advisory Committee to the National Youth Council of Ireland. During the ceremony, John shared his work with the European Youth Forum as current Vice President of the European Confederation of Youth Clubs and member of steering committee for the “No Hate Speech” Campaign as well as the strides he has made in his professional work as a nurse. LorraineTansey continued: “John brings together the epitome of an NUI Galway graduate, not only a very active volunteer for his passions and beliefs for equality for youth, but also a civic professional, pushing the boundaries of the world of nursing.” To find out more please visit www.nuigalway.ie/cki -Ends-

Tuesday, 31 March 2015

NUI Galway spin-out Orbsen Therapeutics has been recognised by the annual Knowledge Transfer Ireland Impact Awards (KTI). Orbsen Therapeutics, a biotech company, was nominated for the Spin-out Company Impact Award. The KTI Awards acknowledge cases where knowledge transfer activities had a particularly significant impact on wider society and the economy. The announcement was made last week at a ceremony in the Hilton Hotel, Dublin. Minister of State for Skills, Research and Innovation, Damien English T.D. presented the awards, giving credit not only to the companies, but also to the research performing organisations that supported the success. Orbsen Therapeutics is Ireland’s leading cell therapy bio-technology company, based on the NUI Galway campus. It was founded by Professor Frank Barry and Professor Tim O’Brien of the Regenerative Medicine Institute (REMEDI) at the University. Orbsen has rapidly developed and patented a method for purifying a novel stromal cell from several adult human tissues. Stromal cells are rare cells (less than 0.01%) found in many tissues where they regulate and limit the immune system from launching attacks that can damage tissues during disease. Orbsen’s discovered and patented a method for specifically purifying these rare, therapeutic stromal cells and developing them for clinical use. To accelerate the clinical development of their cell therapy (Cyndacel-M), Orbsen has collaborated with 24 independent research laboratories across the EU to secure €24 million in EU research funding between 2013 and 2015. These EU funds are being used to develop Cyndacel-M through early-stage clinical safety trials across the EU. Specifically, between 2015 and 2018, Cyndacel-M will be tested in clinical safety trials in patients suffering from Diabetic Foot Ulcers, Autoimmune Liver Disease, Corneal Transplant Rejection, Diabetic Kidney Disease and Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome. In additon, the EU funds have enabled Orbsen to grow from a group of founders to a diverse team of 14 research scientists in the last two years. NUI Galway has supported Orbsen Therapeutics from the start, assisting in the development of Orbsen’s technology, while providing expertise and facilities. The University’s Technology Transfer Office then helped Orbsen develop a rapid Intelectual Property protection strategy, allowing Orbsen Therapeutics to begin the clinical trial process. NUI Galway has also been instrumental in connecting Orbsen with a network of EU collaborators to further their research. Orbsen Chief Scientific Officer Dr Stephen Elliman says of the nomination and the relationship with NUI Galway: “We are honoured to be nominated for KTI Spin-out Company of the Year. It recognises the huge efforts made by our own research team and our network of research partners to move Cyndacel to the clinic so efficiently. Also, we are grateful to NUI Galway for their support over the years. The TTO have been instrumental in our progress to this point and we continue to enjoy working with them.” Fiona Neary, Business Development Manager at Ignite Technology Transfer Office NUI Galway adds “We are delighted that Orbsen have been recognised in this category. The team has worked incredibly hard to achieve their goals and continue to go from strength to strength. They have always been a joy to work with.” For more information: http://orbsentherapeutics.com/ http://tto.nuigalway.ie/en/ -ends-  

Monday, 2 February 2015

                                    Graduate Will Leahy from 2FM presents Network at Digital Summit NUI Galway has over 90,000 graduates around the world, and at a recent NUI Galway event, RTE’s Sean O’Rourke, NUI Galway Alumni Association Chair launched a new departure through the means of an innovative social media platform for the University’s graduates to connect. The new Alumni Network is an exciting new way for graduates to connect with NUI Galway's global network and with each other, and it can be found at www.nuigalway.ie/network This week in Galway over 500 people attended the first ever West of Ireland Digital Summit organized by OMiG Marketing and speaking on the new Global Network, NUI Galway graduate and 2FM DJ Will Leahy said: “We've always known that NUI Galway graduates are making waves in many roles and locations around the world. This website nuigalway.ie/network is a very visual way to show where our recent, and not so recent, graduates are and what they are doing. “It’s fantastic to see a University using a social platform like LinkedIn in such an engaging and dynamic way. The NUI Galway Global Alumni Network is an excellent way for people to connect with each other and it is great to see this University tapping into their rich cohort of graduates.” Since the site went live, NUI Galway has seen over 600 graduates tag their location through this platform. From Mexico City to Kuala Lumpur, it’s fascinating to see where NUI Galway, or indeed UCG, graduates have gone, and the career paths they have chosen – from an Engineer in Kyoto and a Patent Executive in the European Patent Office in Munich to a Development Coordinator in Ethiopia – NUI Galway graduates are spread far and wide in a plethora of interesting career paths. Using an innovative approach to social media we have reached people who graduated as far back as 1962. Mr Leahy added: “It seems that NUI Galway is the first University in the world to tap into LinkedIn's interface in this way, allowing graduates to register via LinkedIn, tag themselves, tell us where they are, what they are doing and to connect with each other. The platform also gives current students and graduates the ability to connect to potential employers through the network, so endless possibilities……including the likes of me checking up on classmates from years gone by.” Ireland West Airport Knock have also announced their partnership with NUI Galway in connecting their graduates with the West of Ireland and the world offering flights to international destinations so put yourself on the map and join the NUI Galway Alumni Network - www.nuigalway.ie/network. ENDS

Monday, 2 February 2015

The Ryan Institute for Environmental, Marine and Energy Research at NUI Galway has just launched a new podcast channel on iTunes. Within weeks of going live, iTunes are recommending the radio channel under ‘New & Noteworthy’ on its iTunes store. Interviews with academic staff about their research, recorded seminars by visiting academics and archived media interviews have been uploaded onto the channel and are accessible through the iTunes store for free. The content can be downloaded by visiting the home page of the Ryan Institute website at www.ryaninstitute.ie. Listeners can hear about the human body generating electricity, computer models predicting storm surges, genetic analysis of sea creatures, challenging human consumption or antibiotics in the environment. “In just three weeks since going live, the podcast channel has reached number four in the Natural Sciences category of iTunes podcasts. This is a major achievement considering the competition from the big news corporations around the world, and major global learning institutions who are regularly uploading content,” said Dr Martina Prendergast who is the Strategic Development Manager of the Ryan Institute and who conducted many of the interviews for the site. She went on to explain that iTunes has created a number of categories for their podcasts and the Ryan Institute is filed under Science and Medicine, which has three sub-categories (Medicine, Natural Sciences, and Social Sciences). “Considering that there are about 30,000 overall daily podcasts on iTunes, the rapid rise through the charts of the Ryan Institute channel is a considerable success, and we are happy that our activities are profiled on a global platform. It was made possible by working with Garry Kelly from GK Media who made it really easy for us to record and upload content.” she added. Dr Sarah Knight, Ryan Institute Outreach Officer, who conducted some of the interviews said: “We will be regularly adding content as the weeks go by, so I urge everyone to subscribe to the channel to receive updates and notifications of when we add new seminars and interviews. The goal over the next six to eight months is to record interviews with every one of our 100 academic staff and to get to number one in the iTunes charts.” Dr Prendergast said: “This would mean that the research activities of the Ryan Institute community could reach audiences in countries across every continent. This will place the spotlight on our world-class research that is contributing to solving some of the most pressing issues of the 21st century around the environment, energy and food security, economic resilience, and social cohesion.” ENDS

