Tuesday, 29 October 2019

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

Tuesday, 29 October 2019

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

Tuesday, 29 October 2019

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

Tuesday, 29 October 2019

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

Tuesday, 29 October 2019

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

Thursday, 24 October 2019

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

Thursday, 24 October 2019

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

Wednesday, 23 October 2019

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

Wednesday, 23 October 2019

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

Tuesday, 22 October 2019

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

Tuesday, 22 October 2019

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

Tuesday, 22 October 2019

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

Tuesday, 22 October 2019

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

Thursday, 17 October 2019

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

Wednesday, 16 October 2019

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

Wednesday, 16 October 2019

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

Tuesday, 15 October 2019

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

Monday, 14 October 2019

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

Monday, 14 October 2019

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

Tuesday, 8 October 2019

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

Tuesday, 8 October 2019

Professor Chris Stringer will deliver the fifth annual William King Lecture Professor Chris Stringer of the Natural History Museum London will deliver the fifth annual William King Lecture at NUI Galway on Thursday, 10 October. Professor Stringer, one of the most high-profile international experts on Neanderthals, will also be presented with the William King Medal at the talk for his contributions to our understanding of human evolution. The William King Lecture series was established in 2015 with the aim of honouring the scientific legacy of William King, the first Professor of Geology and Mineralogy at Queen’s College Galway (as NUI Galway was then known). King made his own scientific history in 1863 when he first proposed the formal scientific name Homo neanderthalensis for Neanderthal people. Event co-organiser Professor Heinz Peter Nasheuer, Biochemistry, NUI Galway, commented: “William King would go on to become the first scientist to successfully name a new human species based on actual fossil remains. It was a remarkable achievement, and also an extremely important step in the early development of palaeoanthropology (the study of human evolution) in the Nineteenth Century.” Professor Stringer is Research Leader in Human Origins at London’s Natural History Museum, and is best known for his work on the Recent African Origin theory of modern human origins, and also with projects concerned with the ancient human occupation of Britain. He actively collaborates with a large and diverse international network of archaeologists, dating specialists, and geneticists in attempting to reconstruct the evolution of modern humans globally. Planet Earth is effectively his field study area, and his research has addressed one of the most fundamentally important questions that can be asked in science – what does it mean to be human? The title of Professor Stringer’s lecture will be ‘The evolution and fate of the Neanderthals’ and he commented that: “The last ten years have seen many exciting developments in the study of Neanderthals – from how they evolved through to when they disappeared, including the remarkable discovery that most of us alive today have about 2% of their DNA in our genomes. In my forthcoming lecture in NUI Galway I will be presenting some of the latest evidence about these close relatives of ours.” To date, Professor Stringer has published over 400 papers and books, and his recent output has included ‘The Origin of our Species’, ‘Britain: One Million Years of the Human Story’ (with Rob Dinnis), and ‘Our Human Story’ (with Louise Humphrey). He is a Fellow of the Royal Society and an Honorary Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries. He won the 2004 Rivers Memorial Medal from the Royal Anthropological Institute and also the 2008 Frink Medal of the Zoological Society of London. More recently he was elected a Member of the American Philosophical Society. Dr John Murray, Earth and Ocean Sciences, NUI Galway, and one of the co-organisers of the annual lecture series, said: “We are really delighted to welcome one of the world’s leading and most highly respected Neanderthal experts to NUI Galway. Professor Stringer is an icon to many in palaeoanthropology; his research on those most enigmatic of prehistoric people, the Neanderthals, has enlightened and inspired in equal measure. His investigations also continue in the spirit of work initially begun by William King here over a century and a half ago. The awarding of the King Medal to Professor Stringer, here in the institution where their formal scientific name was first coined, thus represents fitting completion of this scientific circle.” The fifth annual William King Lecture will take place at 7pm in the Human Biology Building and all are welcome to attend. -Ends-

