Wednesday, 7 February 2018

NUI Galway has announced the winners of the 2018 Alumni Awards to be presented at the 18th annual Alumni Awards Gala Banquet on Saturday, 19 May, 2018 in the Bailey Allen Hall located in Áras na Mac Léinn on campus. The event will be presented by RTÉ/TG4 presenter and producer, Gráinne McElwain. The Alumni Awards recognise individual excellence and achievements among the University’s more than 90,000 graduates worldwide. The Awards programme boasts an impressive roll call of over 100 outstanding graduates who have gone on to honour their alma mater, including, for example, President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins; Olympian, Olive Loughnane; Rugby great, Ciarán FitzGerald; RTÉ broadcaster, Sean O’Rourke; former Attorney General, Máire Whelan; former Creganna CEO, Helen Ryan, Tony Award-winning actress, Marie Mullen and writer, Mike McCormack. The winners of the seven alumni awards to be presented at Gala 2018: Award for Arts, Literature and Celtic Studies - sponsored by Galway University Foundation- Lisa Coen, Co-founder Tramp Press Alumni Award for Business and Commerce – sponsored by Bank of Ireland- Aedhmar Hynes, CEO, Text100 Alumni Award for Law, Public Policy and Government – sponsored by Ronan Daly Jermyn- Pat Rabbitte, former Leader of the Irish Labour Party and politician Alumni Award for Engineering, Science and Technology – sponsored by AIB- Bernard McGuinness, Vice President, Flavor Supply, The Coca-Cola Company Alumni Award for Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences – sponsored by Medtronic- Professor Declan Sugrue, Cardiologist, Mater Hospital Alumni Award for Contribution to Sport – sponsored by Bank of Ireland- Joe Connolly, Galway Hurler Gradam Alumni don Ghaeilge – urraithe ag OÉ Gaillimh- Ailbhe Ní Ghearbhuigh, award-winning poet Speaking on the announcement of the Award recipients, President of NUI Galway, Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh said: “For over 170 years our University has educated graduates of the highest calibre who have gone on to have significant impact in their field of endeavour in Ireland and internationally. “NUI Galway’s Alumni Awards programme recognises the many Galway alumni who are distinguished leaders, making a difference in the world and for the world.These awards enable the University community to celebrate the life-long value of an NUI Galway education and recognise individual achievements among the University’s more than 90,000 graduates worldwide. I congratulate each of the Award winners and look forward to welcoming them back to their alma mater for the Gala Banquet in March.” For ticket and booking information contact the Alumni Office on 091 492721 or email alumni@nuigalway.ie. Online bookings at www.guf.ie -Ends-

Thursday, 15 February 2018

Tá buaiteoirí Ghradaim Alumni 2018 fógartha ag OÉ Gaillimh. Bronnfar na gradaim ag an 18ú Mórfhéasta Alumni a bheidh á reáchtáil Dé Sathairn, an 19ú Bealtaine 2018 i Halla Bailey Allen, in aice le hÁras na Mac Léinn. Is í an láithreoir agus an léiritheoir le RTÉ/TG4, Gráinne McElwain, a chuirfidh an ócáid i láthair. Tugann na Gradaim Alumni aitheantas d’fheabhas agus d’éachtaí an 90,000 céimí de chuid na hOllscoile atá scaipthe ar fud an domhain. Tá gradaim Alumni bronnta ar bhreis is 100 céimí den scoth a bhfuil a n-alma mater fíorbhródúil astu, ina measc, Uachtarán na hÉireann, Micheál D. Ó hUigínn; an lúthchleasaí Oilimpeach Olive Loughnane; an laoch rugbaí Ciarán FitzGerald; an craoltóir de chuid RTÉ Sean O’Rourke; an t-iarArd-Aighne, Máire Whelan; iar-Phríomhfheidhmeannach Creganna, Helen Ryan; an t-aisteoir a bhfuil Gradam Tony buaite aici, Marie Mullen; agus an scríbhneoir Mike McCormack. Seo a leanas buaiteoirí na seacht ngradam alumni atá le bronnadh ag Mórfhéasta 2018: Gradam do na Dána, an Litríocht agus an Léann Ceilteach – urraithe ag Fondúireacht na hOllscoile- Lisa Coen, Comhbhunaitheoir Tramp Press Gradam Alumni don Ghnó agus an Tráchtáil – urraithe ag Banc na hÉireann- Aedhmar Hynes, Príomhfheidhmeannach, Text100 Gradam Alumni don Dlí, Beartas Poiblí agus an Rialtas – urraithe ag Ronan Daly Jermyn- Pat Rabbitte, iarCheannaire Pháirtí an Lucht Oibre in Éirinn agus polaiteoir  Gradam Alumni don Innealtóireacht, an Eolaíocht agus an Teicneolaíocht – urraithe ag  AIB- Bernard McGuinness, Leas-Uachtarán, Soláthar Blais, The Coca-Cola Company Gradam Alumni don Leigheas, an tAltranas agus na hEolaíochtaí Sláinte – urraithe ag Medtronic- An tOllamh Declan Sugrue, Cairdeolaí, Ospidéal an Mater Gradam Alumni don Rannpháirtíocht sa Spórt – urraithe ag Banc na hÉireann- Joe Connolly, Iománaí de chuid na Gaillimhe Gradam Alumni don Ghaeilge – urraithe ag OÉ Gaillimh- Ailbhe Ní Ghearbhuigh, file a bhfuil duaiseanna go leor bainte amach aici Bhí an méid seo a leanas le rá ag Uachtarán OÉ Gaillimh, an tOllamh Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh, nuair a fógraíodh buaiteoirí na nGradam: “Le breis is 170 bliain tá oideachas curtha ag an Ollscoil seo ar chéimithe d’ardchaighdeán a raibh tionchar suntasach acu ina réimsí féin in Éirinn agus go hidirnáisiúnta. “Tugann Gradaim Alumni OÉ Gaillimh aitheantas d'alumni de chuid na Gaillimhe ar ceannairí den scoth iad a chuaigh i gcion ar an domhan. Cuireann na gradaim seo ar chumas phobal na hOllscoile ceiliúradh a dhéanamh ar luach fadsaoil an oideachais atá le fáil in OÉ Gaillimh agus tugann siad aitheantas don bhreis is 90,000 céimí de chuid na hOllscoile atá lonnaithe ar fud na cruinne agus a bhfuil éachtaí déanta acu. Déanaim comhghairdeas le gach duine a bhuaigh gradam agus táim ag súil le fáilte ar ais a chur rompu chuig a n-alma mater don Mhórfhéasta i mí an Mhárta.” Chun breis eolais a fháil agus chun áit a chur in áirithe téigh i dteagmháil leis an Oifig Alumni ar 091 492721 nó seol ríomhphost chuig alumni@nuigalway.ie. Áirithintí ar líne ag www.guf.ie -Críoch-

Wednesday, 28 February 2018

Signal processing technology to help vehicles see and adapt better to complex environments NUI Galway campus to serve as testbed Researchers from the Lero SFI Research Centre at NUI Galway have signed an autonomous vehicles Research and Development partnership with Valeo, the major automotive supplier headquartered in Paris, France. Funding for the programme comes from Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) and Valeo. The research will focus on helping autonomous vehicles to better navigate in complex, real world conditions using sensor signal processing technology. A team of up to 30 Lero NUI Galway and Valeo engineers based in Tuam, Ireland, will work on the project. In support of the programme, Lero NUI Galway is hiring ten PhD and two post-doctoral researchers. Valeo, which employs 1,100 people in Tuam, operates the largest Research and Development team in the West of Ireland with over 400 engineers. The project team at Lero, the Irish Software Research Centre, supported by Science Foundation Ireland, will be headed by Dr Martin Glavin and Dr Edward Jones of the College of Engineering and Informatics at NUI Galway. Dr Ciarán Hughes, Senior Expert in Computer Vision, leads the Valeo research team. Dr Edward Jones from NUI Galway, said: “In many ways perception of the current state of autonomous vehicle technology is more advanced than reality. While autonomous vehicles are currently operating successfully in several locations, particularly in the US, this is often under road landscape and weather conditions very different to the more complex city and rural environments that would commonly be found in locations such as Ireland or elsewhere in Europe.” As part of the research programme a semi-autonomous car will be equipped to navigate every day hazards on the NUI Galway campus, although the test vehicle will be under human control at all times. Critical use cases will be examined at Valeo’s secured test facility in Tuam. Dr Martin Glavin from NUI Galway, said: “Working with the Valeo Research and Development team, our research aims to develop sensor technology that can see further and adapt to difficult driving conditions such as fog, heavy rain and darkness. It will also be designed to better deal with real life road situations such as cyclists, pedestrians or animals wandering on to the road.” Dr Ciarán Hughes, Senior Expert, Valeo added: “This collaboration brings an 18-year relationship with NUI Galway to a new level, a step that wouldn’t have been possible without the support of Lero. At a broad level, the project will look at how to extract the most information possible from automotive sensors, which is critical for highly complex autonomous driving systems.” Speaking about the partnership, Professor Mark Ferguson, Director General of Science Foundation Ireland and Chief Scientific Adviser to the Government of Ireland, said: “It is a tribute to researchers in Ireland that Valeo has chosen to work with Lero, the SFI Research Centre for Software Research, and establish this Research and Development partnership here. SFI Research Centres such as Lero continue to make important scientific advances which support enterprise and industry, develop critical skills, support regional development and enhance Ireland’s international reputation. We look forward to seeing the results of the partnership and the sharing of knowledge and expertise it will facilitate.” Joe Gibbs, Business Development Manager at Lero, the SFI-funded Irish Software Research Centre, added: “This is an exciting project at the cutting edge of advanced autonomous vehicle technology. It is significant that this research is taking place in Ireland.” For more information about the research contact Dr Edward Jones at edward.jones@nuigalway.ie or 091 492720 and Dr Martin Glavin at martin.glavin@nuigalway.ie or 091 492035. -Ends-

