Thursday, 3 December 2020

A project that connects patients with their loved ones, against a backdrop of COVID-19 restrictions on visits to hospitals, has seen NUI Galway win a National Impact Award.   The university worked with industry partners Cisco and IBM to deliver a state-of-the-art video call system, ICU FamilyLink, specifically for the intensive care unit setting at University Hospital Galway (UHG). The project won the Knowledge Transfer Ireland Impact Award, in the ‘COVID-19 Response’ Category on 26 November.  ICU FamilyLink When hospital visiting restrictions were introduced in early March, the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) team at University Hospital Galway (UHG) appreciated that it was going to be very difficult to keep families and patients in the ICU updated and connected, particularly where family members may be in physical isolation in different locations. In an effort to address these challenges, they reached out to their academic partners in NUI Galway, who in turn reached out to industry contacts in Galway and beyond.  NUI Galway, Cisco and IBM assembled a team to answer the call and working closely with the ICU and Clinical Engineering and IT teams in UHG, rapidly developed a state-of-the-art video call system tailored specifically for the ICU setting. The system runs on the hospital’s Cisco Enterprise Wireless Network using Cisco Webex Meetings software and Cisco Webex Devices donated from Cisco’s software development office in Oranmore.   The secure system is designed for easy setup where close family members are invited by the nurse looking after the patient, to see and speak to their loved one. ICU FamilyLink also enables staff to advise the family and discuss medical and treatment issues that arise.  The Knowledge Transfer Ireland (KTI) Impact Awards recognise and showcase the success in knowledge transfer carried out in Irish Higher Education Institutions and publicly funded research organisations for the wider benefit of the economy and society at large. As part of the initiative, the collaborating bodies made information regarding all components of the bespoke video conferencing system freely available at http://www.nuigalway.ie/icu-familylink/. Speaking about the news, David Murphy, Director of Technology Transfer and Innovation at NUI Galway, said: “This achievement is a positive reflection of the talent within the university, industry and hospital. It is also a reflection of the commitment to community in a time when it was so important to those affected by the pandemic. As a place well-known for collaboration and creativity, and as a global medtech hub, our research and innovation community has been to the fore in looking at innovations and insights that can support the response to the COVID-19 crisis.   KTI director and chair of the judging panel, Dr Alison Campbell, added: “The finalists and winners of these awards are real examples of the compelling work being undertaken in the third level to support innovation and to help Irish companies thrive in challenging markets, delivering benefit to the economy and for people.” This initiative was delivered by Irial Conroy (IBM) and Dr Aoife Murray (NUI Galway), both BioInnovate alumni, Brian O’Donoghue (Cisco), Breda McColgan (IBM), PJ McKenna (IBM), Frank Kirrane (UHG), Leonie Cullen (UHG) and Dr Bairbre McNicholas (UHG). The team was supported by the UHG IT department and wider Saolta, Cisco, IBM, UHG and NUI Galway staff, and other organisations that kindly provided supports. Special thanks to Niamh Connolly (NUI Galway), Ian Gallivan (NUI Galway) and the TTO office for the facilitation of making all of the project’s contributions available in the public domain. Watch a short video about ICU FamilyLink here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vl7qWpWH5q8&t=4s. To read more about other initiatives with which the NUI Galway research and innovation community have responded to COVID-19, visit: https://www.nuigalway.ie/our-research/covid19/ . -Ends-  

Wednesday, 2 December 2020

A Chilean researcher has been awarded a three-year long term Fellowship from the international Human Frontier Science Program (HFSP) to continue his Postdoctoral research at the Centre for Chromosomal Biology in NUI Galway. Dr Miguel Salinas-Saavedra is the first researcher to be awarded the long-term fellowship in a university in Ireland. The HFSP is a prestigious and internationally recognised organisation that funds frontier research. HFSP’s Long-Term Fellowships are for postdoctoral scientists in biology, who will broaden their expertise by proposing a project in the life sciences which is significantly different from their previous PhD or postdoctoral work. A total of 50 Long-Term Fellowships were awarded to the very best of the world’s young scientists who have proposed original approaches at the frontier of life science research. Postdoctoral researcher, Miguel Salinas-Saavedra has joined the lab of Professor Uri Frank in the Centre for Chromosomal Biology at NUI Galway. Miguel’s research will focus on Evolutionary developmental Biology (Evo-Devo) using cnidarians as model organisms. Dr Salinas-Saavedra completed a bachelors and Masters in biology at the University of Chile (Facultad de ciencias; Science campus), Chile and a PhD in zoology at the University of Florida (biology department), US. He then moved to the Centre for Chromosomal Biology at NUI Galway in 2019. Speaking about his fellowship award, Miguel Salinas-Saavedra, said: “I feel very honoured to receive this postdoctoral fellowship award from the Human Frontier Science Program. Diversity does not usually receive recognition in a system where funding for basic science is diminishing every year. The HFSP’s support in funding high-risk research is essential to open new opportunities and inspire a diverse group of people to continue doing science in diverse research such as my own on cnidarians. “My funded research fellowship will focus on the mechanisms of cellular dedifferentiation in regeneration. My project focuses on researching a piece of tissue that does not have stem cells but whose cells dedifferentiate following excision. We expect this to give insights into different modes of regeneration in the animal kingdom, including humans, when we compare them evolutionarily.” Dr Salinas-Saavedra, added: “Some animals can regenerate lost organs and tissues with high efficiency. Others can regenerate a full body from small pieces of tissues. Regardless of the case, all of them use stem cells to regenerate the missing parts of their body. The cnidarian Hydractinia (marine animals such as corals and jellyfish) can regenerate any lost body part in a tissue-specific manner. I am delighted to be researching cnidarians cells using Hydractinia at Professor Uri Frank’s lab. “Stem cells are like the babies of tissues, they need to develop their path to adulthood. This process is called cellular differentiation. Following injury, stem cells differentiate to form and regenerate the injured tissue. Under specific conditions, in some cases, the cells of adult tissue go back to baby stages by generating new stem cells. This process is called cellular dedifferentiation.” The International Human Frontier Science Program Organization (HFSPO) announced 65 Fellowship awards to the world’s most outstanding young life scientists, chosen through rigorous international selection out of a total of 597 applications from more than 50 countries. The HFSP fellows begin their research in a new field of biology in a laboratory in a new country, in accord with HFSPO’s aim of promoting international collaboration in life science research. HFSP’s Fellowships enjoy an excellent reputation and offer a built-in return component. Starting in their second year of tenure, HFSP fellows can draw up plans for setting up their own independent laboratory. Fellows can then use the remaining time of their tenure to move to the new location. By increasing the fellowship value to about $250,000 spread over three years, HFSP provides these outstanding young talents with an enhanced financial package to back their career in frontier research. For more information about the Human Frontier Science Program, visit: | Human Frontier Science Program (hfsp.org) -Ends-

Tuesday, 1 December 2020

A research team from the Discipline of Geography at NUI Galway is part of a consortium that have won a competitive international research funding award of €1.38 million under the JPI Climate SOLSTICE initiative to explore how young people across Europe experience the climate crisis. Commencing in December 2020, the project, will involve research teams from the UK, Ireland, Finland and Italy. The researchers will work with young people, teachers, educational institutions and youth groups on the project, to understand how youth experience and make sense of climate complexity. The research team from NUI Galway will draw on the vast interdisciplinary experience of the project team comprised of Dr Gary Goggins, Professor Frances Fahy and Dr Kathy Reilly from the Discipline of Geography. Climate change is an existential threat that must be addressed through concerted action involving all of society. Recently, young people have put themselves at the forefront of these efforts through coordinated activities, such as school strikes. These call for greater attention and decisive action from governments and other powerful actors to mitigate climate change and protect people from its harmful effects. At the same time, there is emerging consensus that lack of effective climate leadership, combined with institutional inertia and confused governance mechanisms, is resulting in widespread climate indifference or extremism. Increasing awareness of the impacts and effects of climate change, as well as the measures that can be taken to mitigate against it, is crucial in building an empowered and resilient climate-literate youth that can develop and support solutions now and in the future. Dr Gary Goggins, who leads the research team in the School of Geography at NUI Galway, said: “It is vital that we listen to young people and include their voices in our ongoing efforts to tackle climate change. Young people are the future, but they are also important in the present. Understanding how young people experience this rapidly changing world, and their place in it, is central to developing effective solutions to the common challenges we face.” The research will co-create a framework that enables young people to express how growing up in their particular contexts and spaces (including formal education, relationships, communities and extracurricular spaces) plays a role in their worldview formation and openness to new ways of thinking and doing. This framework will support the development of practical tools for teaching and learning in participating schools and beyond. Policy recommendations will consider social, political, cultural and economic contexts in each region under study, and local, national and international recommendations will be put forward. Dr Jonathan Derham, EPA, said “The Environmental Protection Agency welcomes the success of NUI Galway in a very competitive pan-European research call: this reflects the importance of this research area and the excellence of the University team. The huge success of the 2019 Youth Assembly on Climate and the resulting media engagement demonstrated the need for more productive and enduring dialogue with young people in relation to concerns and solutions. It is expected that this research will assist in supporting delivery of these ambitions.” The project is funded by the JPI Climate SOLSTICE initiative for three years (2020-2023) with a total project budget of €1.38 million. The funding organization for Ireland is the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), who will provide €148,450 towards the overall budget. For more information contact gary.goggins@nuigalway.ie. -Ends-

Tuesday, 1 December 2020

NUI Galway study, published in the international journal Scientific Reports, confirms that spiders carry harmful bacteria and that they can be transmitted when a spider uses its fangs to bite A team of zoologists and microbiologists from NUI Galway have published a new study showing that common house spiders carry bacteria susceptible to infect people, with the Noble False Widow spiders also carrying harmful strains resistant to common antibiotic treatments. This new research, published in the international journal Scientific Reports, confirms a theory which has been debated among spider and healthcare specialists for many years, and explains a range of symptoms experienced by victims bitten by the invasive noble false widow spider in Ireland and Britain over the past decade. Australian Black Widows or Funnel Web spiders are well known for their potentially deadly venom, but rare “skin-eating” conditions following seemingly harmless European and North American spider bites were thought to be the result of secondary infections caused by the victim scratching and probing the bite site with contaminated fingers. This new study shows that not only do spiders carry harmful bacteria, but those germs can be transmitted when a spider uses its fangs to bite. Furthermore, many spiders have been shown to have venom with antibacterial activity and it is often debated as to whether the venom would neutralise bacteria at the bite site, but this also demonstrates, at least for the Noble False Widow, that the venom does not inhibit bacteria. Dr Aoife Boyd, Director of the Pathogenic Mechanisms Group at NUI Galway’s School of Natural Sciences, and senior author of the study, said: “The diversity of microbes never ceases to amaze me. The power to survive and thrive in every environment is shown here by the presence of antimicrobial resistance bacteria even in spider venom. Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is an urgent and growing problem worldwide. A One Health approach interconnecting human, animal and environmental health is the only way to tackle the problem.” Dr John Dunbar, Zoologist at the Ryan Institute’s Venom System Lab in NUI Galway, said: “About 10 species of spiders common in North-western Europe have fangs strong enough to pierce human skin and deliver venom, but only one of them, the recent invasive noble false widow spider, is considered of medical importance. Most of the time, a spider bite results in some redness and pain. “In some cases, however, victims seem to develop long lasting infections for which strong antibiotic treatment - and sometimes a hospital stay - are necessary. It is this increasing range expansion and massive rise in dense populations of false widow spiders around urbanised areas across Ireland and Britain that has seen a rise in bites with some severe envenomation symptoms but also infections, which in some cases proved even difficult to treat with antibiotics.” Neyaz Kahn, co-lead author of the study and PhD student at the Pathogenic Mechanisms Group in NUI Galway’s School of Natural Sciences, said: “Our study demonstrates that spiders are not just venomous but are also carriers of dangerous bacteria capable of producing severe infections. The biggest threat is that some of these bacteria are multi-drug resistant, making them particularly difficult to treat with regular medicine. This is something that health care professionals should consider from now on.” The full study in Scientific Reports is available at https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-020-77839-9 . -Ends-