Tuesday, 8 October 2019

Study aims to discover problems that commonly arise in general practice such as missed or delayed diagnosis, and how such errors can be avoided in the future The School of Medicine at NUI Galway is conducting the ASPIRE study, which aims to involve patients in improving the safety of care in general practice. The research team are currently recruiting people who have previously experienced a medical error in general practice. People who are willing to take part in the study will be briefly interviewed about their experience either over the phone, or in person. A ‘medical error’ is described as an event which could have, or did, lead to harm for a patient receiving healthcare. This could include events like a missed or delayed diagnosis, incorrect drug dosage, inappropriate medication prescribed, a referral error, or a lapse in communication with the practice.  The overall aim of the study is to find out about problems that commonly arise in general practice and how they can be avoided in the future. It will allow the researchers to identify a number of contributory factors to errors in general practice, which will enable the design and implementation of future safety strategies to reduce patient harm. This will benefit both General Practitioners and patients alike. Professor Andrew Murphy, GP and Professor of General Practice at NUI Galway, said: “Patient safety is a real priority for all general practitioners. It is important that the patient voice is also heard in this vital area.”  Caoimhe Madden, a PhD researcher in the School of Medicine at NUI Galway, who is leading the study, said: “Unfortunately the patient perspective is often overlooked in patient safety research. However, we believe that patient stories can provide us with a valuable insight, and enable our understanding of what areas need to be improved upon in general practice.”  For more information or to participate in the ASPIRE study, please contact Caoimhe Madden, School of Medicine, NUI Galway at caoimhe.madden@nuigalway.ie or 091 495205.  -Ends- 

Tuesday, 8 October 2019

NUI Galway student innovation hub LaunchPad has launched its programme of events for the year. The programme has gone from strength to strength on the NUI Galway campus with a community of over 7,000 student entrepreneurs trained since 2015.   Supported by a team of ten interns a key differentiator for the innovation hub is its approach to peer to peer engagement. Executive Director Natalie Walsh said: “Each year we hire a team of interns from across our campuses so that students can learn and develop from each other, in this year’s team we have current Enterprise Ireland Student Entrepreneur of the Year Chris McBrearty, who has worked with us for over a year and comes from a scientific background; Aaron Hannon, a recent Enterprise Ireland Commercialisation Fund recipient and winner of the NDRC Ireland Fund Business Plan competition, who is a second year engineering student; Sarah Murphy a medical student who was a IBYE finalist in Sligo for her project Gridmathic a mathematic literacy aid; Charlotte Lucas, a final year Biomedical Science student who has with Cell Explorers helped to develop a science kit for use in the classroom called ‘Fantastic DNA’; and Heidi Schoenenberger, a PhD student working on developing a business to bring drama productions to primary schools.” A key emphasis of the programme is contributing toward the culture of entrepreneurship on campus and within the region.  Students participating in the programme gain transversal skills and in addition to now considering entrepreneurship as part of their career plan, in addition to being highly employable and filling roles on many sought after programmes both nationally and internationally. The innovation calendar features events, programmes and competitions open to students in Galway. Programmes in this year’s calendar include an EIT Health funded connected health programme, a start-up student week taking place in November and Student Ascent, a midway demo day of student innovation on campus.  The hub has also expanded the reach of some of its programmes by opening them up to third level students in the region.  Natalie Walsh continues: “We have had a huge response to our second level students programmes the Ideas Academy which was open to all second level students in the region, a natural next step for our hub is to engage more with the region and work collaboratively to contribute towards a thriving entrepreneurial ecosystem with students at the heart if it, particularly as we see our student perform so well at national entrepreneurship award programmes. We also see our students developing a core extracurricular skillset that makes them very attractive to employers in the region with many of our Interns holding important innovation roles in their respective industries. “Our approach is to have an open door policy. We encourage entrepreneurs and potential mentors to get in touch with us and see how we can work together to train the next generation of entrepreneurs for our region.” -Ends-