Monday, 26 February 2018

In association with NUI Galway School of Medicine, and in anticipation of International Women’s Day, an art exhibition entitled 'Daughter of the Dagda' will run from 6-30 March, with an official launch taking place on Tuesday, 6 March at 3pm in the foyer of the Arts Millennium Building at NUI Galway. The multimedia exhibition of nine women artists explores the manner in which the female and the feminine have been portrayed in Irish mythology and iconography, from pre-Christian Ireland to the present day. The exhibition examines the exclusion of women from positions of power and influence in religious circles and how this has been mirrored by society in general, contributing to the lowly status of the female point of view and of the feminine side of human nature and the persistence of a patriarchal framework in modern society. Professor Andrew Murphy, Established Professor of General Practice at NUI Galway, said: “The School of Medicine has identified gender diversity as a key objective for the next five years. More than half of medical students are now female and this diversity is not reflected in our senior school posts. The School has developed a comprehensive and radical plan to address this which is currently being rolled out. As part of this plan, raising awareness of gender diversity within the school is a key issue. The school is delighted to host for the month of March the ‘Daughter of the Dagda’ art exhibition curated by Hilary Morley and Patricia Timmons.” Professor Murphy added: “The Goddess Brigit (known in pagan times as ‘Daughter of Dagda’) was transformed into a saint after Christianity came to Ireland but Saint Brigit continued to be associated with milk, lambing and sacred cows as well as healing. Each of the participating artists responds to Brigit, with a focus on healing, by looking at how the business of being female has been represented in Ireland past and present.” -Ends-

Monday, 19 February 2018

NUI Galway study on microplastics ingested by deep water fish in the Northwest Atlantic Ocean reports one of the highest frequencies of microplastic in fish worldwide A study carried out by marine scientists at NUI Galway found that 73% out of 233 deep water fish from the Northwest Atlantic Ocean had ingested plastic particles. The research was published today (19 February 2018) in the international peer-reviewed journal Frontiers in Marine Science. As part of the study the NUI Galway scientists participated in a transatlantic crossing on-board the Marine Institute’s Celtic Explorer research vessel. During this research cruise they took dead deep sea fish from midwater trawls in the Northwest Atlantic Ocean, such as the Spotted Lanternfish, Glacier Lanternfish, White-spotted Lanternfish, Rakery Beaconlamp, Stout Sawpalate and Scaly Dragonfish, from a depth of up to 600 metres using large fishing nets. The fish ranged in size from the smallest species, the Glacier Lantern at 3.5 centimetres to the largest species, the Stout Sawpalate at 59 centimetres. Upon return to Galway the fish were then inspected at the University’s Ryan Institute for microplastics in their stomach contents. Microplastics are small plastic fragments that commonly originate from the breakdown of larger plastic items entering our oceans. Other sources may be waste water effluents carrying plastic fibres from clothing and microbeads from personal care products. Due to their low density, most of these microplastics float at the sea surface. Alina Wieczorek, lead author of the study and PhD candidate from the School of Natural Sciences and Ryan Institute at NUI Galway, said: “Deep water fish migrate to the surface at night to feed on plankton (microscope animals) and this is likely when they are exposed to the microplastics. One of the inspected Spotted Lanternfish, which was 4.5 centimetres in size, had 13 microplastics extracted from its stomach contents. The identified microplastics were mostly fibres, commonly blue and black in colour. Some only measured 50 microns in length. In total, 233 fish were examined with 73% of them having microplastics in their stomachs, making it one of the highest reported frequencies of microplastic occurrence in fish worldwide.” Previous studies have shown that microplastics can be ingested by numerous marine animals from zooplankton, to worms and fishes. The ingestion of microplastics by these animals may cause internal physical damage, inflammation of intestines, reduced feeding and other effects. However, what is also of concern is that many of these ingested microplastics have associated additives, such as colourants and flame retardants that are added to plastics during production process, and/or pollutants that are adsorbed onto the microplastics from the sea. There is now evidence that some of these toxins on the microplastics can be transferred to animals that eat them with potential harmful effects. Dr Tom Doyle, a co-author of the study from the Ryan Institute at NUI Galway, said: “While there is clearly a concern that the ingestion of microplastics with associated toxins may have harmful effects on these fishes, or even the fishes that feed on them, our study highlights that these seemingly remote fishes located thousands of kilometres from land and 600 metres down in our ocean are not isolated from our pollution. Indeed, it’s worrying to think that our daily activities, such as washing our synthetic clothes in our washing machines, results in billions of microplastics entering our oceans through our waste water stream that may eventually end up in these deep sea fishes.” The fish were sampled from a warm core eddy, which is a circular current in the Northwest Atlantic Ocean. Similar to ocean gyres, these currents are now thought to accumulate microplastics and that the sampled fish may have originated from a particularly polluted patch of the Atlantic Ocean. Ms Wieczorek added: “This would explain why we recorded one of the highest abundances of microplastics in fishes so far, and we plan to further investigate the impacts of microplastics on organisms in the open ocean.” The research was carried out within the PLASTOX project, a European collaborative effort to investigate impacts of microplastics in the marine environment under the JPI Oceans framework and supported by the iCRAG (Irish Centre for Research in Applied Geoscience) project, funded by Science Foundation Ireland. To read the study in Frontiers in Marine Science, visit: http://bit.ly/2EEmMHI -Ends-  International Media: BBC News, USA Today, Sky News, La Repubblica (Italian), The Times, the Daily Mail, iNews, and Europa Press (Spanish) National Media: RTÉ News, The Irish Times, the Irish Examiner, TheJournal.ie, the Irish Independent, the Irish Mirror, and Newstalk, The damage microplastics are having on deep sea fish in the northwest Atlantic has been laid bare pic.twitter.com/cHwZSQx9qi — RTÉ News (@rtenews) February 19, 2018 Our trash is harming the deepest fish in the ocean https://t.co/WjlPSV0ivQ via @usatoday — NUI Galway (@nuigalway) February 22, 2018 Microplastics found in deep-water fish https://t.co/WbzpoPhZUj — The Sea-MAT Project (@SeaMATproject) February 22, 2018 Not strictly fish: 73% of deep water fish contain microplastics https://t.co/un700wH1P3 via @RTEBrainstorm pic.twitter.com/xnpkpv1zsG — RTÉ (@rte) February 20, 2018 Fish In The Northwest Atlantic Found To Have High Levels Of #Microplasticshttps://t.co/BYlsSEICyC#Fishing #CleanSeas pic.twitter.com/pamAj4BjcM — The TerraMar Project (@TerraMarProject) February 21, 2018 @nuigalway New paper in @FrontMarineSci on high incidence of ingestion of microplastics by Atlantic fish by @ryaninstitute’s Alina Wieczorek, Tom Doyle & colleagues. https://t.co/eYH7eeMJYe @MaREIcentre @MarineInst pic.twitter.com/msYL3qpx6y — The Ryan Institute (@RyanInstitute) February 19, 2018 High Levels of Microplastics in Atlantic Fish https://t.co/gXvTcCJ7AG pic.twitter.com/uuyq4xFsP0 — ScienceDaily (@ScienceDaily) February 20, 2018 Interview: Alina Wieczorek and Gary Kendellen https://t.co/VICPHVOOOq — NUI Galway (@nuigalway) February 26, 2018

