Friday, 20 September 2019

Connecting Innovation and Healthcare in the West of Ireland  Minister of Trade, Employment, Business, EU Digital Single Market and Data Protection, Pat Breen TD and Minister of State with special responsibility for Mental Health and Older People, Jim Daly TD, officially opened the third national Health Innovation Hub Ireland (HIHI) on Monday, 16 September at NUI Galway’s Lambe Institute for Translational Research based at Galway University Hospital. Both the President of NUI Galway, Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh and CEO of Saolta University Healthcare Group, Tony Canavan, welcomed the arrival of the HIHI in the West. First launched by Minister for Health Simon Harris TD at its headquarters at University College Cork in 2016, Health Innovation Hub Ireland is assisting in the establishment of Ireland as a leading location for start-ups and expanding healthcare companies. HIHI allows easy interaction with hospitals and primary care centres. Collaboration between the health service and enterprise is leading to the development of new Irish healthcare technologies, products, and services.  The continued growth of the Health Innovation Hub Ireland and expansion into the west, marks a continued pattern of growth for the HIHI nationally. This expansion follows the October 2018 launch of the second office based at Trinity College Dublin on the St. James Hospital Campus. Nationally, Health Innovation Hub Ireland plays a unique role within the Irish healthcare ecosystem working at both ends of the innovation pathway - at the very earliest stage from ideation through to concept development and at the later stage of proof of concept in a clinical environment. In Galway, HIHI works closely with other Enterprise Ireland programmes including BioInnovate Ireland and BioExel at NUI Galway and leverages the medtech expertise within the University including the Translational Medical Device Lab, led by Professor Martin O’Halloran, CÚRAM, the Science Foundation Ireland Research Centre for Medical Devices and the HRB Clinical Research Facility at NUI Galway, led by the HIHI PrincipaI Investigator, Professor Martin O’Donnell. HIHI Galway is at the cutting edge of excellence in healthcare, clinical and engineering research with easy access to experts and the next generation of innovators. Companies based in the West such as Ostoform and Feeltect are just a few of the companies benefiting from the HIHI’s unique ecosystem. HIHI - a national central hub to the health and innovation ecosystem  HIHI was established by Department of Business, Enterprise, Innovation, and the Department of Health, supported by Enterprise Ireland (EI) and the Health Service Executive (HSE). As a unique joint government initiative, HIHI offers companies the opportunity for pilot and clinical validation studies and provides the health service with access to innovative products, services, devices. HIHI works to impact Irish business and Irish healthcare in three key areas.  1. Industry: HIHI matches companies with relevant clinical teams, overseeing a study of each product in an Irish clinical setting.   2. Healthcare: HIHI is an open door to all healthcare staff to assess ideas to solutions they have encountered in their work. HIHI acts as mentors and advises on taking an idea and developing it into a service or product.   3. Education: Delivering a series of five HIHI workshops and a diploma in healthcare innovation, HIHI is embedding an innovation culture in Irish healthcare.  To date, HIHI has engaged with more than 256 companies and 160 healthcare employees to discuss their innovative ideas. HIHI issues an annual call but also welcomes direct engagement through any of its offices in Cork, Dublin and now Galway. Minister for Trade, Employment, Business, EU Digital Single Market and Data Protection, Pat Breen, TD, commented: “As Minister for State in the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation, I very much welcome the launch of the third national Health Innovation Hub Ireland here in NUI Galway. HIHI is a wonderful means of facilitating collaboration between all the various players involved in the health, enterprise and research sectors for the ultimate benefit of Ireland’s citizens. Galway, in particular, is a city that has both a thriving academic centre and a rapidly expanding MedTech sector.  I wish HIHI well in its endeavours and look forward to seeing the benefits of its work in the future.” Professor Martin O’Donnell, Professor of Translational Medicine at NUI Galway and HIHI Principal Investigator, Galway, said: “Based at NUI Galway we have multi-disciplinary award-winning teams in healthcare, clinical and engineering research at the Lambe Institute for Translational Research. Health Innovation Hub Ireland combines expertise from NUI Galway and the HSE to deliver projects in healthcare and industry. With a strategic location, embedded in the heart of the hospital, research and teaching, the Hub is a welcome resource to clinicians, researchers and companies.” Minister of State with special responsibility for Mental Health and Older People, Jim Daly TD,commented: “I am delighted to see the expansion of Health Innovation Hub Ireland here in Galway, building on the Hubs in Dublin and Cork. This ground-breaking initiative between the Department of Business, Enterprise & Innovation and the Department of Health is supporting companies access healthcare experts and bringing new technologies to market as well as improving patient outcomes. Enterprise Ireland is supporting a vision of innovation in healthcare and supporting companies and innovators in healthcare to reach their potential.” CEO of Saolta University Healthcare Group, Tony Canavan, commented: “The HIHI facilitates a unique partnership between the health service and the enterprise sector to enable healthcare research and innovation will over time improve outcomes for patients. Critically, it gives staff working on the front line of the health service an opportunity to bring their ideas and proposals to the Hub that will ultimately improve outcomes for our patients. We are delighted that the Saolta Group and in particular University Hospital Galway is part of this initiative and I would encourage staff to share their knowledge and make proposals.” Speaking about the growth of the Health Innovation Hub Ireland: HIHI Principal Investigator, Professor John Higgins, said: “The opening of the Health Innovation Hub in Galway is another key step in making HIHI a truly national organisation following the extension from Cork to Dublin and now Galway. It is a prelude to the HIHI extending to the rest of Ireland. Throughout the healthcare system, if you have an idea or burning desire to bring about change, a solution or a wish to bring innovation in, the HIHI opens that door. The national presence of the HIHI is a testimony to industry and healthcare working together.” -Ends-

Thursday, 19 September 2019

Michael Flaherty, a sixth year student at Coláiste Éinde in Galway City, will represent Ireland at the international Brain Bee World Competition, which takes place from 19-23 September, in South Korea. The Brain Bee is a neuroscience competition aimed at students in their later stages of second-level education and draws 30,000 students annually from over 30 countries. Students prepare for the competition by studying material on brain structure and function. Michael was announced winner of the first Brain Bee competition in Ireland as part of the Brain Awareness Week events. The Irish leg of the competition, hosted by NUI Galway, was conducted by Galway Neuroscience, a community of academic staff and researchers. The inaugural Irish Brain Bee attracted 13 students from Galway City schools St. Joseph’s (the Bish), Salerno and Coláiste Éinde. Professor John Kelly, Irish organiser of Brain Bee and NUI Galway Professor in Pharmacology and Therapeutics, said: “We are delighted to have got this competition started, and Michael will be a wonderful representative for the international competition.” Emma Dalton, Michael’s Science Teacher at Coláiste Éinde, said: “I came across the Brain Bee competition through an email sent out to the Transition Year coordinator. It was such an exciting competition and something I would have loved to take part in myself as a student so I was delighted to offer this opportunity to my class. I was really proud when four of my Leaving Certificate students took on the challenge and added a book of neuroscience to their study plans.” Michael said: “The road to competing internationally at the International Brain Bee World Championship in South Korea has been challenging, but I’m delighted to have been given the opportunity to compete. Biology, especially neurobiology, has always piqued my interest. Learning more and contributing to further development in these fields is an aspiration of mine which this competition has definitely supported. This experience has been absolutely amazing and I am grateful to the people who have helped me along the way, mainly my biology and chemistry teachers, John Kelly and my family and friends, especially my fantastic sister Elizabeth who will travel with me.” Financial support to help with Michael’s trip has been kindly provided by Galway Neuroscience and by Neuroscience Ireland. -Ends-   

Thursday, 19 September 2019

NUI Galway has become a designated University of Sanctuary, a movement aimed at promoting the inclusion of International Protection Applicants, refugees and Irish Travellers within the community. Places of Sanctuary Ireland (PoSI) is a network of groups in local communities which share the objectives of promoting a culture of welcome and inclusiveness across Irish society for those seeking International Protection in Ireland. Their University of Sanctuary initiative encourage and celebrate the good practice of universities, colleges and institutes welcoming refugees, asylum seekers and other migrants into their university communities in meaningful ways. The University of Sanctuary steering committee at NUI Galway also includes the Irish Traveller community in its remit, with a focus on the promotion of Irish Traveller culture as an innate and positive element of Irish society, and to address the low levels of participation at second and third-level education amongst Irish Travellers. President of NUI Galway, Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh, commented: “The University of Sanctuary responds to many issues that affect and animate Irish society today, including the promotion of meaningful integration for Ireland’s newest communities, breaking down barriers to education, and eliminating discrimination in all its forms. It is also an exemplar of our values as they have emerged in our university strategy, in particular our values of respect and inclusiveness. As such, our designation as a University of Sanctuary is a distinctive signal of the character of NUI Galway, seeing ourselves as part of and not apart from our wider society.” The movement’s placement within the University’s Access Centre gives effect to the commitment to broaden access to university education from under-represented groups, while the involvement of the Community Knowledge Initiative (CKI) and its approach to civic engagement ensures that this initiative is sustained well in to the future through the promotion of continued student and staff engagement with the initiative.    President Ó hÓgartaigh continued: “On behalf of our University community, I look forward to working with all of our communities to make Galway city and county a ‘Community of Sanctuary’ over the coming year.” To celebrate the official designation, NUI Galway will host a designation ceremony on Thursday, 21 November. -Ends-

Thursday, 19 September 2019

NUI Galway will host an Irish Research Council Funded Creative Connections Initiative workshop on Friday, 27 September, examining questions of European identity through a focus on the themes of sport and digital media. The workshop will draw on a range of disciplines in the Arts, Humanities, Social Sciences (AHSS) and STEM areas from NUI Galway, Trinity College Dublin, and Queen’s University, Belfast to examine the topic of European cultural identity. Additional strands in the network will examine the themes of schooling and curriculum design, and landscape as key components of Europe’s shared cultural heritage and identity. These strands will be used as a prism through which participants will explore European cultural identity, its construction and current crisis. NUI Galway partner in this initiative, Dr Seán Crosson of the University’s Huston School of Film & Digital Media and leader of the Sport and Exercise Research Group, said: “Sport annually engages millions of diverse people across Europe, both as participants and spectators. Participants engage in sport in a wide variety of competitive, educational, recreational and, increasingly, health-related contexts, while spectators attend sporting events or follow them via the mass media. Widespread engagement with sport, accelerated by considerable technological and digital media advancements, means that sporting practices and representations contribute significantly to the social construction of cultural identities. In its various forms, sport offers a unique opportunity to encourage an appreciation among citizens of their shared cultural heritage and common values at the heart of European identity.” Workshop two will facilitate an interdisciplinary examination of the interconnection of sport and digital media and their roles in constructions of European cultural identity, bringing together researchers in film, digital media, sport and leisure studies, French studies, psychology, media and communication studies, and medicine. The keynote speaker at the workshop will be Professor Alan Tomlinson, Professor in Leisure Studies, University of Brighton. A leading contributor in the area of sport and media studies, Professor Tomlinson’s work includes Sport and the Transformation of Modern Europe: States, media and markets 1950-2010 and The Sport Studies Reader. Professor Tomlinson’s lecture ‘Sport, Digital Media and European Cultural Identities’ will explore where and how sport contributes to or problematises conceptions of European cultural identity, with examples from the mass media and new/digital media forms. The workshop will take place in Moore Institute, Humanities Research Building from 10.30am-5pm. A full schedule for the day long workshop is available at -Ends-

