Thursday, 29 October 2015

It is with sadness that NUI Galway noted the passing of actor, Maureen O’Hara last Saturday (24 October 2015) at the age of 95. Maureen O’Hara starred in over 50 films during her film career and was hailed as Ireland’s first Hollywood star. In 1988 NUI Galway conferred Maureen O’Hara with an honorary degree, a Doctor of Laws, honoris causa. The University’s James Hardiman Library, Archives Collection also holds records from O’Hara’s most famous film, The Quiet Man in the Arthur Shields collection. During her conferral ceremony then President of NUI Galway, Dr Colm Ó hEocha, made the following remarks as part of his citation to honour Maureen O’Hara: “Maureen was born Maureen Fitzsimons in Dublin, and for a stage name another West of Ireland surname was chosen for her. The O’Hara’s are a dual sept – O’Hara Buí and O’Hara Riabhach – and no doubt she rightly belongs to the former. After training at the Abbey Theatre’s acting school, Maureen went to London at the invitation of Charles Laughton and made her film debut with him in Jamaica Inn in 1939, directed by Alfred Hitchcock. After its release, she headed west to California, and shortly afterwards, Hollywood columnist Jimmy Fidler presented as his 1939 ‘Best bets’ for stardom – Robert Stack and Maureen O’Hara. And what a good bet the young Maureen turned out to be. Starting with The Hunchback of Notre Dame with Charles Laughton again, she went on to star in over 50 films directed by such as Lewis Milestone, Jean Renoir, Andrew McLaglen and Sam Peckinpah. But the director with whom she is most closely associated with is John Ford, whose father, named Feeney, emigrated to the US from An Spidéal in 1872. Their work together started with How Green Was My Valley (1941), and then Rio Grande (1950) with John Wayne. There followed, after many years’ preparation by director and actors, her first film to be shot, in part, back in Ireland. It was The Quiet Man (1951), based on a story by Maurice Walsh in Green Rushes. Reviewers of The Quiet Man placed particular emphasis on Maureen’s ravishing beauty and glorious red hair. The film also featured much magnificent scenery in the West of Ireland and is still attracting viewers and, consequently, thousands of tourists to the hinterland of this College. John Ford, John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara went on to make other successful films such as The Long Grey Line (1954) and The Wings of Eagles (1956).” President of NUI Galway, Dr Jim Browne paid the following tribute: “We in NUI Galway are honored by our association with the late Maureen O’Hara. Her work as an actor in Hollywood during the 1940’s and 50’s helped to establish Ireland as an important location for film. That legacy lives on, especially here on campus, where the history of the Irish film industry is well-represented in our Archives and Special Collections and where the Huston School of Film and Digital Media and the Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance continue to encourage actors, directors and filmmakers of the future.” Patrick Lonergan, Professor of Drama and Theatre Studies at NUI Galway added: “We at NUI Galway were saddened to learn of the passing of Maureen O'Hara. During her long career, she acted as a tireless champion for Irish theatre, Irish film, and indeed for the country itself. From her early days at the Abbey Theatre to international fame in The Quiet Man and beyond, she gained our affection and admiration in equal measure, as an actress of outstanding talent and intelligence. We are proud to have been able to give her an honorary degree in 1988, and to be able to number her amongst our alumni: she will undoubtedly continue to inspire generations of our students of theatre and film during the years ahead.” The 1988 NUI Galway conferring citation concluded: Looking back on her films, Francis Truffaut described Maureen O’Hara as a “splendid actress” who played “some of the best female roles in American cinema between 1941 and 1957”. John Ford corroborated in a letter to Maureen: “Don’t let anybody bother you, you’re the best actress in Hollywood”. -Ends-

Friday, 30 October 2015

An international team of scientists including researchers from NUI Galway have found that the substance BanLec, originally found in bananas, through careful modification could fight off a wide range of viruses in the near future. The results from the study were recently published in the international journal Cell. The research focuses on a particular carbohydrate binding protein called banana lectin, or BanLec, that “reads” the sugars on the outside of both viruses and cells by sticking to cell structures, or glycans, containing the simple sugar mannose. When BanLec is modified slightly by scientists, it shows promise as an anti-viral drug. While the natural BanLec fights viruses it also causes inflammation. However the newly engineered BanLec can fight viruses without causing inflammation. A number of Chemistry groups, those of Professor Paul Murphy at the School of Chemistry in NUI Galway, Professor Stefan Oscarson at University College Dublin and Professor René Roy at Université du Québec à Montréal, designed and synthesised mimics of glycans called glycoclusters, which were evaluated by other team members as blockers of both the natural and the newly engineered BanLec. Professor Paul Murphy of NUI Galway said: “The research shows the contribution that chemists make in the design and synthesis of blockers of lectins. The materials prepared helped provide insight into the mechanism of action of the BanLecs, which was part of the wider study.” The natural version of BanLec has one less tiny spot on its surface for sugars to attach. This made it impossible for sugars on the surface of immune system cells called T cells, to attach and trigger inflammation. While the new version of BanLec can still grab on to sugars on the surface of viruses and block them from getting into cells. Professor David Markovitz, co-senior author of the new paper, and Professor of Internal Medicine at the University of Michigan Medical School said: “What we’ve done is exciting because there is potential for BanLec to develop into a broad spectrum antiviral agent, something that is not clinically available to physicians and patients right now.’’ Professor Hans-Joachim Gabius, of the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, an acknowledged expert on lectins and their interactions with sugars (the sugar code), and a major contributor to this research said: “One major advantage of designer lectins lies in the fact that the risk of resistance is lower, because glycans that interact with the BanLecs cannot be altered easily.” The 26 international scientists involved in the study were from Ireland, Germany, Canada, Belgium and the United States. The research was funded by the US and European governments, and by foundations, including Science Foundation Ireland. To view the paper in Cell visit: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cell.2015.09.056  -Ends-