Tuesday, 27 February 2018

Students from the College of Engineering and Informatics will host Ireland’s first student-run energy summit, ‘Galway Energy Summit 2018’ on 8 March in the Bailey Allen Hall at NUI Galway. Themed ‘The Future of Energy in Ireland’ and run by the University’s Galway Energy Society, the event is free and open to the public. Founded by Chairperson and NUI Galway final year engineering student Conor Deane, the event aims to take important steps towards energy efficiency in the future. The Summit is particularly timely given Ireland is currently failing to meet EU greenhouse gas emissions targets for 2020. Companies will also have the opportunity to attract some of Ireland’s brightest, innovative young graduates and promote potential internships that may be available. 4pm - 5.30pm - Panel Discussion on ‘The Future of Energy in Ireland’ featuring: Eamon Ryan, TD and Leader of the Green Party. Clare Duffy, Smart Customer Access and Distribution Planning Manager, ESB. Dr David Connolly, Head of Policy at the Irish Wind Energy Association. David Taylor, former Chairman of the Energy Institute in Ireland and current project leader of The Energy Institute’s new ‘Ireland 2050 Knowledge’ website. Moderator, Shane McDonagh from the MaREI research group in UCC and now pursuing a PhD in renewable gas after graduating from NUI Galway with a Masters in Energy Systems. 5.30pm – 7.30pm - The Innovation, Energy and Careers Fair The ‘Innovation, Energy and Careers Fair’ will provide students with the opportunity to speak to potential future employers by bringing together various energy experts, companies, start-ups, students and academics. This event will allow students to understand and become more knowledgeable of the work being done throughout the energy industry in Ireland. Companies such as Accenture and Enerit will promote their work and allow their ideas and methods to inspire others. 7pm Onwards The Summit will close with a networking event in Sult, NUI Galway’s College Bar. The event is a unique networking opportunity for companies, students and those attending to discuss and share thoughts on the Summit’s theme. Dr Rory Monaghan, Lecturer of Energy Systems Engineering in the College of Engineering and Informatics at NUI Galway, said: “Our students here at NUI Galway have really taken the lead in recent years in highlighting the importance of transitioning from our environmentally and economically unsustainable energy system to one that will allow future generations to enjoy the benefits of energy use while preserving our planet. Events like the Galway Energy Summit are crucial to spreading the message that a clean and sustainable energy future is not only possible, but necessary too.” Conor Deane, Chairperson of Galway Energy Summit 2018, said: “This summit will connect students with the energy industry through meaningful discussion on Ireland’s future energy strategy. This event is not just for engineers, we welcome all students from across campus, and regardless of your course discipline this is a topic that will affect everybody. It will give students and the public the opportunity to network with some of Ireland’s most innovative companies such as Crowley Carbon, Accenture, Jaguar and Landover and ESB X_Site.” Laura Mulligan, Marketing Director of Galway Energy Summit, said: “As a Biomedical Engineering student at NUI Galway, I’ve benefitted from being at the doorstep of a European capital for medical device innovation. I’ve also been fortunate to be immersed in an environment that drives innovation in sustainability and energy efficiency. Living in a city that held the European Green Leaf title in 2017 and hearing about NUI Galway initiatives like the GEEC has contributed to cultivating my interest in energy. Galway Energy Summit 2018 aims to bring energy industry leaders, policy makers, students from all disciplines and the general public together so that we can move toward a sustainable future. Energy is not just the concern of engineers, combatting climate change and creating sustainability is critical to all people of my generation and beyond.” Galway Energy Summit’s main sponsor is ESB with supporting sponsors from Jaguar and Landrover, Ward and Burke Construction, Crowley Carbon, Bank of Ireland, and NUI Galway’s Blackstone LaunchPad, MaREI and Ryan Institute. Registration is free and places are limited due to demand. To register for the Summit, logon to: www.galwayenergysummit.ie For more information about the event please contact Conor Deane, Chairperson of Galway Energy Summit, NUI Galway at galwayenergysummit@gmail.com. Follow on Twitter @GES_2018. -Ends-

Monday, 26 February 2018

Scientists and science enthusiasts will battle it out this week for a place in the national final of FAMELAB, the largest science communication competition in the world. This is the third year that a regional heat for the international competition will take place at An Taibhdhearc in Galway on Thursday, 1 March at 7pm. The event is free to attend. The participating contestants come from a variety of backgrounds, covering topics ranging from cancer to genetically modified food. Topics presented will include: “The invisible universe”, “Always need a friend”, “Cancer: A journey from diagnosis to prognosis using Genomics”, “Cheers to Meiosis”, “GFP- lighting the way in biological expression”, “Genetically modified food”, “Herd immunity and the increasing importance of vaccination in an era of science denial”, “the ultimate puzzle”, “Ankylosing Spondylitis: More than just a pain in the neck” and “The Power of Effective Practice”. The competing scientists will be given a total of three minutes each to explain their research, or any scientific concept, as clearly and simply as possible, to a public audience and a panel of judges. This will be followed by three minutes of questions from the judges and the audience. Two finalists will be announced on the night and will participate in a communications master class in Dublin this March. The finalists will then compete in the national final of FAMELAB, which will be held in the Science Gallery in Dublin on Thursday, 12 April. The overall national winner will attend the Cheltenham Science Festival, UK in June 2018 and will compete in the FAMELAB International finals. The regional heat in Galway will be hosted by Professor Brian Hughes, Professor of Psychology and author of Rethinking Psychology: Good Science, Bad Science and Pseudoscience and popular blog thesciencebit.net. Entertainment during the interval will be provided by the “Queen of the offbeat”, comedian Áine Gallagher, fresh from her 2017 shows at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and Vodafone Comedy Carnival. The panel of judges include: Anne Casserly, Manager of Galway Science and Technology Festival;  Dr Gavin Collins, Vice Dean for Science Technology Engineering and Maths promotion, NUI Galway; Paula Healy; Manager of Flirt FM 101.3 radio station; and John Loughlin, Vice Chairperson of the Irish Science Teachers' Association and Science teacher at St. Joseph’s College (The Bish) in Galway. To attend the FAMELAB Galway regional final please book your free ticket at www.famelabgalway2018.eventbrite.ie or following on Twitter @FameLab_Galway. For further information about FAMELAB Galway contact Joanne Duffy, NUI Galway at j.duffy21@nuigalway.ie. -Ends-

Wednesday, 21 February 2018

Registrations are now open for 4th, 5th and 6th class students and their teachers to enter and participate in the third annual Schools Teaching Awareness of Randomised Trials (START) competition for 2018. The competition is run by the Health Research Board – Trials Methodology Research Network (HRB-TMRN) based at NUI Galway. The purpose of the competition is to help students become aware of the clinical trial process. Interested schools can avail of supports from researchers who will visit the school to help get their projects started. Students are asked to choose a simple, easy to answer question using the proper steps of a clinical trial to answer it scientifically, using the online resources provided. Questions can be very practical or a bit of fun such as; Can using coloured paper for written spelling tests increase students’ scores? Does ten minutes of dancing every morning before classes improve student’s attention? The findings from each trial can be reported in any format such as a podcast, video, website, report format, collage or poster.   A randomised clinical trial is a type of scientific experiment which aims to reduce bias when testing a new treatment. The students and their teachers are encouraged to design, carry out and evaluate their very own simulated clinical trial. START encourages children to learn more about healthcare decisions and how we can improve healthcare and wellbeing, by learning about randomised clinical trials. Commenting on the project, Dr Sandra Galvin, HRB-TMRN Programme Manager at NUI Galway, said: “This is an exciting initiative and the first of its kind to bring awareness of clinical trials to the younger community. Schoolchildren and their teachers are so creative and we’re really looking forward to seeing what innovative ways teachers and pupils go about designing and reporting their trial. The last two years have really set such a high standard, and young students are pushing the boundaries of what we think they can understand, in fact, they are teaching us.” To date, over 15 primary schools nationally have entered their very own simulated clinical trials. The top three shortlisted schools will be invited to Galway on Friday, 18 May where the winner will be announced and presented with the START Trophy 2018. Each project will be assessed on: How well does the project adhere to the structure of a clinical trial? How well presented are the findings of the trial, so that any member of the community could understand the findings? Can other schools learn something new from this project? Commenting on the START finalists and their projects, Professor Declan Devane, Scientific Director of the HRB-TMRN at NUI Galway, said: “We started this competition for two reasons. Firstly, we wanted to raise awareness of the importance of randomised trials with children. Secondly, we wanted to harness the creativity and imagination of children in the design, conduct, analysis and reporting of trials. The high standard and variety of applications we received demonstrate that the START competition has indeed raised the awareness of randomised trials and capitalised on children’s innate ability to explain difficult concepts clearly and in a fun way. We are very proud of all our applications and wish each of the finalist schools the very best on the 18 May in Galway.” To register your trial complete the Trial Registration Form, which can be found at startcompetition.com/ and email it to hrb-tmrn@nuigalway.ie or alternatively Post to: Room 235, 1st Floor, Áras Moyola, School of Nursing and Midwifery, NUI Galway. Follow START on Facebook at facebook.com/hrb.tmrn and Twitter @hrbtmrn. -Ends-

Wednesday, 21 February 2018

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

Tuesday, 20 February 2018

‘Evidence in General Practice’ The Discipline of General Practice at NUI Galway will host Ireland’s leading academic General Practice Conference from the 8–9 March. The event marks the 21st anniversary of the foundation of the discipline of General Practice at the University. The Conference will boast an exciting line-up of national and international keynote speakers and cutting edge research. Key questions to be addressed include: How can we ensure that Ireland has enough general practitioners? How best can rural general practice be supported? How can the evidence required to underpin general practice, where 90% of all patient encounters occur, be produced? Keynote speaker Professor Val Wass earned an OBE in recognition of her substantial lifelong contribution to UK general practice.  Her 2016 national report “By choice,  not by chance: supporting medical students in future careers towards general practice” critically analysed reasons why the UK has had a severe shortage of medical graduates entering general practice as a career, and offers real solutions to reverse this trend.  Medical schools in the UK now set a target of 50% of medical graduates to enter general practice.  She will reflect on how these solutions may also be relevant to Ireland. Professor Andrew Murphy, Established Professor of General Practice at NUI Galway, said: “We are delighted to host this important general practice meeting in NUI Galway. Everyone agrees General Practice is key to Irish healthcare. What is unclear is how best to support and develop it, especially in vulnerable populations such as rural areas. These questions, and many more, will be addressed by leading international speakers and over a hundred active primary care clinicians and researchers”. Conference speaker Professor Liam Glynn was recently appointed to the Chair of General Practice at the University of Limerick. He has shown national leadership in the promotion of rural general practice and advocacy for rural patients. He will outline a vision for rural general practice and how universities can contribute to making this a reality. Professor Sandra Eldridge, a Professor of Biostatistics at Barts and the London School, is a world renowned expert in the conduct of clinical trials in primary care. She will outline how these trials have developed to date and how they can continue to contribute to the essential evidence required for care in the community. The conference will include almost a hundred additional presentations showcasing the best clinical and educational research performed by Ireland’s leading general practitioners and researchers. The conference is the joint annual scientific meeting of the Association of University Departments of General Practice and the Irish College of General Practitioners, two leading national academic General Practice bodies.  More information available at: http://conference.ie/Conferences/index.asp?Conference=540-Ends- 