Wednesday, 18 September 2019

CÚRAM, the Science Foundation Ireland Research Centre for Medical Devices based at NUI Galway, is now enrolling for its fourth Teachers in Residence Programme, with applications being accepted until 11, October 2019. CÚRAM’s Teachers in Residence Programme has ten places available for five primary and five secondary school teachers with priority placement given to teachers from DEIS schools. Participants will learn about and receive resources for the classroom in science engagement activities, science capital teaching approaches designed to support teachers in helping students find more meaning and relevance in science subjects, and lesson plan kits developed by teachers for teachers, that are linked with the primary and junior cycle science curricula.  During the residency, teachers will work directly with world class researchers from CÚRAM and receive private tours of the laboratories to learn about the cutting edge medical device research taking place there and its impact on healthcare in Ireland and globally. The residency runs from October 2019 until March 2020 for nine evenings. As part of the programme, teachers and students are invited to attend interactive workshops run by CÚRAM and participants of the programme. Teachers from all disciplines are invited to participate, in support of encouraging multidisciplinary approaches to teaching science. Kathleen Lally, a secondary school teacher from Calasanctius College in Oranmore who participated on the course from 2018-2019 had this to say about her involvement: “The best outreach programme by far that we have ever participated in. The dual approach of targeting teachers and students is fantastic, enthusing both by giving a glimpse of cutting edge technology in Science outside the classroom. We cannot recommend this course highly enough.” Teachers in residence work with CÚRAM researchers to develop high quality content for the classroom that is relevant, exciting, practical and easy to use. Lesson plan kits developed by teachers from primary and secondary schools will include; Biomaterials, Healing the Heart, Mending the Musculoskeletal System, Fixing the Brain and Exploring Stem Cells Professor Abhay Pandit, Scientific Director, CÚRAM, NUI Galway, said: “We have been delighted with the innovation and creativity shown by the primary and secondary school teachers who have participated in the first three years of the programme. If we can inspire our teachers by providing access to current, cutting edge Irish research and work with them to incorporate it into classroom activities, our hope is that they in turn can inspire their students for years to come.” CÚRAM is also a partner in the Department of Education and Skills’ Junior Cycle for Teachers *STE(A)M in Junior Cycle initiative, to develop Continuous Professional Development workshops for Junior Cycle teachers around MedTech research and career opportunities. The JCT STE(A)M workshops will allow for interdisciplinary responses to societal challenges in subject-specific and cross-curricular contexts. To apply for a place in the Teachers in Residence Programme or find out more information, please contact Lesson plan kits developed by previous years’ teachers can be downloaded at:   -Ends-

Tuesday, 17 September 2019

A study carried out by the J.E. Cairnes School of Business & Economics at NUI Galway has examined the problem of social media overload, which is the feeling of being overwhelmed and exhausted by the amount of communication and information demands a person is exposed to through social media channels, that may require energy and cognitive processing beyond their capabilities. The research specifically focused on identifying the causes of social media overload amongst third level students, and how it affects their academic performance. The use of social media is pervasive across the globe with Facebook alone having 2.7 billion monthly users (Statista, 2019). While social media undoubtedly provides many advantages to users, researchers are now more closely scrutinising the problematic effects of platforms such as Facebook.  The research found that social media overload is triggered by a fear of missing out, or FoMO. In terms of consequences, it found that third level students who report higher levels of social media overload perform less well academically. The study also examined why this relationship between social media overload and poor academic performance exists. The data suggests that being constantly overloaded by social media diminishes a person’s self-control. It takes self-control to study every evening, put the effort into submitting high quality assignments, or partake in extracurricular activities. Engaging in social media diminishes self-control (for example, attempting to partake in multiple WhatsApp group conversations simultaneously), the result being that the activities which enhance academic performance are less likely to be conducted.  Lead author of the study, Dr Eoin Whelan, Senior Lecturer in Business Information Systems, J.E. Cairnes School of Business & Economics at NUI Galway, said: “Social media overload is becoming an ever increasing problem in modern society, so it is important to understand its causes and consequences. Our study finds that people who have a high fear of missing out, or FoMO in modern parlance, are more likely to suffer social media overload. They will also perform less well academically as being constantly bombarded by social media depletes the self-control needed to study diligently and develop one’s career. The insights from our study can be used to develop targeted cognitive and technological interventions to mitigate social media overload, for example through self-control training, and the development of emotion sensing technology which adapts automatically when a user is becoming overloaded.”   To read the full study in the journal Computers and Education, visit:

Monday, 16 September 2019

The first autonomous Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) Vodafone connected Vertical Take Off and Landing (VTOL) drone delivery of prescription medication and collection of patient blood sample for diabetes care NUI Galway and partners completed the world’s first autonomous beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS), vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) drone delivery of diabetes prescription medications (insulin, glucagon) and collection of a patient blood sample (HbA1c) between Connemara Airport and Inis Mór, Aran Islands. The Internet of Things (IoT) connected drone delivery was supported by the Irish Aviation Authority, operated in between commercial flights and was in contact with air space regulators at all times, showing the possibility of future deliveries of this kind within planned drone corridors. The NUI Galway led #DiabetesDrone project was run in partnership with several industry experts and stakeholders including, Skytango, Survey Drones Ireland, Wingcopter, Vodafone Ireland and global healthcare company Novo Nordisk. Dr Kevin Johnson, University of Limerick provided expert insight into state-of-the-art drone technology and Dr Spyridoula Maraka, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, USA, outlined the health care delivery issues involved in this innovative project. Novo Nordisk, the world’s largest insulin manufacturer, supplied the glucagon and insulin for the mission. It is crucial that people with diabetes have access to their lifesaving medicine at all times, which is often challenging in remote geographic regions and in times of natural disasters. Recent severe weather events, including storms Emma and Ophelia, demonstrated a clear need to develop the capability to deliver insulin and other critical medications (such as glucagon) in times of crisis. Project lead, Professor Derek O’Keeffe, Professor of Medical Device Technology, NUI Galway and Consultant Physician, Galway University Hospitals, said: “Climate change means that these types of severe weather events are becoming more prevalent. Individuals and communities in rural locations can become isolated for days after a severe weather event and an emergency may arise where patients can run out of their medicine. Therefore, it is incumbent on us to develop a solution for these emergencies, which addresses the clinical, technical and regulatory issues before a sentinel event occurs. To date medical drones have demonstrated success, for example in delivering blood, defibrillators and human organs for transplant. This #DiabetesDrone project represents another milestone in the use of drones to improve patient care.” The drone supplied by Survey Drones Ireland was a Wingcopter 178 Heavy Lift, with insulated parcel delivery box for the payload, an all-electric vertical take-off and landing drone that transitions into a very efficient forward flight once up in the air. It reaches destinations of up to 100 km distance in less than an hour. “We at Wingcopter are excited to support Survey Drones Ireland in the implementation of BVLOS missions with our technology and experiences from projects around the world”, states Ansgar Kadura, Chief Operating Officer at Wingcopter GmbH.  The drone was launched from Connemara Airport using a combination of software - one for the pre-flight check list and one for the mission flight. The drone was connected via Vodafone Ireland’s IoT network and it flew a pre-planned flight path using Q Ground Control software. This software allowed the connection of the primary cellular communications and backup satellite communications to be displayed, allowing the SUA Pilots on both sites to track the progress of the aircraft. This is very important, as is the need to implement the BVLOS emergency procedures. Once airborne the whole flight was monitored by the SUA Pilots from Survey Drones Ireland and Wingcopter. The Skytango software platform was used to manage checklists from all parties pre-launch and record the compliance of the operation from both an aviation and a medical regulatory standpoint, as well as inform stakeholders of the launch in realtime.  According to Steve Flynn, Founder and CEO of Skytango: “It is imperative that we win the hearts and minds of the communities we fly over when it comes to drone operations and connecting stakeholders and tracking compliance is a step toward that.” The launch team had a live FPV (first-person view) camera feed from the aircraft to ensure a visual from the drone once it flew beyond visual line of sight for safety. The second team on Inis Mór, Aran Islands, had a second ground control station with satellite telecoms so they could monitor the location of the drone to the destination, at the local airfield. Debbie Power, IoT Country Manager, Vodafone Ireland, said: “Vodafone Ireland are delighted to partner with NUI Galway and other experts for this world-first BVLOS diabetes drone mission. At Vodafone, we are committed to connecting for a better future and in using our technology to improve people’s lives, regardless of where they live. Our IoT network technology ensured the drone was contactable and connectivity thresholds were met and sustained throughout the flight, from ground level in Connemara to 130 metres across 18 kms of water, to landing on Inis Mór. The total flight distance covered on the first leg was 21.7 km, which included entering the correct air traffic sequence at both airports during take-off and landing. The return leg was slightly shorter, covering a total distance of 21.6 km. Both flights were completed on a single set of batteries and totalled just 32 minutes of flight time. The successful IoT connectivity allowed the flight to adhere to aviation regulatory standards and provides good evidence for further investigation into drone delivery corridor planning, as long range flights, like this one, can be mapped with our radio frequency network input.” Owen Treacy, Country Manager, Novo Nordisk Ireland, said: “For almost 100 years, Novo Nordisk has been bringing innovative solutions for people living with diabetes and other chronic diseases. We are delighted to support this world’s first initiative, as a proof of concept, which offers the potential to deliver life-saving medications for those patients’ dependent on insulin, in situations where normal delivery channels are disrupted.”  As a patient focused pharmaceutical company, Novo Nordisk understands the importance of maintaining continuity of medical supplies for patients all over Ireland. Whether this is due to inclement weather or other matters outside of our control, Novo Nordisk is committed to investigating all potential solutions to ensure patients have access to their recommended medicines.” Dr Marion Broderick, General Practitioner on the Aran Islands, said: “Drone delivery helps connectivity for island communities and has endless possibilities.” Marion Hernon, a patient with Diabetes on the Aran Islands, said: “Insulin is essential for my survival and having a diabetes drone service in an emergency situation would ensure this survival while living on an offshore island.” Pauline Forde, Pharmacist, Staunton’s Allcare Pharmacy, Galway, commented: “It is extremely important that we have a way to deliver fridge medications such as insulin to patients in emergency situations which this drone delivery system allows us to do.” For more information about the project, visit: and on Twitter @DiabetesDrone #DiabetesDrone -Ends-

