Thursday, 10 May 2018

NUI Galway will host a research seminar presented by Nobel laureate, Professor Paul Modrich of Duke University Medical Center and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute in the US. Professor Modrich will talk about ‘Mechanisms in human DNA mismatch repair’. Professor Paul Modrich was one of three scientists to share the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2015 for landmark discoveries over four decades of work in DNA repair.  His host at NUI Galway, Professor Robert Lahue, trained as a postdoctoral fellow in Modrich’s laboratory. The Nobel Committee cited one of the Lahue-Modrich publications as groundbreaking. The Nobel Committee recognised Professor Modrich’s work on mismatch repair, which acts as a genetic spellchecker to preserve the DNA. Defects in mismatch repair are now known to cause certain hereditary forms of colorectal cancer. Genetic testing of cancer patients helps identify those with mismatch repair defects, providing information, which is important in guiding their treatment. Professor Robert Lahue from the Centre for Chromosome Biology at NUI Galway, said: “The research community at NUI Galway is tremendously excited about Professor Modrich’s visit and seminar.  He is a world leader in the area of DNA biochemistry and cancer biology. We are fortunate to have him visit, to present a seminar and to interact with members of our Centre and other researchers at NUI Galway.” -Ends-

Tuesday, 8 May 2018

NUI Galway students scooped four awards at the recent Union of Students in Ireland (USI) Student Achievement Awards Ireland (SAAI) 2018. The annual Student Achievement Awards Ireland is an opportunity for the student movement in Ireland to recognise the contribution of students to the life of Ireland and the student community. Bachelor of Science student Clare Austick from Galway City was awarded the Part-Time Officer of the Year Award; Bachelor of Commerce student Nargis Dewji from Tanzania won International Student of the Year; while Bachelor of Science in Biotechnology student Edel Browne from Athenry, Co. Galway, was presented with the Entrepreneur of the Year Award. NUI Galway Students’ Union was presented with the Welfare Campaign of the Year with their sexual health and guidance campaign. Congratulating the students, NUI Galway President, Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh, said: “University offers students a wonderful opportunity to try new things and develop their potential. Each of the NUI Galway winners of the USI Student Achievement Awards has demonstrated this to the full. They have shown a tremendous commitment to helping their fellow students, becoming respected student leaders and have benefitted by gaining confidence and life experience which will enrich their future careers. I extend warmest congratulations to each of the Awardees and I commend them for the way that they have used the opportunity which the student experience provides in order to help others.” -Ends-

Thursday, 3 May 2018

International conference at NUI Galway on 24 May to explore artificial intelligence and machine learning Festival season in Galway is well underway with the AtlanTec Festival 2018, which runs from April through to 25 May. Now in its fourth year, the IT festival is organised by the IT Association Galway (ITAG). At the heart of the festival will be the international conference on 24 May, co-hosted by NUI Galway. This year’s AtlanTec Conference at NUI Galway is themed on ‘The Art of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning’. Some 300 business leaders and expert software developers are expected to attend the day-long conference which will explore all aspects of the topic. Artificial intelligence and machine learning are among the drivers of a wave of innovation in IT. Machines and robots are being programmed to adapt some of the cognitive functions associated with humans, such as learning and problem solving. Many have cited this as revolutionary and life changing for society as we know it. The conference will feature innovators and future thinkers who will give insights into such possibilities, while also discussing related technological topics such as data analytics, deep learning, virtual assistants and chatbots. An array of speakers have been announced from as far afield as Vancouver, Denmark, India, New York, the UK, as well as Ireland. Among those will be Nell Watson, an engineer, entrepreneur, and futurist thinker affiliated with the Singularity University and The Future Society at Harvard; and Canadian inventor Ann Makosinski who has created a flashlight that runs off the heat of the human hand and a mug that uses heat from a drink to charge a phone. IT Association Galway and AtlanTec Festival CEO Caroline Cawley explains the purpose of the festival and conference: “AtlanTec Festival showcases Galway’s diverse technology culture. It’s an opportunity to encourage creativity, collaboration and innovation within the IT, business and educational communities in the West of Ireland. The ability to attract international speakers of the calibre of Nell Watson and Ann Makosinski is a testament to the innovative culture that exists in the west.” Other festival events take place across a range of venues and include: In-Company Events across Galway’s Tecnology Sector – April until end May Digital Women’s Forum ‘Pressing for Progress’ - Hotel Meyrick, 23 May Transition Year Gets Techie – GMIT, 10 May Tech Tag World Championships – Corinthians RFC, 25 May Professor Lokesh Joshi, Vice-President for Research at NUI Galway, said: “Ireland is the second largest exporter of computer and IT services in the world. Some of the largest companies in the sector have bases in Galway. We are also home to some incredible innovative indigenous organisations, including 15 ICT start-ups based here on campus and many more in incubators across the city. Combine this with the research expertise at NUI Galway’s Insight Centre for Data Analytics and College of Engineering and IT, along with GMIT’s expertise and we have an ecosystem that goes from strength to strength.” The festival is supported by ITAG Skillnet, NUI Galway, Avaya, Cisco, Fidelity Investments, DXC, Fintrax, HPE, Storm Technology, Valeo, GMIT and Galway City Council. The Art of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning conference will take place in the Bailey Allen Hall, NUI Galway on Thursday, 24 May. For bookings and full details of AtlanTec Festival, email contact@itag.ie or visit: www.atlantec.ie -Ends-

Tuesday, 8 May 2018

Advance Higher Education has announced today (Monday, 7 May) that NUI Galway has achieved an Athena SWAN award. Additionally, the School of Medicine has been conferred with a departmental level award. The awards at Bronze level recognises that the University and the School of Medicine have demonstrated a solid foundation for eliminating gender bias and developing an inclusive culture that values all staff.   Through the implementation of an action plan containing a range of specific, measurable activities, NUI Galway has introduced a range of initiatives focused on gender equality in recent years. Work on implementing these actions and other gender equality initiatives is already underway, and will continue to be fully supported by the University’s senior management team. These initiatives include: The introduction of gender quotas for University promotion schemes where applicable Inclusivity and unconscious bias training programmes and workshops for managers and staff Specific leadership development programmes for female University staff Targeted supports for parents returning from leave, including research grants to help mitigate the impact of an extended leave period on research activities, return to work programmes and breastfeeding support workshops Professor Anne Scott, Vice President for Equality and Diversity at NUI Galway, said: “We are delighted to receive an Athena SWAN Bronze award for our institution. It recognises the energetic and sustained work in recent years to address equality challenges in the University. However we recognise that we are still at an early stage in this important journey.” NUI Galway President, Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh welcomed the result and paid tribute to the work of the Athena SWAN self-assessment team and in particular the Chair, Professor Anne Scott, Vice President for Equality and Diversity and her team in supporting this important initiative. President Ó hÓgartaigh also commented that due recognition should be given to the role played by his predecessor, Dr Jim Browne and the NUI Galway management team. Re-affirming his support for the implementation of the Athena SWAN three-year action plan, he stated that: “NUI Galway embraces diversity and diverse voices as a hallmark of the University and we look forward to reflecting this as a strength of the University, and its hinterland, in NUI Galway’s strategic development.” Athena SWAN is an internationally recognised Charter which supports the development of a better working environment for all staff and students, and helps institutions meet the requirements and expectations of research funders, align with policy priorities, and meet legislative requirements. The attainment of the Athena SWAN Bronze award has been identified as a key priority in the University’s Strategic Plan 2015-2020, and several funding agencies will make gender equality accreditation in higher education institutions a condition of funding by the end of 2019. -Ends-

Friday, 4 May 2018

New York Times columnist, Maureen Dowd and founder of Irish Central.com, Niall O’Dowd will lead a discussion of the new right phenomenon The Moore Institute at NUI Galway will host an event with special guests Maureen Dowd, Opinion Editorial columnist with the New York Times and The Irish Times, and Irish journalist Niall O’Dowd, founder of Irish Voice Newspaper, Irish America Magazine and Irish Central.com. Both will lead a discussion of the phenomenon, ‘Trump, Irish America and the New Right’. Professor Daniel Carey, Director of the Moore Institute at NUI Galway, says: “A striking recent development in American politics has been the emergence of Irish Americans associated with the Right and their participation in, or support for, the Trump administration. The traditional expectation that Irish Americans align themselves with the Democratic Party, led by the Kennedy family and figures like Tip O’Neill, has been overturned, first by conservative commentators on Fox News like Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity, and then by prominent members of the Trump election team and cabinet, past and present, including Steve Bannon, Michael Flynn, John Kelly, Sean Spicer, Mick Mulvaney, Kelly-Anne Conway, and others. In the wider Republican leadership, Paul Ryan and Kevin McCarthy, among others, play an important part in this emerging trend.” This event is designed to develop a better a better understanding of this transformation, what values animate it, and how significant it is for American and world politics. Professor Carey added: “The emergence of Trump as a political phenomenon has been his close relationship with Irish Americans, who have supplied advice, support, and filled cabinet posts in his administration. The national and international impact of these figures has been enormous. Maureen Dowd and Niall O’Dowd are well placed to explain this challenging moment and to offer insight to observers in Ireland.” A panel of contributors will participate in the event that include: Dr Kathleen Cavanaugh, Mr Larry Donnelly and Dr Charlotte McIvor from NUI Galway, and Professor Eileen Gillooly, Columbia University. The event will be chaired by Professor Daniel Carey, Director of the Moore Institute at NUI Galway. This event will take place on Tuesday, 15 May at 5.30pm in the Aula Maxima, Quadrangle, NUI Galway. The event is free and registration is essential, register at: https://www.eventbrite.com/o/moore-institute-13051737070 -Ends-

Thursday, 10 May 2018

NUI Galway has launched its University of Sanctuary Campaign. This campaign seeks to highlight the importance of access to Third-level Education for those living in Direct Provision and members of the Traveller Community. The aim of the campaign at NUI Galway is to increase public awareness of the global refugee crisis and Traveller-specific issues across the University campus. The campaign hopes to achieve their aim by advocating for the development of pre-existing fee waivers, bursaries, and scholarships for asylum seekers, while developing meaningful outreach programmes to address the dearth of Traveller participation in third-level education. The steering committee will introduce pilot projects promoting multiculturalism and equity across campus through cross-faculty cooperation. The campaign promotes increased awareness, understanding, inclusion and equity for all students attending or hoping to attend third-level education. Other higher education institutions have already received University of Sanctuary status and NUI Galway is hoping to join those ranks in the near future.  Professor Anne Scott, Vice President for Equality and Diversity at NUI Galway, said: “Education is an enormous force for good, it transforms peoples’ lives and opportunities. As a university NUI Galway is committed to working with our local community, regional leaders, with our sector and with government to ensure equality of opportunity in accessing third level education for our refugee and asylum seeking populations, in addition to members of the travelling community.” The University of Sanctuary Steering Committee at NUI Galway includes academic and administration staff, students and societies, community partners and individuals living in the Direct Provision centres in Galway. If you would like to be involved with the University of Sanctuary campaign at NUI Galway or for more information, please contact sanctuarynuig@gmail.com. -Ends-

