Friday, 14 September 2018

NUI Galway researchers lead air pollution study showing that solid fuels including ‘climate friendly’ biomass residential solid fuels lead to extraordinarily high levels of air pollution An air pollution study, led by researchers at NUI Galway’s School of Physics and Ryan Institute’s Centre for Climate and Air Pollution Studies have found that Dublin’s PM2.5 air pollution (Particulate Matter airborne smog, smoke and haze particles smaller in size than 2.5 microns) can surpass the World Health Organisation’s recommended 24-hour Air Quality Guideline. Over the 2-month winter period from late November 2016 to late January 2017, the daily Average Quality Guideline (AQG) was breached every one in five days and during the main emission period of these events (late evening), hourly levels were frequently 10 times higher than the 24-hour AQG threshold (25 µg m-3). The Average Quality Guideline is more-strict than current regulatory levels but is not to be regarded as a safe level since adverse health impacts can still occur well below the AQG threshold. This research, which was funded by the Environmental Protection Agency Research Programme 2014-2020, was published today (14 September 2018) in the international journal, Nature Sustainability. The research team, led by NUI Galway’s Dr Jurgita Ovadnevaite, deployed a pilot air pollution network (AEROSOURCE), comprising highly-sophisticated, next-generation air pollution fingerprinting technology, with the capability of identifying specific sources of even the smallest amounts of air pollution. AEROSOURCE, the first national network of its kind, attributed 70% of the extraordinarily-high pollution levels during these events to peat and wood burning, despite only a small percentage of residential homes using peat or wood as a primary fuel type (13% based on the closest census data). Irrespective of the different timescales of these events and census data, all of the exceedance levels were driven by peat and wood rather than coal or oil, or even non-residential sources such as traffic. The contribution from coal use is strikingly low and highlights the success of the Smoky Coal Ban which was first introduced in Dublin in 1990 and has since been introduced in many towns and cities across the country. Like most severe air pollution events, they are associated with cold and generally stagnant winter days when fuel consumption is high and dispersion is low. However, the study found these exceedance levels are driven by solid fuels, some of which are marketed as more ‘climate-friendly’ than fossil-fuels. The climate policy shift from fossil fuels to ‘low-carbon’ or ‘carbon-neutral’ fuels is aimed at mitigating the atmospheric accumulation of greenhouse gases responsible for driving global warming, but in terms of residential heating, this shift is often towards wood (including pellets), considered as ‘low-carbon’ or ‘carbon-neutral’ biomass fuels and other solid fuels, which can lead to disproportionately poor air quality. That is to say, what is considered climate-friendly is not necessarily environmentally friendly across the board. Professor Colin O’Dowd, Director of NUI Galway’s Centre for Climate and Air Pollution Studies, said: “The disproportionate sensitivity of air pollution levels to solid fuel, including climate-friendly ‘low-carbon’ solid biomass fuel is quite concerning since fuels like wood are one of the most popular choices of ‘low carbon’ biomass fuel and consumption of this fuel type is set to double across Europe by 2020 (from 2016), and to triple globally by 2030. The results from this study suggest that along with promoting low-carbon or carbon-neutral solid fuels, it is especially important to fully consider the health impact from any associated air pollution emission. “The EU is currently conducting a major review of its Clean Air for Europe directive with a view to delivering on the aim of its 7th Environment Action Program to adopt World Health Organisation air quality values by 2020. It is important that this innovative research, which highlights the disproportionate impact of solid fuels on air quality, is fully considered in developing future EU legislative and regulatory frameworks to protect public health and the environment. The smoky coal ban did its job where it was applied and the nationwide extension in 2019 will be of further benefit but we need to remain vigilant and consolidate those victories by developing policies that continue to reduce air pollution and improve public health.” Professor O’Dowd added: “These striking results also illustrate the importance of considering the wider impacts of climate policy to avoid negative health impacts, as occurred with diesel vehicles, and ensure positive co-benefits and win-win outcomes, so that actions to mitigate against climate change benefit air quality and vice versa.” The study, comprising an international team from NUI Galway, University College Cork, Italian CNR-ISAC in Bologna and the Chinese Academy of Science in Xi’an was funded by the Irish Environmental Protection Agency, Science Foundation Ireland-MaREI Centre and the Chinese Academy of Science. To read the full study entitled ‘Extreme Air Pollution from Residential Solid Fuel Burning’ in Nature Sustainability, visit: -Ends-

Monday, 3 September 2018

His Excellency Paolo Serpi, Ambassador of Italy to Ireland, and Professor Brian Hughes, Dean of International Affairs, NUI Galway, will officially open a new exhibition, Cover Revolution! Illustrators and the New Face of Italian Publishing, at NUI Galway on Wednesday, 26 September. The exhibition, curated by Melania Gazzotti, will run in the Hardiman Building from 26 September to 28 October. A revolution is taking place on Italian book­stores shelves, and more and more often illus­trators are being asked to use their colour palettes and distinctive marks to update publishers’ visual identities or redefine an author’s image. A handful of publish­ers, talented art directors, and a group of internationally acclaimed Italian illustra­tors, known for their original and powerful work, are responsible for this change. The idea to document this propitious moment in Italian illustration came to life after ob­serving this phenomenon, and this exhibition brings to light the work of some of the most loved and respected Italian illustrators: Fran­co Matticchio, Lorenzo Mattotti, Emiliano Ponzi, Guido Scarabottolo, Gianluigi Toc­cafondo, and Olimpia Zagnoli. Professor Paolo Bartoloni, Established Professor and Head of Italian at NUI Galway, said: “This exhibition provides a unique opportunity to observe the synergy between the creative practices of visual artists and those of authors, and the ways in which the written word evokes incredibly powerful and captivating images. The colours in this exhibition are vibrant, and the echoes of various styles, especially surrealism and modernism, uncanny.” The exhibition launch, which is open to the public, will take place in G010, Hardiman Building, NUI Galway from 6-8pm. -Ends-

