Monday, 6 July 2020

Have your voice heard in Ireland’s First Annual Youth Mental Health Conference YOULEAD, a mental health research group led NUI Galway’s School of Psychology, is collaborating with SPUNOUT.ie to look for young people to share their opinions on Irish mental health services and supports. These submissions will form part of Ireland’s first Youth Mental Health Conference in the autumn. The first Youth Mental Health Conference will consist of a series of online lunchtime events from 5-9 October, leading up to World Mental Health Day on Saturday, 10 October. Throughout the conference national and international experts will be discussing their understanding of the mental health needs of young people, and the resources young people need. During the week, YOULEAD will dedicate time during one of the lunchtime sessions to presenting the experiences of young people using mental health services/supports in Ireland, with the aim of providing a platform for young people to share their experiences with others. The goal is to showcase multiple voices of young people, reflecting their experience of mental health services. A number of submissions will be performed by actors with the performance being shown online during the conference. As this is a creative piece that will be performed, artistic license might be used. So, words, sentences or quotes, combined with other pieces, may be used to form a cohesive artistic piece. Professor Gary Donohoe, Established Professor of Psychology at NUI Galway, said: “A crucial element for developing the mental health services needing by young people is knowing what they think and what they have experienced. This is as much to identify the positives we can build on as the negatives we should address. We'd like to give as many young people as possible a chance to share their experiences with us.” YOULEAD are asking young people, aged between 18-25 years and living in Ireland, to submit a word, sentences or story on your opinion of mental health services/supports in Ireland. Pieces can include, but is not limited to: What is/was your experience of mental health services/supports? What would your ideal mental health service look like? What advice would you give to someone trying to access support services in Ireland? To submit please complete the YOULEAD form on the SPUNOUT website at https://spunout.ie/opinion/article/share-your-experience-using-mental-health-services-supports. The closing date for submissions is Friday, 31 July. For further information on the first Youth Mental Health Research Meeting visit https://www.nuiglaway.ie/youlead/events. To register for the Meeting visit https://bit.ly/2BkHyit. For further queries please contact gary.donohoe@nuigalway.ie. -Ends-

Wednesday, 1 July 2020

Tá Leabharlann OÉ Gaillimh tar éis leagan Gaeilge dá Córas Cuardaigh Leabharlainne a sheoladh, catalóg leabharlainne den chéad ghlúin eile a chuimsíonn bailiúcháin chlóite agus ar líne na leabharlainne, mar chuid dá misean campas dátheangach den chéad scoth a chruthú i nGaillimh. Cuireann seoladh leagan Gaeilge den chóras ar chumas OÉ Gaillimh feabhas a dhéanamh ar an dóigh a dtacaíonn a cuid seirbhísí le mic léinn agus le taighdeoirí agus cuidíonn sé leis an Ollscoil a tiomantas a chomhlíonadh i dtaca le seirbhísí i nGaeilge a sholáthar. Cuireadh tús le Scéim Teanga na hOllscoile faoi scáth Acht na dTeangacha Oifigiúla, 2003 agus is é is aidhm léi soláthar na seirbhísí Gaeilge san Ollscoil a leathnú. In 2019 thosaigh an Leabharlann ag oibriú i gcomhpháirtíocht le Seirbhís Aistriúcháin na hOllscoile lena córas cuardaigh a aistriú ó Bhéarla go Gaeilge chun deis a thabhairt do mhic léinn teagmháil a dhéanamh i nGaeilge le bailiúcháin na leabharlainne. “Léiríonn seoladh leagan Gaeilge an fhearais chuardaigh tiomantas na hOllscoile i dtaca le tacú leis an ardoideachas i nGaeilge agus méadaíonn sé sásamh úsáideora i measc mac léinn agus taighdeoirí a labhraíonn Gaeilge. Cuirfear go mór le cumas ár gcuid mac léinn agus taighdeoirí a gcuid staidéar a dhéanamh agus oibriú san ardoideachas trí Ghaeilge de bharr deis a bheith acu córas cuardaigh na leabharlainne a úsáid i nGaeilge,” a deir Monica Crump, Ceannasaí na mBailiúchán i Leabharlann OÉ Gaillimh. Mar aon leis an leagan Gaeilge a sholáthar do mhic léinn agus do thaighdeoirí OÉ Gaillimh, d’oibrigh Leabharlann OÉ Gaillimh i gcomhpháirtíocht le Exlibris leis na haistriúcháin Ghaeilge a chomhroinnt le hinstitiúidí eile, d’fhonn gur féidir leosan leagan Gaeilge an ardáin a sholáthar dá n-úsáideoirí. “Ag teacht le luach straitéiseach OÉ Gaillimh mar atá oscailteacht agus ár dtiomantas don Ghaeilge taobh amuigh de OÉ Gaillimh, táimid sásta a bheith i gcomhpháirtíocht le Exlibris i dtaca leis na haistriúcháin a rinne ár seirbhís aistriúcháin a roinnt”, a deir Monica Crump. Is féidir breathnú ar an leagan Gaeilge ag: http://library.nuigalway.ie/anleabharlann. -Críoch-

Wednesday, 1 July 2020

NUI Galway Library has launched an Irish language version of its Library Discovery system, a next generation library catalogue that searches across the library’s print and online collections, as part of its mission to create a world class bilingual campus in Galway. The release of an Irish language version of the system allows NUI Galway to improve the way its services support students and researchers and helps the University fulfil its commitment to providing services in the Irish language. The University’s Language Scheme was started under the Official Languages Act of 2003 and aims to expand the provision of the Irish language services at the university. In 2019 the Library began working in partnership with the University’s Translation Service to translate their discovery system from English to Irish to allow students to discover and interact with the library’s collections through the Irish language. “The launch of an Irish language version of the discovery tool demonstrates the University’s commitment to supporting higher education in Irish and increases user satisfaction among Irish speaking students and researchers. The ability of our students and researchers to complete their studies and work at higher education through the Irish language will be greatly enhanced by the ability to interact with the library’s discovery system in Irish,” said Monica Crump, Head of Collections in the Library at NUI Galway. As well as providing the Irish version to NUI Galway students and researchers, NUI Galway Library has worked in partnership with Exlibris to share the Irish translations with other institutions, so they can also provide their users with an Irish version of the platform. “In keeping with NUI Galway’s strategic value of openness and our commitment to the Irish language beyond NUI Galway, we are happy to partner with Ex Libris in sharing the translations created by our translation service”, said Monica Crump. The Irish version can be viewed at: http://library.nuigalway.ie/anleabharlann. -Ends-

Tuesday, 30 June 2020

Up to 31% of plastic exported for recycling not recycled at all Highest Proportion of Ocean Littering from UK, Slovenia, Italy New research from NUI Galway and the University of Limerick has for the first time quantified the volume of plastic from European countries (EU, UK, Switzerland and Norway) that contributes to ocean littering from exported recycling. While European countries have developed world-leading waste management infrastructure, 46% of European separated plastic waste is exported outside the country of origin. A large share of this plastic is transported thousands of kilometres to countries with poor waste management practices, largely located in Southeast Asia. Once in these countries, a large share of the waste is rejected from recycling streams into overstretched local waste management systems that have been found to contribute significantly to ocean littering. This new research, published in the scientific journal Environment International, estimated the best-case, average, and worst-case scenarios of ocean debris pathways from exported recycling in 2017. The results estimated a range between 32,115 - 180,558 tonnes, or 1 - 7% of all exported European polyethylene, which ended up in the ocean. Polyethylene is one of the most common types of plastic in Europe, and the results showed that countries such as the UK, Slovenia, and Italy are exporting a higher share of plastic outside of Europe and see a higher share of their recyclable plastic waste end up as ocean debris. Speaking today, George Bishop, lead author of the study said: “The results indicate an important and previously undocumented pathway of plastic debris entering the oceans, which will have considerable environmental and social impacts on marine ecosystems and coastal communities.” Using detailed international trade data and data on waste management in destination countries, the study modelled the fate of all polyethylene exported for recycling from Europe, accounting for different fates ranging from successful conversion into recycled resins, or ending up as landfill, incineration, or ocean debris. Dr David Styles, a lecturer at the University of Limerick and co-author, explains, “Given that such a large share of waste destined for recycling is exported, with poor downstream traceability, this study suggests that ‘true’ recycling rates may deviate significantly from rates reported by municipalities and countries where the waste originates. In fact, our study found that up to 31% of the exported plastic wasn’t actually recycled at all”. The study was part of the Science Foundation Ireland funded, ‘Innovative Energy Technologies for Bioenergy, Biofuels and a Sustainable Irish Bioeconomy: IETSBIO3’ led by Professor Piet Lens, Established Professor of New Energy Technologies at the National University of Ireland, Galway. Professor Lens added: “To successfully move towards a more circular economy, European municipalities and waste management companies need to be held accountable for the final fate of “recycled” waste. Our study highlights the lack of available data on plastic waste and the need to consider extended audit trails, or “on-shoring” of recycling activities as part of emerging regulations around trade in plastic waste.”  The authors caution that these findings should not discourage people to recycle as it remains the best waste management treatment, environmentally speaking. However, there is considerable work to be done to improve aspects of these plastic recycling chains, to reduce the ‘leakage’ of these systems. The full study is available at https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0160412020318481#s0125 -Ends-

Tuesday, 30 June 2020

“Hope in the Age of Dementia” new programme exploring international developments in dementia, includes NUI Galway research centre Facebook Live Event to explore Issues facing older people in the age of COVID-19 A new documentary and live event from NUI Galway aim to broaden the debate about the public policy options that can best support our ageing population into the future.  This Thursday, 2 July, members of the public are invited to participate in a live Facebook event looking at issues facing older people and public policy in the age of COVID-19.  Featuring international policy experts on ageing, the Facebook Live event will explore three themes – inequalities and inclusion, care and carers and rights and representation.  The discussion will focus on the challenges and opportunities that the new Government will face in creating policy for the members of our society that are most vulnerable during the current pandemic.  Professor Kieran Walsh, Director of the Irish Centre for Social Gerontology at NUI Galway, said: “The Pandemic has given us a unique opportunity to reflect on how we view and support ageing and older people through our public policy systems and social discourses. This is really critical if we want to ensure that we engage and empower diverse groups of older adults in the best way possible into the future.” Separately, a new documentary “Hope in the Age of Dementia”, launched by Alzheimer’s Disease International (ADI), the global voice on Dementia, and ITN Productions will feature The Centre for Economic and Social Research on Dementia (CESRD), NUI Galway.  The programme showcases the latest international developments in care, research and technology for people with dementia, with a special focus on advancing and accelerating solutions for Alzheimer's disease globally. Dementia affects more than 55,000 people in Ireland and 50 million people worldwide. This programme hears from international leaders in the field of neuroscience and neurodegeneration, explaining the importance of new treatment pathways, early diagnostic tools, clinical trials, risk reduction, timely diagnosis and health and social care innovation. CESRD researchers highlight the importance of connecting and engaging with people with dementia both locally and nationally to ensure that research and policy reflects their priorities and needs. The importance of enhanced home support for people with dementia and family carers is also emphasised in the film. Eamon O’Shea, Director of the CESRD, said: “I think what really matters is that people with dementia remain deeply connected to place, family and friends. The challenge is to recalibrate public spending in a way that makes this happen. That means more spending on home care services and supports in the future.” The programme focuses on the research work of the CESRD and the importance and impact of the Understand Together dementia awareness campaign in Ireland. It also features Helen-Rochford-Brennan, who was diagnosed with dementia in 2012. Since her diagnosis, Helen has become a champion for dementia research, policy and advocacy in Ireland and internationally. She is the current Chairperson of the European Working Group of People with Dementia. In this programme, Helen talks about the impact of receiving a diagnosis of dementia and how participating in research has given her a new sense of purpose and hope for the future. You can watch the CESRD contribution here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PSCdg2jDYik. Watch the new documentary and discussion on discuss “Older People and Public Policy in the Age of COVID-19”, organised by NUI Galway’s Irish Centre for Social Gerontology, live on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/nuigalway on Thursday, 2 July at 6pm. -Ends-

