NUI Galway Zoology student to track down infamous false black widow spiders around the city

NUI Galway Zoology student to track down infamous false black widow spiders around the city-image

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Aileen Wruck, an undergraduate zoology student from NUI Galway has been collecting spiders in and around Galway city as part of her final year research project. Her goal is to get a better understanding of how spiders colonise human dwellings and turn man-made structures to their advantage. Over the past few weeks, Aileen has been trapping and collecting spiders from seemingly unlikely locations for wildlife including bridges, stone walls, attics, car parks and public staircases. To date she has managed to identify 110 specimens from 27 species. Her most prized catch are two false black widows found in a local car park. Aileen said: “False black widows are not native to Ireland, but they have managed to establish populations in most cities, where man-made structures provide the shelter and the warmth they would not get otherwise in the countryside. False black widows have had very bad press recently, but the reality is that they are very shy and not more dangerous than a wasp or a bee.” Dr Michel Dugon from the discipline of Zoology at NUI Galway and Aileen’s supervisor, is eager to explore this new urban wildlife: “By building large cities and developing international trade, we have effectively opened a world-wide network of urban environments. Many bugs have benefited from these new conditions and have become closely dependent on us for their survival and dispersal. The study of these man-made ecosystems is now a field of research on its own called urban ecology. It is both fascinating and slightly scary to think that we have created ecosystems where climatic and geographical boundaries do not apply anymore.” Have you come across false black widows or very unusual looking spiders in Galway? If so, you can send your pictures to Aileen by email at a.wruck1@nuigalway.ie. -Ends-

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NUI Galway Professor Appointed Fellow of the European Health Psychology Society

NUI Galway Professor Appointed Fellow of the European Health Psychology Society-image

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Professor Ruth Curtis, School of Psychology, NUI Galway, was recently appointed Fellow of the European Health Psychology Society for her contribution to the advancement of health psychology through research, education/training and public service. Although retired, Professor Curtis is still actively involved in the Health and Wellbeing Research Cluster in the School of Psychology She was presented with the award by Professor Aleks Luszczynska at the opening ceremony of the 25th EHPS conference in Innsbruck which hosted 1,000 delegates from 30 countries. -Ends-

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'Trickle Down Politics: Some Reflections on Irish Water' Lecture at NUI Galway

 'Trickle Down Politics: Some Reflections on Irish Water' Lecture at NUI Galway-image

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

NUI Galway will hold a public lecture entitled ‘Trickle Down Politics: Some Reflection on Irish Water’ on Thursday, 13 November. The lecture will be delivered by NUI Galway lecturer Dr George Taylor and will take place in room MY129, Áras Moyola at 7.30pm. “Irish polity is gripped with political angst is not in dispute. And yet, it seems almost perverse to record that precisely the moment at which you would expect politics to be relevant to its citizens, the state and its party representatives (the realm of political) seem increasingly irrelevant. For many commentators, particularly those keen on the more salacious aspects of Irish politics, this ambivalence toward formal politics can be attributed to a growing disenchantment with its political representatives, which have been subject to a tirade of revelations: from the ‘dig outs’ enjoyed by the Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern, and revealed at public tribunals, to the Ceann Comhairle’s, John O’Donohue’s, predilection for spending on ostentatious limousine trips at the taxpayer’s expense. In this lecture I will aim to provide a deeper analysis of this reform”, said Dr Taylor. Dr Taylor is a lecturer in politics and an internationally recognised scholar in Public policy who has published across a wide range of areas in world leading journals that include: environmental politics, food safety, risk and the financial crisis, regulatory reform and the international Haemophilia crisis.  -Ends-

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SeaScience comes to Galway City Museum