Friday, 14 September 2018

Applauds local newspapers’ successes – they remain trusted brands in their regions Urges local newspaper editors to be ‘brave and innovate’ in the digital space Recommends Oireachtas Committee on Communications hold hearings into the future of local journalism and its funding Suggests new public broadcasting charge be used to support local journalism Timely reform of the libel laws in Ireland are needed to protect local newspapers against frivolous defamation action according to the new Head of Journalism at NUI Galway, Tom Felle. He made his remarks in a keynote address to local newspaper editors from across the country this week at a conference in NUI Galway marking the 10th anniversary of the establishment of the Press Council and Office of the Press Ombudsman in Ireland.  “Ireland’s arcane libel laws were eventually reformed in 2009. A lot has happened in the meantime and the legislation is now completely outdated in terms of dealing with defamation on social media. It’s also now timely to look at updating the legislation, in particular the balance between protecting a person’s right to a good name, and allowing the media to conduct robust journalism in the public interest.  “The high costs of legal fees in defending defamation actions is also a major difficulty for local media. In some cases litigants are bypassing the Press Ombudsman’s office completely and launching expensive litigation seeking damages for often minor mistakes in print, or worse still in an attempt to silence the truth in cases where a newspaper has done an excellent job in exposing wrongdoing of some kind.  Felle warned that investigative journalism in local communities is under threat because of the high costs of defending libel actions.   “Defending defamation actions even when a newspaper is 100 per cent in the right comes at a huge cost in terms of stresses on often very small editorial teams, and in legal fees. Editors and owners need to make a judgement call not on the merits of the case, but whether it would be cheaper to settle rather than risk huge costs in a trial. This is having a chilling effect on good quality local investigative journalism because editors and their owners cannot afford to defend libel claims, even if certain their journalism is factually accurate. Democracy will suffer if this balance is not redressed,” he said.  Felle also commended editors at the helm of local newspapers for their collective commitment to local journalism, and also urged them to be brave and innovate more.  “It’s really important to acknowledge the work you have done in staying afloat during the economic crisis from 2008 on. You remain trusted brands in your local communities and a focal point for news, information, entertainment, blow by blow details of wars won and lost on the sporting battlefields, in that all important role of holding local government to account, and in recording that first rough draft of local history.  “Your journalism has never been more popular, but the funding model to support that journalism is certainly in difficulty. It’s time to innovate, to be brave, to think about how your quality journalism can be sustained and supported in the local community. The UK Houses of Parliament produced a report on the future of local journalism. In the UK the BBC supports 150 local democracy journalists a year who work for local newspapers, funded by the licence fee. We certainly need Oireachtas Committee hearings to look at options for supporting local journalism in Ireland,” he added.  ENDS

Thursday, 13 September 2018

The UNESCO Child and Family Centre at NUI Galway has finalised a four-year study that has found significant improvements in Tusla’s Prevention, Early Intervention and Family Support services. The reports were launched with Tusla-Child and Family Agency today (13 September 2018) in Dublin. In 2016, 47,399 child protection and welfare referrals were made to Tusla-Child and Family Agency, and 6,267 children and young people were in its care in 2016. More and better prevention and early intervention is needed to reduce these numbers.    Key Report Findings Overall, the research shows Tusla is getting better at providing early help for children, young people and their families. Significantly, the research is showing that Tusla’s flagship new programme for providing early help, Meitheal, is welcomed by families and is making a positive difference to their lives. When fully in place, the system may help reduce the numbers entering the child protection system. Importantly Meitheal is improving outcomes for children and young people over time, particularly from the perspective of mothers. Maternal well-being was the most significant predictor of family outcomes suggesting that supporting mothers is key to supporting families. The study also demonstrates good work by Tusla, benchmarked against international best practice, in listening to and including children, in its policies and the capacity of the front-line workers. There is strong evidence of children and young people’s participation being embedded across Tusla. The research results indicate promising results from Tusla’s work in supporting parents through its innovative Parent Support Champions programme. Overall, while the public’s awareness of Tusla increased over the four-year study, the research findings have shown that in the main, families turn to and depend on family and close friends for help and support. The NUI Galway research reports concluded that the culture of Tusla is changing and that it is becoming more preventative in focus and inclusive of parents and children. This is demonstrated across the work of the Prevention, Partnership and Family Support programme. The research also identified areas for improvement across the programme. Ongoing organisational support and funding is needed to ensure that the PPFS is fully operational across all Tusla areas.  There is a need for greater awareness of programme components (Meitheal, children’s participation, parenting support) across the wider organisation. The general public need to be made more aware of Tusla’s prevention, early intervention and family support within its full service offering. More is to be done on integrating the programme fully within Tusla’s organisation and in day-to day-operations, and in connecting the Meitheal programme in particular with other agencies and government departments. The individual research reports indicate changes, adaptations and improvements in each of the programme areas. The research is contained in six research reports (see link below): Meitheal and Child and Family Support Networks Children’s Participation Parenting Support and Parental Participation Commissioning Public Awareness Systems Change Dr John Canavan, Associate Director and Senior Lecturer from the UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre at NUI Galway, said: “Our research demonstrates that Tusla has developed and implemented a national programme of work that should increase the numbers of children and families receiving early help to prevent problems they face getting worse. It also demonstrates that Tusla is putting in place systems, training and procedures to ensure that its meets its responsibility to listen to and act on the views of children.” Dr Carmel Devaney, lead researcher from the UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre at NUI Galway, said: “With regard to help-seeking for a parenting or family problem, personal support networks, family and friends, were the main source of support for the public. Members of the public turned to their local GP primarily if they could not manage a parent or family problem, while increasing numbers of people are asking a teacher for assistance in this area. Family members also reported their appreciation of being included in the process of identifying their needs and in deciding on a helpful response to these. Children and young people highlighted that they felt listened to with some noting improvements in their lives as a result of taking part in Meitheal. “Our findings also suggested that both the public and the media do not clearly differentiate the concept of family support from child protection, and children in care. And 98.5% of the population confirmed they had received services from Tusla when they sought them this year.” Speaking at the launch, Tusla Chief Executive Fred McBride, stated: “The Prevention, Partnership and Family Support (PPFS) programme is growing, and with our Tusla National Child and Family Support Week promotional campaign underway from September 17-23, we hope that even more people will seek help from our range of family support services. Staff at the UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre have been at our side to develop, and critically assess the PPFS programme. This work provides us with a rich understanding of the PPFS programme and it’s potential. The research carried out by NUI Galway has been executed in an academically robust and systematic manner, and provides us with a clearly defined body of knowledge that allows us to examine what we are doing, and why we are doing it.” To read and download the full research reports and key findings, visit: -Ends-