Tuesday, 30 June 2020

NUI Galway, in collaboration with 16 software industry partners, is accepting applications for its award winning, innovative Higher Diploma in Software Design and Development Programme – Industry Stream. This programme was awarded the accolade of being Postgraduate Programme of the Year in Information Technology by Grad Ireland in 2015. 90% of Higher Diploma in Software Design and Development graduates have secured immediate employment in software development roles. Many of the graduates are employed with some of Ireland’s leading software companies. NUI Galway has designed this one-year conversion programme in conjunction with leading IT employers which enables graduates to reskill for employment in the software development area. The overall goal of this postgraduate conversion programme is to strategically increase the supply of skilled graduates to meet the needs of Ireland’s high-growth software industry. It will provide graduates with a fast track, focused computing qualification, and presents them with an opportunity to obtain valuable industry work experience. Applicants are paired with an industry partner from the start of the programme and are then trained in key technologies for that employer’s needs, so they are then able to maximise the impact of a paid industry internship towards the end of the programme. The Higher Diploma in Software Design and Development builds on the existing strengths of collaborative academic-industry interaction in the Galway region, and will provide graduates with a solid foundation in key areas of software design and development. The final aspect of the course involves a three-month paid internship for successful students to gain industry experience, and as a result it provides the opportunity to kick-start your career as a software developer. Each student progressed through the course will have their training content determined by their associated industry partner. On completion of the course, these students will have transformed their employability in the current economy, with a range of great options opening up to them for further progression either in industry or via more specialisation through a masters.  The industry partners include Avaya, Cisco, SAP, INSIGHT, Storm Technologies, Aspect Software, The Marine Institute, Sidero and Schneider Electric. Dr Enda Barrett, Course Director, said: “We are delighted to again offer this unique postgraduate course to students who are considering a career in software development. This is a super opportunity for highly motivated analytical graduates particularly from cognate disciplines such as engineering, maths, business and science. By investing just one year of their time in further education, and, through placement experience with our Industry partners; they will have an excellent prospect for recruitment as software developers in Ireland’s high-tech ICT sector. The highly intensive programme is designed for those with little or no knowledge of software development, but we are particularly keen to receive applications from those who have had some exposure to coding and feel that this is something they potentially have a flare for.” Dr Barrett continued: “The career prospects for our graduates are extremely strong and demand is dramatically outstripping supply. The programme is highly respected among many of Irelands leading software companies many of whom specifically want to recruit graduates who have come through our unique programme. Our recognition as Postgraduate Programme of the Year in Information Technology has propelled both the programme and our graduates to the front of the list for many recruiters and we are delighted with the feedback and positivity we have been receiving from our past graduates and their employers alike.” The programme is open to all those who have a level 8 degree. Those currently completing their studies and will not graduate until November are still eligible to apply. NUI Galway is now processing applications and those interested can make their application through the graduate admissions system http://www.nuigalway.ie/postgraduateapplications, or seek more information via the twitter account @hdipindustry. Significant interest in this course is expected and early application is advisable as applications will be processed and interviews held on a rolling basis. For further information contact the Programme Director, Dr Enda Barrett at Enda.Barrett@nuigalway.ie. -Ends-

Monday, 29 June 2020

Young filmmakers from Antrim, Kildare and Cork are awarded prizes by NUI Galway for their short science communication videos One minute films about Blood Clotting, the Immune System and ‘Germbusting Heroes’ were selected by the public as the best science videos produced at home by young filmmakers for the NUI Galway ‘ReelLIFE SCIENCE @ HOME’ competition. More than 130 short films were made by young science communicators in homes all around Ireland, representing 80 primary schools, secondary schools and youth groups during the Covid-19 lockdown. After a shortlist was selected by a team of 40 NUI Galway College of Science and Engineering staff and students, a Twitter poll of over 1,400 members of the public awarded first prize to Year 10 student Max Kamalarajah, who won €1000 for his school, Wallace High School, Lisburn, Co. Antrim. Max used his kitchen sink and food from his cupboards to create a memorable demonstration of how the body recruits cells and proteins during Blood Clotting (https://youtu.be/ckv4EtX8mKc). NUI Galway’s Dr Enda O’Connell noted: “This really creative use of everyday items to explain a complicated situation captured the ‘at home’ aspect of ReelLIFE SCIENCE @ HOME and it is a fantastic and novel depiction of the science of coagulation that certainly supported learning in an engaging and accessible way.” In second place, Naas Community College Transition Year student Enya O’Reilly Huerta, won €500 for her school by producing a superbly animated and scientifically relevant video about the power of the Immune System to fight outside invaders (https://youtu.be/qPhdhNdL9jo). In third place, Sixth Class student William Stokes won €250 for Baltydaniel National School, Co. Cork, with his short video featuring four ‘Germbusting Heroes’, Edward Jenner, Louis Pasteur, Joseph Lister and Alexander Fleming (https://youtu.be/9cVrJUOjQO4). Based in NUI Galway and supported by the Science Foundation Ireland Discover programme, ReelLIFE SCIENCE challenges Irish schools and youth groups to communicate science and technology via engaging and educational short videos. Since being launched in 2013 by Dr Enda O’Connell and a team of volunteer scientists, this challenge has been met by more than 14,000 participants in 450 schools and groups around Ireland. All videos can be viewed at www.reellifescience.com and will be screened for the public at the 2020 Galway Science and Technology Festival. -Ends-

Monday, 29 June 2020

NUI Galway’s fourth annual Soapbox Science Galway is set to return when twelve female scientists will take to their virtual soap boxes and talk about their remarkable research in the areas of science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine. The event will take place from 12-2pm on Saturday, 4 July, streaming live on Facebook, and is free and open to the public. Soapbox Science is a global public outreach platform for promoting women scientists and the science they do. Events transform public areas into an arena for public learning and scientific debate and they follow the format of London Hyde Park’s ‘Speaker’s Corner’, which is historically an arena for public debate. Soapbox Science 2020 is taking place in several countries around the world including Ireland, Australia, Canada, Argentina, South Africa, Sweden, Germany, Brazil, Belgium, Ghana, Nigeria, Tanzania, the UK and US. Soapbox Science Galway ensures that everyone has the opportunity to enjoy, learn from, question, probe, interact with and be inspired by some of our leading female scientists who will share their latest discoveries and answer the science questions people have been burning to ask. Talks will cover a diverse range of topics ranging from bioengineering, marine pollution, and glaciology to physiology, psychology, and nanomaterials. Soapbox Science Galway 2020 participants were selected from a competitive pool of researchers, and this year’s speakers from NUI Galway and Galway-Mayo Institute (GMIT) include: Dr Margaret Jackson, NUI Galway – “What can glaciers tell us about past climate?” Elena Pagter, GMIT – “What’s all the commotion? Plastic pollution in the ocean” Dr Nadeeka Rathnayake Kankanamge, NUI Galway – “Freshwater pollutants and how they transform in marine transitional zones” Gillian Murphy, NUI Galway – “Developing a Diabetes Drug Delivery Hydrogel using a Heart-Shaped Protein” Maeve Louise Farrell, NUI Galway – “Making Waves: What’s Under the PIER?” Emily O’Dowd, NUI Galway – “How can we help our health service learn from its mistakes?” Aisling Murphy, NUI Galway – “Titanium Bone Plates - Is There an Alternative?” Dr Ananya Gupta, NUI Galway – “The importance of physical activity - being Active is being Healthy” Chloe Walsh, NUI Galway – “Autism-friendly doctor visits: Tips for success” Sandra Brandon, NUI Galway – “Can a lung exercise programme improve my ability to eat, drink and swallow?” Marta Cabello, NUI Galway – “PalaeoExplorers: Sailing back in time to discover how the ocean will affect Ireland's climate future” Duré Basit, NUI Galway – “A pencil, some sticky tape and a Nobel Prize” Soapbox Science Ireland events are organised by Dr Jessamyn Fairfield, School of Physics at NUI Galway and Dr Emily Growney, Boston Scientific. Dr Fairfield is a nanoscientist and comedian, whose research is focused on building electronics like the brain. She is a lecturer in the School of Physics and CÚRAM (Centre for Research in Medical Devices) at NUI Galway. Dr Growney is a tissue engineer who completed a CÚRAM Marie Curie MedTRAIN fellowship on biocompatible neural electrode coatings at NUI Galway before taking up her current position at Boston Scientific. Soapbox Science will also run online with Dublin-based speakers on Saturday, 11 July. Soapbox Science Galway is sponsored by NUI Galway’s Office of the Vice President for Research. The livestream will be hosted at https://www.facebook.com/soapboxsciencegalway/. For more information about Soapbox Science, visit: http://soapboxscience.org/ or follow @SoapboxSciIRL on Twitter. -Ends-

Wednesday, 24 June 2020

FlowPhotoChem, a multi-national research project led by NUI Galway, has been awarded €6.99million in funding under the Nanotechnologies, Advanced Materials, Biotechnology, and Advanced Manufacturing and Processing (NMBP) area of the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme. The European Green Deal sets out to make Europe climate neutral by 2050, and the Clean Planet for All strategy set out ambitious targets to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in the EU by 40% by 2030 and by 80-95% by 2050. One of the largest polluters in Europe is the chemical industry, emitting over 145 million tonnes of CO2 equivalents each year. As part of the project FlowPhotoChem will develop novel technologies to use concentrated solar energy and advanced catalysts to convert water and CO2 into valuable chemicals. Rather than generating CO2, the FlowPhotoChem integrated system will utilise CO2 as a carbon source to produce chemicals without the use of fossil fuels, reducing Europe’s greenhouse-gas emissions and contributing to a cleaner planet. FlowPhotoChem is led by Dr Pau Farràs from the School of Chemistry, and researcher at the Energy Research Cluster in the Ryan Institute, at NUI Galway. Dr Farràs said: “This project is one-of-a-kind in Ireland and will demonstrate that direct solar energy conversion technologies can be deployed everywhere. We are leading this exciting European project with the aim to produce green ethylene as a key compound for the chemical industry. With FlowPhotoChem, we will develop in parallel a demonstrator and a comprehensive model which can pave the way for a range of other green chemicals produced solely from water and CO2.” During the project research teams from Ireland, Germany, Hungary, Spain, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Uganda and the UK will develop better materials, innovative reactors and advanced computer models to build a proof-of-concept, integrated modular system to convert CO2 into ethylene, a valuable industrial chemical, using concentrated sunlight. Environmental sustainability and scalability will be key parts of the design process to future proof the system. To make sure FlowPhotoChem’s modular system successfully makes it to the market to reduce CO2 emissions, the team will work with chemical companies that could use the technology to find out about their needs and requirements. -Ends-

Wednesday, 24 June 2020

NUI Galway’s Centre for Irish Studies is now taking applications for its Diploma in Irish Studies. The online Diploma in Irish Studies provides an interdisciplinary introduction to Irish life and culture from the pagan Celtic world and the coming of Christianity, through to the establishment of the state and the new millennium from the perspectives of archaeology, history, literature, political science and sociology, Irish music and dance. Programme Director Dr Michelle Comber said: “For anyone with a deep interest in Irish culture this is the ideal starting point, especially those without access to traditional courses in this area.”   Dr Méabh Ní Fhuartháin, Head of Irish Studies at NUI Galway, said: “As interest in online options for further education has accelerated during the Covid-19 crisis, there has been a substantial increase in the number of students considering the online Diploma in Irish Studies at NUI Galway, a world leader in this area since 2003. Even before the pandemic, the growth in the number of students taking this programme had increased significantly in recent years. At a time when remote learning may be the only option for some, it’s great to be able to offer courses online to extend and supplement the full range of programme we will continue to offer on campus.” For further details on the Diploma in Irish Studies commencing in September contact Samantha Williams, Centre for Irish Studies at samantha.williams@nuigalway.ie, or Dr Michelle Comber, Online Co-ordinator at michelle.comber@nuigalway.ie. More information or to apply visit https://bit.ly/2UMsU9W. -Ends-

