Thursday, 20 September 2018

NUI Galway’s School of Maths will hold its third Junior Mathematics Enrichment programme beginning Monday, 1 October. The programme will run for seven weeks (excluding the bank holiday) every Monday from 7.30 – 9pm until Monday, 19 November. The programme, part of a nationwide Irish Mathematical Trust initiative, is open to Junior cycle pupils, normally second or third year, who have an interest in and enthusiasm for mathematics. Through a series of weekly activities, designed to explore mathematical ideas in a supportive and engaging manner, the Junior Mathematics Enrichment aims to offer: A wider perspective on mathematics and its role in life and society An opportunity to develop problem-solving skills An environment centred on the enjoyment of discovery and investigation amongst like-minded peers. The programme is run by a dedicated collective of students from NUI Galway’s Bachelor of Arts in Mathematics and Education programme under the direction of Dr Aisling McCluskey. Dr McCluskey said: “There is a massive appetite amongst parents, pupils and teachers for this type of opportunity – and a great untapped talent at the junior level. The Junior Mathematics Enrichment programme exposes a rich and fertile seam of mathematical ability in junior cycle, supported by a strong network of parents, teachers, students and lecturers.” All County Galway secondary schools are invited to nominate Junior cycle students who have an interest in mathematics for the seven-week programme.  To register interest, please contact collette.mcloughlin@nuigalway.ie before Friday, 28 September. -Ends-

Friday, 21 September 2018

Tá tionscadal taighde lucht éisteachta bunaithe ag RTÉ i gcomhpháirt le hOllscoil na hÉireann, Gaillimh.  Beidh sé d’aidhm ag Fios Físe tuairimí Phobal Labhartha na Gaeilge i leith RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta a fhiosrú.  Seo é an chéad uair a mbeidh tuairimí spriocphobal an chraoltóra á fhiosrú ar bhonn leanúnach.  Is faoi scáth Acadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge a bheidh an tionscadal á reáchtáil. Earcófar Painéal de 500 cuiditheoir a bheidh ionadach ar Phobal Labhartha na Gaeilge ar fud na hÉireann, thuaidh agus theas.  Áireofar critéir theangeolaíocha, thíreolaíocha agus dhéimeagrafacha i gcomhdhéanamh bhallraíocht an Phainéil.  Líonfaidh na cuiditheoirí suirbhé ar líne go seachtainiúil agus cuirfear torthaí an taighde faoi bhráid RTÉ go tráthrialta.  Beidh stórchiste luachmhar faisnéise ar fáil chun críche taighde d’Ollscoil na hÉireann, Gaillimh, go háirithe i gcomhthéacs chlár léinn an Acadaimh sna Meáin Chumarsáide. Chuir Gearóid Mac Donncha, Ceannaire Gníomhach RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta, fáilte mhór roimh an togra, agus dúirt sé gur mór an chabhair a bheadh ann ó thaobh pleanála agus stiúradh na seirbhíse de sna blianta amach romhainn. “Cuirfidh an t-aiseolas rialta faoin gcraoladh, agus an anailís ar an lucht éisteachta, a bheidh ar fáil dúinn anois a bhuíochas do Fios Físe go mór leis an obair a bhíonn idir lámha againn ó thaobh reáchtáil na seirbhíse de.  Tabharfaidh sé léargas níos fearr dúinn ar mhianta an phobail éisteachta, sa Ghaeltacht agus lasmuigh di, agus beidh muid in ann feidhmiú dá réir.  Is eolas é seo a bhí in easnamh orainn, go pointe, go dtí seo, agus tá sé i gceist againn anois leas a bhaint as chun tairbhe éisteoirí RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta." “Comhlánóidh an clár nua seo an taighde lucht féachana atá ar siúl againn ó 2013 do TG4 agus tógann sé ar an tsamhail oibriúcháin a bunaíodh i gcomhar le TG4 don taighde ag an am,” a deir Stiúrthóir an Tionscadail Séamas Ó Concheanainn.  Ceapadh an Dr Eilís Ní Dhúill mar Thaighdeoir Iardhochtúireachta le Fios Físe le gairid. Tá Meamram Comhthuisceana freisin sínithe idir OÉ Gaillimh agus RTÉ chun clár nua MA (Cleachtas Gairmiúil sna Meáin) a chur ar fáil, le béim ar an bhfoghlaim phraiticbhunaithe trí mheán na Gaeilge i stiúideonna éagsúla de chuid RTÉ. Cuirfidh an tAcadamh an MA ar fáil ó Mheán Fómhair 2018. Beidh sé ar fáil ar bhonn lán ama agus go páirtaimseartha. Clár léinn nuálach agus solúbtha é seo ina bhfuil meascán den staidéar acadúil ar líne agus tréimhsí suntasacha i mbun taithí oibre phraiticbhunaithe  in RTÉ san iriseoireacht, sa chraoltóireacht agus i gcruthú ábhair don raidió, don teilifís, agus d’ardáin éagsúla ar líne. “I measc na ndúshlán atá ag RTÉ i leith ár n-aschur Gaeilge, tá ár lucht éisteachta agus ar ár lucht féachana a aithint go soiléir, le gur féidir linn an freastal is fearr a dhéanamh orthu, agus freisin cumasú a dhéanamh ar dhaoine a bheidh ag obair sna meáin amach anseo le gur féidir linn an soláthar ar ard-chaighdeán a dhéanann RTÉ ar sheirbhísí Gaeilge a chinntiú don todhchaí.  Léiríonn an obair atá á déanamh ag RTÉ agus OÉ Gaillimh ina leith seo an luach ollmhór a bhaineann le comhpháirtíocht, agus an tábhacht a bhaineann le tógáil ar an deá-chaidreamh idir an dá eagraíocht.” a deir Grúpcheannasaí Gaeilge RTÉ, Rónán Mac Con Iomaire. Dúirt Riarthóir Aonad Léann na Cumarsáide, an Dr Uinsionn Mac Dubhghaill, go bhfuil “an clár léinn ag freastal ar éilimh ó mhic léinn ar chláir iarchéime a bhfuil naisc láidre acu le fostóirí agus leis an margadh.” CRÍOCH NUI Galway and RTÉ form a new partnership on a National Irish-Language Audience Research Programme and a new MA programme NUI Galway has established a new Irish language audience research initiative in partnership with RTÉ.  Fíos Físe will investigate the reach, satisfaction levels and listening habits of Irish speakers, on the island of Ireland, with regard to RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta. It is the first time that the views of Raidió na Gaeltachta’s core target audience will be investigated on a regular and ongoing basis. The project will be run by Acadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge. An audience research panel of 500 contributors, representative of the Irish speaking population throughout Ireland, north and south, will be recruited. Linguistic, geographical and demographic criteria will inform the composition of this panel. Participants will complete a weekly online survey,  the results of which will be submitted to RTÉ on a regular basis. This research will be of significant value to NUI Galway, particularly in the context of Acadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge’s teaching and research programme in Irish-language broadcasting. Gearóid Mac Donncha, Acting Head of RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta, welcomed the proposal, and said that it would assist greatly in the planning and management of the service in the coming years, "Regular feedback regarding the broadcast service, and audience analysis, which will be available to us now, will greatly enhance service delivery. It will give us a better insight into listener preferences, within the Gaeltacht and outside, and therfore assist us in devising our strategy going forward. Regular and detailed audience research data regarding our core audience has not been available to date, and we look forward to drawing on the research output for the benefit of RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta listeners." "This new research initiative  will augment the audience research we have been undertaking for TG4 since 2013, and builds on the audience research model established in conjunction with TG4 at that time," said Project Director Séamas Ó Concheanainn. Dr Eilís Ní Dhúill has been recently recruited to the position of Postdoctoral Researcher with the project. NUI Galway and RTÉ today also signed a Memorandum of Understanding for a new MA (Cleachtas Gairmiúil sna Meáin) in professional practice in media, with an emphasis on practice-based learning through Irish at a number of RTÉ studios. This new MA programme will be offered by Acadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge at NUI Galway from September 2018. It will be available on both a full-time and a part-time basis. This flexible and innovative programme combines online academic modules with significant periods of practice-based work experience in RTÉ in journalism, broadcasting and content creation for radio, television and online platforms.  “Among RTÉ’s challenges around Irish-language output are identifying clearly our audiences so that we may best serve them, and also ensuring that we enable future media practitioners to continue to provide the high-quality services provided by RTÉ as Gaeilge.  That RTÉ have been able to work with NUI Galway with the aim of fulfilling these two key challenges shows the enormous value of partnership, and the importance of building on the continuing relationship between our two organisations.” said RTÉ’s Group Head of Irish Language, Rónán Mac Con Iomaire. The programme director, Dr Uinsionn Mac Dubhghaill, noted "with its balanced mix of the theoretical study of media and practice-based learning the new MA programmeresponds to a demand from students for postgraduate programmes that have strong links to employers and the market”.   ENDS

Friday, 21 September 2018

The MOU establishes research and education alliance with the Vietnam National University of Agriculture on climate resilient agriculture and food systems The Plant & AgriBiosciences Research Centre (PABC) within NUI Galway’s Ryan Institute recently hosted a visiting delegation from the Vietnam National University of Agriculture (VNUA) to develop a research and education partnership between the two universities. During the visit a Memorandum of Understanding was signed by NUI Galway President, Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh and Professor Nguyen Tat Canh, Vice-President of VNUA. Professor Charles Spillane, Director of the Ryan Institute, highlighted that: “The agriculture and food systems of Ireland and Vietnam both face mounting challenges due to climate change and adverse weather events. On a global level, for the third year in a row the number of undernourished people (i.e. those facing chronic food deprivation), has risen - increasing to nearly 821 million in 2017, from around 804 million in 2016. Gains over recent decades in reducing levels of food insecurity are now being set back by adverse climate events in many regions of the world. The development of climate-resilient agriculture and food systems will require multi-disciplinary research to generate climate-smart innovations that will need to be deployed at scale in all countries.” To help address such challenges, the Ryan Institute’s Plant and AgriBiosciences Research Centre (PABC) has established a research, innovation and education alliance with VNUA on the theme of ‘Climate Resilient Agriculture, Food & Nutrition Systems for Sustainable Development’. The partnership will involve student/researcher exchanges and collaborative NUI Galway/VNUA research and innovation activities.  The bilateral cooperation between the two universities is funded by the Vietnam Ireland Bilateral Education  Exchange (VIBE) Programme run by the Irish Embassy in Hanoi through the Irish Aid programme. Five NUI Galway students from its award winning Masters in Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (MScCCAFS) degree have been conducting research in Vietnam over the past two years, working closely with the global CCAFS program (ccafs.cgiar.org) and national partners such as VNUA. The NUI Galway MScCCAFS research has been contributing knowledge and innovations for development of more climate resilient agriculture and food systems in Vietnam and SouthEast Asia. During their visit, the VNUA delegation, along with Ryan Institute Principal Investigators and the MScCCAFS students, participated in the Irish Aid public consultation for Ireland’s new international development policy. At the public consultation, the VNUA Delegation met with Ciaran Cannon, Minister for the Diaspora and International Development. A reciprocal partnership building visit by experts from the NUI Galway’s Ryan Institute to VNUA is planned, which will include a joint VNUA-NUI Galway Workshop on Climate Resilient Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Systems for Sustainable Development in Hanoi on World Food Day on Tuesday, 16 October. The joint workshop will involve participants from NUI Galway, VNUA, Irish Aid, the global CCAFS program, CIAT Vietnam and Vietnamese ministry representatives. -Ends-