Tuesday, 20 February 2018

Dheimhnigh OÉ Gaillimh go gcanfaidh an t-amhránaí agus an cumadóir Eleanor McEvoy ag Gradaim Alumni 2018. D'fhógair an Ollscoil freisin gurb í Gráinne McElwain, láithreoir agus léiritheoir le RTÉ/TG4, a chuirfidh Mórfhéasta na bliana seo i láthair áit a mbronnfar Gradaim Alumni 2018. Tá sé 25 bliain i mbliana ón gcéad turas de “A Woman’s Heart”, nuair a chuaigh amhrán Eleanor i gcion ar an bpobal mar chuid den chéad albam Éireannach le meascán d'ealaíontóirí comhaimseartha ban. Nuair nach bhfuil Eleanor ar camchuairt, bíonn ról gníomhach aici i saol cultúrtha na hÉireann. Tá sí ina ball de bhord Cheoláras Náisiúnta na hÉireann, tar éis di saol uathúil a chaitheamh leis an gceol, idir ceol clasaiceach, comórtais ceoil traidisiúnta na hÉireann, ceolfhoirne óige, cóir, mar veidhleadóir le Ceolfhoireann Shiansach Náisiúnta na hÉireann agus ansin a huaillmhian a bheith ina hamhránaí agus ina cumadóir comhaimseartha. Bronnfar Gradaim Alumni 2018 ag an 18ú Mórfhéasta Alumni a bheidh ar siúl Dé Sathairn, an 3 Márta 2018 i Halla Bailey Allen, in aice le hÁras na Mac Léinn ar an gcampas. Tugann na Gradaim Alumni aitheantas d’fheabhas agus d’éachtaí an 90,000 céimí de chuid na hOllscoile atá scaipthe ar fud an domhain. Tá gradaim Alumni bronnta ar bhreis is 100 céimí den scoth a bhfuil a n-alma mater fíorbhródúil astu, ina measc, Uachtarán na hÉireann, Micheál D. Ó hUigínn; an lúthchleasaí Oilimpeach Olive Loughnane; an laoch rugbaí Ciarán FitzGerald; an craoltóir de chuid RTÉ Sean O’Rourke; an t-iarArd-Aighne, Máire Whelan; iar-Phríomhfheidhmeannach Creganna, Helen Ryan; an t-aisteoir a bhfuil Gradam Tony buaite aici, Marie Mullen; agus an scríbhneoir Mike McCormack. Seo a leanas buaiteoirí na seacht ngradam alumni atá le bronnadh ag Mórfhéasta 2018: Gradam do na Dána, an Litríocht agus an Léann Ceilteach – urraithe ag Fondúireacht na hOllscoile- Lisa Coen, Comhbhunaitheoir Tramp Press Gradam Alumni don Ghnó agus an Tráchtáil – urraithe ag Banc na hÉireann- Aedhmar Hynes, Príomhfheidhmeannach, Text100 Gradam Alumni don Dlí, Beartas Poiblí agus an Rialtas – urraithe ag Ronan Daly Jermyn- Pat Rabbitte, iarCheannaire Pháirtí an Lucht Oibre in Éirinn agus polaiteoir Gradam Alumni don Innealtóireacht, an Eolaíocht agus an Teicneolaíocht – urraithe ag  AIB- Bernard McGuinness, Leas-Uachtarán, Soláthar Blais, The Coca-Cola Company Gradam Alumni don Leigheas, an tAltranas agus na hEolaíochtaí Sláinte – urraithe ag Medtronic- An tOllamh Declan Sugrue, Cairdeolaí, Ospidéal an Mater Gradam Alumni don Rannpháirtíocht sa Spórt – urraithe ag Banc na hÉireann- Joe Connolly, Iománaí de chuid na Gaillimhe Gradam Alumni don Ghaeilge – urraithe ag OÉ Gaillimh- Ailbhe Ní Ghearbhuigh, file a bhfuil duaiseanna go leor bainte amach aici              Chun breis eolais a fháil agus chun áit a chur in áirithe téigh i dteagmháil leis an Oifig Alumni ar 091 492721 nó seol ríomhphost chuig alumni@nuigalway.ie. Áirithintí ar líne ag www.guf.ie -Críoch-

Tuesday, 20 February 2018

NUI Galway has confirmed that singer songwriter Eleanor McEvoy will perform at the 2018 Alumni Awards. The University also revealed that RTÉ/TG4 presenter and producer Gráinne McElwain will host this year’s Gala Banquet featuring the 2018 Alumni Awards ceremony. 2018 marks the 25th anniversary of the first “A Woman’s Heart” Tour after Eleanor’s composition brought a title, a focus and a hit song to the first Irish album compilation of female contemporary artists. When not touring, Eleanor plays an active role in cultural life in Ireland. She is a member of the board of Ireland's National Concert Hall which completes the unique circle in Eleanor’s musical life through classical music, traditional Irish music competitions, youth orchestras, choirs, violinist in Ireland’s National Symphony Orchestra before submitting to her prime desire to be a contemporary singer songwriter. The 2018 Alumni Awards will be presented at the 18th annual Alumni Awards Gala Banquet on Saturday, 3 March, 2018 in the Bailey Allen Hall located in Áras na Mac Léinn on campus. The Alumni Awards recognise individual excellence and achievements among the University’s more than 90,000 graduates worldwide. The Awards programme boasts an impressive roll call of over 100 outstanding graduates who have gone on to honour their alma mater, including, for example, President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins; Olympian, Olive Loughnane; Rugby great, Ciarán FitzGerald; RTÉ broadcaster, Sean O’Rourke; former Attorney General, Máire Whelan; former Creganna CEO, Helen Ryan, Tony Award-winning actress, Marie Mullen and writer, Mike McCormack. The winners of the seven alumni awards to be presented at Gala 2018: Award for Arts, Literature and Celtic Studies - sponsored by Galway University Foundation- Lisa Coen, Co-founder Tramp Press Alumni Award for Business and Commerce – sponsored by Bank of Ireland- Aedhmar Hynes, CEO, Text100 Alumni Award for Law, Public Policy and Government – sponsored by Ronan Daly Jermyn- Pat Rabbitte, former Leader of the Irish Labour Party and politician Alumni Award for Engineering, Science and Technology – sponsored by AIB- Bernard McGuinness, Vice President, Flavor Supply, The Coca-Cola Company Alumni Award for Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences – sponsored by Medtronic- Professor Declan Sugrue, Cardiologist, Mater Hospital Alumni Award for Contribution to Sport – sponsored by Bank of Ireland- Joe Connolly, Galway Hurler Gradam Alumni don Ghaeilge – urraithe ag OÉ Gaillimh- Ailbhe Ní Ghearbhuigh, award-winning poet For ticket and booking information contact the Alumni Office on 091 492721 or email alumni@nuigalway.ie. Online bookings at www.guf.ie -Ends-

Thursday, 15 February 2018

Looking West - Súil Siar – Vues de l’Ouest is the title of an exhibition of nine artworks from NUI Galway’s art collection to be housed in the Irish Embassy in Paris for a two year period. A preview prior to its departure will take place in the newly refurbished art gallery in the Quadrangle at the University from the 21–24 February, from 12–4pm. This is the first exhibition of a body of work from the collection to travel overseas. The artworks will go on display in the Embassy building, which is located close to the Arc de Triomphe in central Paris. Fionnuala Gallagher, Arts Officer at NUI Galway, said: “It is a special treat to have these artworks on display in such a beautiful, light-filled building, in the heart of Paris. We hope that the paintings settle in well and that they inspire further exchanges between Ireland and France and between artist and viewer.” The Embassy chose the nine artworks from a curated list of 20 pieces (10 by living artists, 10 by deceased artists) with a connection to the West of Ireland. They represent the variety and originality of NUI Galway’s substantial art collection. Looking West offers a unique glimpse into modern and traditional Irish art, from Grace Henry and her contemporary Lily Williams via Gerard Dillon, John O’Leary and Brian Bourke to young artist Moira Comiskey. It captures the changing Irish landscape, weather and soul, with places and portraits in styles ranging from realism to abstraction and media across painting, drawing and printmaking. All are welcome to attend the opening reception with Gearóid Ó Conluain, An Rúnaí of NUI Galway with special guest Honorary Consul Catherine Gagneux on Wednesday, 21 February, at 12 noon. View the entire art collection at www.nuigalway.ie/artcollection -Ends-