Monday, 2 February 2015

Musician Seán Gilrane to present first lecture NUI Galway’s Centre for Irish Studies and Comhrá Ceoil have announced details of the fourth Martin Reilly Lecture Series with musician Seán Gilrane presenting the first talk this year. Entitled ‘The life, times and music of the legendary Leitrim flute player John McKenna (1880-1947)’, the talk will take place at 6.30pm on Tuesday, 10 February int the Galway City Library. Seán’s talk stems from research conducted as part of the recent publication and recording ‘The Music and Life of John McKenna: The Buck from the Mountain’. This release, published by the John McKenna Society in Leitrim, is the definitive work on McKenna and includes his complete corpus of 44 commercial recordings, as well as a substantial accompanying book containing an extensive biography, an analysis of his music style and legacy together with music transcriptions of his tunes. McKenna was one of the premier stars of the legendary golden age of Irish traditional music in New York in the 1920s and 30s, and left behind an unsurpassed legacy that is the first major corpus of recorded Irish flute music. A native of Leitrim himself, and a flute player, Seán has worked extensively with the John McKenna Society in researching the life and music of the maestro McKenna. This series of talks is dedicated to Martin Reilly, the celebrated Galway uilleann piper, and gives an opportunity to researcher-practitioners in Irish traditional music and dance to present their work in a public forum. The success of the series thus far confirms the interest in research of this kind in Galway, where traditional music and dance are part of the cultural fabric of the city. Admission is free to all talks in the Martin Reilly Lecture Series. Further information on this and other planned talks in the series available by emailing Martinreillylectureseries@gmail.com, or Facebook: Martin-Reilly-Lecture-Series. -Ends-

Monday, 2 February 2015

The 5th International Nursing and Midwifery Conference, hosted by NUI Galway’s School of Nursing and Midwifery, will be held from 30-31 March. The conference is organised in partnership with the Nursing and Midwifery Planning Development, HSE West/Mid West. The over-arching theme of the conference, 'Building and Promoting Excellence in Practice' highlights the importance of strengthening nursing and midwifery practice at international, national, local and community levels. The conference provides an opportunity for researchers, practitioners and policy makers to get together to learn, debate and share methods of building and promoting excellence in practice. There will be oral and poster presentations and five different workshops that delegates can choose to attend. Keynote addresses will explore: Evidence - Professor Neal Maskrey, Honorary Professor of Evidence-Informed Decision Making, Keele University. Compassionate Care - Professor Belinda Dewar, Professor of Practice Improvement at the University of the West of Scotland. Risk and Resilience - Professor Charlotte Clarke, Head of the School of Health in Social Science, University of Edinburgh. Motivation - Evelyn Gilmore, Consultant Work and Organisational Psychologist, an Accredited Psychotherapist and a Business and Executive Coach. Professor Kathy Murphy, NUI Galway’s School of Nursing and Midwifery, said: “This conference will be a unique experience offered within the beautiful, peaceful city of Galway. The conference reception and cultural event showcases the best of Irish music and dancing, while offering delegates the opportunity to sample traditional Irish cuisine.” The conference is unique as it integrates an arts and wellbeing focus into the programme to promote the wellbeing of practitioners, so that they can return to care with energy and purpose. Music is woven into the programme and delegates will also have the opportunity to attend a critically acclaimed short play focused on healing, performed by actor and playwright, Caroline Lynch. Delegates can choose to attend mindfulness or relaxation sessions and there will be a designated wellbeing area to relax in. To avail of the early bird reduced fees please visit http://www.nursingmidwifery.ie/site/view/9/registration/ and register prior to Monday, 9 February. -Ends-

Tuesday, 3 February 2015

Students who meet strict criteria will be awarded 40 CAO ‘Performance Points’ for eligible undergraduate courses under the NUI Galway Creative Arts Scholarship Scheme. Building on the success of the inaugural Creative Arts Performance Points scheme in 2014, NUI Galway is to again reward a limited number of students with exceptional achievements in selected disciplines in the creative arts with CAO ‘Performance Points’ for entry into undergraduate courses in the University. This is the only Creative Arts Scholarship Scheme of its kind offered by a university in Ireland. The Creative Arts Scholarship Scheme is offering 40 ‘Performance Points’ in recognition of the significant time and dedication applicants have shown to reach an exceptional level in their chosen field in the creative arts, along with evidence of academic achievement and commitment. CAO applicants for this scheme must meet strict criteria in a number of creative arts achievements. The 40 ‘Performance Points’ will be added to a minimum requirement of 350 CAO Points from a single sitting of the Leaving Certificate in 6 subjects. The closing date for applications is 14 February 2015. This year’s offer will be made to a maximum of 15 candidates who are selected through a two-stage process involving an application (stage one) and interview (stage two). Candidates will be made a conditional offer of their performance points prior to the Leaving Certificate and the CAO change of mind. The Creative Arts scheme is available in areas where the University has an acknowledged international standing: Creative Writing Digital Arts and Media Drama, Theatre and Performance Film Non-fiction writing, including Journalism Students with high standards of achievement in any of those areas may apply for any undergraduate course within the University, with the exception of Medicine (GY501). Successful applicants will be assigned a mentor in their Creative Arts discipline. Mentors will assist the students’ development as artists during their time at NUI Galway. President of NUI Galway Dr Jim Browne said “NUI Galway is proud of the many alumni who have excelled in the creative arts. As a University, we aim to lead in our research, innovation and learning and the Arts Scholarship Scheme recognises and supports similar ambition and dedication in those that excel in the creative arts.” NUI Galway’s Professor of Drama and Theatre, Patrick Lonergan added, “Many NUI Galway students have benefitted from the support that the University has offered them in creative arts for many years. The Performance Points Scheme will broaden the horizon of achievement both for NUI Galway and for students with an interest in creative arts, and we have the facilities, structure and supports in place to help students achieve their goals, both academic and creative.” In recent years NUI Galway graduates have had great success in the creative arts. Cathal Cleary was named Britain’s most promising young director in 2012; Aoife Spillane-Hinks has directed plays for Rough Magic Theatre, the Gate Theatre Dublin, and more; Deirdre Sullivan is the author of  Prim Improper (nominated for Children’s Book of the Year, 2011);  Tara McKevitt is a playwright whose works have appeared with Smashing Times Theatre Company and Tron Theatre Glasgow; and Duncan Lacroix appeared in Outlanders, a 16-part serial for Sony Television produced by Ron Moore (Battlestar Galactica) and directed by John Dahl (Dexter, Breaking Bad). Applicants will be selected through a completed application form, samples of work provided, references and an interview process. The assessment will be based on the selected creative arts areas, and will also consider evidence of academic achievement and commitment. The successful candidates will then receive a conditional offer of the 40 performance points prior to the Leaving Certificate and CAO changes. Successful candidates will receive benefits such as dedicated mentoring and support for resources. These supports will be for the duration of the undergraduate degree of the successful candidate and will be reviewed on an annual basis. This scheme will only apply to new entrants applying for full-time undergraduate courses at NUI Galway. Students must receive a minimum of 350 CAO Points from a single sitting of the Leaving Certificate in six subjects, and must achieve all minimum entry and course specific requirements. For further details visit http://www.nuigalway.ie/creativeartsperformacepoints/. -Ends-

Tuesday, 3 February 2015

Minister for Skills, Research and Innovation, Damien English T.D., recently visited NUI Galway’s students, academic staff and industry partners involved in the Higher Diploma in Software Design and Development (Industry Stream). The visit coincided with the Government’s launch of Action Plan for Jobs 2015. The Minister welcomed the opportunity to meet with students and graduates of the programme who are experiencing the benefit of the Government’s SpringBoard ICT Skills investment. He also met with a number of local industry partners who have partnered with NUI Galway on this innovative programme such as Avaya, Storm Technologies and INSIGHT. Speaking during the visit, Minister English said: “Earlier today we launched the Action Plan for Jobs 2015 and a key element of that is a National Talent Drive which involves a 60% increase in the number of ICT graduates from higher education by 2018. The importance of these objectives were never so obvious than here today after meeting with such talented and enthusiastic graduates who are benefitting from those efforts.” Programme Director, Dr Enda Howley advocated the return on investment of ICT conversion programmes for the economy: “We are now seeing our graduates successfully win lucrative salaries that are resulting in the initial investment being reimbursed more than four times in the first 12 months of graduation through direct and indirect taxation. No other investment could offer such a fast and significant return for the government. We are very fortunate to have experienced such a positive engagement from industry by providing paid internships for our students prior to enrolment in the programme. This unique arrangement allows us to reskill each student specifically for each company’s technology requirements, in return for the promise of a paid internship at the end of the programme. This is the ultimate win-win for all involved, and we look forward to continuing this engagement over the coming years. 90% of our programme graduates are now in long-term employment in software companies.”  The ICT Skills scheme was devised by the Higher Education Authority in 2012 to fund the University fees of suitable graduates from areas such as engineering and science for reskilling to meet the skills shortage in the software development industry. NUI Galway has developed the Higher Diploma programme with a view to selecting highly performing level 8 graduates and pairing them for re-training and internships with our participating industry partners.  Applications for the 2015-16 academic year will open in May, and potential applicants or partner companies are encouraged to contact the Programme Director Dr Enda Howley for more details at ehowley@nuigalway.ie. -Ends-