Thursday, 12 September 2019

NUI Galway one of two Irish Universities to rise in the 2020 global rankings NUI Galway has continued its rise in global ranking as the Times Higher Education (THE) World University Rankings 2019/2020 today confirms the University’s position within the top tier of Irish universities.  NUI Galway made a significant rise in its ranking into the 250 -300 range, compared to 301-350 last year. NUI Galway’s improved position is primarily as a result of its continued focus on research excellence and impact, and is a testament to our students and our colleagues.   The Times Higher Education World University Rankings, now in their 16th year, apply rigorous standards, using global benchmarks across all university’s key missions - teaching, research, knowledge transfer and international outlook. President of NUI Galway, Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh, commented: “This year, NUI Galway improved its score and its ranking band which we welcome as a reflection of the continuous effort across this University. Rankings are fragile measures and we at NUI Galway are determined to be true to our values of respect, excellence, inclusiveness and sustainability and further enhance our distinctive international reputation and reach, serving our students and our hinterland and drawing on the strengths of our people in research, teaching and societal impact. We look forward to seeing these strengths reflected in future international rankings. President Ó hÓgartaigh added: “There is a clear desire for third level education in this country as a means of advancing opportunities for our students and of reinvigorating our society.   Investment in an ecosystem that’s appropriate for our students in meeting that clear demand for a third level system that is internationally competitive is an imperative, not for us, but for our students and for society. “This week 53 years ago then Minister for Education Donagh O’Malley started a revolution at second level education. There is now an opportunity for a revolution for the next generation, now at third level.  We look forward to working with Government and our other stakeholders in envisioning and resourcing this shared future.” The THE World University Rankings, audited by PricewaterhouseCoopers, go from strength to strength. The ranking included 1,396 institutions from 92 countries, drawing on data points on over 1,800 of the world’s leading research universities and more than 21,000 academic reputation survey responses. The exercise also analyses 12.8 million research publications and 77.4 million citations over five years, based on bibliometric data from Elsevier. The Times Higher Education (THE) World University Rankings for 2020 is available to view online at: -Ends- OÉ Gaillimh i measc scoth-Ollscoileanna an Domhain OÉ Gaillimh ar cheann den dá Ollscoil Éireannacha a fuair ardú céime i ranguithe domhanda 2020   Tháinig ardú arís ar sheasamh OÉ Gaillimh i Ranguithe Ollscoile an Domhain de chuid Times Higher Education (THE) 2019/2020. Is dearbhú é seo go bhfuil an ollscoil ar cheann de na hollscoileanna is fearr sa tír.  D’éirigh le OÉ Gaillimh ardú suntasach a chur ar an rangú a tugadh dó go dtí an raon 250-300, i gcomparáid le 301-350 anuraidh. D'ardaigh rangú OÉ Gaillimh de bhrí go bhfuil sé ag díriú go leanúnach ar fheabhas agus ar thionchar an taighde, agus is aitheantas é seo ar shaothar ár gcuid mac léinn agus ár gcomhghleacaithe.  Tá Ranguithe Ollscoile Domhanda an Times Higher Education, le 16 bliana anuas, ag cur caighdeáin ghéara i bhfeidhm, ag úsáid tagarmharcanna domhanda do gach croímhisean ollscoile - teagasc, taighde, aistriú eolais agus léargas idirnáisiúnta. Bhí an méid seo a leanas le rá ag Uachtarán OÉ Gaillimh, an tOllamh Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh, faoin scéal: “I mbliana, d'ardaigh marc agus banda rangaithe OÉ Gaillimh. Fáiltímid roimhe seo agus is léiriú é ar an iarracht leanúnach atá á déanamh ar fud na hOllscoile seo. Bíonn luaineacht ag baint le slata tomhais ranguithe agus cuirimidne in OÉ Gaillimh romhainn a bheith dílis do na luachanna atá againn eadhon meas, feabhas, cuimsiú agus inbhuanaitheacht, agus cuirimid romhainn chomh maith cur lenár gcáil idirnáisiúnta, freastal ar ár gcuid mac léinn agus ar an gceantar mórthimpeall orainn agus tarraingt ar láidreachtaí ár gcomhghleacaithe sa taighde, sa teagasc agus ó thaobh an tionchair a bhíonn againn ar an tsochaí. Táimid ag súil go dtabharfar aitheantas do na láidreachtaí sin i ranguithe idirnáisiúnta eile amach anseo. Bhí an méid seo a leanas le rá ag an Uachtarán Ó hÓgartaigh chomh maith: “Is léir go bhfuil an t-oideachas tríú leibhéal an-tábhachtach sa tír seo mar bhealach le deiseanna a chur ar fáil dár gcuid mac léinn agus ár sochaí a athbheochan an athuair.   Tá sé riachtanach go ndéanfaí infheistíocht in éiceachóras atá oiriúnach dár gcuid mac léinn, is é sin go ndéanfaí freastal ar an éileamh is léir atá ann ar chóras tríú leibhéal atá iomaíoch ar bhonn idirnáisiúnta, ní dúinne, ach dár gcuid mac léinn agus don tsochaí. “An tseachtain seo 53 bliain ó shin chuir an tAire Oideachais Donagh O’Malley tús le réabhlóid san oideachas dara leibhéal. Tá deis ann anois réabhlóid eile a thosú don chéad ghlúin eile atá ag staidéar ag an tríú leibhéal anois.  Táimid ag súil le hoibriú leis an Rialtas agus lenár bpáirtithe leasmhara eile chun an fhís agus na hacmhainní cuí a aimsiú don todhchaí.” Tá Ranguithe Ollscoile Domhanda THE , a ndéanann PricewaterhouseCoopers iniúchadh orthu, ag dul ó neart go neart. Rinneadh 1,396 institiúid in 92 tír a rangú, bunaithe ar phointí sonraí maidir le 1,800 de na hollscoileanna taighde is mó ar domhan agus ar níos mó ná 21,000 freagra a tugadh ar shuirbhé maidir le cáil acadúil.  Déantar anailís chomh maith ar 12.8 milliún foilseachán acadúil agus 77.4 milliún tagairt thar chúig bliana, bunaithe ar shonraí bibliméadrachta Elsevier. Tá Ranguithe Ollscoile Times Higher Education (THE) 2020 le feiceáil ar líne ag:   -críoch-

Thursday, 12 September 2019

The Global Goals Jam is an international event where creative teams work together on local challenges related to the UN's Sustainable Development Goals NUI Galway will host the Global Goals Jam, an international event which will see over 80 Jams held around the world on the weekend of the 20 September. Alumni, current students, staff and members of the public are invited to participate in the workshops that will seek to address local issues in light of the global development goals. The weekend workshops will demonstrate and teach how virtual reality technology works, experiment with 3D printing and explore all the MakerSpace resources in the James Hardiman Library, NUI Galway. Technology and social entrepreneurship workshops will allow participants to collaborate and launch solutions for long-term impact. The event is organised as a collaboration between NUI Galway’s James Hardiman Library, the volunteering programme ALIVE, and entrepreneurship programme, Launchpad, campus sustainability team, and the nonprofit organisation, The Ladder. Lorraine Tansey of ALIVE said: “Across the University campus are the tools and resources to connect students, staff and the public at large to the sustainable development goals and make real changes. We are delighted to come together for this event and highlight social entrepreneurship skills. Together we can work across disciplines to look at pressing environmental concerns.” To register to attend the event and learn more please visit -Ends- 

Thursday, 12 September 2019

WestBIC, CÚRAM, the Science Foundation Ireland Research Centre for Medical Devices at NUI Galway, and their European partners in Codex4SMEs Information and Networking Event are to host the Interreg North-West Europe project Codex4SMEs (Companion Diagnostics Expedited for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises) on Wednesday, 18 September, at Hotel Meyrick, Galway.  Codex4SMEs aims to improve healthcare through enhanced adoption of personalised medicine. The objective is to establish a network, which supports SMEs along the value chain of Companion Diagnostics development.   The event will provide an opportunity to meet the nine European partners involved in the Codex4SMEs project and discover the supports that this project can bring to your SME. Participants will be given the opportunity to listen to companion diagnostics experts such as Dr Margot Jehle, lead partner, SMEs who will provide an introduction and overview of the Interreg Codex4SMEs project and the supports for SMEs, and Ultan Faherty, Halo Business Angel Network who will present tools to convince the investor to invest in your SME. Insight into new regulations that will affect Companion Diagnostic SMEs will be presented and networking sessions to meet other key players, stakeholders or potential new collaboration partners will be held.   Diarmuid Cahalane, Metabolomic Diagnostics who will be speaking at the event on the topic of Pathway to regulation and market for IVD Companies and start-ups’ feels this is a critical period for the country to solidify its place in the global field of data processing.    “Ireland is a world leader in data processing and medical science. Right now Ireland has the potential to lead the convergence of research in order to bring to market next generation medical technologies based on revolutionary bioinformatics. By combining the expertise within Irish research institutes with our commercial knowledge and global experience in life sciences and technologies, we are delivering a world class suite of solutions which can place Ireland firmly at the forefront of the healthcare revolution being fueled by bioinformatics”, he says.   Further topics to be covered by guest speakers include: ‘The transfer of diagnostics tests from “bench to bedside”’ by John O’Loughlin of the Rotunda Hospital; ‘Evaluation of how different IVD’s perform from clinical prospective’ by Dr Fergus McCarthy, an obstetrician at Cork University Maternity Hospital; ‘Engagement with pharmaceutical companies’ by Dr Leonard Marshall, Access and Innovation Manager at Roche Diagnostics; and ‘Overview of funding access and sustainability of projects within European environment’ by Jeanette Mueller of Accelopment.    Eunan Cunningham, WestBIC, one of the Irish Codex4SMEs partners, commented: “We are delighted to host this information and networking event in Galway. It provides an excellent opportunity for SMEs working in the Companion Diagnostics field to hear the latest information from experts in diagnostics, regulation, investment and other topics. There is a formal networking session incorporated into the event where attendees can meet up with other attendees and discuss collaborative projects and possibilities.”  Professor Abhay Pandit, Scientific Director at CÚRAM in NUI Galway, said: “Partnering in this project provides a valuable opportunity for CÚRAM to assist in strengthening the growth and development of SMEs in Ireland through the Codex4SME unique approach.” To register for the event and to find more details, visit -Ends-

Wednesday, 11 September 2019

NUI Galway is delighted to announce four professorial appointments at the J.E. Cairnes School of Business & Economics.  Professor Esther Tippmann – Appointed Professor of Strategy, Leadership and Change Professor Jonathan Levie - Appointed Professor of Entrepreneurship and Regional Development Professor Alma McCarthy - Appointed Professor of Public Sector Management Professor Kate Kenny – Appointed Professor of Business and Society These appointments reflect a multi-year action plan the School has developed to cement its position as a leading national and global business school. Announcing the appointments, President of NUI Galway, Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh, said: “These appointments give signal and substance to the international ambition of the J.E. Cairnes School of Business and Economics. We serve our society and our hinterland best through the recruitment, promotion and development of top talent. I congratulate Alma, Esther, Jonathan and Kate on their appointment and look forward to working with them.” Professor Esther Tippmann - Professor of Strategy, Leadership and Change was previously a faculty member at UCD and Research Fellow at Grenoble Ecole de Management, France. Esther’s research area revolves around strategic challenges of internationally operating organisations, including multinational corporations and scaling or high-growth ventures. Esther currently serves as Senior Editor for the Journal of World Business and on the editorial boards of the Journal of International Business Studies and Long-Range Planning. Esther’s research also looks at subsidiary development and growth. Given Ireland’s reliance on foreign direct investment and large subsidiary base, her research contains many insights for subsidiary management. An article about her research can be found here. Professor Jonathan Levie - Professor of Entrepreneurship and Regional Development was formerly a Professor in the Hunter Centre for Entrepreneurship at the University of Strathclyde, Glasgow and has held research and teaching posts in London Business School, Babson College, INSEAD, and UCC. As an expert in entrepreneurial ecosystems and entrepreneurial growth, one of Jonathan’s first duties will be to provide leadership across NUI Galway’s large ecosystem of entrepreneurial and accelerator activities on campus. Jonathan has served as an elected director of the Global Entrepreneurship Research Association (GERA). He is currently a member of GERA’s Research and Innovation Committee. Jonathan’s most recent articles have appeared in Journal of Management Studies, Research Policy, Entrepreneurship Theory & Practice, and Small Business Economics. A recently published research report he co-authored can be found here. Professor Kate Kenny - Professor of Business and Society has previously held research fellowships at Cambridge University and Harvard University. Kate’s work focuses on identity, affect, power and whistleblowing in organizations. Her work has been published in Organization Studies, Organization, Gender Work and Organizations, Ephemera and Human Relations among other journals. Kate’s books include Understanding Identity and Organizations’ and Affect at Work: The Psychosocial and Organization Studies’, and Whistleblowing: Toward a new theory. Kate currently serves on the editorial boards of two FT50 journals. Articles on her research and Whistleblowing in finance can be read here and here. Professor Alma McCarthy - Professor of Public Sector Management. Alma’s research interests include public sector leadership and human resource development among others, which has led to co-authored books, several chapters in edited books and many articles in journals such as the International Journal of Human Resource Management, Public Administration Review, and Human Resource Management Review. She is a Chartered Member of the CIPD, the American Academy of Management, the Society for Industrial and Organisational Psychology, and recently served as elected Vice-Chair and Chair of the Irish Academy of Management. Alma is currently leading a senior civil service leadership development evaluation project and report commissioned by the Department of Expenditure and Reform and is Principal Investigator for the Science Foundation Ireland funded talent management in national science foundations’ research project gathering data in Ireland, New Zealand, Finland, US, Hong Kong and Singapore. Articles on her research can be found here and here. Dr Tom Acton, Head of J.E. Cairnes School of Business & Economics, NUI Galway, said: “The School has undergone tremendous transformation over the last five years, and we have seen extensive expansion of our programmes, students and staff. This set of professors is a key enabler of further transformation and impact, in discrete and distinctive areas of expertise, with a huge leap forward in particular areas of specialism and distinctiveness. We are truly excited to have a really great set of people in these roles.” The Whitaker Institute and J.E. Cairnes School of Business & Economics will co-host a series of free lunchtime public seminars on topics of relevance to our region and society, starting with individual seminars featuring each of the four appointed Professors. More details to be announced soon at: and To view a short video about the appointments, visit -Ends-