Friday, 30 October 2015

NUI Galway will mark the Students’ Union Sexual Health Awareness and Guidance (SHAG) Week with a free showing of the award-winning US documentary, The Hunting Ground, at 6pm on Tuesday, 3 November in the Aula Maxima. The Hunting Ground highlights how student-led activism overcame institutional and cultural resistance to accepting that sexual assault is a major problem in US universities. During the event NUI Galway will also be launching a new initiative, Sexual Health and Support, in response to growing concerns for student safety. In a recent NUI Galway survey, 25 per cent of female students reported that another person had tried or succeeded in having sexual contact with them through the use of force, in comparison to 6 per cent of male students. The survey also found that half of female students reported unwanted sexual advances in the past year due to someone’s drinking. This new initiative aims to provide information on the support services available to students affected by sexual violence, and the University has also created a hashtag campaign, #NUIGsafecampus, to ensure that all students know how and where to get help. NUI Galway is also piloting ‘Smart Consent’ workshops, and is the first campus to lead on this training and are working with other Higher Education Institutes to roll it out nationally. Consent can be a grey area, as it is often sought and communicated indirectly and these workshops will provide students with the opportunity to talk about positive forms of sexual communication. This campaign is relevant as survey results showed 50% of NUI Galway students would not verbalise what they are comfortable with sexually with sexual partners. Dr Pat Morgan, Vice-President for the Student Experience at NUI Galway, said: “It is so important that, as an institution, we are not burying our heads in the sand and saying that sexual assault does not happen to our students. We are listening to the research findings and working with our Students’ Union colleagues to support student safety and positive sexual health.” The screening of The Hunting Ground will be followed by a panel and audience discussion featuring University staff, students and community partners. Information will also be provided regarding the ‘Smart Consent’ workshops. More information can be found at www.nuigalway.ie/university-life. -Ends-

