Monday, 8 July 2019

Given growing prevalence and resulting impact on health care resources, there is an urgent need to provide specialist training in diabetes NUI Galway’s College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences has launched Ireland’s first Masters in Diabetes programme. The Masters programme aims to prepare healthcare professional graduates to effectively contribute to diabetes management through comprehensive clinical and academic training.  Diabetes is a global health emergency with over 600 million people expected to have the condition by 2030, representing approximately 10% of the world’s population. Therefore, the World Health Organisation has classed diabetes as an epidemic requiring urgent action for both prevention and management. This has been echoed in Irelands Health Service Executive national policy and clinical strategy for diabetes. It is a chronic metabolic condition that can cause significant cardiovascular morbidity and mortality if not managed correctly. Central to this management is controlling key physiological indices such as blood sugar, blood pressure and blood lipid levels, as well as promoting health behaviours such as regular exercise, healthy eating and not smoking. Unfortunately achieving these biological targets and lifestyle goals is extremely challenging. As a result, the University has developed this innovative multidisciplinary Masters programme which will appeal to both clinicians and researchers and provide them with the toolbox needed to manage this common chronic disease. This postgraduate programme will be delivered through blended learning, so that students will learn through online activities and approximately three days per month face-face workshops at NUI Galway. The course modules in this programme show clear connections between diabetes, cardiovascular health, good clinical practice, health promotion and advanced research methods. Speaking at the launch of the new programme, Professor Sean Dinneen of NUI Galway’s School of Medicine and HSE National Lead for Diabetes, said: “Understanding the role of health promotion, as well as new therapies and technologies and how they will enable patient centred diabetes care will be important to ensure good outcomes for our patients. This Masters in Diabetes programme will deliver on this for students.” The first student intake of the Masters in Diabetes will be in September 2019. For more information visit https://bit.ly/2RWvtDN or https://youtu.be/Z6gJAwyMvY4. -Ends-

Thursday, 4 July 2019

NUI Galway-based Biomedical Engineer, Oisín McGrath has been awarded a grant from Enterprise Ireland for €500,000 to further develop his project ‘Galenband’ for commercialisation. The project aims to provide a convenient and reliable wrist-worn device to monitor the heart activity of people with atrial fibrillation, and ultimately aims to reduce the rate of stroke and heart failure caused by the pathology. Atrial fibrillation occurs when the electrical impulses that coordinate heartbeats don’t work properly, causing the heart to beat irregularly. Tens of millions of people globally suffer from this dangerous heart arrhythmia which often presents with infrequently occurring symptoms, making it challenging to detect with currently used monitors due to their short recording durations. Years of suffering, and lives themselves could be saved if a heart monitor were available which could be worn discretely and unobtrusively for extended periods of time, whilst continually capturing data. Galenband seeks to provide cardiac clinicians with a wrist-worn device capable of drastically increasing detection rates of the infrequently occurring symptoms of intermittent atrial fibrillation. This notoriously difficult-to-detect pathology is responsible for half of all fatal ischemic strokes, and is a leading cause of heart failure. Galenband is a data collection and analysis device that will monitor the heart activity of wearers on a long-term basis, recording episodes of infrequently occurring heart arrhythmia. The initial inspiration for the project came from Oisín McGrath’s own personal experiences with heart arrhythmia. For 13 years, Oisín suffered with an undiagnosed heart arrhythmia. A standard response for a clinician when a heart arrhythmia is suspected is to issue a 24-48-hour heart monitor in order to capture the symptoms. This would ideally allow for the diagnosis of the condition. As Oisín’s symptoms were often spaced out by a week or more, the short recording duration of these monitors failed to capture any symptoms, and the arrhythmia continued to go undiagnosed, causing great mental anguish, high financial costs, and a potential danger to his life. During that time 11 different heart monitors failed to capture anything. Eventually, a cardiac pacing procedure was necessary in order to diagnose the arrhythmia. From this experience, Oisín recognised that a change in recording strategy was required in order to increase the efficacy of non-invasive symptom detection methods. Galenband project lead, Oisin McGrath, says: “The achievements of the project are a strong endorsement of the level of teaching and research in Biomedical Engineering at NUI Galway. With the support of academic staff and the Technology Transfer Office in NUI Galway, and the funding received from Enterprise Ireland, Galenband will press forward in an effort to change the lives of atrial fibrillation patients on a global scale.” Professor Mark Bruzzi, Professor of Biomedical Engineering, College of Engineering and Science, NUI Galway, said: “This innovation is a great achievement and demonstrates the potential of teams innovating new technologies through the Master’s in Biomedical Engineering programme at NUI Galway.”  In 2010, shortly after his cardiac pacing procedure, Oisín began work on the earliest version of what would become Galenband. Cardiac rhythm monitoring methods formed the subject of Oisín’s Biomedical Engineering undergraduate thesis at NUI Galway, to allow him explore possible methods of accurately measuring heart rhythm with a long-term monitoring device. The needs-led innovation approach of the Biomedical Engineering degree programme at NUI Galway provided him with the perfect platform through which development could be furthered. During his Master’s in Biomedical Engineering, Oisín collaborated with students David Kerr, Belén Enguix, and Syed Kumail Jaffrey to investigate the logistical feasibility of the Galenband system ranging from a competitive landscape review to an overview of the regulatory pathway. The work carried out during this time received the Zenith award from Aerogen Ltd. The Galenband project was the first Irish project chosen by the world’s top University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) as part of their IDEA² Global program and won the Institute for Medical Engineering and Science (IMES) award for research in the field of medical engineering. Additionally, the project won the Technology category of the 2019 Universal Design Grand Challenge, organised by the Centre for Excellence in Universal Design at the National Disability Authority, and supported by Enterprise Ireland. -Ends-

Wednesday, 3 July 2019

NUI Galway will host an international exhibition detailing the life of forgotten Irish nobleman and Croatian national hero, Laval Graf Nugent von Westmeath. Count Laval Nugent (1777 – 1862) was born in Ballynacor, Co. Westmeath, and went on to fight in the armies of Austria and the Two Sicilies. In the process he became a major collector of classical sculpture and other archaeological finds. The exhibition, Laval Nugent - Warrior and Art Collector, will run in the Hardiman Research Building, NUI Galway, until August 2019. Laval Nugent - Warrior and Art Collector was funded by the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Croatia and developed by the Archaelogical Museum of Zagreb and the Embassy of the Republic of Croatia in Ireland. It was displayed in Dublin’s EPIC Museum earlier this year and is supported by NUI Galway’s Moore Institute and archival and print material from the James Hardiman Library. This exhibition is part of a programme of events highlighting the links between the cities of Galway and Rijeka - both European Capitals of Culture in 2020. It details Laval Nugent’s legacy as a Croatian national hero as well as his extensive achievements as a collector of cultural and archaeological artefacts. The exhibition was launched at NUI Galway on 28 June to coincide with the visit of a delegation from Rijeka n to the University. The group included Vojko Obersnel, Mayor of Rijeka, and Professor Snježana Prijić Samaržija, Rector of the University of Rijeka, accompanied by His Excellency, Ivan Masina, Ambassador of Croatia to Ireland. Hosted by University President Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh, the delegation discussed future collaboration in areas such as student and staff exchange, research collaboration and public engagement. Laval Nugent’s personal story provides rich material of academic interest, and among those engaging with the exhibition include researchers from the Moore Institute and the disciplines of archaeology and history, in particular. From the 16th century onwards a sizeable contingent of those who left Ireland were dispossessed and defeated rebel soldiers, commonly referred to as ‘The Wild Geese’. They went on to serve in armies and navies across the European continent often in distinct ‘Irish Brigades’. Laval Nugent was son of Count Michael Anton Nugent von Westmeath, Governor of Prague. In 1793, he joined the Austrian Army, becoming Colonel in 1807 and Chief of Staff of the Army corps of Archduke Johann of Austria in 1809. He was appointed the Supreme Military Commander in 1817 and also served in the Croatian parliament. Laval Nugent ranks among the most distinguished of this elite cadre of noble Irish émigrés and rose to the very top of the Habsburg military and social establishment in the 19th century. Among his notable achievements, Nugent defeated Napoleon’s brother-in-law in battle, liberated Rome from the French, founded his own museum and campaigned for Croatian independence. He was even made a Papal Prince in 1816 for driving Joachim Murat from Italy. Throughout his lifetime he developed a strong affinity with the Croatian people, their heritage and their culture. The archaeological collections he assembled can still be viewed in the Archaeological Museum of Zagreb. Nugent died on 22 August, 1862 in the Bosiljevo Castle, near Karlovac, and his body was later transferred to a sarcophagus in the Doric temple “Peace for the Hero”, in Trsat above Rijeka, next to the sarcophagus of his wife, Countess Giovannina Riario-Sforza. Daniel Carey, Director of the Moore Institute, NUI Galway, commented: “Laval Nugent is a fascinating figure whose distinguished military career and remarkable collecting habits gave him a leading profile in the nineteenth century in Croatian history. Developments in the 20th century obscured his legacy, but the emergence of Croatia as a separate nation has restored him to prominence. This exhibition provides a chance to renew our relationship with an exceptional individual and to remember him in the country of his birth.” -Ends-

Tuesday, 2 July 2019

NUI Galway study will monitor the quality of indoor air within high energy efficient homes among the Irish population Researchers from the School of Physics at NUI Galway are seeking to recruit 100 households to measure indoor environmental air quality within Irish homes that have been built to be highly energy efficient, by deploying remote sensors within the homes. In Ireland, homes are currently being built to a higher energy efficiency standard to reduce the country’s climate change impact, which can also contribute to reducing household heating costs. This study will evaluate and assess the indoor environment of these homes, to ensure these energy efficient measures are not adversely impacting upon the indoor air quality.    The research team, led by Dr Miriam Byrne and Dr James McGrath in NUI Galway’s School of Physics have initiated the project, which will investigate homes that have the highest energy efficiency standard, an ‘A’ Building Energy Rating (BER) certification. The research team will use a remote sensor and continuously monitor air quality within the home for 18 months. The study will measure the following pollutants: Volatile Organic Compounds Radon Thermal comfort parameters (Temperature, Humidity and Pressure) Carbon Dioxide Volatile organic compounds are emitted as gases from certain solids or liquids such as paint, furniture polish, soap, varnishes, aerosol sprays and cleaning products. Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas which has no taste, colour or smell and is regulated in Ireland by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Office of Radiological Protection. The thermal comfort assessment measurements will evaluate people’s subjective comfort (how warm or how cold they feel) within their homes. The carbon dioxide measurements are taken to assess ventilation systems effectiveness. Commenting on the study, Principal Investigator, Dr Miriam Byrne, lecturer in the School of Physics at NUI Galway, said: “We are delighted to have received SEAI funding for this important project. There is a delicate balance to be struck between ensuring that a home is energy efficient, and also providing enough ventilation to guarantee acceptable indoor air quality. The use of low cost sensors that wirelessly transmit data will allow us to collect detailed air quality and thermal data over a much longer period than has previously been possible.” For eligible participants who would participate in the study, a researcher will come to their home to install remote sensors (similar to a smoke detector in size) in four rooms in the home; the kitchen, living room, master bedroom and bathroom, and they will access information on the four pollutants within the home for 18 months through remote monitoring. Participants will also be asked to fill in a contextual information sheet, with questions on their home, such as heating and ventilation, as well as a thermal comfort survey and activity diary, activities such as cleaning and cooking, three times for the duration of this project. Benefits to participating in this study is that all participants will receive an overview of the indoor air quality assessment within their home and all participants will keep the sensors that are provided during the study, so that they can continue to measure pollutants within their homes after the study is completed. In addition, participants will assist research in NUI Galway and contribute to indoor air environment science. The VALIDate project is funded by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI). For more information and to participate in the study contact, Dr James McGrath, School of Physics, NUI Galway at james.a.mcgrath@nuigalway.ie and 091 493437. To read more about the VALIDate project, visit: www.nuigalway.ie/validate -Ends-