Thursday, 13 September 2018

The over-arching goal of the water sector reform programme was to establish a water utility that could independently borrow to finance a heavy programme of investment in water infrastructure For this to happen, the water utility had to be classified outside the general government sector by passing the so-called ‘Eurostat test’ which was a treacherous basis for policy There was a serious disconnect between policy design and implementation NUI Galway’s Whitaker Institute will today (13 September 2018) host a conference on ‘How (Not) To Do Public Policy’, and launch a report which examines the failure of water charges and the success of the Local Property Tax in Ireland. The conference will gather senior policymakers, public servants, academics, and other experts to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the policy-making process in Ireland with a view to suggesting how the quality of policy-making might be improved, including how policies are conceived, designed, implemented, communicated, and reviewed.  The new report, meticulously researched and based on exceptional access to senior policymakers, looks back forensically at a recent policy success, the Local Property Tax (LPT) and a recent policy failure, water charges, and explores what it was about the policy-making process in each case that contributed to success or failure. The aim of the report is to better understand this recent episode in the history of public administration in Ireland and to extract appropriate lessons for policy-making. Economist Jim O’Leary, author of the report and Senior Research Fellow at the Whitaker Institute in NUI Galway, said: “A sense of trying to achieve too much too soon is suggested by the approach to the overall water sector reform programme. All in all, in examining policy on water, our reading of the evidence is that it was driven by a vision that would have been more appropriate for a 7–10-year timeframe than a 3–5-year period. “Passing the so-called ‘Eurostat test’ was a treacherous basis for policy. It is a curious fact that, while the Commission of Taxation’s proposals in 2009 in relation to property taxation provided the blueprint for the Local Property Tax, its proposals on water charges were ignored and were in several essential respects the antithesis of what government chose to do. At the end of the day, the government decisively lost the battle for the hearts and minds of the people.” Alan Ahearne, Director of the Whitaker Institute in NUI Galway, said: “Through meticulous desk research and interviews with many of those who were insiders in the policymaking process, Jim O’Leary has produced an extremely well-informed, thorough and compelling study. This is a report that I am confident will have impact on how policy is made. What we have learned is that good policymaking requires all options and all aspects of the options to be investigated and that policymakers should be careful not to let perfect be the enemy of good.” Key findings from the research in relation to the relative success of the Local Property Tax versus the failure to introduce water charges: The over-arching goal of the water sector reform programme was to establish a water utility that could independently borrow to finance a heavy programme of investment in water infrastructure. For this to happen, the water utility had to be classified outside the general government sector by passing the so-called ‘Eurostat test’. This was a treacherous basis for policy. Policy choices such as the universal free allowance and universal metering were made before their implications were properly understood and without the alternatives being rigorously assessed. There was a serious disconnect between policy design and implementation. The Local Property Tax was successfully introduced because its design was infused with a keen awareness of the importance of anticipating implementation challenges. In this regard, a key moment was the decision to give responsibility for collection and administration to the Revenue Commissioners. Comments and discussion of the report will be provided by: Josephine Feehily, Chairperson, Policing Authority and former Chairman, Revenue Commissioners. Maria Graham, Assistant Secretary, Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government. Eamon Ryan TD, Leader of the Green Party. Don Thornhill, former Secretary General, Department of Education and Science. The conference will also feature a broad discussion of the policy-making process in Ireland and ways to make it more effective, including a keynote speech by: Robert Watt, Secretary General, Department of Public Expenditure and Reform. Panel and open discussion of the policy-making process moderated by Dave O’Connell, Group Editor of the Connacht Tribune to include: Richard Boyle, Head of Research, Institute of Public Administration. Joan Burton, TD, former Tánaiste and Leader of the Labour Party Kevin Cardiff, former Secretary General, Department of Finance Jill Rutter, Programme Director, Institute for Government, London This research project was supported by Galway University Foundation. To read the full report, visit: -Ends-

Tuesday, 11 September 2018

Four NUI Galway graduates and students were recently recognised at the Civil Engineering Research in Ireland (CERI) Conference. The conference is organised by the Civil Engineering Research Association of Ireland (CERAI), and aims to nurture early-career researchers and offer opportunities wherever possible to the next generation of leaders in research and industry. Two researchers and NUI Galway graduates were recognised at the conference for their outstanding contribution to research and practice at an early stage in their careers. Dr Magdalena Hadjukiewicz, a postdoctoral researcher at NUI Galway, specialising in the use of computational fluid dynamics in building energy performance. Having successfully competed for and won seven significant research contracts amounting to some €13m over the last five years, including two substantial Horizon 2020 projects, she demonstrates an ability to work closely with industry, converting research into practice. NUI Galway graduate Declan Gavigan lead a multi-disciplinary team of 12 engineers at Openhydro Ltd conducting research into tidal energy and collaborated with third level institutions in winning H2020 funding amounting to some €18m in the last three years and had a patent filed last year.  During the conference awards were also presented for the best papers with a student as lead author in a number of streams of civil engineering. The NUI Galway award winners included Alan Carty for his paper on ‘An investigation into hydrodynamic effects on vortex drop structures liners using fluid-structure interaction techniques’; and Jennifer Kirkpatrick on ‘The Effect of Climate Change on Flooding in Cork City’. Professor Peter McHugh, Dean of the College of Engineering and Informatics at NUI Galway, said: “It is fantastic to see young researchers who are alumni of NUI Galway being recognised in this way by the Civil Engineering research community in Ireland. The success of both Magdalena and Declan at attracting significant funding from the European Commission Horizon 2020 programme is testament to the regard our peers in Europe have for the high quality research going on in NUI Galway and Ireland. Both have a very bright future, one which I have no doubt will have a very positive impact on our society in Ireland and beyond. I would also like to congratulate Alan Carty, a PhD candidate in Civil Engineering, and Jennifer Kirkpatrick, who recently completed a taught MSc in Water Resource Engineering, on winning best papers with a student as lead author. There were also papers presented at the conference whose lead authors were students who completed the work as part of their undergraduate degree in NUI Galway, which is reflective of the research lead teaching approach that we embed in our college.” -Ends-