Wednesday, 14 February 2018

NUI Galway is calling all wanna-be-engineers to participate in a free full day family event ‘Engineering Our Future: Family Fun Day’, which will take place on Saturday, 24 February from 10am–4pm in the Alice Perry Engineering Building at NUI Galway.  The Family Fun Day is part of the Engineers Week 2018 which celebrates engineering across Ireland. The Family Fun Day will provide plenty of science and engineering shows, movie screening, workshops and hands-on activities that will inspire young (and older) people. Families can watch ‘Dream Big: Engineering Our World’ narrated by Academy Award winner Jeff Bridges which celebrates the human creativity behind engineering marvels big and small from the Great Wall of China and the world’s tallest buildings to underwater robots, solar cars and smart, sustainable cities, and show how engineers push the limits of innovation in unexpected and amazing ways. Young and older attendees can engage with the ‘Spectacular Science of Water Show’ and see how the water cycle works; learn about the impact water has on our weather and other amazing properties of water. See clouds before your eyes, watch what can be done with the power of water and see water being poured straight into ice. Spectacular magic tricks can be experienced with quirky illusions and stunts in the show ‘It’s all done with mirrors’. Is it trapped doors, mirrors, or camera effects? Whatever you discover, more may be revealed! Families are encouraged to come and build your own wind turbine, check if you are stronger than a superhero, learn where water comes from and where it goes, explore the GEEC: Galway Energy Efficient Car, build robots, engage in a LEGO mindstorm or learn about our rich engineering heritage. These and many other activities showing the world of civil, environmental, mechanical, biomedical and electronic engineering, and information technology will be available on the day. Speaking about the Family Fun Day, Professor Peter Mc Hugh, Dean of College of Engineering and Informatics at NUI Galway, said: “Engineering is in every aspect of our lives; it allows us to live, communicate, travel, work, play, stay safe and healthy. By taking maths and science from the lab engineers dream of, invent, design and build things that change the reality and future of all human beings. Join us for the Family Fun Day and explore Engineering through exciting, fun and quirky demonstrations, meet with practicing engineers and IT specialists to better understand the role of Engineering in our lives and its impact on our future.” All details about the Family Fun Day are available at www.nuigalway.ie/engineersweek  and bookings of free tickets can also be made through the website. Tickets can be booked in advanced for some shows, but it will also be possible to attend shows without pre-booking on a first-come-first-served basis on the day. For further information on ‘Engineering Our Future: Family Fun Day’ contact Jamie Goggins jamie.goggins@nuigalway.ie or Magdalena Hajdukiewicz magdalena.hajdukiewicz@nuigalway.ie -Ends-

Wednesday, 14 February 2018

NUI Galway launch the European SEAFUEL project for sustainable integration of renewable fuels in local transportation across three remote Atlantic regions NUI Galway has officially launched the SEAFUEL project, which aims to use hydrogen as a renewable resource across the Atlantic area to power the local transport fleet of cars and support the shift towards a low-carbon economy. The project will be piloted in the Canary Islands, Madeira in Portugal and the Aran Islands. Led by NUI Galway, the €3.5 million three year SEAFUEL project will use the expertise and infrastructure of a group of transnational partners in renewable energy, namely solar and wind, to demonstrate the viability of hydrogen as a fuel to be used by the local transport authorities. SEAFUEL aims to demonstrate the feasibility to power local transportation networks using fuels produced by renewable energies and seawater, with no net carbon footprint as promoted by the resource-efficient flagship initiative COM(2010)2020, an EU policy document on ‘a strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth’ within the Europe 2020 strategy. SEAFUEL will cover technical innovation by way of a demonstration plant, a framework for policy implementation and a sustainability analysis of production, and distribution and usage of hydrogen as an alternative fuel in remote Atlantic regions. Dr Pau Farràs from the School of Chemistry at NUI Galway, said: “SEAFUEL proposes a sustainable way to power local transportation in isolated regions using renewable resources such as sun, wind and seawater, considering the inherent intermittency of such solar and wind energy.” SEAFUEL will focus on enhancing the green growth and blue economy and paving the way for common renewable energy policies to promote clean and sustainable transport systems. Isolated areas such as islands face the specific challenge of the high cost of electricity and fuel and their dependency on mainland infrastructures. SEAFUEL will target these regions where 30% of fuel consumption comes from local transportation. The project aims to drastically reduce greenhouse emissions, particle matter (PM) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2), in line with the Clean Air Programme for Europe 2008/50/EC, and provide a pathway for isolated regions to become energetically independent, leading to future installations in other Atlantic regions. An alternative fuels model for islands will be developed to fulfil the requirements that each of the partner regions propose for their ‘Regional Innovation Strategies (RIS3), aimed at low carbon economy and efficient use of marine resources. The SEAFUEL project is co-financed by the 2014-2020 INTERREG Atlantic Area programme that supports transnational cooperation projects in 36 Atlantic regions in five countries; France, Ireland, Portugal, Spain and the United Kingdom, contributing to the achievement of economic, social and territorial cohesion. Led by NUI Galway, the SEAFUEL partners include; Comharchumann Fuinnimh Oileáin Árann Teoranta, University of Liverpool, Action Renewables, HyEnergy Consultancy Limited, Logan Energy, the Institute of Technology and Renewable Energies of Tenerife and the Tenerife Energy Agency, The Regional Agency for Energy and Environment of the Autonomous Region of Madeira in Portugal and the European Hydrogen Association in Belgium. For more contact Dr Pau Farràs Costa, SEAFUEL Project Lead, School of Chemistry, NUI Galway at pau.farras@nuigalway.ie or 091 492765. Visit SEAFUEL at: https://www.facebook.com/SEAFUEL.EU/ -Ends-  

Tuesday, 13 February 2018

Researchers at NUI Galway identify a new function for the gene centrobin that could help understand developmental disorders that affect multiple organs in the body  A new study carried out by researchers from the Centre for Chromosome Biology at NUI Galway, has uncovered a new function for a gene called centrobin that implicates it in human health, with potential roles in the developing heart, kidney and eye, as well as in cancer. The study was published today (13 February 2018) in the prestigious Journal of Cell Biology. Most cell types in the body carry an antenna-like structure called the primary cilium that detects signals from outside the cell, such as specific molecules or fluid flows. Problems with primary cilia lead to developmental disorders that affect multiple organs in the body, including the kidney, eye, brain and heart. Changes to cells that occur in cancer can also involve primary cilia. In this study the NUI Galway researchers describe a new role in making primary cilia for a gene called centrobin.  The NUI Galway researchers used a cutting-edge technique of genome manipulation, CRISPR, to remove the gene centrobin from human cells, and found that cilium formation was blocked. In collaboration with a group from the University of Ulm, Germany, they found that centrobin loss in zebrafish embryos caused developmental disorders that reflected ciliary problems, such as mis-positioning of the heart or the pancreas.  The study was directed by Professor Ciaran Morrison from the Centre for Chromosome Biology at NUI Galway, who said: “This work is exciting because it suggests that centrobin might play a new role in human health. Much remains to be discovered about how cilia work in the body and our identification of centrobin as a player in this process opens new possibilities for understanding primary cilia.”  The first author of the study was Dr Yetunde Adesanya Ogungbenro, a graduate of Dundalk IT who recently completed her PhD at NUI Galway with postgraduate funding from the Irish Research Council.  Other collaborators involved in the study included Imperial College London, and Mr Pierce Lalor and Professor Peter Dockery from NUI Galway’s Discipline of Anatomy. To read the full study in Journal of Cell Biology, visit: http://jcb.rupress.org/content/early/2018/02/12/jcb.201706095 -Ends-

Tuesday, 13 February 2018

A new online treatment programme, set up by expert psychologists and physiotherapists, aims to help those who are managing multiple chronic health conditions The Centre for Pain Research at NUI Galway, with the support of the Health Research Board, is currently recruiting people with chronic pain and at least one other long-term condition to take part in a research study. The study is open to people all over Ireland and will take place over the coming months. GPs and other health professionals around the country are also being encouraged to refer suitable people to the study. The Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) trial will provide eight online sessions to people in the comfort of their own home. At the moment, such supports are scarce and generally aimed at the self-management of single specific chronic conditions, such as chronic pain alone. Research has shown that having multiple chronic conditions, also known as multimorbidity, is associated with a number of negative outcomes, such as a decline in physical and mental functioning, a decreased quality of life and a greater risk of mortality. The ACT trial is based on emerging clinical science that demonstrates the usefulness of managing health conditions through mindfulness and psychological wellbeing. The free online sessions in the ACT programme will focus on values and goals that are individual to each person in the trial. Participants will be provided with instructions on a range of activity-pacing techniques to encourage more consistent levels of activity from day-to-day. In addition, mindfulness techniques and cognitive behavioural therapy will help identify both negative thinking patterns and the development of effective challenges. Dr Brian Slattery, coordinator of the study at the Centre for Pain Research at NUI Galway, says: “We know that psychological therapies provided to people with chronic conditions are beneficial, but can be hard to access. In this trial, we will offer this online programme to people all over the country, with any combination of conditions, to try alongside any existing treatments they are already using.” People who take part in the ACT trial will not need to attend any clinic or the University at any stage. All materials are tailored for those wishing to learn effective ways of managing their health conditions. Participants can access physiotherapy and all medical services as usual while involved in the trial. Study supervisor, Dr Brian McGuire from the Centre for Pain Research at NUI Galway, said: “This is a promising new online pain management programme and we are hopeful it will be of benefit to people with multimorbidity.” For further information and suitable patient referrals, please email painresearch@nuigalway.ie and visit: www.nuigalway.ie/centre-for-pain-research/ -Ends- 