Tuesday, 1 December 2020

Researchers collaborating to better understand public acceptance and reservations of HSE contact tracing app Researchers at NUI Galway and University of Limerick are looking for members of the public and smartphone users to participate in a study on attitudes to the use of a Covid-19 contact tracing app. As the country exits Level 5 public health restrictions in the run up to Christmas, the research team say it is more important than ever to better understand acceptance and reservations behind the use of the tracker app and data. More than 2.2 million people have registered with the HSE Covid tracker app, while more than 1.3 million are active users of the software, including more than one third of over 16s. Dr Jane Walsh, School of Psychology, NUI Galway, said: “We would like to hear from users of the app. We need their feedback in order to learn from their experiences. We are particularly interested to hear from people who have reservations about a tracker app and the use of data.” Dr Mike O’Callaghan, GP and Research Fellow at UL, said: “The main aim of the study is to establish people’s knowledge of contact tracing and if the public would find a software app, as described, to be acceptable during the pandemic.” Manzar Abbas, PhD Scholar at software research centre LERO at UL, said: “All of our research is being recorded anonymously so, if you are using, or if you have used, the digital contact tracing app since it was launched and you have some reservations around it we would like to record your feedback and try to improve the shortcomings.” The research team is seeking up to 30 people aged 18 or over to take part in the survey. Participants will be asked to take part in a phone interview which would last 30-40 minutes. Interested members of the public please contact manzar.abbas@ul.ie Ends

Monday, 30 November 2020

Is cúis mhór áthais é d’Ionad Léann na hÉireann, OÉ Gaillimh, a fhógairt go bhfuil Saileog Ní Cheannabháin ceaptha mar Amhránaí Cónaitheach Sean-nóis i mbliana. Is amhránaí sean-nóis, ceoltóir agus cumadóir í Saileog atá ag casadh ceol traidisiúnta agus ceol clasaiceach ó bhí sí an-óg.  Is cainteoir Gaeilge ó dhúchas í a tógadh le Gaeilge i mBaile Átha Cliath. Is as Carna a hathair, an t-amhránaí clúiteach Peadar Ó Ceannabháin, agus is é Peadar an chéad fhonnadóir a chuaigh i bhfeidhm go mór uirthi. Chaith Saileog roinnt mhaith ama ó bhí sí an-óg ag éisteacht le fonnadóirí as Iorras Aithneach agus tá Seán 'ac Dhonncha, Sorcha Ní Ghuairim, Dara Bán Mac Donncha agus Josie Sheáin Jeaic 'ac Dhonncha i measc na bhfonnadóirí is mó a chuaigh i bhfeidhm uirthi. Is veidhleadóir clasaiceach í a máthair, Úna Lawlor, agus is fonnadóirí agus ceoltóirí iad a deartháir Eoghan agus a deirfiúr Muireann. Sa mbliain 2012, d'eisigh Saileog an chéad albam dá cuid, I bhfíor-dheiriú oidhche, cnuasach amhrán a bhailigh Séamus Ennis in Iorras Aithneach sna 1940idí. Roithleán an t-ainm atá ar an dara albam a d'eisigh Saileog i 2016. Chuir an Dr Méabh Ni Fhuartháin ó Ionad Léann na hÉireann fáilte mhór roimh an gceapachán: “Táimid thar a bheith  sásta go mbeidh Saileog Ní Cheannabháin linn mar amhránaí cónaitheach i mbliana. Tá Saileog ceangailte go láidir sa traidisiún saibhir thart uirthi. Is deis iontach é dosna micléinn agus dóibhsean ar fad a bheidh ag foghlaim uaithi anso san Ollscoil." Beidh sraith ceardlann á múineadh ag Saileog go fíorúil san Ollscoil san Earrach 2021 agus arís sa bhFómhar agus beidh ceolchoirm mar chuid den ceapacháin ar siúl i nGaeltacht Chonamara sa samhradh 2021. Is iad Ealaín na Gaeltachta, Údarás na Gaeltachta, An Chomhairle Ealaíon agus Ionad Léann na hÉireann, OÉ Gaillimh, a mhaoiníonn an tionscnamh seo. Tuilleadh eolais ó Samantha Williams ag 091 492051 nó samantha.williams@nuigalway.ie -Crioch-

Monday, 30 November 2020

NUI Galway’s Centre for Irish Studies has announced the appointment of Saileog Ní Cheannabháin as Sean-Nós Singer in Residence for 2021. A sean-nós singer, musician and composer, Saileog learned and played both traditional and classical music from a very young age. Raised in Dublin, in an Irish speaking household steeped in traditional song, Saileog’s father, Peadar Ó Ceannabháin comes from the rich tradition of sean-nós singing in Carna and was one of the first singers to influence Saileog. From a young age, she grew up listening to singers from Iorras Aithneach and cites Seán 'ac Dhonncha, Sorcha Ní Ghuairim, Dara Bán Mac Donncha agus Josie Sheáin Jeaic 'ac Dhonncha as formative influences on her approach and singing. Her mother Úna Lawlor is a classical violinist and both of her siblings Eoghan and Muireann are also singers and musicians. In 2012, Saileog released her first album I bhfíor-dheiriú oidhche a collection of songs collected by Séamus Ennis in Iorras Aithneach in the 1940s. Following this, Roithleán was released in 2016. Welcoming the appointment, Dr Méabh Ní Fhuartháin from the Centre for Irish Studies at NUI Galway said: “We are delighted to have Saileog Ní Cheannabháin join us as Sean-nós Singer in Residence this year. Saileog is among the generation of singers who look to the rich historical tradition of singing from Connemara and build on that in their own performance and practice, and the appointment represents a fantastic opportunity for our students.” Saileog will deliver a series of workshops at NUI Galway as well as contributing to the expanding Sean-Nós Archive Collection.  The virtual workshops are free and open to the public and will begin in January 2021. Saileog will perform a concert in the Connemara Gaeltacht as part of her residency next summer. This project is funded by Ealaín na Gaeltachta, Údarás na Gaeltachta and An Chomhairle Ealaíon in association with the Centre for Irish Studies at NUI Galway. For more information contact Samantha Williams, NUI Galway’s Centre for Irish Studies, at 091 492051 or samantha.williams@nuigalway.ie. -Ends-

Monday, 30 November 2020

Actor Cillian Murphy supporting youth-led research to explore pandemic issues and to devise solutions More than 100 countries taking part UNESCO chairs in NUI Galway and Penn State University lead study Global study adopts Youth As Researchers model pioneered in LGBTQ study in Tallaght, west Dublin A global UNESCO study on the impact of Covid-19 on young people’s lives is to be spearheaded by an NUI Galway professor. More than 100 countries have signed up and 6,000 young people applied to be researchers on the international project being led by Professor Pat Dolan, UNESCO Chair and Director of the UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre at NUI Galway. The Youth As Researchers global initiative on Covid-19 is the single biggest study on the impact of the pandemic on young people - focusing on wellbeing, education and learning, use of technology, human rights and youth-led action and civic engagement. Actor Cillian Murphy, patron of the UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre at NUI Galway, is supporting the project and will take part in the online launch on Friday December 4th. Professor Pat Dolan said the study is by young people, about young people and for young people in order to help devise responses and solutions to the wider impact of the pandemic. “Our objective is for young people to work with other young people to find out how the pandemic has affected them personally, in their families and communities and lives,” Professor Dolan said. “We want to explore how they have coped - what they see as the key challenges to their education and social relationships. “We know some of the problems. We know people are affected differently, across classes and cultures. We need young people to help us understand that and help us with the solutions. By using the Youth As Researchers initiative we can do that and produce results that are usable, rather than research that no one reads, most of all young people.” The UNESCO study is being conducted by researchers aged 18 to 35. A broad representative of youth will take part in questionnaires, surveys, workshops and focus groups and other methods. Videos, posters, reports, policy briefs and other content will be produced to showcase the results and share them in the media and on social media as well as within the UN, across governments and UNESCO partners. Two NUI Galway undergraduates John Gaffey and Ella Anderson are trained as Youth As Researchers, including on issues such as ethics in research, non-bias questionnaire design, sampling methods. They will work on the European end of the project. Ms Anderson, European Steering Committee Representative, said: “Young people across the globe conducting research with fellow young people allows their authentic voice to be heard.” Mr Gaffey, European team co-ordinator, said: “It's up to youth to prove to the world that we can take action to better our communities, proving everyone who doubts us wrong.” UNESCO appointed Professor Dolan co-principal investigator along with Professor Mark Brennan, fellow UNESCO Chair at Pennsylvania State University. They will lead a consortium of youth-led researchers through training, mentoring and coordination. Dr Danielle Kennan, also at NUI Galway’s UNESCO Centre, is co-leader on the global training of selected youth from all over the world Professor Dolan added: “Over the course of the pandemic the worst assumptions have been made about young people in our society. On too many occasions, people in authority have been too quick to claim young people are irresponsible and lack consideration for society. The UNESCO Youth As Researchers programme aims to prove these assumptions wrong. “This is an opportunity for young people to research topics that interest them when adult researchers seem to care the least.” The UNESCO Youth As Researchers Initiative will be officially launched on Friday 4th December 2020 at 1 pm GMT. The public Facebook live component will be available on the UNESCO Youth Facebook page:  https://www.facebook.com/UNESCOyouth/ Ends