Friday, 30 October 2015

Report prepared by NUI Galway and Heriot-Watt University presents the results of research on the background, practice and ideologies of 'new speakers' of Irish The Language Commissioner, Rónán Ó Domhnaill, has launched Research Report on New Irish Speakers, prepared by Dr John Walsh at NUI Galway, Professor Bernadette O’Rourke, Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh, and Dr Hugh Rowland, University of Ulster, for Foras na Gaeilge, today (Friday, 30 October) at Oireachtas na Samhna in Citywest, Dublin. This report is a joint venture between NUI Galway and Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh, presenting the results of research on the background, practice and ideologies of ‘new speakers’ of Irish. ‘New speakers’ are those who regularly use a language who are not traditional native speakers of that language. New speakers usually acquire the target language through the education system or through immersion education or, depending on the sociolinguistic context, the acquisition may take place as a result of language revitalisation programmes. The report is based on research conducted in recent years by a network of European researchers titled New Speakers in a Multilingual Europe: Opportunities and Challenges under the auspices of COST (European Co-operation in Science and Technology). There are 50 researchers from 27 European countries in this network and the authors of this report are engaged in research on new speakers of Irish. Dr John Walsh, Senior Lecturer of Irish in the School of Languages, Literatures and Cultures at NUI Galway said: “Above all, this research demonstrates that anyone can become a new speaker, regardless of their language background. One of the interesting results is that of the role of the Irish teacher in an ordinary English-medium school. Many new speakers referred to inspirational teachers they had at school who fostered an interest in Irish, which encouraged them to use it as a social language after school. The new speakers believe that the Gaeltacht is important but some of them have social anxiety trying to speak Irish with Gaeltacht natives. People need more support to become new speakers and we have made some policy recommendations which will help people make that transition if implemented. These include proper investment in a wide range of physical spaces in which Irish could be spoken socially and Irish language awareness campaigns in social media.” Professor Bernadette O’Rourke of Heriot-Watt University in Scotland, one of the report’s authors said: “The findings of our research on Irish have many parallels with other languages in Europe including Basque, Catalan, Breton, Galician, Welsh and Scottish Gaelic, and this report will provide invaluable insights into the broader opportunities and challenges that new speakers bring to a multilingual Europe. The recommendations we have made in relation to new speakers of Irish will feed into a broader set of recommendations at EU level and help identify a common framework of understanding and policy implications at European level.” Ferdie Mac an Fhailigh, Chief Executive of Foras na Gaeilge welcomed the report and said: “Foras na Gaeilge caters to a broad range of Irish speakers nationwide, north and south, as well as within and outside the Gaeltacht. We recognise that new speakers are of great importance and we welcome this positive research revealing their aspirations and needs. We look forward to discussing the recommendations in the report to determine how best we can provide additional support to new speakers in the future.” A copy of the report is available on the Foras na Gaeilge website at www.gaeilge.ie/nuacht/ or www.gaeilge.ie/newspeakers -Ends- Tuarascáil Taighde ar Nuachainteoirí na Gaeilge seolta ag Oireachtas na Samhna 2015 Sheol an Coimisinéir Teanga, Rónán Ó Domhnaill, Tuarascáil Taighde ar Nuachainteoirí na Gaeilge, a d’ullmhaigh an Dr. John Walsh, Ollscoil na hÉireann, Gaillimh, An tOllamh Bernadette O’Rourke, Ollscoil Heriot-Watt, Dún Éideann, agus an Dr. Hugh Rowland, Ollscoil na hÉireann, Gaillimh, d’Fhoras na Gaeilge ar an Aoine, an 30 Deireadh Fómhair ag Oireachtas na Samhna in Citywest, Baile Átha Cliath. Is comhfhiontar an tuarascáil seo idir Ollscoil na hÉireann, Gaillimh agus Ollscoil Heriot-Watt, Dún Éideann ina gcuirtear torthaí taighde ar chúlra, ar chleachtais agus ar idé-eolaíochtaí ‘nuachainteoirí’ na Gaeilge i láthair. Tugtar ‘nuachainteoirí’ ar dhaoine a bhaineann úsáid rialta as teanga áirithe ach nach cainteoirí dúchais traidisiúnta de chuid na teanga sin iad. De ghnáth is tríd an gcóras oideachais nó tríd an tumoideachas a shealbhaíonn nuachainteoirí an sprioctheanga, nó, ag brath ar an gcomhthéacs sochtheangeolaíochta, d’fhéadfadh an sealbhú tarlú mar thoradh ar chláir athneartaithe teanga. Tá an tuarascáil bunaithe ar thaighde atá á dhéanamh le blianta beaga anuas ag gréasán taighdeoirí Eorpacha dar teideal New Speakers in a Multilingual Europe: Opportunities andChallenges faoi scáth na heagraíochta COST (European Co-operation in Science and Technology). Tá 50 taighdeoir ó 27 dtír Eorpacha páirteach sa ghréasán sin agus tá údair na tuarascála seo i mbun taighde ar nuachainteoirí na Gaeilge. ‘Thar aon rud eile, léiríonn an tuarascáil seo gur féidir le héinne nuachainteoir a dhéanamh de nó di féin, beag beann ar an gcúlra teanga atá aige nó aici,’ a dúirt an Dr. John Walsh, Léachtóir Sinsearach le Gaeilge in Ollscoil na hÉireann, Gaillimh. ‘Ar cheann de na torthaí suimiúla, tá ról an mhúinteora Gaeilge i ngnáthscoil Bhéarla: thagair go leor nuachainteoirí do mhúinteoirí inspioráideacha a bhí acu ar scoil a chothaigh suim sa Ghaeilge, rud a spreag iad chun í a úsáid mar theanga shóisialta tar éis na scoile. Creideann na nuachainteoirí go bhfuil an Ghaeltacht tábhachtach ach bíonn imní shóisialta ar chuid acu agus iad ag iarraidh an Ghaeilge a labhairt le muintir na Gaeltachta. Teastaíonn breis tacaíochta ó dhaoine chun iompú ina nuachainteoirí agus tá roinnt moltaí polasaí déanta againn a chabhródh le daoine an t-aistriú sin a dhéanamh dá gcuirfí i bhfeidhm iad. Ina measc sin, tá infheistíocht cheart in raon leathan spásanna fisiciúla ina bhféadfaí an Ghaeilge a labhairt go sóisialta agus feachtais feasachta faoin nGaeilge sna meáin shóisialta.’  ‘Tá macasamhail thorthaí ár dtaighde féin maidir leis an nGaeilge le feiceáil i dtaca lena lán teangacha eile san Eoraip, ar a n-áirítear an Bhascais, an Chatalóinis, an Bhriotáinis, an Ghailísis, an Bhreatnais agus Gaeilge na hAlban, agus tabharfaidh an taighde seo léargais luachmhara ar na deiseanna ginearálta agus na dúshláin a thugann nuachainteoirí leo in Eoraip ilteangach. Beidh na moltaí atá déanta againn maidir le nuachainteoirí Gaeilge mar chuid de raon níos leithne moltaí ar leibhéal AE agus cuideoidh siad comhchreat a dhéanamh amach maidir le tuiscint agus impleachtaí polasaí ar leibhéal Eorpach’, arsa an tOll. Bernadette O’Rourke ó Ollscoil Heriot-Watt in Albain, duine d’údair na tuarascála. D’fháiltigh Príomhfheidhmeannach Fhoras na Gaeilge, Ferdie Mac an Fhailigh roimh an tuarascáil inniu nuair a dúirt sé "Bíonn Foras na Gaeilge ag freastal ar raon leathan cainteoirí Gaeilge ó cheann ceann na tíre, thuaidh agus theas, sa Ghaeltacht agus taobh amuigh di. Aithnímid gur dream iontach tábhachtach iad na nuachainteoirí dúinn agus fáiltímid roimh an taighde dearfach seo a chaitheann solas ar na mianta agus ar na riachtanais atá acu. Beimid ag súil le moltaí na tuarascála seo a phlé agus amharc ar an bhealach inar féidir linn tacaíocht bhreise a thabhairt do na nuachainteoirí amach anseo". Tá cóip den tuarascáil ar fáil ar shuíomh gréasáin Fhoras na Gaeilge ar www.gaeilge.ie/nuacht/. -Críoch-      