Monday, 7 October 2019

Following the recent announcement of newly appointed Business Professors at the J.E. Cairnes School of Business and Economics in NUI Galway, the Cairnes School and Whitaker Institute will host the ‘Inaugural Professors In Conversation Series’ featuring the new professors. Alma McCarthy, appointed Professor of Public Sector Management will open the series on Wednesday, 9 October and will talk about - Attracting, managing, developing and retaining talent in the Irish public sector. The lunchtime event is free and open to the public. Professor McCarthy will reflect on the key learnings from her research in public sector organisations in Ireland and discuss learnings from international best practice including how best to attract and develop senior leadership capability. She will identify a number of opportunities and challenges currently facing public sector organisations in relation to human resource and talent attraction, management and development. Some of these challenges include the need to be forward-thinking and plan strategically to meet the changing socio-demographic trends of the next generation of public sector employees. Alma will also discuss how current demographic and societal trends are impacting public sector human resource management as well as reflect on the likely future trends that public sector organisations must plan for including changes in employee preferences for how they work, the impact of technology and changes in career expectations.   Drawing on over 15 years of expertise in the public sector, Professor McCarthy will be in conversation with Tomás Ó Síocháin about her public sector research and work. Tomás is CEO of the Western Development Commission (WDC), the state agency tasked with advising the Government on policy for the West, and has experience in senior management positions in other public sector organisations.  Professor Alan Ahearne, Director, Whitaker Institute at NUI Galway, said: “We are delighted to launch this inaugural lecture series which will provide our newly appointed professors with the opportunity to engage students, colleagues and the general public in a frank discussion of issues that are crucially important for our country. The challenge facing the public sector to attract and retain talent is one such issue, with profound implications for our systems of health care, education, security and other areas of public administration.” Speaking about the event, Professor Alma McCarthy, NUI Galway, said: “I am honoured to have the opportunity to be in conversation with Tomás Ó Síocháin discussing my research in the area of public sector management. The delivery of public services for our citizens is contingent on the capability, commitment and competence of our public sector employees and leaders and their ability to innovate and lead change. In turn, the delivery of quality services to the public is dependent on how well public sector organisations attract, manage and develop their talent. I will focus on this important area.” Tomás Ó Síocháin, CEO, Western Development Commission, said: “Serving the public is a key challenge for public servants and for the public service. Changes in technology, the move towards a low carbon economy and the changing culture of work internationally are significant drivers of change. This is particularly the case for a sector that, at times, is seen as slow to change. In my experience, however, there is an appetite for change among leaders in the public service, and I very much look forward to hearing Professor McCarthy’s insights, and facilitating a broader conversation on this important topic.” The event will take place on Wednesday, 9 October from 1pm-2pm in Room CA110 in the Cairnes Building, North Campus, NUI Galway. To book the event, visit: https://www.eventbrite.ie/e/conversations-with-our-newly-appointed-professors-professor-alma-mccarthy-tickets-73785878549 -Ends-

Monday, 7 October 2019

Minister of State at the Department of Education with special responsibility for Higher Education, Mary Mitchell-O’Connor recently launched the NUI Galway Schools of Sanctuary programme at Scoil Bhríde in Shantalla. The NUI Galway Schools of Sanctuary programme is an outreach component of the NUI Galway University of Sanctuary initiative and NUI Galway’s Access Centre. Universities and Schools of Sanctuary promote the welcoming of refugees, asylum seekers, Irish Travellers and other migrants into educational communities in meaningful ways. A School of Sanctuary is a school that is committed to creating a safe, welcoming and inclusive environment that benefits everybody, including anyone in its community who is seeking sanctuary. Promoting and celebrating cultural diversity as well as promoting pathways into higher education is a core element of the programme. “Everyone involved in this programme will become beacons in the community and act as Ambassadors that promote and celebrate cultural diversity in addition to progression into higher education” said Minister Mitchell O’Connor. The programme is highly inclusive and participatory which will empower every student. Furthermore, students will celebrate their own and others cultural identity. In addition, it intends to support increased access and participation in higher education by entrants from socio-economic groups that have low participation in higher education. The NUI Galway Schools of Sanctuary Coordinator Owen Ward said: “Through the collaboration with the Places of Sanctuary Movement, Ireland, the NUI Galway Access Centre and the participating NUI Galway Access linked schools, a sanctuary will be created for all within each school that will ensure a levelling of the playing field for everyone. This programme will positively impact approximately 1,500 students this year.” Principals from Our Lady’s College, St Marys College, and Scoil Bhríde National School signed the commitment pledge to begin the process of becoming a designated NUI Galway School of Sanctuary.  The launch coincides with NUI Galway’s designation as the sixth third level institution in the country to be designated as a University of Sanctuary. -Ends-