Thursday, 26 November 2020

NUI Galway scientist among international team proposing the ‘Challenger 150’ programme to understand how changes in the deep sea impact the wider ocean and life on the planet Professor Louise Allcock, Head of Zoology and Director of the Ryan Institute’s Centre for Ocean Research and Exploration at NUI Galway, is part of an international team of scientists who have called for a dedicated decade-long programme of research to greatly advance discovery in the remote regions of the deep seas and learn how they impact the wider ocean and life on the planet. The deep seas – vast expanses of water and seabed hidden more than 200 metres below the ocean surface to depths up to 11,000 metres – are recognised globally as an important frontier of science and discovery. But despite the fact they account for around 60% of Earth’s surface area, large areas remain completely unexplored, yet the habitats they support impact on the health of the entire planet. The international team spanning 45 institutions in 17 countries, presented the rationale behind the call for action in a comment article in Nature Ecology and Evolution, simultaneously publishing a detailed blueprint of how the actions can be best achieved in Frontiers in Marine Science. The programme, which scientists have named ‘Challenger 150’ will coincide with the United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development, which runs from 2021-2030. Challenger 150 will generate new geological, physical, biogeochemical, and biological data through a global cooperative of science and innovation, including the application of new technology. These data will be used to understand how changes in the deep sea impact the wider ocean and life on the planet. Among its key areas of focus are to build greater capacity and diversity in the scientific community, acknowledging the fact that existing deep-sea research is conducted primarily by developed nations with access to resources and infrastructure. The programme will use this new knowledge of the deep to support regional, national, and international decision-making on deep-sea issues such as mining, hydrocarbon extraction, fishing, climate mitigation, laying of fibre optic cables and conservation. Professor Louise Allcock, one of the authors of the detailed blueprint paper, said: “The next ten years are going to be critical for our oceans - we MUST ensure that our oceans are used sustainably. This field-programme blueprint maps out how nations can share knowledge, equipment, and expertise, and develop capacity in deep-sea science across the world. By working to joint protocols, we can produce global datasets that answer broad questions about ocean diversity and resilience that cannot be answered by any one nation alone. Such knowledge can inform policy development and ensure our oceans are protected such that they also sustain future generations.”  Recent expeditions led by NUI Galway, aboard the national research vessel RV Celtic Explorer, and deploying the deep-water remotely operated vehicle ROV Holland I, have shown the Irish deep sea to be richly diverse. The proposed international programme will help scientists understand connectivity within and among oceans, and how best to conserve this rich biodiversity. These deep-sea ecosystems play a very important role in carbon storage, so maintaining their quality is paramount in the face of rising carbon dioxide levels and global climate change. Led by members of the Deep-Ocean Stewardship Initiative (DOSI) and the Scientific Committee on Oceanic Research (SCOR), the authorship reflects both the gender and geographical diversity such a programme demands, with authors from the six inhabited continents of the World. They note that the UN Decade provides an unrivalled opportunity to unite the international science community to deliver a giant leap in our knowledge of the deep seas. Kerry Howell, Professor of Deep-Sea Ecology at the University of Plymouth (UK) and lead author of the research publications, said: “The deep seas and seabed are increasingly being used by society, and they are seen as a potential future asset for the resources they possess. But managing these resources sustainably requires that we first understand deep-sea ecosystems and their role in our planet, its people and its atmosphere. Our vision is for a 10 year programme of science and discovery that is global in scale and targeted towards proving the science to inform decisions around deep-ocean use. We believe the United Nations Decade of Ocean Science provides the perfect opportunity to achieve that.” Dr Ana Hilario, Researcher at the University of Aveiro (Portugal) and co-lead of the DOSI and SCOR Decade working groups, added: “The Decade also provides the opportunity to build a long-term programme for training and capacity building in ocean sciences. With Challenger 150, we aim to train the next generation of deep-sea biologists and focus on training scientists from developing countries, but also early stage scientists from all nations. Such training will create a network of enhanced capacity that will allow countries to exercise their full role in international discussions on the use of ocean resources within and outside of their national boundaries.” For more information about Challenger 150, see: https://challenger150.world and Deep-Ocean Stewardship Initiative, visit: https://challenger150.world/. To read the paper in Frontiers in Marine Science, visit: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fmars.2020.584861/full. -Ends-

Wednesday, 25 November 2020

Advocate General of the European Court of Justice, the Hon. Mr. Justice Gerard Hogan, will deliver NUI Galway’s School of Law Annual Distinguished Lecture. The online lecture will take place on Thursday, 3 December, at 6pm. During his lecture, “Re-examining McGee, Norris and the X case”, Mr. Justice Gerard Hogan will discuss and reflect upon these seminal Irish constitutional law cases and recent constitutional reform. The School of Law Annual Distinguished Lecture will be chaired by Professor Siobhán Mullally, Director of NUI Galway’s Irish Centre for Human Rights and UN Special Rapporteur on Trafficking in Persons, especially women and children. Dr Charles O’Mahony, Head of the School of Law at NUI Galway, said: “The School of Law Annual Distinguished Lecture plays an important role in further enriching our students’ learning experience. There are many important lessons to be learned in this year’s lecture “Re-examining McGee, Norris and the X case” including an opportunity to re-consider these important judgments from a comparative, legal and social perspective.” The Hon. Mr. Justice Gerard Hogan a renowned legal scholar is Advocate General of the European Court of Justice since 2018. Previously Mr. Justice Hogan was a former Judge of the Court of Appeal and the High Court of Ireland. Now in its tenth year, previous speakers of the Lecture have included: Professor Christopher McCrudden of Oxford University; Judge John T. Noonan of the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit; Professor Neil Walker of Edinburgh University; Baroness Brenda Hale of the UK Supreme Court with Mrs. Justice Catherine McGuinness of the Irish Supreme Court; Mr Justice Nial Fennelly of the Irish Supreme Court; Sir Declan Morgan, the Lord Chief Justice of Northern Ireland; Judge Síofra O'Leary of the European Court of Human Rights; and Justice Leona Theron of the Constitutional Court of South Africa. The virtual School of Law Annual Distinguished Lecture is free and open to the public. For more information and to register for the Lecture visit adl2020.eventbrite.ie. -Ends-

Wednesday, 25 November 2020

Research and analysis team at CORRIB Core Lab puts University at the cutting edge of cardiovascular diagnosis and treatment of coronary artery disease A new approach to the guidance, planning and conducting of heart bypass surgery is being tested on patients for the first time in a clinical trial coordinated by a high-level research team at NUI Galway. The FAST TRACK CABG study, overseen by the University’s CORRIB Research Centre for Advanced Imaging and Core Lab, will see surgeons plan and carry out coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG), based solely on non-invasive CT images of the patient’s coronary arteries.  Trial chairman Professor Patrick W Serruys, Established Professor of Interventional Medicine and Innovation at NUI Galway, said: “The results of this trial have the potential to simplify the treatment for patients undergoing coronary artery bypass grafting. “The trial and the central role played by the CORRIB Core Lab puts NUI Galway on the frontline of cardiovascular diagnosis and treatment of coronary artery disease.” The trial is “first in man” as it demonstrates a way to perform medicine which has never been done before. It is being conducted across Europe on 114 patients who have severe blockages in multiple vessels which are limiting blood flow to the heart muscle. The first patient underwent surgery at the end of September under Professor Giulio Pompilio in Centro Cardiologico Monzino, Italy. A 30-day follow-up CT, performed by Professor Daniele Andreini, confirmed the success and appropriateness of the surgical treatment.  Current convention in cardiovascular diagnosis and treatment sees heart patients undergo catheterisation procedure where an artery in the wrist or groin is punctured and a catheter is fed to the heart. Dye is then directly injected into the coronary artery to visualise blockages or narrowing of vessels using X-rays. During the FAST TRACK trial, analysis of high-resolution cardiovascular imagery and data, obtained with modern high-resolution CT (Revolution CT, GE Healthcare), is carried out by the CORRIB Core Lab team. The location and severity of coronary artery blockages are assessed using CT scans after dye is put in a vein of the arm, without the need for invasive catheterisation. These images allow a functional assessment of blood flow impairment known as Fractional Flow Reserve derived from CT (FFRct, HeartFlow).  Deputy chairman of the trial Yoshi Onuma, Professor of Interventional Cardiology and medical director of CORRIB Research Centre, described it as a potential gamechanger for cardiac surgery. “Researching the possibility of reducing diagnostic catheterization procedures is important for several reasons. Catheterization is invasive and it is unpleasant for the patient. It is also costly for the health service and while there is a minimal risk with the procedure it is not completely risk free,” Professor Onuma said.  “CT scan analysis, FFRct and guidance from the team in Galway is a world first in bypass surgery. It may become a gamechanger, altering the traditional relationship between GP, radiologist, cardiologist and cardio-thoracic surgeon for the benefit of the patient.” Professor Tim O’Brien, Dean of NUI Galway’s College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences and consultant endocrinologist at University Hospital Galway, said: “The potential impact of this trial will be significant from the perspective of a patient, but also service delivery.  The combined benefits arising from a risk reduction to the patient and a less demanding and more cost-effective diagnosis of coronary artery disease present major enhancements in cardiovascular medicine and service delivery.” The trial is co-chaired by Professor Serruys and Professor William Wijns, Science Foundation Ireland Professor of Interventional Cardiology at NUI Galway, both of whom are internationally renowned experts in interventional cardiology and cardiovascular disease. The surgery is being carried out in three of Europe’s leading cardiac care hospitals - Centro Cardiologico Monzino near Milan, University hospital Brussels (UZB) and University hospital Jena, Germany. Professor Serruys added: “If a surgeon can operate on the most complex cases of coronary artery disease with the sole guidance of a non-invasive CT scan and FFRct, it will mean a dramatic change in health care. Following the example of the surgeon, the interventional cardiologist should also not hesitate to skip the conventional invasive cineangiography, and plan their procedure based solely on a CT scan. That will unload the purely diagnostic workload of the cath lab as we know it today and enable them to upgrade the catheterization laboratory to a dedicated ‘interventional suite’, thereby improving the workflow of patients.” The trial is sponsored by NUI Galway and funded by GE Healthcare (Chicago, USA) and HeartFlow, Inc. (Redwood City, California, USA). Ends

Tuesday, 24 November 2020

NUI Galway has announced the appointment of Professor Rebecca Braun as new Executive Dean of the College of Arts, Social Sciences and Celtic Studies, and Professor Geraint Howells as Executive Dean of the College of Business, Public Policy and Law. Professors Braun and Howells will begin their new roles in January 2021. NUI Galway President, Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh, said: “I am delighted to welcome Professors Braun and Howells to NUI Galway. Both bring a great breadth of experience and I look forward to working with Rebecca and Geraint to strengthen and build on the strong, collegial foundations in the College of Arts, Social Sciences and Celtic Studies and the College of Business, Public Policy and Law, to living our values of respect, excellence, openness and sustainability for the public good, and to further developing new programmes of research and teaching.”  Professor Rebecca Braun will join NUI Galway from Lancaster University where she is currently Professor of Modern Languages and Creative Futures, and where she co-directs the multi-disciplinary Institute for Social Futures. Rebecca grew up in Cork and Tipperary before studying French and German at St. Edmund Hall, the University of Oxford. Having been awarded an Arts and Humanities Research Council Leadership Fellowship (Early Career), a Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship at the University of Liverpool, a Scatcherd European Scholarship from the University of Oxford and an Alexander von Humboldt Research Fellowship to work in Berlin, she has published widely in the area of German literature/world literature in leading international venues, is one of the lead editors of German Life & Letters, and routinely works with partners in government and the creative sector. Professor Braun said: “I am honoured to be joining NUI Galway as the Executive Dean of Arts, Social Sciences and Celtic Studies. The College has a fantastic wealth of ideas and expertise across an enviable range of disciplines. I am really looking forward to working with all College members to amplify this work, bring in new voices, and grow our audiences across the university, region and wider world.” Professor Geraint Howells is currently Professor of Commercial Law and Associate Dean in Humanities for Internationalisation at Manchester University. He has extensive leadership experience having served very successfully as Dean of Law at the City University of Hong Kong and Head of the Law School in Manchester, and, previously, in Lancaster. He was called to the bar in 2002 through a special route for distinguished academics and was awarded an LLD in 2014. He has published extensively on consumer law, product liability and European private law and was a member of the Acquis group developing common principles of European contract law and tort law. A former President of the International Association of Consumer Law, he edited the Consumer Law Journal for many years, is on the editorial board of the Journal of Consumer Policy and is Series Editor for Routledge’s Markets and Law series. He has undertaken extensive consultancy for government, the EU and NGOs. Commenting on the new appointment, Professor Howells said: “I have been heartened by the warmth of the welcome extended to me by the NUI Galway community. I was attracted by our strengths in Business, Public Policy and Law that make us well placed to promote inter-disciplinary research into the great challenges facing our society alongside other leading international research institutions. This research base feeds into innovative and topical teaching programmes that attract a diverse student population. I hope we can continue to serve our local community, whilst ensuring our excellence is available to the global community.” -Ends-