Thursday, 10 May 2018

NUI Galway has launched its University of Sanctuary Campaign. This campaign seeks to highlight the importance of access to Third-level Education for those living in Direct Provision and members of the Traveller Community. The aim of the campaign at NUI Galway is to increase public awareness of the global refugee crisis and Traveller-specific issues across the University campus. The campaign hopes to achieve their aim by advocating for the development of pre-existing fee waivers, bursaries, and scholarships for asylum seekers, while developing meaningful outreach programmes to address the dearth of Traveller participation in third-level education. The steering committee will introduce pilot projects promoting multiculturalism and equity across campus through cross-faculty cooperation. The campaign promotes increased awareness, understanding, inclusion and equity for all students attending or hoping to attend third-level education. Other higher education institutions have already received University of Sanctuary status and NUI Galway is hoping to join those ranks in the near future.  Professor Anne Scott, Vice President for Equality and Diversity at NUI Galway, said: “Education is an enormous force for good, it transforms peoples’ lives and opportunities. As a university NUI Galway is committed to working with our local community, regional leaders, with our sector and with government to ensure equality of opportunity in accessing third level education for our refugee and asylum seeking populations, in addition to members of the travelling community.” The University of Sanctuary Steering Committee at NUI Galway includes academic and administration staff, students and societies, community partners and individuals living in the Direct Provision centres in Galway. If you would like to be involved with the University of Sanctuary campaign at NUI Galway or for more information, please contact sanctuarynuig@gmail.com. -Ends-

Thursday, 10 May 2018

Tá léachtóir sna meáin in Acadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge, OÉ Gaillimh,  Seán Breathnach roghnaithe le bheith ina stiúrthóir ar fhadscannán Gaeilge do TG4 faoin scéim maoinithe Cine4. Bíonn Seán Breathnach, as Leitir Mealláin i gConamara, i mbun scriptscríobh agus léiriú físe a theagasc ar an BA Cumarsáid agus Gaeilge san Acadamh. Scríobh sé agus stiúróidh sé an script don scannán Foscadh. Is í seo an chéad uair a mbeidh fadscannán á stiúradh aige. Tá Foscadh á léiriú ag Paddy Hayes don chomhlacht Léirithe Magamedia, atá lonnaithe i nGaillimh. Dráma tuaithe dorcha, lonnaithe i gConamara, atá ann. Nuair a fhaigheann fear óg místuama amach go bhfuil athzónáil i gcomhair tithíochta déanta ar an talamh a fuair sé le huacht i ndiaidh báis a mháthair, ar baintreach í, téann sé rite air a chuid naimhde a dhealú óna chuid cairde nua. Roghnaigh TG4 agus Bord Scannán na hÉireann an scannán le cur faoi bhráid Údarás Craolacháin na hÉireann an mhí seo faoin scéim, a bhfuil dianiomaíocht agus maoiniú €1.2 milliún in aghaidh an scannáin ag gabháil léi. Déanfar an scannán a thaifeadadh i lár na bliana 2019 agus déanfar é a thaispeáint ag roinnt féilte idirnáisiúnta scannán le linn 2020. Déanfar é a thaispeáint sna pictiúrlanna in Éirinn agus ar TG4 ina dhiaidh sin. Fuair an Breathnach maoiniú ón mBord Scannán roimhe seo chun an gearrscannán Maidhm a dhéanamh. Ghnóthaigh an scannán seo roinnt duaiseanna agus léirmheasanna moltacha ag breis is dosaen féile scannán in Éirinn, ar Mhór-Roinn na hEorpa, sna Stáit Aontaithe agus san Áis. Tá scríofa aige freisin faoin dátheangachas sna drámaí teilifíse, agus rinne sé iniúchadh ar dhomhan scéalaíochta An Klondike agus Corp + Anam a foilsíodh in iris phiarmheasúnaithe an Acadaimh, Léann Teanga: An Reiviú (2017). -Críoch- NUI Galway Lecturer to Direct a €1.2 million Full-length Feature Film in Irish A lecturer in Media in Acadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge at NUI Galway, Seán Breathnach, has been selected to direct a full-length feature film for TG4 under the flagship Cine4 funding scheme. Seán, who teaches scriptwriting and video production on the University’s BA Cumarsáid agus Gaeilge, wrote and will direct the script for Foscadh, marking his début production as director of a full-length feature-length film. Produced by Paddy Hayes of Galway-based Magamedia Productions, Foscadh is a dark rural drama set in Connemara. When an awkward young recluse finds his inherited land rezoned for housing after the death of his widowed mother, he struggles to distinguish friend from foe amongst his new found acquaintances. In a highly competitive scheme, the film has been selected by TG4 and Bord Scannán na hÉireann / the Irish Film Board for submission to the Broadcast Authority of Ireland this month with an overall budget of €1.2 million. The film will be shot in mid-2019 and will be screened at a number of international festivals during 2020 prior to its theatrical release in Ireland and its television premiere on TG4. Breathnach, who hails from Leitir Mealláin in Connemara, was previously funded by the film board to make the award-winning short film Maidhm. This film was shown to critical acclaim at more than a dozen film festivals in Ireland, continental Europe, the US and Asia. Breathnach has also written about bilingualism and television drama, including a discussion of the storytelling world of An Klondike and Corp + Anam, for the Acadamh’s peer-reviewed journal, Léann Teanga: An Reiviú (2017). -Ends-

Friday, 11 May 2018

Research carried out at NUI Galway has found a 40% blockchain adoption rate among Irish enterprises to date. The study investigated why implementation in Ireland is relatively low, and proposes recommendations to increase blockchain awareness and adoption that can provide opportunities not only for economic growth but also create a new foundation for how Irish organisations and government conduct business. Blockchain is considered to be a primary IT innovation of this decade that has the potential to disrupt and reshape a number of industries. Blockchain in its simplest form is a shared database system which allows users in a peer-to-peer network to verify and store records, representing a new way to access and trust data communicated over the internet.The study was led by Dr Trevor Clohessy and Dr Thomas Acton from the J.E. Cairnes School of Business and Economics at NUI Galway in association with the Blockchain Association of Ireland. The research focused on Ireland given its classification as a developed country in the EU, being a sovereign state with a highly developed economy and advanced IT infrastructure. Ireland is ranked in 13th place in the Bloomberg technological innovation index for 2018, which scores countries using seven criteria, including research and development spending, concentration of high-tech public companies and patent activity.The study looked at key organisational factors that influence blockchain adoption in Irish companies. Interviews were carried out with 20 organisations in Ireland, divided over different sectors such as financial, IT, education, fishing, gaming, legal, marketing and mobile app development and data was collected from representatives within these organisations in different management backgrounds that included IT, company owners, researchers and directors.Support from top management and organisational readiness were identified as key enablers for blockchain adoption. While legislative uncertainty, a lack of business cases and a lack of in-house expertise, were cited as the main reasons by decision makers for not adopting blockchain, and its association with initial coin offerings and digital currencies, such as cryptocurrencies, which were perceived negatively. The study revealed three patterns pertaining to the adoption of blockchain in Ireland: ·         Top management support positively influences blockchain adoption·         Large enterprises are more likely to adopt blockchain than SMEs due to budget and available resources·         Organisational readiness is an ‘enabler’ for blockchain adoption - employees with the requisite blockchain IT knowledge and skillsOf the 20 companies interviewed, eight had adopted blockchain and 12 had not, or did not intend to adopt blockchain in the next two years. In terms of blockchain awareness, five out of 20 representatives had a basic level of blockchain awareness, six had a medium level and only nine were able to demonstrate a high level of awareness.Speaking about the study, Dr Trevor Clohessy at NUI Galway, said: “Most blockchain developments are taking place within a small network of larger organisations, typically in the fintech and information technology sectors. Where it is used, it aims to enhance the speed and transparency of transactions along complex supply chains, while reducing costs. It is also used to optimise back and middle business processes and transactions, augmenting security, reporting and regulatory and compliance profiles.“One of the benefits of blockchain is that once transactional data has been entered into the digital ledger it is immutable, which means it is not possible to either amend or remove data entered, ensuring the integrity of all transactional records. And its shared ownership makes it less vulnerable to cyberattack. Beyond business, other beneficial uses of this technology would be in voting machines and ballot boxes to address electoral fraud and potentially looking at a blockchain enabled technology-controlled border identification system that could provide a possible solution to the current North/South Brexit border challenges.”The key findings from the study demonstrate that blockchain is not confined to financial technology and financial sectors, and welcomes further government action and strategic policy to promote blockchain more broadly to encourage universal engagement, such as the roll-out of a national, government-backed blockchain initiative like other developed countries.The J.E. Cairnes School of Business and Economics at NUI Galway is currently exploring various possibilities to address the gap in the lack of third level blockchain courses, such as creating executive blockchain workshops. Dr Clohessy has also introduced blockchain as a module for students within the modules for MSc Business Analytics and MSc Information Systems Management.To read the full study, visit: http://novoverse.nuigalway.ie/nui-galway-report-sheds-light-on-irish-blockchain-organisational-readiness/ -Ends-