Monday, 9 September 2019

NUI Galway’s Community Knowledge Initiative (CKI) has been shortlisted for the 2019 Chambers Ireland Corporate Social Responsibility Awards. The CKI is one of 35 finalists shortlisted following 1,700 applications submitted for the awards.  The CKI has been shortlisted in the category of ‘Community Award’ alongside six others. This is the 16th year of the Corporate Social Responsibility Awards and only the second time that a university in Ireland has been shortlisted.  The Community Knowledge Initiative was established at NUI Galway in 2004 and originally funded by the Atlantic Philanthropies to foster and spread deeper commitments to community, civic engagement and social responsibility. A core function of the CKI has been to educate students for their role as active citizens and to ensure that the NUI Galway is a valuable resource to local, national and global communities. NUI Galway was the first university in Ireland to develop this commitment and since that time other universities and institutes of technology have followed the path created by NUI Galway.  Dr Lorraine McIlrath, Director of CKI, said: “As a university in Ireland, we want to better serve community and society in a sustainable and meaningful way. NUI Galway’s Vision 2020 centralises the importance of civic engagement, volunteering, service learning, research and engagement with communities as hallmarks of the University experience and practice.” Over the last fifteen years, the CKI has developed a series of pathways that connect the university, its staff and students to the community through civic engagement and social responsibility projects, including: the ALIVE Volunteer Programme which has seen over 12,000 students volunteer in the community over the last decade; Community Service Learning which sees 1,500 students undertake community projects every year; and the Youth Academy, a mini-university that caters for 10-12 year olds and provides 25 courses every semester. Another successful project is Café Saol, which was established on a pilot basis in 2015. It is the first and only social enterprise café on a higher education campus in Ireland, and it became a mainstream NUI Galway catering facility in 2018. The café promotes inclusive employment practices for those marginalised from employment. Dr McIlrath added: “All of the activities are only possible because of the community of practice approach we adopt to deliver all of our programmes. The CKI is a very small team so we work in partnership with 3,000 staff of the university. Our aim is to develop an ethos of engagement across the university, working in collaboration with others to create larger social change.” The Chamber Ireland Awards are partnered by Business in the Community Ireland, run in association with the Department of Rural and Community Development and sponsored by BAM Ireland.  The Awards event will take place in Dublin on Thursday, 19 September 2019.  -Ends-

Monday, 9 September 2019

NUI Galway’s Centre for Irish Studies is delighted to announce the appointment of Caitlín Ní Chualáin as Sean-Nós Singer-in-Residence for this year. From An Teach Mór Thiar, Indreabhán, Caitlín cites her father, Máirtín Pheaits Ó Cualáin, a winner of Comórtas na bhFear at the Oireachtas in 1944 and 2001, as a major influence. She also draws on the rich tradition of sean-nós singers from the area. Caitlín is married with seven children, several of whom are already singers and musicians in their own right. Caitlín won Comórtas na mBan at the Oireachtas in the years 2005, 2008 and 2014, and the coveted Corn Uí Riada, the premier competition for sean-nós singing at the Oireachtas festival in 2016. She is associated with the song Loingseach Bhearna, one that she learned from her father, and Amhrán na Buachaillí Bána is another favourite. Cailtín can frequently be heard on RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta, where she also works as a journalist, and at concerts and workshops. Dr Méabh Ní Fhuartháin of the Centre for Irish Studies welcomed the appointment saying: “We are delighted to have Caitlín Ní Chualáin join us as sean-nós singer in residence this year. Caitlín has a very distinctive voice which encapsulates the rich tradition that surrounds her. This appointment represents a fantastic opportunity for our students.” Caitlín will deliver a series of workshops at NUI Galway and will contribute to the expanding Sean-Nós Archive Collection. The workshops are free and open to the public and will begin on Tuesday, 1 October, at 7pm at the Centre for Irish Studies, NUI Galway.  This project is funded by Ealaín na Gaeltachta, Údarás na Gaeltachta and An Chomhairle Ealaíon, in association with the Centre for Irish Studies at NUI Galway. For more information contact Samantha Williams at 091 492051 or -Ends-

Monday, 9 September 2019

Is cúis mhór áthais é d’Ionad Léann na hÉireann, OÉ Gaillimh, a fhógairt go bhfuil Caitlín Ní Chualáin ceaptha mar Amhránaí Cónaitheach Sean-nóis i mbliana. Is as an Teach Mór Thiar, in Indreabhán, Caitlín agus tá oidhreacht shaibhir cheolmhar le cloisteáil ina cuid amhránaíochta a fuair sí óna muintir féin sa mbaile. Thug sí amhráin léi go háirithe óna hathair, Máirtín Pheaits Ó Cualáin, a bhuaigh Comórtas na bhFear ag an Oireachtas i 1944 agus arís sa bhliain 2001. Tá Caitlín pósta agus seachtar clainne aici. Bhuaigh Caitlín Comórtas na mBan ag an Oireachtas sna blianta 2005, 2008 agus 2014, agus thug sí léi Corn Ui Riada, an príomhghradam don amhránaíocht ar an sean-nós i 2016. Is iad na hamhráin is mó atá luaite léi ná ‘Loingseach Bhearna’ a d’fhoglaim sí óna hathair agus ‘Amhrán na mBuachaillí Bána’. Bíonn Cailtín le cloisteáil go minic ar RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta, áit a bhfuil sí fostaithe mar iriseoir, agus bíonn sí ag amhránaíocht ar stáitse go minic.  Chuir an Dr Méabh Ni Fhuartháin ó Ionad Léann na hÉireann fáilte mhór roimh an gceapacháin: “Táimid thar a bheith sásta go mbeidh Caitlín Ní Chualáin linn mar amhránaí cónaitheach i mbliana. Tá guth fé leith ag Caitlín, guth atá sonrach agus binn ag an am céanna, agus ceangailte go láidir sa traidisiún thart uirthi. Is deis iontach é dos na micléinn agus dóibhsean ar fad a bheidh ag foghlaim uaithi anso san Ollscoil.”  Beidh sraith ceardlann á múineadh ag Caitlín san Ollscoil sa bhFómhar agus arís san Earrach agus beidh a cuid amhrán á dtaifeadadh aici don gcartlann sean-nóis atá á bailíú ag Ionad Léann na hÉireann. Cuirfear tús leis na ceardlanna i seomra seimineáir an Ionaid ar Bhóthar na Drioglainne ar an 1 Deireadh Fómhair ag 7in. Tá na ceardlanna saor in aisce agus beidh fáilte roimh chách. Is iad Ealaín na Gaeltachta, Údarás na Gaeltachta, An Chomhairle Ealaíon agus Ionad Léann na hÉireann, OÉ Gaillimh, a mhaoiníonn an tionscnamh seo. Tuilleadh eolais ó Samantha Williams ag 091 492051 nó -Críoch-

Monday, 9 September 2019

Over 500 doctors and health care professionals will attend this year’s sold-out dotMD Festival of Medical Curiosity at NUI Galway. The conference will take place from 13-14 September in the Bailey Allen Hall. Organised by Galway-based doctors Dr Ronan Kavanagh, Dr Muris Houston and Dr Alan Cross, the award winning festival for doctors aims to “Reawaken a passion and wonder for medicine that some might have lost along the way”, according to dotMD Director Dr Ronan Kavanagh. This year’s meeting will see a strong emphasis on seeing medicine through the lens of stories and storytelling. Irish writer Colum McCann will deliver the keynote presentation entitled ‘I Sat, I Listened, I Cured - Medicine and the Fine Art of Storytelling’, and there will also be a live story-telling event featuring doctors. Doctors attending dotMD will also see what they can learn about improvisation from jazz musicians, and how they can improve their skills of observation by looking at art. There will also be an exhibition of graphic medicine, a new discipline which explores the value of cartoons in healthcare, featuring the work of 38 cartoonists from around the world, sponsored by The Galway Clinic. In addition, there will also be a strong emphasis on the inner lives of doctors, with advice from experts on how best to maintain compassion and kindness in medicine, despite the stresses and challenges involved. It will also feature a session on having better conversations around death with writer Dr Kathryn Mannix. Dr Kavanagh added: “Although this might be considered the Golden Age of medicine, with so many positive developments in how healthcare is provided, doctors are suffering. Rates of depression, burnout and other stress related illnesses are high in medicine at the moment, resulting in some leaving the profession or even retiring early. Although the reasons for this are complex, the challenges of delivering medicine in a modern environment have taken their toll on doctors, thereby impairing their ability to deliver quality healthcare.”  Co-organiser Dr Muiris Houston said: “Although we don’t claim to have all the solutions to medicine’s problems, we wanted to create an experience that would help doctors reconnect with what matters in medicine, to reinvigorate and to re-inspire them, and to help them find meaning in their working lives.” The conference has received support from local Galway businesses, teaming up with Galway’s West End, which will function as a social hub for delegates, and with support from McCambridges and from Sheridan’s Cheesemongers. “We are excited to bring such a large national and international audience to Galway. Our meeting will bring together a community of like-minded people, to be entertained and hopefully reinspired in how they practice medicine”, said dotMD co-organiser Dr Alan Coss. dotMD is intended for health-care professionals only and further details can be found at -Ends-