Tuesday, 2 July 2019

An innovative project at NUI Galway which encourages students to explore the evolution of life on Earth through the medium of film has received a significant international teaching award. The History of Life film project was overall winner in the category for ‘User-Generated Education Media’ at the 2019 MEDEA Awards in Leuven, Belgium. It also scooped the ‘Audience Favourite’ prize amongst the shortlisted finalists, which was decided through a live vote taken by the international delegates attending the ceremony. The MEDEA Awards were established to recognise best practice in the use of media in education and are supported by the Media and Learning Association. Since 2011, final year undergraduate science students at NUI Galway taking the class module History of Life, have worked in small groups to produce short documentary-style films on any aspect of evolution they choose. A diverse range of topics have been investigated by the student teams in the nine years the project has been running, including the origin of life on Earth, the evolution of the first forests and land animals, catastrophic past mass extinction events and the emergence of early human ancestors. These short films are then uploaded to a specially created YouTube channel, where they have reached a wide global audience online. All past student film productions are available on the playlist section of the History of Life YouTube channel here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCNgZkv0CmDcdCpAuWvnJArQ/playlists The project was developed and is run by geologist and palaeontologist Dr John Murray from Earth and Ocean Sciences in NUI Galway, with continuing support from the University’s Centre for Excellence in Learning and Teaching (CELT). Dr John Murray commented: “This teaching initiative is primarily an exercise in science communication; it allows students to enhance their learning through visual expression and experimentation. The message all of these student-produced films convey is an extremely important one - it principally concerns the story of where ultimately all life on Earth has come from, including humans.” Dr Murray added: “The vast majority of the students who make these films have no prior training in film-making, nor do they have any production budgets. Neither of these factors have ever proven to be a limitation. The student teams have consistently risen quite admirably to the challenge and the very high levels of enthusiasm, imagination and creativity on display in these films has always been nothing short of inspiring.” The finals of the 2019 MEDEA Awards took place in June in the historic Town Hall of Leuven, Belgium. The prizes were presented at the ceremony by recently elected mayor Mohamed Ridouani, who highlighted the position of Leuven as a deeply multicultural city with strong roots in the past.  Entries to the MEDEA Awards this year came from all over Europe, as well as Australia, Canada, Iran, Mexico, Morocco, Turkey and the US. According to the judging panel, the History of Life film project “is a very good attempt to encourage students’ interest and curiosity in science and also to help in building their research, communication and presentation skills. The project already has quite a good database of videos that can be used for different purposes both from teacher and learners, both for classroom and individual use.” Alida Zauers, an Earth and Ocean Sciences graduate from NUI Galway, created a short film examining the evolution of the beak in birds with a team of fellow students in 2015. She is currently Public Engagement and Outreach Officer at Tyndall National Institute, UCC. Congratulating NUI Galway on their awards, Alida Zauers said: “The History of Life film-making project was the first time I was exposed to science communications in my undergraduate degree, which ultimately led me to pursue a career in public engagement and outreach in the area of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). While it was challenging at times, I really enjoyed the entire process from start to finish. It taught me the importance of communicating science without the jargon and helped me realise how crucial communicating science to our peers and the public is. This project is vitally important in preparing students for what lies ahead in their future careers, and I hope it will be adapted and rolled out across all science disciplines in the future.” A short film compilation explaining more about the project, which was premiered at the MEDEA Awards event in Leuven and features music by alt-rock Dublin band Empire Circus, is available on the History of Life YouTube channel here: https://youtu.be/0Y0RmQFb628 -Ends-

Monday, 1 July 2019

New €3.9 million NUI Galway-led European consortium to train researchers in developing new treatments for multiple sclerosis Monday, 1 July, 2019: Dr Una FitzGerald, Principal Investigator of the Multiple Sclerosis Research Lab and Director of the Galway Neuroscience Centre at NUI Galway, collaborating with CÚRAM, the Science Foundation Ireland Centre for Research in Medical Devices, has secured €3.9 million in EU funding to lead a consortium of researchers across Europe. The project aims to develop novel devices and treatments for the devastating neurological disease multiple sclerosis (MS) and involves researchers from Denmark, Germany, Belgium, France, Italy, Spain and the Czech Republic. MS is the most common neurological disease to affect young adults and there are currently approximately 8,000 people in Ireland suffering from the disorder. The disease usually has two phases, an early “relapsing remitting” phase, during which sufferers undergo impairment, such as double-vision or limb weakness, followed by symptom dissipation for a period. The second phase, termed “progressive MS” is degenerative, when individuals experience deteriorating symptoms, frequently resulting in much-reduced mobility, increased fatigue and cognitive challenges. These worsening symptoms impair quality of life significantly, and in some cases, can lead to an inability to continue in full-time employment or to work at all. There is a plethora of treatments, or disease-modifying therapies, which can help dissipate the many debilitating symptoms of MS during the earlier part of the disease. Sadly, however, there is only one disease modifying therapy, Ocrelubzimab, which is approved for treating the progressive and degenerative phase but is only suitable for a subset of patients. This research programme will combine expertise in biomaterials, neuroimmunology, stem cell biology, neurological disease, biomarkers, computer modelling of cerebrospinal fluid flow and medical device design. The consortium, coordinated from NUI Galway, aims to develop much-needed treatments for the progressive phase of multiple sclerosis. Part of the EU Initial Training Network (ITN), the programme will fund 15 PhD students across Europe, five of whom will be based at NUI Galway under the supervision of Dr Fitzgerald and her co-awardees Professor Abhay Pandit, Scientific Director at CÚRAM and Dr Nathan Quinlan from the College of Engineering and Informatics at NUI Galway. Professor Pandit will contribute expertise in the development of biomaterials for drug release and Dr Quinlan will generate in silico models of biological systems that are integral in the development of medical devices. Together with Dr Fitzgerald’s experience in the field of neuroscience and pathology, this will prove an exciting opportunity for students to train as scientists, as well as developing a novel medical device. Dr Una Fitzgerald, Principal Investigator of the Multiple Sclerosis Research Lab and Director of the Galway Neuroscience Centre at NUI Galway, said: “This award is a huge boost to our multiple sclerosis research efforts here at NUI Galway. By combining our university’s expertise in MS, biomaterials, medical devices and fluid dynamics and computer modelling with that of our partners across Europe, this project could yield PhD graduates who are MS experts and who have helped pioneer a new medical device that could eventually help those suffering from the later stages of MS.”  Professor Abhay Pandit, Scientific Director at CÚRAM in NUI Galway, said: “Partnering in this unique consortium provides CÚRAM with the opportunity to combine our unique areas of research excellence to produce real solutions for those who urgently need it. That, combined with the training of PhD graduates with expertise and experience, makes this funding a very exciting award and is testament to Dr Fitzgerald’s excellence in the field of MS research.” This project has been funded by the European Union Horizon 2020 Programme (H2020-MSCA-ITN-2018) under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Initial Training Network and Grant Agreement No. 813263. -Ends-

Wednesday, 26 June 2019

A new bilingual documentary by NUI Galway Academic Aodh Ó Coileáin A new bilingual documentary, ‘Cumar – A Galway Rhapsody’, will premiere at this year’s Galway Film Fleadh. The creative feature-length film, directed by NUI Galway’s Aodh Ó Coileáin and produced by Paddy Hayes of Magamedia Teo., examines the influence of Galway city and Connemara on six artists from varied fields. In turn the lens focuses on the impact of these artists’ work on the place where they live.  The artists featured in the film include: musician/composer Máirtín O’Connor; novelist Mike McCormack; poet Rita Ann Higgins; Noeline Kavanagh, artistic director of Macnas; singer song-writer, Róisín Seoighe; visual artist, Pádraic Reaney; and comedian, Tommy Tiernan.  While Galway Street Club make a guest appearance with their own brand of music.  These artists explore Galway as a confluence of creativity and as a nucleus for artistic endeavour. The focus of the film is a visual evaluation of the link between these Galway based artists and their environment. ‘Cumar – A Galway Rhapsody’ also parses some of the diverse cultural influences that have shaped Galway itself and moulded its artistic culture over time. Along a crossroads of sea, of land, of thought and story, Galway has always been receptive to new influences; the city bears the print of so many civilisations and cultures. The film’s auteur Aodh Ó Coileáin is Programme Director of the MA (Cleachtas Gairmiúil sna Meáin) and also teaches on the BA (Cumarsáid agus Gaeilge) programme at NUI Galway’s Acadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge.  His last film ‘Fís na Fuiseoige/The Lark’s View’ was premiered to critical acclaim at the Dublin International Film Festival in 2016 and went on to win awards at the Earth Day Film Festival in San Francisco and the London Irish Film Festival. Ó Coileáin is Chairperson of an Taibhdhearc, Ireland’s National Irish Language Theatre.  Novelist, IMPAC award winner and NUI Galway lecturer Mike McCormack says in the film: “When I first arrived in Galway aged 19, I developed a private mythology of Galway as a city on the edge of the world where one has to turn around to look at the world - to comprehend it.  Galway has a great curiosity about the world as a result.” Noeline Kavanagh from Macnas, added: “Art happens out of necessity, and certain landscapes are a cluster for that to be released, and I feel that there are some laylines in the West of Ireland that draw a particular sensibility out of people.” The film’s Director Aodh Ó Coileáin said: “Since coming to live in Galway over 30 years ago, I have wondered what it is about this catchment area that produces artists and attracts artists to the City of Tribes.  The film touches on some of the explanations that have occurred to me from time to time: the city’s diverse cultural background stretching into medieval times and beyond, the confluence of languages, the rich tradition of music and song, or is it simply the meeting of the waters: river, lake, and sea?” ‘CUMAR – A Galway Rhapsody’ is the project which was selected for the 2017 ilDÁNA commission. The ilDÁNA scheme is an opportunity for documentary filmmakers to make a landmark, cinematic documentary on the arts in Irish. ilDána is a partnership between TG4 and the Arts Council/An Chomhairle Ealaíon, in association with Galway Film Centre. The film will premiere at Galway Film Fleadh, Town Hall Theatre, on Wednesday, 10 July, at 2pm. ‘Cumar – A Galway Rhapsody’ will also screen at this year’s Clifden Arts Festival and at Shorelines Arts Festival in Portumna in September. -Ends-

Wednesday, 26 June 2019

Fadscannán faisnéise dátheangach nua le hAodh Ó Coileáin as OÉ Gaillimh  Taispeánfar den chéad uair scannán faisnéise dátheangach nua ‘Cumar – A Galway Rhapsody’ ag Fleadh Scannán na Gaillimhe i mbliana. Déanann an fadscannán cruthaitheach seo, atá stiúrtha ag Aodh Ó Coileáin as OÉ Gaillimh agus léirithe ag Paddy Hayes as Magamedia Teo., scrúdú ar an tionchar atá ag cathair na Gaillimhe agus ag Conamara ar sheisear ealaíontóirí as réimsí éagsúla. Déantar scrúdú chomh maith ar an tionchar a bhíonn ag saothar na n-ealaíontóirí seo ar a n-áit chónaithe. Níl áit ar fud na cruinne nach bhfuil saíocht seanchas agus cumar cultúr fite fuaite leis, ach is minic é ráite go bhfuil bua áirithe cultúrtha agus ealaíona ag Gaillimh. Is portráid cheanúil ar Ghaillimh atá in ‘Cumar – A Galway Rhapsody’ ina ndéantar iniúchadh ar na cumair ealaíonta a mhúnlaigh an cultúr ar leith atá inti.  Déanadh an scannánaíocht thar thréimhse bliana agus tugtar suntas do na giúmair agus na dathanna éagsúla a chuireann an aimsir agus an tírdhreach in iarthar na hÉireann i bhfeidhm ar an gcathair agus ar an gcontae.  Faoi chaibidil sa scannán tá: an scríbhneoir, Mike McCormack; an file, Rita Ann Higgins; an t-amhránaí, Róisín Seoighe; stiúrthóir an ghrúpa Macnas, Noeline Kavanagh; an péintéir ó Chonamara, Pádraic Reaney; an ceoltóir, Máirtín O’Connor; agus an fear seoigh, Tommy Tiernan. Le chéile tugann na healaíontóirí seo léargas úr spreagúil agus ionraic ar shaol an ealaíontóra i gcathair na Gaillimhe agus i gConamara. Caitheann an scannán dátheangach súil fhísiúil chruthaitheach ar Ghaillimh mar thimpeallacht ina n-oibríonn na healaíontóirí seo. Tá Gaillimh ar chrosbhóthar farraige, talún agus smaointeoireachta, tháinig an chathair agus an ceantar máguaird faoi anáil na nuálaíochta agus na héagsúlachta; tá rian cuid mhaith sibhialtachtaí agus cultúr ar an gcathair agus scrúdaíonn an scannán tionchar na Gaillimhe agus Chonamara ar an seachtar ealaíontóirí seo a oibríonn i réimsí éagsúla. Déanann na healaíontóirí iniúchadh ar Ghaillimh mar cheantar ealaíona agus fiafraíonn siad an bhfuil an teideal ‘príomhchathair chultúir’ tuillte aici i ndáiríre?  Tá déantóir an scannáin, Aodh Ó Coileáin ina stiúrthóir cláir ar an MA (Cleachtas Gairmiúil sna Meáin) agus múineann sé ar an gcéim BA (Cumarsáid agus Gaeilge), Acadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge, OÉ Gaillimh. Tharraing a scannán deireanach ‘Fís na Fuiseoige’ aird na léirmheastóirí nuair a taispeánadh é ag Féile Idirnáisiúnta Scannán Bhaile Átha Ciath in 2016 agus bronnadh gradaim air ag Féile Lá na Cruinne in San Francisco agus Féile Scannán na hÉireann i Londain an bhliain chéanna. Tá Ó Coileáin ina chathaoirleach ar an Taibhdhearc, Amharclann Náisiúnta na Gaeilge. Sa scannán deir an t-úrscéalaí, buaiteoir gradam IMPAC agus léachtóir OÉ Gaillimh, Mike McCormack: “Nuair a tháinig mé go Gaillimh ag naoi mbliana déag d’aois, d’fhorbair mé miotas príobháideach dom féin inar shíl mé gur chathair ar imeall an domhain a bhí i nGaillimh, áit a mbíonn ar dhuine casadh thart chun breathnú ar an saol – chun an domhan a thuiscint.  Dá dheasca sin, tá fiosracht iontach i nGaillimh faoin saol mór.” Cuireann Noeline Kavanagh ó Macnas leis an méid seo: “Cothaítear ealaín as riachtanas, agus cuidíonn tírdhreacha áirithe leis seo, braithim go bhfuil fórsaí suaithinseacha in iarthar na hÉireann a tharraingíonn mothúcháin áirithe as daoine.” Dúirt stiúrthóir an scannáin, Aodh Ó Coileáin: “Ábhar machnaimh dom ó tháinig mé go Gaillimh os cionn 30 bliain ó shin, cén fáth a bhfáisctear an oiread ealaíontóirí as an gceantar seo nó cén fáth a meallann Gaillimh lucht na n-ealaíon.  Tugann an scannán léargas ar chuid de na fáthanna a rith liom thar na blianta:  an éagsúlacht chultúir sa chathair siar go dtí na meánaoiseanna agus níos faide, an cumar teangacha atá sa cheantar seo, traidisiún saibhir amhrán agus ceoil, nó b’fhéidir gur mar gheall gur anseo atá an cumar ina mbuaileann abhainn, loch agus farraige faoina chéile?” Is togra de chuid na scéime ilDána é ‘Cumar – A Galway Rhapsody’- maoinithe ag TG4 agus an Chomhairle Ealaíon i gcomhar le hIonad Scannán na Gaillimhe. Bhain sé coimisiún amach in 2017. Tá sé léirithe ag TUA films. Cruthaíonn scéim ilDÁNA deis do lucht déanta scannán clár ceannródaíoch a chruthú ar na healaíona trí Ghaeilge. Taispeánfar an scannán den chéad uair ag Fleadh Scannán na Gaillimhe, Amharclann na Cathrach, Dé Céadaoin, 10 Iúil 2019 ag 2pm. Beidh sé le feiceáil ag Féile Ealaíon an Chlocháin i mbliana agus ag Shorelines Arts Festival i bPhort Omna i Meán Fómhair. Blaisín le feiceáil ag an nasc seo: https://youtu.be/4PzSgsFLmjA -Críoch-