Monday, 14 May 2018

Four primary schools from Kerry, Westmeath and Galway have been shortlisted to showcase their randomised clinical trials at NUI Galway on Friday, 18 May when the overall winner will be announced and presented with the START Trophy 2018. Now in its third year, the Schools Teaching Awareness of Randomised Trials (START) competition aims to educate students about why we need randomised trials to improve healthcare nationally and globally.   Primary schools around the country were invited to create their very own fun randomised clinical trial earlier this year. The competition is run by the Health Research Board – Trials Methodology Research Network (HRB-TRMN) at NUI Galway, to celebrate International Clinical Trials Day, and the anniversary of the first clinical trial which was carried out in 1747 in the British Navy. The four shortlisted primary schools are: St. Michael’s National School, Castlepollard, Co. Westmeath whose trial title is: Can ten minutes of daily exercise increase students’ fitness? The pupils evaluated the effect of four weeks of exercise on fitness levels measured by heart rate changes between randomised students who received the exercise programme and those who didn’t receive the programme. St. Joseph’s National School, Kinvara, Co. Galway whose trial title is: The effect of fidgeting on concentration. The pupils noticed that some students fidget a lot when listening. They investigated the effect this had on their concentration by comparing concentration scores between the control group, who sat with their arms crossed, and the test group, who had blu-tack to fidget with, whilst listening to their teacher. Meentogues National School, Headford, Killarney, Co. Kerry whose trial title is: How much can teachers influence us? The pupils decided to investigate whether teachers influence their decisions without telling them directly. The control group made decisions without their teacher being present in the room whilst the test group had the teacher trying to influence their decisions.  Glinsk National School, Castlerea, Co. Galway whose trial title is: Do extra educational maths games improve test results? The pupils provided a test among two groups to look at the impact of maths games on addition and subtraction. The test group was given a maths game and the control group was given a non-educational game. These were provided every day for 20 minutes over a period of two weeks.   Dr Sandra Galvin, HRB-TMRN Program Manager at NUI Galway, said: “This initiative has really captured the children’s imagination and creativity but I also think we can learn so much from their approach. Trials can be complex and challenging for people to understand, and yet here we have children rising to this challenge so well. START is about breaking down the barriers in the understanding of trials, and helping understand the power trials have to improve healthcare for all.” Speaking about the competition entries, Dr Mairead O Driscoll, Interim Chief Executive at the Health Research Board, said: “These kids have come up with a research question, taken a scientific approach to problem solving and then reported what they found clearly. All they need to do now is influence the right people to introduce change! All the participants are quite remarkable and if the future of health research is in their hands, I am very comfortable.” To learn more about the HRB-TMRN START competition visit: www.hrb-tmrn.ie or follow on Twitter at twitter.com/hrbtmrn or @hrbtmrn and Facebook at facebook.com/hrb.tmrn. -Ends-

Tuesday, 15 May 2018

The new national supercomputer will replace ‘Fionn’ which was installed in 2013  Ireland is set to install a new national supercomputer to support research and innovation in 2018 through ICHEC at NUI Galway, with funding of €5.4 million from Science Foundation Ireland. The new system will provide Irish researchers with the high performance computing power to address some of the toughest challenges in science and society such as tackling climate change, improving healthcare and innovating Irish products through agriculture, engineering and manufacturing. The new supercomputer is a fundamental component of Ireland’s National High Performance Computing Service, and research infrastructure that will facilitate emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence, machine learning and earth observation that are key to Irish industry and to foster new skills in the educational system. Like its predecessors, the new supercomputer will be managed and operated by the Irish Centre for High-End Computing (ICHEC) at NUI Galway, as part of the National High Performance Computing Service. The service allocates the available computer resources to Irish researchers based on a peer review process by an independent panel of scientists. It also provides extensive support and training to users of the system. The overall architecture of this new supercomputer is similar to the current system, ‘Fionn’, which has proven its value to the research community as evidenced by its constant full utilisation. While the new system will occupy the same amount of physical space and consume up to 50% more electricity, it provides approximately five times more computing power than its predecessor by virtue of advances in technology. Speaking about the importance of the new supercomputer, ICHEC Director, Professor JC Desplat from NUI Galway, said: “The future certainly lies in large amounts of data but without the appropriate high performance computing resources, data can become irrelevant. This upgraded national resource is essential to ensuring Ireland can compete internationally in key domains such as precision medicine, earth observation and artificial intelligence. It represents a crucial investment at a time where investments in high performance computing continue their strong growth globally.” Professor Lokesh Joshi, Vice-President for Research at NUI Galway, commented: “Since its inception, NUI Galway has hosted ICHEC and supported its development as an enabling technology, critical to Ireland’s competitiveness. The new national supercomputer will allow even more opportunity for innovation and impact across a myriad of sectors in Ireland’s economy and society.” The new system, which is being provided by Intel is comprised of a cluster of 336 high performance servers with 13,440 CPU (Central Processing Unit) cores and 64 terabytes of memory for general purpose computations. Additional components aimed at more specialised requirements include 6 large memory nodes with 1.5 terabytes of memory per server, plus 32 accelerator nodes divided between Intel Xeon Phi and NVidia P100 GPUs (Graphics Processing Units). The network linking all of these components together is Intel’s 100Gbit/s Omnipath technology and DataDirect Networks are providing 1 petabyte of high performance storage over a parallel filesystem. Penguin Computing will be integrating all of this hardware together and providing the software management and user interface layers. Commenting on the installation, Professor Mark Ferguson, Director General of Science Foundation Ireland and Chief Scientific Adviser to the Government of Ireland, said: “I am delighted to welcome the installation of the new national supercomputer which has been supported through the SFI Research Infrastructure Programme. This significant award builds on previous support provided to ICHEC for the Fionn supercomputer in 2012. It will significantly advance the data intensive computing and storage capabilities of Irish research activities in life-sciences, bioinformatics, material science, ICT, and engineering and further highlights Ireland as an attractive location for world-leading scientists and engineers.” Dr Elisa Fadda, Chair of the HPC National Service User Council, said: “The contribution of high performance computing to the advancement of scientific research is now recognised as invaluable worldwide. In Ireland we have an ever-growing community of researchers, whose work is internationally recognised in fields such as biophysics, bioinformatics, physics, chemistry, computer science and engineering, all of whom heavily rely on ICHEC resources.” The supercomputer, to be installed this summer, will be named by a public naming competition. Schoolchildren across Ireland are encouraged to research one of six pioneering Irish scientists and pick the most appropriate candidate to name the new system. The best answers will win Raspberry-Pi laptops and coding lessons for their classrooms. For more information about entering the naming competition, visit: https://nameourcomputer.ichec.ie/ -Ends-

Tuesday, 15 May 2018

NUI Galway’s Irish Centre for Human Rights, School of Law, is hosting an international conference on ‘The Rights of Migrants and Refugees: the role of courts and tribunals’ from 17-18 May. This two-day event brings together leading judges, practitioners and academics working on pressing issues of migration and refugee law internationally.   Professor Siobhán Mullally, Established Professor of Human Rights Law, Director of the Irish Centre for Human Rights, NUI Galway, said: “More people are forcibly displaced from their homes today than at any other time since the ending of World War II. The rights of migrants and refugees continue to be under threat, with many forced to take perilous journeys to reach safety, or to seek a ‘better place in the world’. Courts play a critical role in ensuring that laws do not yield to populist politics that seek to limit the protections of human rights and constitutional laws. In recent years, Irish courts have delivered landmark judgments on many of the most pressing issues for migrants and refugees, including on the right to work, family unity, protection against removal and detention, best interests of the child, and non-punishment of victims of trafficking. These and other questions will be explored at this two-day international conference.”   Keynote speakers include: Judge Paolo Pinto de Albuquerque, European Court of Human Rights; Judge Gerard Hogan, Court of Appeal, Ireland; and Hilkka Becker, Chairperson, International Protection Appeals Tribunal. Panellists include leading immigration law practitioners from Ireland and the UK, and academics and civil society representatives.   Full details and programme available at www.conference.ie. For more information or queries contact Professor Siobhán Mullally, Irish Centre for Human Rights, NUI Galway, at siobhan.mullally@nuigalway.ie.   -Ends-

Tuesday, 15 May 2018

Dr Aidan Thomson appointed as new Head of Music at NUI Galway From September 2018, students at NUI Galway will be able to take a Bachelor of Arts honours degree in Music. This is an exciting development for music making and music education in the west of Ireland, and builds on the University’s established reputation for excellence in creative arts subjects.   The University has also announced the appointment of new Head of Music, Dr Aidan Thomson. Dr Thomson has taught at the University of Oxford, the University of Leeds and, for the last fourteen years, Queen’s University Belfast, principally in music history, theory and analysis, but also in performance.   A feature of the four-year BA degree is that all students will have the opportunity in their third year to undertake a music-related placement. Students will also be able to work with top musical professionals throughout their degree, notably the current Galway Musicians in Residence, the ConTempo String Quartet.   The core of the degree is a thorough grounding in musicianship - theory, harmony, keyboard harmony and critical listening - and training in the repertory and culture of western classical and Irish traditional music. Students will also take core modules in performance, composition and sound technology over the course of their first two years. The degree is thus aligned with the requirements of the Irish Teaching Council, meaning that graduates would be equipped to take postgraduate teaching qualifications in Music at primary and secondary level.   Students will be able to learn from leading professional musicians during their degree through masterclasses and concerts. The university is developing strategic partnerships with the Galway Music Residency and Music for Galway, and is building on existing expertise in Music in different disciplines within the institution.   The degree complements many other disciplines within the College of Arts: English, Irish Studies, modern languages, and, most significantly, Drama and Film Studies. Students will have the chance to take modules that look at the relationship between music and theatre, and music and words, both academically and practically. In their final year, they will also take a module in writing about music and performance criticism, which is a feature of all creative arts subjects at NUI Galway.   Dr Aidan Thomson, newly appointed Senior Lecturer in Music at NUI Galway, said: “The timing of this new degree could not be better. Introducing music has the potential to make NUI Galway an important hub for musical performance, creation and thought. It builds on Galway’s reputation as a centre for artistic excellence, as recognized in its City of Culture status in 2020. The flexibility of the Music degree will equip students to embark on a wide variety of careers. They will be ideally equipped to build on the creative energy that will be Galway 2020’s legacy, be it as performers, composers, teachers, journalists, arts administrators or broadcasters, among others. But even before that, our students will be at the heart of the creative life of the university, the city and beyond.”   For more information on the new BA in Music visit http://www.nuigalway.ie/artsmusic/ or watch a video about the programme at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D_P4RTwVNVQ.   -Ends-