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

The science video competition, ReelLIFE SCIENCE, is open to all primary and secondary schools in Ireland Commander Chris Hadfield, Canadian Astronaut, has been announced as guest judge for NUI Galway’s ReelLIFE SCIENCE 2015 competition. The University is challenging all primary and secondary school students across Ireland to produce engaging and informative short videos communicating a scientific topic for the this year’s competition. Supported by the Science Foundation Ireland Discover programme and the CÚRAM Centre for Research in Medical Devices, ReelLIFE SCIENCE will award €3,000 directly to the winning schools for science promotion. Joining Commander Hadfield on the judging panel is: Trinity College Dublin Professor of Molecular Evolution, Professor Aoife McLysaght; and BT Young Scientist and Technologists of the Year 2015, Ian O'Sullivan and Eimear Murphy from Coláiste Treasa, Kanturk, Co. Cork. Speaking ahead of the competition, Commander Hadfield said: “I am very much looking forward to seeing the science videos that Irish students will be making! Discovery and creativity, turned loose by imagination. A great project that I am proud to be a part of.” Secondary school topics include ‘Incredible Life’ and ‘Heroines of Science’, while primary school students can choose from ‘Science in Space’, ‘The Soil is Alive!’ and ‘Design your Future’, among others. Closing date for submissions is Friday, 16 October. The winning schools will be announced on Monday, 9 November during Science Week 2015, when they will be invited to attend a public screening and awards ceremony during the Galway Science and Technology Festival on 22 November. ReelLIFE SCIENCE is organised by Dr Enda O’Connell and a team of science communication enthusiasts from NUI Galway, in collaboration with the Cell EXPLORERS outreach programme from the University’s School of Natural Sciences. The competition has been running since 2013 and previous year’s videos, made with cameras, tablets and smartphones, have tens of thousands of views in over 100 countries. In 2014, the ReelLIFE SCIENCE challenge was taken up by thousands of students in 24 counties around Ireland, producing hundreds of three-minute science videos for the competition, in both English and Irish. Last year’s judge Dr. Aoibhinn Ní Shúilleabháin said: “I was astounded by the calibre of the videos from both the primary and secondary schools. It is wonderful to see the thought, preparation, fun, and learning that went into all of the videos and it is very encouraging to see students enjoying and communicating science.” The 2014 primary school category winners were Sooey National School, Co. Sligo, with Leaving Certificate student Julien Torrades from Summerhill College, Sligo taking first place at secondary school level. For further information about the 2015 competition visit http://reellifescience.com/2015/08/31/its-launch-day-for-reellife-science-2015/ and previous year’s videos can be found at www.reellifescience.com. -Ends-

Thursday, 3 September 2015

European bioeconomy employs an estimated 21.5 million people, with a market worth approximately €2 trillion - NUI Galway’s TCBB will identify 8 key opportunities for Ireland The BioÉire consortium involving NUI Galway’s Technlogy Centre for Biorefining & Bioenergy (TCBB) will host its first seminar in the Teagasc College of Amenity Horticulture, National Botanic Gardens, Glasnevin today (3 September) to present some of the context shaping its current research activities and to provide input for its market development project. Outcomes of this workshop will ultimately feed into the process of developing a coherent, national bioeconomy strategy for Ireland. Bart Bonsall, Technology Leader at the Technology Centre for Biorefining & Bioenergy (TCBB) at NUI Galway, notes the further potential that exists to utilise resources from the Irish agricultural sector beyond the food industry to explore new biochemical and biomaterial opportunities. Speaking of the need to emulate advances seen in other EU member states, Mr Bonsall highlights that: “The EU is transitioning its petro-chemical complex away from fossil-fuel based to biobased raw materials. Ireland has an opportunity to use its agricultural might to supply these enormous markets, over time matching or surpassing the value of its food outputs.” “When you see now a global household name like Coca-Cola using patented technology to convert natural sugars from plants into renewable plastic bottles, then you have to ask yourself what should Ireland be looking at to generate new economic opportunities for biobased materials and products? Should Ireland produce renewable plastics and renewable chemicals from sugar beet or other agricultural, forestry or marine outputs?” Mr Bonsall continued. Escalating challenges related to economic sustainability, climate change, biodiversity loss, resource scarcity, food security and growing populations highlight the need to transition to more sustainable, low-carbon ways of living. The bioeconomy concept offers one way to address these challenges, harnessing the optimal use of renewable biological resources and reducing dependence on fossil-fuel based resources, whilst still achieving economic growth. At the European level, the bioeconomy is estimated to employ some 21.5 million people, with a market worth approximately €2 trillion. These lucrative markets and sustainable, bioeconomic opportunities are only just beginning to be exploited, including in the Irish context. “This strategy is needed to help us to review and ultimately change, how we produce, process and recover biological feedstocks” according to Dr Maeve Henchion, BioÉire project coordinator at Teagasc. The development of a bioeconomy in Ireland producing biofuels, biofertilisers, biochemicals and bioplastics is particularly plausible given its abundant natural resources, thriving agriculture and marine sectors, growing forestry development, well-respected food industry and renowned research and development capabilities. Speaking in advance of the workshop, Dr Maria Hayes, Research Officer at Teagasc, reflects on the opportunities that are readily available in the marine sector in Ireland, a topic that she will explore in a keynote presentation. Commenting on the abundant marine resources around the Irish coastline, Dr Hayes states that: “The seas around Ireland contain a number of underutilised species, including seaweeds and Boarfish that at present are not being exploited to their full potential. These species are potentially a huge reservoir for novel protein ingredients and functional foods compounds that may be health beneficial and can provide an alternative to dairy, meat and plant proteins. Furthermore, with the clever use of biotechnological processes, marine discards can be considered ideal candidates for generation of natural bioactive materials such as chitin and chitosan that have huge commercial appeal.” These, and other opportunities, will form the heart of the discussion at the BioÉire workshop that aims to act as a platform for determining which opportunities merit further investigation in an Irish context. Eight key commercial opportunities will be recommended by the project to the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine. The workshop will be attended by representatives across policy, academic, state and semi-state organisations. BioÉire is funded by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine. Ireland’s national Technology Centre for Biorefining and Bioenergy (TCBB) is one of a number of competence centres established and led by industry, and initially funded by Enterprise Ireland and IDA Ireland. TCBB is co-hosted by 4 Irish universities, NUI Galway, University of Limerick, University College Dublin and Trinity College Dublin. The BioÉire consortium comprises TCBB, Teagasc, Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT) and University College Dublin (UCD). For further information on the seminar please contact Pádraic Ó hUiginn, Communications Programme Manager, TCBB, NUI Galway on 087 905 3806 or e-mail pohuiginn@tcbb.ie -Ends-