Wednesday, 24 June 2020

The vast majority of Irish adults – 82% – are willing to download a contact tracing app to their smartphone to curb the COVID-19 pandemic, according to new research carried out by a team from Lero, the Science Foundation Ireland Research Centre for Software, University of Limerick (UL) and NUI Galway. However, respondents also expressed several privacy concerns, including that the Government, tech firms or hackers might use the information gathered for other purposes after the pandemic. In the survey, “A National Survey of attitudes to COVID-19 Digital Contact Tracing in the Republic of Ireland”, 98% of the more than 8,000 respondents stated that they understood the concept of contact tracing and 96% stated that informing the HSE of your close contacts is important if you develop COVID-19. Lero’s Dr Jim Buckley said the response was very heartening considering that researchers from the University of Oxford estimated that, if 56% of people were to download an ideal contact tracing app in the UK, this would be enough to control the disease by itself. It seems, Dr Buckley said, the primary driver for people’s willingness to download a public-health-backed, contact tracing app during the current crisis is a desire to help others and “for the greater good”. However, he noted, “studies in other jurisdictions have suggested that the actual adoption rate typically lags behind the take-up rate suggested by surveys performed in advance of contact-tracing apps’ launches. Therefore, there is no room for complacency and eliminating the disease requires a high degree of participation from the public and evidence-based app development.” This Science Foundation Ireland funded research also shows 51% of respondents indicated they “definitely will install” the app if it becomes available, 31% indicated they “probably will install” the app. Ten per cent reported they “may or may not install” the app. People preferred the idea of a Bluetooth app, with just 31% stating that they would prefer an app that uses geolocation technology. One of the survey authors Dr Michael O’Callaghan, general practitioner and researcher at the UL School of Medicine, said the results offer a good insight into people’s concerns relating to a contact tracing app. “41% of respondents could see no reason not to install the app. The remaining 59% of respondents selected at least one option from a list of 10 options. ‘I worry technology companies will use this as an excuse for greater surveillance after the pandemic’ was selected by 41% of these, ‘I worry the government would use this as an excuse for greater surveillance after the pandemic’ was chosen by 33% and ‘I worry that my phone would be more likely to get hacked’ was selected by 1,742 (22%) of respondents. It is important, therefore, that those particular concerns be addressed if we are to ensure the greatest possible adoption of this technology,” Dr O’Callaghan said. “Clear timelines on when this app would be wound down and how Bluetooth technology will allow information to be exchanged between phones are important messages that need to be communicated widely,” he added. Dr O’Callaghan also said while the international evidence suggests that contact tracing apps are best employed as complementary to a manual tracing process, this study indicates a significant majority of the Irish general public are currently willing to download an app which aims to augment the contact tracing process. Professor Liam Glynn, Professor of General Practice at UL’s School of Medicine and co-founder of #COVIDWATCHIRL, stressed that app download and ongoing use are two separate challenges. To ensure both occur, it will be essential to generate and communicate ongoing evidence to the general public and all other stakeholders that this app is useful to our country’s contact tracing efforts. “It may be beneficial to keep the public informed on key data relating to the app, including downloads, active users and numbers of cases where the app has helped contact tracing efforts etc. People have indicated a clear willingness to help, but experience from other countries shows that intent to download does not always translate into actually downloading and using contact tracing apps. Allowing the general public to see in real-time the public health benefits of this app may help maintain public interest,” he said. “Data from other countries suggest a significant response from early adopters, followed by a swift plateauing. However, these countries are reducing transmission and overall healthcare burden from COVID-19 effectively, so societal concern is likely to be declining. With the considerable uncertainty that prevails over the COVID-19 pandemic, it seems prudent for all countries to continue contact tracing app development and deployment,” he added. According to Dr Jim Buckley of Lero and UL, analysis of free-text responses in the survey also yielded interesting insights. “Concerns regarding battery life and Bluetooth led some respondents to suggest that a means to automatically enabling Bluetooth when users leaves their home or workplace should be integrated into the app. Another suggestion involved setting times for the app to be active, which could be entered by the user in advance according to their work, travel or shopping schedule,” he said. -Ends-

Tuesday, 23 June 2020

NUI Galway study finds that wet wipes and sanitary towels are an underestimated source of white microplastic fibres in the marine environment and 50 percent of wet wipe brands tested in this study that were labelled ‘flushable’ contained plastic fibres Researchers from Earth and Ocean Sciences and the Ryan Institute at NUI Galway have carried out a study on the contribution of widely flushed personal care textile products (wet wipes and sanitary towels) to the ocean plastic crisis. Dr Liam Morrison led the study, which showed that sediments adjacent to a wastewater treatment plant are consistently strewn with white microplastic fibres that are comparable to those from commercially available consumer sanitary products (wet wipes and sanitary towels).  The article has been published in the international journal Water Research and was co-authored by NUI Galway PhD student Ana Mendes and Maynooth University graduate Oisín Ó Briain. In most studies to date, white fibres are likely underestimated, because of the commonly used filtration procedure to capture microplastic fibres as filters are commonly white, making visual identification of microscopic white fibres against a white background difficult. This is significant given the global growth of non-woven synthetic fibre products and their ubiquity in wastewater. Speaking today, President of NUI Galway, Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh said: “Our University has made sustainability a strategic priority, and for the world to address climate change, we have a duty to examine the behaviour of individuals and corporations that can help our planet.  This research highlights the need for us to adapt our behaviours and tackle the ubiquity of plastic in so many products.” An urban rural gradient involving three locations from Galway City (close to Mutton Island and adjacent to a wastewater treatment plant) to counties Clare (Bell Harbour) and Mayo (Bellacragher) were investigated in this study. The total number of fibres found near Mutton Island was 6083 microplastics fibres per kilogram of sediment, while the rural sites had much lower levels (Bell Harbour, 1627 and Bellacragher 316). The total number of white fibres was 5536, 788, and 265 per kilogram of sediment for Mutton Island, Bell harbour and Bellacragher respectively. Incredibly, 91% of microplastic fibres at Mutton Island are likely derived from wet wipes and sanitary towels. Lead researcher of the study, Dr Liam Morrison from Earth and Ocean Sciences and Ryan Institute at NUI Galway, said: “COVID-19 may have brought its own challenges for the oceans including the increased use of disinfectant wipes during the pandemic which potentially may end up as microplastic fibres in the sea. It is widely known that microplastics can act as vectors for contaminants including bacteria and viruses and are potentially harmful for public health and marine life.” The nearby intertidal zone at Mutton Island is prone to the accumulation of high volumes of washed-up sewage-derived debris on a frequent basis. Excessive microplastic loading in sediments in December 2017 was likely induced by heavy precipitation episodes during a south-westerly storm front. Elevated debris loading on this occasion may result from combined sewer overflows, where excessive input of drainage water exceeds wastewater treatment effluent capacity and is released untreated in the overflow. Dr Morrison said: “This was significant in the context of climate change, where we are likely to see increased rainfall events and flooding.” While most microplastics may be removed by the wastewater treatment process, combined sewage overflows associated with periods of heavy rainfall give rise to the release of sewage waste containing wipes and sanitary towels, impacting on public health and the environment. Combined sewer overflows and the subsequent shoreline deposition of sanitary waste have not previously been thoroughly investigated as a source of white microplastic fibres in the marine environment. The study found that wet wipes and sanitary towels are a source of unaccounted white microplastic fibres in the marine environment and not all flushable wipes are biodegradable. In fact 50% of the wipes labelled “flushable” in this study were shown to contain microplastics. The lack of regulation for hygiene and sanitary products results in a failure to identify the plastic composition of these materials. This demonstrates the consequences of misleading labelling of non-woven textile personal care products. The samples of sanitary-related macro debris (wipes and sanitary towels) collected from the intertidal zone near Mutton Island in Galway City following a heavy rainfall event were mostly comprised of the plastic polyethylene terephthalate (PET), with only a quarter of the samples analysed presenting as a mix of PET and cellulose, and over 80% of the wipes in the shoreline waste were identified as non-flushable due to their polymer composition following the International Water Services Flushability Group and non-woven textile industry guidelines (INDA/EDANA, 2018; IWSFG, 2018). Given the global distribution and projected growth of the non-woven textile industry (as non-woven textiles form the base material of many sanitary products), this is a concern. European production of non-woven textiles for hygiene and sanitary products exceeded one million tonnes in 2016 alone and these products frequently cause blockages in sewage systems globally, incurring significant technical and financial costs to wastewater utilities. These products are a consistent feature of global plastic pollution surveys and in comparison, microplastic fibres from clothing are generally coloured or multi-coloured. To date the role of these white microplastic fibres as significant components of wastewater effluent remained poorly understood. The quantities of wet wipes washing up on beaches in the UK has increased 400% in the last decade (Marine Conservation Society, 2019*). Dr Morrison added: “There is a need for increased public awareness of microplastic pollution in the environment and human behaviour should shift away from the inapt disposal of sanitary products down the toilet and instead divert to alternative land-based waste management.” Funding for the study was based on research grant-aided by the Marine Institute and funded by the Marine Research Programme of the Irish Government under the framework of the JPI Oceans (PLASTOX).(Grant-Aid Agreement No. PBA/ME/15/03). -Ends- *Reference:  MCS, 2019. Great British Beach Clean 2019 Report. Marine Conservation Society, Herefordshire, UK.