Wednesday, 16 May 2018

A new report published today by Volunteer Ireland and NUI Galway explores how volunteering impacts the development and sustainability of rural communities. The report was launched at NUI Galway to mark National Volunteering Week (14th – 20th May) by Minister Sean Kyne TD, Minister of State for Rural Affairs and Natural Resources and Pat Spillane, Ambassador for the Action Plan for Rural Ireland. Drawing on personal interviews and survey data, the report identifies a range of important impacts that volunteers have on rural communities. This includes positive impacts on rural infrastructure, the local economy, inhabitants themselves, social links and culture. For example, the research illustrates that volunteers play a critical role in providing local services such as children’s facilities; creating employment and improving the economy by delivering local festivals; and creating social links by fostering opportunities to meet new and diverse people. Both interviewees and survey respondents felt that volunteers were vital to sustaining rural communities. Speaking ahead of the launch, Volunteer Ireland’s Nina Arwitz, said: “Volunteering has a huge role to play in building healthy, connected communities and this is true especially in rural communities. Facing issues such as emigration and isolation, volunteers provide the social fabric of many rural communities. This research highlights not only the wide ranging impacts of volunteering on communities but also the less tangible benefits such as a sense of belonging and connection to one’s community.” NUI Galway’s Dr Maura Farrell, who led the research, continued: “Many rural communities are highly dependent on local volunteers to ensure the availability of services and facilities. Engaging our rural youth in sport; becoming a companion to an elderly neighbour or enabling a rural development project are only snapshots of what is achieved by rural volunteers, who are the drivers of rural sustainability and development and the heroes of many rural communities.”     Launching the report, Minister Kyne added: “Volunteers make a difference to communities across Ireland every day. I’m delighted to launch this research demonstrating the very real impact that volunteers have on rural communities in particular. Whether people volunteer with an organisation or simply lend a neighbour a hand, they make a critical contribution to sustainable, cohesive communities.”  eTownz CEO Pat Kennedy explained "When working with communities we focus on understanding and developing the assets within the community. Local volunteers are often the most important asset of a community and this research helped to shine a light on the huge impact they have in communities across rural Ireland." Finally, Ms Arwitz noted: “This research has evidenced something we’ve known to be true for a long time – volunteering builds better communities. We work to foster this through the national network of local Volunteer Centres and Volunteering Information Services that provide support to communities and advice to both organisations and volunteers. Together we aim to make sure that everyone feels connected to their community through volunteering. Research like this is key to informing our work.” -Ends-

Wednesday, 16 May 2018

Papers and registrations are now being accepted for the 14th Annual Conference of the International Society for Design and Development in Education (ISDDE), which will be held from 28–31 May at NUI Galway. This is the first time the conference has been held in Ireland. The conference theme, Culture and Educational Design, highlights the importance of context in principled and participatory, educational design, and the significant influence of culture, the historic, natural and social environs on learning, teaching and assessment. Dr Tony Hall, School of Education, NUI Galway, said: “We are delighted to have been invited to host the 14th Annual Conference of the International Society for Design and Development in Education, the first time the conference will be held in Ireland. ISDDE is one of the preeminent research communities for educational technology and design, and those researching, designing and developing educational resources, learning environments, curricular materials and technologies, particularly in the STEM areas.” Speakers will include: Professor Sarah Moore and Professor Merrilyn Goos, University of Limerick; Dr John Breslin and Dr Michael Hogan, NUI Galway; Dr Anna Walshe, National Council for Curriculum and Assessment, Ireland; Professor Zalman Usiskin, University of Chicago; Professor Kaye Stacey, University of Melbourne; and Professor Akihiko Takajashi, DePaul University, Chicago.  Dr Hall added: “The International Society for Design and Development in Education was recently affiliated to the International Commission on Mathematical Instruction.  Following last year’s conference at University of California, Berkeley, we look forward to hosting and welcoming Irish and international colleagues in educational design and technology to Galway and the West. This year’s conference theme, ‘Culture and Educational Design’ reflects the importance of the broader social, cultural and physical environs in the participatory and principled design of educational innovations and technologies.” The International Society for Design and Development in Education was formed to help educational designers work effectively as a coherent professional design and development community. The goals of the Society are to improve the design and development process, building a design community and increasing our impact on educational practice. More information available at: https://sites.google.com/view/isdde-2018/home. -Ends-

Thursday, 17 May 2018

NUI Galway academics contribute to a landmark survey of Irish history in the newly launched book ‘The Cambridge History of Ireland’ from circa 600 to the present day President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins officially launched the book, The Cambridge History of Ireland in Dublin Castle recently. Written by a team of more than 100 leading historians from around the world, it includes contributions from Drs Caitriona Clear, Sarah-Anne Buckley and Pádraig Lenihan, and retired Professors Nicholas Canny and Gearóid Ó Tuathaigh from the Department of History at NUI Galway, and from Dr Lesa Ní Mhunghaile from Roinn na Gaeilge. The general editor, Professor Thomas Bartlett, was a lecturer and Professor in the University's History Department from 1976-1995. The work benefits from a strong political narrative framework, and includes essays that address the full range of social, economic, religious, linguistic, military, cultural, artistic and gender history. The arrangement of the volumes challenges traditional chronological boundaries in a manner that offers new perspectives and insights. Volume I, edited by Professor Brendan Smith of Bristol, presents the latest thinking on key aspects of the medieval Irish experience, focusing on the extent to which developments were unique to Ireland. The openness of Ireland to outside influences, and its capacity to influence the world beyond its shores, are recurring themes. Underpinning the book is a comparative, outward-looking approach that sees Ireland as an integral but exceptional component of medieval Christian Europe. Volume II, edited by Professor Jane Ohlmeyer of TCD, looks at the transformative and tumultuous years between 1550 and 1730, offering fresh perspectives on the political, military, religious, social, cultural, intellectual, economic, and environmental history of early modern Ireland. Dr Pádraig Lenihan from NUI Galway and Dr John Cronin jointly contribute a chapter on warfare in seventeenth century Ireland with reference to its unpleasant impact on the civilian population, strategy, tactics and weaponry, while Professor Nicholas Canny offers a sweeping narrative of how the history of this turbulent period has been approached by successive generations of historians from the sixteenth century to the present. Volume III, edited by Professor James Kelly of St Patrick’s, DCU, moves into the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Dr Sarah-Anne Buckley’s chapter on women, men and the family from 1730-1880, engages with themes of marriage, gender, mortality, infanticide, abduction, domestic violence, divorce, celibacy, arguing that this  was a time of significant change in the lives of middle- and upper- class women. Dr Lesa Ní Mhunghaile looks at cultural and intellectual innovation in Ireland in this century and, along with her co-writer Dr Michael Brown, pointing out that commentators on the Irish condition at this time produced ‘a sustained reflection….forming grand narratives of the possible pasts and futures the country might inhabit’ (see page 380 of the book). The final volume, Volume IV, edited by Thomas Bartlett, covers the period from the 1880s to the present, and in this volume Professor Gearóid O Tuathaigh provides an overview of political and social change in the years 1880 to 2016. NUI Galway’s Dr Caitríona Clear’s chapter on social conditions in Ireland from 1880 to the First World War tells of rail networks which extended all over the country to stimulate trade and facilitate leisure, and shops multiplying in number, while new employment patterns and educational regulations brought more and more men and women, boys and girls, than ever before, out of their homes and into contact with each other on a daily basis. The volumes are copiously illustrated with special features on images of the ‘Troubles’ and on Irish art and sculpture in the twentieth century. For a full list of contributors to each volume, visit www.cambridge.org -Ends-

Friday, 18 May 2018

NUI Galway student, Jason Sherlock, was recently announced as the Galway City Council Young Volunteer of the Year, at the 15th Annual Mayor’s Awards. The Mayor of Galway City, Cllr. Pearce Flannery presented the top award to Jason in recognition of his voluntary effort and fundraising activities for a number of groups within Galway. Jason, from Galway City, recently completed the School Leavers Access Programme. Jason is a weekly charity shop volunteer with The Society of St. Vincent de Paul, sorting donations of books and clothing while helping customers as a sales team member. In addition to this, Jason has volunteered for a number of Galway charities supporting their fundraising events. The Galway Simon Community Sleep Out, Croí, The West of Ireland Cardiac Foundation Fun Run, and Ability West bag packing event have all hosted Jason as a volunteer. Jason is also a volunteer with the Civil Defence, having recently completed the F.A.R course, the newest education and training standard, to ensure volunteers can provide first aid for a person who becomes suddenly unwell or injured until the arrival of emergency medical services. Upon reflecting on what volunteering has done for him, Jason said: “I learned to be more caring and giving, and learned to give back. I’ve learned to work as part of a team and to communicate effectively and to take criticism positively.” Lorraine Tansey, NUI Galway Student Volunteer Coordinator, said: “Students like Jason are willing to engage and we thank community projects in Galway for hosting students who are seeking to learn and bring their energy and enthusiasm. Jason is keenly aware of the root issues facing communities and a critical citizen, which is what we strive for in higher education. The next generation are not only caring about social needs but striving to see changes.” The Mayor’s Awards are a yearly initiative by Galway City Council to acknowledge voluntary work carried out by people within Galway City. The awards acknowledge outstanding people and organisations that, through their commitment to participating in unpaid community and voluntary activities, have made a significant impact on the quality of their communities in Galway City. -Ends-