Monday, 7 October 2019

As part of the ‘Spotlight on Research’ lecture series at NUI Galway’s College of Arts, Social Sciences, and Celtic Studies, a lecture will be given by recently elected member of the Royal Irish Academy, Professor Paolo Bartoloni on the topic ‘From “great” to violent: on contemporary art’.  The lecture will be held on Thursday, 31 October from 5-7pm, in room G011 in the Moore Institute. Professor Bartoloni will examine the question ‘How is art measured today, and is it possible to speak of contemporary art as “great”’? At the turn of the millennium many believed that art was simply commercially driven or its opposite, ephemeral. Postmodernism has often been blamed for the demise of “greatness” in art and the fading away of art’s enigma and complexity. And yet the postmodern bubble is supposed to have burst years ago, as far back as 2005, some believe. Professor Bartoloni will look at where are we, and what kind of parameters can be used to relate to contemporary art? And, does contemporary art still matter and has art turned from “great” to violent, yet violent to whom and for what purpose? By looking at a series of curatorial practices in the city of Florence, this lecture will rehearse some of these questions, focusing on the way in which local identity might be challenged and even violated by the assemblage of disparate art forms that bring about what the visual studies expert Nicholas Mirzoeff calls ‘neoculturation’. Dr Seán Crosson, Vice-Dean for Research in the College of Arts, Social Sciences and Celtic Studies at NUI Galway, said: “The Spotlight on Research series aims to highlight the world leading and ground-breaking research being undertaken across our College. Academics within the College have received national and international recognition for the research they are undertaking, including major awards and recognition such as the recent election of Professor Bartoloni as a member of the Royal Irish Academy, regarded as the highest academic honour in Ireland. This series provides a platform for us to recognise and bring these research achievements to the attention of both the academic community and the wider general public.” -Ends-

Friday, 4 October 2019

NUI Galway praised for driving an open, transparent culture of quality, and promoting equality and diversity Recommendation to mainstream best practice in support services to manage increasing student numbers and needs relating to international students, access, disability and mental health NUI Galway has successfully completed a review as part of quality checks conducted by Quality and Qualifications Ireland (QQI), the state agency responsible for the external quality assurance of further and higher education and training in Ireland. A panel of national and international education experts conducted a comprehensive review of the effectiveness of the university’s quality assurance procedures, highlighting examples of good practice which were seen to deliver positive benefits for students and staff, and making recommendations on areas for improvement in the coming years. NUI Galway was praised for: The openness and transparency of their self-evaluation process, publishing their report and sharing helpful case-studies. Driving a culture of quality to ensure that all staff have ownership of quality assurance and enhancement Promoting equality and diversity through the appointment of senior leadership in these areas, student work on gender recognition and achievement of the institution-level Bronze Athena Swan award Having conducted a full review of research activity and performance The positive contribution of professional support services such as its academic writing, career development, learning and teaching and researcher development centres The expert panel identified the following areas for improvement for the university: Consideration of the future role and development of the Quality Office with possible links to related support services such as its Centre of Excellence in Learning and Teaching, to share good practice and developmental activities Consideration of a direct reporting relationship by the Quality Enhancement Committee to internal academic governance bodies A review to comprehensively understand their programme development and provision Ongoing annual monitoring of individual school review outcomes to assess progress in achieving development goals Develop a system to mainstream support service projects that are successful and demonstrate impact thus managing increasing student numbers and the complexity of their diverse needs in the areas of international, access, disability and mental health  Professor Sibrandes Poppema, former President of the University of Groningen, chaired the expert review panel: “The Review Team was deeply impressed by the inclusive process of developing the Institutional Self-Evaluation Report, where staff and students were visibly involved, as well as by the format of the document, especially the integrated case studies. The open character of the process was reflected in the publication of the ISER on the external website. The institution has a clear direction and has taken commendable steps in developing an accessible policy and procedures repository, professional support services for the students, research quality improvement measures and internationalisation, equality and diversity, as reflected in the Bronze Athena Swan.” President of NUI Galway, Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh, said: “NUI Galway welcomes this positive QQI review, its findings and looks forward to addressing the valuable recommendations as we embark on a new strategic era here at the University. The review acknowledged our openness and transparency throughout the self-evaluation process but also our commitment to driving a ‘culture of quality’ and promoting ‘equality and diversity’ throughout our community for the public good.  We take quality very seriously and value the confirmation of our compliance with quality assurance regulatory and statutory requirements. We commit to continuous improvement across the campus to meet the needs of our students, including our support services, our teaching and learning and our research agendas.” Through its CINNTE cycle of reviews, QQI assesses and reports on how effectively all 19 publicly-regulated higher education institutions are maintaining and enhancing quality in education.  The reviews explore how institutions have improved their teaching, learning and research systems, and how well institutions have aligned with their own mission, quality indicators and benchmarks.  Reports on University College Dublin, University of Limerick, IT Carlow and Waterford IT will follow in 2020. Padraig Walsh, CEO of QQI highlighted the value of the CINNTE review process to the entire higher education system: “Every QQI CINNTE review is based on rigorous assessment by a panel of national and international experts of the quality of education provision across an entire institution.  Each one serves as a useful tool, allowing students to evaluate and have confidence in the quality of their education. The whole-hearted engagement of our HEIs with their expert panels, the examples of good practice so often brought to light, and the way in which subsequent recommendations are embraced are especially deserving of praise. Together, they ensure the student is situated at the very heart of the teaching and learning agenda.” Read the NUI Galway CINNTE report in full. Read the NUI Galway Summary Quality Profile. ENDS