Monday, 12 February 2018

Dr Dearbháile Morris from the College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences at NUI Galway has received the largest single award of funding from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), for her research examining the role the environment plays in the transmission of antimicrobial resistance. The EPA awarded a total of €11.2 million to fund new environmental research projects with Dr Morris receiving the largest single award of €650,000 for her four year ‘AREST’ (Antimicrobial Resistance and the Environment – Sources, Persistence, Transmission and Risk Management) project. Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is the ability of a microorganism (such as bacteria, viruses,   fungi and parasites) to change and stop the drugs used to treat infection (such as antibiotics) from working against it. As a result, standard treatments become ineffective, infections persist and may spread to others. Antimicrobial resistance is recognised as one the greatest threats to human health. It is estimated that by 2050, unless action is taken, 10 million deaths per year will be attributable to antimicrobial resistance. There are several different types of antimicrobial resistant organisms such as methicillin resistant, Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and carbapenemase producing Enterobacteriaceae (CPE), some of which are resistant to the last resort antibiotics. Such is the concern about the increase in the incidence of CPE that Minister for Health, Simon Harris TD declared it a public health emergency in 2017. The emergence and dissemination of antimicrobial resistance is related to the use of antimicrobial agents. Antimicrobial agents have been used for decades in humans and animals. The ‘One-Health’ concept, a worldwide strategy for expanding interdisciplinary collaborations and communications in all aspects of health care, recognises that the health of humans is connected to the health of animals and the environment. It is only recently that attention has been given to the impact that discharge of antimicrobial resistant organisms and of antimicrobials has on the environment. The environment is a key link between antimicrobial resistance in animals and humans, therefore it is imperative to adopt a holistic ‘One Health’ approach in trying to address the rising threat of antimicrobial resistance. The proposed research will generate national level data on the key sources, hot spots and drivers of antimicrobial resistance in the environment from various sectors (health, agriculture, industrial) and brings together key players in the area of antimicrobial resistance. This will embed the ‘One Health’ concept and build the capacity of Ireland’s research community to support Irelands National Action Plan on antimicrobial resistance. Speaking about her award, Dr Dearbháile Morris, Head of Discipline of Bacteriology at the School of Medicine in NUI Galway, said: “I am very excited to receive this funding award and commend the EPA for recognising the importance of funding research in this area. Antimicrobial resistance is one of the greatest threats to human health. We are facing the very real possibility of entering an era where there are no useful antibiotics left to treat infection. “We need to understand better what role the environment plays in the transmission and persistence of antimicrobial resistance. This four year research project will generate national level data on the key sources, hot spots and drivers of antimicrobial resistance in the environment from various sectors, and brings together a team of world renowned experts in the areas of human health, animal health, agriculture, the environment, geographical information systems, risk assessment, high throughput sequencing technologies and metagenomics.” Laura Burke, Director General of the EPA, said: “The EPA is pleased to announce these awards under our Research Programme and to continue to support research and innovation in areas of environmental importance. The outputs from these projects will provide the foundation and evidence base for credible environmental decision-making into the future.” The AREST project is being led by NUI Galway, in collaboration with the Danish Technical University, UCD, Teagasc and Maynooth University. -Ends-

Monday, 12 February 2018

Over 2,000 people have been recruited into the world’s largest clinical trial to test the clinical and cost effectiveness of the flu drug oseltamivir (Tamiflu) in primary care The HRB Primary Care Clinical Trials Network Ireland, based at NUI Galway, are working with researchers in Oxford University’s Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences, on the ALIC4E trial, which investigates whether the flu drug oseltamivir (Tamiflu) is cost effective and beneficial to patients consulting their GP’s with flu symptoms. In particular, the study aims to understand if older people, infants, people with other health conditions, those treated early, or those with particularly severe flu can benefit from the treatment. Over 2,000 people have been recruited into the world’s largest clinical trial to test the clinical and cost effectiveness of the flu drug oseltamivir in primary care. The trial aims to address the widespread uncertainty over whether people with flu symptoms should be treated with antiviral drugs in the community. To date, 45 patients from Ireland have participated in this trial, recruited from five practices within the HRB Primary Care Clinical Trials Network Ireland. ALIC4E is the first publicly-funded randomised controlled trial of its kind to assess antiviral treatment for influenza in primary care and it aims to recruit a total of 4,500 participants across 16 countries, including Ireland. The antiviral oseltamivir is a member of a class of drugs called neuraminidase inhibitors. These drugs are stockpiled and recommended by public health agencies worldwide for treating and preventing severe outbreaks of seasonal and pandemic influenza, yet some experts suggest the evidence supporting their use is lacking. The drug was widely used during the ‘swine flu’ pandemic, for example, but no trial was carried out on its clinical and cost effectiveness. HRB Primary Care Clinical Trials Network Ireland Director, Professor Andrew Murphy at NUI Galway, said: “It is important that primary care patients and GPs in Ireland have the opportunity to contribute data to important international trials. We are delighted to see our Network practices recruiting patients into this clinical trial.” GP’s and practice nurses in five practices in Ireland are currently recruiting patients at Turloughmore Medical Centre and Main Street Clinic Loughrea in County Galway, and Belgrave Clinic, Tallaght Cross and Crumlin Medical Clinic, in Dublin. Network collaborator, Professor Tom Fahey of the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, said: “We don’t know for sure which people with symptoms of the flu should be prescribed antiviral drugs, and nor do we know the cost-effectiveness of antivirals in terms of helping people return to normal activity levels. The ALIC4E trial aims to answer these important questions.” ALIC4E is an initiative of the Platform for European Preparedness Against (Re-)emerging Epidemics (PREPARE) consortium. Funded by the European Commission’s FP7 Programme, PREPARE was setup to support research organisations to respond rapidly to pandemics with clinical studies that can provide real-time evidence to inform the public health response. For more information about the trial, contact Edel Murphy, Developmental Officer, HRB Primary Care Clinical Trials Network, NUI Galway at edel.murphy@nuigalway.ie or 091 495308. -Ends- 

Monday, 12 February 2018

NUI Galway’s Moore Institute will host a symposium presented by the Women’s History Association of Ireland on Friday 16 February. One of Ireland’s leading historians, Professor Mary O’Dowd from Queen’s University Belfast, will address the association on the progress and pathways for future research on Irish women’s history from 1500-1800. Professor O’Dowd’s address will provide the culmination of a day of discussion by researchers from NUI Galway, TCD, UL and QUB. Speakers will explore the experience of aristocratic Irish women in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries (Lady Ranelagh and Lady Tyrconnell), letter writing and correspondence networks in and outside Ireland, and the legal standing of women in that period. Conference organiser, Dr Bronagh McShane, post-doctoral fellow in the Humanities from the Moore Institute at NUI Galway, said: “Just over 25 years on from the publication of Professor O’Dowd’s ‘Agenda for Women’s History in Ireland’, written with Margaret MacCurtain and Maria Luddy, this one-day seminar will bring together leading and emerging scholars currently engaged in research on the history of early modern Irish women in order to assess progress made and to identify new paths yet to be forged.” Director of the Moore Institute Professor Daniel Carey at NUI Galway, said: “Women’s history is one of the most vibrant and significant areas of research into Irish history in the sixteenth, seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. New breakthroughs in understanding how women communicated, how they represented themselves socially and publically, and how they managed their legal affairs are emerging all the time. This event will provide a valuable update and way forward for research.” The symposium will take place in Seminar Room G010, Hardiman Research Building at NUI Galway from 9am to 5pm on Friday, 16 February. The event is free and open to the public and advance registration is required at: https://www.eventbrite.ie/e/new-directions-in-early-modern-irish-womens-history-tickets-41707319716 For further event information contact Dr Bronagh McShane at bronagh.mcshane@nuigalway.ie or 091 493903. For more details about the Moore Institute, visit: www.mooreinstitute.ie/ -Ends- 

Thursday, 8 February 2018

Six companies will gain €95,000 in seed funding along with intensive training for the next six months on this mentor centric, expert lead, practical, Medtech Accelerator, the first of its kind in Ireland. Investment opportunities range from cutting edge spinal injury technologies to disruptive wound care products, new wave manufacturing techniques to cell therapies to revolutionise oncology treatments, and environmental and clinical diagnostics to preventative patient devices for chronic disease.  Innovative new solutions to medical challenges will be developed by six new companies announced today (8 February 2018) as participants in the BioExel Accelerator Medtech programme. The NUI Galway initiative, supported by Enterprise Ireland, will support the companies who were shortlisted from over 50 applicants. BioExel Medtech Accelerator is the first of its kind in Ireland to focus solely on the medical technology sector. The six companies, which are all in the scale-up phase, will be based at NUI Galway for a period of six months, to build and commercially validate their technologies by working with existing entrepreneurial networks, mentors and management team. BioExel is delighted to announce the first cohort of companies: Bioprobe Diagnostics Ltd – Ciaran Geoghegan Bluedrop Medical Ltd – Chris Murphy GiantLeap Biotechnology Ltd – Martin Codyre Hidramed Solutions Ltd – Suzanne Moloney Grey Matter Technologies Ltd – Rory Dunne Q-Pathway Ltd – Niamh Frehill The successful participants met their first challenge of many, in a three-day clinic on campus with global experts, mentors, and entrepreneur in residence as their market strategy is validated and substantiated. The first month’s clinic has seen many experts on site including: BioVisability, Kate Gunning; HMC Marketing Consultancy, Helen McCormack; Bob Rosenberg, Entrepreneur in Residence; Viadymanics; Ormond Coaching; BioTechspert; Cresco Innovation and many more to work with the BioExel companies and share true market knowledge and experience. BioExel is managed by Dr Sandra Ganly the accelerator Director, also co-founder of BioInnovate and Senior Research Fellow with vast experience in the Medtech environment. Another member of the management team is Fiona Neary, Commercial Director and co-founder of BioExel, as well as Manager of the Business Innovation Centre at NUI Galway, with many years’ experience working with the start-up community. Fiona Neary, Commercial Director and co-founder of BioExel at NUI Galway, said: “For these companies being immersed in a Medtech hub, the environment that BioExel is aligned to is critical, as the innovation and transformation in this ecosystem is recognised globally. From over 50 applications the vast array of discovery and technology in the medtech sector is growing at a rapid rate with some amazing opportunities. BioExel is key to this transformation as we deliver the next generation of investor ready, first class medical technologies to the marketplace.” The Western region already has a strong Medtech ecosystem and this is actively supported by the expertise and infrastructure at NUI Galway. The University is home to Ireland’s only centre for stem cell manufacturing, extensive translational and clinical facilities, biomedical sciences research laboratories, and the CÚRAM Centre for Research in Medical Devices. This is further strengthened by NUI Galway’s expertise in funding grants, knowledge transfer, and programmes such as BioInnovate and BioExel. BioExel is a partnership programme funded by Enterprise Ireland, Galway Foundation Office, Bank of Ireland seed and early stage equity fund, Western Development Commission and hosted by NUI Galway. The Medtech Accelerator programme is part of Enterprise Ireland’s overall strategy to increase the number and quality of start-ups that have the potential to employ more than ten people and achieve €1 million in export sales within three years. BioExel has the potential to support up to 14 Small to Medium Enterprises (SME’s) based in the western region from 2017 to 2019. Bank of Ireland Seed and early stage equity fund have committed €300,000 to this programme. A call for further participants will be made this summer 2018. For more information about the programme, visit: www.bioexcel.ie -Ends- 