Monday, 21 May 2018

The 2018 HBSC study marks 20 years of research and will cover mental health, use of e-cigarettes, sunbed use and means of sunburn protection, romantic attraction, cyberbullying, traditional bullying and body image The Health Promotion Research Centre at NUI Galway is currently undertaking the 2018 Health Behaviour in School Aged Children (HBSC) study, and are asking Ireland’s schoolchildren to lend their voices to the research.   The study coincides with the 20th anniversary of Health Behaviour in School-aged Children in Ireland research, which in partnership with the World Health Organisation takes place every four years in over 40 countries and regions in Europe and North America. The findings from the 2018 research will be published in spring 2019.   Since 1998, the Health Behaviour in School-aged Children Ireland study, carried out by the Health Promotion Research Centre at NUI Galway, has completed six survey rounds, allowing them to analyse trends in child and adolescent health. The results show that many aspects of children’s lives in Ireland have improved, but there are still important challenges.   The Health Behaviour in School-aged Children study adapts over time to the lifestyles and experiences of young people. New questions in the 2018 study will cover mental health and electronic media communication, the use of e-cigarettes, sunbed use and means of sunburn protection, romantic attraction, cyberbullying, traditional bullying and body image, and children’s sense of freedom and awareness of their rights as a young person.   All across Ireland, 10,000 young people in primary and secondary schools ranging from ages 9-17 will take part in the 2018 survey. Children will be invited to fill in a questionnaire asking about different aspects of their lives. The questions cover positive health behaviour such as physical activity, and negative health behaviours such as smoking and drinking, as well as wellbeing and life satisfaction. The study also asks questions in the contexts of children’s lives, like their friendships, families, schools and local communities. The analysis of their answers will inform policy and practice development in Ireland and Europe about how to support children and young people and how to improve their health and wellbeing.   Speaking about the research, Professor Saoirse Nic Gabhainn from the Health Promotion Research Centre at NUI Galway, said: “We strongly believe that young people should have a voice in any research on their health and welfare, and we keep them involved in all stages of the study. The Citizen Participation Unit of the Department of Children and Youth Affairs and the Health Behaviour in School-aged Children Ireland research team is inviting schoolchildren to identify and prioritise areas that are important in their lives. Then the children from ages 9-17 write their own questions for inclusion in the HBSC Ireland survey. These questions from the children include, for example, how often children play with their families, how self-confident they are, and whether they feel comfortable with their friends.”   Examples of the trends observed in the HBSC Ireland study over the past 20 years: Between 1998 and 2014 there was a significant decrease in the proportion of children who reported being current smokers (22.6% in 1998; 8.3% in 2014). Other indicators of smoking, such as early onset of smoking, also showed favourable changes. Between 1998 and 2014 there was a statistically significant decrease in the proportion of children who reported having ever been drunk (33.0% in 1998; 21.0% in 2014). Other indicators of drinking, such as early age of having the first alcoholic drink, also showed favourable changes. Between 1998 and 2014 there was a significant increase in the proportion of children who reported to have brushed their teeth more than once a day (57.6% in 1998; 69.5% in 2014). Between 1998 and 2014 there was a statistically significant increase in the proportion of children who reported finding it easy to talk to their parents about things that really bother them (for fathers: 73.0% in 1998; 82.2% in 2014; for mothers, 47.4% in 1998; 69.3% in 2014). The international Health Behaviour in School-aged Children research network agreed a group of ‘core’ questions on the fundamental aspects of healthy and risky activities, such as eating and dieting, smoking and alcohol, physical activity, school experience and support from family and friends that are used in all countries in exactly the same way. This means that the researchers at NUI Galway can compare young people’s health and wellbeing across all 40 plus countries that take part, and they believe it is crucial that young people have a voice in how their health is studied.   As well as serving as a monitoring and a knowledge-generating function, one of the key objectives of the HBSC research has been to inform decision-making about policy and practice. Irish data collected has been used to inform many national authorities and international health organisations. The Health Promotion Research Centre’s findings are channelled back to national and local youth health strategies, including the ‘State of the Nation’s Children’ and the ‘Better Outcomes Brighter Futures’ policy framework. Data from HBSC Ireland has been channelled into health-promoting initiatives including Tobacco Free Ireland and AlcoholAction Ireland, and are included in National Policy documents such as Healthy Ireland, the National Drugs and Alcohol Strategy, and the National Physical Activity plan.   International organisations like the World Health Organisation, UNICEF, UNESCO, the European Commission and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development also use data from the Irish HBSC study in their work.   A detailed report on the trends over time can be found here: http://www.nuigalway.ie/media/healthpromotionresearchcentre/hbscdocs/nationalreports/HBSC-Trends-Report-2017-(web).pdf     For more information about Health Behaviour in School-aged Children Ireland, visit: http://www.nuigalway.ie/hbsc/    -Ends-  

Monday, 21 May 2018

Researchers from the School of Physics at NUI Galway have carried out a biological monitoring study among the Irish adult population on non-occupational exposure to glyphosate, an active ingredient in chemical pesticides used to control weeds. This is the first study in Ireland describing glyphosate exposures among this population and the results suggest low exposure. The study investigated the background level of human exposure to glyphosate in Ireland and results from the study were recently published in the international journal, Environmental Research. The research was carried out by Michelle Leahy as part completion of her MSc in Occupational and Environmental Health and Safety and by Exposure Science PhD student Alison Connolly from the School of Physics at NUI Galway. The herbicide glyphosate is the active ingredient in over 750 products including Roundup®. Glyphosate is the highest volume herbicide used globally and extensively in agriculture and horticulture to combat weeds, and is sprayed as a pre-harvest drying treatment on certain food crops. It is also widely sprayed in parks, public spaces, lawns, gardens and roadsides. Dietary exposure through pesticide residues that remain on fruit, vegetables and grains after spraying, or home use of glyphosate based pesticide products, are thought to be the most common exposure routes among the general population. The NUI Galway researchers and collaborators from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) in Great Britain measured glyphosate in urine samples provided by 50 Irish adults to estimate background levels of exposure among this population. Environmental and dietary exposure to glyphosate can be determined by measuring levels in biological samples such as urine. Of the 50 samples analysed, 10 (20%) of the participants urine samples had detectable trace levels of glyphosate. The median concentration of the detectable data (10 samples) was 0.85 µg L-1. This is more than 1000 times lower than the Acceptable Daily Intake level of 0.5 mg/kg body weight/day set by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) for glyphosate.  Commenting on the study, research project supervisor Dr Marie Coggins and Exposure Science lecturer at the School of Physics at NUI Galway, said: “Biomonitoring data across Europe on chemicals such as pesticides is rare. In this study detectable levels of pesticides in urine were low, however, further studies such as this one are required to fully characterise chemical exposures in humans to support risk assessment and to inform policy.” To read the full study in Environmental Research, visit: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0013935118302251    -Ends-

Friday, 4 May 2018

Pint of Science Galway brings scientists out of the lab and in to your local pub NUI Galway scientists will talk about a variety of topics at pubs across Galway City and County, as part of the three-day Pint of Science Festival, where thousands of scientists around the world will speak about their research. The world’s largest festival of public science talks will take place from the 14-16 May. Galway will join nearly 300 cities and 21 countries around the world taking part in the festival. Seven scientists from NUI Galway will take to the stage in pubs across Galway to talk about their research and members of the public will have the chance to ask them questions. Topics will range from: Barnacles, Bacteria, and Beyond; Galway beneath our feet: Reconstructing Parts of our History; and Democracy in Education: Responsibilities as Citizens. The festival brings a unique line up of talks, demonstrations and live experiments to Galway alongside the main talks, and each event will also include a range of science-inspired activities including geeky puzzles and engaging stories. Pint of Science Galway events will take place in Campbell’s Tavern, Cloughanover, Headford with the theme ‘Natural Sciences and Practical Applications’, The Oslo bar event is themed ‘Shaping Future Generations: Education and Society’ and the Róisín Dubh with the theme ‘Innovating Women in Geoscience’. Ivor Geoghegan, PhD student in Biomedical Engineering at the College of Engineering and Informatics at NUI Galway, said: “We are excited to bring Pint of Science back to Galway. People can expect to hear fascinating stories of the research currently ongoing in Ireland from the comfort of their local pub.” Festival co-founder Dr Praveen Paul says: “There is so much fascinating research happening right under our noses that we don't know about. Some can get lost in translation leading to fake news. Pint of Science allows people direct access to inspiring scientists and encourages open discussion, all in the most familiar of places, the pub! It's great to see this enthusiasm for knowledge shared across the world.” Pint of Science was established six years ago by a group of UK-based postgraduate and postdoctoral researchers and has grown into one of the world’s biggest science festivals. The founders, Dr Praveen Paul and Dr Michael Motskin, have brought a personal touch to science, giving everyone the chance to meet the people behind the incredible research taking place across the globe. Tickets are €2 per event and on sale at: https://pintofscience.ie/events/Galway or www.pintofscience.ie -Ends-  

Thursday, 3 May 2018

Newly published essay challenges the critical assumptions that have led to the historical erasure of many of poet, John Donne’s women readers A new essay by Dr Erin A McCarthy from NUI Galway published in The Review of English Studies, challenges assumptions about the relationship between gender and taste and restores less well-known women to the history of reading who were previously erased from history. The influential poet John Dryden (1631-1700) famously complained that John Donne’s (1572-1631) poetry, best known for his metaphysical and deeply erotic poems, “perplexes the minds of the fair sex”, but Dr McCarthy’s essay examined 69 seventeenth-century manuscripts that show women read and collected the same poems as their male contemporaries. The diverse women drawn together in this essay played varied roles in early modern manuscript networks. They not only read poems but sought out, collected, and adapted them to include in their own manuscripts. Witty, rhetorical, and often challenging, John Donne’s poems have tended to be associated with all-male ‘coteries’ at the universities and the Inns of Court (professional associations for barristers in England and Wales). Some of the poems, particularly among the Songs and Sonnets and Elegies, even border on the misogynist. But their appeal extended beyond these relatively restricted circles of educated young men to reach a diverse range of early modern English readers, including women. Speaking about her research, Dr Erin A McCarthy from the Moore Institute at NUI Galway, said: “Donne’s relationships with his wealthy female patrons are well-known, but his works also appealed to women other than the familiar rich and famous ones. This essay restores these less well-known women to the history of reading and challenges assumptions about the relationship between gender and taste. Early modern women’s preferences were, in fact, broadly consistent with men’s, and it is almost impossible to know a reader’s gender without explicit evidence. “One thing about this essay that is particularly interesting to me is the list of 69 seventeenth-century books that can be directly linked to one or more named women. Most of these are ordinary women who were going about their business, they certainly wouldn’t have expected to be included in written histories of their time yet their influence on literature can still be seen today. It also strikes me that a lot of scholarship reading has been influenced by later, and even contemporary, norms and values.” “Sir Walter Scott thought that ‘the ladies’ would have preferred ‘strains more musical, if not more intelligible’, but actually, they were interested in the same things as their male contemporaries, and women both had access to and made efforts to acquire Donne’s poems. Just as women today might enjoy movies that seem to be marketed to men, and as men might enjoy romantic comedies marketed to women, this work shows that seventeenth-century women read widely among the texts that were available to them”, Dr McCarthy adds. Professor Daniel Carey, Director of the Moore Institute at NUI Galway, said: “The study of literary manuscripts and their circulation is among the most established scholarly approaches but it also one of the freshest. Erin McCarthy’s work, with its careful and meticulous attention to describing manuscripts in the seventeenth century, gives us a way to understand their diversity and complexity, as well as giving an insight into how people read and repurposed them. John Donne’s poetry is a key case in point, prized by women’s readers who copied his verses into manuscript collections that survive in libraries and record offices.” Dr McCarthy’s work is supported by a European Research Council-funded project. To read the full article in The Review of English Studies, visit: https://academic.oup.com/res/advance-article/doi/10.1093/res/hgy018/4931222 -Ends-