Friday, 28 September 2018

Over 500 delegates are attending the 2018 European Orthopaedic Research Society (EORS) Meeting in Galway this week. The meeting is chaired by Dr Dimitrios I. Zeugolis, Director of the Regenerative, Modular and Developmental Engineering Laboratory, part of CÚRAM, the Science Foundation Ireland Centre for Research in Medical Devices in NUI Galway. The conference provides a forum to discuss recent advances, challenges and opportunities in orthopaedic, musculoskeletal and trauma research and practice and attract a broad cross-section of world-leading professionals from researchers in academia and industry, to clinicians and medical regulators. Delegates attending the conference are travelling from as far afield as Taiwan and New Zealand. Galway is a focused global centre of activity for world-leading companies in these fields such as Boston Scientific and Medtronic. The meeting is of strategic importance to Ireland, a country whose Medical Technology industry accounts for more than 10% of exports, €12.6 billion.    Trauma and orthopaedic treatments and surgery involve treating traumatic, developmental and degenerative conditions of the musculoskeletal system; novel and innovative techniques, implants and treatments are constantly being developed and applied to treat a very wide range of patients. As the population ages, the number and range of medical interventions taking place annually is increasing exponentially, as is the market for orthopaedic products.  Almost 70 new research papers will be presented to delegates at this year’s meeting as well as plenary presentations from global leaders in the field, and five workshop sessions including Female Leadership and Stem Cells. Dedicated symposia include Fracture, Trauma, Failure, Clinical Trials and Obesity, and Diabetes and Fracture Healing. Dr Dimitrios I. Zeugolis from CÚRAM at NUI Galway, said: “It is a great honour to host this prestigious meeting in Galway, that the programme is of an excellent standard and I’m sure the delegates will enjoy the West of Ireland’s hospitality. The meeting provides an opportunity to promote the high-value, high gains research and development taking place at NUI Galway and in the West of Ireland and is expected to translate as a €450,000 boost to local revenue.” To view full programme details, visit: www.eors2018.org/ -Ends-

Thursday, 30 August 2018

Researchers from the J.E. Cairnes School of Business and Economics at NUI Galway have found important differences between people’s values of their health states in Ireland compared with other countries. For example, the importance accorded to mental health in Ireland, particularly anxiety/depression, may not have been given the weight they deserved in the past. The findings were published in PharmacoEconomics, a leading health economics journal. The research reports the preferences of people in Ireland for 3,125 different health states; essentially how they value one health state relative to another including perfect health and being dead. It differentiated health across five domains - mobility, self-care, usual activities, pain/discomfort and anxiety/depression – and within each domain across five levels of severity ranging from no problem in that domain up to inability to function or extreme problems in that domain. The research provides a detailed description of the methods and the value set – that is the weights for the various health states. It demonstrates that in Ireland a greater weight is attached to anxiety/depression than to the other domains of health, followed by pain/discomfort. The work shows that not only do people in Ireland attach greater importance to anxiety/depression as a dimension of health than to other dimensions but that people in Ireland attach more importance to anxiety/depression than do people in other countries where similar studies have been undertaken. The work involved a large scale national survey of 1,160 people living in Ireland conducted over two years. It was undertaken in collaboration with colleagues from NUI Galway, EuroQol Research Foundation in the Netherlands and the Office of Health Economics in London as well as colleagues from the Centre for Public Health in Queens University Belfast. Professor Ciaran O’Neill, Adjunct Professor at the J.E. Cairnes School of Business and Economics in NUI Galway and lead author of the research, commented: “The study used an internationally recognised descriptive system (the EQ5D5L) and an internationally validated protocol to measure the relative importance attached to different health states in Ireland. The work provides valuable insights into those preferences and allows meaningful comparisons of preferences in Ireland with those in other countries, for example, we attach a much higher weight to mental health (anxiety/depression) at severe/extreme levels in Ireland than is the case in England or Germany. Importantly it allows researchers in Ireland to generate quality adjusted life year measures based on Irish preferences. Quality adjusted life year measures are an integral part of health technology assessments, a method used to assess the relative value for money of alternative uses of healthcare resources, such as those produced by the Health Information and Quality Authority or used by the National Centre for Pharmacoeconomics in Ireland.” The research was supported by the Health Research Board under a Research Leadership award held by Professor Ciaran O’Neill (NUI Galway and QUB) as well as by the EuroQol Research Foundation. To read the full study in PharmacoEconomics, visit: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs40273-018-0690-x -Ends-

Wednesday, 29 August 2018

NUI Galway will host the 43rd Sir Peter Freyer Memorial Lecture and Surgical Symposium, the largest Surgical Conference in Ireland, from 7-8 September. The Symposium, 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, comprises of multiple research and education sessions across the various surgical subspecialties, two keynote addresses and a discussion forum around the future of Surgical Care in Ireland.  This year the keynote addresses will be delivered by Professor Conor Delaney, Chairman of the Digestive Disease and Surgery Institute at the Cleveland Clinic, and Kenneth Mealy, President of the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland. Professor Delaney will deliver the Memorial Lecture entitled ‘Approaching Industrial Standards for Rectal Cancer Surgery’ on Friday, 7 September. Professor Delaney holds the Victor W. Fazio MD Endowed Chair in Colorectal Surgery. He is a member and serves on administrative committees of many national and international professional societies; serves on the editorial board of eight national and international journals; is the past-president of the International Society for Laparoscopic Colorectal Surgery, and the Midwest Surgical Association; and is the Treasurer of the American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons. His clinical interests include laparoscopic colorectal surgery, carcinoma of the colon, Crohn’s Disease and ulcerative colitis, sphincter-saving surgery, re-operative abdominal surgery and colonoscopy. His research interests include various aspects of colorectal surgery, cost-efficiency in surgery, and surgical education.  Kenneth Mealy will deliver the State of the Art Lecture entitled ‘Sustainable High Quality Surgical Care: A Utopian Dream’ on Saturday, 8 September.  He is a Consultant General Surgeon with a special interest in gastrointestinal (GI) surgery, based at Wexford General Hospital. He completed his clinical and academic training in Ireland, the UK, Harvard Medical School, Boston and the University of Edinburgh, Scotland.  Since his election to the Council of RCSI in 2008, he has chaired the Committee for Surgical Affairs, the Irish Surgical Postgraduate Training Committee and the Finance Committee. He has a long interest in surgical training and held the post of Chair of the Dublin Region Basic Surgical Training Committee and Chair of the National Basic Surgical Training Programme. He also held the position of President of the Surgical Section of The Royal Academy of Medicine in Ireland. He was appointed Joint Lead for the National Clinical Programme in Surgery in 2010 and Medical Director of the National Office of Clinical Audit in 2012. Professor of Surgery at NUI Galway, Michael Kerin, who is hosting the event along with his colleague Professor Oliver McAnena, said: “We are delighted to welcome Professor Delaney and Kenneth Mealy to our University. Their work focuses on delivering high quality surgical care and achieving best outcomes for patients. Both lectures are the centre-points of a large programme containing some of the best surgical research from this country. This Conference signals the start of the academic year and has been a mainstay of the National Academic Surgical Platform with input from a diverse group of Consultants and Trainees across all specialties in Irish Surgery.” For further information on the event please contact 091 544203 or visit www.freyer.ie -Ends-

Friday, 24 August 2018

Plant biotechnologists from the Ryan Institute at NUI Galway have identified genetic breeding strategies to develop bigger and better sugar beet. Sustainable intensification of agriculture to meet rapidly growing global demand for food and non-food products produced by crops will require higher yielding crop varieties that can produce more food using less resources and land area. For crops such as sugar beet, this means the development of varieties that produce more per hectare, while reducing inputs. The findings from their research has been published in the international journal, BMC Plant Biology. Sustainable intensification of sugar beet supply will require the production of more sugar beet using less resources and land, which requires high yielding sugar beet varieties that require minimal inputs. Professor Charles Spillane’s Genetics and Biotechnology Lab at NUI Galway has been working closely with the international plant breeding company KWS SAAT to develop genetic breeding strategies to produce hybrid sugar beet varieties with higher yield that can maintain high levels of sugar production. Using a combination of molecular genetics laboratory work and large-scale sugar beet experimental field trials conducted in Cork, the research team discovered that the most efficient way to develop higher yielding sugar beet varieties was by tapping the benefits of hybrid vigour*, a topic of focus for the team. The white and brown sugar that the vast majority of food consumers in Ireland include as a sweetener in their daily diet is a naturally occurring biochemical called sucrose. The world’s supply of 185 million tonnes of sugar each year comes from only two crops, sugar cane and sugar beet. Sugar beet was once widely cultivated in Ireland, with the first sugar beet factory built in Mountmellick, Co Laois in 1851. The sugar beet industry was one of the major economic success stories in post-independence Ireland, following the opening of the first sugar beet factory by the Irish State’s sugar company in Carlow in 1926, followed by additional sugar beet processing factories in Mallow, Thurles and Tuam. Changes to the European Union subsidy program in the early 2000’s changed profit margins for the Irish sugar beet industry, leading to the closure of Ireland’s last sugar beet factory in 2006. Without sugar-processing factories, large-scale sugar beet farming effectively ended in Ireland. However, the possibility of resurrecting Ireland’s sugar industry has been boosted by the abolition of EU sugar quotas in 2017, with producer groups such as Beet Ireland seeking to re-establish sugar beet as a sustainable and eco-friendly crop in Ireland that is compatible with the Common Agricultural Policy “greening” measures. This has resulted in the sugar beet industry experiencing a resurgence across Europe, with new sugar beet processing factories under development in the UK and across continental Europe. Professor Charles Spillane, Director of the Ryan Institute at NUI Galway, said: “We need to consider sugars not only as ingredients for sweetening of foods, but also as the molecules upon which a more sustainable sugar-based bioeconomy can be developed that produces multiple bio-based products from sugars. Bioproducts or bio-based products are materials, chemicals and energy derived from renewable biological resources. Sugar beet processing factories are now designed as sugar beet ‘biorefineries’ where sugar is but one of the many bioproducts generated, along with many non-food products such as specialty high-value chemicals, bio-based materials and bioenergy that can displace fossil-fuel derived products. Sugar beet biorefineries in Ireland can play an important role in decarbonisation pathways in Ireland to reduce carbon and resource footprints in the agrifood sector. Sugar-beet biorefineries can act as ‘innovation platforms’ for conversion of sugars to more sustainable bio-derived chemicals and biomaterials. Under its Agriculture and Bioeconomy theme, the Ryan Institute is working on a range of projects to develop next-generation biorefinery and bioeconomy applications for a more sustainable future.” PhD student Brendan Hallahan, a researcher on the sugar beet work at NUI Galway, said: “Over the past decade, our ability to harness genetics to accelerate the breeding and improvement of crops has taken a quantum leap. New research tools such as next generation sequencing, bioinformatics and genome editing are now revolutionising plant breeding worldwide. Next generation varieties of the humble sugar beet crop can be an asset for sustainable development in both Ireland and the EU, if research can continue into plant genetic improvements combined with the establishment of modern biorefineries.”   The research was funded by Science Foundation Ireland and the Irish Research Council. To read the full research study in BMC Plant Biology, visit: https://bit.ly/2MsEZzi. For more information about the Plant and AgriBiosciences Research Centre and the Genetics and Biotechnology Research Lab at NUI Galway, visit: www.plantagbiosciences.org and www.spillanelab.org. -Ends-

Thursday, 23 August 2018

Bill Schmarzo, Chief Technology Officer, Internet of Things and Analytics at Hitachi Vantara, has been appointed Honorary Professor at the J.E. Cairnes School of Business and Economics at NUI Galway. Bill is the author of Big Data: Understanding How Data Powers Big Business and Big Data MBA: Driving Business Strategies with Data Science. Speaking frequently on the business value of big data and data science, he is considered the ‘Dean of Big Data’. Bill is an avid blogger and frequent speaker on the application of big data and advanced analytics to drive an organisation’s key business initiatives. Bill visited NUI Galway in March of this year, teaching on the MSc in Business Analytics programme. He also teaches at the University of San Francisco School of Management, where he is their first Executive Fellow. Commenting on the new appointment, Dr Denis Dennehy, Programme Director of the MSc Business Analytics, said: “We are delighted to have Bill join the academic team at J.E. Cairnes School of Business and Economics. Bill’s industry experience in business analytics and passion for teaching is a natural fit for the MSc in Business Analytics programme as our data savvy students develop the technical and business skills that are critical for creating business value from big data.” Bill’s developments include creating the Vision Workshop methodology that links an organisation’s strategic business initiatives with supporting data and analytic requirements. He recently completed a research project at the University of San Francisco titled ‘Determining the Economic Value of Your Data’. Bill’s background includes Chief Technical Officer at Dell EMC and Vice-President of Analytics at Yahoo. He was recently named the #4 Big Data influencer, #4 Data Science and #6 Digital Transformation influencer worldwide by Onalytica. For more information on the MSc in Business Analytics programme, visit: http://www.nuigalway.ie/courses/taught-postgraduate-courses/business-analytics.html -Ends-