Monday, 7 September 2015

NUI Galway’s Huston School of Film and Digital Media will launch ‘The Home Project’ on Friday, 11 September at 7pm. ‘The Home Project’ will begin with a special screening of three short films produced by participants from COPE Galway, Youth Advocacy Programme Ireland and the Oranmore Liveable Communities Group. ‘The Home Project’ is an ongoing collaboration between the Huston School and local community groups to produce short documentaries on the theme of ‘home’. “The importance of a secure and stable home to people’s physical and mental wellbeing has never been more evident as we witness daily news stories about the problems of homelessness in Ireland as well the sacrifices endured by those around the world who are forced to flee their homes due to war or persecution,” said Dr Conn Holohan of the University’s Huston School of Film and Digital Media, who developed and coordinates the project. “The aim of this project is to provide groups within the Galway community with the training and facilities necessary to produce short films about their experiences of home and its significance in their lives. By giving people the tools to communicate what home means to them, the hope is that we might generate meaningful debate about the significance of home collectively in our society,” Dr Holohan continued. Over the months of July and August, participants from COPE Galway, Youth Advocacy Programme Ireland and the Oranmore Liveable Communities Group all worked with experienced industry professionals to produce three ten-minute documentaries on the theme of home. The stories which these films unearth include those of a family which spent years living in an active courthouse in Co. Galway, as well as the building of a swan sanctuary by the community of Oranmore to enable two of the towns most well-known inhabitants finally find a family home. The evening will also see the launch of ‘The Home Project’ website, where visitors can see the finished films as well as contribute their own memories of or reflections on a place called home. The project is funded by the Irish Research Council New Foundations Scheme. - Ends -

Monday, 7 September 2015

Atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations on the increase leading to an increase in global warming As carbon dioxide levels continue to rise in the World’s oceans, NUI Galway will host a public seminar examining ocean acidification on Wednesday, 16 September. Ocean acidification arises as a result of the ongoing decrease in the pH of the Earth’s oceans, caused by the uptake of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations have been on the increase for the past two hundred years due to human industrial (fossil fuel use for transportation and electricity production) and agricultural (greenhouse gas emissions and land use change leading to deforestation) activities. This has led to an increase in the average temperature of the Earth, or global warming. The oceans play a role in regulating the global climate by absorbing much of the heat and carbon dioxide. These increasing carbon dioxide levels have caused the oceans to become more acidic, resulting in significant changes in marine organisms. Delivering the lecture is Dr Richard Feely of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory, Seattle. As one of the World-leading authorities on ocean acidification, Dr Feely will discuss the present and future implications of increased carbon dioxide levels on the health of our ocean ecosystems and related ocean-based economies. Conference organiser, Dr Brian Ward of NUI Galway’s School of Physics, said: “Ocean acidification is now recognised as one of the biggest potential impacts arising from increased levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide and this public lecture is an excellent opportunity to hear about ocean acidification from a world-leading expert.” The conference will take place at 7.30pm in the Aula Maxima and is free to the public. Advance registration is advised as the number of places is limited. To register visit http://t9.ie/1gu. For further information please email Dr Brian Ward at bward@nuigalway.ie. -Ends-

Tuesday, 8 September 2015

Over 240 delegates from 18 countries worldwide came to Galway recently for the 18th Annual Irish Academy of Management (IAM) Conference 2015. Hosted by NUI Galway’s J.E. Cairnes School of Business and Economics, the conference saw over 150 research presentations across a diverse range of business topics exploring the conference theme of ‘Towards Socially Responsible Management?’ The conference was preceded by a Doctoral Colloquium which provided doctoral students from Ireland and internationally the opportunity to meet and exchange ideas and knowledge. Four national and international keynote speakers provided participants with key insights to assist PhD students with overcoming theoretical and methodological issues in completing their PhD theses. Two of the doctoral colloquium keynotes focused on how PhD students can build successful international academic careers. The conference keynote address was delivered by Professor Andrew Pettigrew, Professor of Strategy and Organisation at Saïd Business School at the University of Oxford. Professor Pettigrew’s address examined the impact leaders have on organisational performance and highlighted some key issues including the increase in leadership churn and reduced CEO tenure as a challenge for organisations. One of the IAM conference highlights was the plenary roundtable discussion examining the future of management education and research impact with panellists from Australia, the UK and Ireland. During the roundtable discussion, Professor Pettigrew highlighted the need for more engaged and impactful Professors as a key challenge for the future of the academic business community. Professor Sarah Moore, Chair of the National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, Vice-President for Teaching and Learning in the University of Limerick, said: “As educators, we need to design environments that are less centred on delivery and more concerned with learning cultures and processes that are active, engaged, empowered to foster motivation, creativity and compel attention and focus in a world that is increasingly digital.” Professor Tony Dundon, Professor of Human Resource Management at NUI Galway called for management and business educators to expand the paradigm of business education to include broader social issues including questioning the distribution of wealth and the moral economy. Professor Roy Green, Dean, University of Technology Sydney Business School, discussed the changing nature of work and how ICT requires differing business, management and leadership skills into the future. Dr Alma McCarthy, IAM Conference Chair, NUI Galway, said: “The conference was a huge success. Delegates were very pleased with the quality of research papers, plenary sessions at the conference, and the warm Galway and West of Ireland hospitality they experienced. The fact that we had 18 countries attending the conference shows the excellent achievement of the IAM in extending its significance and impact beyond the Irish academic community.” Further information on the Irish Academy of Management is available at http://www.iamireland.ie -Ends-