Tuesday, 3 February 2015

Máire Ní Mhaoilchiaráin, the newly appointed 2015 Sean-Nós Singer in Residence at NUI Galway, will give a series of sean-nós singing workshops beginning on Wednesday, 11 February at 7pm in the Seminar Room at the Centre for Irish Studies, NUI Galway. From Áird Thoir, Carna, Máire comes from a family which has a long and rich tradition of sean-nós singing. Her vocal style echoes with the singing from her mother Bairbre and the Heaney side of the family, Joe Heaney being her granduncle. The workshops are free and open to all and will run for five weeks. This project is funded by Ealaín na Gaeltachta, Údarás na Gaeltachta and An Chomhairle Ealaíon in association with the Centre for Irish Studies at NUI Galway. Further information available from Samantha Williams at 091 492051 or samantha.williams@nuigalway.ie. -Ends- Ceardlann Amhránaíochta ar an Sean-nós in OÉ Gaillimh Cuirfear tús le sraith de cheardlanna amhránaíochta ar an sean-nós san Ionad an Léinn Éíreannaigh, Ollscoil na hÉireann, Gaillimh ag 7pm, Dé Céadaoin,11 Feabhra 2015. Is í Máire Ní Mhaoilchiaráin, atá ceaptha mar Amhránaí Cónaitheach Sean-nóis i mbliana, a bheidh i mbun na gceardlann. Is as an Aird Thoir, i gCarna, Máire agus tá oidhreacht shaibhir cheolmhar le cloisteáil ina cuid amhránaíochta. Thug sí léi a cuid amhrán óna máthair, Bairbre a fuair an ceol ó mhuintir Éinniú, agus a huncail Joe ina measc. I gclann Bhairbre, tá cáil na hamhránaíochta ar Mháire agus ar a deirfiúr Bríd. Tá na ceardlanna saor in aisce agus beidh fáilte roimh chách. Tuilleadh eolais ó Samantha Williams ag 091 492051 nó samantha.williams@nuigalway.ie -Críoch-

Wednesday, 4 February 2015

Ireland’s largest and longest-running student-run energy event will take place in NUI Galway’s Engineering Building on Wednesday, 11 February from 5-9pm. Now in its fifth year, the Energy Night is organised by the University’s Energy Society and this year the event will focus on smart grid and the growing technology and privacy issues associated with it. Last year’s event ‘Energy in Ireland – Local Wellbeing, National Priorities, Global Challenges’ produced a very lively debate on the topic of wind farms and their impacts. This year will provide an even more topical discussion on Irish Energy. Energy Night 2015, “Smart Grid, Pushing Technology and Privacy Boundaries” aims to discuss the progression of Smart Grid, Smart Meters and the Future of Energy Efficiency. After the dominance of the Internet of Things at the Consumer Electronic Show and also the data privacy controversy with Irish Water, this promises to be an innovative event. A ‘Careers in Energy’ seminar will be held from 5-6pm. Several speakers from major energy companies such as Eirgrid, Arup and Accenture will deliver presentations on their current projects and various employment opportunities in Galway and Ireland. The poster competition on the theme of ‘Energy, Environment and Sustainability’ will take place at 6.30pm and is open to all NUI Galway undergraduate and postgraduate students. The evening’s main event, a panel discussion will take place at 7pm and feature speakers with backgrounds in ICT, Data Privacy and Energy all with the aim of exploring the future of Smart Grid in Ireland. The moderator for the panel discussion will be Dr Karlin Lillington, contributor to The Irish Times, The Guardian and Wired.com. NUI Galway’s Dr Michael Schukat, an expert in network security and embedded systems, will provide the ICT expertise for the night, with Rónán Kennedy from the University’s School of Law providing context on how law and information and communications technology influence each other. There will also be a talk on an overall view of the future of Irish Energy and how Smart Grid will play an influential role in this. The discussion will include a lengthy Q&A session with active participation from the audience. The event is free of charge and all are welcome. For updates follow the Energy Society on twitter at @nuigenergynight, on Facebook at NUIG-Energy-Society, or visit the website, http://www.nuigenergynight.com/. -Ends-

Wednesday, 4 February 2015

Ireland’s national Technology Centre for Biorefining & Bioenergy (TCBB) at NUI Galway has welcomed the announcement by Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Mr Richard Bruton TD of a package of €25 million in funding for the new Dairy Processing Technology Centre. The TCBB will be providing the sustainability pillar of the new Dairy Processing Technology Centre announced this week at Arrabawn Dairies in Nenagh, Co Tipperary. “In our contribution within the Dairy Processing Technology Centre, the TCBB will focus on activities that improve the competitiveness and sustainability of the dairy industry. We will do this through value-added applications for processing wastes and residues to reduce costs, recover resources and improve environmental impact,” said Mr Bart Bonsall, Technology Leader and head of centre, TCBB. NUI Galway’s Vice-President for Research, Professor Lokesh Joshi commented: “This is very impressive news for TCBB and NUI Galway. With the lifting of European Union milk quotas only weeks away, this is a key investment and industry collaboration announced by Minister Bruton and Enterprise Ireland.” Professor Donal Leech, Dean of the College of Science, NUI Galway is the NUI Galway representative on the board of directors of the new DPTC. -ends-

Monday, 9 February 2015

GiGSoc (Gay in Galway Society) will today launch its third annual Rainbow Week at 7pm in the IT Building. The week, running from 9-13 February, will consist of numerous events to promote LGBTQA (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer/Questioning and Ally) presence on campus. On Tuesday, there will be an information session on the new Marriage Equality Taskforce. This session is a collaboration between GiGSoc and NUI Galway Student Union for the upcoming Marriage Equality Referendum in May. On Wednesday numerous LGBTQ workshops such as Sexual Health, Trans 101 and LGBTQ and the Law will take place. Jessica Watts, Events Officer of GiGSoc said: “Many of us on the committee attended USI Pink Training in November. We got to hear a number of useful talks on relevant LGBTQ issues. With our workshops, we hope to bring that training to a wider audience on our campus.” The highlight of Rainbow Week is the Rainbow Ball, which takes place on Thursday, 12 February in the Clayton Hotel with tickets available for €35. Some up-and-coming bands will perform on the night, which will be headlined by popular Galwegian drag act Kiki St. Clair.   Sean Reilly, Co-Auditor of GiGSoc, said: “Rainbow Week is about celebrating the diversity of people who identify as LGBTQA. Our objective is to give our members a chance to celebrate their identities with a bit of panache.” Tickets for Rainbow Ball 2015 can be purchased through the SocsBox in Áras na Mac Léinn, or by contacting GiGSoc at gigsoc@socs.nuigalway.ie. -Ends-

Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Extension of the Athena SWAN Charter for women in science to the higher education sector in Ireland The Irish universities are working to address gender imbalances in the higher education sector through the extension of the Athena SWAN Charter to Ireland, officially launched today by Minister for Education and Skills, Jan O'Sullivan. Irish Universities Association (IUA) Chief Executive, Ned Costello said: "tackling gender equality needs to be actively pursued and the Athena Swan Charter and Awards are a real force for positive change." During 2015, the UK-based Equality Challenge Unit (ECU) announced that they would, for the first time, make access to their awards system possible outside of the UK by allowing Irish higher education institutions to sign up to the Athena SWAN Charter for women in science from Autumn 2014. Signing the Charter is the first step towards applying for Athena SWAN Awards, which recognise and celebrate good practice in recruiting, retaining and promoting women in STEMM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine) in higher education. The first Award applications from Ireland are due by the end of April next, and the universities are currently preparing their submissions. The Irish universities, working with colleagues from across the higher education sector, have played a strong role in facilitating this extension of the Charter and the associated Athena SWAN Awards to Ireland. Applications are rigorously reviewed prior to an award being made, and progress is closely monitored afterwards. Securing an award under the Charter involves the development of an institution-wide Action Plan to improve gender equality and diversity, and putting in place appropriate structures to rigorously monitor progress of the Plan's implementation. The Plan itself must be specific to issues faced by the institution. Experience has shown that active engagement and significant "buy-in" from academic staff and senior management is critical to a Plan's successful implementation. A 2013 external evaluation identified the significant impact of Athena SWAN on organisational structure and culture change in the UK higher education system. The ECU has recently announced the expansion of the Athena SWAN charter to include arts, humanities, social science, business and law departments alongside the current science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine disciplines, a development which is welcomed by the universities.