Thursday, 5 September 2019

Report from NUI Galway on coastal and marine tourism shows that overseas coastal tourism expenditure was valued at €1.9 billion, and overseas marine tourism generated €650 million in 2018 NUI Galway’s Socio-Economic Marine Research Unit (SEMRU) has released a report that presents estimates of the value of coastal and marine overseas tourism activities in the Republic of Ireland for the year 2018. SEMRU carried out a survey of overseas visitors to Ireland, funded by the Marine Institute through its Marine Research Programme. The purpose of the survey was to estimate what proportion of total holiday expenditure was in coastal areas (coastal tourism) and what proportion was on undertaking marine related leisure activities (marine tourism). The survey consisted of face-to-face interviews with 620 overseas visitors. Coinciding with the Donegal Marine Tourism Conference, the report presents a profile of overseas tourism activity in coastal Ireland across 20 coastal and marine activities. The most popular land-based coastal activities amongst the sample was walking/running along the coast/beach/cliffs/etc., coastal sightseeing, beach or seaside trips and island trips.  The most popular water based activities were sea swimming, sea angling and recreational boating of different types. Based on the results of the survey, 76% of overseas visitors to Ireland in 2018 are estimated to have visited a coastal area (6.06 million persons) and 61% of them are estimated to have participated in a marine related activity (4.87 million persons). The average total expenditure per travelling party of overseas visitors in the sample was €1,630 with the average trip lasting seven days. Of this, an estimated €699 was spent in coastal areas. The estimated total expenditure per person was €569. The estimated coastal area expenditure per person was estimated to be €244, while the estimated marine related activity expenditure per person was estimated to be €82 with only an average of €25 per person being spent on on-water activities. Those individuals in the sample who actively engaged in marine based activities during their stay had a statistically significant higher total expenditure per trip (€710) than the total sample. They also stay on average 1.32 days more per trip compared to the average respondent in the sample. Dr Stephen Hynes, co-author of the report and Director of SEMRU based at the Whitaker Institute for Innovation and Societal Change at NUI Galway, noted that: “The contribution of international tourists to Ireland’s coastal economy is significant, particularly to the counties located on the West Coast of Ireland. Tracking overseas visitors’ marine related spending patterns is essential to understand and develop adaptive policy-making strategies that can respond to active tourists’ expectations in terms of leisure and tourism activities in these coastal areas.” Another important objective of the study was to discover where along the coast overseas visitors to Ireland undertook their coastal and marine leisure activities. The results indicate that overseas visitors undertake the majority of such activities on the West Coast of Ireland. County Kerry, County Galway and County Clare were the leading counties, in that order, for participation in coastal and marine tourism activities. It was also observed that 69% of the sample were aware of the Wild Atlantic Way and had planned an average of 2.5 days on the route during their visit. The results presented in the report highlight the important contribution that coastal and marine related activities make to both local coastal economies and to the national economy. The analysis indicates that total coastal tourism expenditure was approximately €1.9 billion in 2018, while marine tourism generated €650 million. Activities such as coastal sightseeing, beach vitiations, island visits and walking/running and cycling along the coast are popular amongst overseas visitors. Water based activities are less popular, but 20% of those sampled did participate in boating and/or other sea sports. Satisfaction with the available marine related activity facilities was also found to be high. The report also notes some challenges to the development of the overseas coastal tourism market and warns of the importance of maintaining competitiveness in order to retain British visitor numbers post Brexit. Commenting on the report, Professor Alan Ahearne, Director of the Whitaker Institute at NUI Galway, stated: “The evidence presented in this report underscores the especially important role that coastal and marine tourism plays in regional development. With Brexit likely to add to regional imbalances in this county, it is crucial for our economy that we continue to invest in coastal and marine tourism product and infrastructure to attract tourists from abroad.” The report is being launched at the Donegal Marine Tourism Conference, which takes place on the 5 and 6 September 2019 at the Redcastle Oceanfront Hotel & Spa, Inishowen. The theme of the conference is ‘Connecting our Coastline - A Transnational Approach to Sustainable Marine and Coastal Tourism’. -Ends-

Wednesday, 4 September 2019

First cohort of PhD graduates to receive world class training in genomics data science led by NUI Galway in areas such as cancer, rare diseases, gut health and agrigenomics NUI Galway has officially launched a new SFI Centre for Research Training in Genomics Data Science at a conference this week (3 September). The NUI Galway-led Centre has received €13 million in funding from Science Foundation Ireland to train 115 PhD students over the next seven years. These PhD students will be trained in the analysis of big genomic data sets enabling them to take up future high-skills careers across the range of genomics applications. The new Centre is one of six Science Foundation Ireland Centres for Research Training and is the first with a whole-island remit, including cross-border collaboration to maximise the benefits of genomics data science on the island of Ireland. The conference was attended by President of NUI Galway, Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh, researchers from the new Centre’s partner institutions, as well as the first cohort of PhD students providing the students with a unique opportunity to interact with world class researchers in this emerging field. Genomics researchers from throughout the island of Ireland presented work on the applications of genomics data science in diverse areas such as cancer, rare diseases, gut health and agrigenomics. Keynote speakers included Shamil Sunyaev, Harvard Medical School, US, Anton Nekrutenko, Penn State University, US, Eimear Kenny, Icahn School of Medicine, Mount Sinai, US, Remco Loos, Celgene Institute for Translational Research, Spain and Orla Hardiman from TCD. There were also presentations showcasing genomics research at each of the institutions participating in the Centre: NUI Galway, UCC, UCD, RCSI, QUB and TCD. DNA is the genetic material that we inherit from our parents. We inherit half of our DNA from our mother and half from our father and this DNA contains the complete set of instructions to build a person. DNA that contains the complete instructions to build an organism is called its genome. The human genome contains approximately three billion DNA base pairs that encode the information required to build the human body. The size of a genome doesn’t reflect the complexity of the organism that it makes. For example, the genome of an onion is about six times bigger than the human genome. This means that it’s not just the size of the genome that is important but also its structure and organisation and how the information that is there is used. This new Centre will train 115 graduates in this area and will enable developments in data analytics to be applied to big data generated using genomics technologies. Professor Cathal Seoighe, Director of the SFI Centre for Research Training in Genomics Data Science, NUI Galway, said: “We are delighted to welcome such a distinguished group of speakers to our launch conference and are very excited about this new Centre. The enthusiasm shown by these experts and the many other partners and collaborators involved, both in Ireland and internationally, is a testament to the importance of this initiative.” Professor Seoighe added: “The Human Genome Project, established almost 30 years ago, involved many laboratories and required billions of dollars and over a decade of work to complete. Today, a human genome can be sequenced in a few days for less than a thousand dollars. This revolution, driven by new technologies, generates data on an enormous scale and promises to increase scientific understanding and drive innovation. But data on this scale carries many challenges. Highly trained data scientists with the skills to turn genomics data into useful insights are urgently needed.” Genomics has impacts across a broad range of sectors, including human health, industrial biotechnology, food science and agriculture. In health, genomics is already beginning to be used to diagnose rare genetic disorders. For example, around 30% of children with early onset epilepsy can now receive a precision diagnosis through genomic sequencing. It can also predict the risk of common, complex disorders, such as obesity and Type II Diabetes, in which lifestyle plays a role, raising the possibility of interventions targeted towards at-risk individuals. New cancer therapies now target specific genomic mutations found in cancer cells, particularly in the case of lung, colorectal, skin, breast and some blood cancers. By sequencing the genome of the cancer cells, these treatments can be tailored to individual patients. For more information about the Centre for Research Training in Genomics Data Science, email and visit: -Ends-

Tuesday, 3 September 2019

Author Dr Kathryn Mannix in conversation with Caitriona Crowe NUI Galway will hold a talk and reading with author Dr Kathryn Mannix on Thursday, 12 September at 7pm in room G018, Institute for Lifecourse and Society (ILAS) on the North Campus. The event is taking place during Palliative Care Week, a campaign to raise awareness and increase understanding of palliative care, taking place across the island of Ireland from 8 to 14 September, and Dr Mannix will give a special reading from her best-selling book, With the End in Mind, which draws on long experience in palliative care and in cognitive behaviour therapy in England. As well as reading from her book, Dr Mannix will discuss its themes with Catriona Crowe, historian and curator of the First Thoughts Talks events at the Galway International Arts Festival. Dr Mannix’s mission is to get people to understand dying, so that we can be better prepared and less afraid. She hopes that by talking more openly, planning ahead and using real words instead of euphemisms, we can live better as well as die better, and With the End in Mind is an invitation to reclaim the forgotten wisdom about life’s ending. Told through a series of beautifully crafted stories taken from nearly four decades of clinical practice, With the End in Mind answers the most intimate questions about the process of dying with touching honesty and humanity. Kathryn makes a compelling case for the therapeutic power of approaching death, not with trepidation, but with openness, clarity, and understanding. Brendan Kennelly, Lecturer with NUI Galway’s J.E. Cairnes School of Business and Economics and event organiser, said: “Kathryn has learned that people have generally little or no idea what dying is like. People often have misconceptions about the process that makes them very afraid of it. Kathryn has generally found that people’s fears are reduced once the process of dying is explained to them in a kind respectful way. In particular, she believes that it is very important that everybody should be familiar with the normal, relatively predictable, steps that a dying person goes through. By understanding the dying process, grieving families will take the comfort of witnessing their loved one experience normal, gentle dying into their bereavement with them. In countries such as Ireland, dying is too often regarded primarily as a medical event. Kathryn thinks that dying is primarily a human event that has a medical dimension. She suggests that we should start planning for our own deaths while we are well.” Tickets are €10 (€8 for unwaged) and can be purchased at the door or in advance at Copies of With the End in Mind will be available for purchase at the event. -Ends-

Monday, 2 September 2019

Groundbreaking Consent Education Team from NUI Galway Now Using Drama To Create Dialogue With College Audiences Alumni of NUI Galway’s Drama and Theatre Studies will perform an original play, The Kinds of Sex You Might Have at College, as part of a limited national tour to Irish universities between September and October 2019 with stops currently scheduled in Galway, Limerick, Dundalk and Dun Laoghaire. The play is a product of the Active Consent programme- a collaboration between NUI Galway’s School of Psychology and Drama and Theatre Studies.  Working on the basis of implementing evidence-informed resources in mainstream settings, the team aims to reach large numbers using participatory methods of engagement in order to promote positive, active consent. The Kinds of Sex You Might Have At College turns the Active Consent Programme’s core messages into a live theatrical event aimed at college-age audiences.  It is a play about what you want, how you want it, if you want it and what happens when you don’t. Performed by an energetic ensemble of actors who play multiple roles, this theatrical performance brings audiences through a range of sketches that dramatize sexual scenarios and viewpoints that you may encounter during college life. Tackling experiences from across all genders, all relationships and all sexualities (or as many of them as we could fit into one hour), The Kinds of Sex You Might Have At College combines humour, satire and drama to share diverse experiences.  This play will equip audiences with a more proactive understanding of consent to apply to their future intimate encounters if they choose to have them. Audiences should be advised that this performance contains language of a sexual nature and themes of sexual violence. The production team includes Dr Charlotte McIvor (Director), Jérémie Cyr-Cooke (Movement Director), Mike O’Halloran (Technical Design), and Megan O'Connor (Stage/Tour Manager), alongside a four-person cast featuring Alice Keane, Michael Foley, Fiona Buckley and Gavin Friel, graduates of NUI Galway’s BA and MA programmes in Drama and Theatre Studies. The Kinds of Sex You Might Have At College has been in development since 2014 in a process led by McIvor and was written collaboratively by multiple cohorts of Drama and Theatre Studies students over the years.   In addition to their core four-year funding from the Lifes2good Foundation, the Active Consent programme team were also recently awarded a three-year Social Innovation Fund Ireland Arts to Impact Fund grant to drive forward the creative arts part of their mission. Social Innovation Fund Ireland recognise the power of arts and culture to improve lives. The Arts to Impact Fund aims to support the most innovative projects across the country that are using arts and culture as a means to create positive social impact in Ireland. Dr Charlotte McIvor, Lecturer in Drama and Theatre Studies, says “This groundbreaking theatre was created with young people for young people.  We hope it empowers audiences to critically examine their own attitudes about sexuality and the way they communicate with partners concerning consent.  We approach the subject unflinchingly in our treatment of assault, harassment and rape, but also with humour and optimism.  This is because we hope our audiences leave better informed and prepared to act in terms of calling out unacceptable behaviours and attitudes and pursuing more mutually pleasurable and consensual sexual practices if they want to.” There will be three free performances open to the public and the NUI Galway campus community on 12 September (5PM) and 13 September (1PM and 5PM) at the O’Donoghue Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance.  Tickets are available on Eventbrite: -Ends-