Tuesday, 8 September 2015

NUI Galway’s MSc in Medical Physics is the first European MSc programme to be awarded accreditation by CAMPEP and the second worldwide NUI Galway’s MSc in Medical Physics is the first European MSc programme to be awarded accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation of Medical Physics Education Programmes (CAMPEP) and the second programme worldwide. To progress in a career in medical physics, having graduated from a CAMPEP accredited MSc programme is now becoming essential, and the MSc in Medical Physics has been accredited by CAMPEP for an initial period of three years. The MSc in Medical Physics enrolled its first students in 2002 and has since then graduated over 130 students. Of the graduates, in excess of 70% are currently employed in health care as medical physicists. The requirement for medical physicists to have appropriate training is increasingly recognised worldwide. Both the European Commission and professional bodies worldwide have issued guidelines on this training. One such body is CAMPEP, which is supported by the American Association of Physicists in Medicine, American College of Radiology, American Society for Radiation Oncology, Canadian Organisation of Medical Physics and the Radiological Society of North America. Being awarded a degree from a CAMPEP accredited MSc is a condition of entry into CAMPEP Residency training programmes in the USA and Canada and is also an indication of the quality of the programme. The MSc in Medical Physics at NUI Galway is the first European MSc programme to be accredited by CAMPEP and the second programme worldwide outside of North America. Professor Wil van der Putten, Adjunct Professor of Medical Physics, NUI Galway and Head of Medical Physics at Galway University Hospital commented, “The MSc in NUI Galway is the second such degree programme awarded worldwide and the first in Europe. Graduates from the Galway programme can be found in all public hospitals in Ireland, are employed in the National Health Service (NHS) and can be found as far as the Middle East, Australia and New Zealand.” Professor Andrew Shearer, Head of School of Physics, NUI Galway said, “US accreditation of our flagship MSc in Medical Physics programme shows the quality of our courses and enhances our international reputation. Medical Physics is a good example of the impact Physics can have on our everyday lives and is a wonderful career path for Physics undergraduates." Dr. Mark Foley, Academic Director of the MSc in Medical Physics, NUI Galway added, “This MSc programme is an excellent example of a multidisciplinary and multi-institutional effort. The success of the programme has been driven predominately by the tremendous efforts of the hospital physicists supplemented by University staff.” The 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 physical sciences and engineering to medicine. Information on CAMPEP can be found at www.campep.org and course information at http://www.nuigalway.ie/courses/taught-postgraduate-courses/medical-physics.html For more information contact Dr. Mark Foley, MSc in Medical Physics, School of Physics, College of Science, NUI Galway at 091 495383 or mark.foley@nuigalway.ie - Ends –

Friday, 11 September 2015

Report Suggests Galway had the highest number of suicides in Connacht in 2014, where some 64 suicides were recorded of which 54 were male NUI Galway’s iconic Quadrangle lit up in orange as part of World Suicide Prevention Day on Thursday, 10 September, and as part of the national campaign ‘Cycle Against Suicide’ in collaboration with the UNESCO International Year of Light 2015 and Solus. Iconic landmarks and buildings throughout the island of Ireland lit up orange to spread the message, "It's OK not to feel OK; and it's absolutely OK to ask for help”. In Galway the University’s Quadrangle, Fisheries Tower and Galway City Council were lit up in orange last Thursday night, fitted with colour-changing LED lights and special heat resistant colour filters. The Central Statistics Office (CSO) Vital Statistics yearly summary for 2014 suggests that there were 26 suicides recorded in Galway last year. That includes 18 in the county and eight in the city. All 18 of the suicides in the county in 2014 were men and five of the eight suicides in the city were men. Almost 90% of the suicides recorded in Galway last year were male and three of the Galway suicides were women. Galway had the highest number of suicides in Connacht, where some 64 suicides were recorded of which 54 were male. Professor Martin J. Leahy, UNESCO Year of Light and School of Physics, NUI Galway commented, “It is estimated that there is one suicide every fortnight in Galway alone. This winter we had a young man who had jumped from the centre of Quincentennial Bridge in my lab recovering. He was fit enough to swim to shore in the worst of conditions, yet he felt he had nothing to live for. It is very sad. Suicide is a particularly difficult problem amongst students and we need to show our willingness to support and understand their difficulties. We felt compelled to support this initiative with our message of light and hope.” Thousands of people across the 32 counties turned on a Solus orange lightbulb in their homes at 9pm on Thursday in unity, to share this positive and universal message. In support of lighting up buildings in orange, people were encouraged to ‘Go Orange’ in any way they could and shared selfies and pictures on social media using the hashtags #LetsGoOrange and #BreakTheCycle @CASuicide to spread the message. For further information contact Gwen O’Sullivan, Press & Information Executive, NUI Galway on 091 495695 or gwen.osullivan@nuigalway.ie -Ends-