Tuesday, 11 September 2018

A new book, Civil War and Agrarian Unrest: The Confederate South and Southern Italy, has been published by NUI Galway historian, Professor Enrico Dal Lago. The book will be officially launched by distinguished historian Professor Nicholas Canny, former President of the Royal Irish Academy and member of the European Research Council, in the Moore Institute, NUI Galway on Wednesday, 19 September at 5pm. Civil War and Agrarian Unrest: The Confederate South and Southern Italy analyses the American Civil War and the effects of slave emancipation in comparative perspective with another, little-known, civil war fought prevalently by southern Italian peasants against the Italian government in the same years 1861-65. The 150th anniversary of the American Civil War (2011-15) sparked renewed interest all over the world in the violent end of slavery in the United States. The effects of the conflict still remain, with numerous films, books, and series exploring Abraham Lincoln’s effort as President to end slavery and the defeat of the Southern Confederate forces.  Professor Dal Lago takes a comparative approach in order to challenge assumptions about the nature of Confederate nationalism. The elitism and intolerance of the Southern states’ social order, based on hierarchy, makes it very comparable to nineteenth-century Italian nationalism. He compares the resistance activity of American slaves with the rebellion staged by southern Italian peasants. The goal of both groups was the acquisition of land, not just freedom. Professor Daniel Carey, Director of the Moore Institute at NUI Galway, said: “This major study establishes Professor Dal Lago as the leading historian charting new ways of thinking about American slavery. His use of comparison casts new light on this painful legacy, reminding us that conflicts of this kind were not isolated affairs but part of a wider struggle among ordinary people in what might be called the agrarian world.” For more information contact Professor Dal Lago at -Ends-

Monday, 10 September 2018

Encouraging multidisciplinary approaches to teaching science The Science Foundation Ireland Research Centre for Medical Devices (CÚRAM), at NUI Galway is now enrolling for its third ‘Teachers in Residence Programme’ with applications being accepted up to 19th October 2018. Teachers in residence work with CÚRAM researchers to develop high quality content for the classroom that is relevant, exciting, practical and easy to use. During the residency, teachers work directly with world class researchers and get private tours of CÚRAM laboratories in the Biomedical Sciences building at NUI Galway, to learn about the medical device research and its impact on healthcare in Ireland and globally. The residency runs from October 2018 until March 2019 for nine evenings. As part of the residency, teachers and their students are invited to attend interactive workshops run by CÚRAM, and participants of the programme will be granted a small honorarium to assist with any travel costs. Teachers from all disciplines are invited to participate, in support of encouraging multidisciplinary approaches to teaching science. The CÚRAM Teachers in Residence Programme has ten places available for five primary and five secondary school teachers this year, with priority placement given to teachers from DEIS schools.  Participants will learn about and receive resources for the classroom including science engagement activities, science capital teaching approaches, and lesson plan kits developed by teachers for teachers, that are linked with the primary and junior cycle science curricula. Professor Abhay Pandit, Scientific Director of CÚRAM at NUI Galway, said: “We have been delighted with the innovation and creativity shown by the primary and secondary teachers who have participated in the first two years of the programme. The lesson plans and resources developed for both primary and secondary school classrooms have now been fully evaluated and are available to primary and secondary teachers nationwide. If we can inspire our teachers by providing access to current, cutting edge Irish research and work with them to incorporate it into classroom activities, our hope is that they in turn can inspire their students for years to come.” In 2018, CÚRAM has also partnered in the Department of Education and Skills’ Junior Cycle for Teachers (JCT) STE(A)M to develop a continuing professional development workshop for Junior Cycle teachers around MedTech research and career opportunities. The JCT STE(A)M workshops will allow for interdisciplinary responses to societal challenges in subject-specific and cross-curricular contexts. Lesson plan kits developed from previous years’ teachers can be downloaded at: To apply for a place in the Teachers in Residence Programme or find out more information, please contact -Ends-

Monday, 10 September 2018

NUI Galway’s International Affairs Office and College of Science have just announced a tailor-made programme in Marine Science and Biology for international students coming to Galway for a semester or year for a study abroad experience. The practice-based programme focuses on marine life and environments, and the biological principles that underlie the science of the sea. Students will gain an understanding of how marine life is distributed and evolves, and how it is affected by human activity in the unique marine environment of Galway Bay and further afield. J.B. Terrins, International Mobility Manager at NUI Galway’s International Office, said: “The marine environment is all around us in Ireland, and Galway is internationally renowned for its marine research and teaching. NUI Galway has been hosting visiting university students, most typically from the US, for over 30 years, and this programme recognises an increasing demand for science courses in specialisms for which it is known globally.” Professor Mark Johnson from the Ryan Institute and Head of the Marine Science programme at NUI Galway, says: “We are the only university in Ireland to offer an undergraduate degree in Marine Science, and Galway has the highest concentration of marine scientists in Ireland. This includes researchers in NUI Galway’s Ryan Institute, our Marine Research Station in Carna, County Galway, and colleagues in the Marine Institute in Oranmore. The work ranges from studying the science of marine ecosystems to co-operation with industry and state agencies on how to work with the sea.” For more information about the new Marine Science and Biology Study Abroad programme, contact Dr Cyril Reddington, International Affairs Office, NUI Galway at or 091 492105. To read more about the Study Abroad course for visiting international students, visit: -Ends-