Thursday, 3 October 2019

NUI Galway will host a conference to investigate the importance of the school environment for children’s learning, wellbeing and participation. Entitled ‘21st Century Schools: Inclusive, Flexible & Dynamic Learning Environments: The impact of physical design on student learning and participation’, the conference will take place on Monday, 7 October and is being hosted by the Galway Occupational Therapy Department and a collaborative forum of educators, educational psychologists, therapists and designers. The conference features national and international experts on learning environments and school seating, as well as examples of flexible design classrooms with innovative furniture design, presentations from local children from Scoil Cholmáin Tuairíní, Galway Educate Together National School and the Claddagh National School and an expert panel discussion on the application of research to practice. This conference will be of great interest to schools and school support teams in Galway and particularly any schools hoping to build, renovate or purchase furniture.  The conference also provides an opportunity for teachers and school support teams from health and disability services to learn and share knowledge together around this important area creating a real platform for ongoing change. A Teaching Council Research support grant is subsidising the event ensuring it is accessible to as many practitioners as possible. International and National Experts on Learning Environments and School Seating are presenting including: Professor Peter Barrett, University of Salford; Dr Tony Hall, NUI Galway; Simon Dennehy, CEO, Perch Dynamic Solutions; Thomas Grey, leading member in the consortium tasked with developing the Universal Design Guidelines for Early Learning and Care settings; Richard Brennan, founder and past President of the Irish Society of Alexander Technique Teachers; and Mary Murphy of Occupational Health and Safety Services and Jan Van Haaren (Industrial Design and Display Screen Environment (DSE) Assessor. The conference will take place in the Institute for Lifecourse and Society (ILAS) Building, North Campus. Registration for the event is available https://hse.clr.events/event/128423:learning-environments-conference or contact Michelle Bergin at Michelle.bergin2@hse.ie for further information. -Ends-

Wednesday, 2 October 2019

Dr Jessamyn Fairfield, a Nanoscientist from the School of Physics at NUI Galway is fundraising for the initiative Homeward Bound, a ground-breaking leadership programme for women working in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). Homeward Bound culminates in a research trip to the Antarctica this November and aims to heighten the influence and impact of women in making decisions that shape the planet. Launched in 2016, the inaugural programme culminated in the largest ever female expedition to Antarctica. Homeward Bound takes place over the course of a year, supporting women in science to significantly improve their clarity, confidence, shared vision and strategic capability. It helps women to take up leadership roles globally and to proactively contribute to a sustainable world both individually and collectively. At the end of the programme this November, Dr Fairfield and her cohort will travel to Antarctica, an iconic and challenging landscape that is experiencing some of the most severe consequences of climate change, with implications for the entire world. Dr Jessamyn Fairfield, School of Physics at NUI Galway, says: “To solve societal challenges like climate change, we can’t ignore the talents of half the population, women, and especially at the leadership level. Research has shown that diverse groups produce better science, better business, and more creative solutions to problems. We don't just need diversity of people - we need diversity of thought.” This is the second expedition trip Dr Fairfield will make. In June 2017 Jessamyn completed a two-week Arctic Circle residency program on board a ship that brought together scientists and artists who together looked at ways of highlighting the importance of the Arctic and how the changes there will affect humanity. During the trip Dr Fairfield built a detector out of ice to capture energy from cosmic particles passing through. Homeward Bound was founded 10 years ago by Fabian Dattner (an Australian leadership activist and consultant), in collaboration with Antarctic marine scientist Jess-Melbourne Thomas. Together, they garnered the support of significant scientific bodies and women of influence, created a strong leadership team and teaching faculty to get the project off the ground. In 2015, the project went viral and the first leadership programme and Antarctic voyage took place in 2016. Dr Fairfield has opened a crowdfunding page to support this year’s programme and funds raised will go towards the Homeward Bound programme costs, which cover leadership coaching and tools, visibility and science instruction, and of course, the capstone voyage to Antarctica in November 2019 with 100 women in STEM from around the world. The programme is also funded in part by the Office of Equality and Diversity at NUI Galway. For more about Homeward Bound, visit: https://homewardboundprojects.com.au/about/. Visit Jessamyn’s crowdfunding page at: https://chuffed.org/project/jessamyns-leadership-voyage-homeward-bound To read Dr Fairfield’s blog ‘In Search of Polar Perspectives’ visit: https://letstalkaboutscience.wordpress.com/2019/09/04/polar-perspectives-homeward-bound/ -Ends-