Monday, 20 August 2018

CAO Points Increase Significantly for Business, Law and Engineering courses at NUI Galway, while a suite of new Arts courses, including the new Music degree, are proving very popular The continuing popularity of NUI Galway was reflected by CAO offers issued today (Monday, 20 August 2018), with significant points increases on most courses from 2017 level. Across all five colleges, points have risen. Demand for Science and Engineering programmes grew again this year, with points increases in almost all programmes. Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences remain popular choices with CAO applicants, while Business and Law programmes saw significant increases in demand and points. NUI Galway introduced seven new Arts programmes this year, all proving popular with the market and commanding in excess of 400 points each. NUI Galway’s Academic Secretary, Caroline Loughnane, said: “Yet again this year, NUI Galway has seen significant increases in CAO points reflecting a continued growth in interest in the University and its programmes. International Business programmes continue to be a popular choice for students with a global outlook, and the strong performance of the Commerce (Global Experience) programme at 509 points confirms this. Programmes in Law are also in demand this year, with Civil Law increasing by more than 20 points. We are delighted with the interest in our suite of seven new Arts programmes in areas like Film and Digital Media and Media Studies, a clear recognition of Galway’s reputation as Ireland’s Cultural Capital. The addition of Music to the curriculum this year has been a particular highlight, with the new Music degree proving very popular, entering the market at 462 points. The impact of Brexit and the growing employment opportunities for graduates with European foreign languages is evident in the demand for two new programmes in Global Languages and an International Arts degree. NUI Galway’s strength and reputation in Biosciences is also reflected with soaring demand for both Biomedical Science (531 points) and Biomedical Engineering (487 points).” With NUI Galway anticipating an intake of over 3,000 new students in September, a hotline is in place for students, parents and teachers. NUI Galway First Year Student Hotline and Opening Hours Phone: +353 (0) 91 493999 or visit http://www.nuigalway.ie/startinguniversity/. The hotline will be open from 15 August to 28 September 2018 Monday to Friday from 9am-1pm and 2pm-5pm And Saturday, 18 and Saturday, 25 August  from 9am-1pm. Courses on the rise: Prospective students have shown particular interest in Commerce programmes, especially those with an international focus, reflecting awareness of the need for language mobility in the global jobs market. NUI Galway’s Commerce (Global Experience) programme is particularly popular, with a points requirement of 509, while the Commerce with French degree required 484 points. Biomedical Science continues to soar in popularity reaching 531 points this year, with 487 points required for the Biomedical Engineering programme, reflecting Galway’s leadership position in the Medtech sector. The popularity of NUI Galway’s two Law programmes continue to grow with Civil Law increasing by more than 20 points to 451 points. Demand for Science and Engineering courses continues to grow with points increases in almost all courses this year. Entry onto the medical programme requires 725 points (including HPAT), and General Nursing finished at 445, Psychiatric Nursing at 409 and Midwifery at 451. Both of NUI Galway’s Therapy programmes, Occupational Therapy and Speech and Language finished on 521 and 529 points respectively. In Arts, NUI Galway’s popular Creative Writing degree continues to attract a great deal of interest with the points finishing at 420 points, Psychology at 500 points, and significant interests in the new Arts programmes, all entering above 400 points, with a new Music degree proving extremely popular at 462 points. -Ends-

Friday, 17 August 2018

NUI Galway’s School of Psychology will host the 32nd Annual Conference of the European Health Psychology Society next week from 21-25 August. The European Health Psychology Society is the largest professional organisation of health psychologists in Europe with more than 600 members worldwide and 750 delegates will attend. Hosting an event of this scale in Galway is estimated to benefit the local economy by almost €1 million with funding from Fáilte Ireland to support international promotion and the Health Research Board to support the running of this event. NUI Galway successfully hosted the event in 2005 when more than 600 delegates attended the four-day conference. The theme of this year’s conference is ‘Health Psychology Across the Lifespan: Uniting Research, Practice and Policy’. Experts from around the world will meet and share their latest research findings on a range of established and emerging topics in health psychology research including: the role of technology in changing health relevant behaviour; coping with chronic illness; the impact of psychological and social stress on health; and how behavioural science can inform how healthcare is delivered. The event will also provide an extensive programme of training workshops where delegates can update their knowledge and skills in research and will also highlight the leading role that the School of Psychology in NUI Galway plays in research and practice relating to psychological and behavioural processes in health, illness and healthcare. Keynote speakers will include Professor Alex Rothman from the University of Minnesota in the US and Professor Molly Byrne from NUI Galway who will speak about the role of patients and the public in informing this research. Professor Molly Byrne has led research on the experience of young people living with Type 1 diabetes. In this work young adults living with the condition are involved as part of the team directing research on this topic. Professor Byrne will discuss how involving those who live with chronic health problems and those who directly provide care for them is often essential for producing research that has impact on reducing the suffering caused by these conditions. Dr Gerry Molloy, Chair of the local organising committee and Programme Director of the MSc in Health Psychology at NUI Galway, said: “Being awarded this major international event for the second time reflects the high regard in which the Health Psychology team at NUI Galway are held. Many of our colleagues here in Galway are international leaders in major global health challenges such as the psychological aspects of chronic pain, living with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes and long-term medication taking. The growth of Health Psychology at the University over last 15 years has meant that we are now one of the leading centres in this area in Europe, and hosting this major conference will help consolidate this position.” To stay informed about the conference, follow @ehps2018 or search for #ehps2018 on Twitter, or visit the conference website www.ehps2018.net.    -Ends-

Wednesday, 15 August 2018

Scientists from the Apoptosis Research Centre at NUI Galway have found that targeting the IRE1 stress response pathway may improve the response to chemotherapy and reduce relapse for patients with triple negative breast cancer. These first in world research findings were published today (15 August 2018) in the internationally renowned Nature Communications journal. Triple negative breast cancer (TNBC) is one of the most aggressive and difficult to treat forms of breast cancer. This type of breast cancer accounts for around 15% of all breast cancers diagnosed and occurs more frequently in younger women. Unlike other forms of breast cancer, there are no targeted therapies available for triple negative breast cancer. Currently, chemotherapy is the mainstay treatment, and although initially successful, a large percentage of TNBC patients relapse within one to three years of treatment and have a poor long-term prognosis. The exact mechanism of the tumour relapse post chemotherapy remained unknown until now. In this study, the research team, led by Professor Afshin Samali at NUI Galway have shown for the first time that IRE1, which is a cellular stress sensor that normally acts to alleviate short-term stresses within cells, such as lack of nutrients or oxygen, is a central driver of treatment-related relapse. Professor Afshin Samali, Director of the Apoptosis Research Centre at NUI Galway, said: “This study is the result of extensive laboratory experiments, analysis of breast cancer patient samples, testing pre-clinical models of triple negative breast cancer and collaboration with our international and industry partners. The new era of precision oncology aims to tailor treatments to individual cancer patients and here at NUI Galway, we are excited to identify a new therapeutic strategy for triple negative breast cancer patients who are most in need of better treatment options. Furthermore, this strategy may benefit many other cancer patients whose cancer cells rely on activated cell stress responses to survive.”  Dr Susan Logue, first author of the study at NUI Galway, said: “This work has uncovered a previously unknown role for IRE1 and suggests that it may represent a good therapeutic target for the treatment of triple negative breast cancer. While further research is needed, this work is a great example of how curiosity-driven basic research can lead to translational outcomes with real potential to impact on patient treatment.” The team discovered that chemotherapy can activate the IRE1 stress response in triple negative breast cancer, leading to the production of survival signals that are pumped out of the cell to support the growth of new cancer cells. Most importantly, the study showed that this process can be halted by specifically inhibiting IRE1 using a clinically-relevant, small molecule drug called MCK8866 that not only improves the effectiveness of the initial chemotherapy treatment, but also reduces relapse of this aggressive form of breast cancer.    Using triple negative breast cancer cells treated with chemotherapy, the research team found that blocking IRE1 activity reduced the production of survival signals, and in turn reduced the growth of new cancer cells by 50%. Furthermore, in a pre-clinical model of TNBC, the drug increased the effectiveness of chemotherapy treatment, leading to regression of 8 out of 10 cancers compared to regression of just 3 out of 10 cancers using chemotherapy alone. The combination of the MCK8866 drug with chemotherapy also reduced tumour relapse in this pre-clinical model of triple negative breast cancer. In addition to these laboratory-based experiments, an analysis of 595 patient tumours revealed that triple negative breast cancer tumours displayed the highest IRE1 activity compared to other subtypes, suggesting that IRE1 may be of particular importance in TNBC. This discovery suggests that combining chemotherapy with IRE1 inhibitors could offer substantial benefits for triple negative breast cancer patients.   The study was funded by Science Foundation Ireland, Irish Cancer Society and Horizon 2020 with initial funding from Breast Cancer Now. To read the full study in Nature Communications, visit: http://www.nature.com/ncomms -Ends-

Tuesday, 14 August 2018

NUI Galway and Complete Laboratory Solutions (CLS) recently announced a new CLS MedPharma Student Excellence in Microbiology Award. The award is open to Postgraduate Diploma in Applied Microbiology students. Criteria for the award is specifically based on a student’s performance in the analytical microbiology and laboratory quality management modules. Colin O’Toole, Director of Analysts on Contract at CLS, said: “We have been working with NUI Galway since CLS MedPharma was first established here in Galway city in 2008 and likewise at our first facility in Ros Muc in Connemara since 1994. In the intervening years over 40 NUI Galway graduates have been recruited at CLS. The Postgraduate Diploma in Applied Microbiology equips graduates with the practical techniques and skills required for a career in science and this is down to the exceptional work of Dr Cyril Carroll and Dr Gerard Fleming, Directors of the Postgraduate Diploma in Applied Microbiology. Supporting the next generation of microbiologists is very important to us and I am excited to celebrate our tenth year at CLS MedPharma by recognising talented students this year.” Dr Cyril Carroll, Co-Director of the Postgraduate Diploma in Applied Microbiology course at NUI Galway, said: “We are delighted that CLS MedPharma has chosen to mark their 10 years by supporting our talented scientists here at the University. This course which is now in its 30th year gives Microbiology graduates a thorough training in a wide range of analytical techniques and the ancillary skills necessary for careers in manufacturing and service industries, especially the healthcare, food, biomedical and pharmaceutical sectors.” The CLS MedPharma Student Excellence in Microbiology Award winning student will be announced in conjunction with the NUI Galway conferring ceremony in October this autumn. -Ends-  