Wednesday, 7 February 2018

A research study led by scientists from the Lambe Institute for Translational Research at NUI Galway, has identified a novel approach that could potentially be used to treat breast cancer when it has spread to other organs, using tiny vesicles released by adult stem cells. The study was published in the internationally renowned cancer journal, Oncogene, and involved a multidisciplinary partnership between colleagues at NUI Galway, and collaborators in UCD. There have been great advances in detection and treatment of breast cancer, but patients in whom the disease has spread to other organs (metastasised) still have a poor outcome. New treatments for advanced disease are urgently required. A type of stem cell, called an adult Mesenchymal Stem Cell (MSC) has a remarkable ‘tumour-homing’ ability, being able to home specifically to the site of tumours and metastases, and raising their potential as delivery vehicles to bring drugs directly to cancer sites, particularly metastatic sites. In this study, Dr Róisín Dwyer’s research group, based in the Lambe Institute for Translational Research at NUI Galway, isolated vesicles secreted by MSCs. All cells release tiny vesicles containing genetic information, that can then be taken up by other cells, communicating messages between cells. The researchers then engineered these vesicles to contain a tumour suppressing message, and these were shown to reduce breast cancer growth in models of the disease. This exciting data suggests that MSC-secreted vesicles may home to sites of disease and could represent a novel, safe and effective way to treat breast cancer when it has spread to other organs. Lead author of the study, Dr Róisín Dwyer from NUI Galway, said: “When cancer has spread it is difficult to deliver therapy to many sites of disease while protecting healthy tissue. However, adult Mesenchymal Stem Cells (MSCs) have the natural ability to home to the sites of tumours. We engineered MSCs to express high levels of a tumour supressing microRNA (a short RNA sequence), and we used the MSCs as vehicles to deliver it to the tumour site. The MSCs were found to release the microRNA in tiny vesicles. We then isolated the vesicles to determine if they could be used to treat the cancer, without the cells. This could also reduce potential side effects.” The research study was primarily funded by the Irish Cancer Society BREAST-PREDICT collaborative cancer research centre. To read the full study in Oncogene, visit: http://rdcu.be/Fu56. -Ends-

Wednesday, 7 February 2018

NUI Galway, in association with the Kingfisher Club and Aerogen, will host its fifth annual charity 8k Run/Walk on Saturday, 10 March at 10am. This is the first time the 8k will be held in spring and it will appeal to lots of people who want to get fit and healthy for 2018. The popular event consists of a traffic-free, mixed terrain route around the University’s campus and along the banks of the river Corrib. The event is open to everyone, with runners and walkers of all fitness levels catered for. Entry to the event is €25, with all proceeds going to Jigsaw Galway, the official charity partner. A special early bird rate of €20 is available before Saturday, 24 February, with further discounts for group entries. Jigsaw Galway is a free and confidential support service that promotes the mental health and well-being of young people, aged 15-25, living in Galway city and county. Jigsaw also provides advice and guidance to parents, family members, friends and other professionals who are worried about a young person. NUI Galway Vice-President for the Student Experience, Dr Pat Morgan, said: “We have been building on the success of our 8k event on campus year on year. Over 700 people now take part, and we look forward to welcoming staff, students, alumni, friends and neighbours to the University campus to enjoy the outdoors and improve their health and wellbeing. It is the flattest and friendliest 8k course in the country, so book your place today!” To help participants prepare for the event, Aerogen will host a Sign-Up Day for anyone interested on Friday, 9 March from 12pm-2pm in the Insight Building at the front of the IDA Business Park, Dangan. Representatives from Kingfisher Club and Jigsaw will also be present to assist with sign-ups and answer any questions. The Kingfisher Club and the NUI Galway Sports Unit are also organising meet-and-train sessions on Monday, Tuesday & Wednesday at 1pm and Wednesday at 6pm departing from the Sports Centre on the NUI Galway campus. The sessions are free-of-charge and open to all. To register for the NUI Galway 8K please log on to the Run Ireland Website https://www.runireland.com/events/165325 Updates are also available on the Facebook page at www.facebook.com/NUIGalway.8kRun All queries on the event can be sent to nuigalway8k@kingfisherclub.com -Ends-

Monday, 5 February 2018

The Irish Centre for Human Rights at NUI Galway will host a public lecture by Tomi Reichental, a survivor of the Bergen- Belsen concentration camp. Tomi will talk about his experience of the Holocaust at NUI Galway on Thursday, 8 February at 8pm.   Tomi Reichental was born in 1935 in Piestany Slovakia. In 1944 at age nine, he was captured by the Gestapo in Bratislava and deported to Bergen Belsen concentration camp with his mother, grandmother, brother, aunt and cousin. When he was liberated in April 1945, he discovered that 35 members of his extended family had been murdered. His grandparents, uncles, aunts and cousins all died in the Holocaust. Recounting the sights and smells at the concentration camp Tomi said: “Typhoid and diphtheria were the biggest killers, but people were dying of starvation and cold in their hundreds. First the bodies were removed and burned, but later they were just piling up in front of our barracks, and were piles of decomposing bodies. The soldiers who liberated Belsen in April 1945 said they could smell the stench for two miles before they reached the camp. In the camp I could not play like a normal child, we didn’t laugh and we didn’t cry. If you stepped out of line, you could be beaten up even beaten to death. I saw it all with my own eyes.” Professor Ray Murphy from the Irish Centre for Human Rights at NUI Galway said: “Tomi is one of the last surviving witnesses to the Holocaust. As such, he feels compelled to speak out so that the victims are not forgotten and we do not repeat the mistakes of the past. For most of his life Tomi did not speak of the atrocities he bore witness to, but in recent years he has become an advocate for tolerance and compassion. His story is a story of the past. It is also a story for our times. The Holocaust reminds us of the dangers of racism and intolerance, providing lessons from the past that are relevant today. One of the lessons we must learn is to respect difference and reject all forms of racism and discrimination.” Tomi Reichental has lived in Dublin since 1959. In 2004, for the first time in 60 years, he broke his silence and began to speak about his experiences during the Holocaust. Thousands of students in schools all over Ireland have heard his story, and an RTÉ documentary film called I Was a Boy in Belsen was based on Tomi’s life. The film was directed by the Emmy award winning producer Gerry Gregg and retraces the events that swept away the Jewish presence in Central Europe from the point of view of a boy who couldn’t understand why. To mark his 80th birthday on the 26 June 2015, the Board of Trustees of HETI (Holocaust Education Trust of Ireland) established a scholarship in Reichental’s name. It will be awarded annually in perpetuity to a deserving candidate to enable his or her participation in one of the Holocaust education programs. The scholarship is in recognition of Reichental’s immense contribution that he has made to Holocaust awareness and education over the years. The talk at NUI Galway will be followed by a Q&A session. Admission is free but early arrival is advised.  The lecture will take place in the Ryan Institute Lecture Theatre (MRA 201), Ryan Institute Annexe, NUI Galway (off University Road) on Thursday 8th February 2018 at 8pm. -Ends-

Monday, 5 February 2018

This February, NUI Galway and GMIT are working together to encourage their students to take part in the national student survey at www.studentsurvey.ie. This year, for the first time, the survey includes postgraduate research students, which means that students in the West of Ireland will have an even bigger say when it comes to shaping their experience of higher education. Last year over 30% of eligible students in GMIT and NUI Galway completed the survey. The results showed that Galway students enjoy more effective teaching, better opportunities for collaborative learning, and better quality interactions with staff compared to the national average. On the back of student feedback in last year’s survey, both institutions are focusing on the need to enhance their students’ experience of reflective and integrative learning, which means giving students more opportunities to combine ideas from different subjects and diverse viewpoints as part of their studies. Dr Pat Morgan, VP for the Student Experience at NUI Galway, has championed the inclusion of research students in the national survey and said: “I welcome the development of the survey to include our postgraduate research students as we will now have really worthwhile information on the totality of the student experience from first year undergraduates, through to taught postgraduates and our research students.” This is the fifth year of the Irish Survey for Student Engagement, and the results have already had positive impacts in NUI Galway and GMIT. In direct response to feedback in previous surveys, NUI Galway has invested in a new Academic Skills Hub, and they have enhanced the Orientation programme to help students adjust to university life. Feedback from GMIT students has led to the creation of a Maths Centre and an Academic Writing Centre on campus to support students on their academic journey. Dr Michael Hannon, VP for Academic Affairs & GMIT Registrar, said: “The Irish Survey for Student Engagement, introduced as part of the National Strategy for higher education to 2030, is a welcome development as it provides a uniform methodology to measure student satisfaction with teaching and learning. As a student-centred organisation where the emphasis is on research-informed teaching and learning, GMIT welcomes the opportunity to listen to and respond to the student voice.” The survey is open to all First Year and Final Year Undergraduate students, and students on Taught and Research Postgraduate programmes. It runs from 5-25 February, 2018. -Ends-