Wednesday, 11 February 2015

New global university ranking, funded by the EU, announces NUI Galway as only one of two Irish Institutions to achieve all-round top scores on International Orientation NUI Galway has been given the highest ranking of four A’s in U-Multirank, an EU Commission-led initiative to measure excellence in higher education and research institutions worldwide. The indicators, published this week across Europe show that NUI Galway ranked highest with an A grade in all four performance indicators of international orientation. These related to teaching and learning, doctoral training, research and the composition of academic staff. These new ‘readymade rankings’ focusing on International Orientation show how 237 Universities in the U-Multirank database perform on internationalisation, using measures spread across teaching and learning, doctoral trainings, international research collaboration and the composition of academic staff. The rankings make this comparison at both the institutional level and in four academic fields: physics, business studies, electrical engineering and mechanical engineering. Just 27 universities out of the 237 – barely one in ten – achieved all-round top scores in the new institutional level ranking. Professor Brian Hughes, Dean of International Affairs, NUI Galway welcomed the announcement: “NUI Galway is a university that embraces internationalisation in all of its activities. Being connected to the world is part of our everyday reality, and we are delighted to receive this external validation for our international orientation.” U-Multirank is a new global university ranking funded by the European Commission and takes a different approach to existing global rankings of universities; it is multi-dimensional and compares university performance across a range of different activities grading them from “A” (very good) to “E” (weak). It does not produce a league table of the world’s “top” 100 universities based on composite scores. Instead, it allows users to identify a university’s strengths and weaknesses, or the aspects that most interest them. “Achieving four ‘A’ scores for international orientation is a significant achievement. Not many institutions are ever likely to accomplish it,” commented Frans van Vught one of the U-Multirank project leaders. “And it is not necessarily the institutions you would expect that perform best: these rankings identify high-performing universities not captured by other rankings with their heavy research focus." The rankings show that excellence in international orientation is found in widely diverse institutions. The 27 all - round top performing universities come from a wide range of institutions differing in terms of size, sector, mission and age. The 27 top performers are located in 12 different countries. In further rankings news, NUI Galway has been named in the top 100 most international universities in the world 2015 by THE (Times Higher Education) who compiled a list using the “international outlook” indicator of its World University Rankings methodology. All the institutions that feature in the THE World University Rankings 2014-15 top 400 were considered. This measure considers each institution’s percentage of international staff, its international student numbers and the proportion of its research papers published with a co-author from at least one other country. Further information on U-Multirank is available at www.umultirank.org and for THE information see www.timeshighereducation.co.uk -ends-

Wednesday, 11 February 2015

New £1.5 million project to focus on economic and social costs of violence against women and girls A new research project announced today (11 February) is to investigate the social and economic costs of violence against women and girls in developing countries. Led by Dr Nata Duvvury of the National University of Ireland Galway, and funded by the UK’s Department for International Development, the project will give policy-makers ways of estimating the social and economic costs of violence to national economies. NUI Galway will lead an international team comprising Ipsos MORI, London, UK and the International Centre for Research on Women (ICRW), Washington DC, USA on the GBP£1.5 million, three-year project. The ambitious project will take a multi-disciplinary approach, involving experts in economics and the social sciences, including political science, sociology, gender studies, public health and psychology. The research aims to pinpoint identifiable links between violence against women and girls (VAWG) and the economic impact this has on nations at differing stages of development. The research will be undertaken in three countries – Ghana, Pakistan and South Sudan – representing fragile, conflict affected and/or low-middle income states. The project will survey over 4,500 women across those countries and will carry out in-depth interviews with survivors of VAWG. By producing new empirical research and evidence on the economic and social costs of VAWG, the research project will strengthen the argument for resources to implement laws, provide health and social support services and to mobilize communities to shift the social norms that underpin VAWG. The project is part of the UK Department for International Development’s investment of £25 million over five years, in a pioneering violence against women and girls Research and Innovation programme called ‘What Works to Prevent Violence’. Tackling violence against women and girls is a top priority for the UK government. This programme is driving innovation, and will generate ground-breaking new evidence, and inform new prevention programmes on the ground. According to Dr Nata Duvvury, an established global expert in field, and Co-Director of Centre for Global Women’s Studies at the National University of Ireland Galway: “Violence against women and girls is a global issue. We need an immediate, pragmatic, informed and coherent response across nations. We understand today, more than ever before, the debilitating impact it has on individuals, families and communities. What we now need to understand are the myriad impacts of violence on the economy and society, we can then identify which interventions need to be prioritised for the benefit of individuals and society as a whole.” Innovative economic analysis There is growing interest to estimate the socio-economic impact of violence against women in many parts of the world. In a previous study led by Dr Duvvury, on costing domestic violence against women in Vietnam, the estimated loss of productivity, out-of-pocket expenditures, and foregone income for households came to about 3.19% of GDP. The project plans to further advance this frontier using innovative quantitative and qualitative research methods to capture economic and social costs at individual, household, community and national levels. “The importance of the potential research findings to policy makers, practitioners, communities and families cannot be overstated. Building on this evidence is crucial to create a better understanding of the tragic consequences of violence against women and girls – not only as a gross violation of human rights, but as a global economic issue. With such evidence, we have the potential to catalyze investments into the prevention and response to violence against women,” said Stella Mukasa, Director, Gender, Violence and Rights at the International Centre for Research on Women. The research team led by Dr Nata Duvvury at the National University of Ireland Galway includes Dr Stacey Scriver, Post-Doctoral Researcher and Project Coordinator, Global Women’s Studies, Dr Srinivas Raghavendra, Lecturer, School of Business and Economics, Sinead Ashe, Post-Doctoral Researcher, Global Women’s Studies, and Dr Diarmuid O’Donovan, Senior Lecturer, School of Medicine, NUI Galway. ends

Wednesday, 11 February 2015

World Gold Medallist and Four Time Olympian Olive Loughnane among Awardees NUI Galway has announced the winners of the 2015 Alumni Awards to be presented at the 15th annual Alumni Awards Gala Banquet on Saturday, 7 March, 2015 in the Bailey Allen Wing located in Áras na Mac Léinn on campus. The Alumni Awards recognise individual excellence and achievements among the University’s more than 90,000 graduates worldwide. The Awards programme boasts an impressive roll call of outstanding graduates who have gone on to honour their alma mater, including, for example, President Michael D. Higgins, Rugby great Ciarán FitzGerald, RTÉ broadcaster Sean O’Rourke, Attorney General Máire Whelan, former Creganna CEO, Helen Ryan, Tony Award-winning actress, Marie Mullen and Gráinne Seoige. The winners of the six alumni awards to be presented at Gala 2015: Award for Arts, Literature and Celtic Studies - sponsored by AIB - Dr Tom Mitchell, Former Provost, Trinity College Dublin. Alumni Award for Business and Commerce – sponsored by Bank of Ireland - Catriona O’Farrell, Former CEO, Fintrax Group. Alumni Award for Law, Public Policy and Government – sponsored by Bank of Ireland - Ms Justice Carmel Stewart, Judge of the High Court. Alumni Award for Engineering, Science and Technology – sponsored by Aramark - Pearse Mee, IT Entrepreneur, founder of AMT-SYBEX. Alumni Award for Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences – sponsored by Medtronic - Dr Morgan O’Connell, retired Medical Officer for the Royal Navy, Consultant Psychiatrist and specialist in PTSD. Alumni Award for Contribution to Sport – sponsored by Galway University Foundation - Olive Loughnane, Olympic athlete and World Champion, Irish race walker. Speaking on the announcement of the Awards recipients, President of NUI Galway, Dr Jim Browne said: “Our Alumni Awards programme recognises the many Galway alumni who are leaders in their chosen fields. These awards celebrate the life-long value of an NUI Galway education and recognise individual achievements among the University’s more than 90,000 graduates worldwide. I congratulate each of the Award winners and look forward to welcoming them back to campus for the Gala Banquet in March.” For ticket and booking information contact the Alumni Office on 091 493750 or email alumni@nuigalway.ie. Online bookings at www.nuigalway.ie/alumni-friends -Ends-