Friday, 10 August 2018

NUI Galway study will focus on recruiting carers from counties Cavan, Monaghan, Louth and Meath where there is an estimated 4,800 people with dementia living in the North East The Centre for Economic and Social Research on Dementia at NUI Galway are leading the first ever study in Ireland looking at supports and services available for people with dementia and their families following a recent diagnosis. The study aims to recruit informal carers in the North East (Cavan, Monaghan, Louth and Meath), often family members, who are providing regular care and support to a loved one diagnosed with dementia in 2017 or 2018. There are an estimated 4,800 people with dementia living in the North East region of the country, many of whom are living at home supported by a family member or friend. It is not known how many of these have a diagnosis or at what stage they receive diagnosis. Breakdown of dementia prevalence rates for each county: Meath – 1,760 Louth – 1,450 Cavan – 870 Monaghan – 730 Carers may feel uncertain following the diagnosis of a loved one with dementia. The study is focused on identifying the most important services and supports at different stages of the illness. The results of the study will inform policy in relation to the supports and services that need to be in place to help carers and people with a recent diagnosis of dementia to deal with uncertainty and plan for future care needs. The aim of the study is to inform practice and policy regarding services and supports required by carers and people with dementia in the period following a dementia diagnosis and how these needs change over time. The primary focus is on post-diagnostic supports for people with dementia and their principal caregiver. The person receiving care must have received a diagnosis of dementia, or probable dementia, since January 2017. Dr Patricia Carney, a Health Economist at the Centre for Economic and Social Research at NUI Galway who is leading the study, said: “New investment in dementia care must reflect the preferences and needs of both the person with dementia and their informal carer. Carers require more tangible and practical supports to allow them do the job that most love doing. The consequences of not supporting them will be significant for people with dementia and for society. This study has the capacity and potential to improve the lives of people with dementia and their carers’ in Ireland, especially in the time following diagnosis.” Professor Eamon O’Shea, Director of the Centre for Economic and Social Research on Dementia at NUI Galway, said: “Carers play a crucial role in looking after people with dementia and we need to know much more about their needs and preferences for different kinds of services and supports.” If you provide regular support or care to a person recently diagnosed with dementia and want to participate in the study or find out more please email Dr Patricia Carney at DemCarer@nuigalway.ie or call Patricia on 086 0230772. To participate in the study visit: www.nuigalway.ie/dementiacare/ -Ends-

Friday, 10 August 2018

NUI Galway study finds difficulties in forming secure attachments with others may be linked to problematic Facebook use in adults A study carried out by researchers from the School of Psychology at NUI Galway have found that adults whose close relationships are characterised by high levels of insecurity may use Facebook in problematic ways in an attempt to fulfil their attachment needs, especially if they have low self-esteem or when they experience high levels of psychological distress such as anxiety, stress, or depression, according to a study published  today (10 August 2018) in the journal, BMC Psychology. To be able to investigate possible associations between problematic Facebook use and difficulties with forming personal attachments, the authors asked over 700 adult Facebook users to complete a series of online questionnaires, which measured depression, self-esteem, attachment avoidance and attachment anxiety along with aspects of the respondents’ specific Facebook use. The researchers investigated possible links between attachment avoidance (avoiding intimacy and closeness in personal relationships); attachment anxiety (fearing rejection and being overly dependent in personal relationships); and problematic patterns of Facebook use (Facebook use that has been previously linked to low mood and low self-esteem), such as compulsively looking at others’ photos, over-sharing personal information and impression management (using photo filters to present a positive self-image). The study found that those people with high levels of attachment anxiety were more likely to engage in social comparison and impression management on Facebook, and were more likely to disclose personal information on Facebook when in a heightened emotional state. In addition to this, these individuals were more likely to use the site intrusively, such that it impacted upon their sleep, work/study, and social relationships. The researchers also found that those people with high levels of attachment avoidance were more likely to engage in impression management on Facebook, and had a greater tendency to use the site intrusively, to the detriment of their offline social relationships.   Dr Sally Flynn, lead author of the study carried out at NUI Galway, said: “Our study is the first to apply attachment theory to better understand why people might engage with Facebook in problematic ways. Our findings suggest that Facebook may be used by some to fulfil fundamental attachment needs, especially for those with low self-esteem, who are experiencing psychological distress.” The authors suggest that in individuals with high levels of attachment avoidance, impression management may allow them to keep connected to others, by creating a positive image of themselves, while concealing aspects of themselves which they fear may not be acceptable to others. In those with high levels of attachment anxiety, a desire for closeness and intimacy may conflict with a fear of rejection. The creation of an online identity that is likely to be accepted and liked by others, for example in the form of comments or ‘likes’ – may be one strategy aimed at alleviating these concerns. However, screen-based mediums may not be able to truly satisfy an individual’s fundamental attachment needs; while those high in attachment insecurity may derive some comfort and relief from using Facebook in these ways, these benefits may be short-lived. According to the authors it may be important for mental health professionals to take their clients’ social media habits into consideration, when working therapeutically with them. Dr Sally Flynn, explained: “Professionals involved in providing psychological and psychotherapeutic support may need to consider that for some users, specific patterns of Facebook use may be maintaining or even exacerbating negative psychological outcomes, such as low mood and depression. For example, a person who disclosed their personal problems on Facebook when in a heightened emotional state may feel even worse if they are disappointed by the quantity and quality of the feedback that they receive from their online peers. With this knowledge, clinicians may explore patterns of Facebook use with clients, which may be helpful in providing appropriate support and adapting therapeutic interventions.” Dr Kiran Sarma, a Senior Lecturer in the School of Psychology at NUI Galway who co-authored the paper, said: “It is important to stress that the research does not suggest that there is something damaging about Facebook or other social media services, but rather, some people network online in ways that could be considered maladaptive, increasing distress and vulnerability.” He also cautioned that while the findings resonate with a growing body of scientific evidence on problematic internet use, further research is needed in this important area. To read the full study in BMC Psychology, visit: https://bmcpsychology.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s40359-018-0245-0 -Ends-

Thursday, 9 August 2018

NUI Galway study will focus on recruiting carers from Donegal where there is an estimated 2,200 people with dementia living in the county The Centre for Economic and Social Research on Dementia at NUI Galway are leading the first ever study in Ireland looking at supports and services available for people with dementia and their families following a recent diagnosis. The study aims to recruit informal carers from Donegal, often family members, who are providing regular care and support to a loved one diagnosed with dementia in 2017 or 2018. There is an estimated 2,200 people with dementia living in Donegal, many of whom are living at home supported by a family member or friend. It is not known how many of these have a diagnosis or at what stage they receive diagnosis. Donegal also has the fifth highest dementia prevalence rate in the country after Dublin, Cork, Galway and Tipperary. Carers may feel uncertain following the diagnosis of a loved one with dementia. The study is focused on identifying the most important services and supports at different stages of the illness. The results of the study will inform policy in relation to the supports and services that need to be in place to help carers and people with a recent diagnosis of dementia to deal with uncertainty and plan for future care needs. The aim of the study is to inform practice and policy regarding services and supports required by carers and people with dementia in the period following a dementia diagnosis and how these needs change over time. The primary focus is on post-diagnostic supports for people with dementia and their principal caregiver. The person receiving care must have received a diagnosis of dementia, or probable dementia, since January 2017. Dr Patricia Carney, a Health Economist at the Centre for Economic and Social Research at NUI Galway who is leading the study, said: “New investment in dementia care must reflect the preferences and needs of both the person with dementia and their informal carer. Carers require more tangible and practical supports to allow them do the job that most love doing. The consequences of not supporting them will be significant for people with dementia and for society. This study has the capacity and potential to improve the lives of people with dementia and their carers’ in Ireland, especially in the time following diagnosis.” Professor Eamon O’Shea, Director of the Centre for Economic and Social Research on Dementia at NUI Galway, said: “Carers play a crucial role in looking after people with dementia and we need to know much more about their needs and preferences for different kinds of services and supports.” If you provide regular support or care to a person recently diagnosed with dementia and want to participate in the study or find out more please email Dr Patricia Carney at DemCarer@nuigalway.ie or call Patricia on 086 0230772. To participate in the study visit: www.nuigalway.ie/dementiacare/ -Ends-

Tuesday, 7 August 2018

NUI Galway researchers to disseminate findings from SMART Consent workshops held around the country and survey results from over 3,500 students The Minister of State for Higher Education, Mary Mitchell O’Connor, TD, will today (7 August 2018) launcha research report on sexual consent among third level students carried out by the NUI Galway SMART Consent research team in collaboration with their partners at four other Universities in Ireland. The report, ‘Are Consent Workshops Sustainable and Feasible in Third Level Institutions?’, includes surveys with over 3,500 students conducted at NUI Galway; consent workshops held at four colleges nationally with 761 students; and flags a new education and awareness campaign, Consent=OMFG (Ongoing, Mutual, Freely Given), which includes four short interactive films on consent. The report authors will speak at the research launch after Minister Mitchell O’Connor. Dr Pádraig MacNeela, who leads the SMART Consent initiative, Dr Siobhán O’Higgins, and Kate Dawson, Child and Youth Research PhD candidate, all from the School of Psychology, alongside Dr Charlotte McIvor and students from the O’Donogue Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance who will preview one of the Consent=OMFG consent films. The report builds on a programme of research since 2013 that has explored the meaning of consent among college students, tested the effectiveness of the SMART Consent workshop, and surveyed students on sexual consent behaviours and attitudes (see www.nuigalway.ie/smartconsent). The surveys included in the report shed light on important consent-related issues, including: Sexual harassment: In a survey of 632 students nationally, 54% of First Year women students report experiencing sexual hostility or crude gender harassment at some point since starting college, rising to 64% among Second Year women students, and 70% of women students in Third Year or a subsequent year; the comparable figures for men are; 25%, 37%, and 40%. Perceptions of sex education at school: In a survey of 2,150 students nationally, 71% of women and 63% of men said they were dissatisfied with the sexual health education they received at school (14% of women and 17% of men were neutral on this question; 15% of women and 20% of men were satisfied with their sexual health education at school). More lesbian, gay, and bisexual students felt that their sexual health education at school did not cover the topics they are most interested in (75%), compared with heterosexual students (66%). Perceptions of alcohol and capacity to give consent: In a survey, 753 students nationally read one of two versions of a consent story where both characters were drinking: 20% considered the female character too drunk to give consent in the story where she consumed 14 standard drinks, while 33% considered the female character too drunk in the version where she consumed 28 standard drinks. 14% of the students considered the male character too drunk to give consent after 14 standard drinks, and 30% considered him too drunk after 28 standard drinks. Speaking at the launch of the report, Minister of State for Higher Education, Mary Mitchell O’Connor, TD, commented: “All institutions have a duty of care to their students and I am delighted to see many of them integrate and support these empowerment and preventative initiatives, such as consent workshops. As Minister it falls to me to ensure that providing excellence in education depends also on providing a safe learning environment, free from sexual harassment, assault and the fear or threat of it. Therefore I welcome NUI Galway’s report. It is a timely piece of research given that the National Council on Curriculum and Assessment is carrying out a major review of the relationships and sexuality curriculum.” Commenting on the findings, Dr Pádraig MacNeela at NUI Galway said: “The survey findings show that the social environment in which consent takes place among college students is often unsupportive – most women experience harassment, a large majority of all students are dissatisfied with their sexual health education at school, and social norms for drinking minimise the true impact of alcohol on the capacity to give consent.” During 2017-18, the researchers trained over 100 facilitators to lead SMART Consent workshops at NUI Galway, Queens University Belfast, the National College of Art and Design, Dublin City University, the University of Limerick, and Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology. The report compares Pre-Workshop and Post-Workshop attitudes of 761 of the students who took part in a workshop with those trained facilitators during 2017-18: Pre-Workshop, 29% strongly agreed that they felt well informed about sexual consent, compared with 71% of students Post-Workshop. Pre-Workshop, 28% strongly agreed that they have all the skills they need to deal with sexual consent, compared with 60% Post-Workshop. Pre-Workshop, 34% of students strongly agreed that most people felt that asking for consent is important, compared with 46% Post-Workshop. Dr Siobhán O’Higgins at NUI Galway, said: “The SMART Consent workshop is strongly associated with students feeling knowledgeable and skilled about sexual consent. The discussion and peer engagement strategies we use mean it is a workshop, not a class. We encourage students to find their own positive approach to consent, but also know that a full response to this issue involves action outside workshops too, to change the culture in college and society”. At the launch, Dr Charlotte McIvor will preview one of the four short interactive consent films she has developed with her theatre students for a new multimedia campaign that will help address this culture change. The film series was collaboratively written and researched by NUI Galway Drama and Theatre Studies students led by Dr McIvor. Each interactive film gives the viewer control over characters’ decisions at key points, leading to three possible endings to each film. The four films (co-directed by McIvor and Mick Ruane) portray sexual encounters from heterosexual and LGBTQ perspectives, as well as long-term and casual sexual relationships.  Dr Charlotte McIvor offers: “We wanted to use film to capture the complexity of how consent is negotiated between partners and portray just how many decision points there actually are within any given sexual encounter.”   The first film, ‘Tom and Julie’ can be viewed at: www.nuigalway.ie/consent=omfg/. The other three films will be made available on the NUI Galway website and YouTube by staggered release in autumn 2018 as part of the Consent=OMFG campaign.  To read the full report on SMART Consent, visit: http://www.nuigalway.ie/smartconsent/. The research in the report has been supported by the NUI Galway Student Project Fund, and the PhD in Child and Youth Research. -Ends-