Monday, 14 September 2015

Computer Science students at NUI Galway will hold the third annual ‘Synapse //a Tech Carnival’ bringing major technological companies and employers to Galway City. The one-day free event will take place on Wednesday, 23 September in the Bailey Allen Hall at NUI Galway. ‘Synapse //a Tech Carnival’ is organised for students and people interested in technology to meet with key Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) stakeholders in a fun and informative way of exchanging ideas. All types of ICT companies will be on show at the event, including SAP, Avaya, Google and Amazon. Local community groups are also welcome, with groups such as 091 Labs and NUI Galway’s Computer Society to be in attendance. The event allows students and the public to meet with ICT organisations through interactive games, discussions and tutorials. With an estimated 3,000 people expected to attend, the event is about having fun with new and emerging technologies, as well as the opportunity to discover new areas within the sector. “We have some amazing employers such as Microsoft, Google and Amazon participating in the event as they see the energy that has built up around the idea. Galway companies such as HP, Avaya, Cisco and SAP are offering great support as they see this as an opportunity to showcase their Galway operations through stands and speakers,” says David O’Dea, event organiser and second year NUI Galway student. Bank of Ireland is also offering their support to this event and to new start-ups in Galway with a new start-up Workbench in its Mainguard Street branch, Galway. Workbench offers a free co-working space for up to 12 start-up businesses with free Wi-Fi and meeting rooms.  Speakers and panel discussions will offer key insights into the current trends that are being experienced for tech graduates in Ireland. Keynote speakers this year will include: David French and Magnus Deininger, Google and Stephen Howell, Microsoft. David Renton, event founder and NUI Galway Computer Science student, said: “Students of Computer Science and Information Technology have seen the success of tech events internationally and we want to showcase the West of Ireland as just as exciting for tech people to come together in a dynamic and fun environment. NUI Galway has such a unique balance of energy, youth and talent which lends itself to hosting an event such as this, while Galway itself is one of the best cities in Ireland for ICT companies to attract new talent, as it is one of the most desirable places to live and work for all ages. This will be an unmissable opportunity for those at any stage of their career, from a potential computing student to an experienced pro wanting to network.” The networking arena demos and main stage presentations will provide attendees with all the latest information on all of the companies involved while the Workshop Heaven area will provide a more in-depth and interactive view of the technologies involved. Exhibitors and presenters include: Microsoft, Accenture, Riot Games, Cloud Consulting, Silicon Republic, ThoughtBox, EY, Avaya, First Derivatives, KBC Bank, Havok, Tribal City Interactive, 091Labs, Hewlett-Packard, RealSim, ITAG, Pocket Anatomy, Element Wave, amongst others. NUI Galway President, Dr Jim Browne, said: “This is a wonderful student-led event. I commend the students involved in Synapse//a Tech Carnival for their initiative in linking students and industry in such a dynamic and innovative way. I look forward to participating in the event and to seeing at first-hand the synergy developing between NUI Galway technology students and industry leaders.” For more information on ‘Synapse//a Tech Carnival’ visit www.synapsegalway.com. -Ends-

Monday, 14 September 2015

Significant data obtained at NUI Galway reports first crystal structure of a protein modified with a single PEG chain   Research findings obtained by the School of Chemistry at NUI Galway have been published in the prestigious journal Nature Chemistry. The Crowley laboratory has reported the first complete structural study of a PEGylated protein. Protein PEGylation is a technique routinely used to improve the pharmacological properties of injectable therapeutic proteins. PEG stands for polyethylene glycol, a synthetic polymer that is attached to proteins. The PEG chain artificially increases the size of the protein and improves its retention in the bloodstream. By remaining longer in the blood stream the protein therapeutic is more effective than normal. Since PEGylation was developed in the 1970s, PEGylated proteins have significantly improved the treatment of several chronic diseases, including hepatitis C, leukemia, arthritis, and Crohn’s disease. PEGylated interferon is one of the most powerful therapeutics used to treat chronic hepatitis. Despite their importance the structure of PEGylated proteins has remained elusive. Now the first crystal structure of a protein modified with a single PEG chain has been determined through research at NUI Galway. This important research was developed at NUI Galway by Italian PhD student Giada Cattani working with Dr. Peter Crowley, the lead author of the paper. The work also involved collaboration with Dr. Lutz Vogeley from the School of Biochemistry and Immunology at Trinity College Dublin and the crucial X-ray data was collected at the Diamond synchrotron in Oxford, UK. Commenting on the research findings Dr. Peter Crowley from the School of Chemistry, NUI Galway commented, “The crystal structure reveals an extraordinary double helical arrangement of the protein! It is significant that this data was obtained at NUI Galway, the only Irish University to offer a degree programme in Biopharmaceutical Chemistry. This attractive programme provides training in an area that is essential for the development of new medicines and contributes to the Irish economy.” A common approach to understand proteins is to crystallize them and determine their structure by using X-ray crystallography. This is necessary to understand what the protein looks like and how it functions. Thousands of research papers have been published about PEGylated proteins. Until the recent findings at NUI Galway there had been no success in  crystallizing a PEGylated protein. The knowledge obtained by the Crowley lab has implications for understanding how PEGylated proteins work. The NUI Galway team is also looking at ways to engineer protein assemblies based on this result. Read Nature Chemistry here: http://www.nature.com/nchem/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/nchem.2342.html For more information contact Dr. Peter Crowley, School of Chemistry, NUI Galway on 091 492480 or peter.crowley@nuigalway.ie -Ends-

Monday, 14 September 2015

Irish Centre for Social Gerontology will host event aimed at providing further opportunities for people to become more involved in their local communities The Irish Centre for Social Gerontology is hosting an event to celebrate civic engagement and participation in later life at the Institute for Lifecourse and Society, NUI Galway on Wednesday, 16 September from 2pm-4.30pm. The event will acknowledge and show appreciation for the enormous contribution made to society by people in the second half of life. Attendance is open to all and guests will have the opportunity to attend a series of short talks and visit exhibition stands where they can find out more about getting involved in their communities through local voluntary organisations. This event also marks the national launch of Touchstone, an initiative of the Active Ageing Partnership, a joint project between three of Ireland’s largest organisations in the age sector. Active Retirement Ireland, Age and Opportunity and Third Age have come together as the Active Ageing Partnership to promote and encourage greater participation by older people in the life of their local communities. In Galway, Touchstone recruited fifty people aged 55 and over to a short course aimed at supporting them to become more involved in their local communities. The event is partly aimed at providing further opportunities for people to become more engaged in community life. From 2pm-3pm there will be a series of short talks on the theme of civic engagement in later life. This will include presentations from participants of the Galway Touchstone programme who will talk about projects they have developed as a result of being involved in the short course. Between 3pm and 4.30pm, guests will have the chance to visit 20 exhibition stands, where they can find out more about opportunities to get involved with organisations including: Age and Opportunity, Active Retirement Ireland, Third Age, Age Friendly Programme-Older Persons Council, Age Action West, Galway City Partnership, Galway Roscommon Education Training Board, Touchstone Stall, Irish Centre for Social Gerontology, Galway Citizens Information Centre, Community Knowledge Initiative, COPE Galway, Volunteer Galway, Dementia Friendly Galway, Centre for Independent Living, St. Vincent De Paul Croi na Gallimhe, The Carers Association Loughrea, The Alzheimer Society of Ireland, Samaritans Galway, and Alone. Places for the event are limited. To take part, please RSVP to icsg@nuigalway.ie to receive further information, the location of the event’s venue and parking arrangements. For more information contact Professor Thomas Scharf, Irish Centre for Social Gerontology, NUI Galway on 091 495459 or thomas.scharf@nuigalway.ie -Ends-