Monday, 16 February 2015

15 Elite athletes, who meet strict criteria, will be awarded 40 CAO Performance Points for undergraduate courses under the NUI Galway Performance Point Scholarship Scheme Following the success of the inaugural bonus points scheme last year, NUI Galway will again reward elite athletes with 40 CAO Performance Points in recognition of their skill, time and dedication in reaching the highest level of their chosen sport. This is an extension of NUI Galway’s current Elite Athlete Scholarship scheme which includes a subsistence grant, performance supports, gym membership and medical support. The scheme will award 40 Performance Points to a limited number of athletes, applying for undergraduate courses, who meet strict criteria in a number of identified sports. The points will be added to a minimum requirement of 350 CAO Points from a single sitting of the Leaving Certificate in 6 subjects. The scholarship currently does not apply to GY501 Medicine. The closing date for applications is Tuesday, 31st March 2015. NUI Galway Sports Officer Kathy Hynes said: “NUI Galway has enabled and guided student leaders in sport for many years. The Performance Points Scheme will broaden the horizon of achievement both for NUI Galway and for the athletes themselves. Our facilities, structure and athlete supports help successful candidates achieve their goals, both academic and sporting.” Applicants will be selected through an application form and interview process. The assessment will be based on sporting achievement and potential as well as evidence of their academic achievement and commitment. The successful candidates will then receive a conditional offer of the 40 performance points in May prior to the Leaving Certificate and CAO changes. The ‘Performance Points’ athletes will receive similar benefits to those enjoyed by the current NUI Galway Elite Athlete scholarship scheme. Benefits will include a subsistence grant, performance supports, gym membership and medical support. Supports will be provided for the duration of the undergraduate degree of the successful candidates as per the terms and conditions of the NUI Galway athlete’s charter and will be reviewed on an annual basis. The scheme will only apply to new entrants applying for full-time undergraduate courses at NUI Galway. Applicants must be under 21-years of age on 1st April in the year of application and only sports whose national governing body is recognised by the Irish Sports Council will be considered. For further details see http://www.sports.nuigalway.ie. -Ends-

Monday, 16 February 2015

Professor Pat Finnegan, former Dean of Medicine at NUI Galway and retired respiratory consultant at University College Hospital Galway, was presented with the Irish Thoracic Society Award for Outstanding Contribution to Respiratory Medicine at the Society’s recent Annual Gala Dinner. On presenting the award, friend and colleague Professor JJ Gilmartin paid tribute to Professor Finnegan and outlined the highlights of a career marked by outstanding achievements as both teacher and innovator.   A graduate of University College Galway (now NUI Galway) Professor Finnegan spent the early stages of his career in Birmingham, where he was involved in seminal work in the development of long term oxygen therapy which included use of the first prototype concentrator in the early 1970s. The safe prescription of oxygen therapy, nowadays taken for granted, owes much to those ground-breaking advances. On his return to Galway in 1976 Professor Finnegan applied his skills to the management of patients across the spectrum of respiratory disease. He was a pioneer in the development of non-invasive ventilation, and indeed developed the first home-based NIV programme in Ireland. Professor Finnegan’s vision for and commitment to his patients and to respiratory medicine in Ireland is well illustrated by his extraordinary efforts in obtaining this novel and life saving treatment. It was not until the new millenium that such programmes became common place around the world.  As lecturer, then Professor and later Dean, he has contributed enormously to the development of the Medical School in NUI Galway. Under his direction, the Faculty expanded to embrace Nursing and the Allied Health Professions. His teaching style is epitomised by his hallmark, the bedside tutorial, and as a mentor he was known for being generous with his time and for his astute advice. Professor Finnegan was also a key figure in the development of the Irish Thoracic Society.  In 1985, when the Society evolved from what was previously the Irish Thoracic and Tuberculosis Society and joined forces with members of the Ulster Thoracic Society to become an all-island body, Professor Finnegan was elected as its first President. Professor Finnegan’s retirement has been no less productive albeit in the sphere of history rather than medicine. He is currently completing his third book. The first two entitled The case of the Craughwell Prisoners during the Land War in Co. Galway, 1879–85 and Loughrea; That Den of Infamy, the Land War in Co Galway 1878-82 were bestsellers in their genre. They are based around incidents during the Land War in East Galway including a grave miscarriage of justice which saw the wrongful conviction for murder of the author’s grandfather, Patrick Finnegan. -Ends-      

Monday, 16 February 2015

Ireland’s First Virtual Choir combining music, song, technology and grads! Do you want to join the NUI Galway Virtual Alumni Choir? In a first for NUI Galway and we believe universities everywhere, we are calling on our graduates to get singing! In a new departure for NUI Galway, a special project has been launched where graduates of the University are invited to form this unique singing experience. Graduates based in Galway, Ireland, Europe, the US and even as far away as Australia are being urged to participate and pull off what will be an ambitious but exciting use of music, song and technology. The choral work to be sung is Ave Verum Corpus composed by Mozart. The piece was chosen due to its familiarity for choral singers around the world but all potential singers to listen to the many recordings available online to hear what the work sounds like when all the parts come together. This may jog the memories of singers who weren’t part of the University Choral Society but may have sung it in other choirs as it’s a firm favourite for choral groups. How to get involvedIn order to participate graduates should visit the alumni website https://nuigvirtualalumnichoir.wordpress.com/ On this website singers will find the musical score, sound recordings of different vocal parts as well as piano accompaniment. From there the singers will be directed to a YouTube video of the piece being conducted by NUI Galway graduate Peter Mannion, current conductor of the University Choral Society and Unitunes, the award winning NUI Galway staff choir. On explaining the virtual project, Peter Mannion said: “This is the first time we have ever attempted virtual singing so we need singers to log online to participate and to send in their recordings as soon as possible. Most computers, laptops, tables and mobile devices have excellent video and sound recording capabilities so there is no special equipment needed for you to get involved – just send in your best recording and we will do the rest. Don’t be afraid to send in video clips or photos of you singing as we will only use them in small parts of the final video. So happy singing!” The choir is expected to debut in early March so don’t be disappointed and log on now https://nuigvirtualalumnichoir.wordpress.com/. ENDS

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

NUI Galway’s School of Education is seeking students to take part in a research study on the university experience of migrant students in Ireland. As one of the first studies of its kind in Ireland, it is important that student’s voices lead the research. Gaining insight to the university experience of migrant students can contribute to a greater understanding of the challenges and opportunities within Irish universities in terms of interculturalism and diversity. Research participants will be asked to share their experience of accessing university and their experience as a third-level student. The objective of the study is to gain insight to the needs of students and influence policy in terms of widening participation to third-level education and promoting diversity and interculturalism on the university campus. NUI Galway’s School of Education is currently undertaking lead research in the area of integration with an IRC funded project, Diversity Profiling Initial Teacher Education in Ireland (DITE), a study which explores ways of facilitating entry to the teaching profession for under-represented groups. As NUI Galway continues to contribute to the discussion and debate surrounding the issues of diversity and interculturalism in education, it invites Irish and non-Irish citizens enrolled in an Irish university to take part in this research. Maeve Dunne, NUI Galway PhD student and primary researcher on this study, said: “There is a lot of discussion on the issue of diversity in education, yet very little communication takes place with the students themselves. The main aim of this study is to have student’s voices and opinions heard so that their voice leads the research. This is an opportunity for students to have their say.” Maeve notes that the research so far has uncovered some sensitive issues: “Speaking with students so far, it’s clear that there are some issues that are being highlighted and addressed. Speaking with these students and hearing an honest account of their experiences is important as nothing can be changed unless the issue is highlighted. Yet, protecting the students’ confidentiality and anonymity is of key importance. The students I have spoken to so far tell me they are hesitant to take part in research. Working with the School of Education and the Ethics committee at NUI Galway, our main aim is to protect students and ensure that their best interests are put first. Contributing your story can help educators, policy makers, researchers and universities work towards improved resources for all students.” Those interested in contributing to this study, or for more information, can contact Maeve Dunne at m.dunne1@nuigalway.ie -Ends-