Tuesday, 7 August 2018

A new online treatment programme called MindfulnessforMS, developed by expert psychologists at NUI Galway has just been launched and aims to help people who are living with primary or secondary progressive Multiple Sclerosis. Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is a lifelong disease of the nervous system including the brain, spinal cord and optic nerves, affecting 2.3 million people worldwide with more than 9,000 people living with MS in Ireland. Symptoms of MS range from mild sensory problems to severe disability. The cause of MS has not been identified and, currently, there is no cure. The Centre for Pain Research at NUI Galway, with support from MS Ireland and the Health Research Board, is currently recruiting people with primary or secondary progressive multiple sclerosis to take part in research evaluating the treatment programme. The MindfulnessforMS programme will provide participants with eight online mindfulness-based instruction and practice sessions. Dr Christopher Dwyer, coordinator of the study at the Centre for Pain Research in NUI Galway, said: “MS affects each individual differently, however, understanding how MS impacts people both physically and psychologically, and how they use the supports available to them plays a role in coping strategies for overcoming symptoms. In recent years, mindfulness has emerged as a popular strategy for psychological wellbeing and research has shown that mindfulness-based psychological interventions can be used to help ease MS-related symptoms, including fatigue and anxiety.”  Online interventions have emerged as a popular platform for such programmes, as many people have access to the internet and, perhaps more importantly, because people can log in and practice mindfulness from the safety and comfort of their own home, in a potentially cost-effective manner, without needing to schedule appointments and meet face-to-face with an instructor. The free online sessions within the MindfulnessforMS programme will focus on aiding participants to conduct mindfulness with respect to their attention and awareness of their own thought process. Participants will be provided with instructions on a range of paced activities to encourage helpful coping responses. People who take part in the MindfulnessforMS trial will not need to attend any clinic or NUI Galway at any stage. Materials are tailored for those wishing to learn effective ways of managing their MS. For further information, visit: http://www.nuigalway.ie/centre-for-pain-research/ To participate in the programme, please email your name, phone number and details of your MS to www.painresearch@nuigalway.ie. GPs or healthcare practitioners who are interested in referring suitable patients to the trial can also use these contact details. -Ends-

Tuesday, 7 August 2018

The College of Engineering and Informatics at NUI Galway has announced details of this year’s Engineering Maths Qualifying Exam which gives students a second chance to pursue a career in engineering. The exam, which takes place on Wednesday, 22 August, is for students who achieve the CAO points for an undergraduate engineering degree course at NUI Galway but who have not met the obligatory maths requirement. For more than 20 years NUI Galway has provided this exam to help applicants who did not achieve the required grade H4 or better in higher level mathematics. Those who took lower level maths in the Leaving Cert may also apply for the exam. Students who pass this examination will be deemed to have satisfied the maths requirement and, providing they have the necessary points, will receive an additional CAO offer at Round Two. NUI Galway will also hold an intensive preparatory course for applicants intending to sit the exam. This free course will run from 16-21 August. The aim of the course is to bridge the gap between the Leaving Certificate lower level and that required to be successful in the exam. This will be achieved by tackling a variety of problems of increasing difficulty. Learning how to approach a problem and apply the knowledge available will be emphasised. Professor Peter McHugh, Dean of Engineering and Informatics at NUI Galway, said: “Engineers are designers and problem solvers, who innovate and generate the technology of tomorrow. Because of this, engineering programmes are focused on developing analytical and problem solving skills, and therefore require significant use of mathematics and applied mathematics. Every year we see a number of promising students who perform poorly on the day of the Leaving Cert exam. The Engineering Mathematics Qualifying Examination provides students with a second chance to demonstrate that they have the necessary standard in maths. Over the years, we have had some exceptionally talented students graduate and pursue successful careers in engineering because they were given the second chance which this exam represents.” NUI Galway offers students an undenominated entry to engineering. This programme is specifically designed for students who are interested in becoming an engineer, but are uncertain as to which field they want to specialise in. This programme offers students the option of studying engineering in a general way for one year before going on to specialise in their chosen field in year two. For information on the exam, the preparatory maths course and to apply for the Engineering Maths Qualifying Exam please visit: http://www.nuigalway.ie/engineering-informatics/undergraduatestudents/engineeringmathsqualifyingexamination/ -Ends- Seans Eile á thabhairt ag OÉ Gaillimh do Mhic Léinn na hArdteistiméireachta trí Scrúdú Cáilíochta Matamaitice de chuid na hInnealtóireachta a Reáchtáil Tá Coláiste na hInnealtóireachta agus na hIonformaitice in OÉ Gaillimh i ndiaidh sonraí a chur ar fáil faoi Scrúdú Cáilíochta Matamaitice de chuid na hInnealtóireachta, scrúdú a thugann seans eile do mhic léinn tabhairt faoi ghairm na hinnealtóireachta. Beidh an scrúdú ar siúl Dé Céadaoin, an 22 Lúnasa, agus tá sé dírithe ar mhic léinn a bhaineann na pointí cuí CAO amach chun cúrsa céime san innealtóireacht a dhéanamh in OÉ Gaillimh ach nach bhfuil an marc riachtanach acu sa mhatamaitic. Le breis agus scór bliain anuas, tá an scrúdú seo á reáchtáil ag OÉ Gaillimh chun cabhrú le hiarratasóirí nár éirigh leo an grád riachtanach H4 nó os a chionn a bhaint amach sa pháipéar matamaitice ardleibhéil. Féadfaidh daoine nach ndearna ardleibhéal matamaitice san Ardteistiméireacht cur isteach ar an scrúdú chomh maith. Má fhaigheann mac léinn pas sa scrúdú seo beidh an riachtanas matamaitice comhlíonta aici/aige agus gheobhaidh sí/sé tairiscint eile ó CAO i mBabhta 2, ach na pointí riachtanacha a bheith aici/aige. Chomh maith leis sin, beidh dianchúrsa ullmhúcháin ar siúl in OÉ Gaillimh roimh ré dóibh siúd ar mian leo an scrúdú a dhéanamh. Beidh an cúrsa saor in aisce seo ar siúl ón 16-21 Lúnasa. Is é an aidhm atá leis an gcúrsa seo cur lena mbíonn foghlamtha ag daltaí ag an ngnáthleibhéal san Ardteistiméireacht, le go n-éireoidh leo sa scrúdú matamaitice. Cuirfear é seo i gcrích trí dhul i ngleic le fadhbanna éagsúla ag leibhéil éagsúla deacrachta. Cuirfear béim ar an gcaoi le tabhairt faoi fhadhb agus ar an gcaoi a gcuirfear an t-eolas atá ar fáil i bhfeidhm. Dúirt an tOllamh Peter McHugh, Déan na hInnealtóireachta agus na hIonformaitice in OÉ Gaillimh: “Is ionann innealtóirí agus dearthóirí agus daoine atá go maith ag réiteach fadhbanna, a chruthaíonn agus a chuireann teicneolaíocht na linne seo romhainn ar fáil. Dá bharr seo, tá na cláir innealtóireachta seo dírithe ar fhorbairt a dhéanamh ar scileanna anailíseacha agus ar scileanna chun fadhbanna a réiteach, agus dá bhrí sin, caithfear úsáid shuntasach a bhaint as matamaitic agus as matamaitic fheidhmeach. Gach bliain feicimid daltaí cumasacha nach ndéanann chomh maith agus a d’fhéadfaidís ar lá an scrúdaithe Ardteistiméireachta. Tugann an Scrúdú Cáilíochta Matamaitice de chuid na hInnealtóireachta deis eile do dhaltaí léiriú go bhfuil an caighdeán riachtanach sa mhatamaitic bainte amach acu. I gcaitheamh na mblianta, d’éirigh le roinnt mic léinn a raibh cumas eisceachtúil iontu céim a bhaint amach agus dul sa tóir ar shlí bheatha dóibh féin san innealtóireacht mar go bhfuair siad an dara deis leis an scrúdú áirithe seo.” Tá cúrsa neamhainmnithe san innealtóireacht ar tairiscint do mhic léinn in OÉ Gaillimh. Tá an clár seo dírithe go háirithe ar mhic léinn a bhfuil suim acu a bheith ina n-innealtóirí ach nach bhfuil siad cinnte cén réimse ar mhaith leo díriú air. Tugann an clár seo deis do mhic léinn staidéar ginearálta a dhéanamh ar an innealtóireacht ar feadh bliana sula roghnaíonn siad a réimse speisialtóireachta i mbliain a dó. Chun eolas a fháil faoin scrúdú, faoin gcúrsa matamaitice ullmhúcháin agus chun iarratas a dhéanamh ar an Scrúdú Cáilíochta Matamaitice, téigh chuig http://www.nuigalway.ie/engineering-informatics/undergraduatestudents/engineeringmathsqualifyingexamination/ -Críoch-