Monday, 2 September 2019

NUI Galway invites young science enthusiasts and filmmakers to participate in the 2019 ReelLIFE SCIENCE video competition NUI Galway is challenging young science enthusiasts and filmmakers to produce engaging and educational short videos for this year’s ReelLIFE SCIENCE competition. Topics for consideration include Climate Action, Healing the Body, How Things Work and Science in Space. Contest organisers are inviting participants from primary and secondary schools, youth organisations, community groups and clubs to show their passion for STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics). Videos can be produced on smartphones, tablets or cameras and can engage and educate the public on any aspect of science, including its impact on individuals, society and the environment. Winning videos will be selected by a panel of special guest judges including: author and BBC Science presenter Dr Adam Rutherford; BT Young Scientist and Technologist of the Year Adam Kelly; and meteorologist and RTÉ presenter Joanna Donnelly, who said: “ReelLIFE SCIENCE is a brilliant idea. I’m really honoured to be a judge and can't wait to see the videos. You never stop learning when you love science and I can’t wait to see what this year’s students have to teach me.” Supported by Science Foundation Ireland’s SFI Discover Programme, the Community Knowledge Initiative, the CÚRAM SFI Research Centre for Medical Devices, the National Centre for Biomedical Engineering Science and the Cell EXPLORERS science outreach programme, ReelLIFE SCIENCE will award more than €5,000 for the best science videos of 2019. Speaking about the competition’s launch, Dr Ruth Freeman, Director of Science for Society at Science Foundation Ireland, said: “We are delighted to support this initiative, which cleverly combines science literacy and creativity, while providing a great opportunity for students and teachers to think about how to communicate scientific topics in a novel way. ReelLIFE SCIENCE encourages young people to connect with the science and technology in their everyday lives, and to bring that knowledge to a wider audience, while promoting current Irish scientific research and development.” Closing date for submissions is Friday, 18 October, and the best videos at each level (primary school, secondary school, community) will be announced during Science Week 2019, which runs from 10-17 November. The winning filmmakers will be invited to attend a public screening and awards ceremony hosted at the Galway Science and Technology Festival on 24 November. Since launching in 2013, more than 11,000 people in 350 schools and community groups around Ireland have taken part in the ReelLIFE SCIENCE programme, which is organised by Dr Enda O’Connell and a team of scientists and science communication enthusiasts from NUI Galway. Previous year’s winning videos and more information about taking part in the 2019 competition can be found at -Ends-

Monday, 2 September 2019

NUI Galway will host the 44th Sir Peter Freyer Memorial Lecture and Surgical Symposium, the largest Surgical Conference in Ireland, from 6-7 September 2019. This years’ keynote addresses will be delivered by two of Ireland and the world’s leading female surgeons Professor Hilary Sanfey and Professor Deborah McNamara. Professor Hilary Sanfey will deliver the Memorial Lecture entitled ‘Perspectives on the Future of Surgery: Safeguarding our Patients, our Trainees and our Colleagues’ on Friday, 6 September at 5pm. Professor Sanfey is Professor of Surgery and Vice-chair for Surgical Education at Southern Illinois University.  Professor Deborah McNamara will deliver the State of the Art Lecture entitled ‘The Surgeon As Catalyst for Improvement’ on Saturday, 7 September at 1pm. Professor McNamara is Consultant General & Colorectal Surgeon at Beaumont Hospital, Dublin, and Clinical Professor in Surgery at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland. 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 Sanfey and Professor McNamara to our University. Their work focuses on delivering high quality surgical care and achieving best outcomes for patients in the modern era, encompassing issues related to service provision, surgical training and support and gender equality in healthcare.  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.”  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, the Symposium comprises of research and education sessions across the various surgical subspecialties, two keynote addresses and a discussion forum around the future of Surgical Training in Ireland. For further information on the event please contact 091 544203 or visit -Ends-  

Thursday, 29 August 2019

General Practices in Donegal, Sligo and Leitrim with more than one GP are invited to take part in medication reviews of patients with multimorbidity A research team from NUI Galway including partners from Queen’s University Belfast have been awarded funding for a cross-border primary care study called MyComrade+, focusing on people with multiple long-term health conditions, known as multimorbidity. The team is currently recruiting General Practices with more than one GP based in Donegal, Sligo and Leitrim to participate in the study. The MyComrade+ multimorbidity project was awarded €500,000 in funding from the *CHITIN intervention trials project where people from border counties (Donegal, Leitrim, Sligo, Cavan, Monaghan and Louth) will benefit from new health and social care research trials. Every day, General Practitioners (GPs) are seeing people living with multimorbidity. How patients are treated and the evidence used to draw up guidelines for doctors are usually based on one single condition. For example, research is conducted on patients with diabetes and guidelines are developed for managing patients’ diabetes treatment plan. However, for patients with multimorbidity, there are many challenges, one of which is the management of multiple medications and treatment plans. A wide range of issues arise from multimorbidity for individuals, families, society and health services, that directly impacts people’s quality of life when dealing with multiple treatment plans, navigating a range of medical specialists for different conditions, and costs, such as medicine, travel and appointments. Treatment recommendations by GPs are generally made by looking up evidence-based guidelines. However, since everyone living with more than one condition is different, guidelines are not always very helpful. Research has shown that the overwhelming experience of the GP in managing treatment for people living with multimorbidity is of isolation. GPs can feel uncertain and unsupported professionally, to make the best medication recommendations for their patients. Professor Andrew Murphy, School of Medicine and MyComrade+ project lead, said: “General Practitioners face many and increasing demands and challenges. The MyComrade+ study may help to address a common and difficult challenge for GPs and growing numbers of members of the public alike, on how best to manage the many medicines that patients are now taking.” The MyComrade+ cross-border primary care initiative includes a team of partners from Queen’s University Belfast, General Practitioners, nurses, psychologists, and is led by Professor Andrew Murphy from the College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences in NUI Galway and clinician at Galway University Hospitals. Dr Carol Sinnott (Cambridge University) developed the MyComrade+ intervention. Dr Sinnott embarked on a programme of research while based at UCC back in 2012 to understand and address the issues facing GPs in relation to multimorbidity management. Dr Sinnott utilised recommended tools for developing interventions that target complex healthcare problems, to understand the problem of multimorbidity management and design an effective solution, MyComrade+ by engaging with GPs as well as a multi-disciplinary team of experts. General Practitioners in Donegal, Sligo and Leitrim who wish to participate in the study or require further information can contact or phone 091 492951. The CHITIN Project has enabled €8.84 million in funding of 11 health intervention trials in the priority areas of Population Health, Primary Care and Older Peoples Services, Mental Health, Acute Services, Disability Services and Children’s Services.  Match-funding for the project has also been provided by the Department of Health in Northern Ireland and Ireland. For more information, visit: -Ends-

Thursday, 29 August 2019

Discovery could enable longer lasting and better functioning of devices—including pacemakers, breast implants, biosensors, and drug delivery devices Researchers from the National University of Ireland Galway (NUI Galway), Massachusetts Institute of Technology and AMBER, the SFI Research Centre for Advanced Materials and BioEngineering Research have today (Thursday, 29 August) announced a significant breakthrough in soft robotics which could help patients requiring in-situ (implanted) medical devices such as breast implants, pacemakers, neural probes, glucose biosensors and drug and cell delivery devices. The implantable medical devices market is currently estimated at approximately US$100 billion (2019) with significant growth potential into the future as new technologies for drug delivery and health monitoring are developed. These devices are not without problems, caused in part by the body’s own protection responses. These complex and unpredictable foreign body responses impair device function and drastically limit the long-term performance and therapeutic efficacy of these devices. One such foreign body response is fibrosis, a process whereby a dense fibrous capsule surrounds the implanted device which can cause device failure or impede its function. Implantable medical devices have various failure rates that can be attributed to fibrosis ranging from 30% to 50% for implantable pacemakers or 30% for mammoplasty prosthetics. In the case of biosensors or drug/ cell delivery devices the dense fibrous capsule which can build up around the implanted device can seriously impede its function, with consequences for the patient and costs to the health care system. A radical new vision for medical devices to address this problem was published today in the internationally respected journal, Science Robotics. The study was led by researchers from NUI Galway, MIT and the SFI research centre AMBER, among others. The research describes the use of soft robotics to modify the body’s response to implanted devices. Soft robots are flexible devices that can be implanted into the body. The transatlantic partnership of scientists have created a tiny mechanically actuated soft robotic device known as a dynamic soft reservoir (DSR) that has been shown to significantly reduce the build-up of the fibrous capsule by manipulating the environment at the interface between the device and the body. The device uses mechanical oscillation to modulate how cells respond around the implant. In a bio-inspired design, the DSR can change its shape at a microscope scale through an actuating membrane. Professor Ellen Roche, senior co-author of the study and Assistant Professor at MIT, and a former researcher at NUI Galway who won international acclaim in 2017 for her work in creating a soft robotic sleeve to help patients with heart failure, said: “This study demonstrates how mechanical perturbations of an implant can modulate the host foreign body response. This has vast potential for a range of clinical applications and will hopefully lead to many future collaborative studies between our teams.” Professor Garry Duffy, Professor in Anatomy at NUI Galway and AMBER Principal Investigator, and a senior co-author of the study, added: “We feel the ideas described in this paper could transform future medical devices and how they interact with the body. We are very excited to develop this technology further and to partner with people interested in the potential of soft robotics to better integrate devices for longer use and superior patient outcomes. It’s fantastic to build and continue the collaboration with the Dolan and Roche labs, and to develop a trans-Atlantic network of soft roboticists.” The first author of the study Dr Eimear Dolan, Lecturer of Biomedical Engineering at NUI Galway and former researcher in the Roche and Duffy labs at MIT and NUI Galway, said: “We are very excited to publish this study as it describes an innovative approach to modulate the foreign body response using soft robotics. I recently received a Science Foundation Ireland Royal Society University Research Fellowship to bring this technology forward with a focus on Type 1 diabetes. It is a privilege to work with such a talented multi-disciplinary team and I look forward to continuing working together.” To read the full study in Science Robotics, visit: -Ends-  