Monday, 22 June 2020

The Sexual Experiences Survey also stresses the need for on-campus action Today NUI Galway’s Active* Consent Programme in partnership with the Union of Students in Ireland (USI) launched national survey results focused on students’ sexual violence and harassment experiences in higher education institutions. A total of 6,026 students completed the survey between February and April of 2020. The Sexual Experiences Survey is the first national survey addressing university students’ sexual experiences in eight years. It is an inclusive ‘campus climate’ survey that assesses experiences of consent education and help seeking knowledge, gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, and disability, providing an unprecedentedly applied and intersectional view of sexual violence and harassment in the Irish college experience. Key Findings: 29% of females, 10% of males, and 28% of non-binary students reported non-consensual penetration by incapacitation, force, or threat of force during their time in college. Of the students who reported experiencing non-consensual penetration through force or threat of force, or while incapacitated and unable to give consent, 49% of males, 35% of females, and 25% of non-binary students said they had not disclosed the incident to anyone prior to taking part in the survey. Among this group of students who did not disclose, 54% of females, 37% of males, and 33% of non-binary students said they did not disclose the incident because they thought it was not serious enough. Just over half of first year students reported experiencing sexual harassment in the form of some form of sexual hostility since beginning college. This rose to 62% for second year students, and 66% for undergraduate students in third year or higher. Sexist hostility was the most common form of harassment experienced by all student groups, ranging from 46% of Asian students to 70% of white Irish students. Students identifying as Asian or Asian Irish consistently reported the lowest rates of sexual misconduct and sexual harassment. Students from other White backgrounds, Black or Black Irish backgrounds and other backgrounds reported similar rates across most items. Over half of students with a disability reported an experience of sexual misconduct by any tactic (56%), compared with 42% of other students. Over 40% of students said they had a high level of awareness of four services that respond to students affected by misconduct – the Counselling Service, Student Services, the Health Unit, and Students’ Union Welfare Officer. Those undergraduate students who had attended workshops, events, and talks related to sexual conduct consistently reported higher awareness of supports and services compared with students who had no exposure to consent education of this kind. The Sexual Experiences Survey collected online survey responses from approximately 6,026 students, with coverage of 21 third level campuses across the Republic of Ireland, mainly from 14 colleges where all students were emailed before COVID-19 lockdown. The survey was a collaborative project between the Active* Consent team at NUI Galway and the Union of Students in Ireland (USI). Active* Consent is a four year programme of research and practical implementation of initiatives such as Active* Consent and SMART Consent Workshops and drama presentations. This report highlights those parts of the survey that addressed sexual violence and harassment among third level students and awareness and appraisal of college supports. This helps to address the gap in our knowledge on these issues at a national level, support implementation of the Department of Education and Skills ‘Consent Framework’, and the development of campus action plans. USI Vice-President for Welfare, Róisín O’Donovan said: “The USI was really pleased to partner with NUI Galway Active* Consent on the Sexual Experiences Survey to address some of the gaps in our knowledge around student perceptions and practices regarding sexual consent and misconduct. The fact that this survey received 6,000 responses shows this remains a huge issue among students, and we now have a lot of up-to-date information on students’ experiences. The last big survey like this we were involved in was the USI 'Say Something' survey back in 2013, so it was important we updated our knowledge. “While a lot of work has been done in raising awareness of issues around consent, this research shows a gap in knowledge of how to report and what happens and should happen when a student makes a disclosure or report. “In the survey just over 70 per cent of respondents who experienced sexual misconduct said they don’t understand what happens when a student reports an incident to their college, while only 16 per cent, again who had an experience, said they had received information on where to get help from their institution and only just under 10 per cent said they knew how to report an incident. These are areas that can be addressed very quickly by Higher Institutions and that needs to be one of the on-campus actions taken as a result of these survey findings.” Dr Pádraig MacNeela, Senior Lecturer in Psychology in NUI Galway, report co-author and Active* Consent programme leader, said: “The SES survey findings provide a stark depiction of the experiences that many students have had. Over 1,000 of the female students who took part in the survey described incidents that correspond to rape, while one quarter of male students said they had been subject to sexual misconduct during their time in college. Bisexual, non-binary, and queer students described particularly high levels of sexual harassment. “The survey findings also reveal positives about our campus climate. Most students took part in events, workshops, or other initiatives designed to prevent sexual misconduct. Those who took part were a lot more likely to be aware of supports and services. A majority of students agreed that their peers would be supportive if they were to disclose experiences of sexual misconduct, and trusted their college to be fair in how they deal with reports of sexual violence. These are positives, but students who had experienced sexual misconduct tended to be less trusting of the college or to expect their peers to be supportive.” Dr Lorraine Burke, NUI Galway Post-Doctoral Researcher, report co-author, said: “The SES survey shows there is a gap that our colleges need to make up in order to respond to students’ needs. Not only the needs of the large percentage of students who are directly affected by sexual misconduct and harassment, but also their peers – the people they are most likely to share these experiences with and who will be best placed as active bystanders to intervene to prevent future incidents. “Fortunately, the Department of Education and Skills supports the Consent Framework launched in 2019, which is one of the most progressive policies that there is internationally. Thanks to these efforts of Minister for Higher Education Mary Mitchell O’Connor, Ireland has the opportunity to take a stand on sexual violence and harassment, to make a difference in the lives of students, and to be a best practice role model for the rest of our society.” The survey report can be found at http://www.nuigalway.ie/student-life/student-support/active-consent/our-research/ from 12noon on Monday, 22 June, 2020.  -Ends-

Monday, 22 June 2020

Findings from a nationwide survey has found that almost a fifth of respondents under the age of 25 report feeling anxious as the country emerges from lockdown while older people are most concerned about contracting the virus. The findings are from phase four of the Corona Citizens’ Science Study*, a population-wide survey conducted by research teams at NUI Galway, Dublin City University and the Insight SFI Centre for Data Analytics (NUI Galway) looking at the impact of the coronavirus pandemic and the associated restrictive measures (lockdown, social distancing) on daily life in Ireland. Over 2,500 people responded to the survey. 50% indicated that they feel the government is balancing the removal of restrictions with that of social and economic well-being.  52% of respondents reported wearing face masks while 73% said they would wear a face mask if it meant reducing the distance from 2 metres to 1 metre. Half of all respondents said they adhered to all the restrictions that were in place while 44% said they broke some of them occasionally.  73% said Covid-19 had no impact on their sex life. However, 42% of those under 25 and a third of 25-35 year olds said it had a negative impact. 46% of people said they smoked more during lockdown and half of respondents said their drinking habits changed. The survey found that four out of every ten began to exercise more. Dr Akke Vellinga, Epidemiologist/Senior Lecturer, NUI Galway, joint research lead said: “Reading through over 800 comments left by respondents, it becomes clear that working parents feel under extreme pressure juggling working from home while looking after their children and keeping up with schooling. Similarly, mental health problems, in particular social anxiety, are felt by many respondents, and there are little supports available to help this group. Another interesting finding was that 20% of respondents indicated that last winter they suffered flu-like symptoms that would now be considered Covid-19.” Professor Anthony Staines, Professor of Health Systems, DCU and joint research lead said: “There’s still anxiety about moving out of lockdown, but people feel the government is getting the balance right. The level of social anxiety expressed is of concern, and suggests the mental and physical health effects of this pandemic may need equal attention. The pent-up health service demand will be very challenging for us to meet.” Medical Appointments The number of people who have postponed medical treatment or check-ups remained the same as previous waves at about 31%. 52% said it is mainly because the healthcare professional is not seeing any patients at the moment. 36% say they don’t want to create an extra burden and 24% are worried about the risk of catching Covid-19. Postponed treatments are mainly GP appointments (36%); dental treatment (42%) and routine check-ups (40%) but respondents also indicated postponing surgery and psychological consultations. Emotional Well-being About 58% (1488) of respondents indicated to be more or even much more anxious while 10% indicated to be less anxious. The anxiety is mainly due to the worry of catching the virus (70%); 35% also indicated worry about other health problems; 34% about the relaxation of restrictions; 25% about their finances or their business. Relatively more people worry about working from home (31%) and 29% about their child’s schooling. Tensions in the household have remained more or less the same as previous waves. Much more tension compared to usual is recorded in about 8-10% of the households and a little more in a quarter of the households. Employment/Working from home Most people were employed (69%) while, similar to other surveys, students made up 4%, and homemakers 8% but a higher percentage were retired respondents (12%). Of the people who were in employment (1923), 61% are currently working from home and 20% indicated to be an essential worker. Of the people who were in employment and working from home (1180), 23% indicated they wanted to continue working from home, but most (60%) would like a combination of on-site and working from home. About 15% are worried about being made redundant- younger age groups more so than older. School/Childcare 68% of respondents had children (1753). Of that, 47% felt that their child/children suffered a bit and 33% felt their child suffered a lot due to the lack of social interaction. 68% (747) indicated they would send their child to school if schools were to reopen in the morning. Of the parents who need childcare in September (602), 44% do not have any arrangement in place yet. In relation to college, most respondents said they are still going ahead with this plan (71%), while 17% have not decided yet and 6% intend to defer due to uncertainty. General Health/Well-being The number of people who report flu-like symptoms dropped to 2% (previously 2.5%, 3% and 6% in the first wave). The main symptoms reported are shifting a little; tired/exhaustion 60% (previously 66%); sore throat 40% (previously 48%); dry/throaty cough 26% (previously 28% and in April 38%); runny nose 46% (previously 32% down from 37% in April) and/or muscle pain 27% (previously 32% down from 38% in April). If a Covid-19 vaccine were to become available, 59% (1543) say they will get it, 32% (842) maybe and 8% not. This is similar to the people who say they will get a flu-vaccine this year (57%) even though only 35% said they got the flu-vaccine last year. If antibody testing were available, 48% (1258) would do this immediately and 44% (1150) if medically indicated, while 7% (189) do not want an antibody test. Sexual relationships have not been affected by Covid-19 for 73% of the respondents, but 10% indicated better and 18% worse relationships. The negative impact on sexual relationships is particularly felt by younger age groups with the under 25 age group (42%) and 29% of 25-35 year olds. Of respondents who smoke (12% of the total sample), 46% indicated they smoke more while 18% smoke less. Drinking habits changed for 50% of people (2113) and 28% indicated to drink more while 22% drank less. Exercise has increased for 40% (1033); 24% (632) exercise less and 36% of respondents have put on weight, while 13% lost some. Demographics Mean age was 47 and median age was 47, which is similar to the other surveys. About 23% of respondents were male and 77% female. Age groups were well represented, with about 54% of the people between 35 and 54; 5% under the age of 25 and 10% were 65 or older. Education remained high- 70% had a university degree, similar to the previous waves. Dublin had the highest number of respondents with 28% (previous 43%, 41% and 38%) and Galway 28% (previously 16%, 14% and 12%; Cork 7% (previous 8%, 7% and 6%) and all other counties were represented at less than 5%. *Corona Citizens’ Science Study

Saturday, 20 June 2020

Dhá cheann déag de Scoláireachtaí nua Fógartha do Ghrúpaí Leochaileacha Inimirceoirí agus Lucht Siúil na hÉireann Mar aitheantas ar Lá Domhanda na dTeifeach ar an 20 Meitheamh, tá sé fógartha ag OÉ Gaillimh go bhfuil líon na n-áiteanna ar an gClár Scoláireachta Ollscoile Tearmainn ardaithe ó naoi scoláireacht go dhá cheann déag don bhliain acadúil 2020-2021. Beidh scoláireachtaí ar fáil do chúrsaí fochéime agus iarchéime san ollscoil, agus beidh iarrthóirí tearmainn, teifigh, grúpaí inimirceoirí leochaileacha agus lucht siúil na hÉireann i dteideal cur isteach orthu. Mar Ollscoil Tearmainn ainmnithe, tá OÉ Gaillimh tiomanta aghaidh a thabhairt ar na leibhéil ísle rannpháirtíochta atá ag grúpaí leochaileacha ag an tríú leibhéal, agus beidh an clár scoláireachta mar bhonn taca do bhunluachanna an Ómóis, an Bharr Feabhais agus na hOscailteachta a sonraíodh inár bPlean Straitéiseach 2020-2025. Agus é ag labhairt inniu, bhí an méid seo a leanas le rá ag Uachtarán OÉ Gaillimh, an tOllamh Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh: “Inár straitéis nua-sheolta, Fís i gCoiteann, Múnlaithe ag Luachanna, thug OÉ Gaillimh, mar Ollscoil Tearmainn nua-ainmnithe, tiomantas do leas an phobail agus do na comhluachanna mar atá meas, oscailteacht, barr feabhais agus inbhuanaitheacht. Leagamar romhainn meas a bheith againn ar gach ball dár bpobal agus a bheith oscailte do – agus fáilte a chur roimh – gach ceann dár bpobail, lena n-áirítear na pobail siúd nach luíonn go traidisiúnta linn. Mar sin seasaimid leis na daoine ar fad a imríodh cos ar bolg orthu de bharr an leithcheala agus an – go hidirnáisiúnta agus inár bpobal féin. Seasaimid agus nílimid inár dtost. Seasaimid gualainn ar ghualainn lena chéile, agus an tuiscint againn gurb éigean dúinn an ceart a dhéanamh agus gurb éigean dúinn iarracht níos fearr a dhéanamh ar uairibh freisin. Is mór againn beatha an chine ghoirm. Black Lives Matter. Agus is mór againn uile é seo.” Seo mar a labhair an tOllamh Anne Scott, an Leas-Uachtarán Comhionannais agus Éagsúlachta: "Fágann géarchéim Covid-19 go bhfuil an deighilt sa tsochaí idir iad siúd atá in ann rochtain a fháil ar acmhainní oideachais agus iad siúd a bhíonn orthu streachailt a lánacmhainneacht a bhaint amach mar thoradh ar chúinsí sóisialta ag éirí níos follasaí.  Agus an tiomantas an scéim scoláireachta seo a leathnú déanta ag an Ollscoil anois, tráth a mbeidh brú airgeadais ag teacht orainn, léiríonn sé an creideamh atá againn gur anois an t-am, níos mó ná riamh, tuilleadh tacaíochta a chur ar fáil chun rochtain ar an oideachas a leathnú agus dul i ngleic leis an éagothroime." Osclófar an próiseas iarratais ag tús mhí Iúil, agus is féidir le hiarrthóirí ionchasacha cuairt a thabhairt ar www.nuigalway.ie/sanctuary, nó ríomhphost a sheoladh chuig uni.sanctuary@nuigalway.ie chun sonraí a fháil.  -Críoch-