Tuesday, 7 August 2018

The College of Engineering and Informatics at NUI Galway has announced details of this year’s Engineering Maths Qualifying Exam which gives students a second chance to pursue a career in engineering. The exam, which takes place on Wednesday, 22 August, is for students who achieve the CAO points for an undergraduate engineering degree course at NUI Galway but who have not met the obligatory maths requirement. For more than 20 years NUI Galway has provided this exam to help applicants who did not achieve the required grade H4 or better in higher level mathematics. Those who took lower level maths in the Leaving Cert may also apply for the exam. Students who pass this examination will be deemed to have satisfied the maths requirement and, providing they have the necessary points, will receive an additional CAO offer at Round Two. NUI Galway will also hold an intensive preparatory course for applicants intending to sit the exam. This free course will run from 16-21 August. The aim of the course is to bridge the gap between the Leaving Certificate lower level and that required to be successful in the exam. This will be achieved by tackling a variety of problems of increasing difficulty. Learning how to approach a problem and apply the knowledge available will be emphasised. Professor Peter McHugh, Dean of Engineering and Informatics at NUI Galway, said: “Engineers are designers and problem solvers, who innovate and generate the technology of tomorrow. Because of this, engineering programmes are focused on developing analytical and problem solving skills, and therefore require significant use of mathematics and applied mathematics. Every year we see a number of promising students who perform poorly on the day of the Leaving Cert exam. The Engineering Mathematics Qualifying Examination provides students with a second chance to demonstrate that they have the necessary standard in maths. Over the years, we have had some exceptionally talented students graduate and pursue successful careers in engineering because they were given the second chance which this exam represents.” NUI Galway offers students an undenominated entry to engineering. This programme is specifically designed for students who are interested in becoming an engineer, but are uncertain as to which field they want to specialise in. This programme offers students the option of studying engineering in a general way for one year before going on to specialise in their chosen field in year two. For information on the exam, the preparatory maths course and to apply for the Engineering Maths Qualifying Exam please visit: http://www.nuigalway.ie/engineering-informatics/undergraduatestudents/engineeringmathsqualifyingexamination/ -Ends- Seans Eile á thabhairt ag OÉ Gaillimh do Mhic Léinn na hArdteistiméireachta trí Scrúdú Cáilíochta Matamaitice de chuid na hInnealtóireachta a Reáchtáil Tá Coláiste na hInnealtóireachta agus na hIonformaitice in OÉ Gaillimh i ndiaidh sonraí a chur ar fáil faoi Scrúdú Cáilíochta Matamaitice de chuid na hInnealtóireachta, scrúdú a thugann seans eile do mhic léinn tabhairt faoi ghairm na hinnealtóireachta. Beidh an scrúdú ar siúl Dé Céadaoin, an 22 Lúnasa, agus tá sé dírithe ar mhic léinn a bhaineann na pointí cuí CAO amach chun cúrsa céime san innealtóireacht a dhéanamh in OÉ Gaillimh ach nach bhfuil an marc riachtanach acu sa mhatamaitic. Le breis agus scór bliain anuas, tá an scrúdú seo á reáchtáil ag OÉ Gaillimh chun cabhrú le hiarratasóirí nár éirigh leo an grád riachtanach H4 nó os a chionn a bhaint amach sa pháipéar matamaitice ardleibhéil. Féadfaidh daoine nach ndearna ardleibhéal matamaitice san Ardteistiméireacht cur isteach ar an scrúdú chomh maith. Má fhaigheann mac léinn pas sa scrúdú seo beidh an riachtanas matamaitice comhlíonta aici/aige agus gheobhaidh sí/sé tairiscint eile ó CAO i mBabhta 2, ach na pointí riachtanacha a bheith aici/aige. Chomh maith leis sin, beidh dianchúrsa ullmhúcháin ar siúl in OÉ Gaillimh roimh ré dóibh siúd ar mian leo an scrúdú a dhéanamh. Beidh an cúrsa saor in aisce seo ar siúl ón 16-21 Lúnasa. Is é an aidhm atá leis an gcúrsa seo cur lena mbíonn foghlamtha ag daltaí ag an ngnáthleibhéal san Ardteistiméireacht, le go n-éireoidh leo sa scrúdú matamaitice. Cuirfear é seo i gcrích trí dhul i ngleic le fadhbanna éagsúla ag leibhéil éagsúla deacrachta. Cuirfear béim ar an gcaoi le tabhairt faoi fhadhb agus ar an gcaoi a gcuirfear an t-eolas atá ar fáil i bhfeidhm. Dúirt an tOllamh Peter McHugh, Déan na hInnealtóireachta agus na hIonformaitice in OÉ Gaillimh: “Is ionann innealtóirí agus dearthóirí agus daoine atá go maith ag réiteach fadhbanna, a chruthaíonn agus a chuireann teicneolaíocht na linne seo romhainn ar fáil. Dá bharr seo, tá na cláir innealtóireachta seo dírithe ar fhorbairt a dhéanamh ar scileanna anailíseacha agus ar scileanna chun fadhbanna a réiteach, agus dá bhrí sin, caithfear úsáid shuntasach a bhaint as matamaitic agus as matamaitic fheidhmeach. Gach bliain feicimid daltaí cumasacha nach ndéanann chomh maith agus a d’fhéadfaidís ar lá an scrúdaithe Ardteistiméireachta. Tugann an Scrúdú Cáilíochta Matamaitice de chuid na hInnealtóireachta deis eile do dhaltaí léiriú go bhfuil an caighdeán riachtanach sa mhatamaitic bainte amach acu. I gcaitheamh na mblianta, d’éirigh le roinnt mic léinn a raibh cumas eisceachtúil iontu céim a bhaint amach agus dul sa tóir ar shlí bheatha dóibh féin san innealtóireacht mar go bhfuair siad an dara deis leis an scrúdú áirithe seo.” Tá cúrsa neamhainmnithe san innealtóireacht ar tairiscint do mhic léinn in OÉ Gaillimh. Tá an clár seo dírithe go háirithe ar mhic léinn a bhfuil suim acu a bheith ina n-innealtóirí ach nach bhfuil siad cinnte cén réimse ar mhaith leo díriú air. Tugann an clár seo deis do mhic léinn staidéar ginearálta a dhéanamh ar an innealtóireacht ar feadh bliana sula roghnaíonn siad a réimse speisialtóireachta i mbliain a dó. Chun eolas a fháil faoin scrúdú, faoin gcúrsa matamaitice ullmhúcháin agus chun iarratas a dhéanamh ar an Scrúdú Cáilíochta Matamaitice, téigh chuig http://www.nuigalway.ie/engineering-informatics/undergraduatestudents/engineeringmathsqualifyingexamination/ -Críoch-

Wednesday, 1 August 2018

Missed opportunities for healthcare professionals to improve knowledge exchange and early interventions to assist parents recognise a healthy weight for their children Childhood obesity is disproportionately characteristic of low-income families Improvements needed in information provided between healthcare professionals and mums regarding infant feeding, healthy weight and obesity in preschool aged children A study carried out by Dr Michelle Queally from the J.E. Cairnes School of Business and Economics at NUI Galway and colleagues from the Health Research Board funded project CHErIsH (Choosing Heathy Eating for Infant Health), have reported that mothers are unable to accurately identify their child's overweight/obesity status at age three and five in Ireland. The study was recently published in the International Journal of Behavioural Nutrition and Physical Activity. Dr Queally notes that a mother’s recognition of their child being overweight and obese during early childhood is one of the key determinants in achieving a healthy weight status in children. The study highlights the need for increased support in Ireland to help improve a mothers understanding of what defines a healthy body size in preschool aged children. Mothers who are unable to accurately identify their child being overweight/ obese at three years old are likely to do so again when the child is five years old. Results from the study found that 22% of mothers failed to accurately identify their child to be overweight or obese at age three. This inaccuracy decreased to 18% when the child was aged five. A mother’s inaccurate identification of their child’s overweight/obesity status was more likely to occur if the child was a girl, had a higher birth weight and if the mother was obese or working. Other factors affecting the odds of misperceiving a child’s weight included gestation age, income and urban living. Key findings from the study: Missed opportunities for healthcare professionals to improve knowledge exchange and early interventions to assist parents in recognising a healthy weight for their children. Improvements in knowledge transfer to facilitate healthcare professionals to ensure mothers have information and an accurate understanding of infant feeding, and healthy weight and obesity in their preschool aged children. Educational interventions to inform mothers of healthy weight range during the child’s early years might lead to more accurate weight perceptions as the child gets older. Childhood obesity is disproportionately characteristic of low-income families. Developing tailored intervention programmes for the formative pre-school cohort could prove to be a beneficial strategy to change attitudes and promote awareness of obesity in children within lower socioeconomic groups. Utilising specific channels for health‐related communications allows key messages to reach families who stand to benefit most from the information, and also improves the efficiency with which public funds for health communications are spent. The NUI Galway study used data from the longitudinal ‘Growing Up in Ireland’ study, which is a nationally representative face-to-face survey of children living in Ireland, which aims to inform policy in relation to children, young people and families. Data was collected from almost 10,000 families of children aged three years and over 9,000 families of children aged five years. For the analysis of this study, data relating to child and mother characteristics in healthcare access and household characteristics, such as income and if they lived in an urban or rural area, were extracted. For the child, data extracted included gender, child birth weight, gestation age, whether or not the child was breastfed, whether the child had siblings and the child’s health, as reported by the mother. For the mother, data extracted included education, obesity status, age, self-reported health, employment status, whether or not the mother was born in Ireland and marital status. To read the full study in International Journal of Behavioural Nutrition and Physical Activity, visit: https://ijbnpa.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12966-018-0688-y -Ends-

Wednesday, 1 August 2018

A new survey has been launched and is seeking to examine the experiences of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT+) migrants in Ireland. Led by Dr Chris Noone from NUI Galway, this is the first national consultation of LGBT+ migrants in Ireland and aims to better understand and support this community. The National LGBT Federation conducted the largest ever consultation of the LGBT+ community in Ireland in 2016, called the Burning Issues 2 study. From that study, one group of people in the LGBT+ community who identified as needing more understanding and support were those who have migrated to Ireland, particularly those who came seeking asylum. Coordinated by Dr Chris Noone from NUI Galway, the new survey ‘LGBT+ Actions to Include Migrants’ is a collaboration between the National LGBT Federation and Ireland’s LGBT+ community members who are migrants, to create the first study by, for and about LGBT+ people who have moved to Ireland. It is intended to produce recommendations for how they can be better supported in Irish society by the government, and the LGBT+ community. Dr Chris Noone, coordinator of the survey and a lecturer from the School of Psychology at NUI Galway, said: “If you have come to Ireland from another country to live, work or study and you identify as LGBT+ then we would like to learn about your experiences. Having an understanding of the experiences of LGBT+ migrants in Ireland will help to provide information about how, as a country and as a community, we can become more aware of their needs and act on them.” The questions from the survey have been carefully chosen after workshops were held in Dublin and Galway where members of the LGBT+ community who are migrants to Ireland were invited. The topics covered in this survey were collectively chosen by the people who attended the workshops. “The information we will obtain from this survey will improve our understanding of the experiences of migrants in our community and allow the government to respond to the needs of LGBT+ migrants and asylum seekers”, added Dr Noone. The study is being organised by the research sub-group of the National LGBT Federation and has been funded by a grant from the Community Foundation for Ireland. Participation is entirely voluntary and taking part will involve completing the survey about being a migrant in Ireland. To participate in the study, visit: https://gcn.ie/aims/ or view You Tube link at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=38XEIpbBJy0&feature=youtu.be -Ends-

Wednesday, 1 August 2018

Small to Medium Enterprises (SMEs) can now apply online to receive up to €60,000 in financial support to develop innovative ideas, products, and technology within the field of personal nutrition for older adults. NUI Galway is leading the market strategy on the H2020 ‘INCluSilver’ project which aims to support collaboration between SMEs from different sectors to create better nutritional solutions for older adults and improve their quality of life. A €3 million Innovation Voucher Scheme to develop new products and services in this area is currently open for applications with the closing date on Saturday, 15 September 2018. The projects must represent one of INCluSilver’s five collaborative sectors in: agro-food, health, packaging, ICT and creative industries. The INCluSilver project offers three types of innovation vouchers that range in value from €3,000 to €60,000. SMEs from the Republic of Ireland, Denmark, France, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Spain, Sweden, and the UK can apply. The three types of innovation vouchers include: The Ideas Innovation Voucher, which seeks to support the maturation of relevant ideas and project needs. The Proposal Innovation Vouchers, which seek to support: scalability and internationalisation, demonstration of technology readiness, transferability potential, and economic feasibility analysis. The Intellectual Property Rights Innovation Voucher, which seeks to support SMEs in protecting foreground and results of projects with appropriate tools. Dr Jane Walsh from the School of Psychology at NUI Galway and market strategy lead of INCluSilver, said: “This project provides an excellent opportunity for SMEs working in the nutrition field to avail of much needed support to develop their products.” Irish SMEs interested in applying for the voucher scheme can contact jane.walsh@nuigalway.ie  or further information. -Ends-

