Wednesday, 6 November 2019

Teachers’ Research Exchange (T-REX) National Award to the School of Education, NUI Galway to Support Innovation in Teacher Education NUI Galway School of Education lecturer, Dr Clíona Murray has been awarded a prestigious teacher researcher award within the national T-REX (Teacher’s Research Exchange) Module Innovation Framework. Dr Murray teaches on the Professional Master of Education and Máistir Gairmiúil san Oideachas programmes in the School of Education at NUI Galway, and her main research interests are in teacher identity and professional development, education policy studies, and inclusion and diversity in education. Coordinated by Mary Immaculate College, Limerick with partners NUI Galway, University of Limerick, and Marino Institute of Education, Dublin - T-REX is a nationally funded online platform and set of tools to support teachers and educational researchers and professionals to collaborate, undertake and share research, and is freely available to all teachers in Ireland. Following an open call for proposals, an independent review panel, which included Initial Teacher Education representation, teacher representation and student representation conducted a rigorous review of applications from all over the country. The five national awardees developed proposals which impressed the panel in terms of their creativity and innovativeness; value for student learning; and exploitation of what the T-REX platform has to offer. Each of the awardees will receive financial, academic and technological support to develop their modules and to integrate the T-REX research platform and approach. Speaking of her award, Dr Clíona Murray, School of Education, NUI Galway, said: “This funding from the T-REX Module Innovation Framework will support the development of a collaborative research community within the Practitioner-Based Research module of the Máistir Gairmiúil san Oideachas, and enhance the emergent research literacy skills of students in initial teacher education at the School of Education in NUI Galway.”  Dr Tony Hall and Dr Cornelia Connolly, the T-REX Principal Investigators at NUI Galway’s School of Education, said: “The Module Innovation Framework is an important component of the T-REX ecosystem to help bridge research and practice in Irish education. It is designed to support lecturers and teacher educators to embed the T-REX platform and philosophy within their own teaching practice. We would like to congratulate Dr Clíona Murray on her award, which should help to enhance teacher education at NUI Galway, as an important part of the wider national deployment of T-REX, supported by the National Forum, the Teaching Council, the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment and Centre for Effective Services.” Funded by the National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, T-REX recognises and encourages module leaders in Initial Teacher Education and Early Childhood Education in Ireland to re-design their modules to incorporate the T-REX platform into their teaching. For more information about T-REX, visit: www.t-rex.ie. -Ends-

Tuesday, 5 November 2019

Symposium to support people working in men’s health and to discuss and provide solutions to combating isolation and building resilience in men’s lives The School of Nursing and Midwifery at NUI Galway will host a Men’s Health Symposium focusing on the current issues that affect men’s health across their lifespan. The free event is aimed at health professionals and allied professionals who have an interest in men’s health and wellbeing, taking place on International Men’s Day on Tuesday, 19 November. The symposium offers attendees the opportunity to discuss, debate and seek solutions to current issues influencing men’s wellbeing across generations. It coincides with the Movember movement in promoting conversations and dialogue about men’s mental health, masculinity, suicide prevention, prostate cancer, health promotion, social isolation and personal stories. In partnership with the Centre for Nursing and Midwifery Education, Galway and the HSE’s Health Promotion Unit, the symposium will specifically examine the influence masculinity has on men’s health; building resilience; and promoting positive mental health and wellbeing for men. It will also highlight how men can access services that will support their health and wellbeing along with motivating them to adopt healthier lifestyle behaviours. A wide range of experts, practitioners, researchers and men’s health advocates from across Ireland will present on current issues in men’s health: Cathal Gallagher, Operation Transformation Leader 2019 will talk about his operation transformation experience and credits the show for helping him transform his outlook in life and making physical and mental health changes. Davy Glennon, Senior Galway Hurler will talk about his former battle with gambling addiction. Biddy O’Neill, Health and Wellbeing Programme, Department of Health will talk about men’s health in the workplace through a holistic approach. Dr Noel Richardson, CIT will talk about a space for vulnerability in men’s lives and Suicide in Ireland Report. Dr Phil Noone, NUI Galway will talk about aging men in rural Ireland and social inclusion. Laura Tully, AIT will talk about engaging farmers in physical activity, health and wellbeing and The Roscommon Fit Farmers Project. John Wall, Prostate cancer advocate will talk about living with prostate cancer. Dr Bróna Mooney, Symposium Chairperson from the School of Nursing and Midwifery at NUI Galway, said: “Younger men’s experience of prostate cancer is influenced by their adherence to traditional masculine narratives, which may both assist them in recovery and deprive them of important sources of social and emotional support. This symposium addresses topics such as mental health, social isolation, health promotion initiatives and a range of other critical men’s health issues.” Paul Gillen, Health Promotion and Improvement Services, HSE and Marissa Butler, Centre of Nursing and Midwifery Education, Galway, said: “We are delighted to co-organise this Men’s Health Symposium with NUI Galway. This event will highlight the importance of focusing on and supporting initiatives that seek to improve men’s health and wellbeing, to promote positive male role models and encourage us as health professionals to engage men and boys in healthier lifestyle choices.” The symposium will take place from 8.30am-4pm on Tuesday, 19 November in the main Lecture Theatre, School of Nursing and Midwifery, Arás Moyola Building, NUI Galway. To register to attend, visit www.eventbrite.com and search for ‘Men’s Health Symposium’. Follow on Twitter @n_gnursing and @CMNEGalway and #mhsym2019 and on Facebook at School of Nursing & Midwifery, NUI Galway. -Ends-

Monday, 4 November 2019

Documentary follows three personal stories of the patients’ voice impacting major research programmes in neonatal brain injury, Type 1 diabetes and chronic pain from arthritis CÚRAM, the SFI Centre for Research in Medical Devices based at NUI Galway has announced the documentary, The Patient Effect has been selected as the Science on Screen commission for 2019. The documentary will have its world premiere screening at Pálás Cinema in Galway on Saturday, 16 November at 6pm. The documentary tells the story of public and patient involvement in research – how tapping into the lived experience of patients, their families and carers, has the potential to hugely enhance the quality and relevance of health and medical research. Directed by Mia Mullarkey, this Irish documentary follows three personal stories, which reflect the power of including public and patient voices in planning and conducting research. Paul Ryan, father to Sophia who was born premature at 25 weeks, is contributing to a major research programme, exploring the most effective methods to monitor and manage babies with neonatal brain injury. Cameron Keighron (NUI Galway Student’s Union VP and Education Officer) lives with Type 1 diabetes and has been heavily involved in developing a new way of delivering healthcare to young people with diabetes. Margaret Devaney and the Swinford Arthritis Walking Group in Co. Mayo, provide a first-hand insight of the impact of chronic pain on their day-to-day life with medical device developers at NUI Galway, inspiring the developers in their research endeavours. Professor Andrew Murphy from NUI Galway and Director of the HRB Primary Care Clinical Trials Network Ireland, said: “In health research, it is crucial that the public and patient voice is heard, helping to ensure that publically-funded research addresses issues that matter to patients. We hope this documentary will inform people about the importance of public and patient involvement in research and inspire both the public and researchers to get involved.” Produced by Alice McDowell of Ishka Films, the chosen documentary overcame stiff competition from production companies based all over Ireland. Speaking about the documentary, McDowell said: “Patient and public voices have the power to transform the way we approach scientific and medical research in Ireland and worldwide. We've certainly witnessed this phenomenon during the past couple of months of filming and are excited to share three moving and inspiring stories in our soon-to-be-released documentary.” Science on Screen is a collaborative initiative of CÚRAM and Galway Film Centre, partnering this year with the HRB Primary Care Clinical Trials Network Ireland and PPI Ignite @ NUI Galway. The scheme has been running since 2016 and has seen the production of four documentaries on topics ranging from Parkinson’s Disease (Feats of Modest Valour) to Tendon Injury (Mending Legends), to Diabetes (Bittersweet) and Stroke (A Tiny Spark). These films have been screened at prestigious film festivals around the world, had eight national broadcasts on RTÉ and TG4 and reached an audience of one million. Professor Abhay Pandit, Scientific Director of CÚRAM, NUI Galway, said: “CÚRAM is delighted to see our Science on Screen programme evolve through a partnership with the HRB Primary Care Clinical Trials Network Ireland and PPI Ignite @ NUI Galway this year. This film demonstrates the potential of public and patient involvement in research including the medtech field. Science on Screen has brought stories of Irish research to a global audience and we are excited to see where this film will go.” Alan Duggan, Manager of Galway Film Centre, said: “The competition for the Science on Screen commission showcases the wealth of creative talent working in documentary in Ireland. We are incredibly proud to be continuing to work with CÚRAM on this wonderful initiative and we are delighted to welcome HRB Primary Care Clinical Trials Network Ireland and PPI Ignite @ NUI Galway to the partnership this year. We have no doubt that The Patient Effect will go on to be as successful as all of the other Science on Screen commissions that have already screened to audiences around the world.” Free tickets for the premiere on Saturday, 16 November at 6pm in Pálás Cinema, Spanish Arch, Galway are available on: https://bit.ly/2WICydr. The Patient Effect will also be screened in the ARD Family Resource Centre, Doughiska on Thursday, 21 November at 12pm. All are welcome. The documentary is funded by a Health Research Board award to the HRB Primary Care Clinical Trials Network Ireland and by CÚRAM, SFI Research Centre for Medical Devices, NUI Galway. For more information, contact Martha Killilea, NUI Galway, at: martha.killilea@nuigalway.ie. Click here to view a short trailer of The Patient Effect: https://vimeo.com/367628357. -Ends-