Saturday, 20 June 2020

Twelve new Scholarships Announced for Vulnerable Immigrant Groups and Irish Travellers To mark World Refugee Day on June 20th, NUI Galway has announced the expansion of its University of Sanctuary Scholarship Programme from nine scholarships to twelve for the 2020-2021 academic year. Scholarships will be available for both undergraduate and postgraduate courses at the university, and will be open to asylum seekers, refugees, vulnerable immigrant groups, and Irish Travellers. As a designated University of Sanctuary, NUI Galway is committed to addressing low levels of participation at third level amongst vulnerable groups, and the scholarship programme underpins the pillars of Respect, Excellence, and Openness within our Strategic Plan 2020-2025. Speaking today, President of NUI Galway, Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh said: “In our recently-launched strategy, Shared Vision, Shaped by Values, we as NUI Galway, and as a recently-designated University of Sanctuary, committed ourselves to the public good and to shared values of respect, openness, excellence and sustainability. We committed ourselves to respect all members of our community and to be open to – to embrace – all of our communities, including and especially those who have not found our context to be their own. We therefore stand with all of those – globally and in our own community – who have felt the pressure of discrimination and dispossession on their necks. We stand and we are not silent. We stand and we stand in solidarity, knowing that we need to do right and that we need to sometimes do better too. Black Lives Matter. This matters to us all” Professor Anne Scott, NUI Galway’s Vice President for Equality and Diversity, added: “The COVID-19 crisis has further exposed divisions in our society between those who can access educational resources and those who due to social circumstances are struggling to reach their potential.  The University’s commitment to expanding this scholarship scheme at a time when we face straitened financial resources highlights our belief that now more than ever we need to offer greater supports to broaden access to education and tackle inequality.” The application process will open in early July, and potential applicants can visit www.nuigalway.ie/sanctuary, or email uni.sanctuary@nuigalway.ie   for details.  -Ends-

Friday, 19 June 2020

NUI Galway Biomedical Engineer Dr Eimear Dolan has been named in MIT Technology Review’s prestigious annual list of Innovators Under 35 as one of ten global visionaries. Every year, the MIT Technology Review recognises a list of exceptionally talented technologists whose work has great potential to transform the world. Dr Dolan and colleagues have developed a soft robotic device to improve the long-term performance of implanted medical devices. Their innovation counters what is known as the ‘foreign body response’.  When the body senses an implanted foreign object, it constructs protective tissue to defend the body from this foreign object. This response is one of the main reasons why medical implants fail. Speaking today, NUI Galway’s Dean of Science and Engineering Professor Walter Gear said: “This acknowledgement of Eimear’s work is a fitting testament to her innovation and drive, and highlights the culture of excellence in NUI Galway and our region’s MedTech hub.  By joining such notable figures as the co-founders of Google with this recognition, Dr Dolan is firmly on the map as an innovator who will make a global impact.  We are pleased and proud to welcome such a world-class innovator back to her alma mater.”   Gideon Lichfield, editor in chief of MIT Technology Review, said: “MIT Technology Review’s annual Innovators Under 35 list is a chance for us to honor the outstanding people behind the breakthrough technologies of the year that have the potential to disrupt our lives. These profiles offer a glimpse into what the face of technology looks like today as well as in the future.” Reacting to this prestigious honour, Dr Eimear Dolan from Garrymore, Co. Mayo, said: “It’s a real honour to be listed as a visionary on MIT Technology Review’s Innovators under 35 list. It is very exciting to receive this acknowledgement which highlights our work nationally and internationally. I have been very fortunate to have excellent mentors, colleagues and collaborators throughout my career so far and am delighted to be part of the innovative and vibrant community at NUI Galway.” For more information about this year’s honorees on the MIT Technology Review visit https://www.technologyreview.com/innovators-under-35/2020/. The honorees are also invited to participate at the upcoming EmTech MIT conference, MIT Technology Review’s annual flagship event that offers a carefully curated perspective on the most significant developments of the year, with a focus on understanding their potential economic and societal impact. EmTech MIT will be held virtually October 20 - 22, 2020. -Ends-

Friday, 19 June 2020

Aaron Hannon, a research fellow at the Translational Medical Device Lab at NUI Galway has been shortlisted to the last 20 of the Junior Chamber International (JCI) Ten Outstanding Young Persons of the Year Award. This programme honours ten outstanding young people under the age of 40 each year, individuals who exemplify the spirit of the JCI Mission and provide extraordinary service to their communities. These ten young active citizens will be honoured during the 2020 JCI World Congress, due to be held in Yokahama, Japan in November.  Speaking on the shortlisting Aaron said: “Being nominated is a reflection on how lucky I am to have worked with so many amazing people – I have the incredible honour of being supported by outstanding colleagues at the Translational Medical Device Lab, LaunchPad and the School of Medicine at NUI Galway. This honour is a result of their excellence and support and I’m grateful to count on them, and on family and friends.” Narrowing the 2020 top twenty finalists to the final ten honourees will be done by the judging panel, but also by public popular online vote. Congratulating Aaron on the shortlisting announcement, Professor Martin O’Halloran, Director of the Translational Device Lab at NUI Galway, said: “Aaron is a stellar engineer, innovator and researcher. But what has really impressed me about Aaron are his other attributes- his leadership, his emotional intelligence and the humility with which he approaches his work. He is a great example of all that is good in the next generation of Irish innovators.” Originally County Mayo, Aaron first got involved in medical device innovation designing for his grandfather, who suffered from severe post-stroke paralysis. He created a voice-controlled automatic shaving device, and founded a start-up to bring that device to more people. Aaron later started Lily Devices, a research project aiming to prevent hair loss from chemotherapy. Through talking directly with patients, he is researching a comfortable and elegant device that would prevent hair loss during chemotherapy, and he is leading a team at NUI Galway who have secured funding from Enterprise Ireland to continue researching hair loss prevention solutions for chemotherapy patients. The Lily Devices Team has won numerous national and international accolades, like the EIT Health Headstart Award, as well as first place in CRAASH Barcelona, a Europe-wide accelerator program for medical device start-ups. He was named Mayo’s Best Young Entrepreneur of the Year in 2019. Since the beginning of the global pandemic Aaron has dedicated his time to the needs of patients battling COVID-19. He led two multidisciplinary teams to develop a solution for open-sourced, low cost ventilators, and hopes devices like this can be used in the longer term to reduce inequality in medical device innovation. Aaron and Medical student Emily Wallace were instrumental in fundraising for emergency ventilators and raised €150,000 through a Go Fund Me initiative.     Aaron uses his design, engineering and entrepreneurship background to keep patients at the center of the design process specifically to improve quality of life. He believes in giving back to his community by providing STEM education opportunities to young people. To vote for Aaron Hannon to get to the final of the JCI Ten Outstanding Persons of the World at https://toyp.jci.cc/ -Ends-

Thursday, 18 June 2020

New NUI Galway and University of Liege study show false widow spider can potentially deliver a more toxic bite than previously thought A team of scientists from NUI Galway and the University of Liege in Belgium have investigated the genetic and venom makeup of the Noble False widow spider, which is considered the most venomous spider in Ireland and the UK, and has been spreading worldwide over the past two decades. Results show that the Noble false widow spider produces a range of toxins found in Black widow venom. Just as the majority of black widow bites are not serious, so far most of the recorded bites from false widows are mild. However, this new study demonstrates that the venom of the Noble false widow spider can potentially deliver a more toxic bite than previously thought. These findings will help medical professionals to recognised and treat symptoms related to false widow bites. The Noble false widow spider Steatoda nobilis originates from the Canary Islands and Madeira but has now spread throughout Europe, North Africa, West Asia and parts of North and South America. In parts of Ireland and the UK, it is one of the most common species of spiders in and around urban habitats. Venomous bites are becoming more prevalent, with victims usually experiencing intense pain and swelling for a few days. In some cases, victims have developed small wounds at the bite site, malaise and persistent stiffness in limbs. Scientists at NUI Galway and the University of Liege used cutting-edge genetic and protein-based methods to identify the toxins responsible for these symptoms. Out of a total of 140 toxins recovered, 111 were also found in their infamous cousins the “true” Black widows, including α-latrotoxins, the compounds known to disrupt the central nervous system of vertebrates, including humans. Dr Michel Dugon, head of the NUI Galway Venom Systems Lab said: “We know very little about spider venom and the way toxins act on the nervous system of animals and humans. The False widow spider is a new addition to Irish ecosystems and it is here to stay. It is therefore important to learn about its ecology and the potential risks associated with its bite.” John Dunbar, doctoral student in the Venom Systems and Proteomics Lab at NUI Galway and lead author of the study said: “Although our study shows that the venom of false widow spiders may be more potent than previously thought, it does not mean we need to fear them. In many parts of the world even “true” black widow bites rarely require medical attention. However, this new discovery will ultimately help medical professionals to diagnose and treat severe false widow bites.” This study is published in the Journal Toxins and is available at https://www.mdpi.com/2072-6651/12/6/402/htm -Ends-