Tuesday, 25 June 2019

NUI Galway’s third annual Soapbox Science Galway is set to return this weekend when twelve female scientists will take to their soap boxes and talk about their ground breaking research in the areas of science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine. The event will take place from 12pm-3pm at the Spanish Arch, Galway on Saturday, 29 June and is free and open to the public. Soapbox Science is a novel global public outreach platform for promoting women scientists and the science they do. Events transform public areas into an arena for public learning and scientific debate and they follow the format of London Hyde Park’s ‘Speaker’s Corner’, which is historically an arena for public debate. Soapbox Science 2019 is taking place in several countries around the world including Ireland, Australia, Canada, Argentina, South Africa, Sweden, Germany, Brazil, Belgium, Ghana, Nigeria, Tanzania, the UK and US. Soapbox Science Galway ensures that everyone has the opportunity to enjoy, learn from, question, probe, interact with and be inspired by some of our leading female scientists who will share their latest discoveries and answer the science questions people have been burning to ask. Talks will cover a diverse range of topics ranging from: Enhancing farming using insects; The marvels of human milk; Monitoring our oceans from space; How past climate can help prepare us for the future; The Internet as a force for good; Statistical thinking for real-life questions; and Natural Gas - the cleaner fossil fuel into the future. Soapbox Science Galway 2019 participants were selected from a competitive pool of researchers, and this year’s speakers from NUI Galway have joined forces with colleagues from the Marine Institute to showcase research talent in the West of Ireland, with speakers including: Dr Dara M Cannon (@daracannon), NUI Galway - “The Brain You Are” Dr Eimear Dolan (@eimearbdolan), NUI Galway - “Designing Medical Devices of the Future” Dr Nicola Fitz-Simon (@NicolaFitz), NUI Galway - “Statistical thinking for real-life questions” Ms Ann O’Brien (@anncarlowgirl), Trial Methodology Research Network - “Better Together – ‘The People’s Trial’ and the Internet as a Force for Good” Dr Anna Patricya Florentino, NUI Galway - “Superhero Microbes: contaminated environments mission!” Ms Allison Bistline-East (@ABEentomology), NUI Galway - “Slimy yet satisfying: Enhancing farming using insects” Dr Sarah Brennan (@stabrennan), NUI Galway - “The Marvels of Human Milk” Ms Catherine Jordan (@jorrrdy), Marine Institute and NUI Galway - “Monitoring our Oceans from Space!” Ms Anuja Gadekar (@AnujaRGadekar), CÚRAM, NUI Galway “Can sugars help in healing a diabetic wound?” Ms Devasanthini Devaraj (@DevaSanthini), UCD - “Natural Gas – The cleaner fossil fuel into the future” Ms Michelle Curran (@PalaeoShel), NUI Galway - “How past climate can help prepare us for the future” Dr Fearon Cassidy (@FearonCassidy), NUI Galway - “Stem cells in your bones?!” Soapbox Science Ireland events are organised by Dr Jessamyn Fairfield at NUI Galway and Dr Dara Stanley, UCD (formerly NUI Galway). Jessamyn is a nanoscientist and comedian, whose research is focused on building electronics like the brain. She is a lecturer in the School of Physics and CÚRAM (SFI Centre for Research in Medical Devices) at NUI Galway. Dara is a scientist interested in ecology and biodiversity, and in particular in plants and the insects that pollinate them. She is a lecturer in applied entomology at the School of Agriculture, UCD (formerly NUI Galway). Soapbox Science will also run in Dublin on Sunday, 30 June and in Cork on Saturday, 6 July. Dr Fairfield and Dr Stanley, said: “We both independently wanted to run a Soapbox Science event, and it was through this initiative that we initially met at NUI Galway. We had seen the need for a positive and fun way to engage with the issues around gender and STEM in the west of Ireland and in Galway in particular. We’re both also really interested in public engagement with science, and knew Soapbox Science was a great vehicle for bringing science to a public audience.” Soapbox Science Galway is sponsored by NUI Galway’s Office of the Vice President for Research. For more information about Soapbox Science, visit: http://soapboxscience.org/ or follow @darastanley, @ultrajessamyn and @SoapboxSciIRL on Twitter. See short Soapbox Science Galway 2019 video: https://youtu.be/KOHDXVTvyX4 -Ends-

Monday, 24 June 2019

Tá OÉ Gaillimh sa 3ú háit in Éirinn, is í an Ollscoil is fearr in Éirinn í lasmuigh de Bhaile Átha Cliath, agus í rangaithe sa 112ú áit san Eoraip. Tá gaisce déanta ag OÉ Gaillimh arís i Ranguithe Ollscoile Domhanda QS. Rangaíodh ar an 259ú hollscoil i mbliana í as 1000 ollscoil a ndearnadh measúnú orthu i ranguithe QS. Léiríonn sin go bhfuil sí ar cheann de scoth-institiúidí an domhain i gcónaí. Tá OÉ Gaillimh sa 3ú háit in Éirinn anois, is í an Ollscoil is fearr in Éirinn í lasmuigh de Bhaile Átha Cliath, agus í rangaithe sa 112ú háit san Eoraip. Ó 2014 tá OÉ Gaillimh i ndiaidh bogadh suas 25 áit ar an liosta, agus is í an t-aon institiúid Éireannach í ar tháinig ardú ar a rangú in ocht as naoi gcinn de na blianta roimhe sin.  Tá OÉ Gaillimh ag déanamh gaisce sna ranguithe idirnáisiúnta i gcónaí, agus is léiriú é sin ar a fháiltí atá cathair na Gaillimhe agus ar an bpobal bríomhar idirnáisiúnta atá sa chathair.    Bhí an méid seo a leanas le rá ag Uachtarán OÉ Gaillimh, an tOllamh Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh, nuair a fógraíodh ranguithe QS na bliana seo: “Tarraingíonn rangú OÉ Gaillimh i mbliana aird ar fheidhmíocht leanúnach ár n-ollscoile i réimse leathan gníomhaíochtaí.  Táimid thar a bheith sásta go bhfuil aitheantas tugtha i mbliana d'éagsúlacht idirnáisiúnta ár n-ollscoile, rud a leagann béim ar a tharraingtí atá OÉ Gaillimh do  chomhaltaí foirne agus mic léinn idirnáisiúnta sa chathair is ilchultúrtha dá bhfuil in Éirinn.  Agus muid sa tríú háit anois in Éirinn, agus sa chéad 120 san Eoraip, is fianaise é ár bhfeidhmíocht chomhsheasmhach le deich mbliana anuas ar chaighdeán ár gclár taighde agus teagaisc. Is iontach an t-aitheantas é seo ar phobal agus ar chultúr ár n-ollscoile. Bíodh is go dtuigimid go maith nach bhfuil i ranguithe ach bealach amháin chun a bhfuil ar siúl againn a mheas, tá a fhios againn mar sin féin ón aiseolas atá faighte againn ónár n-alumni, ó fhostóirí agus ó lucht déanta polasaithe gur tagarmharc idirnáisiúnta úsáideach agus tábhachtach iad.  Tá an-áthas orm, thar ceann OÉ Gaillimh, a fheiceáil go bhfuil an t-aitheantas agus an urraim seo faighte ag tiomantas phobal na hollscoile trí chéile.”  Tá curiarracht bainte amach ag Massachusetts Institute of Technology ar tugadh séala na hollscoile is fearr ar domhan di don ochtú bliain as a chéile. Is i Meiriceá i gcónaí atá na trí institiúid is fearr: tá MIT sa chéad áit, ansin Ollscoil Stanford (2ú) agus Ollscoil Harvard (3ú). Tá Ollscoil Oxford tar éis ardú go dtí an ceathrú háit, rud a fhágann gurb í an institiúid is fearr sa Ríocht Aontaithe - agus san Eoraip í - agus tá rangú Ollscoil Cambridge tite go dtí an 7ú háit. Beidh na ranguithe ar fad le feiceáil ag www.TopUniversities.com ó Dé Céadaoin, an 19 Meitheamh. CRÍOCH

Monday, 24 June 2019

Dr Fatou Bensouda listed twice by Time magazine as one of the 100 most influential people in the world DrFatou Bensouda, Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, will deliver a public lecture during this year’s annual Summer School on the International Criminal Court. This special event marks the 20th anniversary of the world-renowned International Criminal Court Summer School, hosted each year by NUI Galway’s Irish Centre for Human Rights. The School will take place from 24-28 June in the University’s Human Biology Building. Prosecutor Bensouda will deliver a public lecture entitled ‘Whither a ruled-based global order and the import of international criminal justice’. This event is jointly hosted by the Irish Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and will be chaired by Supreme Court judge, Mr Justice Peter Charleton. The International Criminal Court seated in The Hague is the world’s principal court for the prosecution of genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and aggression. The Prosecutor plays a pivotal role in investigating and prosecuting serious atrocities and has overseen investigations of alleged crimes in countries such as Libya, Mali, Democratic Republic of Congo, Sudan and Georgia. This year’s Summer School will comprise a series of lectures and seminars by leading practitioners and experts on international criminal law, examining the law, policy, challenges and achievements of the International Criminal Court since its establishment.  “We are exceptionally honoured to welcome Prosecutor Bensouda to NUI Galway and to the 20th anniversary Summer School”, said Dr Shane Darcy, Deputy Director of the Irish Centre for Human Rights at NUI Galway. “We look forward to gaining her insights on the Court’s role in a rule-based global order and on the challenges currently facing international criminal justice.” For further information on the Summer School visit https://bit.ly/2KdobeG. -Ends-