SeaScience comes to Galway City Museum-image

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Have you ever wondered what electricity is and where does it come from, or what is sound and how do scientists use sound to map the sea floor? What happens when rubbish ends up in the ocean? Is it true that some ocean plants glow? What surprises are there to be found in Galway Bay? Visit the second floor gallery at Galway City Museum to discover the answer to these questions and much more. Galway City Museum, together with the Ryan Institute at NUI Galway, have launched SeaScience. This new exhibition invites visitors to learn and discover more about everyday science and the environment, and how research at NUI Galway feeds into this. It was the intention of all contributors to this exhibition to provide visitors with an experience that will help shape the way they view and experience the world.   As a semi-permanent feature of the museum, SeaScience will be in place for the next 3-4 years; with some visitors already making multiple visits in the few short weeks it has been open. “The SeaScience Exploration Zone is a space that was designed and developed to get visitors excited about learning about the ocean, about the amazing landscape of the West, and about just some of the diverse research that scientists and engineers at NUI Galway’s Ryan Institute are conducting”, says Dr Sarah Knight, Outreach Officer for the Ryan Institute. “It has been so much fun working with the Galway City Museum on this project. Combining the knowledge of the marine environment that we have in the Ryan Institute and my own experience in education and outreach, with the incredible expertise of James Reynolds, Director Eithne O’Connell and the rest of her team at the Museum, we have created a space that has something to explore for everyone.” Irish science heritage writer, Mary Mulvihill, who officially launched the exhibition, said that people in Galway were doing research on salmon over 300 years ago. “So it makes perfect sense that this exhibition should be in Galway City Museum, in this lovely location where the Corrib River meets Galway Bay and the wild Atlantic Ocean. The research now being done at the Ryan Institute continues the work of many generations and even centuries of marine explorers. This new SeaScience exhibition is just what we need to inspire the next generation of marine scientists and engineers.” Children of all ages can come and experience the wonder of SeaScience for themselves. Take a journey in the mini-super-submarine or explore the dark room of glowing plankton. The museum is open Tuesday to Saturday from 10am until 5pm and admission is free! Bookings for group tours can be made by contacting the Galway City Museum, museum@galwaycity.ie. -ends-

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Conference Looks at Pricing Healthcare

Conference Looks at Pricing Healthcare-image

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Questions relating to pricing healthcare were discussed at a major international conference in NUI Galway yesterday. The conference was titled ‘Pricing Healthcare: The role of health economics evaluation in the emerging healthcare landscape in Ireland’. It brought together leading health economists from the UK and Ireland. It also included contributions from other stakeholders in the healthcare sector such as the pharmaceutical industry, clinicians, private health insurance companies, as well as leading representatives from the key decision making agencies in Ireland in this area such as the HSE, HIQA and the National Centre for Pharmaeconomics. The opening address at the conference was delivered by Ms. Loretto Callaghan, Managing Director of Novartis Ireland. The closing address at the conference was delivered by the President of NUI Galway, Dr Jim Browne. Every country in the EU and most countries in the OECD fund more than 50% of the total expenditure on healthcare in any year. The average across the OECD is around 72% and the share of total health expenditure in Ireland that the Government spends is about 67%. According to Brendan Kennelly, a lecturer in Health Economics at NUI Galway, who chaired the conference: “In any system dominated by public expenditure a critical question arises as to what healthcare should be provided. There are a host of competing demands across disease areas, across care levels, across population groups and across social classes. All of them have strong arguments that the particular intervention that they advocate should be funded. The demand for healthcare is likely to rise as the population ages. Medical innovations, as well as social, behavioural and environmental changes, have meant that more people are able to survive with chronic illnesses. In addition, research in diseases such as cancer continues to hold out the promise that new targeted therapies will be more successful in treating illnesses that hitherto were untreatable.” He continued: “However, resources are limited so the question arises as to how should a society decide on which particular elements of healthcare should be prioritised? This is a very challenging question and it is linked to another possibly more challenging question, namely how is health produced and how is it distributed across a population. Health or ill health are caused by a myriad of factors - biological, social, behavioural, psychological – and what a society would like to supply as regards healthcare is inextricably linked with what it thinks about how health is produced and how healthcare should be regarded.” The conference was jointly organised by Novartis Ireland and the Health Economics and Policy Analysis research group at NUI Galway. The group, which comprises about twenty academics, researchers and PhD students, conducts a wide range of research and has particular expertise in disease areas such as dementia, cancer, diabetes, stroke and mental health. The group works closely with clinical staff in the School of Medicine at NUI Galway and elsewhere and with leading health economists around the world. The Health Economics and Policy Analysis research group is merely one example of a strategic targeted approach to biomedical engineering research at NUI Galway which has succeeded in the university establishing itself as a leading player in health related research. -ends-