Wednesday, 17 June 2020

The genome of an adult male from the heart of the world famous Newgrange passage tomb points to first-degree incest, implying dynasty and echoing local place-name folklore first recorded in Medieval times Far-flung kinship ties between Newgrange and passage tomb cemeteries in the west (Carrowkeel and Carrowmore, Co. Sligo) indicate an elite social stratum was widespread Before megalith builders arrived en masse, Ireland was home to a small hunter-gatherer population, whose genomes speak of long-term isolation from Britain and from Europe but there was some inter-breeding between this hunter-gatherer population and the incoming megalith builders on the Burren in County Clare The earliest case of Down Syndrome was discovered in a male infant from the famous Poulnabrone portal tomb A team of archaeologists and geneticists have shed new light on the earliest periods of Ireland’s human history. The survey of ancient Irish genomes, published today in leading international journal, Nature, suggests a man who had been buried in this chamber belonged to a dynastic elite. The research, led by the team from Trinity College Dublin, was carried out in collaboration with colleagues from NUI Galway, University College London, University College Cork, University of Cambridge, Queen’s University Belfast, Sligo Institute of Technology and the National Monuments Service, with support from the National Museum of Ireland and National Museums Northern Ireland. Among their incredible findings is the discovery that the genome of an adult male buried in the heart of the Newgrange passage tomb points to first-degree incest, implying he was among a ruling social elite akin to the similarly inbred Inca god-kings and Egyptian pharaohs. Older than the pyramids, Newgrange passage tomb in Ireland is world famous for its annual solar alignment where the winter solstice sunrise illuminates its sacred inner chamber in a golden blast of light. However, little is known about who was interred in the heart of this imposing 200,000 tonne monument or of the Neolithic society which built it over 5,000 years ago. “I’d never seen anything like it,” said Dr Lara Cassidy, Trinity, first author of the paper. “We all inherit two copies of the genome, one from our mother and one from our father; well, this individual’s copies were extremely similar, a tell-tale sign of close inbreeding. In fact, our analyses allowed us to confirm that his parents were first-degree relatives.” Matings of this type (e.g. brother-sister unions) are a near universal taboo for entwined cultural and biological reasons. The only confirmed social acceptances of first-degree incest are found among the elites – typically within a deified royal family. By breaking the rules, the elite separates itself from the general population, intensifying hierarchy and legitimizing power. Public ritual and extravagant monumental architecture often co-occur with dynastic incest, to achieve the same ends. “Here the auspicious location of the male skeletal remains is matched by the unprecedented nature of his ancient genome,” said Professor of Population Genetics at Trinity, Dan Bradley. “The prestige of the burial makes this very likely a socially sanctioned union and speaks of a hierarchy so extreme that the only partners worthy of the elite were family members.” The team also unearthed a web of distant familial relations between this man and other individuals from sites of the passage tomb tradition across the country, namely the mega-cemeteries of Carrowmore and Carrowkeel in Co. Sligo, and the Millin Bay monument in Co. Down. “It seems what we have here is a powerful extended kin-group, who had access to elite burial sites in many regions of the island for at least half a millennium,” added Dr Cassidy. Interestingly, one of the authors of the study, Dr Ros Ó Maoldúin, a Senior Archaeologist with Archaeological Management Solutions who received his PhD from NUI Galway recognised that a medieval myth resonates with these results and with the Newgrange solar phenomenon. First recorded in the 11th century AD, four millennia after construction, the story tells of a builder-king who restarted the daily solar cycle by sleeping with his sister. The Middle Irish place name for the neighbouring Dowth passage tomb, Fertae Chuile, is based on this lore and can be translated as ‘Hill of Sin’. “Given the world-famous solstice alignments of Brú na Bóinne, the magical solar manipulations in this myth already had scholars questioning how long an oral tradition could survive,” said Dr Ó Maoldúin. “To now discover a potential prehistoric precedent for the incestuous aspect is extraordinary.” The genome survey stretched over two millennia and unearthed other unexpected results. Within the oldest known burial structure on the island, Poulnabrone portal tomb, the earliest yet diagnosed case of Down Syndrome was discovered in a male infant who was buried there five and a half thousand years ago. Isotope analyses of this infant showed a dietary signature of breastfeeding. In combination, this provides an indication that visible difference was not a barrier to prestige burial in the deep past. Other significant findings came from the analyses of individuals buried in the Parknabinnia court tomb which was excavated by a team led by NUI Galway archaeologist Dr Carleton Jones. Here, a significant difference in the frequency of two Y chromosome haplogroups was found between individuals buried in the Parknabinnia monument and those buried in the nearby Poulnabrone portal tomb which suggests that distinct male line descent groups built and used these monuments. This is a remarkable discovery as the use of these two monuments overlapped for several centuries and they are both located on the Burren only 10km apart. The people who built and used both Parknabinnia and Poulnabrone were some of the earliest farmers in Ireland, descended from groups that arrived in Ireland shortly after 4000 BC, but what became of the earlier hunter-gatherer groups that inhabited Ireland for many thousands of years before these farmers arrived has long been an open question. One of the individuals from Parknabinnia tested in this study goes some of the way to answering this interesting question. “This individual could trace their ancestry to both the newly arrived farmers and to the indigenous hunter-gatherers of Ireland, showing that at least some mixing of these disparate populations occurred”, said Dr Carleton Jones. Genomes from the rare remains of Irish hunter-gatherers themselves showed they were most closely related to the hunter-gatherer populations from Britain (e.g. Cheddar Man) and northwest mainland Europe. However, unlike British samples, these earliest Irelanders had the genetic imprint of a prolonged island isolation. This fits with what we know about prehistoric sea levels after the Ice Age: Britain maintained a land bridge to the continent long after the retreat of the glaciers, while Ireland was separated by sea and its small early populations must have arrived in primitive boats. This work was funded by a Science Foundation Ireland/Health Research Board/Wellcome Trust Biomedical Research Partnership Investigator Award to Dan Bradley and an earlier Irish Research Council Government of Ireland Scholarship to Lara Cassidy. -Ends-

Wednesday, 17 June 2020

Special Online Symposium – 'Trials in a Pandemic - embracing flexibility and ensuring integrity' The Health Research Board - Trials Methodology Research Network (HRB-TMRN) based in the School of Nursing and Midwifery at NUI Galway, in collaboration with colleagues in the University College Dublin and the University of Aberdeen, are hosting an special online symposium to address and engage in discussion on the conduct of trials in a pandemic. The symposium, Trials in a Pandemic – embracing flexibility and ensuring integrity, will take place from 30 June to 1 July. The initiative is one of the many ways researchers in NUI Galway, University College Dublin and the University of Aberdeen are meeting the challenges faced by the scientific community from COVID-19. In the face of the pandemic, many non-COVID-19 clinical trials have paused activity and many new clinical trials addressing new treatments for COVID-19, including vaccinations, have commenced globally. Ireland is one of the many global sites currently recruiting patients to COVID-19 clinical trials. Topics included in this free online event include: Conducting trials in a pandemic – shared experiences in navigating uncertainty; Current knowledge needs for COVID-19 trials; Mapping trials in a pandemic and reducing research waste; and Post-pandemic era – lessons for the future of trial research. A full list of invited speakers is available on the HRB-TMRN website at https://bit.ly/2YGkdPH' Professor Declan Devane, Scientific Director of the Health Research Board - Trials Methodology Research Network at NUI Galway said: “COVID-19 is a complex disease and there is relatively limited knowledge on the disease progression, its prevention, treatment and its impact. However, the global research response has been rapid, collaborative and extensive. This includes accelerated programs to develop a vaccine and other interventions for the prevention and treatment of the disease. The response is such that new knowledge is generated daily and will likely continue to do so as the pandemic unfolds. However, there are challenges in conducting COVID-19 trials and COVID-19 has impacted on heavily on the conduct of research focusing on other areas of health. This symposium brings together leading researchers who will share their experiences, knowledge and insights, which will help inform decisions on how we continue to do high quality research in and after a pandemic.” Dr Sandra Galvin, HRB-TMRN Programme Manager at NUI Galway, said: “The challenges facing the trial community to ensure the delivery of well-designed and managed clinical trials are significant. The speed at which research is happening is at unprecedented levels, and scientists have had to adapt to big changes. The HRB-TMRN actively supports the trial community in delivering the best methodological approaches to trials, and this event will help share valuable experiences by experts in this area both nationally and internationally.” Speaking about the initiative, Dr Mairead O’ Driscoll, Interim Chief Executive at the Health Research Board, said:  “Quick thinking and rapid response is essential during a pandemic. It is important that speed is matched with research quality and integrity. Having proper trial methodology, regulatory structures and an open approach to sharing findings is vital because we must build public confidence in decision making about new treatments, vaccines or practice. This symposium provides the perfect platform to centralise expertise on conduct of trials during a pandemic, share learning and inform future decisions.” The event is funded by the Health Research Board. For further information, visit: www.hrb-tmrn.ie or email hrb-tmrn@nuigalway.ie. Follow on Twitter @hrbtmrn. -Ends-

Wednesday, 17 June 2020

Report from Institute of Public Health and NUI Galway shows concerning frequency of sunburn  HEALTH experts are emphasising the need to protect children’s skin in the sun as new research shows that nine out of 10 schoolchildren have experienced at least one episode of sunburn.  The report, published today by the Institute of Public Health and NUI Galway, examines for the first time children’s exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun and sunbeds, UV skin protection behaviours, and sunburn. It will be used to inform implementation of the National Skin Cancer Prevention Plan.  Nearly 90% of 10 to 17-year-olds said they have experienced sunburn in their lifetime. Around 74% said they experienced sunburn at least once during the past year.  Childhood sunburn, unprotected sun exposure and use of sunbeds increase the risk of developing skin cancers later in life. Repeated episodes of severe sunburn during childhood doubles the risk of developing melanoma - the most serious form of skin cancer – in later life.   The report found that eight out of 10 schoolchildren reported wearing sunscreen, while seven out of 10 reported using sunglasses on sunny days.  However, the adoption of other sun protection measures, like covering up, wearing hats and avoiding peak UV hours, were less consistent. Just 32% of schoolchildren reported that they avoided peak UV hours of the day. Around 50% said they wore protective clothing to cover arms and legs when in the sun, while 17% reported never using sunscreen.  Girls were more likely to wear sunscreen, sunglasses, clothes that cover arms and legs as well as avoid peak UV hours on sunny days. Boys were more likely to wear hats on sunny days.  The report also found that 3% of children said they used a sunbed in the last 12 months. While the report found sunbed use by children under 18, it is not clear how much of this use is occurring in commercial premises. Providing a sunbed service to anyone under the age of 18 is contrary to Irish law as outlined in the Public Health (Sunbeds) Act 2014. Dr Helen McAvoy, from the Institute of Public Health and co-author of the report, believes the message to protect skin when outdoors has never been more important as people spend more time outside during the Covid-19 restrictions. Dr McAvoy said: “The frequency of sunburn found in this report is concerning and shows there is a need for focused action and research on skin cancer prevention. Being outside and keeping active is good for children’s physical and mental health, but they also need to be sun smart. As measures to prevent the spread of Covid-19 are still in place, and as school holidays start, it is likely that more children will be outdoors playing.  We need to ensure that people are not over exposed to the sun, avoid peak UV hours, use sunscreen, and wear sunglasses, hats, and clothing to cover arms and legs.”  Professor Saoirse Nic Gabhainn, from NUI Galway’s Health Promotion Research Centre, said the findings provide a vital insight into children’s sun behaviours in Ireland.   Professor Nic Gabhainn added: “This is the first time that children’s sun behaviours have been comprehensively recorded in Ireland, and it’s clear that this area requires focused development to protect children. This survey data will be important for planning future awareness programmes and targeting resources to those children and families who most need it.”  Dr Triona McCarthy, Director of Public Health at the National Cancer Control Programme, has welcomed the report.  Dr McCarthy said: “We are delighted to have linked with the Institute of Public Health and NUIG to deliver a comprehensive profile of school-children’s risk and protective behaviours relating to UV exposure as outlined in the National Skin Cancer Prevention Plan.  UV exposure during the first 10– 15 years of life makes a disproportionately large contribution to lifetime risk of skin cancer.  This report will inform development of resources and implementation of programmes to support children and young people to enjoy being active outdoors safely. By adopting the ‘SunSmart 5 S’s’, the majority of skin cancers caused by UV sun exposure could be prevented.”  ENDS

Tuesday, 16 June 2020

RCSI, UCD and NUI Galway awarded €3.4m SFI Research Infrastructure grant A new National Preclinical Imaging Centre (NPIC) which will provide enhanced research data to inform new clinical trials that aim to improve patient outcomes, has been awarded funding of €3.4 million under the Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) Research Infrastructure Programme. The Centre, which is the first of its kind in Ireland, is being established and co-funded by RCSI University of Medicine and Health Sciences, University College Dublin (UCD), and CÚRAM, the SFI Research Centre for Medical Devices, based at NUI Galway. The Centre’s imaging infrastructure will support the development of new therapeutics and diagnostics in human disease areas including cancer, neurology, dementia, psychiatry, cardiology, medical devices, diabetes, tissue engineering, nanomedicine and inflammatory disease. The Centre will provide a national pre-clinical imaging resource open to all academic, industry and not-for-profit researchers, and will have locations in Dublin (RCSI, UCD) and Galway (NUI Galway). NPIC establishes a national pre-clinical magnetic resonance (MR) facility, a national high-field preclinical MR / chemical imaging platform and incorporates a high-resolution micro-computed tomography (CT) and Optical Imaging laboratory. “The National Preclinical Imaging Centre’s high resolution imaging technologies will allow the research community in Ireland to respond to future international research challenges and will provide important support infrastructure for SFI Research Centres, Irish academic institutes and industry collaborators,” commented Director of NPIC, Professor Annette Byrne, Head of the RCSI Precision Cancer Medicine Group, Department of Physiology and Medical Physics and Centre for Systems Medicine at RCSI University of Medicine and Health Sciences. “The Centre’s resources will allow us to work more collaboratively on research projects with clinicians and on training initiatives in radiology, which are critical elements of translating laboratory research finding to improvements in patient care in clinical settings,” Professor Byrne said. “This infrastructural funding provided by SFI, which is complemented by financial support from each of our partner institutions, along with in-kind contributions from industry, will provide an unparalleled national resource for advancing in vivo imaging. Our research in the area of precision oncology will benefit considerably from being able to image non-invasively tumour growth and spread, leading to improved understanding of disease and associated therapeutic options,” said Professor William Gallagher, Associate Director of NPIC, Director, UCD Conway Institute and Deputy Director, Precision Oncology Ireland. “I am delighted to see the establishment of NPIC as it will provide a significant boost to our existing capabilities across academic, industry and clinical networks allowing us to further progress medical device research and its clinical application in each of our disease target areas,” commented Professor Abhay Pandit, Associate Director of NPIC and Scientific Director at CÚRAM, the SFI Research Centre for Medical Devices at NUI Galway. The SFI Award is co-funded by all three Universities (RCSI, UCD and NUI Galway) and the application was supported by a diverse number of academic, not-for-profit and industry collaborators across the island of Ireland including Trinity College Dublin, University College Cork, Technical University Dublin, Cancer Trials Ireland, Queens University Belfast, Pfizer, Roche, M2i Ltd and Boston Scientific. -Ends-