Monday, 24 June 2019

NUI Galway leads the way with new regional enterprise hub to support the incubation and acceleration of healthcare technologies for start-ups in the Life Sciences sector in the West   Monday, 24 June, 2019: Government Chief Whip and Minister of State for the Irish Language, the Gaeltacht and the Islands, Sean Kyne, TD with NUI Galway’s Innovation Office, has officially opened 6,500 square feet of fully fitted laboratory space with state-of-the art technology to support start-ups in the region. The Business Innovation Centre – North will support start-ups in the Life Sciences sector, with room for up to 100 employees.  The new development complements the University’s existing Business Innovation Centres which are home to 52 early-stage companies. The University’s focus with the new Business Innovation Centre – North is in driving Life Sciences research and innovation to develop services and solutions that demonstrably improve outcomes for patients through solutions that save lives. Galway has a vibrant start-up ecosystem and the new facilities for Life Sciences will allow a new cohort of companies to flourish. Government Chief Whip and Minister of State for the Irish Language, the Gaeltacht and the Islands, Sean Kyne, TD, commented: “In the West of Ireland we are fortunate to have strong and vibrant clusters of industry that are populated by global companies but also local start-ups brimming with potential and possibilities. This new ‘wet lab’ space will help students, researchers, and Life Sciences workers undertake research and development, carry out experiments and test ideas that will potentially have life-enhancing and life-saving results for patients far beyond the West of Ireland. “I congratulate and commend NUI Galway for building on its already strong reputation for innovation and I wish all researchers and companies that will use this facility well in their vital work.” Fiona Neary, Innovation Operations Manager at NUI Galway, says: “We opened our first Business Innovation Centre 30 years ago, and we have supported 97 start-ups on campus that have created 1,456 jobs to date. 53 of these start-ups came from the healthcare sector. Just last year our start-ups raised €35 million collectively. With continued growth in this sector now more than ever, we need additional space and supports in this area to ensure the scalability of these companies internationally. “Life Sciences start-ups have very particular needs. They require access to sophisticated ‘wet labs’, very specialised and often expensive equipment, hospitals and a skilled workforce. These requirements are all available here in NUI Galway. We anticipate an initiative like this has the potential to create a “networked” regional enterprise hub for the incubation and acceleration of healthcare technologies. This will unleash the capability to promote sharing of resources and expertise, entrepreneurial activity, create jobs, to foster innovation and to enhance export potential.” David Murphy, Director of the Innovation Office at NUI Galway, says: “The regions’ Life Sciences ecosystem is maturing to the point that innovation and entrepreneurship is imperative to retain our current standing. The lack of appropriate incubator space, particularly laboratory space, has been an impediment to the growth and development of nascent entrepreneurial enterprises, and this has driven the Innovation Office in NUI Galway to pursue this initiative. With financial support from NUI Galway, we are delighted to open this space generating and supporting regional development that is central to the University’s strategy.” The new facility in Dangan already has its first tenant in place, NUI Galway spin-out Orbsen Therapeutics Ltd., a leading company in the development of cellular immunotherapies across four immune-mediated inflammatory conditions. Dr Larry Couture, CEO of Orbsen Therapeutics Ltd., said: “Orbsen originated from the world class science at NUI Galway. As a start-up R&D company, we benefited greatly from our close proximity to the research community and core services on campus, but as we’ve grown to be a clinical stage company, the lack of suitable laboratory space in the area for emerging biopharmaceutical companies made relocation inevitable. The Dangan facility is exactly what we and the local emerging biopharmaceutical community desperately need and it will allow Orbsen to remain and continue to grow in the Galway area.” For Orbsen Therapeutics this additional space will accommodate the company’s increasing staff and prepare for the next phase of growth as they close additional funding rounds to support the development of novel therapies. Business Innovation Centre – North is based in the Dangan Business Park in Galway. For more information about NUI Galway’s Business Innovation Centre, visit: http://www.nuigalway.ie/innovation/business-innovation-centre/ -Ends-

Monday, 24 June 2019

ENERGISE (European Network for Research, Good Practice and Innovation for Sustainable Energy) led by NUI Galway and funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 programme will host the ‘ENERGISE Living Labs’ closing event in Ireland on 27 June, which will present and discuss both high-level and local-level findings from the project. The results will have implications for policy makers at local, national and European level. The ENERGISE consortium is coordinated by NUI Galway and includes ten research partners (universities, research institutes, enterprises and NGOs). The Living Labs were implemented in eight of the European partner countries including Ireland to develop, test and assess options for a bottom-up transformation of energy use in households and communities across Europe based on an assessment of over 1,000 European sustainable energy initiatives and consultations with stakeholders. In response to the increasingly urgent climate change challenge, as outlined in the recently released Climate Action Plan 2019, Ireland is promoting several climate and energy targets with the goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions and decarbonising the economy. However, the current pace and scale of change is insufficient to achieve the necessary sustainability transitions in energy systems; there is an increasing realisation that meeting energy targets is highly dependent on households playing a role in energy transitions – which implies challenging social norms and habits around energy usage in the home. Over 300 European households were involved in the ENERGISE Living Labs project from September to December 2018, and 38 of these households were based in Co Tipperary. The households either took on the two main challenges (a laundry challenge to halve the number of laundry cycles they do every week; and a heating challenge to reduce the indoor temperature in their living-rooms to 18 degrees Celsius), or designed their own challenge (for example to reduce the temperature in their living room to 19 degrees Celsius. The measures and challenges that participants undertook were very low or no cost changes to practices, which is in contrast with current discussions about the high cost of climate change action. The researchers from NUI Galway, with support from implementation partners Tipperary Energy Agency and Scoil Ruain, Killenaule, Thurles, Co. Tipperary, guided households through the multi-method ENERGISE Living Lab process. Dr Frances Fahy, ENERGISE project coordinator and Senior Lecturer in Geography at NUI Galway, said: “The results to date indicate that the majority of all households participating across Europe managed to successfully reduce their average living temperature by at least one degree and overall our results have generated exciting new insights into social and cultural influences on household energy use, as well as advancing conversations about how we use energy in daily life opening up pathways to advance ideas of energy sufficiency.” Dr Eimear Heaslip, Postdoctoral Researcher, ENERGISE project and researcher responsible for the implementation of the ENERGISE Living Labs in Co. Tipperary, said: “The participating households varied in size and composition and had varying energy demands. The feedback from the majority of these participating households was positive with many stating that engaging in the ENERGISE Living Labs was enjoyable and helped them to reduce their energy use in the home.” ENERGISE Living Labs are now nearing the end of the project, which concludes in November 2019. Fieldwork and analysis from the Living Labs is now complete with over 300 households participating across eight European countries (38 of these are from Co. Tipperary). The €3.7 million ENERGISE project is one of the largest Social Science projects ever awarded to NUI Galway, funded through the European Horizon 2020 Research Programme and supported by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI). The ENERGISE closing event will take place on Thursday, 27 June at the Horse and Jockey Hotel, Thurles, Co. Tipperary from 2.30pm-5pm (Session 1) and 5.30pm-8pm (Session 2). To register attendance to the closing event or for further information about ENERGISE and Living Labs, contact eimear.heaslip@nuigalway.ie or frances.fahy@nuigalway.ie. For more information about ENERGISE, visit: http://energise-project.eu/ or email info@energise-project.eu. -Ends-

Friday, 21 June 2019

: Scientists and students at the Ryan Institute, NUI Galway will make a day trip on the Marine Institute research vessel, RV Celtic Voyager, today (21 June) to take part in Ocean Sampling Day 2019. Ocean Sampling Day is a simultaneous sampling campaign of the world’s oceans by scientists globally.  It is organised by an EU consortium of marine research institutes, known as “ASSEMBLE Plus”, of which NUI Galway’s Ryan Institute is a part. Chief Scientist Professor Louise Allcock, who is director of the Centre for Ocean Research and Exploration within the Ryan Institute, will lead a team of four experienced scientists and 11 Marine Science undergraduate students who are in years 1 to 3 of their studies. Professor Allcock, NUI Galway, said: “We will sample and filter water from the ocean, and our filter papers, as well as those from other sites around the world, which will be sent to a molecular lab in a marine station in Greece where all the DNA on the filter papers will be sequenced to give an estimate of what bacterial and invertebrate species are present in the ocean.  A healthy ocean has a wide variety of species – an unhealthy ocean less so, and hence we get an overview of our ocean health.” NUI Galway’s Sheena Fennell, one of the experienced scientists in the team who has spent extensive time at sea, explained the benefits to the undergraduate students joining the expedition. “The students learn in their lectures all about the water column, the bacteria and inverterbrates living therein, and the specialised gears that we use to sample, but this is an opportunity for them to get genuine hands-on experience while contributing to an international research project.” The science team will sample directly above the SmartBay SubSea Cabled Observatory in Galway Bay. Professor Allcock emphasised the importance of this site to the project: “The SmartBay Observatory provides subsea data all year round which means there is an enormous environmental dataset to complement our physical samples. Taking our samples from here, also affords us the opportunity to highlight this impressive infrastructure to our European colleagues.” To follow the NUI Galway team on Ocean Sampling Day, you can follow on Twitter @DrShmoo and hashtags #OceanSamplingDay2019 and #OSD2019. For more information visit the Center for Ocean Research and Exploration in the Ryan Institute at http://www.nuigalway.ie/ryaninstitute/researchcentersandclusters/corex/ -Ends-

Friday, 21 June 2019

Brendan Smith was honoured as winner of the Cairdeas Award at the inaugural American Chamber of Commerce West Northwest US Ireland Business Conference held at NUI Galway this week. Brendan Smith of the SFI Insight Centre for Data Analytics at NUI Galway received the Cairdeas Award for his outstanding contribution to enabling people, in particular young people and minorities in the West of Ireland to develop skills in technology, coding and science. On accepting his award Brendan said: “I was so deeply honoured to accept the award as it was a recognition of how Insight, NUI Galway, SFI and the members of the American Chamber of Commerce Ireland now value the importance of engaging with and empowering individuals and communities from all backgrounds, ages, traditions and across all regions, both in Ireland and across the world, in developing creative skills in and an awareness of science, technology, engineering and maths. I accepted the award in that context as I am only a small part of a new wider collaborative movement that wants to enable people to use STEM and scientific research to improve their quality of life and to solve the increasing problems caused by Climate Chaos.” Themes covered at West Northwest Conference included innovation, collaboration and macro-trends for the region. An emphasis was placed on furthering FDI collaboration in the region with the SME community, local government and the opportunity to innovative with third level institutions. A highlight of the conference day was the second annual US-Ireland Business Series lecture given by James Lyons, VP Operations at Boston Scientific. Other areas of focus during the day included opportunities and scalable solutions for physical and digital infrastructure needs including road, rail and broadband. The requirement to focus on quality of life factors and cultural facilities to attract and retain talent in the West and Northwest was noted as a priority. The inaugural West-Northwest region Créafóg Award for sustainability was given to AbbVie Sligo. President of the American Chamber, Mark Gantly, said: “I congratulate Brendan Smith on receiving his Cairdeas Award for outstanding community impact in the West-Northwest region and we present our Créafóg Award to Abbvie to honour the strong environmental impact of US companies, at a time when the Irish Government has released its new Climate Action Plan 2019. I can't overstate the value of bringing the wider regional membership of the American Chamber together here in Galway to discuss key business issues in inward investment, when the economic relationship between our two countries sits at an all-time high.” President of NUI Galway, Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh commented: “NUI Galway was delighted to host the American Chamber’s gathering of FDI leaders in our region at this event.  We were especially pleased to see our colleague, Brendan Smith, Insight recognised with the Cairdeas Award and we join with the American Chamber in congratulating Brendan and Abbvie on their awards.” ENDS