Monday, 30 July 2018

Partners to work together across a number of new initiatives  Galway International Arts Festival and National University of Ireland Galway have announced the signing of a new multi-year partnership, which will see Ireland’s leading cultural organization and the Sunday Times University of the Year 2018 working together across a number of initiatives designed to provide inspiring cultural and creative opportunities for students.  Galway International Arts Festival and NUI Galway have a long-standing history of working together, with the University acting as Education Partner for the festival since 2011.  The new partnership comes in the wake of Galway being announced as European Capital of Culture in 2020 (ECOC 2020) and the announcement of the government’s Creative Ireland programme, which both parties see as a timely opportunity to develop a new type of partnership that supports and develops the cultural sector in Galway.  Galway International Arts Festival will work with the University on the development of a number of education initiatives that complement the existing suite of culture-related courses provided by the University. In addition, the University’s Alive programme will work with the festival to further develop the festival’s expanding volunteer programme as a best practice experience.  A formal arrangement will be put in place with the library to archive Galway International Arts Festival’s activities and Galway International Arts Festival will work with the university on the promotion of its new BA in Music programme. The new partnership will also see greater ties between Galway International Arts Festival’s First Thought Talks programme and the University, with the campus becoming much more closely associated with this discussion platform. A new First Thought Talks event will be developed and delivered on campus during the 2018-2019 academic year, with a view to developing it as an annual event. As Galway International Arts Festival further positions itself as a producer and tourer of new work, NUI Galway will also form key associations with Irish work in each year’s festival programme, supporting the creation of new work created by Irish artists that will premier in Galway and tour. Galway International Arts Festival CEO John Crumlish said: “This new partnership represents an exciting new development in the relationship with NUI Galway. It is a natural fit for the festival, as it is hoped the University will produce the graduates who will have a major role developing, producing and working on new productions in the future. “The association with such work further reinforces the University’s culture campus brand with audiences wherever the work is seen, while also further building the Galway brand internationally.” NUI Galway President Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh said: “The Galway International Arts Festival and NUI Galway are partners with a shared focus on harnessing the creative spirit of the region, which is such a cultural strength that results in work in many local sectors having an impact throughout the world. “This year, we’ve welcomed thousands of national and international visitors to the campus as part of the Festival, while the University has led a number of First Thought Talks and a vibrant programme of post-show discussions. As Education partner, we see our cultural hinterland as central to our mission and look forward to working with the festival over the coming years to support the next generation of creative artists, producers and cultural entrepreneurs.” For further information, please contact: Hilary Martyn, Communications & Development Manager, Galway International Arts Festival Phone: 00 353 91 509700

Friday, 27 July 2018

Researchers from NUI Galway and Trinity College Dublin will host this year’s largest and most important scientific gathering on alternative fuels and fuel efficiency, when the 37th International Symposium on Combustion comes to Dublin from 30 July to 3 August. This is the first time the biennial Symposium has been held in Ireland and is a major coup for the small but growing fuels research community in Ireland. Over 1,800 delegates from across the globe will attend the week’s technical presentations in the Convention Centre Dublin. Over 90% of the energy used in Ireland is delivered by burning fuels, the vast majority of which is imported. This energy is needed for everything from lighting and heating our homes and preparing our meals, to powering our industries and fuelling our planes, trains and automobiles. The immediate challenges posed by climate change, declining air quality, increasing energy bills, and energy supply security, especially with Brexit around the corner, means that cleaner, cheaper, more reliable forms of energy are urgently needed. The International Symposium on Combustion will highlight recent advances in: The development and testing of renewable fuels including solid biomass, biomethane, liquid biofuels and hydrogen. The use of waste products like agri-forestry wastes, sludge’s and municipal waste as fuels. Efforts to reduce harmful emissions of carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxides and particulate matter. Increases in engine efficiency through a better understanding of how existing and new fuels burn and how engines can be redesigned around this new knowledge. It will also deal with the study of how fires spread, what can be done to better predict this, and how emergency planning and evacuations can be improved. This has been thrown into tragic light last year in Grenfell Tower and this week in Greece. The importance of combustion research was recently highlighted by the launch of the €4.4 million Sustainable Energy and Fuel Efficiency (SEFE) Spoke at the Research Centre for Marine and Renewable Energy. With financial backing from Science Foundation Ireland and national and international industry, SEFE researchers at NUI Galway, TCD, UCC, UL and Teagasc will develop the next generation of renewable fuels and cleaner engines. The hosting of the Symposium in Ireland is particularly timely given the recent announcement from the Climate Change Advisory Council that the country is “completely off course” to achieve its 2020 and 2030 climate targets. This event will serve as a rallying call to the energy research and policymaking communities that unless Ireland takes immediate action on the development alternative fuels, the country is in line for hundreds of millions of euros worth of annual fines from the EU. Chairperson of the Local Host Team, NUI Galway Emeritus Professor John Simmie, said: “Given society’s heavy reliance on fuels, combustion is more relevant now than ever. While the recent popularity of electric vehicles is to be welcomed, technological limitations and high costs mean that all energy forecasts show significant combustible fuel use until well into the second half of the 21st century, especially for heavy, long-distance transportation.” Head of Strategy at Science Foundation Ireland, Dr Peter Clifford, highlighted the scientific excellence of the event, saying: “The International Symposium on Combustion is the premier gathering of the fuels and combustion research community. Its presence here underscores the efforts and growing reputation of the combustion research community in Ireland.” The Symposium is supported financially by Science Foundation Ireland through the Exceptional Conference Award, Fáilte Ireland, and a wide array of Irish and international industry sponsors. The Local Host Team is Emeritus Professor John Simmie and Dr Rory Monaghan from the College of Engineering and Informatics, NUI Galway, and Dr Stephen Dooley of TCD. More information is available at: http://www.combustionsymposia.org. -Ends-

Friday, 27 July 2018

Two researchers supported by NUI Galway have been awarded significant European Research Council (ERC) Starting Grants for their research into bone fragility in Type-2 Diabetes and the roles and voices of youths in the study of minority and regional language preservation. In total the European Research Council awarded the ERC grants to 403 talented early career researchers in the fields of Physical Sciences and Engineering, Life Sciences, and Social Sciences and Humanities. Researchers will benefit from €603 million in total and up to €1.5 million each, to create their own research teams and conduct pioneering projects. The grants are part of the ‘excellent science’ pillar of the EU’s current Research and Innovation programme, Horizon 2020. On this occasion, Carlos Moedas, European Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, said: “In addition to supporting early stage European researchers, the ERC Starting Grants also help enrich the European research field by attracting and retaining foreign scientists in Europe. More than one in ten grantees come from outside the EU or its associated countries. Europe is open to the world!” Dr Ted Vaughan, a Lecturer in Biomedical Engineering from the College of Engineering and Informatics at NUI Galway, has been awarded a €1.5 million European Research Council Starting Grant to conduct ground-breaking research into his project, Multiscale Mechanics of Bone Fragility in Type-2 Diabetes. Speaking about the project, Dr Vaughan said: “Type-2 Diabetes is associated with a higher risk of skeletal bone fractures and contributes to the 3.5 million bone fragility fractures that occur annually in Europe. Interestingly, the elevated risk of fracture in patients with Type-2 Diabetes is not accompanied with any reduction in their bone density. This is in stark contrast to Osteoporosis, probably the most widely studied bone disease, where bone density is significantly reduced. Currently, there is a limited understanding of the physical changes that take place in diabetic bone disease. Also, it is not known why such changes compromise the structural integrity of bone tissue and this presents distinct clinical challenges in terms of both assessment and treatment of bone fragility in Type-2 Diabetes.” Dr Vaughan and his research team will use novel experimental and computational techniques to understand the mechanics of bone fragility in Type-2 Diabetes. A multiscale framework will be used to evaluate fracture processes at several different length scales in the tissue, including state-of-the-art techniques that will identify the role of individual molecules on bone fracture behaviour. The research programme will significantly advance our understanding of the physical mechanisms responsible for bone fragility in Type-2 Diabetes and Dr Vaughan will use this information to develop an innovative clinical diagnostic strategy for this patient population. Research in this area forms a critical need with the ever-increasing world-wide prevalence of Type-2 Diabetes. Dr Ríona Nic Congáil, a scholar of the Irish language and of Irish culture has been awarded €1.27 million for her project, Youth Engagement in European Language Preservation, 1900–2020 (YEELP) with the support of the NUI Galway Research Office. YEELP is the first in-depth, comparative, transnational and interdisciplinary study of the intersection between European youth and the preservation of minority or regional European languages in the period since 1900. The project focuses on three languages of differing statuses and rates of usage – Irish, Welsh and Catalan – and it unites two growing fields of contemporary scholarship: the study of youth, and the study of language preservation. Speaking about the research, Dr Nic Congáil, said: “In the study of minority and regional language preservation, the roles and voices of youths aged between 12-19 years, have been consistently overlooked. In order to address this fundamental gap in contemporary research, this project takes a multifaceted approach to the intersection between youth and language. It does so at a critical period for the study of endangered European languages, with several languages in decline and some facing extinction. Until youth is included in considerations of language preservation, we will not be able to answer fully the question of why some languages thrive while others die out.” Professor Lokesh Joshi, Vice President for Research at NUI Galway, said: “European Research Council Starting Grants are one of the most prestigious and competitive awards for researchers in Europe. This particular award identifies excellent emerging talent and we are delighted that our University has attracted two awards. These awards also highlight our strengths and the depth of our international standing and reputation in the fields of biomedical engineering and the humanities.” Grantees from 44 countries across the world received grants, from as far afield as Vietnam and Argentina. The competition therefore enabled some researcher mobility and the spread of scientific knowledge as 40 grantees will move country to take up their grant, and 16 will come from outside the EU and H2020 associated countries. These Starting Grants will help the selected scientists build their own research teams, leading to job creation as an estimated 1,500 Postdocs, PhD students and other staff could be employed to support them. -Ends-

Thursday, 26 July 2018

Researchers from the Ryan Institute at NUI Galway and the Herpetological Society of Ireland have just published the first record of a spider feeding on a reptile in Ireland. The Noble False Widow spider, which has colonised much of Ireland since first being recorded here twenty years ago, has been observed feeding on Ireland’s only native terrestrial reptile, the Viviparous lizard. The report has just been published in the Biology and Environment: Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy journal. The unusual scene was recorded in a private garden in Killiney, Co. Dublin in May 2017 when the 8.5cm juvenile Viviparous lizard was found entangled on a web with the 3.3cm Noble False Widow spider feeding on its flesh. The somewhat gruesome scene is not uncommon in the tropics, where a handful of spider species are known to occasionally feed on birds, rodents or reptiles but it is not something we are accustomed to in Ireland.   Noble False Widow spiders are remarkably adaptable and possess fast-acting neurotoxic venom that can cause neuromuscular paralysis in terrestrial vertebrates (organisms that possesses a spinal column or vertebra and lives predominantly on land) and occasionally feed on small reptiles. Dr Michel Dugon from the Venom Systems Laboratory in the Ryan Institute at NUI Galway, says: “This report is quite significant for two reasons. One, it is the first time a terrestrial vertebrate has fallen prey to a spider in Ireland and second, the Viviparous lizard is a protected species in Ireland while the Noble False Widow is a recent alien species that is still actively colonising Ireland. This poses the question of the delayed impact of overlooked invasive species on iconic native organisms. It also raises the question of the true impact of the Noble False Widow on our native ecosystems.” John Dunbar, lead author of the study and PhD researcher at the Venom Systems Laboratory in NUI Galway, said: “While Black Widows are known to prey on small reptiles, there are only two previous accounts from other species of False Widow spiders preying on a lizard in Iran and on a snake in Bulgaria. Surprisingly, this is the first time the False Widow spider that is currently colonising Ireland has been documented preying on vertebrates. In addition to its venom possessing a powerful vertebrate specific neurotoxin, it can produce very strong silk which gives it a real advantage over our native spiders in entangling large prey.” Co-authors Collie Ennis and Rob Gandola from the Herpetological Society of Ireland, caution: “With the Noble False Widow spider following the increasing urban spread into our countryside, the possibility of them coming into contact with native wildlife will no doubt increase.” The researchers added: “We are right in the middle of the lizard birthing season and this is when most lizard sightings are made and when juveniles are likely to turn up in gardens. Female lizards give birth to between 6-11 babies that are jet black and about 40mm long. It’s the juveniles that disperse to new areas but given their tiny size you can see how this is a dangerous endeavour. We’d ask people who are lucky enough to have lizards near or on their property to keep a watch out and report any sightings of Noble False Widows predating on lizards. It would be really helpful to get an idea of how frequent these interactions occur and even the size classes involved, it may not only be young lizards that fall prey.” Noble False Widow spiders have made regular headlines in recent years as they have become more prevalent in Irish homes. While not thought to be life threatening to humans, a bite from the Noble False Widow delivers a fast acting neurotoxic venom which can cause pain and discomfort for a few days. The Venom Systems Laboratory at NUI Galway is the only one in the world currently working on extracting venom from the Noble False Widow spider for potential therapies. This particular species of spider is having a detrimental effect on other local species and other spiders in Ireland due to their competitiveness and fast breeding nature. The Noble False Widow lives for five to seven years whereas most other spider and bug species in Ireland only lives for a maximum of one year. In Ireland, Noble False Widow spiders live close to buildings and houses inhabited by people. Dublin, Cork and Wexford have the highest number of Noble False Widows to date. To report Noble False Widow spider and Viviparous lizard sightings in Ireland, contact michel.dugon@nuigalway.ie or 091 494491. To read the full report in the Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy journal, visit: https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.3318/bioe.2018.05 -Ends-