Tuesday, 5 November 2019

BioExel held its Medtech Opportunity Investor showcase in the Meyrick Hotel on recently, featuring over 40 start-up companies based in Ireland. This aim of the showcase was to provide national and international investors the breath of exciting opportunities emerging from the Medtech start-up ecosystem, particularly in the west of Ireland. The event illustrated how start-ups in the region are innovation drivers, developing novel life-changing technologies in collaboration with healthcare professionals, academia, manufacturers, SMEs and multinationals. Examples of this can be shown in some of the successes from the Bioexel companies such as; 1)Hidramed Solutions - CEO Suzanne Moloney from Hidramed Solutions is developing HidraWear, the world’s first adhesive-free wound care solution for suffers of Hidradenitis Suppurativa (HS) which is a disease of the skin that affects at least 1 in 100 people.  Suzanne said: “Bioexel really enabled me put a structure in place for my medical concept and through constant support and mentoring I developed a commercial roadmap that has led to IP, product design, clinical trial, CE marking, and seed investment. The dedicated Accelerator is a great mechanism to engage with experienced mentors and become part of the environment that supports each other on the start-up journey” 2)Bluedrop Medical another Bioexel participant successfully raised €3.7m in 2019 with a mix of investment and EU grant funding to enable further clinical emersion of the product. The home based system performs a daily scan of the patient’s feet and sends the data to the cloud for analysis through advanced algorithms capable of detecting abnormalities. By detecting skin damage early, the technology could enable healthcare providers to prevent hundreds of thousands of amputations, improving lives and significantly reducing costs. 3)Cortechs has created data-driven, therapeutic applications that use cognitive training, brainwaves and biofeedback    data to improve Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). This is based on neurofeedback which is scientifically proven to improve attention deficit behaviors. The company has already received an EU grant of €1.3m for development of their products and is now open for seed investment of €2m. BioExcel’s two-year pilot delivered great success with 14 companies securing investment and funding of €9.7m and creating 52 jobs. BioExel is managed by Medtech Director, Dr Sandra Ganly, also a co-founder of BioInnovate Ireland and Senior Research Fellow in NUI Galway, and Fiona Neary, Commercial Director and co-founder of BioExel, and Innovation Operations Manager at NUI Galway. The Western region has a strong Medtech ecosystem and this is actively supported by the expertise and infrastructure at NUI Galway. The strength of this ecosystem was very visible at the event as 25 NUI Galway start-up companies exhibited, presented and showcased to an audience of investors not only in person but streamed to investor’s locations around the world from San Francisco, Boston, New York, London and Geneva. The event encapsulated panel discussions, words from key opinion leaders and successes from early stage companies. The event was opened by Fiona Neary, before opening remarks from Professor Ciarán hÓgartaigh, President of NUI Galway, and Tomás Ó Síocháin, CEO of the Western Development Commission (WDC). Between pitches and presentations by companies present, insightful panel discussions took place. The first panel discussion, chaired by Dr Sandra Ganly, focused on the impact of grant supports on fundraising strategies for start-ups and how these grants are enabling the start-up community progress to market readiness. Sandra was joined by Tony O’Halloran, CTO and Co-Founder of Aurigen Medical, Dr. Brendan Boland, CEO and Co-founder of Loci Orthopaedics Ltd, and Dr Imelda Lambkin, Manager of Disruptive Technologies Innovation Fund at Enterprise Ireland. The second panel discussion focused on the role and impact of domain specific accelerators on an ecosystem and how the success of Bioexel shows this model works. This panel was chaired by Gillian Buckley, General Partner for BioExel and Investment Manager for the WDC. She was joined by Donnchadh Cullinan, Manager of Banking Relations and Growth Capital at Enterprise Ireland, Eimear Gleeson, Investment Associate at Atlantic Bridge Ventures and David Murphy, Director of the Innovation Office at NUI Galway. According to Gillian Buckley, “Bioexel has filled a critical gap in the Western Region’s ecosystem and supports a new generation of MedTech companies. Bioexel builds on the reputation of the West of Ireland as an international centre of excellence in Medtech. Bioexel along with the WDC Investment Fund are unique resources to the region’s entrepreneurs to set up and grow indigenous Irish businesses from a regional location.” Jennifer Melia, Manager, High Potential Start-Ups, Enterprise Ireland, said: “Enterprise Ireland is committed to supporting early stage collaborative innovative opportunities between the enterprise sector and health system with the aim of internationalising medtech technologies. To date, 14 new and emerging enterprises have and continue to benefit from the BioExcel programme through direct collaboration with international technology and healthcare sector stakeholders. Enterprise Ireland has supported the programme which successfully delivered on its objective to accelerate the commercialisation process of new technologies, products and services in a regional location.” BioExel is a partnership programme funded by Enterprise Ireland, Western Development Commission, Galway University Foundation, Bank of Ireland seed and early stage equity fund, and hosted by NUI Galway. The University is home to Ireland’s only centre for stem cell manufacturing, extensive translational and clinical facilities, biomedical sciences research laboratories, and the CÚRAM Centre for Research in Medical Devices. This is further strengthened by NUI Galway’s expertise in funding grants, knowledge transfer, and innovation programmes such as BioInnovate and BioExel. –ends-

Monday, 4 November 2019

The ‘Inaugural Professors In Conversation Series’ featuring newly appointed Business Professors at NUI Galway will continue on Wednesday, 6 November with Esther Tippmann, Professor of Strategy, Leadership and Change. She will talk about developing multinational corporation subsidiaries in Ireland. The lunchtime event hosted by the J.E. Cairnes School of Business & Economics and Whitaker Institute is free and open to the public. Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) is critical to the success of the Irish economy. Professor Tippmann will discuss the challenges of and opportunities for developing subsidiaries of multinational corporations. She will draw on research-based insights into how managers in subsidiaries can deliver value beyond their mandate, develop innovative solutions within a complex organisational setting and develop their roles and mandates. The talk will provide insights for well-established subsidiaries and subsidiaries of young scaling firms. Professor Tippmann will be in conversation with Mark Gantly, President of the American Chamber of Commerce Ireland and Senior R&D Director at Hewlett Packard Enterprise. Professor Alan Ahearne, Director, Whitaker Institute, NUI Galway, said: “The subsidiaries of multinational corporations (MNCs) employ thousands of people in Galway and hundreds of thousands of people across Ireland. With the recent bad news of significant jobs losses at Novartis in Cork and Molex in Clare, we need to understand better how MNCs’ subsidiaries in Ireland evolve and how they compete within their own corporate structures and in the global marketplace.”  Professor Esther Tippmann, NUI Galway, said: “Given the importance of Foreign Direct Investment to the Irish economy, our research on subsidiary development offers many systematic insights for leaders of subsidiaries on how to grow and evolve activities and mandates. Together with colleagues here at NUI Galway, we are excited about future research opportunities in this area and strong engagement with subsidiaries in the region and beyond.” Mark Gantly, Senior R&D Director at Hewlett Packard Enterprise, said: “US multinationals have played an important role in the development of the Irish economy over the last 50 years, and it’s clear that the Irish subsidiaries have steadily increased their strategic contribution to those companies. It’s important that we are rigorous in our analysis of the reasons for this success, and I am delighted to support Professor Tippmann and the wider team at NUI Galway as they conduct their research.” The event will take place on Wednesday, 6 November from 1pm-2pm in Room CA110 in the J.E. Cairnes Building, North Campus, NUI Galway. To book the event, visit: https://www.eventbrite.ie/e/conversations-with-our-newly-appointed-professors-prof-esther-tippmann-tickets-78146758057 -Ends-

Monday, 4 November 2019

Over 6,000 Students to Graduate Over 6,000 students will graduate from NUI Galway at the University's winter conferring ceremonies, which take place from Saturday, 9 November to Wednesday, 20 November. NUI Galway has also announced the names of those to be conferred with Honorary Degrees at the 2019 Winter Conferring. The eleven individuals to be conferred with Honorary Degrees are:  Seamus O’Grady – Retired Director of Adult and Continuing Education at NUI Galway Shelley McNamara – Director of Grafton Architects Yvonne Farrell – Director of Grafton Architects Orla Guerin – Broadcaster and journalist with the BBC Cathal Goan – Broadcaster, journalist, editor and former Director General of RTÉ Mary Gordon – Founder/President of Roots of Empathy Paul Farrell – Country Manager for IBM Nuala Ward – LGBT+ activist and advocate Fergus Finlay – Retired CEO of Barnardos John Ging – Director of the Operational Division at the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) Breandán Feiritéar – Broadcaster and former Head of Raidió na Gaeltachta and TV, film and radio producer for RTÉ and TG4 Speaking on the announcement, NUI Galway President, Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh said: “NUI Galway is fortunate to be associated with many outstanding honorary graduates throughout its history and those being honoured this year form a particularly distinguished group. Each one has made an excellent and distinctive contribution to the diverse fields of adult and continuing education; children’s rights, journalism and broadcasting; international social entrepreneurship; research, development and innovation; activism for social change; contribution to society, human rights and our defence forces. NUI Galway is very pleased to be in a position to respect and recognise these exceptional individuals. Each of those we honour also have a special bond with our region - drawing on the unique experiences, strengths and challenges with which we as a University also engage – our proud record of achievement in widening access to education, this year marking the 50th anniversary of the establishment of Adult and Continuing Education; our strong association with the Defence Forces since 1969; our profile on international human rights, and our emphasis on creativity and innovation. In honouring these exceptional individuals, we also signal what we value in areas that matter to us and to our society. We are delighted that our honorary graduands are being honoured at the same time as we celebrate the achievements of over 6,000 of our students across our four Colleges. On behalf of NUI Galway, I am delighted to honour all of our graduates and their achievements, a great occasion for everyone involved.” The Adult Learning and Professional Development conferring sessions taking place on Saturday, 9 November, at 11am, 1.30pm and 4.30pm. The conferring ceremonies from 11 to 20 November will take place at 11am and 3pm each day. -Ends-