Friday, 21 June 2019

Tabharfaidh an chéad duine a bhain amach an Scoláireacht ar leith Gaeilge-Móháicise cúrsa Gaeilge chun críche inniu in Acadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge ar an gCeathrú Rua i nGaeltacht Chonamara. Tá Tahothoratie Cross i measc scór mac léinn as Ceanada a bhfuil trí seachtainí caite acu sa nGaeltacht mar chuid de Chlár Teanga Fhondúireacht Ollscoil Éireann Cheanada a reáchtáiltear i gcomhar leis an Roinn Cultúir, Oidhreachta agus Gaeltachta. Tá na mílte as Ceanada tar éis eolas a chur ar an teanga agus ar an gcultúr le haon bhliain déag faoin gclár seo. Déantar gach scoláireacht a mhaoiniú i gcomhpháirtíocht le hollscoileanna agus institiúidí i gCeanada. I mbliana bronnadh an chéad scoláireacht Gaeilge-Móháicise, a ndearna Comhairle Móhácach Kahnawà:ke i Quebec cómhaoiniú air, ar Tahothoratie Cross. Bronnfaidh Príomh-Aoire an Rialtais agus Aire Stáit don Ghaeilge, an Ghaeltacht agus na hOileáin Seán Kyne TD Dámhachtainí ar rannpháirtithe an chláir mar aitheantas ar a gcuid léann sa Ghaeltacht a thabhairt chun críche.  Dúirt an tAire Kyne: “Is mian liom comhghairdeachas a dhéanamh le rannpháirtithe ar fad na bliana seo agus moladh a thabhairt dá gcuid teagascóirí i gCeanada maidir leis an nGaeilge a chur chun cinn agus a chaomhnú.  Cé go bhfuil an scéim seo tráthúil go leor do dhaoine i gCeanada de bhunadh na hÉireann, tá sí tábhachtach freisin i dtaobh suim i gcultúr na hÉireann a chur chun cinn i gCeanada tríd is tríd.   Gné thábhachtach maidir le suim i gcultúr na hÉireann a spreagadh i gCeanada is ea an t-éileamh atá ar theagasc na Gaeilge agus an gá atá le tacaíocht ó institiúidí tríú leibhéal chun cuidiú le cúrsaí Gaeilge a fhorbairt.  Tá súil agam gur neartaigh an tréimhse staidéir sa nGaeltacht an gean atá ag na mic léinn ar an nGaeilge agus go leanfaidh sin ag treisiú nuair a rachaidh siad abhaile.” Dúirt James Kelly, Príomhfheidhmeannach Fhondúireacht Ollscoil Éireann Cheanada:“Tá oidhreacht agus cultúr saibhir á roinnt ag Éirinn agus Ceanada. Tá 4.5 milliún duine i gCeanada ar de bhunadh na hÉireann iad agus is é misean an ICUF ceangail nua agus tairbheacha a chothú idir Éire agus Ceanada ionas gur féidir an cairdeas idir an dá thír bláthú amach anseo. Is cuid lárnach dár misean an Clár Gaeilge agus tá ríméad orainn i mbliana an clár a leathnú agus fáilte a chur roimh scoláire nó Náisiún na Móhácach a bheith i dteannta na bhfoghlaimeoirí as Ceanada ar an gCeathrú Rua.” Deir Treasa Uí Lorcáin, Riarthóir Ionaid, Acadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge, An Cheathrú Rua: “Tá an scéim scoláireachta samhraidh seo, i gcomhpháirt leis an RCOG agus ICUF, ag cruthú deiseanna leis an nGaeilge a shealbhú agus é ag treisiú an cheangail idir phobal na Gaeltachta agus mhuintir Cheanada. Is iontach an leas agus an tairbhe atáthar a chothú don Ghaeilge agus is údar misnigh agus spreagadh don phobal áitiúil é go roghnaíonn na mic léinn seo baile na Ceathrún Rua le seal a chaitheamh ann ag foghlaim na teanga. ” Dúirt Tahothoratie Cross, Scoláire Móháicise, Kahnawá:ke, Québe, Ceanada: “Ba iontach an taithí é seo domsa a bheith i gceartlár na Gaeltachta ag éisteacht leis an teanga bheo agus a tapú an chultúir. Chuir an pobal ar fad fáilte mhór romham agus ba ghearr le bheith sa bhaile an teach a ndeachaigh mé ann. Bhí spraoi agus dúshlán ag baint leis an gcúrsa agus neart gníomhaíochtaí. Níl aon teanga nua foghlamtha ó bhun agam le fada agus braithim cinnte go bhfuil go leor foghlamtha agam.” -Críoch-

Wednesday, 19 June 2019

NUI Galway ranks 3rd in Ireland, the top Irish University outside Dublin, and 112th in Europe. NUI Galway continues to perform strongly in the QS World University Rankings, ranked 259 this year out of the world’s top 1000 universities considered in this year’s QS ranking, maintaining its position among the world’s elite educational institutions. NUI Galway now ranks 3rd in Ireland, the top Irish University outside Dublin, and 112th in Europe. Since 2014 NUI Galway has moved up 25 places, and it is the only Irish institution to increase its ranking year on year in in eight of the previous nine years.  NUI Galway continues to perform strongly in its international scores, reflecting the welcoming nature and vibrant international population of Galway city.    Speaking on the announcement of this year’s QS rankings, President of NUI Galway, Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh said: “NUI Galway’s ranking this year highlights the continued performance of our university across a range of activities.  We’re particularly pleased to see the diverse international nature of our university reflected this year, underlining the attractiveness of NUI Galway for international staff and students in Ireland’s most distinctively multicultural city.  “Now ranked as third in Ireland, and in the top 120 in Europe, our consistent performance over the past decade is evidence of the quality of our research and teaching programmes. This is a tremendous endorsement of the people and culture of our university. While conscious that rankings are only one measure of our activity, we know from our alumni, from employers and from policy makers that they are a useful and important international benchmark.  On behalf of NUI Galway, I am delighted to see the commitment of our entire university community recognised and respected in this way.”  Globally, Massachusetts Institute of Technology is named the world’s leading university for a record-breaking eighth consecutive year. The top three institutions remain American: MIT is followed by Stanford University (2nd) and Harvard University (3rd). The UK’s top institution - and Europe’s is the University of Oxford, which has risen to fourth with the University of Cambridge, dropping to 7th. The full rankings can be found at www.TopUniversities.com from Wednesday, 19 June, 2019. ENDS

Wednesday, 19 June 2019

In celebration of the city of culture and the wealth of dramatic talent in Galway, NUI Galway are partnering with local theatre practitioners and emerging dramatists to bring a new festival to Galway from 20-27 July. The Summer Drama Festival is co-hosted by the University’s Societies Office and Drama Society. The festival will feature nine productions over eight days, ranging from award-winning student-led productions to established theatre practitioners. There will be a variety of performances for all ages and interests, from comedy to thought provoking political satire, and a show for children. All productions will take place in the Cube Theatre in Áras na Mac Léinn, NUI Galway. Riona Hughes, Societies Officer at NUI Galway and Festival Artistic Director, said: “The Festival is a partnership, which facilitates the city and the campus to come together, to showcase the wonderful theatrical talent in Galway during July, when the city is bursting with art and full of appreciative audiences looking to find the hidden gems and experience what Galway artists have to offer.” Well-known local Galway theatre practitioners will reprise previous award winning productions as well as showcase original work including: Little John Nee will be performing ‘Small Halls and Potholes’, an evening of eccentric songs and strange stories, a show that celebrates all that is weird and wonderful about the Irish summer Gerry Conneely will stage a comedy double bill, bringing back the acclaimed one-act ‘Shakespeare in Connemara’, along with a new one-act comedy ‘Fashion Show’. He will also be performing his moving one-man- show based on Patrick McGills chilling recounting of a night in the First World War trenches ‘The Great Push’. Hot Potato Productions will reprise their Galway Fringe award-winning one act ‘Just Guff’ Based on factual events about a series of revelations which turn everything upside down for an aging party political hack Sean T. Visionation’s ‘Behind Closed Doors’, fresh from its success at the Galway Theatre Festival, devised with actors living in direct provision in Galway, exposes life in the direct provision system. The Summer Drama Festival will present an Irish Student Drama Award (ISDA) winning production NUI Galway’s Dramsoc’s ‘Alone It Stands’ by John Breen. ‘Alone It Stands’ tells the tale of the 1978 rugby match when Irish provincial side Munster infamously beat the New Zealand national team, the All Blacks. Current students and alumni of NUI Galway’s O’Donoghue Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance will also perform during the Festival. Recent graduate Eibhleann Caffrey will be staging an original work ‘Recognition’, which focuses on two college students and their trials and tribulations. War/War/War student theatre company will stage ‘From There We Saw The Stars’ fresh from their success as the Manchester Fringe Festival. This piece takes inspiration from Dante’s Inferno exploring how our ever-changing understanding of spirituality, sin and souls morphs the world around us. Beluga Theatre will be reprising the children’s show ‘Marty Moncrieff the Teddy Bear Thief’ for the Summer Drama Festival after their sold-out run at the Galway Theatre Festival. Billed as Toy Story meets Father Ted, the play features live music from a four-piece band and beautiful puppetry designed by Yvonne Lydon. Tickets will be on sale soon and information can be found at www.galwaydrama.com. -Ends-

Tuesday, 18 June 2019

The School of Law NUI Galway has been named ‘Law School of the Year 2019' at the Irish Law Awards, securing the prestigious accolade for the first time. Outperforming the other Law Schools, NUI Galway's School of Law has a strong reputation for research and has made significant changes to its undergraduate law programmes over the past year. The School has also introduced a number of new law degrees, to include: Law & Business, new 2019 Law & Human Rights, new 2019 Law & Taxation, new 2020 Law Criminology & Criminal Justice, new 2020 In a year of firsts, the School of Law were part of legal history in March of this year when the highest court in Ireland, the Supreme Court, would sit in the Aula Maxima, NUI Galway. This was be the first time that the Supreme Court would sit outside of a courthouse since it returned to the Four Courts in 1932, the first time it would sit in Galway and only the third time the court would ever sit outside of Dublin Rebecca McKittrick, a Masters graduate from NUI Galway’s School of Law was selected as a finalist in the ‘Law Student of the Year’ category.  Additionally, the Hon Mrs Justice Catherine McGuinness a great friend of the School of Law and Chair of the University’s Governing Authority received the ‘Lifetime Achievement Award’ at the ceremony.  Dr Charles O’Mahony Head of the School of Law said: “This is wonderful recognition of the School of Law, Irish Centre for Human Rights and Centre for Disability Law and Policy. We have strengths across research and learning, teaching and assessment.  This is also tremendous recognition of our collective contribution to our city, region and broader society through our scholarship and work on law and public policy engagement.  We were delighted to see our student Rebecca McKittrick selected as a finalist in the ‘Law Student of the Year’ category. The ‘Lifetime Achievement Award’ conferred on the Hon Mrs Justice Catherine McGuinness is fitting recognition of her extraordinary career and enduring commitment to the law, justice and public service.”  Professional Work Placement / Study Aboard All students studying law at NUI Galway have the opportunity for students to gain real world experience through work placement or study abroad in the third year of their degree.  The School of Law has partnered with local, regional, national and internationally recognised law firms and businesses who offer high quality professional work experience for our law students. Students can also choose to avail of the opportunity to study abroad with partner institutions, transforming their university degree into a truly global experience.  The School of Law has partnered with leading universities in Australia, Canada, China, Europe and the United States.  Innovation in Teaching, Learning & Assessment The School of Law works closely with students to support transition from secondary school to university, and to build the skills necessary for their law degree and career.  NUI Galway places the development of these skills at the heart of our law degrees.  In first year, students spend their first four weeks creating a solid skills foundation by concentrating on research, case analysis, statutory interpretation, legal citation and legal writing.  Once foundational skills are in place, students are then introduced to substantive subjects.  School of Law Research & Events The School of Law is committed to engaging with the legal professions through events that inform public policy and practice.  The School delivers a wide range of conferences, summer schools, lunchtime talks and seminars every year.  These events are open to the public, complement student learning and provide Continuing Professional Development (CPD) points to local legal community.  The School of Law has an excellent research reputation. Staff publish with leading publishers and University presses (Harvard, Cambridge, Oxford, Hart & Routledge), and in the leading international law journals. A strong focus on public policy engagement has always been a key strength of School and Centres and in its research and teaching.  The School of Law also has an excellent track record of securing competitive research funding. Congratulating the School of Law on their award, President of NUI Galway, Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh, said: “On behalf of colleagues at NUI Galway, I extend warmest congratulations to Charles and his team in the School of Law on securing the title of Law School of the Year at the Irish Law Awards. This recognises and respects the immense work and dedication which the School has demonstrated over recent years in providing excellent opportunities for students and for developing a range of innovations to our distinctive course offerings.  I am also delighted to see the Hon Mrs Justice Catherine McGuinness receive the Lifetime Achievement Award. Justice McGuinness has been an adjunct professor at the School of Law since 2005.  She is one of Ireland’s leading jurists and has been a progressive and reforming force in Irish legal history over her lifetime.   As Chair of NUI Galway’s Governing Authority since 2013 she has made an enormous contribution to the governance of our University. On behalf of NUI Galway I extend our warmest congratulations as her achievements are so justly recognised by the Irish Law Awards in this way.”  Awards for Galway Law Firms A number of Galway based law firms were also honoured at the Irish Law Awards. Alastair Purdy & Co. Solicitors received the Connacht/Ulster & Munster Employment Law Firm of the Year award.  MacSweeney & Company received the Connacht/Ulster Law Firm of the Year, Connacht/Ulster Litigation Law Firm of the Year and the Connacht/Ulster & Munster Family Law Firm of the Year awards. Blake & Kenny Solicitors received the Connacht/Ulster Property Law Firm/Team/Lawyer of the Year award. ENDS