Tuesday, 24 November 2020

Tá sé fógartha ag OÉ Gaillimh go bhfuil an tOllamh Rebecca Braun ceaptha mar Dhéan Feidhmiúcháin nua Choláiste na nDán, na nEolaíochtaí Sóisialta agus an Léinn Cheiltigh, agus go bhfuil an tOllamh Geraint Howells ceaptha mar Dhéan Feidhmiúcháin nua Choláiste an Ghnó, an Bheartais Phoiblí agus an Dlí.  Tosóidh na hOllúna Braun agus Howells ina róil nua i mí Eanáir 2021. Dúirt Uachtarán OÉ Gaillimh, an tOllamh Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh: “Tá áthas orm fáilte a chur roimh na hOllúna Braun agus Howells chuig OÉ Gaillimh. Tá fairsinge mhór taithí ag an mbeirt acu agus táim ag súil le bheith ag obair le Rebecca agus le Geraint chun an dúshraith láidir choláisteach i gColáiste na nDán, na nEolaíochtaí Sóisialta agus an Léinn Cheiltigh agus i gColáiste an Ghnó, an Bheartais Phoiblí agus an Dlí a threisiú agus a fhorbairt, mar aon lenár luachanna measa, barr feabhais, oscailteachta agus inbhuanaitheacht a réadú ar mhaithe le leas an phobail agus tuilleadh forbartha a dhéanamh ar chláir nua thaighde agus theagaisc.”  Tagann an tOllamh Rebecca Braun go OÉ Gaillimh ó Ollscoil Lancaster, áit a bhfuil sí ina hOllamh le Nuatheangacha agus le hIonchais Chruthaitheacha faoi láthair, agus ina comhstiúrthóir ar an Institiúid ildisciplíneach d’Ionchais Shóisialta. Tógadh Rebecca i gCorcaigh agus i dTiobraid Árann agus chuaigh sí go hOllscoil Oxford ina dhiaidh sin, áit a ndearna sí Fraincis agus Gearmáinis in St. Edmund Hall. Bhronn Comhairle Taighde na nDán agus na nDaonnachtaí (AHRC) Comhaltacht Cheannaireachta (Luathghairm) uirthi, bronnadh Comhaltacht Luathghairme Leverhulme ó Ollscoil Learpholl uirthi,  mar aon le Scoláireacht Eorpach Scatcherd ó Ollscoil Oxford agus Comhaltacht Taighde Alexander von Humboldt chun tréimhse oibre a chaitheamh i mBeirlín.  Is iomaí foilseachán atá aici i réimse litríocht na Gearmáine/litríocht an domhain in ionaid chlúiteacha idirnáisiúnta, tá sí ar dhuine de phríomh-eagarthóirí German Life & Letters agus oibríonn sí go rialta le comhpháirtithe rialtais agus leis an earnáil chruthaitheach. Dúirt an tOllamh Braun: “Is mór an onóir dom a bheith ag teacht chuig OÉ Gaillimh mar Dhéan Feidhmiúcháin Choláiste na nDán, na nEolaíochtaí Sóisialta agus an Léinn Cheiltigh. Tá flúirse smaointeoireachta agus saineolais i réimse leathan disciplíní sa Choláiste. Táim ag súil go mór le hoibriú le gach duine sa Choláiste chun an obair sin a threisiú, deis a thabhairt do ghlórtha nua agus chun ár bpobail a mhéadú san ollscoil, sa réigiún agus sa domhan mór.” Is Ollamh le Dlí Tráchtála in Ollscoil Mhanchain an tOllamh Geraint Howells faoi láthair agus Déan Comhlach sna Daonnachtaí don Idirnáisiúnú.  Tá taithí fhairsing ceannaireachta aige agus d’éirigh go han-mhaith leis mar Dhéan Dlí in Ollscoil Chathair Hong Cong agus mar Cheann Scoil an Dlí i Manchain agus, roimhe sin, in Lancaster. Glaodh chun an bharra in 2002 é trí leas a bhaint as modh sainiúil d’acadóirí clúiteacha, agus bronnadh LLD air in 2014. Tá go leor foilsithe aige faoi dhlíthe tomhaltais, dliteanas táirgí agus dlí príobháideach na hEorpa agus bhí sé ina bhall den ghrúpa Acquis a d’fhéach le prionsabail choiteanna dlí conarthaí agus dlí torta a fhorbairt. Is iarUachtarán Chumann Idirnáisiúnta Dlíthe Tomhaltais é, chaith sé tréimhse de bhlianta ina eagarthóir ar an Consumer Law Journal, tá sé ar bhord eagarthóireachta an Journal of Consumer Policy agus is Eagarthóir Sraithe é don tsraith Markets and Law de chuid Routledge. Tá go leor oibre comhairleoireachta déanta aige do rialtais, don AE agus d’eagraíochtaí neamhrialtasacha. Agus é ag trácht ar a cheapachán nua, dúirt an tOllamh Howells: “Ardú meanman dom a chroíúil is a bhí an fháilte a chuir pobal OÉ Gaillimh romham. Bhí mé meallta ag ár láidreachtaí i nGnó, Beartas Poiblí agus Dlí a fhágann go bhfuil sé ar ár gcumas taighde idirdhisciplíneach ar na mórdhúshláin atá romhainn mar shochaí a chur chun cinn i gcomhpháirt le hinstitiúidí taighde idirnáisiúnta mór le rá eile. Cuireann an bonn taighde sin le cláir theagaisc nuálaíocha agus ábhartha a chabhraíonn le pobal éagsúil mac léinn a mhealladh. Tá súil agam go mbeimid in ann leanúint leis an tseirbhís a chuirimid ar fáil dár bpobal áitiúil agus ag an am céanna cinntiú gur feasach don phobal domhanda a fheabhas is atáimid.” -Críoch-

Tuesday, 24 November 2020

On the evening of 24 November 1920, Michael Moran was shot near the ball alley at University College Galway, allegedly while ‘trying to escape’ from the custody of Auxiliaries. A prominent republican in the Tuam area, Moran was being escorted from the police barracks in Eglinton Street to the temporary barracks of the 17th Lancers (now the O’Donoghue Centre and College Bar area), when the shooting took place.   To mark the centenary of the tragedy on its campus, NUI Galway is holding a webinar under the auspices of the Moore Institute, which will discuss the life and death of Michael Moran, and also consider the broader political context in which it occurred, in particular the escalation of the conflict in Ireland during the closing months of 1920.    The panellists are Síobhra Aiken (Centre for Irish Studies, NUI Galway), Prof. Linda Connolly (NUI Maynooth), Dr Jarlath Deignan, author of Troubled Times: War and Rebellion in North Galway, 1913-23, and military historian Damian Quinn. The discussion will be moderated by Dr John Cunningham (Dept of History, NUI Galway).   Free registration for the event here: https://mooreinstitute.ie/event/webinar-remembering-michael-moran-nui-galway-marks-the-centenary-of-a-campus-tragedy/ -Ends-

Monday, 23 November 2020

ReelLIFE SCIENCE video competition prizes awarded to Cork, Galway, Dublin, Tyrone and Roscommon schools and youth groups From Canny Canines to Coronavirus and Melting Ice to Mitosis, short science videos made by young filmmakers from all over Ireland were honoured at the ReelLIFE SCIENCE Video Competition Awards during Sunday’s Galway Science and Technology Virtual Festival Show. More than 450 short science films were entered into the competition by over 2,500 science enthusiasts from 130 schools and youth groups around Ireland. Winning videos were selected by a panel of guest judges including ‘Múinteoir Ray’ Cuddihy from RTÉ’s After School Hub; BBC Wildlife and Children’s presenter, Ferne Corrigan; and the 2020 BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition winners, Cormac Harris and Alan O’Sullivan, from Coláiste Choilm in Cork. A group of 17 fourth class students from Gaelscoil Riabhach in Loughrea, Co. Galway, along with their teacher Brian Ó Meacháin, won the €1000 first prize at Primary School level for their Irish language video ’An Croí (The Heart)’. Primary school runners-up were Scoil na nAingeal Naofa from Boyle, Co. Roscommon, while Kilcoe National School from Skibbereen in Cork, finished third. Transition year students Isabelle Xiao and Cindy Xu, along with teacher Patrick Cushen from Alexandra College in Milltown, Co. Dublin, claimed the Secondary School €1000 award, for their distinctive animated short ‘What is Mitosis?’ A group of 21 first year students from St Patrick’s College, Co. Tyrone were runners-up, while Le Chéile Secondary School students John Madeja and Gerard Nipales were awarded third place. The Ripple Effect Youth Hub, which runs activities for young people with Aspergers, ADHD and Dyspraxia in south County Dublin, won the €1000 Youth Group first prize for their video ‘Canny Canines: Are dogs smarter than we give them credit for?’ The Easy Treesie group, which encourages young people to plant trees to combat climate change came second, while third place went to members of the Foróige Gort Youth Service in Galway. Speaking about ReelLIFE SCIENCE, Dr Ruth Freeman, Director of Science for Society at Science Foundation Ireland, said: “We are delighted to support this initiative, which cleverly utilises digital technology to develop science literacy and creativity, at a time when these skills are most needed. ReelLIFE SCIENCE encourages young people to connect with science and technology in their everyday lives, and to bring that knowledge to a wider audience, while promoting current Irish scientific research and development.” The ReelLIFE SCIENCE programme challenges young people in schools and youth groups around Ireland to engage with science and technology by producing short educational videos, while developing their communication and digital skills. Since being launched in 2013 by Dr Enda O’Connell, College of Science and Engineering in NUI Galway, and a team of volunteer scientists, this challenge has been met by more than 16,000 participants in over 500 schools and groups around Ireland. Congratulating all of the participants, Dr O’Connell said: “We were hugely impressed with the standard of this year’s videos, particularly the ingenuity and creativity shown by the young filmmakers, often in challenging circumstances. Their hours of effort and passion for science was clear to see and made it a very difficult task for the judges. Well done to everyone who took part!” The winning videos can be viewed at www.youtube.com/ReelLifeScience and more information about the programme can be found at www.reellifescience.com. -Ends-