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Author and lecturer Paddy Woodworth is to give a guest talk titled ‘Writing Restoration: A Global Journey to the Cutting Edge of Conservation Science & Practice’ at NUI Galway on 26 February at 7pm. The talk, part of the ‘Doing Writing’ series organised by the BA and MA programmes in Creative Writing at NUI Galway, will be based on Woodworth’s most recent book, Our Once and Future Planet: Restoring the World in the Climate Change Century, published by Chicago University Press. Ten years in the making, Our Once and Future Planet focuses on projects across the world that attempt to reverse damage to the environment and restore healthy and biodiverse ecosystems. The book has received international acclaim for its extensive research and key arguments, and also for the accessibility of its style. Science magazine emphasised that Woodworth “skillfully dissects the arguments surrounding the purpose and direction of ecological restoration”, while also especially commending his “effective use of narrative techniques to enhance his presentation. His descriptions of the people he meets are often charming and revealing.” Formerly a Visiting Fellow on the International Writing Programme at the University of Iowa, and most recently a visiting lecturer at the University of Chicago, Woodworth has published widely on the arts, travel, Basque and Spanish affairs, and national and international environment issues. He regularly writes on these and related areas for The Irish Times. Woodworth also works as an editor for scientists who wish to reach a wide public readership, and he is a mentor for creative writers at NUI Galway working on projects related to factual narration and other forms of creative non-fiction. This public talk will take place on 26 February at NUI Galway in the Moore Institute for Research in the Humanities and Social Studies (ground floor, room G010) at 7pm. Booking is not required, but seating may be limited. -ends-

Friday, 20 February 2015

Almost 40 students will be conferred with a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) by NUI Galway today. During the ceremony the University will also confer an Honorary Doctor of Laws Degree on former GAA President, Dr Mick Loftus. A retired coroner and GP, Mick Loftus served as the 28th President of the GAA from 1985 to 1988. As a football player, Dr Loftus played for his native Crossmolina (now Deel Rovers), winning a Mayo Senior Championship medal in 1947, and a Junior medal in 1955. He represented his county at Junior, Minor, and Senior levels, and was captain of the Mayo team that won the 1957 All-Ireland Junior final. He had also been a member of the Mayo team that won the 1951 All-Ireland Senior Football Final. He refereed the All-Ireland Senior Football Final in 1965 and 1968, and the Minor final in 1964. He also participated as Chairperson of the National Referees’ Committee and the Rules Revision Group, and was President of the Connacht Council. Dr Loftus is an advocate for active aging, and was a recipient in the first All-Ireland Inspirational Life Award for his work as chairman of National Council of Aging and Older People, and participated in the 2011 World Senior Games, winning four medals in the 80-85 age group: gold in the 3000m and 400m, silver in the 1500m and 150m. At a previous games, he had broken the world record for 2000m in the 75-79 age group. All Colleges of the University will be represented at the ceremony, with graduands from the College of Arts, Social Sciences and Celtic Studies, the College of Business, Public Policy and Law; the College of Engineering and Informatics; the College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences; and the College of Science. NUI Galway President Dr Jim Browne said: “I would like to congratulate each graduate on their achievement in earning their doctorate degrees. We in NUI Galway are determined that this University will play its full part in producing the graduates and the leaders who will create the future. We have significantly increased our number of PhD graduates in recent years as we strive to meet the needs of the knowledge and innovation economy. I congratulate our honorary graduate, Dr Mick Loftus who we honour today for his contribution to public life in Ireland as an advocate of healthy living, a campaigner against alcohol abuse and for his leadership in the world of sport.” The next conferring to take place at NUI Galway will be the conferring of Honorary Degrees on Friday, 12 June and the summer conferring on Thursday, 18 June. -Ends- Céim Dhochtúireachta Oinigh le bronnadh ag OÉ Gaillimh ar iar-Uachtarán CLG, an Dr Mick Loftus Bronnfaidh OÉ Gaillimh Dochtúir Fealsúnachta (PhD) ar nach mór 40 mac léinn Dé hAoine, 20 Feabhra. Le linn an tsearmanais sin, chomh maith, bronnfaidh an Ollscoil Dochtúireacht Oinigh le Dlí ar iar-Uachtarán CLG, an Dr Mick Loftus. Cróinéir agus dochtúir teaghlaigh atá ar scor é Mick Loftus agus bhí sé ina Uachtarán ar CLG ó 1985 go dtí 1988. Ba é an t-ochtú Uachtarán agus fiche ar an eagraíocht sin é. Peileadóir a bhí ann a d’imir do Chrois Mhaoilíona (Ruagairí na Daoile mar a thugtar orthu anois), a áit dhúchais. Bhuaigh sé bonn Craoibhe Sinsir Mhaigh Eo i 1947, agus bonn Craoibhe Sóisir i 1955. D’imir sé dá chontae sna Sóisir, sna Mionúir agus sna Sinsir agus bhí sé ina chaptaen ar fhoireann Mhaigh Eo a bhuaigh craobh na hÉireann sna Sóisir i 1957. Bhí sé ar fhoireann Mhaigh Eo a bhuaigh Cluiche Ceannais na hÉireann sa Pheil i 1951 chomh maith. Rinne sé réiteoireacht ar Chluiche Ceannais na hÉireann i 1965 agus 1968, agus ar Chluiche Ceannais na Mionúr i 1964. Bhí sé ina Chathaoirleach ar Choiste Náisiúnta na Réiteoirí agus ar an nGrúpa Athbhreithnithe Rialacha, agus bhí sé ina Uachtarán ar Chomhairle Chonnacht. Bíonn an Dr Loftus ag iarraidh daoine atá ag dul in aois a spreagadh le bheith aclaí. Bronnadh an chéad Ghradam Uile-Éireann as Saol Inspioráideach a Chaitheamh air mar aitheantas as a chuid oibre mar chathaoirleach ar Chomhairle Náisiúnta na nAosach agus na nDaoine Breacaosta. Bhí sé páirteach i gCluichí Seanóirí an Domhain in 2011, agus bhuaigh sé ceithre bhonn san aoisghrúpa idir 80 agus 85 bliain d’aois: bonn óir sa rás 3000m agus sa rás 400m, agus bonn airgid sa rás 1500m agus sa rás 150m. Sna cluichí céanna cúpla bliain roimhe sin, sháraigh sé curiarracht dhomhanda an ráis 2000m san aoisghrúpa idir 75 agus 79 bliain d’aois. Beidh ionadaithe ó gach Coláiste san Ollscoil i láthair ag an searmanas, agus beidh céimeanna á mbronnadh ar mhic léinn ó Choláiste na nDán, na nEolaíochtaí Sóisialta agus an Léinn Cheiltigh; ó Choláiste an Ghnó, an Bheartais Phoiblí agus an Dlí; ó Choláiste na hInnealtóireachta agus na hIonformaitice; ó Choláiste an Leighis, an Altranais agus na nEolaíochtaí Leighis; agus ó Choláiste na hEolaíochta. Bhí an méid seo a leanas le rá ag Uachtarán OÉ Gaillimh, an Dr Jim Browne: “Ba mhaith liom comhghairdeas a dhéanamh le gach céimí as a gcéim dhochtúireachta a bheith bainte amach acu. Tá OÉ Gaillimh diongbháilte de go ndéanfaidh an Ollscoil seo a dícheall chun céimithe agus ceannairí a chur ar fáil a bheidh ábalta cor a chur i gcinniúint na tíre seo. Tá méadú mór ar líon ár gcéimithe PhD le blianta beaga anuas agus táimid ag déanamh ár ndíchill le freastal ar riachtanais gheilleagar an eolais agus na nuálaíochta. Ba mhaith liom comhghairdeas a dhéanamh lenár gcéimí oinigh, an Dr Mick Loftus. Táimid ag tabhairt ómóis dó inniu as a bhfuil déanta aige don saol poiblí in Éirinn; as dea-shampla a thabhairt do dhaoine le saol sláintiúil a chaitheamh, as a bheith ina fheachtasóir in éadan mí-úsáid alcóil agus as an gceannaireacht atá léirithe aige i saol an spóirt.” Is é bronnadh na gCéimeanna Oinigh an chéad bhronnadh céimeanna eile a bheidh ar siúl in OÉ Gaillimh Dé hAoine, 12 Meitheamh agus beidh bronnadh céimeanna an tsamhraidh ar siúl Déardaoin, 18 Meitheamh. -Críoch-