Wednesday, 2 October 2019

NUI Galway’s Moore Institute will host a seminar discussing the Pictorial Map of Galway on Thursday, 10 October from 2-5pm. Offering a bird’s-eye view of the city immediately prior to its surrender to Cromwellian forces in 1652, the map records in exceptional detail the life and times of its inhabitants. From the city’s defences, quays, public buildings and private residences to features such as the town gibbet, this map has an extraordinary story to tell. Printed on nine sheets measuring approximately 2m x 1.4m in total, the map survives in only two copies – one in the James Hardiman Library at NUI Galway and the other in Trinity College, Dublin. As part of the seminar, the map will be on display, giving attendees a very rare opportunity to see this treasure of Galway history which was donated to the library in 1852 by Lord Oranmore and Browne. The seminar celebrates the appearance of the Royal Irish Academy’s publication of Paul Walsh’s study of the map, Renaissance Galway: Delineating the Seventeenth-Century City, which has been produced by the Irish Historic Towns Atlas (www.ihta.ie). A formal launch of the book will take place afterwards in the Galway City Museum at 6pm, by the Mayor of Galway, Councillor Mike Cubbard. During the seminar, a panel of experts will describe key aspects of the map. Areas of discussion include the fortifications, Irish-language place-names, conventions of map-making in the period, and the social and political history of Galway in the era in which it was produced. Speakers include: Professor Nicholas Canny; Sarah Gearty, RIA; Dr Pádraig Lenihan, NUI Galway; Dr Annaleigh Margey, Dundalk IT; Dr Bríd McGrath, Trinity College, Dublin; Dr Nollaig Ó Muraíle, NUI Galway; and Paul Walsh, author, Renaissance Galway. Director of the Moore Institute at NUI Galway, Professor Daniel Carey, said: “The map of Galway appeared in a momentous era of conflict and political change in the city. This seminar gives us a chance to understand this history more intimately with the help of a range of leading figures.” The seminar will take place in Room G010 in the Moore Institute, Hardiman Building. Attendance is free and open to the public. To register visit https://bit.ly/2o3S3zJ. For further information contact: daniel.carey@nuigalway.ie. -Ends-