Monday, 4 November 2019

Bronnfaidh an Ollscoil Céimeanna Oinigh ar aon duine dhéag Bronnfar céim ar bhreis is 6,000 mac léinn as na cúig choláiste in OÉ Gaillimh ag searmanais Bhronnadh Céimeanna an Gheimhridh, a bheidh ar siúl san Ollscoil ó Dé Sathairn, an 9 Samhain go dtí Dé Céadaoin, an 20 Samhain. D’fhógair OÉ Gaillimh chomh maith ainmneacha na ndaoine a mbronnfar Céimeanna Oinigh orthu ag Bronnadh an Gheimhridh, 2019. Is iad seo a leanas an t-aon duine dhéag a mbronnfar Céimeanna Oinigh orthu:  Seamus O'Grady – Stiúrthóir an Oideachais Aosaigh agus Leanúnaigh in OÉ Gaillimh atá ar scor Shelly McNamara – Stiúrthóir Grafton Architects Yvonne Farrell – Stiúrthóir Grafton Architects Orla Guerin – Craoltóir agus iriseoir leis an BBC Cathal Goan – Craoltóir, iriseoir, eagarthóir agus iarArd-Stiúrthóir RTÉ Mary Gordon – Bunaitheoir/Uachtarán Roots of Empathy Paul Farrell – Bainisteoir Tíre IBM Ward Nuala – Gníomhaí LGBT+ Fergus Finlay – Príomhfheidhmeannach Barnardos atá ar scor John Ging – Stiúrthóir an Rannáin Oibríochta ag Oifig na Náisiún Aontaithe um Chomhordú Gnóthaí Daonnúla (OCHA) Breandán Feiritéar – Craoltóir agus iarCheannaire Raidió na Gaeltachta agus léiritheoir teilifíse, scannáin agus raidió do RTÉ agus TG4 Ag labhairt dó faoin bhfógra, dúirt Uachtarán OÉ Gaillimh, an tOllamh Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh: “Tá an t-ádh le OÉ Gaillimh céimithe oinigh den scoth a bheith aige in imeacht na mblianta agus is cinnte gur grúpa ar leith iad céimithe oinigh na bliana seo. Tá a c(h)ion féin déanta ag gach céimí oinigh daoibh i réimsí éagsúla maidir le hoideachas aosach agus leanúnach; cearta leanaí, iriseoireacht agus craoltóireacht; fiontraíocht shóisialta idirnáisiúnta; taighde, forbairt agus nuálaíocht; gníomhaíochas don athrú sóisialta; cion don tsochaí, cearta an duine agus ár bhFórsaí Cosanta. Is cúis áthais dúinn anseo in OÉ Gaillimh an deis a bheith againn aitheantas a thabhairt do na daoine den scoth seo. Tá ceangal ar leith ag gach duine a bhfuilimid ag bronnadh onóir orthu lenár réigiún ag tarraingt ar an taithí, na láidreachtaí agus na dúshláin uathúla a bhaineann linne mar Ollscoil chomh maith – ár gcáil as na héachtaí atá bainte amach againn i leith rochtain ar oideachas a leathnú, agus muid ag ceiliúradh i mbliana 50 bliain ó bunaíodh Oideachas Aosach agus Leanúnach; an ceangal láidir atá againn leis na Fórsaí Cosanta ó 1969; ár bpróifíl maidir le cearta daonna idirnáisiúnta; agus an bhéim a leagtar ar an gcruthaitheacht agus an nuálaíocht. Thar ceann OÉ Gaillimh, tá áthas orm onóir a bhronnadh orthu as a gcuid éachtaí.” Seisiúin bhronnadh céimeanna an Ionaid Foghlama agus Forbartha Gairmiúla d’Aosaigh ar siúl Dé Sathairn, an 9 Samhain ag 11am, 1.30pm agus 4.30pm. Beidh na searmanais bhronnta ar siúl ag 11am agus 3pm gach lá idir an 11 agus an 20 Samhain. -Críoch-

Monday, 4 November 2019

Irish Technology start-up, Joulica, based at NUI Galway’s Innovation Centre has today (4 November 2019) announced that it is launching its revolutionary realtime Customer Experience analytics solution at the Websummit in Lisbon from 4-7 November. The solution is pre-integrated with the Amazon Connect contact center and Salesforce.com CRM solutions, and uniquely provides realtime customer experience analytics across a broad array of contact center technologies and enterprise data sources. Joulica’s solution allows its global customers, that include Banks, Insurance providers and Mobile operators, to understand the experience their customers have when interacting with them over the phone, web, mobile, social media and video. By utilising predictive analytics across contact center platforms and other data sources, it is able to break out insights and actions by customer segment, location and demographic, and allows their customers to deliver improvements in realtime. The launch comes after Joulica announced significant jobs growth earlier in the year, reinforcing Galway’s position as the driving force of Ireland’s Information and Communication Technology industry. The development is supported by the Government through Enterprise Ireland’s Research, Development and Innovation Fund. Founded in 2016, Joulica has grown rapidly and enjoyed strong commercial success based on its expertise in the Customer Experience domain, realtime analytics and cloud-native software development. The launch coincides with Joulica establishing a presence in the US with a new office location in New York. Speaking at today’s announcement, Tony McCormack, CEO of Joulica, said: “Joulica has deep expertise in the Contact Center industry and we have combined this with world-class data analytics and cloud-native software skills to bring this unique solution to market. We are launching first on Amazon, given the innovation Amazon Connect and the entire Amazon Web Services (AWS) platform brings to the Contact Center domain. Amazon has given excellent support to Joulica, including access to their Technology partner program and AWS Activate. “From its inception, Joulica has been fortunate to work with global customers who are at the forefront of the digital transformation revolution. This opportunity combined with a deep understanding of the requirements that Enterprise customers place on high-scale, resilient software solutions gives Joulica a unique edge when it comes to accelerating innovation in large-scale Enterprises.” Joulica was the winner of the TechExcellence and ITAG Awards in 2019 and were highlighted as the exemplar technology start-up by the Irish Government in their 2019 regional development plan. The company will be exhibiting at the Websummit in Lisbon and can be found beside the Growth Lounge in the partners’ area. For more information about Joulica, visit: www.joulica.io. -Ends-

Monday, 4 November 2019

The School of Engineering, in collaboration with Launchpad at NUI Galway and Engineers Ireland, organised a series of career talks during the recent Undergraduate Open Days on October 4th-5th, 2019. The events titled ‘Become an Engineer and shape the world we live in’ were hosted by Dr Magdalena Hajdukiewicz and Dr Maeve Duffy from the School of Engineering, and involved interesting talks from eight Engineers. The inspiring speakers from different engineering disciplines, including civil, mechanical, biomedical and electronic/electrical, described their reasons for choosing engineering and showed a diversity of their career paths. With Engineers Ireland reporting a shortage in almost all engineering occupations, and a persisting significant gender gap, where only 13% of 2018 engineering graduates were women, it is crucial to promote engineering as a profession, among both men and women, and ensure a sustainable society, environment and economy. Dr Hajdukiewicz said: "I believe educational institutions and engineering professionals play a significant role in reaching out to young people and their parents, to demonstrate and communicate the exciting opportunities and professional independence an engineering career can provide." This was the third time this event was organised during Open Days and it is planned to be scheduled for future Undergraduate Open Days. Dr Duffy said: "In choosing an engineering course, it is important to understand what a typical day in the life of an engineer involves after graduation. Our graduate speakers provided excellent insight into their varied roles, while demonstrating how much their work has impacted, even early in their careers."   

Tuesday, 29 October 2019

Get Teenagers Moving with CÚRAM’s new ‘Strength in Science’ cross-curricular resources for PE and science teachers CÚRAM, the Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) Research Centre for Medical Devices based at NUI Galway, is launching cross-curricular resources for secondary school teachers to increase teenage girls’ interest in both learning science and participating in exercise. The ‘Strength in Science’ project funded by SFI’s Discover Programme, is a collaboration of researchers, science teachers, Physical Education (PE) teachers, and fitness instructors. In Ireland, only 8% of female secondary school students receive the Department of Education and Skills recommended 60 minutes of PE per week. Time pressure due to school work was the most common reason cited for the allocation of too little PE during school hours. By strongly linking PE lessons to the science curriculum, educators will hopefully feel as if the time dedicated to PE is not taking away from preparing for exams. Four lesson plan kits are available that are linked to the Junior Cycle PE and Science curricula, which can also be used for Senior Cycle and later primary school students. The kits integrate the work of world-leading, Irish researchers with the scientific effects of exercise on different areas of the body to prevent vascular disease, osteoporosis, stroke, and neurodegenerative disorders. NUI Galway researchers featured include vascular surgeon Ms Niamh Hynes, biomedical engineer Professor Laoise McNamara, and neuroscientists Dr Karen Doyle, Dr Séan Fitzgerald, Dr Una FitzGerald, Dr Jill McMahon, and Enrico Bagnoli. Each kit includes a lesson plan for teachers, a short video, and a flyer covering the topic for students to share with family members. Additionally, a booklet is available describing unique extracurricular exercises available in Ireland such as cheerleading, Zumba, dance, circus performance, yoga, and CrossFit. Fitness professionals contributing to the project include Donna Larkin from CrossFit Galway/French Vanoli, Stuntworx Elite Gymnastics and Cheer, Classes Withmel, FITTSteps Training, Ashtanga Yoga Galway, 4M Dance Centre and Galway Community Circus. Clair Hogan, a PE teacher at Salerno Secondary School, says of the resources: “This is a wonderful pack for the classroom. The lesson plans are fun and easy to implement. The videos are excellent and visually allow the students to link the scientific facts they learn in their science lessons to the benefits they get in their bodies when exercising.” Professor Abhay Pandit, Scientific Director of CÚRAM at NUI Galway, said: “We hope that students will be able to contextualise scientific concepts by understanding the effects of physical activity on their bodies and how it can prevent chronic illnesses. We want to make science more personal and relevant to teenagers by linking how the biology and physics involved in exercise affects their health.” All resources are free and available for teachers, students and parents at http://www.curamdevices.ie/curam/public-engagement/teachers-in-residence/strength-in-science/. To request further information about the project, email sarah.gundy@nuigalway.ie. -Ends-

Tuesday, 29 October 2019

NUI Galway will hold its annual Postgraduate Open Day on Tuesday, 5 November, from 12-3pm in the Bailey Allen Hall, Áras na Mac Léinn. Open Day is an important event for professionals, graduates and current undergraduates who are focusing on their future, with the aim of upgrading their qualification, broadening their skills-set, increasing their specialist knowledge and ultimately improving their job prospects and earning power. Open Day will showcase over 180 of NUI Galway’s full-time and part-time postgraduate taught programmes, and an extensive range of research masters and doctoral research options. Academic staff and students will be on hand to answer questions on specific courses and opportunities at the University. Talks at the Postgraduate Day will include Valerie Leahy, NUI Galway Postgraduate Recruitment Officer, who will discuss Postgraduate Practicalities. Professor Lucy Byrnes, Dean of Graduate Studies, NUI Galway, will give a talk on Funding for Postgraduate Research, including Hardiman Scholarships, and the Career Development Centre will also be hosting an information session on employability with input from an industry partner, Medtronic, on graduate employability.  Valerie Leahy, Postgraduate Recruitment Officer, explains why students should start researching their options early: “A key part of the decision to pursue a postgraduate qualification is finding out as much as possible about the application process and the funding options available. The upcoming Open Day brings together all the key people and organisations who provide support and information to postgraduate students.” NUI Galway is also launching a number of new programmes for entry in 2020 including two new Diabetes programmes. The College of Arts are launching a number of new employment focused Masters options including MA Creative Arts: Production and Curation, MA Rural Futures Planning and Innovation and MA Sports Journalism and Communication. There is also a new Computer Science - Artificial Intelligence Masters programme, which will be offered on a full-time, part-time/online basis. The College of Science is offering a new MSc Sustainable Environments, which is a multidisciplinary course integrating environment, health and sustainability issues within the natural and built environment. This programme includes fieldwork and site visits, where students can benefit by learning from practical experience. Visitors to Open Day can also find out more about a new MSc in International Marketing and Entrepreneurship, and a unique MSc in Ageing and Public Policy. To find out more about NUI Galway’s suite of postgraduate programmes, and to book a place at the Open Day visit http://www.nuigalway.ie/postgraduate-open-day/. -Ends-