Monday, 10 September 2018

NUI Galway will host the annual conference of the European Network for Research on Supplementary Pensions (ENRSP) from 20-21 September.  Pensions are a major area of social policy and spending, and affect all residents who contribute to and benefit from a country’s pension system, currently or in the future. Currently pension systems in Ireland and around the world are undergoing radical changes. These reforms raise questions about inclusion, communication, and accountability, such as: the best way to include unpensioned groups (young, female, low paid, disabled, ethnic minorities and/or SME employees) in a pension system? Or, in a defined contribution and privatised pensions world, can communication and education encourage individuals to make better financial decisions to improve their future financial security? And, as governments move to reduce over-reliance on public pensions, who is accountable for ensuring that future old age income is not eroded by fees and poor pension decisions? These are the topics which will be covered throughout the two-day conference. The conference will be opened by Brendan Kennedy, the Chief Executive of the Pensions Authority. Brendan has spent almost his entire career in pensions.  Before joining the Authority in 2004, he held a variety of life insurance and consulting positions. Brendan is a Fellow of the Society of Actuaries in Ireland, of the Institute of Actuaries and of the Irish Institute of Pensions Management. He is a former chair of the Occupational Pensions Committee of the European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority.  Susan Kiuvalainen, Head of Research at the Finnish Centre for Pensions, will deliver the keynote address. Susan will speak about Finland’s recently implemented pension reforms intended to secure the financing of earnings-related pensions (ERPs), promote sufficient retirement income and achieve intergenerational fairness. Kiuvalainen oversees the research in support of the evaluation and development of ERPs in Finland. The European Commission presents Finnish reforms as a model for a sustainable European pension solution. Maureen Maloney, Lecturer in Management at NUI Galway and one of the conference organisers, said: “There could be no better time to welcome academics from Europe and the US to discuss pension issues. The last major change to the pension system in Ireland was in 2003. Understanding the experiences from other countries will help us to make the right changes that will benefit all of us when we retire.” The conference is hosted by NUI Galway and the Pension Policy Research Group. Contributions were received from The Pensions Authority, the Pension Policy Research Group, and NUI Galway’s Registrar's Office, The Irish Centre of Social Gerontology and the Discipline of Management. For more information on the conference contact Maureen Maloney at or visit -Ends-

Friday, 7 September 2018

Beidh an cnuasach aistí Ag Caint leis an Simné? Dúshlán an Traidisiúin agus Nualitríocht na Gaeilge le Louis de Paor, Stiúrthóir An Léann Éireannach, á sheoladh ag Michael Cronin, Cathaoir na Fraincise 1776, Coláiste na Tríonóide. Beidh an ócáid ​​ar siúl ar an Déardaoin, 13 Meán Fómhair  ag 5pm sa Institiúid de Móra, OÉ Gaillimh,. Cén gaol is ceart, nó is féidir, a bheith idir an scríbhneoir aonair is an traidisiún a tháinig roimhe, agus conas a bheidh léitheoirí a linne féin ag freagairt don ngné sin dá shaothar? Sa mhéid gur traidisiún scoilte é traidisiún na Gaeilge, cuid mhaith, is go bhfuil go leor dá cuid scríbhneoirí agus dá cuid léitheoirí scoite le traidisiún béil na Gaeltachta, agus leis an tseanlitríocht a bheag nó a mhór, tá an cheist níos casta ná mar a bheadh i dteangacha nach bhfuil stair choilíneach laistiar díobh. Leis sin, tá míshuaimhneas éigin ag baint le ceist an traidisiúin ó tosnaíodh ar litríocht na Gaeilge a athchóiriú aimsir na hathbheochana agus freagraí éagsúla tabhartha ag scríbhneoirí ar an dúshlán a bhaineann le teanga mhionlaithe agus cultúr coilínithe a chur in oiriúint dóibh féin agus dá gcuid léitheoirí. Sa leabhar seo téann an t-údar i ngleic leis an gceist seo trí ghnéithe éagsúla de shaothar fhilí agus scríbhneoirí móra próis na Gaeilge a scrúdú – leithéidí Sheáin Uí Ríordáin, Liam S Gógan, Mháire Mhac an tSaoi, Mháirtín Uí Dhireáin, Mháirtín Uí Chadhain agus Bhriain Uí Nualláin (Myles na Gopaleen) – féachaint conas mar a tháinig siad féin ar réiteach ar an gceist, má tháinig ar chor ar bith. -Críoch- NUI Galway to Launch a New Collection of Essays A new collection of essays, Ag Caint Leis an Simné? Dúshlán an Traidisiúin agus Nualitríocht na Gaeilge by Louis de Paor, Director of NUI Galway’s Centre for Irish Studies, will be launched by Michael Cronin, Chair of French 1776, TCD. The launch will take place on Thursday, 13 September at 5pm in the Moore Institute, NUI Galway. What relationship exists, or could exist, between the individual writer and the tradition that the writer follows? And how do readers respond to that aspect of the writer's work. Insofar as the literary tradition in Irish is splintered, for a good part, and as many Irish-language writers and readers are separated from the oral tradition of the Gaeltacht and with the old literature, more or less, the question is more complicated than it would be in other languages that do not have a history of colonialism behind them. With that, there is a certain discomfort with regard to the question of tradition since the adaptation of Irish language literature during the revival and different writers have responded in various ways to the challenge of adapting a minority language and colonised culture for themselves and their readers. In Ag Caint leis an Simné? Dúshlán an Traidisiúin agus Nualitríocht na Gaeilge, Louis de Paor tackles this question by analysing the work of major poets and prose writer in the Irish language - works by Seán Ó Ríordáin, Liam S. Gógan, Máire Mhac an tSaoi, Máirtín Ó Direáin, Máirtín Ó Cadhain and Brian Ó Nualláin (Myles na gCopaleen) - to see how they resolved this question in their own work, and whether, indeed they succeeded in resolving it. -Ends-

Wednesday, 5 September 2018

NUI Galway are inviting science enthusiasts and filmmakers of all ages to apply for the competition  Wednesday, 5 September, 2018: NUI Galway is challenging science enthusiasts and filmmakers of all ages to produce an engaging and educational short science video for this year’s ReelLIFE SCIENCE competition. This year, winning videos will be selected by guest judge Irish comedian and television presenter Dara Ó Briain. Launched in 2013, the contest is inviting all primary and secondary schools, and participants from community groups and clubs around Ireland to show their passion for science and technology. Videos can be produced on smartphones or cameras and can communicate any aspect of science, including its impact on individuals, society and the environment. Supported by the Science Foundation Ireland Discover programme, the Community Knowledge Initiative, the CÚRAM Centre for Research in Medical Devices and the National Centre for Biomedical Engineering Science, ReelLIFE SCIENCE will award more than €5,000 for the best science videos. Winning videos will be selected by a panel of special guest judges including aeronautical engineer and astronaut-candidate Norah Patten, BT Young Scientist and Technologist of the Year 2018, Simon Meehan and comedian and TV presenter Dara Ó Briain, who said: “ReelLIFE SCIENCE is a wonderful project, which encourages people to connect with science and technology in a fun way, and share their knowledge and creativity with the public via video. I’m delighted to be one of the judges and am very excited to see this year’s videos.” Closing date for submissions is Friday, 19 October and the best videos at each level (primary school, secondary school, community) will be announced during Science Week 2018, which runs from 11-18 November. The winning filmmakers will be invited to attend a public screening and awards ceremony hosted at the Galway Science and Technology Festival on 25 November. More than 9,000 people in 300 schools and community groups all around Ireland have previously taken part in the ReelLIFE SCIENCE programme, which is organised by Dr Enda O’Connell and a team of science communication enthusiasts from NUI Galway. Previous year’s winning videos and more information about the 2018 competition can be found at -Ends-