Monday, 30 April 2018

NUI Galway student Meadhbh Ní Eadhra was announced the winner of ‘Iriseoireacht trí Ghaeilge – Raidió’ at the prestigious National Student Media Awards recently. Meadhbh was presented the award by Lynette Fay, Radio Journalist with BBC Radio Ulster and NUI Galway graduate, in front of an audience that included RTÉ’s Eileen Dunne, Senator David Norris, and Dublin GAA Manager Jim Gavin. The award was proudly sponsored by Foras na Gaeilge. “I am delighted to receive this recognition from well-known and much-respected names in the media industry,” said Meadhbh. “I love being on radio and would like to thank the University’s radio station Flirt FM for giving me the opportunity to broadcast my show every week. I have a great passion and love for the Irish language and hopefully my show is testament to that.” Meadhbh, from Spiddal in Co. Galway, is a first-year PhD student in the discipline of English. Her radio show ‘Gan Teorainn’, is broadcast live on Flirt FM 101.3 every week. Meadhbh spent many years working as a journalist and literary critic with national newspapers such as Lá Nua, Foinse and Gaelscéal, and presented current affairs shows on Raidió na Life and Flirt FM. She first began broadcasting on radio when she volunteered with Flirt FM as an undergraduate student at NUI Galway, and she won the National Réalt DJ competition during that time. She is a published author who has written three award-winning books for young people, Rua, Fainne Fí Fífí and Faye. She has received many awards for her writing, including Oireachtas na Gaeilge prizes and the Moth International Short Story Prize. The National Student Media Awards, known as the Smedias by students, are an opportunity for aspiring media professionals to showcase their work and talent to Ireland’s top media personalities with high profile judges such as Academy award winning director Ben Cleary, multiple award winning author and playwright Paul Howard, and various editors and producers from Ireland's leading media organisations.  -Ends- Gradam Raidió mór le rá bronnta ar Mhac Léinn OÉ Gaillimh ag Gradaim Náisiúnta na Meán do Mhic Léinn  Ainmníodh mac léinn de chuid OÉ Gaillimh, Meadhbh Ní Eadhra, mar bhuaiteoir ar an ngradam ‘Iriseoireacht trí Ghaeilge – Raidió’ ag Gradaim Náisiúnta mór le rá na Meán do Mhic Léinn le déanaí. Bhronn Lynette Fay, Iriseoir Raidió le BBC Raidió Uladh agus céimí de chuid OÉ Gaillimh, an gradam ar Mheadhbh. I measc iad siúd a bhí sa lucht féachana ag an ócáid bhí Eileen Dunne ó RTÉ, an Seanadóir David Norris, agus Bainisteoir CLG Bhaile Átha Cliath, Jim Gavin. Rinne Foras na Gaeilge urraíocht ar an ngradam. “Tá an-áthas orm an t-aitheantas seo a fháil ó dhaoine a bhfuil ardmheas orthu i dtionscal na meán,” a deir Meadhbh. “Is breá liom a bheith ag craoladh ar an raidió agus ba mhaith liom buíochas a ghlacadh le stáisiún raidió na hOllscoile, Flirt FM, as an deis a thabhairt dom mo chlár a chraoladh chuile sheachtain. Tá grá mór agam don Ghaeilge agus tá súil agam gur fianaise é mo chlár air sin.” Is as an Spidéal i gCo. na Gaillimhe do Mheadhbh agus is mac léinn sa chéad bhliain dá clár PhD í le disciplín an Bhéarla. Craoltar a clár raidió ‘Gan Teorainn’ beo ar Flirt FM 101.3 chuile sheachtain. Chaith Meadhbh na blianta ag obair mar iriseoir agus mar léirmheastóir liteartha le nuachtáin náisiúnta cosúil le Lá Nua, Foinse agus Gaelscéal, agus chuir sí cláir cúrsaí reatha i láthair ar Raidió na Life agus ar Flirt FM. Thosaigh sí ag craoladh ar an raidió nuair a rinne sí obair dheonach le Flirt FM agus í ina mac léinn fochéime in OÉ Gaillimh, agus bhuaigh sí comórtas Náisiúnta Réalt DJ le linn na tréimhse sin. Is údar foilsithe í a bhfuil trí leabhar, a bhain gradaim amach, scríofa aici do dhaoine óga, Rua, Fáinne Fí Fífí agus Faye. Is iomaí gradam atá bainte amach aici dá cuid scríbhneoireachta, lena n-áirítear duaiseanna Oireachtas na Gaeilge agus Duais Idirnáisiúnta Moth do Ghearrscéalta. Is deis iad Gradaim Náisiúnta Meán na Mac Léinn, na Smedias mar a thugann mic léinn orthu, do ghairmithe uaillmhianacha i dtionscal na meán a gcuid oibre agus tallainne a chur ar taispeáint do dhaoine mór le rá sna meáin in Éirinn agus moltóirí cosúil le Ben Cleary, an léiritheoir a bhfuil gradam Oscar buaite aige, Paul Howard, an t-údar agus an drámadóir a bhfuil gradaim go leor buaite aige, mar aon le heagarthóirí agus léiritheoirí éagsúla ó eagraíochtaí móra meán na hÉireann.  -Críoch-

Monday, 21 May 2018

NUI Galway’s School of Natural Sciences Bio-EXPLORERS programme, in collaboration with Kitchen Chemistry, is now taking bookings for its three Summer Science Camps. Attendees can choose to attend the first camp from 2-6 July, the second from 9-13 July, or the third camp from 16-20 July.   The camp is open to all young budding scientists aged between 8 and 13 years old and participants will get a chance to work as real scientists by performing and analysing experiments in a real research environment.    The Bio-EXPLORERS programme is composed of two science communication and public engagement initiatives: Cell EXPLORERS directed by Dr Muriel Grenon and Eco-EXPLORERS directed by Dr Michel Dugon. With Dr Michel Dugon, the host of the RTÉ’s Bug Hunters, children will participate in activities such as discovering live local and exotic plants and animals, studying their habitats, and understanding how they interact with their environment. With the dynamic team of Cell EXPLORERS, children will learn how cells make our bodies work. They will run their own experiments, build models, observe their own cells under microscopes and extract DNA from cells. Each camp will also include a session with Kitchen Chemistry, from NUI Galway’s School of Chemistry, who run fun, hands-on experiments that bring chemistry to life!   The primary goal of these NUI Galway science outreach programmes is to inspire interest in science among young people and to impact positively on science education. All three programmes run activities designed to engage children in a hands-on way and stimulate their interest in exploring science-related themes. They have engaged thousands of children in the West of Ireland and are very active during the Galway Science and Technology Festival. Bio-EXPLORERS have run successful summer and Easter science camps since 2014, in addition to the very popular ‘Scientist for a Day’ one-day workshops during mid-terms, run in conjunction with Kitchen Chemistry. These camps provide a fun take on science where children can get involved and experiment as real scientists do. Small participant numbers, hands-on activities and a good ratio of well-trained, interactive demonstrators maximize the learning environment.   This year’s summer camps will each run over five days from 9.30am to 4.30pm daily and places are limited and will be allocated on a first-come first-served basis. The cost is €150 per child for this course packed with fun and exciting activities.   Visit www.cellexplorers.com for details on the camp and links to register. For any queries email cellexplorers@nuigalway.ie.   -Ends-      

Tuesday, 22 May 2018

Blackstone LaunchPad at NUI Galway recently announced the expansion of their student Entrepreneur in Residence (EIR) programme with Conor Lynch, a third year Mechanical Engineering student taking up a second student Entrepreneur in Residence role in the LaunchPad programme.    Conor set up his business at 11 years old, woodturning from his home in Tullamore, Co. Offaly. He is largely self-taught, having learned many of the techniques for woodturning from magazines and YouTube, but he has also had some exposure to some of the best woodturners in Ireland. He has work in private collections in America, Australia, France and Mexico and one of his pieces was presented to President Mary McAleese in 2011. He sells his craft pieces in local stores and online.   In 2014, Conor was featured on RTÉs ‘Junior Dragons Den’, where he pitched his business to five of Ireland’s most successful businessmen and women. He secured the €2,000 bursary and mentoring from Dragon Peter Casey. Also in 2014, he was featured on RTÉs Nationwide while exhibiting at the National Crafts and Design Fair (now known as Crafted) at the RDS in Dublin.   Natalie Walsh, Executive Director of Blackstone LaunchPad at NUI Galway, said: “We are delighted to expand our student EIR programme to include Conor, he is a fantastic role model for other students on campus who are interested in developing their business idea and has a wealth of personal experiences and practical advice to support his fellow students.  Being a third year student he also fully understands the challenges faced in terms of managing a student workload and getting a business up and running. Conor has been supported by our programme since 2015 and it has been amazing to see his professional and more importantly, his personal development grow so much over these few years.”   Conor Lynch said: “I am so thrilled to be part of the student EIR programme at Blackstone LaunchPad. The opportunity will give me more time to focus on what I really enjoy, which is showing other people that entrepreneurship is a viable career path for young people. I really like meeting with other entrepreneurs to come up with ideas, and I am looking forward to meeting students on campus.”   Blackstone LaunchPad at NUI Galway recently hosted Mike Wiebolt from Blackstone New York as part of a new mentorship and role modelling initiative by the Blackstone Charitable Foundation. Mike worked with students across the NUI Galway campus to mentor and coach them and their business ideas. In addition to being a Managing Director with Blackstone, Mike is a seriale who owns multiple hardware businesses across the US, and mentored Conor as part of his visit.   Conor added: “Meeting Mike was really positive, he has a wealth of experience and advice in terms of developing my business and I learned a great deal about his own business background. His advice was to really focus my efforts and harness any opportunities that come my way, such as working with the LaunchPad programme. He offered some insights into new ideas that I could explore and I am excited to focus in on these over the coming months, so watch this space.”   As the academic year winds down at NUI Galway, Blackstone LaunchPad are planning their campus programme for 2018/2019, Natalie Walsh added: “Next year will be our biggest year on campus. We will continue to grow our entrepreneurial community in partnership with our Colleges and Schools, launch our #madeinnuigalway initiative which is a showcase dedicated to displaying the products and services of NUI Galway’s talented entrepreneurs, and build on the successes of our 2018 initiatives including our female entrepreneurship programme InnovateHER and MIDAS (Medtech Innovation design and Start Up) programme.”   To view Conor’s products visit www.conorlynchwoodturning.com.   -Ends-