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Talk on student grant at NUI Galway’s Postgraduate Open Day

Talk on student grant at NUI Galway’s Postgraduate Open Day-image

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

SUSI (Student Universal Support Ireland), the national Awarding Authority for all higher and further education student grants, will be the feature talk at NUI Galway’s Autumn Postgraduate Open Day on Wednesday, 19 November, from 12-4pm in the Bailey Allen Hall, Áras na Mac Léinn. This talk will provide students with an opportunity to gain information on the funding opportunities and application process available to them. The Open Day will showcase over 400 of NUI Galway’s full-time and part-time postgraduate programmes, including taught and research masters, and doctoral research options. The Open Day will focus on the benefits of doing a postgraduate programme and the practicalities of making an application. With over 3,500 postgraduate students currently attending NUI Galway, 70 information stands will provide details on postgraduate opportunities at the University, with academic staff and current students on hand to answer questions about specific courses. Information on scholarships, fees and other practical considerations will also be made available to prospective students on the day. Bríd Seoige, Senior Marketing Officer at NUI Galway, comments: “A postgraduate qualification broadens your skills-set, defines your areas of expertise, increases your specialist knowledge, and can improve your job prospects: over 91% of NUI Galway graduates are currently employed or are in further study within six months of graduating.” Throughout the day postgraduate students will have the option of attending talks on funding opportunities and applications available to them, career prospects and progression, CV clinics and there will also be information on how to apply for a postgraduate course. Irish graduates are ranked first in Europe in terms of how employers rank graduates, and postgraduate study boosts employability. The number of postgraduates in employment has grown consistently in recent years and NUI Galway’s well-established links with industry allows them to take the first step in building their career. NUI Galway offers a wide range of fourth level courses, developing programmes based on its traditional academic strengths of Arts, Social Sciences, Celtic Studies, Commerce, Medicine, Nursing, Health Science, Law, Engineering, Informatics and Science. These areas have been augmented with innovative research centres in areas as diverse as Biomedical Science and Engineering, International Human Rights, Digital Media & Film Studies, and Regenerative Medicine. To view NUI Galway’s suite of new and unique postgraduate programmes and to book your place at the Open Day visit www.nuigalway.ie/postgraduate-open-day  or simply call in on the day. To apply for an NUI Galway postgraduate course visit www.pac.ie/nuigalway. -Ends-

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NUI Galway to host Mass Marriage 2014 for Marriage Equality

NUI Galway to host Mass Marriage 2014 for Marriage Equality-image

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

NUI Galway’s GiG Soc (Gay In Galway Society) will host their debut Mass Marriage 2014 on Wednesday, 12 November from 10-3pm. The event will take place in the Bailey Allen Hall, Áras na Mac Léinn, NUI Galway. The main aim of the Mass Marriage is to get students on the Register of Electors in time for the Referendum in spring 2015. Sean Reilly, Co-Auditor of GiG Soc at NUI Galway, said: “We know that college students are in favour of Same-Sex Marriage. But we also know that the majority of them aren’t registered to vote. We hope to get that majority on the Register of Electors so they can use their vote to affect positive change for the LGBTQ community.” For one day only NUI Galway’s Bailey Allen Hall will be transformed into a wedding venue for Mass Marriage 2014. There will be a “minister” to carry out the wedding ceremonies where students can marry a person of their choice, irrespective of gender. Instead of students signing a Certificate of Marriage, they will sign a Voter Registration form, and there will also be an information point in the hall where students can check to see if they are already registered. “To a student who has grown up in the Noughties, the current system of Voter Registration seems very outdated”, continues Sean. “This is why a lot of people in the 18-24 age category do not register. With this event, we hope to take the chore out of registering, and have a lot of fun in the process.” For more information contact GiG Soc at gigsoc@socs.nuigalway.ie. -Ends-