Tuesday, 18 June 2019

The Discipline for Drama and Theatre Studies at NUI Galway and Druid Theatre, are pleased to announce the appointment of a new Druid Artist in Residence, Dr Máiréad Ní Chróinín, as part of their ongoing Druid Academy partnership.  Working in close partnership with Adjunct Professor and Druid Artistic Director, Dr Garry Hynes and other Druid artists, Dr Ní Chróinín will coordinate the Druid Academy partnership with NUI Galway. Borne out of a vision of Galway as a location for the creation of excellent theatre, the Druid Academy communicates the Druid approach to Drama and Theatre Studies undergraduate and postgraduate students: focusing on ensemble as a mode of performance, rigorous critical analysis of theatre, by both practitioners and audiences, and an awareness of the importance of audience, in a variety of locations: locally, regionally, nationally and internationally. The classes cover a range of topics ranging from casting, to direction, to set design, complementing third level drama and theatre training at NUI Galway. A Galway native, Máiréad Ní Chróinín established Moonfish Theatre, with her sister Ionia, in 2006. The company has created work in English and Irish, toured their work nationally and internationally, presenting at festivals including the Edinburgh Fringe, Galway Theatre Festival, Galway International Arts Festival, Dublin Theatre Festival and the Dublin Fringe. Moonfish’s acclaimed, bi-lingual adaptation of Joseph O'Connor's Star of the Sea toured twice in Ireland in 2015 and 2017, and toured to the US in 2018. Their upcoming show, Redemption Falls, is freely adapted from the novel by Joseph O'Connor, and is a co-production with Galway International Arts Festival, the Abbey Theatre, and Town Hall Theatre, Galway. It will have its World Premiere in An Taibhdhearc during the 2019 Galway International Arts Festival and will transfer to the Peacock stage at the Abbey Theatre during Dublin Theatre Festival 2019. Dr Ní Chróinín’s extensive and varied experience in the professional arts industry will make her an especially valuable contributor to Drama and Theatre Studies' new MA in Producing and Curation, which will welcome its first class in autumn 2019.   Dr Charlotte McIvor, head of discipline in Drama and Theatre Studies at NUI Galway says: “The chance to work with the Druid Academy stands out as one of the most distinctive features of our academic programmes and we are thrilled to be continuing this partnership through this exciting appointment. Dr Ní Chróinín’s career to date epitomises the values of Druid Theatre through her own commitment to working rigorously as part of an ensemble and creating theatre that responds directly to the West of Ireland past, present and future but aims to travel much further. Her intellectual depth and artistic bravery make her an ideal match for dialogue with Druid, and we all look forward to seeing what comes out of this working relationship.”  Dr Máiréad Ní Chróinín said: “As the co-director of an independent theatre company based in the West, Druid has been a huge inspiration and I am very excited to now work with them directly and with NUI Galway.”  Garry Hynes, Druid Artistic Director, commented: “The Druid Academy was borne out of a vision to foster a new generation of theatre makers in the west of Ireland. Dr Ní Chróinín’s dedication and experience make her the ideal candidate to continue our commitment to this key relationship between Druid and NUI Galway.” For more information about Drama and Theatre Studies programmes at NUI Galway, please visit, http://www.nuigalway.ie/drama/postgrad/madt/  and to learn more about the Druid Academy partnership, visit http://www.druid.ie/get-involved/druid-academy-at-nui-galway. -Ends-

Tuesday, 18 June 2019

Students considering studying at NUI Galway are invited to the CAO Change of Mind Clinic on campus on Tuesday, 25 June. Parents and guardians are also welcome to attend the event, which runs from 12-3pm in the Human Biology Building on campus. The CAO Change of Mind facility closes at 5.15pm on Monday, 1 July, and the clinic aims to assist with the CAO decision making process. Representatives from all of NUI Galway’s Colleges will be available to answer any questions students may have in relation to the course, academic content, admissions and more. There will also be representatives from the Accommodation Office, Access and Disability Services, Admissions, Sports and Fees, who will all be available to support students in their transition from secondary school to third level education at NUI Galway. Sarah Geraghty, Student Recruitment and Outreach Manager at NUI Galway, said: “The Change of Mind Clinic at NUI Galway is designed to answer the last minute queries of students and parents and provide advice and reassurance on course choice and entry routes. In our experience, the best way to prepare for unexpectedly low or high Leaving Certificate results is to have a Plan B and a Plan C fully researched. Our clinic on 25 June is a great opportunity for students and parents to get ready for the results in August, and more importantly, to get ready for university life in September.” To find out more about the CAO Change of Mind Clinic, contact NUI Galway's Schools Liaison Officer, Caroline Duggan on 087 239 1219 or caroline.duggan@nuigalway.ie. -Ends-

Monday, 17 June 2019

Community partners and NUI Galway researchers working together to improve the health of people living with ME/chronic fatigue syndrome, aphasia and cardiac rehabilitation A new education and training initiative, the Community Engaged Scholars Programme (CES-P), is taking place at NUI Galway. The aim of the CES-P is to support the development of partnerships between researchers and community organisations interested in conducting research together that aims to improve the health of their community and that is driven by public and patient involvement (PPI) principles. Best summarised by the slogan Nothing about us, without us, PPI means that the voice of the public or patient guides and influences all stages of research, and that those likely to benefit from new treatments or services arising from research are involved in the decision-making that leads to their development. The CES-P was developed initially at the Medical University of South Carolina, international partners of the PPI Ignite @ NUI Galway programme. The programme is successfully delivered across a number of universities in the US and in Africa. Following a competitive selection process, three community-academic partnerships were recently chosen by a panel of academics, with input from public reviewers, to be part of the first roll-out of the CES-P in Ireland. The programme is funded by the Health Research Board (HRB). The three partnerships will complete an intensive training programme over the coming months, a mixture of face-to-face workshops and online learning. Each partnership will then co-design and co-produce research addressing an agreed research question that is of interest to both the community and the researchers. The partners will then work together to share the research results with the public, as well as with researchers, health care professionals and policy makers. In the longer term, the partners will work together to apply for further research funding and to continue to work together to improve the health of the relevant community. The three successful partnerships represent very different communities and divergent academic backgrounds and there is great breadth in the health conditions of interest. One group is focused on Myalgic Encephalopathy/Chronic Fatigue Syndome (ME/CFS), with the Irish ME/CFS Association represented by Orla Ní Chomhraí and Tom Kindlon, partnering with Dr John Cullinan, a health economist at NUI Galway who is already working with EU colleagues in the area of ME/CFS. This partnership is interested in gathering data related to the impact and burden of ME/CFS for Irish people living with the condition. Dr John Cullinan, Health Economist at NUI Galway, says: “For far too long the voices and experiences of Irish ME patients have been missing from research and policy”, while Orla Ní Chomhraí, Irish ME/CFS Association, adds: “This collaboration is an attempt to put the patient perspective front and centre in developing evidence that helps improve the lives of those living with ME.” Dr Ruth McMenamin, a lecturer in speech and language therapy at NUI Galway has many years’ experience of collaborating with people with aphasia (aphasia is an acquired language disorder experienced by up to one-third of the stroke population) in teaching, research and practice. The Irish Heart Foundation, represented by Martina Greene and the Ballinasloe Stroke Support group are partnering with Ruth on the CES-P programme and together with people with aphasia they will co-design and co-implement research to raise awareness of aphasia. Ruth McMenamin, NUI Galway and Martina Greene point out that: “People living with aphasia are one of the most marginalised groups in our communities. Our goal is to work with people living with stroke and aphasia to promote inclusion through a targeted national aphasia awareness campaign. We want to make Ireland an ‘aphasia friendly’ country.”  The third successful partnership sees Croí, represented by Irene Gibson and Denise Dunne, partnering with a group of health psychologists, led by Dr Oonagh Meade from NUI Galway. This partnership is interested in exploring the potential of delivering cardiac rehabilitation programmes electronically (via web sites, videos etc.) rather than the traditional face-to-face rehabilitation programmes.   Irene Gibson from Croí, says: “We are delighted to be part of this innovative program which will give the public and those affected by cardiovascular disease the opportunity to have their voice heard and be actively engaged in driving areas of research that are vital to them. As a heart and stoke charity our work is driven by the needs of the communities we serve and therefore being part of this initiative is a perfect fit. We believe that by adopting this participatory approach to research there is a real potential to influence policy and change how we deliver prevention in Ireland for the better.” For more information about the CES-Programme contact Sharon Conway, CES-P Coordinator, NUI Galway at sharon.conway@nuigalway.ie. For more information about the PPI Ignite @ NUI Galway programme, visit:   https://www.nuigalway.ie/ppi/ -Ends-

Monday, 17 June 2019

Ireland-US education exchange programme supports innovative and diverse research Three academics from NUI Galway were among the recipients of the Fulbright Irish Awardees 2019-2020, covering expertise in treating heart disease, Irish studies and foreign language translations. The Secretary General of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Niall Burgess and Chargé d’affaires of the US Embassy in Ireland, Mr Reece Smyth, announced the 36 awardees. The Fulbright Programme in Ireland was established in 1957 and annually awards grants for Irish citizens to study, research, or teach in the U.S. and for Americans to do the same in Ireland. Academics, professionals and students from 13 Higher Education Institutions and organisations in Ireland will go to 30 leading US institutions to study and collaborate with experts in their fields. This year’s Fulbright recipients are from disciplines spanning technology, science, language, medicine and the arts. The Fulbright Awards celebrate diversity across topics, geography and backgrounds. Increased funding from both the Irish and US Governments has allowed the Fulbright Commission in Ireland to support a wider range and number of exciting study and research awardees than ever before.  David Monahan: Fulbright-Enterprise Ireland Student Awardee from NUI Galway to MIT David Monahan is a PhD student in the School of Medicine at NUI Galway. His research focuses on the development of minimally invasive delivery strategies incorporating medical devices, biomaterials, and drugs to treat heart disease. As a Fulbright Awardee, David will visit the Therapeutic Technology, Design, and Development lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). While there he will develop a smart medical device containing a responsive biomaterial that will release drugs in response to heart damage and aims to help patients suffering from heart disease as a result of cancer therapy. Ellen Corbett: Fulbright FLTA (Foreign Language Teaching Assistant) Program from NUI Galway to University of Montana Ellen Corbett is currently completing her BA International with German and Léann an Aistriúcháin at NUI Galway. She has a great interest in translation - one of her translations from German to Irish will shortly be published in An Reiviú academic journal. Ellen is also currently completing an Dioplóma sa Ghaeilge with Acadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge, OÉ Gaillimh. She will be a Fulbright Irish FLTA to the University of Montana. Áine Ní Chonghaile: Fulbright FLTA (Foreign Language Teaching Assistant) Program from NUI Galway to Catholic University of America, Washington DC Áine Ní Chonghaile is completing her PhD in Irish history at NUI Galway where she was awarded both BA and MA degrees in history. She has extensive experience in teaching the Irish language and other aspects of Irish Studies. She is looking forward to sharing that experience with the students of the Catholic University of America in Washington DC and adding further to her own learning by availing of the opportunities presented by the Fulbright FLTA allocation. Niall Burgess, Secretary General of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade said: “I am delighted to extend my warmest congratulations to the Irish Fulbright Awardees for 2019–2020. Exchanges like the Fulbright programme play a crucial role in sustaining the unique and very close relationship that Ireland and the United States share. The Fulbright Commission and Fulbrighters, past and present, are testament to the best traditions of academic and cultural exchange and have an outstanding track record in representing Ireland. Every year Fulbright awardees have the exciting opportunity to study, work, and experience life in the US, to forge new relationships, and to represent the best of contemporary Ireland to the United States. I wish this year’s awardees every success for their time in the United States.” The next round of applications for Fulbright Irish Awards will open on 28, August 2019, and interested candidates should visit http://www.fulbright.ie/ for more information.  -Ends-