Tuesday, 22 May 2018

Tá Meamram Comhthuisceana sínithe idir OÉ Gaillimh agus RTÉ chun clár nua MA sa chleachtas gairmiúil sna meáin a chur ar fáil, le béim ar an bhfoghlaim phraiticbhunaithe trí mheán na Gaeilge i stiúideonna éagsúla de chuid RTÉ. Cuirfidh Acadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge in OÉ Gaillimh an MA (Cleachtas Gairmiúil sna Meáin) ar fáil ó Mheán Fómhair 2018. Beidh sé ar fáil ar bhonn lánama 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. Beidh na mic léinn ag foghlaim in OÉ, Gaillimh; in aonaid Ghaeilge de chuid RTÉ i nDomhnach Broc; agus i stiúideonna réigiúnacha i gConamara agus i gceantair Ghaeltachta eile. "Tá RTÉ thar a bheith sásta a bheith i mbun comhpháirtíochta le hOllscoil na hÉireann, Gaillimh sa togra suntasach seo," a dúirt Grúpcheannasaí Gaeilge RTÉ, Rónán Mac Con Iomaire. "Is sprioc ar leith í ag RTÉ an chéad ghlúin eile de chraoltóirí na Gaeilge a fhorbairt agus a thabhairt chun cinn, agus tá muid á dhéanamh sin i gcomhar le hOÉ Gaillimh ar bhealach nach bhfuil feicthe in aon institiúid tríú leibhéal in Éirinn go dtí seo," a dúirt sé. Dúirt stiúrthóir an chláir, an Dr Uinsionn Mac Dubhghaill, go mbeadh tionchar mór ag céimithe an chláir ar na meáin in Éirinn sna blianta atá romhainn. "Lena mheascán tomhaiste den staidéar teoiriciúil ar na meáin chumarsáide agus den fhoghlaim phraiticbhunaithe, tá an clár léinn seo ag leanacht an chleachtais is fearr go hidirnáisiúnta in oideachas na meán," a dúirt sé. "Tá an clár léinn ag freastal ar éilimh ó mhic léinn ar chláir iarchéime a bhfuil naisc láidre acu le fostóirí agus leis an margadh. Tá sé ag teacht dá réir leis na moltaí sa Final Report in respect of a Strategy for the Development of Skills for the Audiovisual Industry in Ireland, a d'fhoilsigh na comhairleoirí Crowe Horwath i mBealtaine 2017." Tuilleadh eolais ó https://www.nuigalway.ie/acadamh/cursai/cursai_iarcheime/ma_cleachtas_gairmiuil_meain/#course_outline. -Críoch- NUI Galway and RTÉ to collaborate on new Masters programme NUI Galway and RTÉ have signed a Memorandum of Understanding for a new Masters programme in professional practice in media, with an emphasis on practice-based learning through Irish at a number of RTÉ studios. The MA (Cleachtas Gairmiúil san Meáin) 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. Students will study at NUI Galway, at different Irish-language units at RTÉ’s headquarters in Donnybrook, in RTÉ regional studios in Connemara, and in other Gaeltacht areas. RTÉ Group Head of Irish Language, Rónán Mac Con Iomaire, said: “RTÉ is very happy to collaborate with NUI Galway on this important initiative. It is a particular aim of RTÉ to cultivate and develop the next generation of Irish-language broadcasters, and we are doing this in partnership with the University in a way that has not been seen in any third-level institution in Ireland until now.” Dr Uinsionn Mac Dubhghaill, programme director with Acadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge, NUI Galway,  said graduates of the programme would have a significant impact on the media in Ireland in the years ahead. “With its balanced mix of the theoretical study of media and practice-based learning it follows best international practice in media education, and responds to a demand from students for postgraduate programmes that have strong links to employers and the market. In doing this, it aligns with the recommendations in the ‘Final Report in respect of a Strategy for the Development of Skills for the Audiovisual Industry in Ireland’, published by consultants Crowe Horwath in May 2017.” For more information visit https://www.nuigalway.ie/acadamh/cursai/cursai_iarcheime/ma_cleachtas_gairmiuil_meain/#course_outline. -Ends-

Wednesday, 2 May 2018

Results from a new international study conducted by psychologists at NUI Galway has found that personality traits can predict death in old age. The study was published this week in the Journal of Psychosomatic Research. The study was carried out by Dr Páraic Ó Súilleabháin and Professor Brian Hughes from the School of Psychology at NUI Galway. The researchers investigated if personality traits are predictors of death in older adults. Drawing on data collected from The Berlin Aging Study* carried out from 1990-2009, this new study examined 417 adults between the ages of 70-100 years of age over a 19-year period in Berlin, Germany. This new research looked at the detailed data captured from these individuals and found that the personality trait of neuroticism predicted death from all-causes over the 19-year follow-up period. Crucially, the study found that people higher in the personality trait of neuroticism were at a distinctly greater risk of death than those within the average or lower ranges of neuroticism. Neuroticism is a personality dimension that all people possess that accounts for an individual’s tendency to experience negative emotions and display emotional instability. Individuals who score high on neuroticism are more likely to experience higher levels of sadness and anxiety.   Commenting on the study’s findings Dr Ó Súilleabháin from NUI Galway, said: “Personality is of critical importance to health, and is reflected in our biology and patterns of behaviour over long periods of time. This study provides strong evidence relating to the importance of the personality trait of neuroticism in impacting a person’s health and longevity in old age.” The study also sought to find ways which may explain the finding. The researchers found that neuroticism impacted the effects of a person’s ability to perform activities of daily living in old age (functional status), and a biological marker (the angiotensin-converting enzyme, ACE) on death. They reported that functional status is a critical marker for the deterioration of health in old age, while ACE is a critical enzyme in a variety of diseases, most notably cardiovascular disease. Dr Ó Súilleabháin, added: “Existing data suggests that by the year 2020, one in five Europeans will be over the age of 65 years. It is critical for future research to address the impact of neuroticism on the deterioration of health in old age, with a particular emphasis on its effects on cardiovascular disease. This study provides exciting opportunities and research avenues for future work in this area.” To read the full study in the Journal of Psychosomatic Research, visit: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0022399917312394  -Ends-

Tuesday, 22 May 2018

Library spans five centuries, was almost lost due to a convent building demolition, and contains a selection of significant religious publications from the 17th Century onwards The Dominican Convent in Taylor’s Hill, Galway has donated its library of more than 2,000 volumes, built up over five centuries, to NUI Galway at an event in the University Library recently. At one stage it looked like this valuable library, a vital part of Galway’s heritage, might be lost to the region due to lack of storage when the Convent building in which it was located had to be demolished. The University worked closely with the Dominican Convent to secure the long-term future of the historic library as a major research resource for the local community, academic staff and students on campus and visiting scholars worldwide. Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh, President of NUI Galway, welcomed the donation: “The Dominican Convent Library is one of Ireland’s historic treasures and will be an invaluable resource for teaching and research, engaging a range of audiences not just locally but internationally. The insights it provides into the education of women are especially significant. We also get a great sense of what life was like in the convent over four centuries and how the Dominican community connected with Europe and the wider world.”   The Dominican Convent Library represents the oldest continuously used library in Galway City today. It not only illustrates the place of study in the life of nuns (or women religious) from 1644 onwards, but it also gives testimony to the history of the education of women through the variety of books contained, ranging from dictionaries to theological and language studies. The collection provides insights into female education in Ireland across several centuries and the history of Irish religious, also capturing something of Galway’s history, and that of its academic institutions. Dominican Library Highlights There are many highlights in the Dominican Convent Library. It contains a selection of significant 17th Century religious publications including a 1617 edition of St. Thomas Aquinas’ Summae Theologicae and a 1616 edition of the life of St. Teresa of Avila – one of the bestsellers in all languages in the early modern period. Not surprisingly there are many works relating to the Dominican order dating from the 17th to the 20th centuries. An interesting example is The manner of receiving devout ladies in the Holy Order of St. Dominick, originating in the Dominican Convent in Drogheda, Co. Louth. Along with religious instruction, the first prospectus for the Boarding School which opened in 1859 includes French and French literature, English, German, Italian, History, Geography and the study of globes, Music and Arithmetic. The variety of languages represented in the library is especially noteworthy and is well represented in the 19th Century Welply Collection, donated by Kate Welply, an aunt of one of the sisters resident in the Convent, which contains titles in French, German and Italian. As befitting an educational institution there are volumes on a wide selection of subjects, ranging from astronomy to travel, from natural science to literature. From the 1640s, many of the women who joined the Galway Dominican community of nuns came from families belonging to the ‘Tribes’ of Galway. Local interest is therefore well represented, particularly by a set of Martin J. Blake’s Blake Family Records (1905).The library also includes volumes of important 19th Century art periodicals such as the Art Journal. Professor Marie-Louise Coolahan, Discipline of English, commented: “The sheer timespan of the coverage here is remarkable. Teresa of Avila’s Life, for example, was translated across Europe and used as a model by men and women, of all faiths, down through the centuries. It is a landmark in the history of autobiography and to have such an early edition here brings the entire genre to life for our students. I’m particularly delighted the archive is being launched in time for the annual conference on women religious, coming up on 7-8 June. This conference was first held here ten years ago; we’re planning a special preview of collection highlights for our delegates, who will be travelling from the USA, Japan, the UK, Belgium and Portugal, as well as Ireland.” The Dominican Convent Library is an important addition to the James Hardiman Library’s printed Special Collections and joins a subset of local religious libraries within its collections, including that of St. Anthony’s Franciscan College, Newcastle, and the Henry Library, from St. Mary’s Church of Ireland Cathedral in Tuam, Co. Galway. Details of titles from all three libraries can be viewed on the James Hardiman Library’s catalogue at www.library.nuigalway.ie. John Cox, University Librarian, noted that: “We are delighted that the University was able to provide an appropriate home for this great Library at a time when the Dominican Convent needed our support. The region would otherwise have suffered a very significant loss but the future of the collection is now secure. The investment the University has made in excellent facilities for special collections continues to be repaid.” The University’s Moore Institute will host the annual conference of the History of Women Religious of Britain and Ireland on 7 and 8 June. The conference programme is at https://tinyurl.com/yd5n4v7g and includes a paper by Sr. Alberta Lally from the Dominican Convent. ENDS