Wednesday, 5 September 2018

: Researchers from the J.E. Cairnes School of Business and Economics at NUI Galway and Queen’s University Belfast have found that people’s attachment to particular religious beliefs influenced their attitudes to euthanasia, and their attitudes to euthanasia influenced how they valued health, including health states considered worse than being dead. The study was recently published in the journal, Health and Quality of Life Outcomes. The researchers collected information on a group of 160 individuals’ religiosity (attachment to religious beliefs) and their attitudes to euthanasia in Ireland, using data collected as part of the Irish EQ-5D-5L valuation study - a study which measures the relative value that Irish residents attach to five different domains of health; mobility, self-care, ability to do usual activities, pain/discomfort and anxiety/depression, measured at different levels of severity. The study found that individuals who attended religious services frequently were less likely to be in support of a doctor ending a person’s life (euthanasia) due to having a painful incurable disease, in comparison to those who attended religious services less frequently. People who were less likely to support euthanasia were subsequently less likely to consider any health state as being worse than dead, regardless of severity.   Luke Barry from the J.E. Cairnes School of Business and Economics at NUI Galway and one of the lead researchers of the study, commented: “Ireland has undergone significant social and cultural changes in recent decades, this research points to the potential ramifications of such changes including in less obvious quarters such as the allocation of healthcare resources. How we compare alternative uses of healthcare resources, for example, one treatment over another, in terms of their relative value for money is contingent on how we ‘value’ health. Our research highlights that these values appear to be related to our beliefs and attitudes which can change over time.”  This NUI Galway research adds to the growing literature on the relationship between religious beliefs and health state values, including qualitative work undertaken by UAE University in collaboration with the Office of Health Economics, in Poland and the Netherlands. The study was funded by the Health Research Board and undertaken in collaboration with the EuroQol Research Foundation and the Office of Health Economics in the UK. To read the full study in Health and Quality of Life Outcomes, visit: -Ends-

Wednesday, 5 September 2018

Seolann Uachtarán na hOllscoile, an tOllamh Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh Scéim Teanga OÉ Gaillimh don tréimhse 2018-2021 Sheol Uachtarán na hOllscoile, an tOllamh Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh an triú Scéim Teanga do chuid Ollscoil na hÉireann Gaillimh. Beidh Scéim Chónaitheach do Mhic Léinn le Gaeilge i mBaile na Coiribe ar thalamh na hOllscoile i measc bhuaicphointí na Scéime. Tá neart tionscnaimh agus scéimeanna nua luaite sa phlean chun úsáid na Gaeilge a mhéadú san Ollscoil. I measc na mbuaicphointí: Tá Scéim Chónaitheach curtha ar bun ar bhonn piolótach ar champas ionas go mbeidh lóistín ar fáil do chainteoirí Gaeilge ar an gcampas in aon áras amháin. Ceapfar Comhordaitheoir Stráitéiseach do ghníomhaíochtaí feasachta na Gaeilge ar champas agus fearainn oibre eile de chuid na hOllscoile. Oibreoidh an duine seo ar phlean cuimsitheach d’imeachtaí cultúrtha agus sóisialta a eagrú trí Ghaeilge. Tá struchtúr nua curtha i bhfeidhm chun suíomh gréasáin na hOllscoile a chur ar fáil i nGaeilge agus cur le ábhar Gaeilge na suíomhe ag agus leanfar ar aghaidh leis an obair seo a chur i gcrích. Déanfar Plean Institiúideach Teanga a réiteach a dhéanfaidh comhaireamh ar líon na gcainteoirí Gaeilge agus a leibhéil inniúlachta i measc fhoireann na hOllscoile. Bunófar Coiste Stiúrtha a bheas freagrach as an bplean institiúideach a phleanáil agus a fhaomhadh. Is é cuspóir na Scéime ná freastal níos fearr agus níos leithne a dhéanamh ar phobal Gaeilge na hOllscoile. Seo í an tríú scéim teanga atá foilsithe ag an Ollscoil faoi Acht na dTeangacha Oifigiúla agus tá réimse leathan de spriocanna ann a chuirfidh go mór le beocht na teanga ar an gcampas. Déanfar na spriocanna seo a bhaint amach sa tréimhse 2018-2021. Dúirt Uachtarán na hOllscoile, an tOllamh Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh: “Tá an Ghaeilge, agus cur chun cinn na Gaeilge lárnach i saol agus saothar na hOllscoile. Is cúis áthais ar leith dom go bhfuil tús á chur in athuair le Scéim Chónaitheach Gaeilge. Cuireadh an chéad scéim dá leithéad ar bun i mBaile na Coiribe breis agus cúig bliana fichead ó shin, agus is ceart, sa chomhthéacs sin, fáilte a chur roimh ghlúin nua mic léinn a bheidh ag teacht le chéile i gcomhluadar na Gaeilge i mBaile na Coiribe.” Tá an Scéim faomhaithe ag Príomh Aoire an Rialtais, an tAire Stáit sa Roinn Cultúir, Oidhreachta  agus Gaeltachta  Joe McHugh T.D. ó bhí mí Eanáir 2018 ann, agus an Scéim  curtha faoi bhráid Údarás na hOllscoile ó shin i leith.  Beidh teacht ar an Scéim ar shuíomh idirlín na hOllscoile ag -Críoch- Irish Language Student Residences unveiled under New NUI Galway Irish Language Plan NUI Galway President Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh launches the NUI Galway Irish Language Scheme 2018-2021 Wednesday, 5 September, 2018: NUI Galway President Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh today (Wednesday, 5 September) launched the University’s third Irish Language Scheme. A Residential Scheme with designated spaces for Irish speaking students on campus is among the highlights of the three year plan. Highlights include: Irish Language Student Residences; designated accommodation with reserved places for Irish-speaking students. The first, and pilot group of students is already in residence for the academic year 2018/19. A Comhordaitheoir Stráitéiseach (Strategic Co-ordinator) will be appointed to work across NUI Galway campuses to prepare a comprehensive plan of cultural and social events through Irish. A focus on the University’s website, drawing all material and news as Gaeilge together across campus at along with other work to develop and extend Irish language content online. An Institutional Language Plan / Plean Institiúdach Teanga will be prepared, based on, and appropriate for, the fluency level and number of Irish speakers on campus. A Coiste Stiúrtha / Steering Committee will be established to monitor the preparation and implementation of the Institutional Language Plan. The aim of the Scheme is to improve and broaden Irish language services for the University Community. This is the third Language Scheme under the Official Languages Act and there are a range of goals set out that will add significantly to use of the Irish language on campus. These goals will be achieved between 2018 and 2021. NUI Galway President Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh, said: “The Irish language and the promotion of the Irish language is a core value of the work and mission of the University. I am delighted to announce the re-opening of the Scéim Chónaitheach Gaeilge / Residential Language Scheme. This was a Scheme initiated in NUI Galway more than 25 years ago, and it is fitting, in that context, to welcome a new generation of Irish speaking students to a designated Irish speaking area in Corrib Village.” The Scheme was approved by the Government Chief Whip and Minister for State at the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Joe McHugh TD in January 2018, and was brought through the approval processes of Údarás na hOllscoile / Governing Authority before its launch today. A copy of the Scheme is available at -Ends-