Friday, 20 November 2020

Parents are living in fear of their child or teenager, and this webinar will share experiences, skills and research about what helps to end this form of abusive and violent behaviour   According to Parentline, calls to the helpline from parents have quadrupled in 2020 since the COVID-19 lockdown Non-Violent Resistance (NVR) Ireland and NUI Galway are hosting a free webinar for practitioners working in children and family services. The webinar, ‘Ending Shame and Silence - NVR Ireland responding to family fear and violence’ will take place on Wednesday, 25 November, from 10am-12pm. Some parents and carers in Ireland are living in fear of their child under the age of 18 years and experience abusive and/or violent behaviour from their son or daughter. This problem is known as child to parent violence and abuse. According to Parentline, a national telephone support service for parents and carers in Ireland, calls to the helpline from parents has quadrupled in 2020 since the COVID-19 lockdown (March-October), with a huge rise in the number of parents and carers asking for help with the problem of child to parent violence and abuse. NVR Ireland is a national network of practitioners and researchers committed to helping families resolve problems by using the Non Violent Resistance intervention, adapted by Dr Declan Coogan, School of Political Science and Sociology at NUI Galway, for use in Ireland, based on the work of Haim Omer and his colleagues in Tel Aviv, Israel. Dr Coogan said: “The Non Violent Resistance intervention model steps into the gap left by a lack of easily available and adaptable intervention programmes designed to help parents and carers living with child to parent violence and abuse, and the practitioners who work with them in children and family services.” Along with a parent speaking about her experiences of using NVR, speakers during the webinar will include: Dr Declan Coogan, NUI Galway Aileen Hickie, CEO of Parentline Grace Bermingham, Family Support Co-ordinator with Tusla – Child and Family Agency Niamh Murphy, Youth Justice Team Leader, Kildare Youth Services Lorraine Shortt, Youth Counsellor, Kildare Youth Services John Peelo, Project Leader, Tulsa – Child and Family Agency Niall Nolan, Senior Social Work Practitioner, Tulsa – Child and Family Agency Dr Coogan added: “Each speaker at the webinar will share their experiences with NVR in practice and in their lives. We are all aiming to help end the shame and stigma surrounding parents’and carers’ experiences of child to parent violence and abuse. We will also provide practitioners and researchers with up-to-date tips and messages from research about the Non Violent Resistance model. We know that problems of child to parent violence abuse is emerging in a range of child and family services. These problems have been reported among families from a wide range of social and cultural backgrounds and we also know that NVR seems to help many families.” The webinar is suitable for child and family practitioners (in public and private services), researchers and students. Attendance at the webinar is free, however advance registration is essential at https://bit.ly/36N20nG. Further information is available at www.nvrireland.ie -Ends-

Thursday, 19 November 2020

New educational platform secretlifeofmicrobes.com launched alongside webinar as part of initiatives to mark World Antimicrobial Awareness Week  NUI Galway’s Centre for One Health has launched a new website to help educate children about the threat from superbugs. The secretlifeofmicrobes.com went live this week as part of initiatives to coincide with the World Health Organisation’s World Antimicrobial Awareness Week. The website is designed for primary schools (2nd to 6th class) bringing together information, resources, games and experiments with informational videos by members of the team at the University's Ryan Institute Centre for One Health. The reseacrh team is also hosting the second in their Spotlight Series of webinars to outline NUI Galway’s ongoing research on antibiotic resistant bacteria and to discuss with experts what society can do to tackle the problem. Prof Dearbháile Morris, Director of the Ryan Institute Centre for One Health and Head of Discipline of Bacteriology, School of Medicine, NUI Galway, said: “World Antimicrobial Awareness Week is a reminder of how much the discovery of antibiotics has helped us all to live longer and healthier lives, but also of how much is at stake if we do not act to safeguard antibiotics.  “If we do not have antibiotics that work, certain types of surgery and cancer treatments will become almost impossible to perform safely.” “We can safeguard antibiotics by making sure we only use them when we need them, by making sure we complete the dose as directed by the doctor, by not sharing antibiotics with others and by making sure we bring back any unused antibiotics to the pharmacy for correct disposal.” The webinar takes place live on Zoom Friday 20 November from 2.30pm-4pm and registration is free via Eventbrite https://www.eventbrite.ie/e/antimicrobial-resistance-a-one-health-challenge-tickets-129294036945. Dr Liam Burke, Lecturer in Bacteriology at NUI Galway, who will be among the speakers says: “When a human or animal is given antibiotics, the bacteria inside them can sometimes change their genes in order to survive. These resistance genes can be shared to other bacteria, and can be spread to the environment in waste streams such as sewage and slurry. “The global spread of antimicrobial resistance is maybe the best example of a One Health challenge, as it connects the health of humans, the health of animals and that of our shared environment.” Antimicrobial Resistant Bacteria – the facts: :: A particular type of antibiotic-resistant bacteria called Carbapenemase-Producing Enterobacteriaceae, CPE for short, were declared a public health emergency in Ireland in October 2017. :: Some superbugs can harmlessly colonise a healthy person’s gut but they can have serious consequences if they get into the blood or urine and pose particular risk to vulnerable people. :: The first report of a death due to an untreatable infection emerged from the US in 2017. :: Scientists estimated that by 2050, 10 million deaths per year will be due to antibiotic-resistant infections. :: EU Health states that up to half of all antimicrobial use in European hospitals may be unnecessary or inappropriate which might lead to antimicrobial resistance. End  

Wednesday, 18 November 2020

NUI Galway is proud to announce that five academics have been named on the annual Highly Cited Researchers 2020 list from Clarivate. Professor Henry Curran, Professor Donal O’Regan, Professor Patrick W. Serruys, Professor Ines Thiele and Professor William Wijns have joined the prestigious list of 6,167 researchers from more than 60 countries and regions who have been recognised this year. The list also includes 26 Nobel laureates, including three announced this year.  The annual list identifies researchers who demonstrated significant influence in their chosen field or fields through the publication of multiple highly cited papers during the last decade. Their names are drawn from the publications that rank in the top 1% by citations for field and publication year in the Web of Science citation index. Professor Henry Curran, listed in the Engineering category, is Director of the Combustion Chemistry Centre at NUI Galway’s School of Chemistry and of the Energy Research Centre in the Ryan Institute. His research interest looks at the study of the chemistry of how fuels burn in combustors in order to increase efficiency and reduce emissions for a cleaner world. This is his seventh consecutive year being named a Clarivate Highly Cited Researcher. Professor Donal O'Regan, listed in the Mathematics category, is a Personal Professor of Mathematics at NUI Galway’s School of Mathematics, Statistics and Applied Mathematics and an internationally recognised expert in the field of Nonlinear Analysis, Differential Equations, and Fixed Point Theory. He has written over 1,000 peer-reviewed mathematical articles, making him one of the most prolific authors in the history of mathematics in the world. This is his seventh successive year being named a Clarivate Highly Cited Researcher. Professor Patrick W. Serruys, listed in the Clinical Medicine category, is Established Professor of Interventional Medicine and Innovation, Director of the CORRIB Research Centre for Advanced Imaging and Core Laboratory at NUI Galway, and is a world-renowned expert in interventional cardiology and imaging with more than four decades experience in clinical trials and innovation in medicine. He has pioneered several interventional procedures and devices as well as imaging techniques. Professor Ines Thiele, listed in the Cross-Field category, is a Professor in Systems Biomedicine in the School of Medicine and Discipline of Microbiology at NUI Galway. Her research aims at understanding how diet influences human health. To disentangle this complex relationship, her group develop and use comprehensive, computational models of human and gut microbial metabolism. To develop and improve these models, they focus on gastrointestinal and neurodegenerative diseases. Personalised nutrition and personalised drug treatments require comprehensive computer models that will change how diseases are treated and are an integral part of precision medicine. Professor William Wijns, listed in the Clinical Medicine category, is the Science Foundation Ireland Professor in Interventional Cardiology at NUI Galway and a world-renowned expert in cardiology. His research targets the development and validation of innovative techniques in interventional medicine including invasive physiological measurements and imaging, drug-eluting stents and applications of multi-detector coronary CT angiography. His most recent work explores the utility of sensors and biomarkers in order to prevent acute cardiovascular events in high-risk subjects. President of NUI Galway, Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh, said: “I would like to congratulate our five Highly Cited Researchers on joining this prestigious global list that includes Nobel laureates. Excellence for the public good in our research and teaching is a strategic focus for NUI Galway. To achieve this, we support ambition and enable the excellence of our people, who are leaders, innovators and critical thinkers contributing actively and openly through the research to cultural, societal and economic change and responding to emerging fields of research. Our academics on this year’s Clarivate list are pioneering leaders and innovators in their respected fields and I wish them sustained success in their endeavours to address global societal needs.” Professor Lokesh Joshi, Vice President for Research at NUI Galway, said: “I wish to extend my warmest congratulations to Henry, Donal, Patrick, Ines and William on being included in the Clarivate top 1% of Highly Cited Researchers in the world. This outstanding achievement is testament to their ongoing contribution to innovative research amongst their global peers and their shared passion for improving the world. Being included on the 2020 list is a strong endorsement of NUI Galway’s research contribution globally.” The methodology that determines the “who’s who” of influential researchers draws on the data and analysis performed by bibliometric experts and data scientists at the Institute for Scientific Information at Clarivate. It also uses the tallies to identify the countries and research institutions where these scientific elite are based. David Pendlebury, Senior Citation Analyst at the Institute for Scientific Information at Clarivate said: “In the race for knowledge, it is human capital that is fundamental and this list identifies and celebrates exceptional individual researchers at NUI Galway who are having a great impact on the research community as measured by the rate at which their work is being cited by others.” The full 2020 Highly Cited Researchers list and executive summary can be found online here or follow #HighlyCited2020. -Ends-

Tuesday, 17 November 2020

Áine Brazil, former Vice Chairman at the New York engineering firm Thornton Tomasetti, will join industry leaders,lecturers and current students from NUI Galway’s College of Science and Engineering for a CAO Virtual Information Evening on Thursday, 19 November, from 7-9pm. The event will feature live presentations on the University’s Science, Engineering, and Computer Science degrees. Visitors to the Information Evening can watch a live panel discussion offering practical advice on researching course options; attending Open Days; navigating the CAO applications system; life as a university student; placements, study-abroad, fieldwork opportunities; and employability and career options. Current Science and Engineering students of Physics, Microbiology and Biomedical Engineering will offer their perspectives and experiences of studying across the physical and biological sciences, and engineering. Áine Brazil, an Engineers Ireland ‘International Engineer of the Year’ recipient, NUI Galway graduate, and structural engineer, who was conferred with an honorary doctorate from NUI Galway in 2015, will speak about her career as a successful and influential engineer. Áine also sponsors the Máire Brazil Scholarship, named after her mother and awarded annually to the highest-ranked female student of Civil Engineering at NUI Galway. The award offers €2,000 to the winning student in each of the subsequent three years of the BE Civil Engineering degree. Commenting on the future in store for science and engineering graduates, Áine Brazil said: “In my over 40-year career I was fortunate to impact design approaches for the efficiency and safety of high rise buildings in New York city. The next 40 years promises greater change and exciting opportunities." Additional speakers include: Brendan Tuohy, Chief Physicist with Galway University Hospitals, will discuss his time as a Physics student at NUI Galway, and his career with the HSE as a medical physicist. Marian Finnerty, Senior Environmental Health and Safety Specialist at medical device manufacturer Merit Medical, will discuss her career and advise visitors on NUI Galway’s BSc in Environmental Health and Safety, which is accredited by the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health. Dr Gavin Collins, Vice-Dean for Student Recruitment in Science and Engineering at NUI Galway, said: “This is an excellent opportunity for 5th and 6th year students to hear first-hand from lecturers and students, as well as graduates who have pursued successful careers across the sciences and engineering. We will also showcase our new degrees in Genetics and Genomics, Agricultural Science, our integrated five-year Bachelors and Masters of Engineering degrees, and we’ll provide news on our sports scholarships.” To register for the Virtual Information Evening visit: https://bit.ly/2H9DhBj or for further information contact Eilís Ní Loingsigh at eilis.niloingsigh@nuigalway.ie. -Ends-