Tuesday, 29 October 2019

A Tiny Spark, the award-winning documentary which follows both the story of three people who have had a stroke and the scientists leading research in this area at NUI Galway, will have its television premiere on World Stroke Day, Tuesday, 29 October on RTÉ 1. Directed by Niamh Heery and produced by Caroline Kealy of Swansong Films, the film is made under the Science on Screen initiative run by CÚRAM SFI Research Centre for Medical Devices at NUI Galway and Galway Film Centre. A Tiny Spark focuses on three stroke survivors, Rebecca, Trevor and Helen, who talk about life after a stroke and their individual roads to recovery. It also looks at research which is being led by NUI Galway neuroscientist, Dr Karen Doyle, and involves the analysis of removed blood clots to determine what information they may yield and could point to big improvements for stroke treatment. It is the first study of its kind in the world, and is an international collaborative study between NUI Galway, hospital partners in Beaumont Hospital and throughout Europe, and the Mayo Clinic in the US. The research is carried out in partnership with Cerenovus. The film has scooped two international awards to date - Best Medical Short at Sci On! Film Festival in Nevada and Humanitarian Award for Short Film at DOCUTAH - and beautifully combines intimate interviews with animations created by Eric Dolan. Filmmaker Niamh Heery commented: “Our participants’ bravery in their journey through surviving stroke was very humbling when making A Tiny Spark. As filmmakers it was a privilege to be able to respond to these stories with the endeavours of Irish researchers who continue to push scientific boundaries, tackling stroke to improve lives all over the world. We hope viewers will see this as an example of how courage and innovation can prevail over the most painful things in life.” Science on Screen is a partnership between CÚRAM and Galway Film Centre which began in 2016 with the aim of increasing the level of scientific storytelling produced for the screen and the four films made to date have reached audiences of over one million. Professor Abhay Pandit, Scientific Director of CÚRAM said: “This film is touring the world from Nevada to Mexico to New Delhi and it has won two international awards along the way. Now CÚRAM SFI Research Centre for Medical Devices are excited for Irish audiences to enjoy its TV premiere on RTÉ 1 on such a timely day as World Stroke Day.” Alan Duggan of the Galway Film Centre said:“A Tiny Spark has already garnered huge success on it’s international festival run which is a credit to the film itself and the team behind it. Galway Film Centre is delighted that an Irish audience will now have the opportunity to see it broadcast on RTÉ on World Stroke Day.” The film will screen at 11.15pm on RTÉ 1 on Tuesday, 29 October. Follow the films journey on Twitter and Facebook: @atinyspark1 View A Tiny Spark trailer here:  https://vimeo.com/291731458 -Ends-

Tuesday, 29 October 2019

For the second year running, NUI Galway students will be taking the plunge into the sea every day in November to raise funds and awareness for NUI Galway students’ mental health and wellbeing services. ‘Coldvember’ was organised in 2018 by six NUI Galway students as part of the Movember movement, a leading charity working to raise awareness and funds for men’s health, and raised over €7,000. NUI Galway student and one of the organisers, Eoin Ryan, said: “Based on the success of last year we were keen to take on the challenge again, however we all agreed that we would like to see the entire campaign focused around the University, so that our effort could have a greater impact in our community. We approached the Students’ Union and the University’s counselling services and we began to discuss where our money would have the greatest impact, and also how we could use our campaign to spread a positive message about mental wellbeing.” The students hope that money raised from the campaign will provide more access for students to counselling sessions and provide education for staff and students through workshops. They aim to help enhance the use of virtual counselling in the NUI Galway students Counselling Services by providing trained counsellors to review exercises undertaken by students, providing feedback, and organising one-to-one sessions if needed. Barney McIlroy, NUI Galway student and event co-organiser, said: “NUI Galway’s student counselling service offers free counselling to over 19,000 students, and already does great work in providing workshops to students and staff. However, in a community the size of NUI Galway, and with the prevalence of very broad mental health issues amongst college students, there is always a lot asked of them, and there is always more that could be done. Another aim is to promote positive mental wellbeing, primarily through the act of getting a group together and jumping in the sea. This aim is much less tangible than our financial goal, but is of equal importance to us!” For those wanting to join or support ‘Coldvember’ please follow the students on Instagram @coldvember_nuig where times and locations will be updated regularly. For more information or to donate visit https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/coldvember-nui-galway. -Ends-

Tuesday, 29 October 2019

The Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) recently announced the winners of its 2019 Energy Awards at a gala event which saw NUI Galway take away the top prize for Energy Team of the Year. NUI Galway has set its sights on the campus being one of the greenest universities in the world. They impressed judges with their inclusive and long-term approach to energy management. As part of its strategy, the Energy Team run initiatives and campaigns which encourage and provide tools to students and staff on how they can reduce energy use on campus and in their homes. Already at 36% energy reduction, NUI Galway continue to work towards their ambitious target of a 40% energy reduction by 2020. NUI Galway are committed to reducing energy and carbon consumption in line with the Government Climate Action Plan 2030. The Energy Management System developed by NUI Galway Energy Team allows for independent verification and monitoring by SEAI of our energy and carbon reduction on campus. The Energy Team will continue to lead by example by implementing best practices in energy efficiency to meet the highest energy management standards and be at the forefront of sustainable development. The University aims to deliver on this commitment by promoting the concept of energy efficiency at all levels in the organisation from students and academics to administration staff and contractors.  Earlier this year, the University was awarded the internationally recognised Green Flag by An Taisce’s Green-Campus programme on behalf of the Foundation for Environmental Education. The SEAI award further demonstrates the Universities commitment to sustainability and its achievements to date.  Assistant Director of Estates Operations, Noel O’Connor, said: “We are absolutely delighted to receive this award, it validates the hard work and dedication that the Energy Team has been putting in for many years. We all have a role to play in helping to build a sustainable society, and universities in particular, have a responsibility to promote sustainability through leadership, education, knowledge exchange, research and corporate social responsibility. A sustainable campus is one which maintains a green and healthy environment, promotes the use of resources efficiently and instils in graduates and staff the importance of urgently tackling environmental challenges.”  A total of nine awards were presented to businesses, communities and public sector organisations recognising their commitment and dedication to excellence in energy management and creating a cleaner energy future. Congratulating all the finalists and award winners, Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, Richard Bruton, said: “How we respond to the challenge of climate disruption will define us as a generation. These awards are a good opportunity to highlight those taking leadership and managing their energy use in a more sustainable way.” -Ends-

Thursday, 24 October 2019

Seed investment will support the company through first-in-human trials of a device to treat Atrial Fibrillation with initial patients expected to be treated in about one year NUI Galway-based medical device spin-out company, AtriAN Medical has announced the closing of a €2.3 million seed round investment to commercialise a new treatment for Atrial Fibrillation (AFib). The technology was conceived at Mayo Clinic in the US, the company has further progressed the device in Ireland and is now ready to begin clinical trials. The seed investment was led by Western Development Commission and  include Mayo Clinic Ventures, Enterprise Ireland, Atlantic Bridge and Xenium Capital as well as private angel investors with a strong med-tech track record. The current seed investment will support the company through first-in-human trials of the device with initial patients expected to be treated in about one year at a specialist centre in Europe. The AtriAN Medical team is already engaged with specialists in the University of Amsterdam Medical Centre and Na Homolca Hospital in Prague. The irregular heart-beat of Atrial Fibrillation causes the patient to have palpitations, weakness, fatigue and dizziness. In addition, patients with AFib are five times more likely to have a stroke due to the formation of clots. It affects 2% of the population under the age of 65 and 9% of the population over the age of 65. The current treatment options for patients are limited, and are associated with significant complications. The first option is to take anti-arrhythmic drugs. However, the medication is effective in only approximately 30% of patients, and even for these patients, bring extensive side effects. The next option is to have a cardiac ablation. This ablative treatment uses either heating or freezing of tissue to create an intentional scar on the inside of the heart, this is known as pulmonary vein isolation (PVI). However, PVI has variable efficacy and many patients will require a repeat treatment within one to two years. The AtriAN Medical treatment selectively and non-thermally (without burning, or freezing) treats five specific locations on the outside surface of the heart where the Atrial Fibrillation initiates. The device delivers very short and precise electrical signals that ‘knock-out’ hyperactive neuronal cells at these locations. This reduces the overall ‘sensitivity’ of the heart to AFib, providing a very long-term, and durable treatment as these hyperactive cells will not regenerate. The technology originated at Mayo Clinic. Following initial discussions between Mayo clinicians with NUI Galway’s Professor Mark Bruzzi and Barry O’Brien around co-development opportunities, a formal collaboration was entered into and the teams at NUI Galway and Mayo Clinic set about progressing the development of the technology. This collaboration came about as a result of an over-arching agreement between Enterprise Ireland and Mayo Clinic to enable collaboration to take place between Mayo Clinic and Irish third level institutions. The collaborative development project that followed was funded by Enterprise Ireland through the Commercialisation Fund programme and by Mayo Clinic. The Commercialisation Fund programme is co-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) under Ireland’s European Union Structural and Investment Funds Programme 2014-2020. This early funding allowed the group to complete pre-clinical studies and also enabled the team to recruit Ken Coffey in a commercial role for further development along with the subsequent addition of John Reilly, a previous Bio Innovate Ireland fellow to lead the device development. Mr Ken Coffey, Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of AtriAN Medical, said: “We would like to thank our investors for their tremendous support of AtriAN. Securing this seed round funding will allow us to progress towards clinical trials to find long-term resolution of this prevalent and debilitating disease. There is currently no suitable treatment and we believe our technology will offer patients a powerful and safe treatment that should last for years.” Mr Barry O’Brien, Co-founder and Chief Technology Officer of AtriAN Medical, said: “Our technology targets the source of the problem bringing together technical developments relating to pulsed electric fields and recent scientific findings in the field of cardiac electrophysiology. Several years of excellent research at Mayo Clinic and NUI Galway gives us the confidence to bring this forward for patient trials.” Alan Hobbs, Manager, High Potential Start Ups (Lifesciences and Industrial) at Enterprise Ireland, commented: “AtriAN Medical is a great example of the world-class medical device High Potential Start-Up (HPSU) cluster in the west of Ireland and Enterprise Ireland is delighted to support them in this seed round. We have been there since the start and it’s great to see the progress made since we supported the original commercialisation funding. We wish Ken, Barry and all the team every success with the trials phase and look forward to continuing to work with them to achieve their global ambition.” Ms Kelly Krajnik, Director Strategic Operations, Mayo Clinic Ventures, said: “Mayo Clinic has been active and at the forefront of this research field for some time. We are now delighted to make this investment in AtriAN Medical, to directly support the first clinical trial of this exciting new technology.” Samuel Asirvatham M.D. Cardiac Electrophysiologist at Mayo Clinic commented “The need for improved approaches to treatment of AFib is immense and we are very pleased to be supporting the AtriAN team as they now bring forward this novel technology to patient trials. After several years of pre-clinical research and device development it is exciting to finally see this being evaluated in a clinical trial.” Dr Jacinta Thornton, Associate Director of the Innovation Office in NUI Galway, said: “Having supported the development and management of the technology over the last number of years in NUI Galway, we congratulate Ken and Barry on securing this investment and we commend them on reaching this important milestone.” For more information about AtriAN Medical, visit: www.atrianmedical.com. -Ends-