Tuesday, 1 October 2019

An NUI Galway academic has contributed to a major new book on Brexit and Northern Ireland. Tom Felle, Head of the Discipline of Journalism and Communication at NUI Galway, is one of 26 contributors to the study. The seminal and very timely book brings together distinguished ex-politicians, journalists, writers and academics from both sides of the Irish Sea to examine the conundrum of Brexit and Northern Ireland in terms of its potential political, economic, social and cultural implications. Contributors include former Progressive Democrat TD and junior minister Liz O’Donnell, former Irish ambassador Ray Bassett and editor and media commentator Roy Greenslade. In his chapter, entitled ‘A History Lesson for Brexiteers’, Felle argues that a failure to understand or give consequence to the Irish position in the corridors of power in Whitehall, combined with anti-Irish sentiment in sections of the British press have legitimised arguments in favour of a no-deal Brexit, According to Felle: “Large swathes of the British public have been conditioned for years by sections of the very hostile British press to be anti-EU, so it was perhaps no surprise the UK voted leave. That focus has now switched from the EU, in part, on to the Irish Government. The story is portrayed by the pro-Brexit press as one of the Irish being difficult and obstinate, and of the Taoiseach, and Tánaiste as pandering to republicans. The legitimacy of Ireland’s position is never given a moment’s consideration on the pro-Brexit press. “Brexit has caused a seismic schism in British society and its scars will be felt for a generation. It has threatened the fragile peace in Northern Ireland and the economic well-being and prosperity of nearly six million people on the island of Ireland.  The long-term damage to the British economy and society – no matter the outcome – will be monumental. A handful of newspaper editors have played with fire when it came to influencing public opinion and setting the agenda regarding the EU for years”, he argues. The book Brexit and Northern Ireland: Bordering on Confusion, is published in association with the Centre for Brexit Studies at Bermingham City University and is published by Bite-Sized Books later this month. The book is edited by ex-BBC journalist John Mair and Dr Steve McCabe from the Centre for Brexit Studies at Birmingham City University. ENDS

Tuesday, 1 October 2019

The PhD Scholarship is a collaboration between NUI Galway, Baboró International Arts Festival for Children, and Branar Téatar do Pháistí NUI Galway’s College of Arts, Social Sciences, and Celtic Studies is pleased to offer one postgraduate scholarship in Early Years Performance to support full-time PhD research within the Structured PhD in Drama and Theatre Studies programme, commencing January 2020. The deadline for receipt of applications is 5pm, Wednesday 16 October. This fully funded PhD Doctoral Research Scholarship in Early Years Performance is an opportunity for a doctoral student to explore the area of the impact of live performance on early years’ children (0 – 6 years) in a national and/or international context working in close partnership with NUI Galway, Baboró International Arts Festival for Children, and Branar Téatar do Pháistí. As Ireland’s flagship international arts festival devoted to children and families, Baboró places creativity for children at its heart and is committed to ensuring that every child can access enriching cultural experiences. This latest initiative builds on Baboró’s close affiliation with NUI Galway, which includes inputs into the University’s programmes across Drama, Creative Writing, Children’s Studies, Psychology, Child, Youth and Family Studies, Social Science, Human Rights and Marine Science.  Branar Téatar do Pháistí is one of Ireland’s leading theatre companies making innovative, high quality productions that inspire children and their families. The company tours extensively nationally and internationally every year. Branar also supports artists to make work for young audiences through tailored programmes of resource sharing and creates opportunities for children to explore their own arts practice in school settings. This research opportunity will follow a Creative Europe funded project, MAPPING, a pan-European project with 18 partners from 17 European countries running from 2018 – 2022, investigating the relationship between performer and early years audiences. The selected candidate will also have an opportunity to follow the work of Branar Téatar do Pháistí in the development of a new work for early years as part of the MAPPING project and will be given access to the annual Baboró International Arts Festival for Children, which takes place every October, and its year-round projects and team. Candidates may have a background in Psychology, Sociology, Children’s Studies, Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies, Education or English. NUI Galway, Baboró and Branar encourage applications from researchers with a background in the performing arts, arts-in-education or research on the value of the arts, but this is not a prerequisite. The successful candidate will engage in teaching over the course of their PhD. Dr Charlotte McIvor, Director of Postgraduate Studies in Drama, Theatre and Performance at NUI Galway, said: “Drama and Theatre Studies' collaboration with Baboró and Branar Téatar do Pháistí furthers our commitment to both theatre for children and young audiences and Irish-language theatre. NUI Galway's role in supporting this groundbreaking area of research as we try to reach and understand how to affect younger and younger audiences will yield dividends for not only our local arts ecology, but the wider national and international creative industries working in this area.” To see scholarship requirements visit https://bit.ly/2lEYqbC or to discuss relevant topics, please contact Dr Charlotte McIvor at charlotte.mcivor@nuigalway.ie. Closing date for receipt of applications is 5pm, Wednesday, 16 October. -Ends-