Tuesday, 17 November 2020

A new collaboration between researchers at CÚRAM, the SFI Research Centre based at NUI Galway and Industry partner Aerogen, a world leader in high-performance aerosol drug delivery, has recently gotten underway. The project, costing over €400,000, is focused on optimising the Aerogen Solo nebulizer for the delivery of Heparin into the lung of patients with COVID-19 induced Acute Respiratory Failure (ARDS). Heparin is a compound that occurs in the body, which prevents blood clotting. The project will run until September 2021 and clinical patient trials are due to commence in December 2020. Led by Professor John Laffey at CÚRAM, NUI Galway and Dr Ronan MacLoughlin at Aerogen, the project will determine the safety, efficacy and mechanisms of action of nebulized heparin in COVID-19 induced Acute Respiratory Failure. The Aerogen Solo converts the liquid drug into a nebulised mist of consistently sized droplets that enable medication to get deep into the patients’ lung. Recommended by multiple international COVID-19 guidance documents, Aerogen is the only globally available closed circuit aerosol drug delivery system that mitigates the transmission of patient generated infectious aerosol and delivers effective aerosol treatment. Professor John Laffey, Professor of Intensive Care Medicine at NUI Galway, Consultant in Intensive Care Medicine, Galway University Hospitals and CÚRAM Investigator, said: “Disordered clotting in the lungs is a feature of COVID-19 induced ARDS. Heparin has specific potential benefits in COVID infection. It inactivates the SARSCoV-2 virus and prevents its entry into mammalian cells and appears likely to have a beneficial effect in these patients too, provided it can be safely and effectively delivered to the lungs.” Standard treatment to reduce the risk of the formation of blood clots in the lungs can have substantial associated risks and side effects, such as major haemorrhage and intracerebral haemorrhage. Nebulising heparin directly into the lung may improve the clotting disorder seen in COVID-19 induced severe respiratory failure, while potentially reducing the risk of serious side effects seen when heparin is given by traditional routes. Effective heparin delivery is critically dependent on the efficiency of the nebulizer, and the deposition patterns produced by that device suggests it can deliver effective quantities of heparin directly to the areas of the lung where the disordered clotting is seen. A recent study completed with 256 mechanically ventilated patients with or at risk of developing ARDS showed that nebulized heparin delivered by the Aerogen Solo device,reduced the development of ARDS and increased the number of surviving patients discharged home at day 60. Dr Ronan MacLoughlin, Senior Science Manager at Aerogen, said: “Not all nebuliser technologies are created equal, and here we are looking forward to bringing the inherent safety and performance advantages of Aerogen’s devices to bear in this important program. With the current focus on new and repurposed therapies for ARDS and COVID ARDS, it has never been more important to ensure that these therapies are screened effectively whilst ensuring that they are challenged robustly.” Dr McLoughlin added: “In this project, we are looking at repurposing an existing drug with proven potential, but ensuring that enough is delivered to the patient, all whilst keeping the clinical team safe. Aerogen’s closed circuit nebulisers do not require circuit breaks during mechanical ventilation, and have been shown to deliver the highest levels of therapies to the ventilated patient’s lung and our aim is to ensure that this combination of drug and device provide maximum benefit, under the most critical conditions. “Building on long standing collaborations with both the team in CURAM, and Professor Laffey, we look forward to advancing the state of the art in what have become some of the highest burden respiratory diseases, and provide a roadmap for future programs looking to optimise and exploit the advantages of aerosol-mediated drug delivery to the lung, with a focus on the critical care setting.” This is the third collaboration between CÚRAM and Aerogen. Earlier collaborations focusing on understanding the fluid mechanics of droplets and exploring enhancing the delivery of existing small molecule therapeutics worth over €1 million have resulted in  a significant number of co-publications with Aerogen that have being highly cited. CÚRAM researchers on these collaborations have gained relevant industry training, improved scientific and technical skills and have gone on to secure roles in industry. For more information about the research project contact Claire Riordan, Public Engagement Manager, CÚRAM at claire.riordan@nuigalway.ie or Ciara Power, Global Customer Marketing Manager, Aerogen at cpower@aerogen.com. -Ends-

Tuesday, 17 November 2020

NUI Galway will hold its annual Autumn Postgraduate Open Day on Tuesday, 24 November, from 12-7pm. In line with current public health guidelines, the University will deliver the event virtually allowing the public to explore the over 400 taught and research postgraduate programmes enrolling in 2021.  The open day is an important event for professionals, graduates and current undergraduate students who are aiming to upgrade their qualification, broaden their skills-set, increase their specialist knowledge and ultimately improve their job prospects and earning power. The virtual event will provide visitors with the opportunity to explore courses and careers by attending live talks with the option to ask questions and to hear directly from programme directors on the career opportunities and emerging trends in their fields. In addition to subject and programme specific talks, the virtual event will include presentations on all the practicalities of preparing for postgraduate study. Key talks include: Fees, Funding and Scholarships; Graduate Studies: Funding my PhD; and Enhancing my Employability with a Postgrad Qualification. Staff from the Admissions Office will be available to take queries relating to the application process and SUSI, the national awarding authority for all higher and further education grants, will be presenting at the event, outlining the postgraduate grants process and available to answer individual queries. Valerie Leahy, Postgraduate Recruitment Officer, explains how an open day is of benefit to future students: “A key part of the decision to pursue a Masters is finding out as much as possible about the potential programmes that could be right for you, the application process and the funding options available. The upcoming virtual open day is a one day event where you can gather all of this information in one place and get ready to make a successful application to your course of choice.” NUI Galway is also launching a number of new postgraduate programmes for entry in 2021 which will be included in the open day showcase. The College of Arts, Social Sciences and Celtic Studies is launching a number of new postgraduate options including: MSc Adolescent Health, MA/PDip Child, Youth and Community; MA/PDip in Public Policy; and options in Consumer Psychology and in Education Studies. The College of Science & Engineering is offering a new MSc Genomics Data Science which combines highly-sought after skills in genetics, statistics, and data analytics and will provide advanced training in the computational techniques used to analyse and understand genomic data, allowing graduates to work in the emerging field of genomic and precision medicine. Visitors to the virtual event can also get more information on the new online Cardiac Rehabilitation PgCert starting in January 2021, and an Advanced Practice Midwifery course, approved by the NMBI, that aims to enable experienced registered midwives to develop advanced clinical midwifery knowledge and skills to enhance optimum care and improve clinical outcomes for women and their babies. For more information, view the Open Day programme or book a place visit: http://www.nuigalway.ie/postgraduate-open-day/. -Ends-

Tuesday, 17 November 2020

Beidh Lá Oscailte bliantúil an Fhómhair d’Iarchéimithe á reáchtáil ag OÉ Gaillimh ar an Máirt, an 24 Samhain, ó 12-7pm. Ag teacht leis na treoirlínte sláinte poiblí reatha, reáchtálfaidh an Ollscoil an imeacht go fíorúil, rud a fhágfaidh go mbeidh deis ag an bpobal eolas a fháil ar os cionn 400 clár iarchéime múinte agus taighde don bhliain 2021.  Is ócáid thábhachtach an lá oscailte do dhaoine gairmiúla, do chéimithe agus d’fhochéimithe reatha a bhfuil rún acu a gcuid cáilíochtaí a thabhairt suas chun dáta, cur lena gcuid scileanna agus saineolais agus, dá réir sin, cur leis na deiseanna fostaíochta atá acu. Tabharfaidh an imeacht fíorúil seo deis do chuairteoirí iniúchadh a dhéanamh ar chúrsaí agus ar ghairmeacha trí fhreastal ar chainteanna beo agus ceisteanna a chur, agus trí chloisteáil go díreach ó na stiúrthóirí cláir faoi na deiseanna fostaíochta atá ann agus faoina bhfuil in ann dá réimsí sa todhchaí. Anuas ar na cainteanna sonracha faoi ábhair agus cláir, áireofar leis an imeacht fíorúil láithreoireachtaí maidir leis na nithe praiticiúla a bhíonn i gceist nuair atáthar ag ullmhú do staidéar iarchéime. I measc na bpríomhchainteanna, áirítear na cinn seo a leanas: Táillí, Maoiniú agus Scoláireachtaí; Staidéar Iarchéime: Mo PhD a mhaoiniú; agus Cur le m’Infhostaitheacht le Cáilíocht Iarchéime. Beidh comhaltaí foirne ón Oifig Iontrála ar fáil chun ceisteanna faoi bpróiseas iarratais a fhreagairt agus déanfaidh SUSI, an t-údarás atá freagrach as gach deontas ardoideachais agus breisoideachais, láithreoireacht bheo.  Seo mar a labhair Valerie Leahy, Oifigeach Earcaíochta Iarchéime, faoin gcaoi a mbainfidh mic léinn ionchasacha tairbhe as an lá oscailte: “Le cinneadh a dhéanamh tabhairt faoi Mháistreacht, tá sé fíorthábhachtach oiread eolais agus is féidir a fháil faoi na cláir a d’fhéadfadh a bheith ceart duit, faoin bpróiseas iarratais agus faoi na roghanna maoinithe atá ar fáil. Imeacht aon lae atá sa lá oscailte fíorúil seo, áit ar féidir leat an t-eolas seo ar fad a fháil in aon áit amháin agus tú féin a ullmhú chun iarratas rathúil a dhéanamh don chúrsa atá uait.” Tá líon clár iarchéime nua a bheidh ag tosú in 2021 á sheoladh chomh maith ag OÉ Gaillimh agus beidh eolas ar fáil ina leith ag an lá oscailte. Beidh roinnt roghanna iarchéime nua á tairiscint ag Coláiste na nDán, na nEolaíochtaí Sóisialta & an Léinn Cheiltigh, agus ina measc beidh:  MSc i Sláinte Ógánach, MA/Diop. Iarchéime Leanbh, Óige agus an Pobal; MA/Diop. Iarchéime i mBeartas Poiblí; agus roghanna i Síceolaíocht Tomhaltóirí agus i Léann an Oideachais. Tá MSc nua, Eolaíocht Sonraí Géanómaíochta, á thairiscint ag Coláiste na hEolaíochta & na hInnealtóireachta, ar cúrsa léinn é a thairgeann scileanna a bhfuil an-tóir orthu sa ghéineolaíocht, staitistic agus anailísíocht sonraí. Soláthrófar ardoiliúint ar an gcúrsa sna teicnící ríomhaireachta sin a úsáidtear chun anailís a dhéanamh ar shonraí géanómacha, ar oiliúint í sin a ligfidh do chéimithe oibriú i réimse úrnua an leighis ghéanómaigh agus an leighis beachtais. Beidh cuairteoirí ar an imeacht fíorúil in ann tuilleadh eolais a fháil chomh maith faoin Teastas Iarchéime in Athshlánúchán Cairdiach a bheidh ag tosú i mí Eanáir 2021, agus faoi chúrsa Ardchleachtais Cnáimhseachais, arna fhaomhadh ag an NMBI, a bhfuil sé mar aidhm aige a chur ar chumas cnáimhseacha cláraithe a bhfuil taithí acu ardeolas agus scileanna cnáimhseachais a fhorbairt chun cúram den scoth a chumasú agus torthaí cliniciúla a fheabhsú do mhná agus dá naíonáin.  Chun tuilleadh eolais a fháil, an clár don Lá Oscailte a fheiceáil nó áit a chur in áirithe, téigh go dtí: http://www.nuigalway.ie/postgraduate-open-day/. -Críoch-