Thursday, 24 October 2019

SOAR involves the creation and delivery of a series of communication workshops for NUI Galway Access Students facilitated by LK Shields’ Artist in Residence, James Riordan LK Shields Solicitors are delighted to announce SOAR, a new partnership with the Access Programme at NUI Galway. This partnership has been made possible through our relationship with Business to Arts and the Creative Ireland Programme’s National Creativity Fund.  It will involve LK Shields working with artist James Riordan to develop a programme of workshops for the University’s Access students. These workshops will help NUI Galway Access students develop presentation skills and leadership skills to assist them prepare for entering the workforce, and to overcome barriers to progressing in their chosen career. This partnership is part of LK Shields’ ongoing Corporate Social Responsibility strategy which is guided by the principles of access, inclusion and opportunity, and focuses on assisting the following causes: disadvantaged young people, homelessness and the environment. Commenting on the announcement, Michael Kavanagh, Chairman, LK Shields Solicitors said: “We are delighted to assist the NUI Galway Access students and hope that the SOAR workshop series will help them achieve their personal and career goals. Central to our firms’ values are the ideas of access and opportunity and we believe these values firmly align with the ethos of NUI Galway Access.  My colleagues and I look forward to participating in the collaborative workshops that form part of this series of workshops and wish the students every success this academic year.” Dr Mary Surlis, Academic Director, NUI Galway Access Programme, said: “SOAR offers a very exciting opportunity to our students to engage in a professional programme of personal and professional development setting, and to experience the support and encouragement of a team of dedicated contributors committed professionals, from both the Arts and the Professions. Experientially, this will undoubtedly benefit our students enormously.” Andrew Hetherington, Chief Executive, Business to Arts said: “Alongside our Creative Ireland Programme partner, we are looking forward to working with LK Shields, NUI Galway Access and theatre practitioner James Riordan. We look forward to seeing the residency develop, fostering an environment of collaboration, learning and wellbeing through creative practice.” -Ends-

Wednesday, 23 October 2019

Global warming is now a major threat to the ability of our food systems to equitably feed a growing world population, a major conference in Dublin will hear this week. Climate change is likely to reduce global production of staple foods such as rice and wheat, while causing a reduction in the nutritional value of important staple foods. Such issues will form the agenda of the annual conference of the Irish Forum for International Agricultural Development (IFIAD). Not only are crop yields and the nutritional value of foods under threat from climate change, but the change in temperatures is also likely to have a dramatic effect on crop diseases and on pest populations. Warmer conditions and changing seasons are affecting the breeding cycles of insects harmful to agricultural crops, livestock and human life. Climate change poses the most severe threats to the food systems, livelihoods and nutrition of rural people in some of the poorest and most vulnerable regions of the world. Established by a consortium that includes the Dept. of Agriculture, Irish Aid, Teagasc, Ireland’s agricultural development NGOs and Irish universities, IFIAD’s 4th Annual Conference takes place at Iveagh House, headquarters of the Dept of Foreign Affairs today (Wednesday, 23October). Guest speakers at the event include keynote speaker Gilbert Houngbo, a former Prime Minister of Togo who is President of the Rome-based International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), Julia Wolf, climate change officer at the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), Lawrence Haddad of the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) and Bruce Campbell from the global Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security program of the CGIAR. Irish youth leader and climate change activist Sophie Healy Thow, Margaret Ngetha of Self Help Africa and John Gilliland of Devenish Nutrition will also speak at the event. The Chair of IFIAD, Professor Charles Spillane from the Ryan Institute at NUI Galway, said: “The food systems that supply our food and nutrition will need to undergo significant transformations if they are to become more sustainable and equitable in the face of climate change and other sustainability crises. Such shifts will require large-scale changes in how our food is produced, processed and consumed in everyday diets. We face major challenges to reduce the environmental footprint of our foods while increasing its nutritional quality and affordability. In parallel, our agrifood value chains and associated employment will need to become more resilient to adverse impacts of climate change. The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development contains the pledge to “leave no one behind”, and in particular to “reach the furthest behind first”. “From a nutritional perspective, the 700 million people suffering from severe undernutrition, and the 650 million people suffering from severe over nutrition leading to obesity, can be considered as amongst the nutritionally “furthest behind”. This years IFIAD Conference will debate what can be done to ensure a “just transition” of our food systems in the face of climate change to better meet the needs of those who are nutritionally the “furthest behind”. The Conference will present some of the measures and options for our food systems to respond to these issues, nationally and globally.” IFIAD was established as a forum for Irish researchers, practitioners and policy advocates to better leverage Ireland’s expertise for the benefit of development programmes overseas, and to maximise Ireland’s contribution to agriculture-driven poverty reduction in developing countries. -Ends-

Wednesday, 23 October 2019

Professor Timothy O'Brien, Dean of the College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences at NUI Galway and Consultant Endocrinologist at Galway University Hospitals has received the Mayo Clinic Distinguished Alumni Award. The award was established by the Mayo Clinic Board of Trustees in 1981 to acknowledge and show appreciation for exceptional contributions of Mayo Clinic alumni to the field of medicine. Professor O’ Brien is an internationally recognised clinician-scientist with expertise in regenerative medicine applied to the treatment of diabetes complications. He has influenced a generation of Irish clinicians and scientists. His ties to Mayo Clinic allow trainees from NUI Galway and Galway University Hospitals to spend time at Mayo Clinic and for Mayo faculty to spend time in the University and hospital in Galway, ensuring that the Mayo Clinic ethos is evident on the wards, and in the clinics and laboratories, in Ireland. He is also a director of the Regenerative Medicine Institute at NUI Galway and is lead endocrinologist at Saolta University Health Care Group and co-director of CÚRAM, the SFI Centre for Research in Medical Devices at NUI Galway. In addition to his administrative and leadership responsibilities, Professor O’ Brien has a major teaching commitment to the School of Medicine at NUI Galway and was twice awarded the Pat McHugh Medal for Best Consultant Teacher. He maintains a busy clinical practice in general internal medicine, diabetes, endocrinology and metabolism. He established a Bariatric Medicine Clinic in Galway University Hospitals, one of only two such centres in Ireland. Previously Professor O’ Brien was an endocrinologist at Mayo Clinic in Rochester and an associate professor of medicine at Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and Science. During his Mayo Foundation Scholarship at the Gladstone Institute at the University of California, San Francisco, Professor O’ Brien developed expertise in gene therapy. When he returned to Mayo Clinic, he established one of the first gene therapy laboratories at Mayo and published internationally recognised studies exploring the role of nitric oxide synthase in modulating the vascular endothelium. His major scientific contributions at NUI Galway have been delivering first-in-man studies of mesenchymal stem cell-derived regenerative medicine therapies for diabetes complications, including diabetic nephropathy and critical limb ischemia. He has coordinated two multinational consortia, REDDSTAR and NEPHSTROM, funded by the European Commission. Professor O’ Brien has also contributed significantly to the local Galway economy through collaborations with medical device companies and startups as a result of his research activity. Professor O’ Brien is on the governing body of NUI Galway and executive management team of the Saolta University Health Care Group, one of six hospital groups in Ireland’s Health Service Executive. With these leadership roles, he has influenced and shaped the direction of higher education and health care sectors regionally and nationally. Under his leadership, the NUI Galway campus has been transformed with new buildings dedicated to biomedical science, medical education, clinical research and stem cell manufacturing. A native of Cork, Professor O’ Brien received a PhD in medicine and a medical degree from University College Cork. He completed a postdoctoral fellowship as a Mayo Clinic Scholar at the Gladstone Institute of Cardiovascular Disease in San Francisco, and a fellowship in endocrinology and metabolism at Mayo Clinic School of Graduate Medical Education in Rochester. He completed internal medicine residency at Cork University Hospital in Ireland. -Ends-