Tuesday, 24 July 2018

A team of engineering students from NUI Galway has been awarded first place for technical innovation at Europe’s premier competition for ultra-efficient vehicles, Shell Eco-marathon Europe. The Galway energy-efficient car, or Geec, is Ireland’s most efficient car, capable of travelling over 350 km on one unit, or kilowatt-hour (kWh), of electricity, which means driving from Galway to Dublin for less than 15 cents’ worth of electricity, and gets the equivalent of 10,000 miles per gallon of diesel. Congratulating NUI Galway students, staff and project supporters, University President, Professor Ciarán ó hÓgartaigh said: “Problem-solving at the service of society is at the very heart of our students’ learning experience. With their award-winning work on the Geec project, our NUI Galway Engineering students have brought their talent and ingenuity to bear on one of the most important challenges of our time – energy efficient transportation. I am delighted to pay tribute to their international success and I commend colleagues – academics, mentors and technicians from the College of Engineering and Informatics – and all those involved in supporting this important student initiative.” This year 149 of the best engineering schools and universities in Europe qualified, built cars and sent teams to Shell Eco-marathon Europe in London. Over 2,000 students, from Morocco to Siberia, took part. The award recognises the single best innovation on any car across all competition categories. The Geec is Ireland’s first, and so far, only competitor at Shell Eco-marathon Europe, the world’s toughest test for ultra-efficient vehicles. Student teams battle it out in a 15-km race where efficiency, not speed, is what counts. All the world’s cars, vans, trucks, buses, trains, airplanes and boats consume a third of the world’s energy and belch out a quarter of earth’s human-made greenhouse gas emissions, so developing highly efficient, low-emissions technologies is of paramount importance. Competitors design, build, test and drive their own creations in a true test of ingenuity, grit and driving skills. For the last four years, the Geec has flown the flag for Ireland in the battery-electric category, finishing 23rd out of 50 in 2015, rising to 13th in 2017. This year’s Geec won the prestigious Technical Innovation Award, which is presented by Shell to the team which demonstrates outstanding technical ingenuity along with optimal use of new materials, components and inventions in their drive train, chassis, body, instrumentation and tyres. The award was given to the NUI Galway team for an effective and simple approach to lower aerodynamic undercarriage drag. The wheels of a car can be a major source of aerodynamic drag or wind resistance, especially when the car’s main body has very low drag, like the teardrop-shaped, three-wheeled Geec. The innovation attacks this problem and is largely due to student Tom Dillon from Barna, Co. Galway, but is just one of the latest stages in a complex team project that has evolved for five years. Tom explains: “Our new innovation is an aerodynamic seal that minimises the gap between the wheels and the car's body at all times. From computer simulations of our car, we found that this new design offers a potential 27% reduction in aerodynamic drag.” Professor Peter McHugh, Dean of Engineering and Informatics at NUI Galway, said: “This result puts us firmly on the map as one of the premier engineering schools in the world for the depth and quality of our education and for our mentorship and support of students.” The Geec is a collaboration between the disciplines of Mechanical Engineering and Electrical and Electronic Engineering. The team consists of approximately 25 students of those programmes and the interdisciplinary Energy Systems Engineering degree, with some additional involvement from other Engineering and Informatics students. For fourth-year students the Geec is part of their coursework, while for the others it is extra-curricular. The car is designed, developed and raced by the students, with the guidance of academic staff and the extensive practical support of NUI Galway’s team of engineering technical officers. International competition at the end of every academic year gives intense focus to their efforts and an unforgiving but thrilling test of their work. It is a unique opportunity for ambitious young engineers to hone their knowledge and skills. The Geec team gratefully acknowledges the support of the Tony Ryan Trust through the Galway University Foundation, Shell E&P Ireland, Jaguar Land Rover, ÉireComposites, MaREI, Blackstone Launchpad, MBW Bike Shop, CADFEM UK & Ireland, Mathworks, OutdoorLiving.ie, Tocana Plastics, Molex, EasyComposites, and Irish Ferries. For more information, please visit www.theGeec.ie, facebook: theGeec.ie, or Twitter @theGeec. -Ends-

Monday, 23 July 2018

Robot submarine and detailed seabed maps used to find sensitive underwater habitat  A team of marine scientists have returned to Galway after spending three weeks at sea investigating Ireland’s deep ocean territory 300 miles off the west coast. The deep sea expedition led to new discoveries using the Marine Institute’s remotely operated vehicle (ROV) Holland 1 onboard the ILV Granuaile. The high definition ROV-mounted video captured a number of ‘firsts’ in Irish waters, including a species of octocoral of the genus Corallium, which grows into huge fans with a delicate porcelain-like skeleton, and a species of black coral different to others described to date, which may prove to be an entirely new species. The survey confirmed Irish deep-waters as a haven for these rare and delicate deep-sea black corals. The team of scientists also reported areas of potential ‘sponge reef’ on the Rockall Bank, a highly unusual accumulation of living and dead sponges forming a complex habitat for many other creatures. Such formations are very rare and have previously only been recorded in Canadian waters. Cold water coral reefs are ecosystems that host a diverse range of marine animals including sea fans, sponges, worms, starfish, crustaceans and a variety of fish species, making them vitally important habitats for marine biodiversity. These fragile deepwater reefs are commonly associated with topographic features subject to strong bottom currents, for example continental margins, seamounts and mid-ocean ridges, because as filter feeders, the corals depend on suspended food particulate matter. The high resolution bathymetric dataset acquired as part of the national seabed mapping programme –Integrated Mapping For the Sustainable Development of Ireland’s Marine Resource (INFOMAR) - was used to target potential locations of reef habitat for this survey by identifying specific seabed morphological features likely to support cold water coral. The last two decades have seen a dramatic increase in our understanding of the cold water coral reef ecosystems, their susceptibility to environmental change, and their low resilience to human impact. Professor Louise Allcock, NUI Galway, who is funded by Science Foundation Ireland and the Marine Institute to study the pharmaceutical potential of deep-sea corals and sponges added: “This project highlights collaboration and cooperation between Irish and international marine scientists, helping us to further our understanding of these sensitive ecosystems and has also been able to provide training opportunities and sea-going experience for young scientists.” Chief Scientist on the SeaRover survey, David O’Sullivan, Marine Institute said: “We are very pleased to discover what appear to be new coral species and a rare sponge reef, neither of which have been previously documented in Irish waters. These sensitive habitats are very important and this study is key to getting a better understanding of Irelands’ deep sea. Our key objective is to discover, protect and monitor Ireland’s rich offshore marine biodiversity so we can manage our marine resources effectively. Without a knowledge of what lives on our seabed we are at risk of never fully understanding and appreciating Ireland’s invaluable marine environment.”  Dr Kerry Howell, Plymouth University said: “This is the first time I have seen a sponge reef like this in nearly 20 years of studying the deep NE Atlantic. This is an important find. Sponges play a key role in the marine ecosystem providing habitat for other species and recycling nutrients. They may even be a source of new antibiotics. These new data will help us to better understand where and why these reefs occur.” The ‘SeaRover’ survey is the second of three planned expeditions jointly funded by the Irish Government and the EU’s European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF). The cross government initiative is supported by the Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine, Department of Culture, Heritage and Gaeltacht, and Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment (DCCAE) as part of the Marine Institute’s implementation of the Marine Biodiversity scheme.  Survey operations were coordinated and led by the DCCAE funded INFOMAR programme, which is a joint venture between the Geological Survey Ireland and the Marine Institute. This year’s expedition extended the habitat exploration area to the Rockall Bank, the farthest offshore extent of Ireland’s Economic Exclusive Zone. Scientific experts onboard to witness the exciting findings were from the Marine Institute, National Parks and Wildlife Service, National University of Ireland Galway and Plymouth University. Ends

Monday, 23 July 2018

Dr Jackie Uí Chionna, a historian based at the Moore Institute for Research in the Humanities and Social Sciences at NUI Galway, has been awarded a prestigious research fellowship at Cambridge University.  The Archives By-Fellowship at Churchill College Cambridge has been awarded to Dr Uí Chionna to enable her to undertake work on her current research project, a biography of Emily Anderson OBE (1891-1962). Anderson was the daughter of the President of UCG at the time, Alexander Anderson, and she herself became Professor of German at the University at the age of just 26, in 1917. She formally resigned her Chair in 1919 to take up a position with the British Foreign Office, but in reality she had already been working for a number of years on intelligence work for the fledgling British Secret Service, ultimately becoming the foremost female code breaker of her generation. She retired in 1952. Alongside Emily Anderson’s code breaking work, she continued her passionate interest in music, and used her considerable skills to become a world-renowned musicologist, and author of both The Letters of Mozart and his Family and The Letters of Beethoven, works which remain standard references for music students and scholars alike. Emily Anderson was awarded the OBE by the British for her intelligence work during the Second World War, but remarkably she was also awarded the Order of Merit, First Class, the highest award of the Federal Republic of Germany, for her work on Beethoven - the Germans being entirely unaware of her secret intelligence work through two World Wars. Cambridge is the acknowledged world centre for scholarly research in the history of Intelligence, and the Churchill College Archives Centre, where Dr Uí Chionna will be working, houses the finest collection of diplomatic and intelligence related archives in the UK.  Dr Uí Chionna will spend an academic term at Churchill College, said: “The Awarding of the By-Fellowship is a tremendous honour for me, and more importantly, a significant recognition of the enormous significance of Emily Anderson in an international context. Interest in women code breakers has never been higher, and Anderson was the best of them all, yet until now virtually nothing has been known about her. That will all change with this biography, and I am enormously grateful to Churchill College Cambridge for their recognition of the importance of this research. I am also extremely grateful to Professor Daniel Carey and the Moore Institute, for awarding me the Visiting Fellowship which enabled me to begin work on the book. ” Dr Uí Chionna will take up her By-Fellowship in 2019. -Ends-

Thursday, 19 July 2018

NUI Galway is delighted to announce a new bursary which will be awarded to the Best Overall Student in Master of Science in Health Economics. The bursary is sponsored by Janssen Sciences Ireland. NUI Galway has a close working relationship with Janssen Sciences Ireland with the company offering placements to many NUI Galway students and a number of these placements have evolved into full-time positions in market access and health economics. Also, approximately 50% of the Market Access team in Janssen Sciences Ireland are graduates from the programme. In addition, representatives from Janssen, including their CEO in Ireland, Dr Leisha Daly, have featured in the MSc in Health Economics guest lecturer programme. The bursary, a fund of €2,500, will be awarded at the end of this coming academic year and will cover the cost of the recipient attending the European International Society for Pharmaeconomics and Outcomes Research (ISPOR) conference which will be held in Barcelona in November. Brendan Kennelly, Lecturer in Economics at NUI Galway, said: “We are delighted to partner with Janssen Science Ireland in this new student bursary. The annual ISPOR conference consists of a very exciting mix of academics and professional presentations and courses. Attending the conference will be a fantastic educational and professional opportunity for the awardee and represents an appropriate way of acknowledging the achievement of the successful student.” The MSc in Health Economics introduces students to the principles underlying the economic analysis of health care decision-making within an evolving context of technological development, population ageing and changing patient expectations. The programme is designed for people interested in pursuing a career in the government, the health service, the pharmaceutical and medical device industries, or in research and consultancy agencies. The programme examines the challenges of scarcity for health care provision, analyses alternative systems of finance and delivery and provides an introduction to the techniques of evaluation used in health care. -Ends-