Tuesday, 16 June 2020

Phase four of the population wide survey, the Corona Citizens’ Science Study will ask the public how well they feel the government is balancing the lifting of restrictions with that of economic and social well-being. It will also ask people about how well they feel they are coping with emerging from lockdown and, if a second wave of Covid-19 were to occur, would they adhere to a second nationwide lockdown and associated restrictions. The Corona Citizens’ Science Study is conducted by research teams at NUI Galway, Dublin City University and the Insight SFI Centre for Data Analytics (NUI Galway) and is examining the impact of the coronavirus pandemic and the associated restrictive measures (lockdown, social distancing) on daily life in Ireland*. Phase four of the survey commences on Wednesday, June 17th at 06.00am and will remain open for 24 hours. The fourth instalment of the nationwide survey, includes a large proportion of questions which have been submitted by the public. Respondents will be asked to comment on various aspects of their lives during lockdown, such as exercise, sex life and weight gain or loss while restrictions were in place. Others questions will ask if people would wear face coverings if it meant reducing social distancing from 2 metres to 1 metre and whether or not you would like to continue working from home in the future. Dr Akke Vellinga, Epidemiologist/Senior Lecturer, School of Medicine/Ryan Institute, NUI Galway, joint research lead said: “It has been six weeks since the last survey and a lot has changed. It is not only important to keep a record of the mood of the Irish people, but even more so, to understand how people feel about lockdown and restrictions today. The questions from the public will add a new and interesting dimension to the survey, and we are really curious to find out more.” Professor Anthony Staines, Professor of Health Systems, DCU and joint research lead said: “We want to look at the reactions to lockdown, and in particular, how people feel about making a decision, whether to continue with lockdown measures in order to crush the curve, which is a point that is also being advocated for publicly.” -ends- 

Tuesday, 16 June 2020

The University has also announced the appointment of four new Adjunct Professors NUI Galway’s School of Law have announced details of a new postgraduate two year Bachelor of Laws (LLB) which will allow students to fast track to a career in law. The School of Law has also introduced an Irish-Language Stream for undergraduate law students and appointed four Adjunct Professors. The new course offerings and Adjunct Professors will further enhance the School’s innovative approach to teaching law, ensuring graduates acquire the practical and academic skills to adapt to an ever changing world.   The two year LLB is a full law degree, open to graduates from any discipline. It provides an excellent basis for work in legal practice, administration, business, government, the media, and many other areas. Speaking about the launch of the new course, Dr Rónán Kennedy, Programme Director of the LLB, said: “The LLB is an excellent conversion course for those who want to enhance their existing career, transfer to a career in law or develop their knowledge of the law for personal reasons. It provides a rapid route towards training for the legal professions in Ireland, offering all the subjects currently required for the solicitor and barrister entrance examinations in Ireland.” The new Irish-Language Stream has been developed in response to the demand for Irish Lawyer Linguists and is an optional stream available on the School’s undergraduate courses. The stream will allow students to develop their Irish-language skills throughout their four year full law degree with Legal Irish modules. In year three students will spend one semester studying at NUI Galway’s Gaeltacht campus in An Cheathrú Rua and one semester of professional work placement in an Irish-speaking legal environment.​ Dr Charles O’Mahony, Head of the School of Law, said: “It is the ideal qualification for students who want to build a career in law and open up a range of exciting job opportunities working through the Irish language. There are fantastic job opportunities for Irish Lawyer Linguists in the Institutions of the European Union.” The appointment of four new Adjunct Professors will give the School’s students further access to academic staff who are nationally and internationally recognised experts in their professions. The appointments include:   Mr Justice Peter Charleton, Judge of the Supreme Court, who has been appointed Adjunct Professor in conjunction with the School’s undergraduate course Law (BCL) Criminology and Criminal Justice. Professor Brendan Edgeworth, a Professor at University of New South Wales Law School and a distinguished property and housing law expert. Professor Edgeworth has been appointed as Adjunct Professor at the School of Law in connection with the School’s Centre for Housing Law, Rights and Policy Research. Professor Dr Guénaël Mettraux, Judge of the Kosovo Specialist Chambers and Member of the European Union's Human Rights Review Panel, and now Adjunct Professor (International Criminal Law and International Humanitarian Law) at the School’s Irish Centre for Human Rights. Emily Logan, first Chief Commissioner of the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission and Ireland’s first Ombudsman for Children - appointed Adjunct Professor (Human Rights Practice) at the School’s Irish Centre for Human Rights. Newly appointed Adjunct Professor, Mr. Justice Peter Charleton said: “I'm delighted to be invited to assist in teaching in NUI Galway, a centre of excellence in legal education and a pioneer in the study of human rights law and of criminology in Ireland.” Professor Siobhán Mullally, Director of NUI Galway’s Irish Centre for Human Rights, said: “Guénaël Mettraux is a leading expert and practicing international lawyer who has acted as Counsel before a variety of international criminal tribunals. His appointment and extensive international practice experience will contribute greatly to our LLM and PhD programmes in international criminal justice and humanitarian law. “Emily Logan’s appointment builds on our commitment to supporting skills and practice based learning for students on our international human rights law programmes. Students will have the opportunity to work with a leading human rights advocate, former Chair of the European Network of National Human Rights Institutions, Ireland’s first Chief Commissioner of the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission and first Ombudsman for Children.” For more information about NUI Galway School of Law’s new two year LLB commencing this September, the Irish-Language Stream and Adjunct Professors visit www.nuigalway.ie/law. -Ends-

Tuesday, 16 June 2020

Tá ceapachán ceathrar Ollúna Taca fógartha ag an Ollscoil chomh maith D'fhógair Scoil an Dlí, OÉ Gaillimh sonraí faoi Bhaitsiléir Dlíthe (LLB) nua iarchéime a mhairfidh dhá bhliain agus a thabharfaidh deis do mhic léinn dlús a chur lena ngairm le dlí. Tá Sruth Gaeilge tugtha isteach ag Scoil an Dlí do mhic léinn dlí fochéime agus tá ceathrar Ollúna Taca ceaptha freisin. Cuirfidh na cúrsaí nua agus na hOllúna Taca le cur chuige nuálach na Scoile i leith theagasc an dlí, rud a chinnteoidh go sealbhóidh céimithe na scileanna praiticiúla agus acadúla le dul i ngleic le saol atá ag síorathrú.   Is céim iomlán dlí é an LLB dhá bhliain, atá oscailte do chéimithe ó réimse ar bith.  Soláthraíonn sé bunús iontach le tabhairt faoi obair i réimsí an chleachtais dlí, an riarachán, an gnó, obair in eagraíochtaí rialtais, na meáin agus réimsí go leor eile. Ag trácht ar sheoladh an chúrsa nua, bhí an méid seo a leanas le rá ag an Dr Rónán Kennedy, Stiúrthóir Cláir an LLB: “Is cúrsa tiontaithe iontach é an LLB dóibh siúd ar mhian leo cur lena ngairm reatha, aistriú go gairm le dlí nó forbairt a dhéanamh ar an eolas atá acu ar an dlí ar údair phearsanta. Cuireann sé bealach gasta ar fáil i dtreo oiliúint sna gairmeacha dlí in Éirinn, agus na hábhair uile atá riachtanach do scrúduithe iontrála an dlíodóra agus an abhcóide in Éirinn á dtairiscint ann.” Forbraíodh an Sruth nua Gaeilge mar fhreagra ar an éileamh atá ar Dhlítheangeolaithe le Gaeilge agus is sruth roghnach é atá ar fáil ar chúrsaí fochéime na Scoile. Tabharfaidh an Sruth Gaeilge deis do mhic léinn a gcuid scileanna Gaeilge a fhorbairt agus iad i mbun céim iomlán ceithre bliana sa dlí. Sa tríú bliain, caithfidh mic léinn seimeastar amháin ag staidéar ar champas Gaeltachta OÉ Gaillimh ar an gCeathrú Rua agus seimeastar eile ar shocrúchán oibre gairmiúil i dtimpeallacht dlí ina labhraítear Gaeilge. Deir an Dr Charles O’Mahony, Ceann Scoil an Dlí: “Is í seo an cháilíocht is fearr do mhic léinn atá ag iarraidh gairm a mhúnlú dóibh féin sa dlí agus raon deiseanna fostaíochta spreagúla a bheith ar fáil dóibh sa Ghaeilge. Tá deiseanna fostaíochta iontacha ar fáil freisin do Dhlítheangeolaithe in Institiúidí an Aontais Eorpaigh.” Tabharfaidh ceapachán ceathrar Ollúna Taca nua rochtain bhreise do mhic léinn na Scoile ar fhoireann acadúil a aithnítear go hidirnáisiúnta agus go náisiúnta mar shaineolaithe ina gcuid gairmeacha. I measc na gceapachán tá:  An Breitheamh Onórach Peter Charleton, Breitheamh den Chúirt Uachtarach, a ceapadh ina Ollamh Taca ar chúrsa fochéime na Scoile sa Dlí, Coireolaíocht agus Ceartas Coiriúil. An tOllamh Brendan Edgeworth, Ollamh i Scoil Dlí Ollscoil New South Wales agus saineolaí iomráiteach ar dhlí réadmhaoine agus tithíochta. Ceapadh an tOllamh Edgeworth ina Ollamh Taca i Scoil an Dlí agus beidh sé ag obair go príomha san Ionad Taighde do Dhlí, Cearta agus Polasaí Tithíochta. An Dr Guénaël Mettraux, Breitheamh Shain-Dlísheomraí na Cosaive agus Ball de Phainéal Athbhreithnithe an Aontais Eorpaigh um Chearta an Duine, agus Ollamh Taca (Dlí Coirpeach Idirnáisiúnta agus Dlí Daonnúil Idirnáisiúnta) in Ionad na hÉireann do Chearta an Duine anois. Emily Logan, an chéad Phríomh-Choimisinéir ar Choimisiún na hÉireann um Chearta an Duine agus Comhionannas agus an chéad Ombudsman do Leanaí in Éirinn - ceaptha mar Ollamh Comhghafach (Cleachtas um Chearta an Duine) ag Ionad na hÉireann um Chearta an Duine. Deir an tOllamh Taca nuacheaptha, an Breitheamh Onórach Peter Charleton: “Tá lúcháir orm cuireadh a fháil chun tacú leis an teagasc in OÉ Gaillimh, atá mar ionad barr feabhais in oideachas an dlí agus ceannródaí i léann an dlí i leith chearta an duine agus léann na coireolaíochta in Éirinn. Deir an tOllamh Siobhán Mullally, Stiúrthóir Ionad na hÉireann do Chearta an Duine in OÉ Gaillimh: “Is príomhshaineolaí agus dlíodóir idirnáisiúnta atá ag cleachtadh a ghairme é Guénaël Mettraux a bhí ina Abhcóide os comhair réimse éagsúil binsí coiriúla idirnáisiúnta. Cuirfidh a cheapachán agus a thaithí fhairsing ar chleachtas idirnáisiúnta go mór lenár gcláir LLM agus PhD sa Cheartas Coiriúil Idirnáisiúnta agus sa Dlí Daonnúil. “Cuireann ceapachán Emily Logan lenár dtiomantas tacú le scileanna agus le foghlaim chleachtas-bhunaithe do mhic léinn ar ár gcláir i nDlí Idirnáisiúnta Chearta an Duine. Beidh deis ag mic léinn oibriú le príomhurlabhraí chearta an duine, iarChathaoirleach Líonra Eorpach na nInstitiúidí Náisiúnta um Chearta an Duine, an chéad Phríomhchoimisinéir ar Choimisiún na hÉireann um Chearta an Duine agus Comhionannas agus an chéad Ombudsman do Leanaí in Éirinn.” Le tuilleadh eolais a fháil faoin LLB nua dhá bhliain i Scoil an Dlí, OÉ Gaillimh atá le tosú i mí Mheán Fómhair, faoin Sruth Gaeilge agus faoi na hOllúna Taca téigh chuig www.nuigalway.ie/law. -Críoch-