Monday, 16 November 2020

Chief Information Officer and Digital Health Director of the World Health Organisation, Mr Bernardo Mariano Jr, will deliver the keynote address at the annual NUI Galway MedTech Forum. Focusing on the theme of ‘Campus Innovations for COVID-19 Global Solutions’, the Forum will take place virtually on Monday, 23 November, from 9am-1pm.   This year the NUI Galway MedTech Forum will focus on COVID-19 innovations and larger University led initiatives that occurred on campus. Topics and speakers during the Forum include:  Digital Contact Tracing - Dr Jane Walsh, School of Psychology COVID-19 Data Science - Dr Andrew Simpkin, School of Mathematics, Statistics and Applied Mathematics Patient Ventilation - Dr Bairbre McNicholas, School of Medicine 3D Printing MedTech - Dr Ted Vaughan, Biomedical Engineering and CÚRAM Keep Breathing - Emily Wallace and Aaron Hannon, students with the School of Medicine The INSPIRE Project - Tim Jones, CÚRAM Professor Derek O’Keeffe, Professor of Medical Device Technology NUI Galway, Consultant Physician at University Hospital Galway, and event organiser, said: “We are delighted to welcome Bernardo Mariano Jr to speak at our MedTech Forum this year as he is a global key opinion leader in digital health transformation. The annual MedTech Forum highlights the amazing innovators that we have on campus and the fantastic cross discipline research collaborations that result in novel solutions for patient care. This year the focus is specifically on the great work that we have done on COVID-19 MedTech innovations that have impacted locally, nationally and internationally.” Professor Tim O’Brien, Dean of the College of Medicine Nursing and Health Sciences, NUI Galway and Consultant Physician in Endocrinology and Metabolism, Saolta University Healthcare Group, said: “The annual NUI Galway MedTech Forum highlights the rich medical/ science/ engineering ecosystem that we have in Galway and the depth of talent that is present both on campus, in our hospitals and in our industry partners. This year’s excellent programme highlights the result of harnessing this network of excellence to create novel solutions when COVID-19 brought so many problems. One of the key clinical transformations that occurred during the pandemic was the adoption of digital technologies to deliver care and our keynote speaker Bernardo Mariano Jr, will discuss this phenomenon and subsequent health opportunities from a unique global perspective.” Bernardo Mariano Jr commented: “I am looking forward to speaking at the Fourm where I will discuss how at the World Health Organisation we promote collaboration to accelerate the digital transformation of the healthcare sector by building a trusted and ethical Digital Health ecosystem.” The NUI Galway MedTech Forum is a free event and open to the public. For more information and to register visit: https://bit.ly/3lB8lbS or www.nuigalway.ie/physicianeerdegree -Ends-

Monday, 16 November 2020

Jon Williams will discuss why truth matters at the annual event honouring the late John Cunningham RTÉ News and Current Affairs Managing Director Jon Williams will give the 2020 'John Cunningham Journalism Lecture’ hosted by NUI Galway. The virtual conference will take place on Monday, 23 November, at 5pm with Mr Williams discussing 'Why the Truth Matters' and issues such as the importance of public service journalism and the dangers of misinformation. This is the second year that NUI Galway has hosted the lecture which honours the late Connacht Tribune Editor and long-time journalism lecturer John Cunningham. The inaugural lecture was given by the British academic and media commentator Professor Roy Greenslade in 2019. Tom Felle, Head of Journalism and Communication at NUI Galway, said: “John Cunningham was one of Ireland’s best local newspaper editors and he made an indelible impression on the lives of the hundreds of journalists he trained as a lecturer in journalism. We are delighted to be able to honour his memory with this public lecture that has become an important annual event.” Jon Williams is Managing Director of News and Current Affairs at RTÉ since January 2017. Previously he was Managing Editor, International News, at ABC News in New York, where he shaped the organisation’s international news coverage and strategy. He led that station’s reporting of the war in Ukraine, the European refugee crisis, and the coverage of the ISIS terrorist attacks in Europe, as well as driving innovation, including the use of 360 and virtual reality video. Previously he held positions as Deputy Editor of the Six O’Clock News; World News Editor; and UK News Editor with BBC News. Jon holds numerous accolades including the 2013 International Prize from the Royal Television Society. The event is free and open to the public. To register email journalism@nuigalway.ie or join the webinar on Monday, 23 November at https://bit.ly/cunninghamlecture . -Ends-

Monday, 16 November 2020

Hand-held, battery-operated device will carry out rapid detection of the virus using a laser in approximately 15 minutes Device will also test for antibodies to the virus in human samples Device could carry out rapid on-site tests in airports, workplaces and schools Test can be administered by anyone, without medical or scientific training Researchers from NUI Galway and the University of Wyoming have received a grant of €199,720 from the Health Research Board to develop a handheld device for rapid detection of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. The device, which they aim to have available early next year, will also test for antibodies to the virus in human samples. The test device is already being sold and the research team are currently developing a COVID test to work with it in order to produce and distribute large quantities within a short period of time. The rapid test will be capable of being administered by anyone, such as airport officials or school principals. Professor Gerard Wall, of Microbiology, College of Science and Engineering and SFI Research Centre for Medical Devices (CÚRAM) at NUI Galway, is leading the research along with Professors Patrick Johnson and Karen Wawrousek from the University of Wyoming’s Department of Chemical Engineering. Professor Wall will employ a laboratory-based technique that mimics the human immune response “in vitro”, or in a test tube, to produce antibody fragments for use in the detection of the virus. The antibody fragments will enable high sensitivity and reproducibility of the device, and can be produced in large quantities in bacterial cells. Professors Johnson and Wawrousek will attach the antibody fragments to nanoparticles for incorporation into a hand-held, battery-operated device that will carry out rapid detection of the virus using a laser, in approximately 15 minutes. Professor Gerard Wall, NUI Galway, said: “Rapid detection of the virus on-site will allow potentially infectious people to be identified so that decisions on isolation and treatment can be made immediately. There are clear applications for this type of device in airports, workplaces or schools, among other locations.” Professor Patrick Johnson, University of Wyoming, said: “Our test will have higher sensitivity than other rapid tests and will not require any sample preparation. The idea is to have an accurate, portable, on-site test with results within 15-20 minutes. This will allow rapid answers while the person is still present, enabling immediate intervention and treatment.” Samples can be collected from saliva, nasal swab or blood. The samples will then be placed in glass vials and inserted into hand-held instruments, called Raman spectrometers, for analysis. The project team plans to use Raman spectrometers developed by entrepreneur Keith Carron, CEO of Metrohm Raman in Laramie, Wyoming and will work with Noah Hull, Microbiology Laboratories manager at the Wyoming Public Health Laboratory to validate the assay against known positive and negative samples. -Ends-

Friday, 13 November 2020

Energy poverty, where the poorest households in developing countries lack access to modern energy sources and services is prevalent worldwide, with almost 800 million people lacking access to electricity. Around three billion people globally are cooking everyday using polluting open fires or simple stoves fuelled by kerosene, biomass (wood, animal dung and crop waste) and coal. A recent collaborative study in Kenya led by Dr Caroline Ochieng and Professor Charles Spillane from the Ryan Institute at NUI Galway, in collaboration with the World Bank ESMAP program, confirms that cookstove and fuel stacking is the norm; with just 17% of 71 respondents reporting exclusive use of one stove type or fuel. Dr Caroline Ochieng from NUI Galway’s Ryan Institute, said: “We find that the main driver of stacking is the need to save time by preparing multiple dishes simultaneously, as opposed to cultural attachment to traditional cookstoves or food taste preferences that are generally seen as the major behavioral obstacles to cookstove adoption. Just like I have several cooking and heating devices in my own household that allow me to finalise these chores within a very short time, it is the same requirement these households have. Having the new stoves allows them to now have two as opposed to just one cooking and heating device that performs everything.” Funded by the Irish Research Council and EU MSCA program, the study, published in the journal Energy for Sustainable Development observed that an overwhelming number of cookstove programs promote single burner designs, which implies a lack of understanding and appreciation of end-user needs. Based on this finding, the researchers are recommending standardization of a number of burners of cookstoves to more than one, as well as a marketing strategy that capitalizes on such benefits (demonstrating parallel dishes being prepared on a stove) to increase uptake of clean cookstoves. Professor Charles Spillane, Director of the Ryan Institute at NUI Galway, highlights: “Each year, close to four million people die prematurely from illness attributable to household air pollution from inefficient cooking practices using polluting stoves paired with solid fuels and kerosene. If the massive investments in clean cookstove interventions globally are to improve household health outcomes, the reality of stove stacking has to be factored into the design of interventions. This is critical if cleaner cooking interventions are to reduce the burden of disease associated with polluting stoves.” Amongst the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, SDG7 is focused on ensuring access to affordable, reliable and modern energy for all by 2030. Stove stacking, the practice of using multiple cookstoves and fuels at the same time, has important implications for programs and policies that are trying to transition poorer households away from traditional fuels and stoves and thereby achieve SDG7 targets regarding access to modern energy services. The predominant reliance on biomass for cooking is a major environment and health risk concentrated in low and middle income countries where clean fuel alternatives such as electricity, liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), and cleaner burning woodstoves are either unavailable, or are not affordable to the majority of households. What is now widely observed is that while cookstove users adopt the new cookstoves and fuels, they still retain the traditional ones. From a public health perspective, this is problematic. The health risks associated with burning of biomass fuels do not reduce at the same rate as reduction of emissions. As a result, where polluting cookstoves continue to be used even for secondary functions, the health risks within unventilated households still remain. It is therefore of policy interest to understand why cookstoves are stacked by households, and how policy measures can be redesigned to better respond to this practice. Dr Yabei Zhang who is a co-author of the study and leads the World Bank’s Clean Cooking Fund, said: “For any user-centered clean cooking interventions, stacking has to be incorporated in the design. This study’s findings support ESMAP’s move toward national surveys that take into account multi-dimensionality of energy access, such as the Multi-Tier Framework surveys that collect information on cookstove and fuel stacking. This is also why we have used ‘two-burner’ as a cooking solution requirement when modeling a transition pathway toward universal access to modern energy cooking services in the recently published report the State of Modern Energy Cooking Services.” The authors call for more research on stacking, that to date is often dealt with in post-hoc analyses while the primary focus remains on stove performance in reduction of household air pollution and health improvements. They highlight in the article the enormous benefits of stacking for households, where stacking needs to be viewed as part of the cookstove transition process. “By stacking different stoves, women were able to save time and cook their meals on time, with important implications for the overall welfare of the family including children's education.” This is based on constant narrative from study participants that children would go to bed hungry and be late for school if meals took too long to cook, a common experience for those who had one cooking device/burner. While this may not be a popular recommendation for programs targeting health benefits, the authors recommend that in the long term, trialing of different cookstoves and fuels within a stacking regime could provide the necessary learning and experience that could more effectively facilitate a switch away from traditional cookstoves. To read the full study in Energy for Sustainable Development, visit:  https://bit.ly/3502QxW For more information about the study contact: caroline.ochieng@nuigalway.ie  and charles.spillane@nuigalway.ie  -Ends-