Friday, 2 February 2018

NUI Galway SHEER project to highlight how water quality and access to blue/green spaces can improve our health, wellbeing and socio-economic status in Ireland Researchers from NUI Galway have launched the ‘SHEER’ (Socio-economic, Health, Environmental Research) project, an Irish case study designed to integrate three broad strands of environmental, health and socio-economic data to investigate the complex and all important  links between our environment, our health and wellbeing and our socio-economic status in Ireland. Led by the Whitaker Institute at NUI Galway, and partnering with the Insight Centre for Data Analytics and the HSE, the €175,000 SHEER project will emphasise how important, and powerful data from different domains is, to decision making, policy development and the very quality of our lives. The pioneering project will deliver a case study and a clear road map for the future direction of our environment, our health and our wellbeing in Ireland. The SHEER project is responding to the European Economic Area (EEA) call for Ireland to be a case study in their 2019 Environment, Health and Wellbeing report. The primary aim of this Environmental Protection Agency funded Irish case study is to complement the EEA’s broad assessment of a healthy environment and to explore possible impact in greater national, regional and local depth through data analytics, visualisation and mapping the key socio-economic, environmental and health forces and patterns at work in relation to water quality and access to blue/green spaces in Ireland. Building upon ongoing work examining blue/green spaces from the Near Health project at NUI Galway, SHEER will improve people’s understanding of the impacts environments such as ‘water quality’ and ‘blue/green spaces’ can have on health and wellbeing. It will also develop and foster a network of diverse stakeholders such as public health, social science, environmental researchers from across Ireland involved in such pioneering multi-disciplinary work, and create a legacy that will advance this field across Ireland. Dr Christine Domegan, Head of Marketing Discipline and Social Innovation cluster leader at the Whitaker Institute in NUI Galway, and leader of the SHEER project, said: “Over the last ten years we’ve contributed to a growing body of evidence that shows human health and a healthy environment are inextricably linked (WHO EURO EH, 2017; EEA, 2014, EPA Strategic Plan, 2016–2020 and Healthy Ireland, 2013-2025). However, without a multi-causal and coordinated approach to data, it is difficult to develop these findings further and use them to inform policies. SHEER will help us to link different datasets together, emphasising how important it is to connect national data to regional and local issues.” This goal is achieved through a work programme gathering extensive information from diverse databases and stakeholders to provide insights and a baseline of evidence synthesis from three largely disparate domains, environmental, health and social sciences. SHEER is designed to deliver national and European benefits to science, policy and civil society while significantly helping to achieve the Environmental Protection Agency’s Strategic Plan for 2016–2020, ‘Our Environment, Our Wellbeing’ and progress the Government’s Framework for improved health and wellbeing 2013-2025 initiative, ‘Healthy Ireland’. For more information about the SHEER project, visit: visit www.nuigalway.ie/sheer or contact Dr Christine Domegan, Whitaker Institute, NUI Galway at christine.domegan@nuialway.ie or 091 492730. -Ends-  

Thursday, 1 February 2018

The UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre at NUI Galway today (1 February 2018) hosted a Youth Empathy Day. The youth-led day brought together 200 Transition Year students from six secondary schools in Galway, Dublin and Tipperary, all of whom are taking part in a new pilot education programme called Activating Social Empathy, which supports adolescents to learn empathy in schools. Actor and Patron of the Centre, Cillian Murphy spoke to the students about the importance of empathy in his work as an actor. Students attending the Youth Empathy Day travelled from CBC Monkstown in Dublin; Comeragh College, County Tipperary; Grange Community College, Donaghmede, County Dublin; Dominican College Galway; Stratford College, Rathfarnham, Dublin and Galway Community College. Research shows that empathy is linked to a range of positive effects in young people from reduced prejudice and aggression to better academic performance. Empathy education in schools aims to help reduce bullying, discrimination, racial profiling and violence, and increase young peoples’ sense of belonging in school. At the highest international level empathy education has been identified by the UN Youth Office, UNESCO and UNICEF as key to preventing youth radicalization leading to extremist violence, an issue which has not been considered enough in Ireland. Activating Social Empathy was developed by the UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre in collaboration with Foróige, and it is being piloted in Ireland as the lead version of the programme which forms part of an international project strongly backed by UNESCO that will see the programme rolled out the US, Canada, Nigeria, Myanmar, France, Cameroon and Tunisia. Today’s youth-led event is about youth participation and listening to the youth voice on empathy in their own lives. Cillian Murphy, the Patron of the Centre, took part in a Q&A on empathy in his work as an actor and how having a capacity to empathise with the characters you play is vital. A series of workshops on literature, drama, music, yoga, mindfulness and social media will explore how these areas can be used to teach and promote empathy. Two of the Centre’s Youth Researchers will host a peer-led session on their own experience of developing empathy. The day will close with a group brainstorm on developing an Empathy Charter that can be carried into schools, setting out how empathy can be fostered within school communities. Speaking about the event, Cillian Murphy, Actor and Patron of the UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre at NUI Galway, said: “You can’t really be an actor without employing empathy as a very important tool in your arsenal. If I can help young people to see that everyone has a different story and everyone’s story is valuable, hopefully that will help them in the future. It’s helping kids help themselves. It seems to me that if we’re going to help or encourage young people to behave in a certain way, then they should be at the forefront of it, and they should be telling us how they feel and telling us what they need, which is what this day is about.” Professor Pat Dolan, Director of the UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre at NUI Galway, said: “We are on the cusp of the development of empathy as a core part of education systems which will benefit not just youth but civic society as a whole. Empathy education is now being recognised as vital to education, something that is part of youth wellbeing development, but goes far beyond this by changing behaviours and promoting action, with radical implications for social connection and social solidarity.” For more information about the UNESCO Family Child and Research Centre, visit: http://www.childandfamilyresearch.ie/cfrc/home/ or on Twitter at @UNESCO_CFRC and #youthempathyday. -Ends-

Thursday, 1 February 2018

NUI Galway Research Centre publishes Guide on EU Consumer and Human Rights for people in mortgage distress Irish courts are not fully applying EU consumer and human right laws that could prevent unfair evictions The Centre for Housing Law, Rights and Policy at NUI Galway has published a new, user-friendly guide that could help thousands of Irish families in mortgage distress, and facing unfair evictions to understand and advocate for their rights, using vital EU consumer and human rights law. ‘Your EU Consumer and Human Rights: A Guide for People in Mortgage Distress in Ireland’, published jointly with Open Society Foundations’ Abusive Lending Practices Project, is also essential reading for people improperly denied tracker mortgages, or those who have been given incorrect interest calculations. A decade after the crash, and with one in 10 mortgages in arrears, Ireland continues to have the highest level of mortgage defaults in the world. Central Bank of Ireland statistics at September 2017 show that over 72,000 mortgages are in arrears. A massive 44% (over 31,000) of these are in arrears for over two years, putting them at far greater risk of mortgage repossession. The laws outlined in the publication oblige Irish courts to assess the fairness of mortgage terms under the EU Unfair Contract Terms Directive. They should also assess the human rights impact of an eviction on all occupants in the home, including children, older people and people with disabilities, under the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights. These EU requirements are not new. However, to date, they are not being fully applied in Irish courts, according to the Irish and international legal experts behind the guide. Dr Padraic Kenna, Director of the Centre for Housing Law, Rights and Policy at NUI Galway, and one of the authors of the guide, says: “Our guide sets out simply and clearly how existing EU law should be routinely applied to determine, firstly, whether a mortgage contract term is fair and, secondly, whether a possession or eviction notice is a proportional response to any breach of a mortgage term. By applying these EU laws, Irish courts and lawyers can really assist their clients and vulnerable defendants.” The authors have stressed that the guide is for information purposes only. It does not provide legal advice, and is not a substitute for consulting a lawyer. They suggest, within the guide, that people share it with their solicitors. They also acknowledge, however, that a high number of people facing possession are unrepresented, due to the shortage of free and low cost legal services. In tandem with the publication of the guide, a group of facilitators are being trained by Community Action Network (CAN), an NGO with extensive housing rights expertise.  The facilitators will be available to help promote the guide to people in mortgage distress and to service agencies who may be working with them. They will help people understand the information in the guide, but will not provide legal advice or representation. The guide also contains practical advice on how to find a solicitor, an outline to the Abhaile Scheme and Personal Insolvency Arrangements, and other vital resources for people in mortgage distress. Finally, it contains sample template pleadings, for information purposes only. The guide has been created as part of the Open Society Foundations’ Abusive Lending Practices Project, in conjunction with the Centre for Housing Law, Rights and Policy at NUI Galway, and a group of Irish lawyers and advocates.  According to Marguerite Angelari, Senior Legal Officer with Open Society Justice Initiative and the lead author of the guide: “The Open Society Foundations launched the Abusive Lending Practices Project in 2015 out of concern for the substantial number of people in Europe suffering under debt burdens that threaten their ability to satisfy their basic needs. The widespread practice of repossessing people’s homes without consideration of any wrongdoing on the part of the lender and the impact of the loss of the home on the household as required by EU law is a violation of their human rights.” While Ireland is the first EU country where the guide is being launched, its contents are relevant, and will be available, to distressed borrowers throughout Europe The Open Society Foundations’ mission is to build vibrant and tolerant societies whose governments are accountable and open to the participation of all people. The guide is available to download from 7am on Thursday, 1 February, from: https://www.nuigalway.ie/chlrp/news/. -Ends-


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