Monday, 17 June 2019

Professor John Pius Dalton, a renowned scientist in Infectious Diseases, has joined NUI Galway as Professor of Molecular Parasitology to tackle major parasitic diseases of humans and their livestock. He joins the University through the Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) Research Professorship Programme, which supports national strategic priorities by recruiting world-leading research and leadership talent to Ireland. He will develop a €5 million research project, which will devise an overall strategy for the development of a novel preventative vaccine of parasitic diseases for both humans and animals. Globally, almost two billion people, one-quarter of the world’s population, suffer from parasitic worm diseases. These occur predominantly in low to middle income regions of the world, such as sub-Saharan Africa, Asia, and South America, where households earn less than two dollars a day. Parasitic diseases cause high morbidity, particularly amongst children, and reduce the economic potential of these regions, and compound the health and wellbeing issues related to poverty. While infections with parasitic worms, such as pin-worm, may have been common in Ireland over 70 years ago, due to better sanitation and control measures these are, thankfully, now infrequent. However, within the agricultural community parasitic worm infections are all too common – think about the annual advertisements on TV that advise farmers to drug-treat their animals to rid them of fluke, lungworm or other parasites! In fact, Irish farmers spend over €90 million per year to protect their sheep, cattle and pigs from such diseases. The emergence of drug-resistance parasites as well as the impacts of climate change on parasite transmission is causing major concern as we are now seeing an increase of livestock parasites in Ireland and across Europe. Speaking about his new role at NUI Galway, Professor Dalton, says: “To develop new vaccines we need to understand the basic biology of the interaction between the parasite and its host – from this we can devise vaccines to break this relationship and protect the host, and we now have the molecular, bioinformatics and genetic tools to do this, as well as the technology to manufacture vaccines. “I’m looking forward to developing a world-class Molecular Parasitology research team at NUI Galway and to tapping into the excellent expertise in infectious diseases already established here and nearby at Teagasc, Athenry. This is a perfect research environment to translate our research into real and practical outcomes in veterinary and human medicine, not only for Ireland but also for much less well-off regions in the world.” Professor Dalton’s research will also develop novel diagnostic tests for parasites to help farmers control and manage infection on the farm to reduce their reliance on chemical treatments. “The ultimate aim is to benefit farmers”, says Professor Dalton, “they need better means of detecting diseases on farms so that they can strategically, rather than randomly, treat their livestock. It saves them money, effort and, in the long term, can help eradicate disease.” However, there is another exciting edge to this research. Parasites can survive up to 20 years in humans and animals and they do this by manipulating the immune responses of their host. Professor Dalton, explains: “The way parasites have evolved to selectively and effectively control specific arms of the host immune system is fascinating and explains why they are so successful and so widespread. But on the other hand, we can learn lots from them on how to control immune responses.” Professor Dalton’s team will focus on elucidating how parasites suppress and alter the effectiveness of their host’s immune system and have already discovered various parasite molecules that enter immune cells of the host and silence their normal functions.  Professor Dalton, adds: “The very same molecules can be used to treat disorders of humans whereby the immune system is over-reacting, we call these parasite-design biotherapeutics and we are using them to dampen down destructive immune reactions. For example, a major common component of diseases such as inflammatory bowel diseases, such as ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease, Type 1 diabetes, multiple sclerosis, and arthritis is damage caused by our immune system targeting our own tissues. Our experimental research this far indicates that we can use our parasite-designed molecules to silence these auto-reactive responses and possibly come up with new treatments. So our goal at NUI Galway will be to advance our approach to human systems.” Professor Lokesh Joshi, Vice President for Research at NUI Galway, said: “We are delighted to welcome Professor John Pius Dalton as he joins our vibrant research community here in Galway. Professor Dalton is recognised as a world-leader in the area of major parasitic diseases and his appointment is an invaluable addition to the ongoing health research at NUI Galway. His research will develop a better understanding of parasitic diseases with opportunities for novel biomarkers and vaccines.” Professor Mark Ferguson, Director General of Science Foundation Ireland and Chief Adviser to the Government of Ireland, commented: “It is fantastic to see Professor John Dalton bringing his wealth of knowledge and expertise in infectious diseases to Ireland through the SFI Research Professorship programme. We are very pleased to be working alongside NUI Galway on his appointment, which will have positive impacts for Irish scientific research, and may lead to future benefits for farmers and their livestock as well as for doctors and their patients. “Recruiting world class researchers to lead ground-breaking research programmes with potential societal and economic impact is a priority for Science Foundation Ireland. I am confident that Professor Dalton will be a significant new asset to the thriving research community in Ireland, and will contribute to furthering Irelands international reputation for excellent scientific research with impact. I congratulate Professor Dalton on his appointment and extend him a very warm welcome and best wishes for a successful future.” Professor Dalton was a Professor of Infectious Disease at Queen’s University of Belfast. Before this he was a Canada Research Chair in Infectious Diseases at the Institute of Parasitology, McGill University, and Director of McGill’s Graduate Program in Biotechnology. Dalton was previously Director of the Institute for the Biotechnology of Infectious Diseases, University of Technology Sydney, Australia, where he was awarded the New South Wales Government BioFirst Award in Biotechnology between 2003-2008. Recently, he was awarded a Royal Society Research Merit Award and European Research Council Advanced Grant Award for his studies of animal and human parasitic diseases and development of vaccines and diagnostics. -Ends-

Monday, 17 June 2019

Blood Cancer Network Ireland clinical trial shows that a promising combination of drugs is a well tolerated treatment for newly diagnosed patients with Multiple Myeloma Blood Cancer Network Ireland (BCNI) which is led by Professor Michael O’Dwyer in NUI Galway, has completed the first Phase I clinical trial study in Ireland on patients newly diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma. The trial has shown very promising results in the patients’ response to the new treatment with the findings published today (14 June 2019) in the scientific journal, Blood Advances. Multiple Myeloma is a blood cancer arising from a type of white blood cell called a plasma cell. Plasma cells normally produce antibodies which help fight infection. In Multiple Myeloma the plasma cells become cancerous and are called myeloma cells. Myeloma impairs the production of red blood cells leading to anaemia, as well as causing damage to the bones and kidneys. Each year in Ireland approximately 250 people are diagnosed with the cancer and 170 succumb to the disease. Irish patients with Multiple Myeloma were the first patients worldwide to take part in the drug trial to develop a more effective treatment for this cancer. The innovative BCNI Phase I clinical trial investigated whether the addition of a new Multiple Myeloma treatment, Daratumumab (DARA), to a standard care chemotherapy containing the drugs Cyclophosphamide and Bortezomib (CyBorD), is beneficial for treating newly diagnosed patients. DARA by itself is a very promising new therapy for this particular cancer and has been approved for treating relapsed patients. This is the first study in the world to combine DARA with Cyclophosphamide, specifically as a treatment for younger patients undergoing a  subsequent stem cell transplant, to determine whether this combination results in a more effective treatment. The study demonstrates that the addition of DARA to CyBorD is very beneficial and well tolerated by patients. It found that 17/18 patients achieved a very good response to the therapy and over 50% of all patients achieved excellent responses, with no evidence of minimal residual disease (MRD) using sensitive genetic testing. The investigators also went on to show that the reason for the excellent results was that the combination of the two treatments activated the immune system, increasing its ability to kill the cancer cells. The success of this early Phase I trial suggests this combination of treatments should be further evaluated for the treatment of patients who are newly diagnosed with multiple myeloma. Professor Michael O’ Dwyer, Director of BCNI and Professor of Haematology at NUI Galway, commented: “These results justify the faith and investment placed in Blood Cancer Network Ireland investigators by Science Foundation Ireland and the Irish Cancer Society and the critical funding and support provided by Janssen, without which this trial would not have been possible.  “This new regimen, which is highly effective, safe and convenient has the potential to become an important new treatment option for patients with Multiple Myeloma. A European trial, which will include Irish patients, hopes to confirm the superiority of this treatment over current standard treatment, and will be launched shortly. This trial exemplifies the importance of good bench to bedside research and shows that high quality clinical and translational research can be conducted in Ireland with the provision of adequate funding.”  Co-author of the study, Dr Aideen Ryan, Lecturer and Researcher in Tumour Immunology at NUI Galway, said: “This BCNI led study has been a great opportunity to integrate our immunology expertise with clinical trial data to understand how these new drug combinations may enhance anti-tumour immune responses in patients with multiple myeloma.” This clinical trial is the first homegrown (investigator initiated) trial to be conducted by Blood Cancer Network Ireland. It is the culmination of collaborative research efforts between BCNI scientists and Janssen pharmaceuticals and it represents a bench to bedside approach where scientific insights from the laboratory are applied to developing new and improved ways to treat patients. Notably Irish patients on this trial received access to DARA which would not have been possible without this trial and it saved the taxpayer approximately €4 million in drug costs. Dr Robert O’Connor, Head of Cancer Research at the Irish Cancer Society, commented: “The Irish Cancer Society is proud to be partnering with Science Foundation Ireland on the funding of BCNI, ensuring that Irish blood cancer patients benefit from the latest advances in cancer care and treatment. These latest findings highlight the importance of investing in world class innovative cancer research in Ireland. We’re truly grateful for the generous public donations without which we couldn’t make such strategic investments and we thank the patients who have taken part and contributed to research like this which has huge potential to significantly improve the lives of future cancer patients.” Professor Mark Ferguson, Director General of Science Foundation Ireland and Chief Scientific Adviser to the Government of Ireland, said: “Science Foundation Ireland is pleased to have supported the research behind this novel treatment for patients with Multiple Myeloma. It is a good example of how research collaborations between scientists, physicians, patients and companies can lead to positive outcomes resulting in better treatment options for patients. Blood Cancer Network Ireland is a collaborative funding partnership between SFI, the Irish Cancer Society, and a number of pharmaceutical companies. This promising research result demonstrates the impact of this collaborative approach spanning the full range of excellent, basic and applied research. I congratulate the team and I look forward to further future advances.” The study is the result of collaborations across a broad range of partners including NUI Galway, Cancer Trials Ireland, the Irish Cancer Society, Science Foundation Ireland, Janssen Pharmaceuticals, the Health Research Board and BCNI investigators and staff. To read the full study in Blood Advances at 5pm Irish time on Friday, 14 June, visit: http://www.bloodadvances.org/content/3/12/1815?sso-checked=true or to request a pdf version contact, Gwen O’Sullivan, Press Office, NUI Galway at gwen.osullivan@nuigalway.ie. -Ends-

Thursday, 13 June 2019

New facilities established in NUI Galway to accelerate the development of next generation biomaterials and advanced manufacturing technologies Researchers at NUI Galway launched on (12 June 2019) two new facilities, a Pilot Line for Bio-microsystems Development and an Advanced Manufacturing Laboratory, as part of the University’s ever expanding biomedical research and advanced manufacturing infrastructure. Pilot Line for Bio-microsystems Development This integrated advanced manufacturing testbed is the first of its kind globally and will accelerate the translation of laboratory-based research concepts towards pilot production. The printed electronics and printed biomaterials advanced manufacturing facility complements the University’s existing expertise and investments in biomaterials and stem cell manufacturing. The testbed will be used to evaluate advanced manufacturing of two types of biomedical product concepts – smart medical devices and tissue-engineered organs on a chip device. Smart medical devices are of particular relevance to the medical device industry in Galway; these devices are empowered with diagnostic and therapeutic functionalities. An example is a smart woundcare device that enables future smart wound dressings to sense the status of the wound and administer a drug accordingly. The manufacturing testbed enables Galway researchers to demonstrate how scalable printed technologies can be used to realise such devices, customised for each patient’s individual needs, on an economic scale. The manufacturing testbed can also generate arrays of artificial tissue know as tissue scaffolds. These structures are being developed to fully mimic different organs in the body. The ability to produce tissue scaffolds on a scalable platform are of increasing importance in the development of new advanced therapeutic medicinal products. For example, new cell based therapies to cure chronic illnesses can be efficiently evaluated using arrays of tissue scaffolds which mimic disease states in the human body. For example, mesenchymal stromal cells can be used to regenerate damaged tissues. The testbed was developed by Dr Gerard O’Connor, Head of the School of Physics at NUI Galway, over the last five years in partnership with UK manufacturing system integrator *M-Solv (Oxford) Ltd. Dr O’Connor leads the *NCLA Laser Laboratory at the School of Physics. He believes having the ability to integrate electronic, optical, and thermal stimuli in flexible medical devices “will be transformative - changing the way we connect with, and use, future healthcare products.” Dr O’Connor, said: “The new facility enables the NCLA Laser Laboratory to investigate the versatility of using multiple laser patterning, inkjet printing and spray deposition tools in the advanced digital manufacture of next generation smart medical devices and therapeutic devices.” The contribution by M-Solv Ltd., an advanced manufacturing systems company located in Oxford, UK, is very significant. Dr O’Connor and M-Solv have collaborated for 10 years, resulting in several publications, patent filings, and commercial contracts. The company’s CEO, Dr. Phil Rumsby, is excited by applying their significant expertise in hybrid electronics manufacturing to the biomedical sector using the three interconnected manufacturing modules which comprise the testbed. Dr Rumsby said: “The first module, a laser-based micro-machining module creates structured surfaces for microfluidics and embedded electronics. The second module uses laser, inkjet and spray tools to create structured conductive/non-conductive printed electronic features. Finally, a third bio-printing module applies living cells and other life-supporting biomaterials to structured surfaces. This is a major research platform with significant innovative potential, we are pleased to have been able to rise to the challenge.” The testbed is funded by Science Foundation Ireland under the Infrastructures Programme. SFI Research Centres *I-FORM (advanced manufacturing) and CÚRAM (medical devices) are available to provide support for enterprises and academics seeking access to the manufacturing platform. Speaking at the launch of the new testbed, Professor Abhay Pandit, Scientific Director at CÚRAM in NUI Galway, said: “This manufacturing testbed will significantly increase our ability to lead research in the development of novel technologies. CÚRAM will work closely with the NCLA and I-Form to harness this unique platform and continue creating next generation biomaterials that will play a critical role in the treatment of a host of chronic ailments.” The laboratory in which the testbed is located was developed with funding provided under the Atlantic Area Interregional (INTERREG) EU programme under a project entitled AtlanticKETMed. The project is also led by Dr O’Connor and has established an international community of first adopters for the testbed comprising of hospitals, networks of industries, and international research centres. The testbed and its ancillary laboratories are located in the School of Physics. The School’s MSc in Medical Physics is the first European MSc programme to be awarded accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation of Medical Physics Education Programmes (CAMPEP), the second only programme worldwide outside the USA to do so. Dr O’Connor is keen to recognise the many contributions made by graduate students and technical staff throughout the School of Physics in realising this development. The School has established an MSc programme in Key Enabling Technologies to provide graduate training on the manufacturing testbed. Advanced Manufacturing Laboratory Dr Noel Harrison from the College of Engineering at NUI Galway also launched on (12 June 2019) the new Advanced Manufacturing Lab (AML) in the Alice Perry Engineering Building, which houses a suite of Additive Manufacturing (3D Printing) technologies. The lab has been developed by Dr Harrison (Mechanical Engineering and I-Form Funded Investigator) to advance teaching, fundamental research, and industry collaboration on future sustainable manufacturing technologies, materials and product design. With NUI Galway’s first metal powder bed fusion printer (3D Systems DMP ProX 100), the AML offers new capability for in-house prototyping and experimental manufacturing. Last month, an AM cementless orthopaedic device technology developed and patented by Dr Harrison was licenced to the medtech company Loci Orthopaedics Ltd, also based at NUI Galway. Dr Noel Harrison from NUI Galway, said: “Multiple industries now demand engineering graduates with knowledge and experience in 3D Printing process hardware, software, materials and design. The AML lab is an invaluable resource for our Degree and Masters students and is a state of the art research facility for our PhD student and Postdoctoral researchers.” “Manufacturing is the second largest employer in Ireland and accounts for 36.5 percent of GDP”, said I-Form Director, Professor Denis Dowling. “These new testbeds at NUI Galway are key pieces of infrastructure for the manufacturing research community, and they will ensure that Irish manufacturers continue to have access to leading edge technology for the development of world-class products.” Speaking about the awards supporting both of these facilities, Professor Mark Ferguson, Director General of Science Foundation Ireland and Chief Scientific Adviser to the Government of Ireland, said: “Science Foundation Ireland is delighted to support the launch of this state-of-the-art manufacturing testbed, which is funded through our Research Infrastructure Programme. The programme specifically seeks to support researchers by ensuring there are superb technologies and supports in place for them, ultimately facilitating excellent and impactful scientific research. The testbed is a great reflection of collaboration between different stakeholders in the ecosystem, with SFI Research Centres CÚRAM and I-Form collaborating with NUI Galway to enhance our understanding of advanced manufacturing.” -Ends-