Tuesday, 22 October 2019

‘Navigating Ireland’s Theatre Archive: Theory, Practice, Performance’ examines how Irish theatre continues to capture our history in a political, social and cultural context Navigating Ireland’s Theatre Archive: Theory, Practice, Performance, a new book by Dr Barry Houlihan, Archivist at NUI Galway, explores the processes of engaging with the documented and undocumented record of Irish theatre history and broadens the concept of evidential study of performance through increasingly diverse archives and digitally restored records. The archive is a repository of evidence and material including annotated scripts, photographs, correspondence, administration, recordings and other remnants of the mechanics of producing theatre. Audience members depend on the liveness of theatre, to be within a moment of performance that is unique and present, one that defies capture. Today, through digital means, it is possible to reconstruct and relive past moments from Ireland’s theatre past. It is possible to be within touching distance of the riotous moments at the emergence of a new National Theatre for Ireland over a century ago; to sense what is was like to see a new play by Lady Gregory, G.B. Shaw, Samuel Beckett, Marina Carr or Tom Murphy for the first time; to relive Druid Theatre bringing Synge’s works back to the Aran Islands, to witness great actors, powerful moments, deep silences, as well as the cheer of a standing ovation. Dr Barry Houlihan, Archivist, James Hardiman Library at NUI Galway, says: “The archive of Irish theatre is a resource for the public, researchers, and artists to interrogate and challenge the past through its history and through its tangible evidence, stories, and personalities captured within the archive. Digital technology enables us to reanimate our theatrical heritage and witness it again as new audiences today. We are a country of theatre-goers, story-tellers, and performers, and our theatre’s heritage is a part of our culture and identity. “The book argues for the potential of the archive, for the ongoing and digital recording and archiving of our theatrical heritage. In doing so, we document a powerful tool of our country’s culture: our theatre and our artists who reflect our society and imaginations. The digital archive enables us to witness and relive those moments as new audiences into the future.” Individual chapters within the collection look at what defines the tradition of Irish theatre ‘British’ theatre, or ‘Northern Irish’ theatre, terms which are perhaps less straight-forward today. As we face the uncertainty of Brexit, the borders of our histories and archives will continue to grow digitally with instant global access to records of theatre a growing reality. In 2016, #WakingTheFeminists, a women-led movement of theatre-makers emerged to respond to a paucity of opportunity and engagement for women artists at the Abbey Theatre. It awoke, not just a reflection on employment and work practices across the Irish theatre section, but also about the status of the archive and repertoire itself – and where women theatre-makers are recorded in the archive. The book also covers theatre archives that address our difficult and dark past, right up to the present day in ‘The Asylum Archive’ of Direct Provision, oral history archives, the ‘Anglo Tapes’ and the 2008 financial crash, and to current debates around Repeal of the Eight Amendment in the Irish Constitution. Within the book, personal memoirs and experiences are opened up, such as memories of the establishment of a new theatre, the Lyric, in Belfast, Northern Ireland, in the 1950s that blossomed from amateur to professional while soon being in the ominous shadow of the cloud of conflict during ‘The Troubles’. Founded by Mary O'Malley in 1954, the Lyric [Players] Theatre afforded communities in Northern Ireland an outlet from which to escape political and sectarian divide and be part of a cultural movement. Archives preserved and digitised at the Hardiman Library in NUI Galway, include the Abbey Theatre and Gate Theatre digital archives; Druid Theatre Company archive; Taibhdhearc na Gaillimhe archive; Lyric Theatre Belfast archive; Galway International Arts Festival archive; as well as papers of playwrights and actors such as Thomas Kilroy, Siobhán McKenna, Patricia Burke-Brogan and Arthur Shields, among others, creating a bilingual record of Irish and international theatre and performance in Ireland and abroad. This book brings together key thinkers, scholars and theatre-makers who engage with the archive of Irish theatre and performance in terms of its creation, management as well as its artistic interpretation. New technological advances and mass-digitisation allows for new interventions with the repertoire and archive of Irish theatre and performance. This volume includes wide-ranging discourse, new critical thought and case studies from archivists, theatre scholars, historians and artists who each work to navigate Ireland’s theatre archive in order to uncover and reconstruct the past practice of performance through new digitally enhanced means. Dr Barry Houlihan is an archivist at the James Hardiman Library in NUI Galway, and teaches Irish theatre history at the University’s O’Donoghue Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance. He holds a PhD on Irish theatre and social engagement. His research interests include theatre historiography, political and social theatre, archival and cultural theory and digital humanities. He is also a project team member of the Abbey Theatre and Gate Theatre Digital Archive Projects. Navigating Ireland's Theatre Archive: Theory, Practice, Performance is published and available from Peter Lang Press, Oxford (2019) and is part of the Series: Reimagining Ireland, see: https://www.peterlang.com/view/title/63197 will be launched on Thursday, 24 October by Dr Caitriona Crowe. A symposium discussing current research and practice in digital theatre, archival curation and the archival futures for performance will take place on the same day, see: https://www.eventbrite.ie/e/performance-and-the-archive-presence-absence-and-digital-memory-tickets-70036299457 or logon to www.eventbrite.com and search for Performance and the Archive. For NUI Galway’s Archive collection, visit: http://library.nuigalway.ie/collections/archives/ -Ends-

Tuesday, 22 October 2019

Researchers from the School of Psychology at NUI Galway are currently recruiting participants from ages 16-35 in the Galway area to participate in a new psychology therapy study being trialed for individuals who are in the first five years of a diagnosis of psychosis. Early psychosis, which refers to a range of mental health difficulties often associated with experiences of hallucinations or delusions, can result in significant difficulties with social and occupational functioning. The CReST-R study (Cognitive Remediation and Social Recovery in Early Psychosis Study) focuses on helping to improve everyday functioning in young people aged 16-35, living with psychosis. The study will involve weekly one-to-one therapy sessions over the course of 10 weeks, with an assessment before and after completion of therapy. This trial is part of a Health Research Board funded programme entitled YOULEAD (Youth Mental Health Research Leadership) as part of a collaboration between mental health researchers at NUI Galway, UCD and RCSI, and health service providers, including the HSE and JIGSAW. Established in 2018, the vision for the YOULEAD programme is to build capacity for internationally excellent research in youth mental health by training future leaders in youth mental health research. The YOULEAD Programme will address three main needs: To identify preventable risk factors for youth mental health (such as drug use). To overcome the barriers to accessing treatment (such as living away from home without a GP). To evaluate existing treatments and build on these with novel programmes (such as the CReSt-R program). Professor Gary Donohoe, YOULEAD Programme Director and Professor of Psychology at NUI Galway, said: “We know that providing more multi-component treatments consisting of both medication and interventions targeting social and occupational functioning led to significantly better outcomes for patients. But these multi-component therapies are still lacking in Ireland. The CReSt-R study seeks to build an evidence base for how these multi-component therapies can be provided in the Irish health system.” Emma Frawley, YOULEAD Clinical Research Fellow, School of Psychology, NUI Galway, said: “The CReSt-R study is targeted at supporting those in the early stage of psychosis, addressing strengths and challenges of the individual with the goal of helping people function in their everyday life. It is an opportunity to receive 10 weeks of therapy and contribute to our understanding of how psychosocial interventions contribute to recovery in this group. I myself, am delighted to be part of building this evidence base in an Irish context.” To participate in the study and for more information contact Emma Frawley on email at CRESTR@nuigalway.ie or phone 086 8527199. For more information about YOULEAD, visit: www.nuigalway.ie/youlead -Ends-

Tuesday, 22 October 2019

NUI Galway will host a CAO information evening for students, parents, guardians and guidance counsellors in the Clonmel Park Hotel in Clonmel, Co. Tipperary, on Thursday, 24 October, from 7-9pm.   The evening will begin with short talks about NUI Galway and the undergraduate courses it offers. Afterwards, current students and NUI Galway staff will be on hand to answer any individual questions in relation to courses and practical issues like accommodation, fees and scholarships, and the wide range of support services available to our students. The ever-increasing popularity of NUI Galway is in-part due to its innovative programmes developed in response to the changing needs of the employment market. NUI Galway is launching four new degrees for 2020 entry responding to the needs and the demands of the job market- Law and Taxation, Law, Criminology and Criminal Justice, BSc Genetics and Genomics, and a BSc Geography and Geosystems. Information on these new degrees will be available at the information evening. There will be a representative from across the University’s five colleges available to answer questions about the programmes on offer, entry requirements, and placement and employment opportunities. Members of the Accommodation Office will be on hand to answer any queries about on-campus or off-campus options, including the new Goldcrest on-campus development, which brings the total of on-campus beds to 1193. Sarah Geraghty, Student Recruitment and Outreach Manager at NUI Galway, said: “Students choose NUI Galway as they want to study with the best academic and research minds in their field. They want to study in our new state-of-the-art facilities, such as the new Human Biology Building for medicine students and in Ireland’s largest engineering school, the Alice Perry Engineering Building. The location of our campus in the heart of Galway city appeals to students who want to live in a vibrant and creative city and who want to find a new home away from home. We look forward to meeting Leaving Cert students and their parents to explore if NUI Galway is the right fit for their third level studies.” For more information contact Caroline, Duggan School Liaison Officer on caroline.duggan@nuigalway.ie or 087-2391219. -Ends-

Tuesday, 22 October 2019

NUI Galway recently presented the 2019 MSc in Medical Physics scholarship. This MSc in Medical Physics programme is designed to meet the demand for qualified medical physicists. It is primarily geared toward training for physicists in the application of radiation physics in medicine but maintains a reasonable exposure to key aspects of clinical engineering so that students receive a comprehensive knowledge of the application of the physical sciences and engineering to medicine. The 2019 MSc in Medical Physics scholarship awardees include: Walton scholarship award – Kevin Byrne Van der Putten scholarship award – David Connolly George Johnstone Stoney scholarship award – Michael Moran Postgraduate International Merit scholarship award – Sthuthi Medepalli Postgraduate scholarship – Morgan Healy and Ryan Muddiman International scholarship holders - Anwar Beleehan and Rawan Tawatti The course is unique in that it is closely integrated with the University Hospital Galway. The majority of lectures and course materials are delivered by hospital staff. The course provides a unique opportunity to see the operation of a busy academic hospital. In September 2015, NUI Galway’s MSc in Medical Physics was the first European MSc programme to be awarded North American accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation of Medical Physics Education Programmes (CAMPEP) and the second programme worldwide. Dr Mark Foley, Academic Director of the MSc in Medical Physics at NUI Galway, said: “I am delighted to see these MSc students rewarded for their hard work. These scholarship awards are the first step on their career paths and will hopefully inspire them to follow in the footsteps of past MSc in Medical Physics graduates many of whom are in senior positions in industry and hospitals nationally and internationally in a short space of time since the first intake in 2002.” Dr Christoph Kleefeld, Clinical Director of the MSc in Medical Physics at NUI Galway, said: “Students can pursue their research projects in hospitals locally and nationwide providing the students not only with research skills but also with first-hand experiences of the routine work of a medical physicist and an understanding of clinical workflows in busy hospital departments.  Experiences such as these will add to the student’s future employment prospects.” -Ends-

Thursday, 17 October 2019

Annual Research and Innovation Symposium Celebrates Research Impact The achievement of seven outstanding researcher at NUI Galway were recognised recently through the President’s Awards for Research Excellence. The President’s Awards for Research Excellence reward and celebrate the contributions of staff to excellent, relevant, and innovative research that enhances NUI Galway’s reputation at an international level. During the annual Research and Innovation Symposium, NUI Galway President, Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh presented awards to seven individuals in three categories. The Research Supervisor Awards went to: Dr Su-Ming Khoo from the School of Political Science and Sociology for her research into the academic quality in Irish and South African Universities. Professor Paul Murphy from the School of Chemistry for his research in the development of inhibitors of carbohydrate binding proteins including those involved in infection, inflammation and cancer. In the Early Stage Researcher Category, the award winners were: Dr Lorraine Morgan from the School of Business and Economics, for her research in Open Source Software, Inner Source, Open Business Models, Value Networks and Crowdsourcing. Dr John McCrae, Data Science Institute, for his work on the development of data about languages around the world. In the Established Researcher Category, the award winners were:  Professor John Canavan from the School of Political Science and Sociology for his work with UNESCO Child and Family Centre and the Child Welfare Sector. Professor Dympna Casey from the School of Nursing and Midwifery for her work on the MARIO Project, a companion robot for people living with dementia. Professor Martin O’Halloran from the Colleges of Medicine and Engineering for his work on the design and commercialisation of novel patient-centred medical devices. Speaking at the awards, which are now in their sixth year, NUI Galway President, Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh said: “I would like to commend our seven colleagues today who have demonstrated a high level of research excellence and commitment to our students. They are part of our collective efforts to achieve societal and economic impact and advance our research mission. “ The Research & Innovation Symposium showcased the impact of NUI Galway’s research which reverberates internationally. James Dillon, Research Impact Manager in Queens University, Belfast spoke about supporting the research community in the pathway to impact, before joining a panel discussion with NUI Galway’s: Jacinta Thornton, Associate Director, Innovation Office; Claire O’Connor, Director of Institutional Research; Edel Murphy, Public and Patient Involvement (PPI); and Tony O’Flaherty, Head of National Research Programmes, Research Office. Threesis talks by PhD students Siobhán Morrissey, School of Humanities, and James Blackwell, School of Physics and a student entrepreneurship talk by Aaron Hannon, School of Engineering were followed by a second panel discussion centred on Research Perspectives. The panel was made up by Professor Molly Byrne, School of Psychology; Professor Vincent O’Flaherty, School of Natural Sciences; Dr Sharon Glynn, School of Medicine; and Professor Siobhán Mullally, Director of the Irish Centre for Human Rights; and Dr Nessa Cronin, Centre for Irish Studies and Moore Institute. At the event, Professor Lokesh Joshi, Vice-President of Research at NUI Galway, spoke about the focus of the University’s research: “As a public university we are here for a purpose, and that purpose is to benefit society and to deliver public good. I think this is something which drives us all as a research community - we want to make a change in the world – this drives us, this inspires us. I would like to congratulate today’s awardees for their exemplary commitment to their research and to our wider purpose.”      -ends-