Wednesday, 2 October 2019

NUI Galway collaborate with GMIT-led research to support policy on seafood safety and consumer health   A study carried out by a research team led by Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology (GMIT) in collaboration with NUI Galway has resulted in the development of the world’s first scientific-based shellfish traceability tool. The research was recently published in two scientific papers in the international peer-reviewed journal, Science of the Total Environment. The study was led by Dr Conor Graham of the GMIT Marine and Freshwater Research Centre in collaboration with Dr Liam Morrison, Earth and Ocean Sciences, Ryan Institute in NUI Galway. This unique tool used trace elemental fingerprinting of shellfish soft tissues and shells to identify the harvest location of blue mussels and scallops with 100% success, including mussels reared at two sites, located just 6 kilometres apart within the one bay. In addition, the trace elemental fingerprinting approach not only correctly identified the site of harvest of scallops but was also able to distinguish between harvesting events just six weeks apart, both with 100% success. Trace elemental fingerprinting is somewhat similar to genetic analyses except instead of identifying the variation in a number of genes to create a unique genetic identifier, trace elemental fingerprinting analyses how large numbers of trace elements contained naturally within the flesh and shells of shellfish vary uniquely according to growing sites. Although the shells of mussels and scallops are composed primarily of calcium carbonate, other elements are incorporated into their shells at relatively low levels as they grow, which is determined by the bioavailable concentrations of these elements in the surrounding water column in which the shellfish live. Lead scientist, Dr Conor Graham of GMIT, says: “In recent years’ consumers have become more food conscious seeking traceability of produce and while such tools exist for agriculture, until now no scientifically based system existed to trace both farmed and wild shellfish produce to their source. The aquaculture of shellfish such as mussels and oysters and the wild fisheries for scallops, razorfish and clams is a multi-million industry in Ireland supporting thousands of jobs in rural maritime communities around our coasts. This research aimed to create the world’s first scientifically based traceability tool for Irish bivalve shellfish (two shells) in order to promote this ecologically sustainable food.” Co-lead of the study, Dr Liam Morrison, Earth and Ocean Sciences, Ryan Institute, NUI Galway said: “In the context of an ever-expanding human population, we are increasingly relying on seafood as a source of proteins and other essential nutrients. Shellfish from wild populations and aquaculture account for a significant portion of overall global production and this research collaboration was aimed at obtaining data to support policy on seafood safety, health and environmental protection.” The research was also conducted in association with the European Food Safety Authority, UCD and the Marine Institute. To read both papers from the study in the journal Science of the Total Environment, visit: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0048969719340987?via%3Dihub and https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0048969719322740?via%3Dihub -Ends-

Thursday, 31 October 2019

Empathy Jam Galway, a user experience research and design event which is sponsored by NUI Galway, will be held in the Portershed, Eyre Square, on Saturday, 2 November. The first Empathy Jam took place in New York in 2016 and the very successful inaugural Empathy Jam Galway in 2018. Empathy Jam will bring together Galway residents and technologists to collaborate on new ways to feel connected, supported, and excited about imagining and creating our future. Participants in the event will be given a challenge to solve in relation to improving the everyday lives of those around them. With help from experienced mentors, they will then collaborate and innovate to reach a creative solution while learning or practicing User Experience Design methods. Through Empathy Jam, participants will learn how empathy can connect us all, solve problems, and build something with lasting impact. User experience (UX) advocate, NUI Galway alumnus and event co-organiser, Diarmaid Ó Fátharta, said: “From my experience of attending Empathy Jam in New York in 2017, I discovered how important and essential the skill of empathy is to the development of solutions for current and future challenges. We saw the same with Empathy Jam Galway last year. Empathy Jam Galway will give participants the opportunity to learn about empathy and to become aware of this ability when working in various scenarios, including building technological solutions.” Mairéad Hogan, Lecturer in Business Information Systems at NUI Galway, said: “This event is a fantastic opportunity to bring together students, industry and residents. Working together, in an empathetic way, we can produce solutions to the problems that affect us all in this city. Empathy Jam will allow participants the chance to devise an array of potential solutions to problems in Galway City ranging from mental health to water safety.” The event is €10/€15 early bird registration for students/non-students and €20 for late registration. Tickets to the event are now available at  https://empathyjamgalway.clr.events/event/128866:empathy-jam-galwayclr.ie/128866. With the high demand last year, those wanting to attend are advised to book early.  For more information on Empathy Jam Galway contact empathyjamgalway@gmail.com. -Ends-


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