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Audio-visual lecture on ‘The Evolution of Old Time American, Country, and Blue Grass Music’

Audio-visual lecture on ‘The Evolution of Old Time American, Country, and Blue Grass Music’-image

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

The renowned musicologist and performer Mick Moloney will deliver an audio-visual lecture at NUI Galway on ‘The Evolution of Old Time American, Country, and Blue Grass Music’. The event takes place on Thursday, 13 November, at 6pm in the Kirwan Theatre at NUI Galway. Using recordings of historic music and song, Mick Moloney will reconstruct the background of American music traditions, tracing their Irish sources. The event is co-sponsored by the Moore Institute at NUI Galway and the University’s Arts in Action series. Professor Moloney is Global Distinguished Professor of Irish Studies and Music at New York University. His exceptional career has combined the roles of professional musician, musicologist, record producer, teacher and arts presenter. He holds a PhD in folklore. He is author of Far From the Shamrock Shore: The Story of Irish American History Through Song and he has featured in documentaries Bringing It All Back Home and Out of Ireland. He was awarded the National Heritage Award from the National Endowment for the Arts, the highest official honour a traditional artist can receive in the United States. -ends-

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Geographers cook up a storm for Geo Week at NUI Galway

Geographers cook up a storm for Geo Week at NUI Galway-image

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

As part of international Geography Awareness Week from 17-21 November, postgraduate students within NUI Galway’s Discipline of Geography have organised an eclectic programme of events around this year’s theme of ‘Geographies of Food’. Geo Week Ireland is an annual national event aimed to promote appreciation, understanding and awareness of geography and its relevance to society and education. The Geographical Society of Ireland is hosting its second national photographic competition on this years’ theme and has created a special webpage for students, teachers, community members and the general public to upload photographs around the themes of food growing, food exchange, food waste and food security. Dr Aaron Potito, Head of NUI Galway’s School of Geography and Archaeology, said: “GeoWeek Ireland promotes awareness, appreciation and understanding of geography through a huge variety of events and activities. Our postgraduates have been involved in GeoWeek since its inception and year-on-year there is a growing interest in the subject. This year our students have put together a broad range of events which shows there is a wonderful appetite for learning about food geographies in fun and exciting ways.”   Events this year include collaborations with the University’s Baking Society, the Organic Gardening Society, the Photo Society and the Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security Society. Among the many events taking place in NUI Galway during GeoWeek is a public panel discussion which is entitled ‘Food Futures on a Plate’, comprised of food experts from Galway and further afield. Dr Frances Fahy, Head of the discipline of Geography at NUI Galway, said: “This year we are delighted to welcome Dr Laura Devaney from TCD and Jacinta Dalton from GMIT. We especially welcome JP Mahon, owner of EatGalway, to our public panel discussion.”   The panel discussion, ‘Food Futures on a Plate’, is open to the public and will take place in Cairnes Lecture Hall 3, St Anthony’s Building, NUI Galway, on Wednesday, 19 November at 2pm. For more information or to register for the discussion please email f.carter1@nuigalway.ie. To find out more about the photographic competition visit http://www.geographicalsocietyireland.ie/geoweek-2014-photo-comp.html. -Ends-

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Winners of Science Video Competition Announced