Thursday, 17 October 2019

New article in The BMJ focuses on the use of statins amongst people at low risk of cardiovascular disease and the need for better data to help shared decision making Findings from a five-year study on statin use led by Dr Paula Byrne and Dr John Cullinan, J.E. Cairnes School of Business & Economics at NUI Galway along with Professor Susan M Smith, RCSI, has been published today (17 October 2019) in the leading medical journal The BMJ. Statins are among the most commonly used drugs in Ireland and the western world. While originally intended for those who have suffered prior cardiovascular disease, they are now commonly used by people with no prior disease to prevent cardiovascular disease in the future. This is called primary prevention. This new research highlights that eligibility for statins has expanded considerably over the past two decades and that clinical guidelines have gone from potentially recommending statin treatment in a small minority of older patients, to recommending treatment in a majority. At present nearly two-thirds of Irish adults aged over 50 with no history of cardiovascular disease could now be eligible for statins, even though there are significant uncertainties regarding the benefits of these cholesterol-lowering drugs. To date, most studies have not differentiated between the impact of statins in those with and without cardiovascular disease, which makes it difficult for doctors to support patients when making decisions about taking statins. This new research explores the deficiencies in the available evidence. It shows that considerable uncertainty remains about the benefits of their use for primary prevention of cardiovascular disease and that the effects of statins in certain groups, such as women and the elderly, may differ from effects in middle aged men. In addition, the absolute benefits from statins for low-risk patients can be very small and patients may consider that they do not justify taking a daily medication or the risk of adverse effects. Overall the research shows that for lower risk categories, many people may need to be treated to prevent one serious cardiovascular event. In addition, the authors highlight that much of the data on the side effects of statins remain unavailable for independent analysis. The authors call for better data on both the benefits and harms of statins, in particular for low-risk populations, in order to better facilitate shared decision making. Lead author Dr Paula Byrne, SPHeRE Researcher, J.E. Cairnes School of Business & Economics, NUI Galway, said: “Some patients may achieve very small reductions in risk of cardiovascular disease by taking statins. As a result, the individual patient and their doctor need to consider if these reductions justify taking a medication daily and the risk of side effects. From a societal perspective, we need to ask whether or not statin use in such low-risk people represents value for money in the health sector.” Co-author Dr John Cullinan, Senior Lecturer in Economics, J.E. Cairnes School of Business & Economics, NUI Galway, said: “In the context of overstretched healthcare budgets, the concept of overuse of medicines and low-value care should become integral to policymaking and reimbursement. We have highlighted one area of drug spending that warrants more careful consideration and would urge those responsible for the implementation of health policy and Sláintecare to seriously consider and deal with areas of potentially wasteful spending.” Co-author Professor Susan M Smith, RCSI, said: Given the on-going debate on the appropriateness of statin use in primary prevention, it is significant that the evidence to support this use is so limited, particularly for women. Doctors need more evidence on the benefits and harms of statins in low-risk individuals to support shared decision making with patients.” To read the full study in The BMJ, visit: http://press.psprings.co.uk/bmj/october/statins.pdf and https://www.bmj.com/content/367/bmj.l5674 -Ends-

Wednesday, 16 October 2019

The ‘Inaugural Professors In Conversation Series’ featuring newly appointed Business Professors at NUI Galway will continue its series with Kate Kenny, Professor of Business and Society on Wednesday, 23 October. Professor Kenny will talk about Whistleblowing and Business Ethics. The lunchtime event hosted by the J.E. Cairnes School of Business and Economics and Whitaker Institute is free and open to the public. What role does ethics play in business practice, in Ireland and internationally? Professor Kate Kenny will discuss insights from over ten years’ research into this question, with a focus on speak-up and whistleblowing. From the U.S. White House, to the Brexit referendum and Ireland’s policing and energy sectors, whistleblowing is rarely out of the news.  Meanwhile laws are changing across the world, with a new EU whistleblowing directive promising major changes for Irish organisations in the public and private sectors. Professor Kenny will identify resulting impacts, challenges and opportunities for organisations and citizens in Ireland, based on international experiences. Professor Kenny will be in conversation with John Devitt, Chief Executive and founder of Transparency International’s chapter in Ireland and Chair of the Whistleblowing International Network. Professor Alan Ahearne, Director, Whitaker Institute at NUI Galway, said: “We are delighted to co-host this inaugural lecture series which will provide our newly appointed professors with the opportunity to engage students, colleagues and the general public in a frank discussion of issues that are crucially important for our country. We all know from well-publicised recent episodes that whistleblowers are critical in the fight to weed out malpractice, unlawful and unethical behaviour from the workplace, and they need better support and protection.” Speaking about the event, Professor Kate Kenny, NUI Galway, said: “Business ethics is a hot topic at the moment, posing many challenges and opportunities for organisations. I am looking forward to discussing insights from my research. Having studied whistleblowing and speak up systems for over ten years, in Ireland and overseas, I am particularly delighted to be joined by John Devitt for this conversation. His continued work with Transparency International Ireland is central to supporting whistleblowers and advocating for strong legal protections, at European, international and Irish levels.” The event will take place on Wednesday, 23 October from 1pm-2pm in Room CA110 in the Cairnes Building, North Campus, NUI Galway. To book the event, visit: https://www.eventbrite.ie/ and search 'Whistleblowing and Business Ethics' or logon to:https://www.eventbrite.ie/e/conversations-with-our-newly-appointed-professors-prof-kate-kenny-tickets-75817579421 -Ends-

Wednesday, 16 October 2019

CÚRAM, the Science Foundation Ireland Research Centre for Medical Devices at NUI Galway, is providing a workshop at Baboró International Arts Festival for Children, creating an opportunity for young people from ages 8-12 to explore the connections between science and art in a practical drawing workshop with Karen Conway, artist in residence at CÚRAM. Taking place in Ballybane Library on Friday, 18 October at 3.30pm, the free workshop Drawing on Science will explore vintage medical equipment and chemicals used in the past as Karen compares them to today’s devices and chemicals. Fascinating biomaterials and medical devices will be used to create drawings. Karen Conway has been selected to create the CÚRAM community art commission for the East side of Galway city, which is co-funded by the Galway City Arts Office. As part of her CÚRAM community art commission, Karen is working with Professor William Wijns, a world leading expert in Interventional Cardiology based at NUI Galway and Galway University Hospital. Ms Conway, said: “I am delighted to work with CÚRAM researchers to deliver a workshop which is part of the fantastic Baboró International Arts Festival for Children.” Places on the workshop are limited and booking is required by contacting Ballybane Library on 091 380590. The Drawing on Science workshop is supported by Galway City Council and Galway County Council. For further information, visit the Baboró website at: https://www.baboro.ie/festival/programme/drawing-on-science. For more information on Karen Conway, visit: https://karenconway.work/ -Ends-

Tuesday, 15 October 2019

The Irish National Digital Experience (INDEx) survey was launched today (Monday, 14 October) by the Minister for Higher Education, Mary Mitchell O’Connor TD. The survey is open to all NUI Galway students on taught programmes (undergraduate or postgraduate), who are aged 18 or over. Lecturers and other staff who teach are also being surveyed. Students and staff in Irish higher education institutions are being asked about how they use digital technologies in their learning or in their teaching. Each institution will be able to identify the particular needs of its own students and staff and get opinions on what to prioritise for the future. It will also give a detailed picture of the current level of technology use and which tools are available to users across the whole country. It is also part of an international study that will allow us to see how Ireland is positioned compared to other countries.  Director of the Centre for Excellence in Learning & Teaching at NUI Galway, Dr Iain MacLaren said: “The INDEx survey offers staff and students an opportunity to tell the institution how they currently use digital technologies, and share their expectations of how our digital environment should change in the future. It provides a fantastic opportunity for peoples' voices to be heard and ensure that our future strategy is well-informed.” The survey is a unique collaborative partnership between the institutions, the National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning, and representatives of students and staff.  Dr MacLaren added: “This has the potential to be really helpful in so much of our work in the sector and so the higher the participation levels the better. If you only fill in one survey over the next few weeks, make it this one!”    The survey is completely anonymous and great care is being taken with ensuring that the data is secure and managed appropriately.  All queries on the survey should go to index@teachingandlearning.ie or check the website at: https://www.teachingandlearning.ie/index/  -Ends- 