Tuesday, 16 June 2020

NUI Galway’s Moore Institute will host a webinar to address the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on sport on Thursday, 25 June, at 4pm. Sport is one of the most important and popular areas of activity across society – for participants as well as fans. Cancellation of sporting events due to Covid-19 has had a huge impact in Ireland and around the world. This webinar brings together leading authorities to look at sport nationally and internationally during the crisis from a variety of perspectives, including the history of sport, sports governance and policy, sports practitioners and representative organisations, sport and the media, and gender and sport. Contributors to the webinar: Professor Paul Rouse, UCD, one of the leading experts on the history of Irish sport Dr Mary O’Connor, CEO of the Federation of Irish Sport, and All-Ireland winning player and All-Star with Cork in camogie and Gaelic football Dr Niamh Kitching, Mary Immaculate College, whose work focuses on gender equality and sport, including female athletes and coaches Dr Marcus Free, Mary Immaculate College, who specialises on media and sport Dr Borja García, Loughborough University, an authority on sports policy and governance and member of the European Commission’s expert group on sport policy The webinar will be chaired by Dr Seán Crosson of the Huston School of Film and Digital Media at NUI Galway, and leader of the Sport and Exercise Research Group in the Moore Institute. Dr Crosson said: “We are delighted to bring together such a distinguished range of speakers to contribute to our webinar on sport and covid-19. Sport, like all other areas of our lives, has been impacted upon in unprecedented ways since the advent of the current crisis. This has presented challenges to all those engaged with sport, but also perhaps opportunities to reassess the place and contribution of sport within society in the future.” The webinar forms part of the Moore Institute’s COVID-19 Response Series. Director of the Moore Institute, Professor Daniel Carey, said: “Access to sport is something we tend to take for granted, either for exercise or entertainment. Few areas generate the same level of excitement and commitment. Covid-19 has massively altered the landscape. But our attachments are still apparent in nostalgia for sport and the replaying of historic matches and contests. This webinar will offer us ways to think about sport and how we restart this area of major activity.” To attend please register using this link: https://bit.ly/2N2MDxX. For more on the Moore Institute’s COVID-19 Response Series visit https://mooreinstitute.ie/research-group/moore-institute-covid-19-response-group/ -Ends-

Monday, 15 June 2020

Game of Cones - Red squirrels making comeback as return of native pine marten spells bad news for invasive grey squirrel NUI Galway study finds Ireland’s native species recovering and returning to natural habitats  Monday, 15 June 2020: The number of red squirrels is on the increase in Ireland thanks to the return of the pine marten, a native carnivore, a new survey led by NUI Galway has found. The new findings indicate that the return of the red squirrel is due to the decrease in the number of grey squirrels, which compete with them for food and carry a disease that is fatal to the native species. The re-emergence of the pine marten, which had previously almost disappeared in Ireland, is linked to the local demise of the greys. High densities of pine martens were found in areas - particularly the midlands - where grey squirrels had disappeared, with red squirrel numbers recovering in many of these areas indicating that they are capable of sharing habitat with the native carnivore, unlike grey squirrels.  In urban areas, such as Dublin and Belfast, the grey squirrel continues to thrive. Grey squirrels were introduced to Ireland early in the twentieth century, and had spread to cover the eastern half of the island.  As a result, the red squirrel range had contracted over several years and the native species was struggling to survive. The citizen science survey, a cross-border collaboration with the Ulster Wildlife and Vincent Wildlife Trust led by NUI Galway, detected significant changes in the ranges of squirrels and pine martens particularly in the midlands and Northern Ireland. Dr Colin Lawton of the Ryan Institute, NUI Galway said: ‘This study brought together colleagues from institutions all across the island, and this collaborative approach gives us a full picture of the status of these three mammals in Ireland.  We are delighted with the response from the public, who were enthusiastic and showed a wealth of knowledge of Ireland’s wildlife.  It is great news to see two native species recovering and doing well.’ The report on the survey makes recommendations to ensure that the red squirrel and pine marten continue to thrive, with further monitoring required to allow early intervention if conservation at a local or national level is required. Dr Lawton added: ‘We encourage our citizen scientists to continue to log their sightings of Irish wildlife on the two national database platforms. Our collective knowledge is a powerful tool in conservation.’ The survey used online platforms provided by the National Biodiversity Data Centre (RoI) and Centre for Environmental Data and Recording (NI) to develop the data. It was funded by the National Parks and Wildlife Service. The All Ireland Squirrel and Pine Marten Survey 2019 report (Irish Wildlife Manual No.121) can be downloaded at https://www.npws.ie/sites/default/files/publications/pdf/IWM121.pdf

Monday, 15 June 2020

Oíche Oscailte Fhíorúil OÉ Gaillimh d’Fhoghlaimeoirí Fásta  Dé Luain, 15 Meitheamh 2020: Tá Oíche Eolais Bhliantúil OÉ Gaillimh d’Fhoghlaimeoirí Fásta le reáchtáil go fíorúil. Reáchtálfar an chéad oíche ar líne Dé Céadaoin, an 24 Meitheamh, ó 6.00-8.30pm. “I ngeall ar phaindéim COVID-19, táimid ag reáchtáil ár n-imeachta ar ardán fíorúil i mbliana”, a mhíníonn Nuala McGuinn, Stiúrthóir an Ionaid Foghlama agus Forbartha Gairmiúla d’Aosaigh in OÉ Gaillimh. “Tá gach príomhghné dár n-oíche oscailte thraidisiúnta a bhíodh tairbheach do mhic léinn fós againn rud a chuideoidh chun an réimse leathan cúrsaí páirtaimseartha agus cúrsaí foghlama solúbtha atá ar fáil san Ollscoil a roghnú thar a chéile.” I gcaitheamh na hoíche beidh deis ag mic léinn ionchasacha páirt a ghlacadh i bplé painéil beo ar Facebook ó 6-7pm, lena n-áireofar foireann teagaisc, mic léinn, ionadaithe ón Ionad Forbartha Gairmeacha agus ón tionscal chun plé a dhéanamh ar a mbíonn i gceist lena bheith i d’fhoghlaimeoir fásta, conas is féidir leat an cúrsa ceart a roghnú agus conas is féidir leat tuilleadh eolais a fháil faoi threochtaí earnála agus faoi riachtanais scileanna a thagann chun cinn. “Tá sraith cur i láthair ar líne eagraithe againn ina dtabharfar eolas mionsonraithe faoi na cúrsaí atá á dtairiscint againn agus ina dtabharfar deis labhairt le foireann acadúil agus le comhordaitheoirí cúrsa ar fhóram beo Ceisteanna agus Freagraí ó 7.00 go 8.30pm”, a deir Nuala McGuinn. I measc na gcúrsaí a chuirfear i láthair ag an imeacht tá Gnó agus Bainistíocht, Oideachas Pobail, Léann Oiliúna agus Oideachais d’Aosaigh, Staidéar Luath-Óige, Teangacha, Teicneolaíocht Faisnéise, Cothú Sláinte, Cúrsaí Réamh-Ollscoile, agus Eolaíocht agus Teicneolaíocht. Le linn na hoíche eolais seolfaidh an Ollscoil Dioplóma ar líne nua i Scileanna Gnó Criticiúla chomh maith, dioplóma atá deartha le cuidiú leo siúd nach bhfuil cúlra gnó acu barr a gcumais a bhaint amach agus dul chun cinn i dtreo róil mheánbhainistíochta. Beidh cur síos chomh maith ar chláir nua ón mbliain acadúil dhéanach i bhFoghlaim le Cuidiú Teicneolaíochta, Bainistíocht Athruithe agus Pleanáil Comhshaoil Chorparáidigh. Beidh siad seo ar fáil arís i Meán Fómhair mar gheall ar an tóir a bhí orthu.  I ngeall ar phaindéim COVID-19, déanfar gach cúrsa páirtaimseartha atá ar fáil tríd an Ionad Foghlama agus Forbartha Gairmiúla d’Aosaigh a theagasc go hiomlán ar líne i seimeastar 1 na bliana acadúla 2020/2021. “Agus taithí againn ar chúrsaí cumaisc agus foghlama ar líne a thabhairt le breis is 20 bliain anuas, is amhlaidh a dhéanfar freastal maith ar mhic léinn”, a mhíníonn Nuala McGuinn.  “Tá an-eolas againn i dtaca le cúrsaí a dhearadh don fhoghlaim ar líne agus tar éis dúinn bheith ag obair le foghlaimeoirí fásta le breis is 50 bliain anuas tá an-léargas againn ar na tacaíochtaí atá ag teastáil ó mhic léinn a roghnaíonn a gcuid staidéir a dhéanamh ar an mbonn seo ar líne.” Beidh eolas ar fáil freisin faoi chúrsaí Springboard+ ina dtairgtear áiteanna maoinithe d’iarratasóirí fostaithe agus dífhostaithe mar aon le heolas iarratais le haghaidh na scoláireachtaí Teagaisc don Fhoghlaim d’Aosaigh do mhic léinn a ndéanann an Roinn Coimirce Sóisialaí íocaíochtaí sainiúla leo. Le tuilleadh eolais faoin imeacht seo a fháil agus le do spéis a chlárú, féach www.nuigalway.ie/adult-open-evening

Monday, 15 June 2020

NUI Galway’s Adult Learners Virtual Open Evening Monday, 15 June, 2020: NUI Galway’s annual Adult Learners Information Evening has gone virtual.  The open evening will take place online on Wednesday, 24 June, from 6.00-8.30pm. “In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, this year we have moved our event to a virtual platform”, explains Nuala McGuinn, Director at NUI Galway’s Centre for Adult Learning and Professional Development.  “We have retained all the key elements of our traditional open evening which former students have found useful to help them choose from the extensive range of part-time, flexible-learning courses on offer at the University.” Over the course of the evening prospective students will have an opportunity to join the live Facebook panel discussion from 6-7pm which includes teaching staff, students, representatives from the Careers Development Centre and from industry to discuss what’s involved in being an adult learner, how to choose the right course and to find out more about industry trends and emerging skills needs. “We have a series of online presentations providing detailed information on the courses that we offer and the opportunity to chat with academic staff and course coordinators in a live Questions and Answers forum from 7.00pm to 8.30pm”, highlights Nuala McGuinn. Courses showcased at the event range from Business and Management, Community Education, Adult Training & Education Studies, Early Childhood Studies, Languages, Information Technology, Health Promotion, Pre-University Courses, and Science and Technology. The University will also launch a new online Diploma in Critical Business Skills during the information evening which is designed to enable those with non-business backgrounds, to fulfil their potential and progress to middle management roles. New programmes for the recent academic year in Technology Enhanced Learning, Change Management and Corporate Environmental Planning will also feature and will be on offer again from September due to popular demand.  Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, all part-time courses on offer through the Centre for Adult Learning and Professional Development will move to a fully online teaching format in semester 1 of the 2020/2021 academic year.  “Having experience in delivering blended and online learning courses for over 20 years, students will be in good hands”, explains Nuala McGuinn.  “We have a wealth of knowledge in designing for online learning and having worked with adult learners for over 50 years we have great insights into the supports that are required for students who choose to study in this online format.” Information on Springboard+ courses offering funded places to employed and unemployed candidates will also be available as well as application information for the Adult Learning tuition scholarships for students who are in receipt of specific payments from the Department of Social Protection. For further information on this event and to register your interest, see www.nuigalway.ie/adult-open-evening. -Ends-