Winners of Science Video Competition Announced-image

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Sligo schools scoop first prize in both categories The winners of the €3000 schools science video competition, ReelLIFE SCIENCE, are today announced as part of Science Week 2014. The primary school category winners are Sooey National School, Co. Sligo, with Julien Torrades from Summerhill College, Sligo taking first place at secondary school level. Primary and secondary schools from all over Ireland were challenged by NUI Galway to make entertaining and educational short videos on a range of science topics. The challenge was taken up by thousands of students in 24 counties around Ireland, producing more than 250 three-minute science videos, in both English and Irish, for the competition. Selecting the best videos to share in the €3000 prize fund were judges Aoibhinn Ní Shúilleabháin, broadcaster and Lecturer in Mathematics at University College Dublin, Stephen Curry, Professor of Structural Biology at Imperial College London and Science writer with The Guardian, and Paul Clarke, St. Paul’s College, Raheny, winner of the SciFest National Final 2013 and Overall Winner of the BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition 2014. The ReelLIFE SCIENCE team, led by NUI Galway’s Dr Enda O’Connell, were overwhelmed by the response of the schools. Judge Aoibhinn Ní Shúilleabháin said: “I was astounded by the calibre of the videos from both the primary and secondary schools. It is wonderful to see the thought, preparation, fun, and learning that went into all of the videos and it is very encouraging to see students enjoying and communicating science.” Primary School Winners: The judges selected ‘The Secret Life of Honeybees’ produced by the 5th and 6th class students of Sooey National School, Co. Sligo, under the direction of their teacher Thomas Egan, as the best primary school video. The prize consisted of €1000 towards science resources for their school. Judge Professor Curry commented: “Sooey National School’s video had good science content, with a very, very funny script and the kids were clearly having a lot of fun which makes the film hugely appealing.” A video called ‘ChemKids’, examining this year’s Science Week theme ‘The Power of Science’, and made by all students, from junior infants to 6th class, of Scoil Eoin, Tahilla, Co. Kerry, finished in second place, winning €300 in the process. The third placed primary school video, ‘All You Need Are Worms’ was submitted by 4th class students of Rush and Lusk Educate Together National School in Dublin, winning €200. Also shortlisted were ‘The Digestive System’ by St. Patrick’s National School, Newbridge, Co. Kildare and ‘Bíodh an Fórsa Leat’ by Scoil Náisiúnta Iognáid, Gaillimh. Secondary School Winners: At secondary school level, the judges chose ‘The History of Medicine’ by Leaving Certificate student Julien Torrades from Summerhill College, Sligo, under the supervision of his Art teacher Jonathan Cassidy, as their winner. The video, described by Professor Curry as “a good use of stop-motion…with a nice sense of humour…covering an impressive amount of ground in a short space of time” earns €1000 for Summerhill College’s science programme. In second place, a video about Austrian physicist ‘Lise Meitner - the Science Hero that time forgot’ impressed the judges, winning €300 for Rosses Community School, Dungloe, Co. Donegal, while ‘Gravity in a Nutshell’ earned Causeway Comprehensive School, Co. Kerry, €200 and third place. Also shortlisted were ‘Vision - How We See the World’ by 5th year students from St. Andrew’s College, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, and ‘Alexander Fleming - Science Hero’ by Transition Year students from St. Marys School for Deaf Girls, Cabra, Dublin 7. An additional €250 publicly voted prize, was won by the video ‘Trees: Properties and Uses’ produced by the students of St Michael’s House Special National School, Ballymun, Dublin 9, with the help of their teacher Melanie McInerney. All the videos can be viewed at www.reellifescience.com and will be shown to the general public as part of the Galway Science and Technology Festival Exhibition, held in NUI Galway on Sunday, 23 November. The ReelLIFE SCIENCE initiative is supported by NUI Galway; the Science Foundation Ireland Discover programme, which seeks to promote the awareness and engagement of the Irish public with science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM); the Biochemical Society Scientific Outreach programme; the EU FP-7 funded VISICORT research project; Medical Supply Company; and the NUI Galway School of Natural Sciences outreach programme Cell EXPLORERS. ReelLIFE SCIENCE is one of 800 events taking place around the country for Science Week (www.science.ie), which runs from November 9-16. -Ends-

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