Monday, 14 October 2019

Students from NUI Galway had the rare privilege of hearing Irish folk legend Christy Moore discuss his lifelong research of song material, his songwriting influences and his journey as Ireland’s greatest folk singer. The event was part of the University’s annual Jean Ritchie Lecture which coincided with NUI Galway’s Arts in Action 2019-2020 programme launch. Now in its ninth year, Arts in Action offers NUI Galway students from all course disciplines ranging from Medicine to Engineering to Science, the unique opportunity to complete a ‘Creative Arts’ module as part of their academic year. Students can also attend the weekly free lunchtime programme of events featuring celebrated artists. Arts in Action Producer and Artistic Director, Mary McPartlan, NUI Galway, said: “What has always been important to NUI Galway is the natural connection that exists between the creative arts and the existing academic structures, providing students with access to continuous high-end international and professional arts in all genres, which also creates credit bearing opportunities in academic modules. This year’s programme also reflects the growing collaboration between NUI Galway and the many local and national arts organisations, bringing rich and rewarding performances to the students and staff on a weekly basis.” A strong narrative around the theme of this year’s programme is Ireland’s inextricable link with the islands both here and overseas, the country as an island in these uncertain times of Brexit and the possible return to a hard border, the arresting landscape, heritage and the Irish language. Drawing on Ireland as an island, Arts in Action will host a Celebration of the Blasket Islands in association with An Taibhdhearc. Suantraí na hInise/Island Lullaby is a unique and innovative music/theatre event. Composed and directed by Colm Ó Foghlú and featuring internationally renowned musicians Niamh Ní Charra, Noreen O’Donoghue and members of the Orchestra of Ireland it will include historical images and film from The Blasket Centre Archive. Representing islands off Scotland, England and Wales, performances include the English folk singer and musician Lisa Knapp and Irish fiddler player and composer, Gerry Diver. From the Shetland Islands, fiddle player Chris Stout will perform with Dundee harpist Catriona McKay. A strong line-up of Irish artists include comedian and actor Tommy Tiernan in conversation with RTÉ broadcaster, Vincent Woods, world class fiddle player Martin Hayes, renowned uileann piper, Paddy Keenan, composers and instrumentalists, Ulaid, and a concert of harp music with harpists Laoise Kelly, Grainne Hambly and Kathleen Loughnane. Arts in Action is also delighted to continue its association with TG4’s Molscéal and its development of the creative arts programme, presenting the 2019 Gradam Ceol ‘Young Musician of the Year’ featuring accordion player and Clarenbridge native, Conor Connolly and Guests. The programme will also continue its strong relationship with An Taibhdhearc presenting Airneán Árann, a concert featuring actor, Macdara Ó Fátharta, who was born in Synge’s Cottage in Inis Meáin and who translated a selection of the writings of John Millington Synge about the island. For this very special concert Macdara will be joined by his son, MacDara O Conaola, Galway poet, Mary O Malley, Inis Mór musician, Oisín Ó hIarnáin, Inis Mór singer, Treasa Ní Mhiolláin and Inis Oírr singer, Lasairfhíona Ní Chonaola. Representing the culture of the Aran Islands the programme features a series of black and white photographs of the Islands from NUI Galway’s Hardiman Library Archives, along with a selection of bilingual poems curated by university academic and poet Dr Lillis Ó Laoire, depicting the landscape of the three Aran Islands. In January 2020, NUI Galway will host a European Capital of Culture Seminar curated by Dr Catherine Morris and Mary Mc Partlan, bringing together a panel of artists, cultural practitioners, teachers and students to explore the dynamic role of arts and culture in university education. The event will discuss how creativity features across the curriculum, how artistic practice can be taught, and how to assess artistic creativity in the humanities. Irish Theatre Institute will present the theatre production Fond Pageant. Written and performed by Daniel Reardon, the play is based on Reardon’s book of the same name, sparked by an unprovoked and inexplicable epileptic seizure suffered by Reardon while attending the opening night of Ulysses at the Abbey Theatre in 2017. Music for Galway will present a series of concerts featuring the best in Irish and international classical music that includes Venetian pianist Chiara Opalio, violinist Eoin Ducrot and Cork cellist Aoife Burke and Collegium choir will perform music from the Renaissance period under the direction of conductor Mark Duley. To download the full Arts in Action 2019-2020 programme and to book events, visit: http://www.nuigalway.ie/artsinaction/and https://www.eventbrite.ie/o/college-of-arts-nui-galway-17945074324 -Ends-

Monday, 14 October 2019

Have you ever wondered what affects the occurrence of migraines? Psychologists at NUI Galway’s School of Psychology are interested in examining this phenomenon in adults from Ireland and the UK, and want to investigate the psychological factors that could contribute to migraines by carrying out an online study.  Estimates for the prevalence of migraine in Ireland vary roughly between 600,000 and 900,000. There is an estimated 1 to 1.09 billion people affected by migraine worldwide according to the most recent research from the World Health Organisation. While not the most common type of headache, migraine is estimated to be the most burdensome and merits further investigation from all disciplines.  The researchers plan to investigate the impact psychological factors such as attachment style, childhood experiences, dissociation, current stress, anxiety and mood has on migraine. They aim to collect responses from adults diagnosed with migraine from Ireland and the UK with a view to analysing and publishing the results.  The study is being carried out by Iain Mays, Trainee Clinical Psychologist, Professor Brian McGuire, Co-Director for the Centre for Pain Research, and Dr Jonathan Egan, Deputy Director of the Doctorate Programme in Clinical Psychology at NUI Galway. Dr Jonathan Egan, School of Psychology, NUI Galway, says: “Psychological factors are important in that they may influence how a person reacts to how a migraine headache is managed and whether they feel that they can access support or not. Stressful life events in childhood may predispose people to developing chronic health conditions including migraines and we want to research whether this is true in a large sample of people experiencing migraine in Ireland” Iain Mays, School of Psychology, NUI Galway, said: “There is a growing awareness of the impact of migraine in Ireland. This has been documented with the publishing of the Migraine Quick Reference Guide by the Irish College of General Practitioners in February, along with important awareness campaigns such as Brain Awareness Week in March and more recently Migraine Awareness Week in September. This research hopes to contribute to our awareness and understanding of migraine by investigating possible psychological factors associated with the condition.” To participate in the online study and for more information please phone 091 492956 or visit: https://nuig-psychology.ie/index.php/693694?lang=en  -Ends- 

Tuesday, 8 October 2019

Professor Louise Allcock, Head of Zoology at NUI Galway is a co-author of a new study that found octopuses from deeper in the ocean had warty skin compared to their shallower smooth-skinned counterparts, with DNA sequences revealing they were the same species despite looking so different. The study was led by The Field Museum of Natural History, Chicago, and is published today (8 October 2019) in the international journal, Bulletin of Marine Science.  Deep beneath the ocean’s surface, surprisingly cute warty pink octopuses creep along the seafloor. But not all these octopuses look alike. While humans love a good “Is your skin oily, dry, or combination?” quiz, members of one octopus species take variations in skin texture to a whole new level. Some have outrageous warts, while others appear nearly smooth-skinned. Scientists weren’t sure if these octopuses were even members of the same species, and they didn’t know how to explain the differences in the animals’ looks. But in this new study, scientists cracked the case: the deeper in the ocean the octopuses live, the bumpier their skin and the smaller their bodies. DNA revealed that even though the octopuses looked different, they were the same species.  Co-author of the study, Professor Louise Allcock, Head of Zoology, Ryan Institute, NUI Galway, who analysed the DNA data, said: “We really weren’t sure what the DNA would tell us. Warty octopuses occur throughout the deep oceans of most of the world, including all the way down to the Antarctic, and there are real issues in determining the true number of species. From many locations we only have one or two specimens, because they live in really inaccessible habitats, so we had very little experience as to how much individuals of any given species might vary.”  Lead author, Janet Voight, Associate Curator of Zoology, Field Museum, said: “If I had only two of these animals that looked very different, I would say, ‘Well, they’re different species, for sure.’ But variation inside animal species can sometimes fool you. That’s why we need to look at multiple specimens of species to see, does that first reaction based on two specimens make sense?” To figure out if the smooth and warty octopuses were the same species, the scientists examined 50 specimens that were classified as Graneledone pacifica, the Pacific warty octopus. Plunging deep into the ocean in ALVIN, a human-occupied submersible vehicle, Voight collected some of the octopuses from the Northeast Pacific Ocean. The team also studied specimens loaned from the University of Miami Marine Laboratory and the California Academy of Sciences. They looked at specimens from up and down the Pacific, from as far north as Washington State to as far south as Monterey, California, and from depths ranging from 3,660 feet (1,100 metres) to more than 9,000 feet (2,700 metres) below the ocean’s surface. The researchers counted the number of warts in a line across each octopus’s back and its head and the number of suckers on their arms. They found that the octopuses from deeper in the ocean looked different from their shallower counterparts. The deep-sea specimens were smaller, with fewer arm suckers, and, most noticeably, bumpier skin than those from shallower depths. They found there weren’t two distinct groups; the animals’ appearances changed according to how deep they live. Comparing the octopuses’ DNA sequences revealed only minor differences, supporting the idea that they were all the same species, despite looking so different. Voight adds: “Sometimes when animals look different from each other, scientists can be tempted to jump the gun and declare them separate species, especially in the deep sea, where very little is known about animal life and scientists often don’t have many specimens to compare. But looking different doesn’t necessarily mean that animals are members of different species; take chihuahuas and Great Danes, which are both the same species of Canis lupus familiaris. Dogs’ different appearances are due to selective breeding by humans, but in the case of the warty octopuses in this study, their different appearances seem to result from environmental influences, because their appearance changes depending on where the octopuses are from.” Scientists aren’t sure why the variations in skin texture occur with depth. But they do have a hunch about the size difference. Voight thinks that these octopuses usually eat creatures from the sediment on the ocean floor, passing food from sucker to sucker and then crushing their prey like popcorn. “There’s less food as you get deeper in the ocean. So these animals have to work harder to find food to eat. And that means at the end of their lives, they’ll be smaller than animals who have more food. If you’re a female who’s going to lay eggs at the end of your life, maybe your eggs will be smaller”, says Voight. Smaller eggs mean smaller hatchlings.  Support for this hypothesis comes from the number of suckers on the males’ arm that transfers sperm packets to females. Earlier research by Voight found that male hatchlings have a full-formed arm with all its suckers in place. The researchers documented that the number of suckers on this arm was much smaller in males from greater depth, and Voight hypothesizes it relates to egg size. “The octopus hatchlings in shallower water, only 3,660 feet (1,100 metres), are bigger. Their eggs had more yolk. As the embryos grew, they developed farther inside the egg than the ones from 9,000 feet (2,700 metres), who were developing in smaller eggs. They had less energy to fuel their growth before they left the egg, so they made fewer suckers,” says Voight. Seeing these physical manifestations of octopuses’ food limitation provides a hint of how they might fare as climate change progresses and the octopuses’ food supply fluctuates. Voight notes that this study, which shows that different-looking octopuses can still be the same genetic species, could help researchers down the line trying to identify life forms in the deep sea. Remotely operated vehicles collect video footage of the ocean floor, and it can be used to estimate the number of species present, if known what they look like. That’s why, Voight says, it’s so important to examine specimens in person and use characteristics you can’t see on video to identify species boundaries. To read the full study in Bulletin of Marine Science, visit: https://doi.org/10.5343/bms.2019.0039 -Ends-