Wednesday, 28 August 2019

Researchers from NUI Galway are leading the all-island initiative, Evidence Synthesis Ireland, which aims to build knowledge, awareness and capacity in the methods used to gather and build evidence (known as evidence synthesis) and using it effectively to inform health and healthcare decisions in Ireland. Policy makers, healthcare institutions, clinicians, researchers and the public will stand to benefit. Evidence synthesis, also sometimes called “systematic reviews”, is a way of combining information from multiple studies that have investigated the same thing, to come to an overall understanding of what they found. This helps determine how effective a certain treatment or drug is, or how people have experienced a particular health condition or treatment. For example, steroids given to women who are about to give birth prematurely can save the life of the newborn child. However, this treatment wasn’t routinely put into practice until all the individual clinical trials were brought together. It was only when this evidence synthesis was done that the overall benefits became clear - that the steroids saved the lives of premature babies when compared to not giving the steroids. Evidence Synthesis Ireland is funded for an initial three years by the Health Research Board for €1.5 million and the Research and Development Division of the Public Health Agency in Northern Ireland for €0.5 million. Importantly, this new initiative also includes the relaunch of Cochrane Ireland, the Irish branch of Cochrane, which is an international non-profit organisation with 11,000 members from more than 130 countries worldwide. The mission of Cochrane is to promote evidence-informed health decision-making by producing high-quality, relevant, accessible systematic reviews and other synthesised research evidence. To develop capacity in this area, Evidence Synthesis Ireland activities are providing an extensive training programme and webinar series, a Fellowship programme and Studentship scheme. The training programme includes workshops and events to develop knowledge and skills in different types of syntheses, for multiple audiences. The Evidence Synthesis Ireland Fellowship Scheme 2019 gives Fellows the opportunity to join experienced national and international evidence synthesis teams from across the globe to work on generating reviews with potential for strong policy and/or practice impact. Cochrane Ireland and Evidence Synthesis Ireland is being led by a team from the School of Nursing and Midwifery at NUI Galway. Professor Declan Devane, Director of ESI and Cochrane Ireland, Dr Elaine Toomey, Associate Director of Cochrane Ireland and Ms Sheena Connolly, Senior Administrator. Professor Declan Devane, Director of ES/Cochrane Ireland and School of Nursing and Midwifery, NUI Galway, says: “We are delighted to receive this funding award and excited by the potential it has to make a difference to healthcare decisions across the Island. Healthcare decisions should be based on the full range of information that is available on a topic; it can’t rely on one or more individual pieces of information, or studies. We want to build people’s capacity to understand, conduct and use synthesis of evidence across health topics.” Dr Elaine Toomey, Associate Director of Cochrane Ireland at NUI Galway, said: “We are very excited about this new initiative, and look forward to both strengthening our existing Cochrane community in Ireland, and also to growing and expanding our community, with people’s engagement and advocacy playing a key role in this.” A joint symposium will be held in collaboration with Cochrane UK and Cochrane Ireland in Dublin on 21-22 April 2020, with further details being published soon. The next call for the Fellowship programme and Studentship scheme will be September 2019, with details available on: and to stay informed contact, or follow on Twitter at @CochraneIreland, @EvidSynIRL For more information about Cochrane Ireland and Evidence Synthesis Ireland, visit: or  -Ends-

Friday, 23 August 2019

International conference will discuss and present innovative processes to decarbonise the energy system to achieve a carbon-neutral industry, sustainable agriculture and sustainable cities NUI Galway will host the 8th International Conference on ‘Biotechniques for Air Pollution Control and Bioenergy’. This major international conference will focus on the topic of Waste Gas Treatment and will involve over 80 researchers from 20 countries around the world. It will take place at NUI Galway from the 28-30 August. New research from NUI Galway’s New Energy Technologies laboratory will present novel developments in hydrogen gas production using microbes from waste, as well as the production of valuable chemicals from carbon dioxide gas. For example, biogas formed during manure decomposition on farms can be used as a fuel. To do so, the biogas must go through a purification stage, which is currently being investigated by the NUI Galway research team. Experts from around the world will meet and share their latest research findings on a range of established and emerging topics in waste gas research including: biogas purification and upgrading by using bacteria; converting industrial waste gases into useful biofuels; and analytical and modelling methods to monitor the functioning of waste gas treatment systems. The Biotechniques 2019 conference covers a range of topics related to the application of environmental biotechnology to control air pollution, mitigate greenhouse gas emissions as well as produce and upgrade biofuels. The conference will feature over 50 presentations and aims to open new doors to academic and industrial partners in order to facilitate research cooperation between academia and industry, potentially allowing commercialisation of the innovative bioprocesses that will be presented at the conference. Chair of the conference, Professor Piet Lens, a leading expert in environmental biotechnology and Established Professor of New Energy Technologies at NUI Galway’s College of Science and Engineering, will deliver the opening address. Professor Piet Lens, Established Professor of New Energy Technologies, NUI Galway, said: “This is a unique conference, organised biannually to discuss biological processes to treat waste gas emissions from industry and agriculture. At the conference, innovative processes to decarbonise the energy system will be discussed in order to achieve a carbon-neutral industry, sustainable agriculture and sustainable cities. Hands-on technologies will be presented at the conference that are required to meet the targets set in Ireland’s All-of-Government Climate Action Plan to Tackle Climate Breakdown, published earlier this year.” Conference Keynote Speakers: Patrick Kenny, EPA Air Quality Manager will discuss the National Ambient Air Quality Monitoring Programme in Ireland. Associate Professor, Guangxue Wu, Tsinghua University, China will discuss biogas production from sulfate-containing wastewaters. Associate Professor, Jingying Xi, Tsinghua University, China will discuss industrial waste gases that are currently being treated in China. Professor Christian Kennes, Professor of Chemical Engineering, University of A Coruña, Spain will discuss how microorganisms can convert waste gases into biofuels and platform chemicals. Professor Henry Curran, Director of the Combustion Chemistry Centre, NUI Galway will discuss how biofuels will become part of our energy sources in the future. Professor Xinmin Zhan, Professor of Civil Engineering at NUI Galway will discuss the role of digestate management when producing biogas from waste on farms. The conference will take place in the Ó Tnúthail Lecture Theatre, Arts Millenium Building, South Campus, NUI Galway from 28-30 August. To register for the conference visit: and to stay informed, Follow @ietsbio3 on Twitter for updates. -Ends-      

Wednesday, 21 August 2019

The Health Economic and Policy Analysis Centre in collaboration with PPI Ignite @ NUI Galway will host a seminar on the Challenges and Perspectives of Public and Patient Involvement in Health Economics Research. The event is open to researchers, academics, healthcare professionals and all with an interest in hearing about the importance of the voice of the patient in health research, particularly health economics research,  The seminar takes place on Friday, 30 August at NUI Galway. Public and Patient Involvement (PPI) is increasingly recognised as an essential component of health research. PPI is defined as research carried out ‘with’ or ‘by’ members of the public. Health Economics provides a framework for thinking about how society should allocate its limited health resources (for example, money, staffing, equipment) to meet people’s demands and needs for health care services, health promotion and prevention. The rationale for involving patients and the public in health economics research is that it promotes research quality and relevance to service users.                                                 Supported by the Health Research Board, people attending the seminar will hear about Public and Patient Involvement from various different perspectives, including why we should have PPI in our health economics research; the researcher’s perspective; the patient’s voice in healthcare; how we can reflect and evaluate PPI, for example, how the research may have been improved through PPI; and the current state of play regarding PPI in health research from the perspective of the Health Information Quality Authority (HIQA). Attendees will be encouraged to reflect on; Why involving patients and the public in health economics research is important? What value can PPI bring? How can PPI in health economics research be evaluated? Is there a role for the public and patients in Health Technology Assessments? Key speakers at the seminar Dr Conor Teljeur, Health Information Quality Authority (HIQA) will talk about how PPI fits into the health technology assessment processes in Ireland, and the challenges. Kristina Staley, Director, TwoCan Associates will talk about patient involvement in research that benefits the researchers, by informing their thinking and plans, leading to better research and meets the needs of patients and carers. Andy Gibson, Associate Professor in PPI, University of West Leeds will talk about involving the public in health research to ensure that research questions and outcomes reflect the issues that matter to patients and the public, and to incorporate the ‘real world’ experiences of patients into how research is designed and carried out. Liz Goodwin, Research Fellow in Health Economics, University of Exeter will talk about a particular example of involving people with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) in health economics research, using a task-based approach to work together on a specific aspect of research design, and will share some of the lessons learned from this experience. Dr Rebecca Kandiyali, Research Fellow in Economic Evaluation, Health Economics Bristol will talk about lessons learnt from her own experience of PPI in trial-based economic evaluation and future directions for research and practice. Dr Michelle Queally, Health Economist, NUI Galway will talk about PPI in health economics research and lessons learned from two case studies. Dr John Cullinan, Health Economist, NUI Galway will talk about the impact and burden of Myalgic Encephalomyelitys (ME) in Ireland: developing a collaborative patient-driven research agenda and approach. James Larkin, Health Economist, NUI Galway will talk about integrating PPI into a Mutimorbidity (multiple health conditions) and health economics PhD programme. Dr Michelle Queally, Lecturer in Economics, J.E. Cairnes School of Business and Economics NUI Galway, said: “We are very much looking forward to this seminar where we will open discussions around Public and Patient Involvement in health research, particularly health economics. We will be discussing how to build partnerships that allow the public and patients to influence the health economics research we conduct and also how we might evaluate this involvement. Our overarching aim in this seminar is to show how health economics research might be informed by PPI. We will hear from health economists’ experiences of PPI through case studies, reflect on our learnings, and make suggestions for future research practice, and frameworks that we can apply in order to evaluate what contribution PPI has made to a specific project.” It will take place in the Institute for Lifecourse and Society (ILAS), North Campus, NUI Galway from 10:30am-3:15pm on Friday, 30 August. For full seminar details and registration visit: and type in ‘Public and Patient Involvement’. -Ends-