Monday, 23 February 2015

Ireland’s national Technology Centre for Biorefining & Bioenergy (TCBB) at NUI Galway has joined Europe’s bioeconomy consortium. TCBB’s application has been approved by the board and general assembly of the Brussels-based Bio-based Industries Consortium (BIC) as an Associate Member. The BIC is the private partner in the €3.7 billion Public-Private Partnership on Bio-based Industries (BBI) with the European Union (EU) to convert biological residues and wastes into greener everyday products. “International household names such as Coca Cola, Unilever and Total are amongst the major industrial players in the Bio-based Industries Consortium. Our membership of the BIC will create new opportunities to promote innovation and to compete for funding to develop Ireland’s bioeconomy. This marks a significant milestone in the development of the NUI Galway-hosted TCBB’s role in facilitating Ireland’s industries to engage and partner with EU-wide companies to recover resources and develop new food products, biomaterials and biochemicals from agricultural wastes, agri-food by-products and forestry and marine residues,” said Mr Bart Bonsall, Technology Leader and head of centre, TCBB. “When you see that Ireland’s food and beverages exports have grown for five consecutive years (by 45% or €3.2 billion since 2009), with milk production set to increase with the imminent lifting of the EU quotas and that Ireland is planning to expand food and forestry production significantly up to the year 2020, it is important that as Ireland’s bioeconomy centre we are directly involved in this type of initiative. Add to the mix that Ireland’s pharma-chemicals industry is the 7th largest exporter globally and you get a picture of how for a small country, we can pursue big opportunities,” added Mr Bonsall. NUI Galway’s Head of the School of Natural Sciences and Principal Investigator with the TCBB, Professor Vincent O’Flaherty commented that: “For the TCBB and NUI Galway as its main co-host, being part of the BIC will provide a new and high-value platform to promote and showcase the bioeconomy-related expertise in TCBB. It will create new opportunities to engage with industry and enterprise across the EU in developing and demonstrating innovative technologies and production systems to bolster Ireland’s exporting capacities.” The BIC will play a key role in bridging the gap between innovation and deployment of biobased products across the European Union. The BIC aims to: leverage Europe's advanced biobased research and technology use renewable resources and innovative technologies for greener everyday products develop underutilised potential of agriculture and forestry residues replace oil-based chemicals and materials with biodegradable, biobased ones diversify and grow farmers' incomes; and generate new industries, revitalise others and create thousands of jobs. ENDS

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Reflecting the growing influence of national and EU policies on farming life, a new course entitled Agricultural Economics and Policy is underway at NUI Galway. Delivered through the Economics discipline at the University, the course is offered as part of the Natural Resource Economics and Policy Masters programme. As well as the Masters students who take this course as an option, the classes are also attended by Teagasc Walsh Fellow PhD candidates based in NUI Galway. The course puts particular focus on public policy analysis related to the development of the Irish agricultural sector and examines challenging policy questions such as the impacts of climate change on the sector, the impacts of EU Common Agricultural Policy reform and the economic concepts and models of relevance that are necessary to understand the global role of agriculture in economic systems. A unique feature of the course is that it is delivered jointly by NUI Galway and Teagasc economists. The Athenry-based Rural Economy and Development Programme (REDP) Teagasc economists Dr Thia Hennessy, Trevor Donnellan and Dr Kevin Hanrahan are delivering a number of lectures on the course. According to the Director of the Natural Resource Economics and Policy Masters programme, Dr Stephen Hynes of NUI Galway: “The participation of the Teagasc economists in the delivery of the course is a great opportunity for the students to see how agricultural economists use the economic tools, learnt during the course, to answer real world agricultural policy questions.” The Masters programme is designed to develop the analytical modelling skills of economics graduates for future employment in private and public sector, enterprises concerned with the environment, agriculture, food, fisheries and other marine resources. “Given that agriculture and food is a key element in the Irish economy and natural resource management is vital for the continued development of the sector it is important that we have students coming through with the tools to analyse the impact of policy and impact of possible environmental changes on the sector,” Dr Hynes added. The head of the Teagasc Rural Economy and Development Programme, Professor Cathal O’Donoghue also sees great merit in the collaborative teaching approach stating: “There is already close ties between the Rural Economy and Development Programme of Teagasc and the Economics Discipline in NUI Galway with many joint research projects underway and a number of Walsh Fellowship PhD students under joint supervision and operating between both campuses; so it is great to see this collaboration extend to the teaching side as well.” For those interested in this subject, the Masters course begins again in September 2015, with application due by the end of June. Further information on the Masters programme is available at http://www.nuigalway.ie/business-public-policy-law/cairnes/courses/taught/natural-resource-economics.html.   -ends-

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Public talk on 5 March at NUI Galway Places associated with Finn mac Cumaill in the Fenian cycle of tales and named after him and his warrior band have an historical reality as important boundary points, hunting grounds and areas of mineral enrichment in medieval and prehistoric times. This concept will be explored further in a public lecture on 5 March by NUI Galway archaeologist, Professor Elizabeth FitzPatrick. Finn mac Cumaill (Finn McCool) and his fían or warrior band are central figures in the literature and oral tradition of Gaelic-speaking peoples of Ireland, Scotland and the Isle of Man. Landforms and place-names associated with him and his hunting and martial activities include hills such as Seefin (Finn’s seat), Knockfinn (Finn’s Hill) and Formoyle (very bare place), caves such as Fingal’s Cave on the Isle of Arran, and causeways like the World Heritage Giant’s Causeway on the Co. Antrim coastline. Tales of Finn reveal that he lives in a strange boundary place, a wilderness at the margins of territories. An examination of places associated with him in the real landscape show that they occur where different rock types meet and where mineral and metal ores are usually found. Red deer frequented such places to obtain their essential mineral licks and so they became important hunting grounds in the past. “These place names are much more important than instances of the survival of Finn folklore. They indicate areas of enriched natural resources and physical boundaries in the landscape,” explains Professor Elizabeth FitzPatrick. The lecture is based on a project in Archaeology at NUI Galway, with NUI Galway’s Dr Ronan Hennessy and Dr Paul Naessens, Professor Joseph Nagy at UCLA, Dr Ruth Carden wildlife ecologist and Dr Matthew Parkes of the National Museum of Ireland. The aim is to produce a digital and print Atlas of Finn mac Cumaill’s Places which will showcase new knowledge about the relationships between archaeology, geology, wildlife ecology, mythology and place-names in landscape and settlement research. Professor FitzPatrick added, “Finn places on the edge of Western Europe may be the most enduring survival of a wider landscape expression of the Celtic place-name ‘vind’ and its associated phenomenon of boundaries and enriched natural resources, extending from Gorumna Island in south Connemara to Galatia in Asia Minor." The public talk will take place on Thursday, 5 March, at 6pm in the Moore Institute Seminar Room, Hardiman Research Building, NUI Galway. -ends-