Wednesday, 12 June 2019

Barry McDermott, a PhD student with the Translational Medical Device Lab in NUI Galway, was awarded a prestigious Dobbin Atlantic Scholarship from the Ireland Canada University Foundation, provided with support from the Irish Government. The award aims to cultivate a new generation of academic links between Ireland and Atlantic Canada in areas including scientific and technological innovation. Barry’s scholarship to Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia allowed him to work with the *Moyer Lab for Clinical Biomechanics and Rehabilitation* on the development of MRI derived computational models of knee osteoarthritis. This work will feed into overall research conducted by Professor Moyer and her group into the development of clinically relevant biomarkers of osteoarthritis as well as therapeutic interventions designed to optimise joint health and reduce disease progression. This trip has opened a new set of academic links between NUI Galway and Dalhousie University in the area of Biomedical Engineering. The research collaboration between the Moyer Lab and NUI Galway, plans to refine and further extend the models, validate them with real patient data, apply machine learning techniques and ultimately be able to objectively use MRI images of arthritic knees to identify patients at risk, indicate patients who would benefit from surgery, and optimise physical activity for patients. The goal is to develop between the two universities a technology that will aid in preserving and keeping affected knees as healthy as possible for as long as possible. While in Canada, Barry developed a procedure to segment out the knee joint anatomies of normal and osteoarthritic patients from MRI images. These patients ranged in the severity and nature of the disease. The segmentation process involved using a computer to extract out tissues of interest from the MRI images which included the femur, the tibia, and the various cartilage layers. These segmented models had anatomically accurate 3D representations of the patient’s bone and cartilage tissues. At the same time an “ideal knee” was developed using computer aided design (CAD). This knee could be modified to flex or extend the joint, damage the cartilage, introduce abnormal rotation into the joint and to perform corrective surgery. The anatomically accurate models of real patient data were then used to modify the ideal knee to be a CAD model of the patient’s joint. This CAD model was then divided into smaller parts which then can have simulated physical forces applied and the outcome calculated using the computer. The applied forces mimicked joint loading under different conditions with the stress and strain on the joint calculated and visualised. Using these techniques, the stress and strain on a damaged joint can be assessed under a particular loading and it can be seen if the stress and strain reduces if a different pattern of loading is used or indeed if surgery is performed. The preliminary results generated correlated well to real world patients. Barry was also awarded Winner of ‘Best Paper: EMF Dosimetry - in silico tools and measurements’ at the first EMF-Med World Conference on Biomedical Applications of Electromagnetic Fields in Croatia last September. This was in relation to work on the development of 3D printable tissue mimicking materials and was in collaboration with Drs Anup Poudel and Manus Biggs in CÚRAM at NUI Galway and Dr Austin Coffey from WIT.  Supervised by Dr Emily Porter and Dr Martin O’Halloran from the Translational Medical Device Lab at NUI Galway, a cross disciplinary group that combines medicine, science and engineering to help advance medical technology in a wide variety of areas, Barry’s main project is focused on the development of a novel device for ambulance-based brain imaging, as a low-cost and reliable method to classify strokes as either ischaemic or haemorrhagic. However, his multidisciplinary background allows him to contribute to a range of medical device and related research as evidenced by his two recent awards. Speaking about his scholarship award, Barry McDermott, said: “I feel honoured to have received this scholarship and been given the chance to visit Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia. My visit has given me the opportunity to initiate a unique collaboration between our two groups to develop innovative medical technologies, and to support a stronger understanding of orthopaedics for my future work at NUI Galway.” Martin O’Halloran, Director of the Translational Medical Device Lab at NUI Galway, said: “Barry is a truly stellar PhD student, with a unique background in both Pharmacy and Veterinary medicine. Having that varied academic background allows him to contribute to a variety of medtech projects, and this award is a testament to both his research excellence and ambition.” Barry McDermott is an Electronic and Computer Engineer, graduating from NUI Galway in 2016. He has a uniquely multidisciplinary background being also qualified as both a Veterinary Surgeon (MVB, UCD) and Pharmaceutical Chemist (B.Sc. (Pharm), TCD). For more information about the Translational Medical Device Lab, visit: www.tmdlab.ie and for more about the Ireland Canada University Foundation, visit: http://www.icuf.ie/  -Ends-

Wednesday, 12 June 2019

Community partners and NUI Galway researchers working together to improve the health of people living with chronic fatigue syndrome, aphasia and cardiac rehabilitation A new education and training initiative, the Community Engaged Scholars Programme (CES-P), is taking place at NUI Galway. The aim of the CES-P is to support the development of partnerships between researchers and community organisations interested in conducting research together that aims to improve the health of their community and that is driven by public and patient involvement (PPI) principles. Best summarised by the slogan Nothing about us, without us, PPI means that the voice of the public or patient guides and influences all stages of research, and that those likely to benefit from new treatments or services arising from research are involved in the decision-making that leads to their development. The CES-P was developed initially at the Medical University of South Carolina, international partners of the PPI Ignite @ NUI Galway programme. The programme is successfully delivered across a number of universities in the US and in Africa. Following a competitive selection process, three community-academic partnerships were recently chosen by a panel of academics, with input from public reviewers, to be part of the first roll-out of the CES-P in Ireland. The three partnerships will complete an intensive training programme over the coming months, a mixture of face-to-face workshops and online learning. Each partnership will then co-design and co-produce research addressing an agreed research question that is of interest to both the community and the researchers. The partners will then work together to share the research results with the public, as well as with researchers, health care professionals and policy makers. In the longer term, the partners will work together to apply for further research funding and to continue to work together to improve the health of the relevant community. The three successful partnerships represent very different communities and divergent academic backgrounds and there is great breadth in the health conditions of interest. One group is focused on Chronic Fatigue Syndome (CFS), with the Irish CFS Association represented by Orla NíChomhraí and Tom Kindlon, partnering with Dr John Cullinan, a health economist at NUI Galway who is already working with EU colleagues in the area of CFS. This partnership is interested in gathering data related to the impact and burden of CFS for Irish people living with the condition. Dr John Cullinan says: “For far too long the voices and experiences of Irish CFS patients have been missing from research and policy”,while Orla NíChomhraí adds:“This collaboration is an attempt to put the patient perspective front and centre in developing evidence that helps improve the lives of those living with ME.” Dr Ruth McMenamin, a lecturer in speech and language therapy at NUI Galway has many years’ experience of collaborating with people with aphasia (aphasia is an acquired language disorder experienced by up to one-third of the stroke population) in teaching, research and practice. The Irish Heart and Stroke Foundation, represented by Martina Greene and the Ballinasloe Stroke Support group are partnering with Ruth on the CES-P programme and together with people with aphasia they will co-design and co-implement research to raise awareness of aphasia. Ruth McMenamin and Martina Greene point out that: “People living with aphasia are one of the most marginalised groups in our communities. Our goal is to work with people living with stroke and aphasia to promote inclusion through a targeted national aphasia awareness campaign. We want to make Ireland an ‘aphasia friendly’ country.”  The third successful partnership sees Croí, represented by Irene Gibson and Denise Dunne, partnering with a group of health psychologists, led by Dr Oonagh Meade from NUI Galway. This partnership is interested in exploring the potential of delivering cardiac rehabilitation programmes electronically (via web sites, videos etc.) rather than the traditional face-to-face rehabilitation programmes.   Irene Gibson from Croí, says: “We are delighted to be part of this innovative program which will give the public and those affected by cardiovascular disease the opportunity to have their voice heard and be actively engaged in driving areas of research that are vital to them. As a heart and stoke charity our work is driven by the needs of the communities we serve and therefore being part of this initiative is a perfect fit. We believe that by adopting this participatory approach to research there is a real potential to influence policy and change how we deliver prevention in Ireland for the better.” For more information about the PPI Ignite @ NUI Galway programme, visit:   https://www.nuigalway.ie/ppi/ -Ends-

Tuesday, 11 June 2019

NUI Galway today (11 June) conferred degrees on over 300 students. Among that number, over 40 were conferred with a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD). The largest cohort of students to graduate was 176 future doctors who received their Honours Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery, and Bachelor of Obstetrics (MB, BCh, BAO) degree. Thirteen Final Medical Medals were presented to eleven graduates for their outstanding academic performance. Every year the University presents the medals to students who receive the highest grade in each subject area. Speaking at the ceremony, President of NUI Galway, Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh, said: “On behalf of NUI Galway, I congratulate each of today’s graduates. We in NUI Galway are determined that this University will play its full part in developing graduates who will make a real difference in the world and for the world, and will shape the future needs of our society.” International students were well represented at the ceremony, with the University welcoming graduates from, among other countries, Malaysia, Canada, Singapore, UK, USA, India, Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, Egypt, who along with students from across Ireland received Diplomas, Degrees, Masters, and PhDs. -Ends-

Tuesday, 11 June 2019

: Scientists from the Applied Optics group in the School of Physics at NUI Galway have been selected by the European Space Agency to carry out a study to detect gravitational waves from many different kinds of sources, such as massive stars rotating each other, or black holes spiralling into each other, as part of the space mission LISA (Laser Interferometer Space Antenna). The European Space Agency (ESA) contemplates the possibility to launch in 2034 three spacecraft in the LISA mission, the first space-based gravitational wave observatory. Selected to be ESA’s third large-class mission, LISA will address the science theme of the Gravitational Universe. The purpose is to detect ‘gravitational waves’, which are tiny ripples in the fabric of space-time. To do this, the three spacecraft will be placed 2.5 million kilometres apart from each other in a triangular formation, following Earth in its orbit around the Sun to detect tiny changes in their separations. The size of the changes is 1 ‘pico-meter’, which is 100 times smaller than an atom. Optical techniques are required to achieve this incredible precision, and the European Space Agency has contracted scientists from the Applied Optics group in the School of Physics at NUI Galway to carry out a study in order to ensure that such precision is indeed feasible. This follows on from the scientists’ recent successful completion of an ESA project to build a prototype Active Optics system for future Space Telescopes. Each of the three spacecraft will carry two telescopes, one of which is used to transmit a laser beam to another LISA spacecraft, and one to receive a laser beam. The combined beams give rise to a pattern of bright and dark lines. Gravitational waves cause tiny changes in the spacecraft separation, and these lead to shifts in the pattern which can be detected.  The ground-based LIGO (Laser Interferometer Gravitational – Wave Observatory) experiment has already detected gravitational waves due to coalescing black holes, with the experiment designers winning the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics. However, these detections are very difficult on the ground due to interference from vibrations ranging from earth tremors to distant trucks. In space, LISA will be sensitive to many more sources of gravitational waves and will open up a whole new type of astronomy. Dr Nicholas Devaney and Dr Fiona Kenny from the Applied Optics Group in the School of Physics at NUI Galway are writing software to precisely calculate the transmission of light between the LISA spacecraft’s. They will include the optical design of the telescopes and determine the effect of errors in the telescope optics. It is vital for the European Space Agency to know how the optics have to be made in order to be able to detect gravitational waves. This will determine the final telescope design and have a major impact on the mission.  Speaking about the study Dr Nicholas Devaney from NUI Galway, said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for Irish scientists to be involved in this exciting mission. It recognises the expertise of NUI Galway scientists in the field of space optics and we plan to build on this work to expand Galway activities in this area.” The NUI Galway gravitational wave spacecraft study is being carried out under a programme of and funded for by the European Space Agency. For more information about LISA, visit: http://sci.esa.int/lisa/ -Ends-