Monday, 19 August 2019

Tá beagnach a dhá oiread cúrsaí anois in OÉ Gaillimh a bhfuil os cionn 500 pointe CAO luaite leo i gcomparáid le 2018 Nochtadh réimsí spéise rang na Ardteistiméireachta, 2019 inniu le heisiúint tairiscintí an CAO, agus tá méadú tagtha i mbliana ar an éileamh ar ábhair STEM (Eolaíocht, Teicneolaíocht, Innealtóireacht agus Matamaitic).  Ar chláir OÉ Gaillimh a bhfuil ardú mór tagtha ar líon na bpointí arís i mbliana, tá Innealtóireacht Shibhialta, Innealtóireacht Leictreonach agus Ríomhaireachta, Ceimic Bhithchógaisíochta agus Innealtóireacht Córas Fuinnimh, rud a léiríonn an tsuim mhór atá in ábhair STEM, idir réimsí thraidisiúnta agus úrnua. Bhí éileamh ard arís i mbliana ar Eolaíocht Bhithleighis (533 pointe) agus ar Innealtóireacht Bhithleighis (519 pointe). Bhí an méid seo le rá ag Bainisteoir Earcaíochta Mac Léinn agus For-rochtana OÉ Gaillimh, Sarah Geraghty: “Léiriú ar an tóir leanúnach atá ag mic léinn ar OÉ Gaillimh iad na harduithe suntasacha atá tagtha ar líon na bpointí CAO do chúrsaí san Ollscoil. Tá beagnach a dhá oiread cúrsaí anois in OÉ Gaillimh a bhfuil os cionn 500 pointe CAO luaite leo i gcomparáid le 2018. Léiríonn roghanna na bliana seo go bhfuil níos mó mac léinn tarraingthe i dtreo gairmeacha beatha in earnáil na teicneolaíochta agus na nuálaíochta, agus feictear go bhfuil an-tóir ar chúrsaí Teicneolaíochta-Leighis (MedTech) go mór mór.  “Tugann an t-éileamh ar chláir nua OÉ Gaillimh, Dlí agus Cearta an Duine agus Rialtas (Polaitíocht, Eacnamaíocht agus Dlí) le fios go roghnóidh mic léinn cúrsaí a thabharfaidh deis dóibh gairmeacha beatha a bheith acu a ligfidh dóibh tionchar dearfach agus cumhachtach a bheith acu ar an saol mórthimpeall orthu.”   Ar chuid de na pointí spéise eile bhí: Ardú suntasach ar na cláir Dlí uile in OÉ Gaillimh, an chéim nua do 2019 Dlí agus Cearta an Duine ar 510 pointe CAO san áireamh. Ar na cláir nua eile a tharraing spéis bhí Rialtas (Polaitíocht, Eacnamaíocht agus Dlí) ar 402 pointe CAO agus Oideachas (Eolaíocht Ríomhaireachta agus Staidéir Mhatamaitice) ar 401 pointe CAO. Tá an-tóir i gcónaí ar an gcéim ghnó suaitheanta, an BComm (Eispéireas Domhanda), ar 509 pointe CAO. Tháinig ardú ar na pointí do na cláir innealtóireachta ar fad in OÉ Gaillimh. Bhí trí cinn de na harduithe is mó i mbliana in Innealtóireacht Shibhialta (509 pointe CAO), Innealtóireacht Leictreonach agus Ríomhaireachta (509 pointe CAO)agus Innealtóireacht Córas Fuinnimh (532 pointe CAO). Léiríonn sé sin an spéis láidir i réimsí na hinnealtóireachta traidisiúnta mar aon leis na réimsí innealtóireachta sin atá ag teacht chun cinn. Beidh deis ag mic léinn a bhain na pointí CAO cuí amach chun cúrsa céime san innealtóireacht a dhéanamh in OÉ Gaillimh ach nach bhfuil an marc riachtanach acu sa mhatamaitic tabhairt faoi scrúdú cáilíochta Matamaitice ar an 20 Lúnasa.  Tá éileamh ard i gcónaí ar chéimeanna sna Dána in OÉ Gaillimh, agus tóir faoi leith ar chláir sa tSíceolaíocht, Ceol, Iriseoireacht, Béarla agus Staidéar na Meán, Scríbhneoireacht Chruthaitheach agus Drámaíocht, Amharclannaíocht agus Taibhléiriú. Is léiriú ar láidreacht agus ar cháil OÉ Gaillimh sna hEolaíochtaí Bitheacha é an tóir a bhíonn ar an Eolaíocht Bhithleighis (533 pointe) agus an Innealtóireacht Bhithleighis (519 pointe). Ar na cláir san Eolaíocht ina bhfeictear arduithe móra i bpointí CAO tá Biteicneolaíocht (473 pointe CAO) agus Ceimic Bhithchógaisíochta (510 pointe CAO). Tháinig ardú 43 pointe ar líon na bpointí don Leigheas Cosliachta, ar céim ar leith í de chuid OÉ Gaillimh sna heolaíochtaí sláinte, agus éileamh mór ar an gclár i mbliana. Lean an tUasal Geraghty ag rá: “Tuigimid go mbíonn cinntí móra le déanamh ag mic léinn agus iad ag dul ar aghaidh go dtí an tríú leibhéal, agus tá beolíne ar leith do mhic léinn na chéad bhliana ar fáil anois chun cúnamh a thabhairt do mhic léinn le ceisteanna faoi shaol an choláiste in OÉ Gaillimh.” Beidh Beolíne OÉ Gaillimh do Mhic Léinn na Chéad Bhliana ar oscailt ón 12 Lúnasa go dtí an 30 Meán Fómhair 2019. Is féidir glaoch ar an mbeolíne ag +353 (0) 91 493999 agus tá sé ar oscailt Luan go hAoine ón 9am-5pm. -Críoch-

Monday, 19 August 2019

Funding to advance development of Tight Alright device to treat venous leg ulcers, the first device capable of continuously monitoring compression therapy outside the clinical setting FeelTect, a connected-health, wound care start-up company established from the NUI Galway laboratory of CÚRAM investigator, Professor Garry Duffy, has been presented with an *EIT Health Headstart award worth €50,000 to advance the development of their ‘Tight Alright’ pressure sensing device to treat venous leg ulcers. The competition finals saw 22 finalist teams of medtech start-ups from across the UK and Ireland pitching their technologies to a panel of investors, healthcare professionals, and medtech experts. FeelTect’s technology, Tight Alright, is a wireless, pressure sensing device for measuring and monitoring sub-bandage pressure during compression therapy, primarily for the millions of people worldwide with venous leg ulcers (VLUs). Venous leg ulcers are chronic wounds that stem from venous insufficiency. Venous insufficiency is a medical condition affecting the circulation of blood to the lower limbs. The tiny valves that normally force blood back up towards the heart no longer function, causing blood to pool up in the legs, and the veins of the legs become distended, resulting in an accumulation of fluid in the lower limbs. Venous leg ulcers are associated with a variety of risk factors including age, increased body mass index (BMI), low physical activity, high blood pressure, venous insufficiency, deep vein thrombosis, and family history. Compression therapy is the gold-standard treatment for venous leg ulcers helping to overcome venous insufficiency and restoring blood flow, however it is ineffective if applied too loosely, and dangerous if applied too tightly. Yet studies have shown that even experienced wound care clinicians can find it difficult to achieve a targeted pressure with existing compression products.   Despite major advances in certain wound care areas, such as regenerative medicine, moisture balance, infection management, and tissue oxygenation, the basic tools for compression therapy have been largely untouched by significant (“disruptive”) innovation in recent decades. FeelTect aims to change this through the digital capabilities of Tight Alright, which will enable improvements in the application and maintenance of evidence-based compression therapy, ensuring safety while reducing healing times. In fact, due to global wound care industry trends, such as the expiry of patents, entry of low-cost competitors, and a lack of advanced wound care specialisation amongst clinicians, many leaders in the segment have turned their focus to digital, outcomes-based, and value-based innovations that complement their existing product portfolios. FeelTect is fully aligned with these needs, resulting in very strong interest from potential strategic partners. FeelTect founder and CEO, Dr Andrew Cameron, highlighted the impact the award will have on the company’s progression towards market entry: “The funding provided by EIT Health will allow us to progress the miniaturisation of Tight Alright to a truly wearable product, making it the first device capable of continuously monitoring compression therapy outside the clinical setting. We’ll also be able to further our initial clinical validation, which was supported by Health Innovation Hub Ireland, demonstrating the ability of Tight Alright to improve the achievement of targeted, evidence-based pressure during compression application. “We have planned our first clinical study involving VLU patients with our clinical collaborator, Professor Mary-Paula Colgan in St James’s Hospital. After having experienced wound care nurses from Galway University Hospitals, and Dr Georgina Gethin from the School of Nursing and Midwifery at NUI Galway validating the functionality of the Tight Alright prototype, with substantial improvements in the achievement of targeted bandage pressure on healthy volunteers, the FeelTect team is excited to see these results translated to benefit patients.” Inventor, Co-founder and CÚRAM investigator, Professor Garry Duffy, NUI Galway, stated: “It’s very exciting to see the first commercial product from our labs at NUI Galway move closer to the clinic. NUI Galway has the perfect ecosystem to support translational medical devices including the BioInnovate Ireland programme, where this unmet clinical need was identified, and the critical mass of expertise provided through the CÚRAM investigator network which is supporting the development of the product. Through Enterprise Ireland’s initial support and now with EIT Health Headstart funding we plan to continue the clinical validation of the Tight Alright technology and move it close to positive outcomes for patients with venous leg ulcers.” FeelTect began its journey in the renowned BioInnovate Ireland programme based at NUI Galway, where the underlying clinical need was identified by 2017 BioInnovate Fellow Dr Andrew Cameron, in collaboration with CÚRAM investigator, Dr Georgina Gethin, as well as an Enterprise Ireland Commercialisation Fund project within the Duffy Lab in the School of Medicine at NUI Galway, where the proof-of-concept research and development was conducted. The team is currently in discussions with potential partners and has launched a seed round for fundraising to support the progression of Tight Alright into clinical practice. For more information about FeelTect, based at NUI Galway, visit: For more about CÚRAM, the Science Foundation Ireland Research Centre for Medical Devices based at NUI Galway, visit: -Ends-

Thursday, 15 August 2019

Number of courses commanding in excess of 500 CAO points at NUI Galway has almost doubled since 2018 Demand for courses in STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) at NUI Galway has grown this year, as CAO offers issued today highlighted the areas of interest of the Leaving Certificate class of 2019.  NUI Galway programmes which have seen the greatest year-on-year increases in points include Civil Engineering, Electronic and Computer Engineering, Biopharmaceutical Chemistry and Energy Systems Engineering, demonstrating a strong interest in both traditional and emerging STEM subject areas. Meanwhile, there was continued high demand for both Biomedical Science (533 points) and Biomedical Engineering (519 points). NUI Galway’s Student Recruitment and Outreach Manager, Sarah Geraghty said: “NUI Galway has seen significant increases in CAO points reflecting a continued growth in interest in the University and its programmes. The number of courses commanding in excess of 500 CAO points at NUI Galway has almost doubled since last year. This year’s choices indicate an increased interest in careers in the technology and innovation sector, with MedTech courses proving particularly popular.  “The demand for NUI Galway’s new programmes, Law and Human Rights and Government (Politics, Economics and Law), provide evidence of demand for courses leading to careers where graduates can have a powerful and positive impact on the world around them.”   Other points of interest include: Interest in all Law programmes at NUI Galway increased significantly, including the new Law and Human Rights degree for 2019 coming in at 510 CAO points. Other new programmes attracted good interest including  Government (Politics, Economics and Law) at 402 CAO points and Education (Computer Science and Mathematical Studies) CAO 401 points The flagship business degree BComm (Global Experience) continues to attract high demand, cutting off at 509 CAO points. Points increased across all engineering programmes at NUI Galway. Three of the highest year-on-year increases were in Civil Engineering (509 CAO points), Electronic and Computer Engineering (509 CAO points) and Energy Systems Engineering (532 CAO points), demonstrating a strong interest in both traditional and emerging engineering subject areas. Students who achieved the CAO points for an undergraduate engineering degree course at NUI Galway but who have not met the obligatory maths requirement have the opportunity to take a Maths qualifying exam on August 20th. Demand for NUI Galway’s Arts degrees remains strong, with programmes in Psychology, Music, Journalism, English and Media Studies, Creative Writing and Drama, Theatre and Performance proving particularly popular. NUI Galway’s strength and reputation in Biosciences is also reflected with continued high demand for both Biomedical Science (533 points) and Biomedical Engineering (519 points). Science programmes which experienced significant increases in CAO cut off points include Biotechnology (473 CAO points) and Biopharmaceutical Chemistry (510 CAO points). Podiatric Medicine, a health sciences degree unique to NUI Galway, experienced significant growth in demand, result in a 43 points increase (434 CAO points). Ms Geraghty continued: “We are conscious that students are faced with big decisions as they move to third level, and a dedicated first year student hotline is now open to help with queries about college life at NUI Galway.” NUI Galway First Year Student Hotline will be open from 12 August to 30 September 2019. The hotline is at +353 (0) 91 493999 and is open Monday to Friday from 9am-5pm. It opens Saturday, 17 August, from 10am-1pm, or visit -Ends-

Tuesday, 13 August 2019

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 Tuesday, 20 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 Certificate 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, may receive an additional CAO offer at Round Two. Due to capacity constraints, not all candidates who have the necessary points and who achieve a pass in the examination may receive an offer. NUI Galway will also hold an intensive preparatory course for applicants intending to sit the exam. This free course will run from 14 to 19 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, Head of the School 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: -Ends-