Thursday, 12 November 2020

As part of Science Week, a research group from NUI Galway will host the event, ‘Plastic Recycling in Ireland - How to improve plastic recycling together’. This event will focus on the fate of plastic after it has been used and how we can improve plastic recycling as users. It takes place today (Thursday, 12 November) at 5pm and is free and open to the public. The Innovative Energy Technologies for Biofuels, Bioenergy and Sustainable Irish Bioeconomy (IETSBIO3) is an international research group led by Professor Piet Lens at NUI Galway. The group’s focus is on novel technologies for alternative fuels and renewable commodities from waste and wastewater treatment. Ireland is one of the biggest producers of plastic waste in the EU per inhabitant. Often, recyclable plastic ends up in the general waste bin or non-recyclable products are mixed within the recycling bin. Or even worse, plastic ends up on the streets, in rivers and the ocean. The event will feature presentations from professionals from industry, academia and society, followed by an open discussion where contribution is invaluable and all questions and suggestions for improving plastic recycling skills are encouraged. Presentations will be made by: Liam Dunne, General Manager, Panda Group will discuss - Domestic Recycling in Ireland. It will cover what happens to your plastic when it has been collected for recycling; how plastic is collected and then separated, and the most common problems of incorrect disposal and how this affects the recycling process; the measurements that Panda Group is taking to improve recycling practices. Dr Liam Morrison, Earth and Ocean Sciences, Ryan Institute, NUI Galway will discuss - To flus or not to flush – wet wipes as a source of microplastic in the ocean. This presentation will focus on white microplastics fibres in the marine environment from the inappropriate disposal of sanitary products in Ireland. Sediments adjacent to a wastewater treatment plant in Galway City are consistently strewn with white microplastic fibres that are comparable to those from commercially available consumer sanitary products (wet wipes and sanitary towels). Increased public awareness of microplastic pollution is required and human behaviour should shift away from the inapt disposal of sanitary products down the toilet. Michele Hallahan – Advisor to the Office of the Provost, TCD will discuss - The evolution of behaviour regarding recycling of plastics. It will focus on sustainability, based on the experience of the speaker, how the behaviour of the people have evolved in the last few years in Ireland. As well as a short overview about some of the programmes carried out to promote and improve plastic recycling skills. And in Michele’s opinion how we can improve it at home day by day. Professor Lens' group at NUI Galway aims to achieve more environmentally friendly technologies and is working to further develop sustainable practices in Ireland at all levels, such as households, education, industries, and policy. By sharing the specific knowledge of different stakeholders it will help towards achieving a zero-waste and circular economy approach to environmental concerns. The group is funded by Science Foundation Ireland, and is part of MaREI and the Ryan Institute at NUI Galway. To join the event on MS Teams, logon to: https://bit.ly/2IqUPcm. -Ends-

Wednesday, 11 November 2020

Boston Scientific are collaborating with CÚRAM, the SFI Research Centre for Medical Devices, based at NUI Galway, on their innovative Teachers in Residence Programme for 2020-2021. This is the fifth year of the residency, during which teachers work directly with world-leading researchers over six months to learn about medical device research at CÚRAM and create practical lesson plans and activities for both primary and secondary school classrooms, based on cutting edge Irish research. Teachers from all disciplines are invited to participate, in support of encouraging multidisciplinary approaches to teaching science. Dr Sarah Gundy, Teachers in Residence Programme Manager, CÚRAM, NUI Galway, said: “We are delighted to be able to collaborate with Boston Scientific on this programme. Having them on board adds significant value for our teachers and gives them an opportunity to get an even broader perspective on the Medtech Industry and the opportunities that are there for their students.” Boston Scientific is dedicated to transforming lives through innovative medical solutions that improve the health of patients around the world and is one of CÚRAM’s long term Industry partners. At present Boston Scientific and CÚRAM’s researchers are working together on research into cardiovascular disease. Fergal Horgan, R&D Manager, Boston Scientific, said: “It’s a pleasure to have the opportunity to talk about the medical device design collaborations that exist with CÚRAM and Boston Scientific. Similarly so, we look forward to discussing in this forum some of the diverse technical and social aspects of working within Boston Scientific and the Medtech industry in general.” This year’s Teachers in Residence programme kicked off in October and will provide and develop resources to help teachers overcome the extra challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. The programme will use a blended learning approach with online sessions held twice a month, from 7pm to 8pm until March 2021. Teachers will receive 10 ECTS through NUI Galway's Centre for Adult Learning and Professional Development, which is fully funded by CÚRAM. CÚRAM’s public engagement programme ‘Breaking Barriers’ supports the Science Foundation Ireland goal of having the most engaged and scientifically informed public. For more information about the programme, please contact Dr Sarah Gundy at sarah.gundy@nuigalway.ie. -Ends-

Tuesday, 10 November 2020

The webinar will mark the launch of landmark new book ‘Sport, Film and National Culture’, edited by NUI Galway academic Dr Seán Crosson NUI Galway’s Moore Institute will host a webinar on Sport, Film and National Culture on Thursday, 19 November, at 4pm. The event will mark the launch of a major new volume on this theme edited by Dr Seán Crosson from the University’s Huston School of Film and Digital Media and leader of the Sport and Exercise Research Group in the Moore Institute. This webinar will examine the critical role film has played in affirming the relationship between sport and national cultures internationally. Sport and film have historically been key components of national cultures and societies. The Irish experience is particularly instructive in this respect, evident in the close and enduring association between Gaelic games and Irish identity, and its popular depiction in cinema. As the centenary of Bloody Sunday approaches, Irish cinema has provided one of the most memorable and unsettling depictions – in Neil Jordan’s Michael Collins (1996) – of the horrific events of that day when British forces fired upon players and supporters at a Gaelic football match. Covering films of all types, from Hollywood blockbusters to regional documentaries and newsreels, Dr Crosson’s new book Sport, Film and National Culture considers how filmic depictions of sport have configured and informed a wide range of distinctive national cultures, societies and identities. Featuring case studies from eleven national contexts across six continents – including North and South America, Europe, Africa, Asia and Oceania – it reveals the common and contrasting approaches that have emerged within sport cinema in differing national contexts. Dr Crosson said: “This is the first collection dedicated to examining the intersection of sport, film and national culture. We are delighted to bring together such a distinguished range of speakers to contribute to our launch webinar, including participants from six countries and addressing seven distinct national contexts. While responding to the distinctive features evident in each context considered, these contributors individually and collectively speak to the ongoing significance of the relationship between sport cinema and national culture and identity.” Director of NUI Galway’s Moore Institute, Professor Daniel Carey, said: “This is a fascinating volume that addresses issues of race, gender, and politics in the filmic representation of sport. Attention to differing national contexts across several continents creates important avenues for understanding the cultural meaning of sporting activity, ranging from football to cricket, boxing, American football and baseball, and beyond.” The webinar brings together a broad range of contributors to this book, who are leading authorities on sport and film, to explore the intersection of these prominent cultural forces internationally. Chaired by Dr Crosson, contributors to the webinar will include: Dr Michael W. Thomas, Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Ethiopian Screen Worlds, University of London Dr Grant Wiedenfeld, Assistant Professor of Media and Culture in the Department of Mass Communication at Sam Houston State University Dr Manuel Garin, Senior Lecturer in Film and Media Studies at Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona Dr Stephen Glynn, Associate Research Fellow at De Montfort University, Leicester Dr Jesse Schlotterbeck, Associate Professor of Cinema at Denison University, Granville, Ohio Dr Ellen Wright, Senior Lecturer in Cinema and Television History, De Montfort University, Leicester Dr Francesco Buscemi, Lecturer in History of Radio and TV, Catholic University of Milan. Pauline Peixoto Iglesias Vargas, PhD candidate in Physical Education, Federal University of Paraná, Brazil. Dr Gina Daddario, Lin Rong San Professor of Communication at Shenandoah University in Winchester, Virginia. Rebeccah Dawson, Assistant Professor of German Studies, University of Kentucky. To attend please register at https://bit.ly/3lcYglm. For more on the Moore Institute’s Sport & Exercise Research Group visit: https://mooreinstitute.ie/research-group/sport-identity-representation/ For further information on the collection, please visit:  https://www.taylorfrancis.com/books/e/9780429327018       -Ends-

Tuesday, 10 November 2020

Global law firm DLA Piper has today announced the launch of the Terence O’Malley DLA Piper Scholarship in partnership with NUI Galway's School of Law. The new scholarship, which is named after Terry O’Malley, Chairman Emeritus (US), will provide funding and support to students in financial need studying in the University’s award-winning School of Law. As well as the scholarship, which will provide support to successful students over the course of their degree, a separate annual Terence O’Malley DLA Piper bursary will be awarded to the student achieving the highest grade in the University’s new Law and Innovation module. As part of the partnership, Mr. O’Malley, who has family roots in the West of Ireland, will also host an annual lecture with law students at the University. Commenting on the announcement, Terry O’Malley, Chairman Emeritus, DLA Piper said: “Ireland holds a special place in my heart, and I am delighted to be associated with this awards programme. I look forward to helping develop this programme in the coming years.” David Carthy, Country Managing Partner Ireland, DLA Piper said: “NUI Galway’s School of Law is ranked 85th in the world for Law in the 2021 Times Higher Education World University Rankings by Subject,  and we are proud to partner with the school to support deserving students as they pursue their studies in law. “At DLA Piper, we pride ourselves in being an innovative law firm, committed to embracing technology and adapting to meet the needs of global business. We look forward to seeing what innovative thinking the recipients of the annual Terence O’Malley DLA Piper bursary contribute to the industry in the future and we wish all of the students the very best in their studies.” Dr Charles O’Mahony, Head of the School of Law, NUI Galway added: “We are delighted to announce this exciting partnership with DLA Piper, who are recognised as one of the most innovative global law firms. We are very proud of our law students and greatly welcome this scholarship scheme and prize funded by DLA Piper, which will support students in reaching their full potential.” Applications for the scholarship are now open and further details of the scholarship are available at www.nuigalway.ie/dlapiperscholarship.