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

NUI Galway Biomedical Engineering Researchers recently claimed two major national awards. David Nolan, a PhD student in Biomedical Engineering under the supervision of Dr Patrick McGarry at the College of Engineering and Informatics, is the 2015 winner of the prestigious Engineers Ireland Biomedical Research Medal, awarded annually to the best PhD level biomedical engineering research in Ireland. This prestigious award and a €1,000 honorarium is sponsored by DePuy Synthes and is adjudicated, based on a research paper and presentation, by an expert panel drawn from academia and industry. David Nolan’s winning paper entails the development of new mathematical and computer models for simulating arteries based on experimental testing of excised arterial tissue. The mechanical behaviour of arteries is particularly complex due to the presence of aligned reinforcing collagen fibres. This new formulation provides improved predictions of the stress state in arteries during the insertion of stents. This research has significant implications for the design of next-generation medical devices. This is the second time that a member of Dr McGarry’s research group has achieved this award in the past four years. The research was performed in collaboration with Professor Michel Destrade and Artur Gower, School of Mathematics, Statistics and Applied Mathematics at NUI Galway, and Professor Ray Ogden, School of Mathematics and Statistics, University of Glasgow. The research is funded by Science Foundation Ireland and the Irish Research Council, and is also supported by the Irish Centre for High-End Computing. A major research award was also recently claimed by Fiona Freeman, a biomedical engineering PhD student under the supervision of Dr Laoise McNamara, also from the College of Engineering and Informatics, NUI Galway. Fiona was awarded first prize in the Mature Researcher category for her presentation at the 21st Annual Conference of the Bioengineering Section of the Royal Academy of Medicine in Ireland. The work presented at the conference was conducted by Fiona in Professor Robert Guldberg’s Laboratory in Georgia Tech, Atlanta. After being awarded the National University of Ireland Travelling Scholar Award, Fiona travelled to the US for six months to conduct her studies in collaboration with Guldberg’s lab. Her study explored the fate of constructs produced using an endochondral ossification process. Both David, a native of Kilkenny, and Fiona, a native of Galway, completed their undergraduate degrees in biomedical engineering at NUI Galway prior to undertaking PhD research. Speaking of their success, Professor Gerry Lyons, Dean of Engineering and Informatics at NUI Galway said: “David’s and Fiona’s awards further establish NUI Galway as a leading centre for biomedical engineering research, both nationally and internationally. This research is also very important for the ongoing development of the medical device industry.” -ends-

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

First Irish University to Offer Free Cancer Screening for Staff NUI Galway has today launched a FREE Mammogram service under the banner of ‘Pink Power’ for female employees, and a FREE prostate screening programme for male employees under the banner of Blue Power. This initiative is the first of its kind in any university in Ireland, is sponsored by Cornmarket, and delivered with the Bon Secours Hospital Galway. According to Professor Michael Kerin, Head of Surgery at NUI Galway and Research Director of the National Breast Cancer Research Institute (NBCRI) early diagnosis is vital: “Approximately 2800 women per year get breast cancer in the Republic of Ireland and it is the leading cause of cancer death amongst middle aged women in Ireland. This campaign will increase awareness and provide a screening mammogram for women in the 40-50 year age group in NUI Galway.” Mr Kilian Walsh Consultant Urological Surgeon went on to say “For men, 1 in 9 will be diagnosed with Prostate Cancer during their lifetime. The chance of developing Prostate Cancer increases with age and early diagnosis allows an informed discussion about all available treatment options. This is why the NUI Galway have organised FREE PSA tests for male employees aged 45 and over.” In the coming weeks, male employees aged 45 and over will be invited to attend clinics under the care of Bon Secours Hospital Nursing staff conveniently located in Áras Moyola, NUI Galway. At the same time, female employees between the ages of 40 and 50 will be offered a FREE mammogram in the Bon Secours hospital. BreastCheck (the national screening programme) invites women aged 50 to 64 years for a free screening mammogram every two years. However, breast cancer can happen before 50. We hope that through Pink Power we can increase awareness of the importance of self-assessment and early detection. Speaking at the launch, Roddy Murphy, Managing Director of Cornmarket said: “We are very proud to sponsor this first of its kind employee initiative. Sadly Cornmarket’s claims team take phone calls regularly from members in their schemes, both young and old, who have been diagnosed with cancer. This initiative is an important step in the battle against cancer. If one life can be saved, it will have been worthwhile.” Speaking on the day, Triona Lydon, Pensions and Investment Officer at NUI Galway said: “This new initiative for NUI Galway employees is about health promotion, early detection and swift treatment, if necessary, and it is hoped that it will make a real difference to the health and wellbeing of our staff.” Professor Michael Kerin and Kilian Walsh concluded: “We believe that ‘Pink Power’ and Blue Power is truly an excellent tool for early intervention in the fight against breast and prostate cancer and NUI Galway is very happy to lead out on this.” -End-

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

First award from Apple to any Higher Education programme in Europe NUI Galway’s Máistir Gairmiúil san Oideachas programme has been awarded the Apple Distinguished Programme for 2014/2015. The Apple Distinguished Programme (APD) recognises educational programmes for innovation, leadership, and educational excellence. The Máistir Gairmiúil san Oideachas (MGO) is a two year, full-time programme offered through the medium of Irish, by the School of Education at NUI Galway. The MGO is unique in that it is the only initial teacher education programme that prepares future teachers to teach in second-level Irish medium schools. The programme equips student teachers with the professional knowledge, theoretical and conceptual tools necessary for developing creative, flexible and reflective approaches to teaching. A particular emphasis is placed on teaching through the medium of Irish and on the development of strategies for teaching and learning both content and language (CLIL). Dr Mary Fleming, Head of the School of Education at NUI Galway, said: “This award is a significant and important accolade for the Máistir Gairmiúil san Oideachas programme as it gives recognition to the innovative teamwork, collegiality and deep engagement with pre-service teacher learning for future practice within Irish medium schools and classrooms. We in the School of Education are very proud of our colleagues and wholeheartedly congratulate Dr Brendan Mac Mahon, Seán Ó Grádaigh and Sinéad Ní Ghuidhir on this fantastic achievement.” This is the first Apple Distinguished Programme award to any Higher Education programme in Europe, and only the third Education programme worldwide. This award builds on the success of the recent First International Conference in Mobile Technology in Initial Teacher Education (MiTE) 2015. This two-day Conference, hosted by the School of Education last month, brought together field leaders in the area of mobile technology in education, in both research and practice. Director of the MGO programme, Dr Brendan Mac Mahon said: “It is a great honour that the groundbreaking work of the student teachers and programme team has attracted international recognition. Incorporating mobile technology within our programme created spaces for teaching and learning that we had not envisaged and which are now having an impact on teaching, learning and assessment in secondary schools.” -Ends-

Thursday, 26 February 2015

The research project aims to advance active and healthy ageing with use of service robots A new European research project valued at €4 million, aimed at managing active and healthy ageing through the use of caring service robots has recently begun at NUI Galway. The MARIO project brings together a consortium of partners from academic institutions and industry across Europe, led by the School of Nursing and Midwifery at NUI Galway. Funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme, within the thematic section ‘Societal Challenge on Health, Demographic Change and Wellbeing’, it assembles a team of international experts from academia, industry and dementia groups to work collaboratively in tackling the burdens imposed by dementia and developing innovative solutions using caring robots. The €4 million project will last for three years during which three pilot studies of robots interacting with people with dementia will be undertaken. The first pilot will run in the West of Ireland, organised by NUI Galway’s School of Nursing and Midwifery, the second will run in Stockport, UK, organised by the city’s health care managers, while the third will run in Italy, organised by a leading research hospital, Casa Sollievo della Sofferenza, which is pushing research boundaries in comprehensive geriatric assessment. The project’s communication strategist, Professor Kathy Murphy of NUI Galway explains: “MARIO is an exciting and innovative project that will make a huge difference to the lives of people with dementia. We will be working directly with people with dementia to ensure that the issues they see as important are addressed. Multi-faceted interventions will be developed, which will be delivered by humanoid robots.” The technology at the heart of MARIO is the robot Kompai, designed and developed by a consortium partner, French company Robosoft. Other partners in the consortium will provide technological expertise in the areas of robotic applications and semantic computing. All the outcomes of the research will be made public. These are expected to be of great benefit to people with dementia as well as lead to commercial opportunities for cutting-edge technology companies. Project coordinator, Dr Dympna Casey of NUI Galway, said of these pilot studies: “All interactions with caregivers, persons with dementia, older persons and stakeholders will fully comply with standards-based medical assessment methodologies, and aspire to provide a truly user-led design ethos.” Professor Murphy added: “The project will follow an open door communications policy. The project is funded by the European Commission and its results belong to all the citizens of the European Union.” -Ends-