Tuesday, 4 September 2018

A group of international female geoscientists from universities all over the world including NUI Galway, have taken a close look at their profession and discovered the barriers to success, while also pinpointing the sometimes simple changes that can be made to attract more women into innovative industries. The revealing results are published today (4 September) in Nature Publishing Group’s social sciences journal, Palgrave Communications. The researchers are part of the committee for the international network working for Women in Coastal Geoscience and Engineering (WICGE), spanning Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, France, the United Kingdom, Mexico and Spain. They found that although women make up almost a third of the coastal geoscience and engineering community, they represent only about one in five of its prestige roles. Coastal geoscience and engineering (CGE) encompasses professionals working on coastal processes, integrating expertise across physics, geomorphology, engineering, planning and management. This study presents novel results of gender inequality and experiences of gender bias in CGE, and proposes practical steps to address it. The study entitled ‘Steps to improve gender diversity in coastal geoscience and engineering’ saw the international team of researchers analyse the gender representation in the boards and committees of nine societies, 25 journals, and 10 conferences. Additionally, the scientists launched a global survey and obtained responses from 314 people. Co-author of the study, Dr Siddhi Joshi from the School of Geography and Archaeology at NUI Galway, said: “Robust data on gender diversity is often scarce and studies like this are key building blocks for change. As a new female post-doctoral researcher in coastal geosciences and engineering, it’s very important to get the support you need to deal with challenges such as microagressions (derogative comments or actions that are indirect). Networks such as WICGE and the Irish Association for Women in Geoscience, provides this support.” Key findings from the study: Women represent 30% of the international coastal geoscience engineering community, yet there is underrepresentation in prestige roles such as journal editorial board members (15% women) and conference organisers (18% women). Female underrepresentation is less prominent when the path to prestige roles is clearly outlined and candidates can self-nominate or volunteer instead of the traditional invitation-only pathway. By analysing the views of 314 survey respondents (34% male, 65% female, and 1% other), the study found that 81% perceive the lack of female role models as a key hurdle for gender equity, and a significantly larger proportion of females (47%) felt held back in their career due to gender in comparison with males (9%). Lead and corresponding author of the study, Professor Ana Vila-Concejo, Associate Professor and co-leader of the University of Sydney’s Geocoastal Research Group and deputy director of the One Tree Island Research Station on Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, said the solutions and suggestions were relevant for women in science and more generally. Professor Ana Vila-Concejo, commented: “Our findings are important not only for our field of research but also for other fields in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, and beyond. Reading the survey responses was harder than we had anticipated. We found flagrant examples of inequality that included dramatic decisions such as an early career researcher deciding to undergo an abortion out of fear of jeopardising her chances of securing an academic position.” Examples of What is Holding Women Back (further explanations in the link below to published paper): Gender stereotyping was amongst the most common manifestation of inequality in coastal geoscience and engineering roles. Stereotyping of women working in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) as not being as competent (or being incompetent), and not being taken seriously, is a key theme. The existence of the “boys club” - in the experience of one survey respondent: “During a job interview, the lead engineer (male) was explaining how they have the ‘boys club’ here at the office. They did offer me the job, but I didn’t want to work in that type of environment.” The “maternal wall” results from expectations that a woman’s job performance is affected by her having children. Microaggressions and harassment - being overlooked and ignored in favour of male colleagues was a key issue, for example, one respondent noted: “Getting my first big grant and employing a male post-doctoral - our project partners treated him as the boss.” While another recalled comments about looks, such as “comments on my ‘pretty face’ being an asset for attracting clients”. Solutions: Advocate for more women in prestige roles. Promote high-achieving females. Create awareness of gender bias. Speak up. Get better support for return-to-work. Redefine success. Encourage more women to enter the discipline at a young age. Shari Gallop from Macquarie University, said: “The first four steps we recommend can be successfully implemented immediately, while others need institutional engagement and represent major societal overhauls.” The contributing organisations for this study include the University of Sydney, Macquarie University, NUI Galway, University of Wollongong, Bournemouth University, University of Waikato, Edge Hill University, University of Seville, Flinders University, University of Baja California, University of Newcastle, University of Bordeaux, UNSW Sydney. To read the full study in Palgrave Communications, visit: -Ends-