Tuesday, 22 May 2018

 US expert to speak on ‘Reform in Cook County and Juvenile Justice’ NUI Galway will host a public lecture entitled, ‘Reform in Cook County and Juvenile Justice, presented by Ms Toni Preckwinkle, President, Board of Commissioners, Cook County, Illinois today (22 May 2018) at 2.30pm. President Preckwinkle is the President of the Board of Commissioners of Cook County, municipal area in which Chicago is located.   The talk on Reform in Cook County and Juvenile Justice will focus on Ms Preckwinkle’s leadership to develop policies to improve health care access, bring increased fairness to the criminal justice system and expand employment training opportunities for some of the County’s most disadvantaged youth.   President Preckwinkle is a nationally recognised leader in the drive to reduce unnecessary and costly incarceration of non-violent offenders in the criminal justice system.   Speaking ahead of the event, UNESCO Chair in Children, Youth and Civic Engagement at NUI Galway, Professor Pat Dolan said: “The contribution of President Preckwinkle to finding community based solutions to youth on the margins and engaged in crime has been a major positive breakthrough with lessons to be learned for the Irish context. The methods of hopefulness in terms of interventions with and for youth are often overlooked or unheard ahead of more sensationalism in the media and occasionally in policy in Ireland.”   Toni Preckwinkle is the 35th president of the Cook County Board of Commissioners, an office she has held since 2010. A dedicated and effective public servant, President Preckwinkle has worked collaboratively to reshape County government through increased fiscal responsibility, transparency and improved services.   “I’m honored to deliver the UNESCO International Honorary Biennial Lecture, and especially pleased that I can focus my remarks on our key policy initiatives: public safety, public health and creating opportunity,” Preckwinkle said. “Since 2010, we have made progress in these areas and we will continue to press ahead to create more fair and equitable County for all of our residents.”   Before she was elected Cook County Board President, President Preckwinkle served 19 years as Alderman for the 4th Ward in Chicago, building a reputation for progressive independence. She replaced failed public housing with viable mixed-income development. Prior to holding elected office, President Preckwinkle taught high school history for 10 years. She holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Chicago. She is the mother of two and the grandmother of three.   Galway and Chicago, which lies within Cook County, have been Sister Cities for over twenty-one years.  Since then the two cities have developed a strong partnership based on a shared vision of creating programs and exchanges for the benefit of the citizens of both cities. Through the work of dedicated citizens and government officials the relationship has thrived.   The event will take place in the Aula Maxima today, Tuesday, 22 May at 2.30pm and is free and open to the public.   To register for the event - click here   -Ends-

Friday, 25 May 2018

NUI Galway study defines a digital roadmap for organisations to empower their employees to use their personal analytics data to enhance wellness and performance New research from NUI Galway examines the manner with which voluntary personal data analytics can be collected, managed and implemented by organisations within the workplace. The study focuses on a concept termed Enterprise Personal Analytics through which organisations can empower their employees by using their personal data analytics to digitally manage their working environment, enhancing wellness and performance. Data analytics technologies and techniques are widely used in organisations to enable them to make more-informed business decisions. While traditional organisational business intelligence metrics deliver a big picture of structures, processes, and roles, evidence from the study suggests that more detailed and personalised data analytics can help employees gain deeper and more granular insights into the manner with which they work. Wearable technology such as Fitbit is being used more often in organisations for Wellbeing Programmes. For example, IBM provided Fitbit devices to 40,000 employees over a two-year period which saw 96% of the users routinely monitoring health data. Employees who participated in the programme obtained an average of 8,800 more steps per day in comparison to employees who didn’t participate in the programme. Other organisations use it to support benefits managers to monitor employee performance and aiding in job safety by helping workers track sleep and activity levels. The study entitled ‘Enterprise Personal Analytics Digital Transformation Roadmap’, published in Cutter Consortium, was conducted by Dr Trevor Clohessy and Dr Thomas Acton from the J.E. Cairnes School of Business and Economics at NUI Galway. Dr Trevor Clohessy from NUI Galway, said: “We believe that the emerging concept of EPA has the potential to become the new frontier of competitive differentiation. Through voluntary opt-in, employees can provide their personal analytical data to the organisation they work for that can directly support the company’s vision and objectives. For instance, organisations contemplating using machinery to automate a business function can use personal analytics data to identify the benefits of such an action and weigh their decision against the loss of tacit knowledge that the company may lose by replacing people with machines. This can also help organisations enhance the physical and mental wellbeing of their employees. “Our research presents a two-dimensional grid (concerns versus perspectives) to define a roadmap that organisations can use to guide their EPA digital transformation efforts. We believe that if organisations build a culture of trust, their employees and customers will become acclimatised to capturing and analysing their personal analytical data within an enterprise setting. Our study also discusses how the potential nexus of parties, partners, employees, customers, data pools, cloud and network providers, encompassed in an EPA initiative, will require robust information governance mechanisms. Specifically, the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which comes into force on Friday, 25 May 2018, applies to all companies worldwide that process the personal data of EU citizens. Companies considering implementing EPA initiatives will have to operationalise information governance strategies that are fully compliant with GDPR requirements.” The study identified five specific concerns pertaining to the use of personal analytics in an enterprise setting: Individual information systems architecture, the design and capacity of each employee’s work station would need to enable the collection of personal analytics data. Knowledge and intellectual property (IP). Motivation and remuneration. Information governance. Dr Clohessy added: “As a result of the emergence of GDPR here in Europe, organisations are turning to blockchain technologies which has been cited as a compelling means of protecting personal data in a decentralised manner. The use of EPA will be strengthened by increased instances of business use cases with robust security and privacy safe guards. Consequently, the roadmap described in our study can assist companies to deploy simple field tests prior to jumping into the deep end of EPA.” The study can be read in full here: https://www.cutter.com/experts/trevor-clohessy -Ends-

Friday, 25 May 2018

An online database of over 500 images of Ireland dating from 1680-1860 How was Ireland depicted in illustrations of the country produced by travellers in the period from 1680 to 1860? A new database of images drawn from travel accounts answers this question. Based on years of research by a group of investigators at NUI Galway led by Professor Jane Conroy, Ireland Illustrated is now available to view online. Ireland Illustrated, 1680-1860, is a database of over 500 images of Ireland - woodcuts, water colours, engravings and other illustrations - with related text, drawn from more than 50 manuscript and printed works, and highlighting several neglected or rarely accessible sources. Many of the pictures in the database, woodcuts, water colours, engravings and other illustrations, have rarely, if ever, been seen by the public. It provides an opportunity to examine how, in the case of Ireland, diverse representations were created in the course of two centuries. This collection takes as a starting point the fact that the combination of word and picture in illustrated travel books has shaped how the world is seen, from the early days of printing to the era of the photograph, with the rise of the predecessors of the National Geographic, and continuing into the digital deluge of today. The database provides user-friendly access where people can search by region, townland, historical site, theme or keyword. For instance, users could easily find depictions of cabins, or images connected with fishing or archaeological monuments. Each image is accompanied by a full description and the context in the travel book or manuscript in which the illustration originally appeared. The records include information about the individuals who created these works and shed light on the interactions between authors, artists and publishers. Professor Jane Conroy from the Moore Institute at NUI Galway, said: “We think Ireland Illustrated will be attractive to a wide range of users: people curious about their locality, art historians looking at a particular artist’s work, or the development of fashions and techniques in landscape art. Historians of the book should find it an interesting case study of how illustrations became integrated into travel writing before the age of photography. Specialists of travel literature will be able to trace the different ways that travellers got involved with the realities of life in Ireland, or how they constructed in their minds a picture of the country they wanted to see. “One of the pleasures of our work in collecting this material was finding the unexpected things that caught the attention of travellers. For example, one French traveller in the eighteenth-century, Charles Coquebert decided to record the shapes of species of seaweed and their names in Irish from a conversation with a local boy on the coast in Sligo. The English visitor Arthur Young drew landscapes and nature, like almost everyone else from the last decades of the eighteenth century on, but also the design of a turnip hoe and the phases of construction of an Irish cabin. In 1681, Thomas Dineley was most interested in castles, tombstones and towns, but he also took time to draw the mining operations at Silvermines in Co. Tipperary, and the appearance of a comet. Other travellers were more interested in people.” Other interesting depictions of Ireland from the point of view of visual anthropology, is how people travelling to Ireland sometimes made sketches of their own, but also bought prints and sketches and pasted them into their personal albums, as did a certain Miss Hammill and a Mr. W.C. Drake. By the mid-nineteenth century there was an industry in providing these sorts of visual mementos, as well as pictorial letterheads, the precursors of the postcard. Users can also see the difference of locations between then and now. Many images in the collection allow the user to see lost landscapes such as Mitchelstown Castle, which is now replaced by the Dairygold Creamery, or the plantation village of Staplestown, with its mill-wheel, shop signs, and names of its tradesmen. An important part of the visual record of Ireland can be found in illustrations made by or for travellers. Ireland Illustrated draws attention to what they express and how they fit with the written record. What images are chosen, what scenes are worth noting, the colour and emphasis given to an account or a picture, these are important choices when representing a people and their country. They often say as much about the traveller as about realities on the ground. The presentation of these illustrated accounts encourages further exploration of general trends in the ways that people, including the Irish, thought about and imagined Ireland, and the esthetic or ideological forces at work behind the scenes. At the same time, it allows us to see and appreciate the individual viewpoints of those writers or artists who avoided the obvious comment and the sterotypical scene. The links between people, places, images and text sheds new light on interactions between individual authors, artists and publishers, and, through the examination of Ireland's case, it foregrounds some of the processes by which travel accounts became illustrated. Professor Daniel Carey, Director of the Moore Institute at NUI Galway, said: “This remarkable resource has resulted from years of painstaking research in libraries and archives. It will give users a new relationship to the country, through visual images produced over two centuries.” The database will continue to be expanded as more materials are discovered and incorporated and the research team welcomes contact from users about possible inclusions. The online database is hosted by NUI Galway’s Moore Institute, and it was created by researchers and IT specialists, with the support of libraries in Ireland and abroad, in particular that of the National Library of Ireland and the James Hardiman Library at NUI Galway. To visit the online portal of Ireland Illustrated, visit: https://ttce.nuigalway.ie/irelandillustrated/ For more information contact Professor Jane Conroy at jane.conroy@nuigalway.ie. -Ends-