Monday, 3 September 2018

Marine scientists from NUI Galway returned home recently with yet more stunning footage of Irish deep-sea waters. The expedition, part of a Science Foundation Ireland and Marine Institute funded project to derive novel pharmaceuticals from deep-water organisms, explored waters off the edge of Ireland’s continental shelf, approximately 100 kilometres west of Belmullet in County Mayo, with the aim of both exploiting and conserving Ireland’s deep-sea genetic resources. Diving with the deep-water remotely operated vehicle, ROV Holland I, onboard the Marine Institute’s RV Celtic Explorer research vessel, the scientists mapped the biodiversity of the sea floor and collected samples of sponges (simple sessile animals that grow upwards from the seafloor) and octocorals (which lack the stony skeleton of tropical reef-building corals), to study their chemistry back in the laboratories. These organisms produce chemicals as part of their defensive systems, to stop, for example, other sponges and corals growing on top of them, and such chemicals, with their unique structures, can be the source of new drugs.  The chemicals extracted by NUI Galway chemists are being tested against a range of disease screens in NUI Galway, University of South Florida (USF) and with collaborators from around the world. The scientists are screening against various types of cancer, Huntington’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, epilepsy, and various pathogens such as Enterobacter bacteria species. Professor Louise Allcock from the Ryan Institute at NUI Galway, and Chief scientist and Principal Investigator on the project ‘Exploiting and Conserving Deep-sea Genetic Resources’ emphasised the importance of Irish deep-sea fauna, saying: “We don’t need much material to work out the structure of a new compound, which can then be synthesized in the laboratory, but new diseases emerge every decade, and it’s really important to also conserve these unique habitats so that medicine can draw on them in the future. Our species distribution maps will help with that.” Professor Bill Baker, a chemist on the project from USF, said: “Naturally produced chemicals from marine organisms provide real opportunities for drug discovery. And the deep-sea, with its specially adapted fauna, is likely to yield a range of chemistry not known from shallow waters.” The team targeted the area surveyed because previous ROV dives in the area suggested there may be locations that were particularly sponge rich. Dr Joana Xavier, a researcher from CIIMAR (Portugal) and the University of Bergen (Norway), and Scientific Manager of the EU Horizon 2020 project SponGES, also joined the expedition, providing expertise in sponge taxonomy (identification). Dr Xavier, whose previous experience includes expeditions across the Atlantic, said: “The diversity of sponges, and particularly of glass sponges, whose tissues have a skeleton made of silica, in Irish deep-sea waters is absolutely incredible. Unusually large individuals, likely to be hundreds of years old, were also observed, attesting to the pristine condition of some sites. Other structural habitats such as cold-water coral reefs and gardens, also found during the cruise, help maintain the diversity in these areas.”    -Ends-

Thursday, 20 September 2018

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

Friday, 21 September 2018

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

Friday, 21 September 2018

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

Friday, 28 September 2018

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

Thursday, 30 August 2018

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

Wednesday, 29 August 2018

NUI Galway will host the 43rd Sir Peter Freyer Memorial Lecture and Surgical Symposium, the largest Surgical Conference in Ireland, from 7-8 September. The Symposium, named in memory of the Galway-born surgeon, Sir Peter Freyer, who performed the first successful surgical operation to remove an enlarged prostate in 1900, comprises of multiple research and education sessions across the various surgical subspecialties, two keynote addresses and a discussion forum around the future of Surgical Care in Ireland.  This year the keynote addresses will be delivered by Professor Conor Delaney, Chairman of the Digestive Disease and Surgery Institute at the Cleveland Clinic, and Kenneth Mealy, President of the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland. Professor Delaney will deliver the Memorial Lecture entitled ‘Approaching Industrial Standards for Rectal Cancer Surgery’ on Friday, 7 September. Professor Delaney holds the Victor W. Fazio MD Endowed Chair in Colorectal Surgery. He is a member and serves on administrative committees of many national and international professional societies; serves on the editorial board of eight national and international journals; is the past-president of the International Society for Laparoscopic Colorectal Surgery, and the Midwest Surgical Association; and is the Treasurer of the American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons. His clinical interests include laparoscopic colorectal surgery, carcinoma of the colon, Crohn’s Disease and ulcerative colitis, sphincter-saving surgery, re-operative abdominal surgery and colonoscopy. His research interests include various aspects of colorectal surgery, cost-efficiency in surgery, and surgical education.  Kenneth Mealy will deliver the State of the Art Lecture entitled ‘Sustainable High Quality Surgical Care: A Utopian Dream’ on Saturday, 8 September.  He is a Consultant General Surgeon with a special interest in gastrointestinal (GI) surgery, based at Wexford General Hospital. He completed his clinical and academic training in Ireland, the UK, Harvard Medical School, Boston and the University of Edinburgh, Scotland.  Since his election to the Council of RCSI in 2008, he has chaired the Committee for Surgical Affairs, the Irish Surgical Postgraduate Training Committee and the Finance Committee. He has a long interest in surgical training and held the post of Chair of the Dublin Region Basic Surgical Training Committee and Chair of the National Basic Surgical Training Programme. He also held the position of President of the Surgical Section of The Royal Academy of Medicine in Ireland. He was appointed Joint Lead for the National Clinical Programme in Surgery in 2010 and Medical Director of the National Office of Clinical Audit in 2012. Professor of Surgery at NUI Galway, Michael Kerin, who is hosting the event along with his colleague Professor Oliver McAnena, said: “We are delighted to welcome Professor Delaney and Kenneth Mealy to our University. Their work focuses on delivering high quality surgical care and achieving best outcomes for patients. Both lectures are the centre-points of a large programme containing some of the best surgical research from this country. This Conference signals the start of the academic year and has been a mainstay of the National Academic Surgical Platform with input from a diverse group of Consultants and Trainees across all specialties in Irish Surgery.” For further information on the event please contact 091 544203 or visit -Ends-

Friday, 24 August 2018

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

Thursday, 23 August 2018

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

Monday, 20 August 2018

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

Friday, 17 August 2018

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

Wednesday, 15 August 2018

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

Tuesday, 14 August 2018

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

Friday, 10 August 2018

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

Friday, 10 August 2018

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