Monday, 14 September 2015

Guest speakers include Professor Eamon O’Shea, former Manager of the Tipperary Senior Hurling Team and Pat Lam, Connacht Rugby Head Coach NUI Galway’s annual Autumn Open Days will be held on Friday, 2 October and Saturday, 3 October. The Open Day on Friday will run from 9am to 3pm and is aimed at school groups, but all members of the public are welcome to attend. Saturday’s Open Day runs from 10am to 3pm and is for students thinking about university and their parents and families. Each year, NUI Galway welcomes more than 8,000 visitors to its Open Days in October and April and it is an opportunity for students, along with their parents and families to explore the campus. There is a packed programme of events lined up for the day including short subject talks, taster sessions, designed to give students a real insight into studying at NUI Galway. Hands-on science workshops and interactive sessions with IT systems and robotics and tours of the campus will run throughout the day. There will be over 80 subject-specific stands in the main exhibition area in the Bailey Allen Hall, where lecturers and current students will be available to answer questions on courses, CAO points, employability, and career progression routes. The ‘Parents Programme’ on Saturday, 3 October will provide parents with information on important issues such as fees and funding, careers, accommodation, career destinations and support services for students. Talk highlights over the two days include: A guest appearance and talk about sports with Pat Lam, Connacht Rugby Head Coach and Eamon O’Shea, Professor of Economics at NUI Galway and former Manager of the Tipperary Senior Hurling Team Scholarship schemes including Creative Arts Performance Points, CAO Sports Performance Points, Sports Scholarships and Excellence Scholarships The new Bachelor of Commerce (Global Experience) The new BA Children’s Studies Arts – the new BA Joint Honours Shannon College of Hotel Management – International Hotel Management Career talks – “Where are the jobs? What are my employment prospects after University?” Caroline Loughnane, Director of Marketing and Communications at NUI Galway said: “Attending Open Days is the perfect opportunity to get a real feel for university life at NUI Galway, talk to lecturers and current students and get all the information you need to make that important decision. We are encouraging anyone with an interest in studying at NUI Galway to come along as Open Days’ are unique opportunities in the year to experience what the university has to offer and decide whether NUI Galway feels right for you.” Tours of the campus will feature the state-of-the-art sports complex and gym, the Engineering Building and tours of student accommodation. Guided walking tours of the main campus will also take place throughout the afternoon. To plan your day in advance and receive an Open Day programme visit www.nuigalway.ie/opendays or contact 091 494145 or visit@nuigalway.ie. -Ends-

Tuesday, 15 September 2015

Máire Ní Mhaoilchíaráin, the 2015 Sean-Nós Singer-in-Residence at NUI Galway, will give a series of sean-nós singing workshops beginning at 7pm, Wednesday, 30 September, in the Seminar Room at the Centre for Irish Studies, NUI Galway. From Áird Thoir, Carna, Máire comes from a family which has a long and rich tradition of sean-nós singing. Her clear, sweet vocal style echoes with the singing from her mother Bairbre and the Heaney side of the family, Joe Heaney being her granduncle. The workshops are free and open to all. Further information available from Samantha Williams at 091 492051 or samantha.williams@nuigalway.ie This project is funded by Ealaín na Gaeltachta, Údarás na Gaeltachta and An Chomhairle Ealaíon in association with the Centre for Irish Studies at NUI Galway. -Ends-      Ceardlann amhránaíochta ar an sean-nós in Ollscoil na hÉireann Gaillimh Cuirfear tús le sraith de cheardlanna amhránaíochta ar an sean-nós san Ionad an Léinn Éíreannaigh, Ollscoil na hÉireann Gaillimh ag 7pm, Dé Céadaoin, 30 Méan Fomhair. Is í Máire Ní Mhaoilchiaráin atá ceaptha mar Amhránaí Cónaitheach Sean-nóis i mbliana a bheidh á múineadh. Is as an Aird Thoir, i gCarna, Máire agus tá oidhreacht shaibhir cheolmhar le cloisteáil ina cuid amhránaíochta. Thug sí léi a cuid amhrán óna máthair, Bairbre a fuair an ceol ó mhuintir Éinniú, agus a huncail Joe ina measc. I gclann Bhairbre, tá cáil na hamhránaíochta ar Mháire agus ar a deirfiúr Bríd. Tá na ceardlanna saor in aisce agus beidh fáilte roimh chách. Tuilleadh eolais ó Samantha Williams ag 091 492051 nó samantha.williams@nuigalway.ie -Críoch-

Tuesday, 15 September 2015

NUI Galway, in association with the Kingfisher Club, will host its third annual charity 8K Run/Walk on Saturday, 10 October at 10am. The route consists of a traffic-free, mixed terrain run around the University’s campus and along the banks of the river Corrib. The official charity partner for this event is Jigsaw Galway and the 8K coincides with global events around World Mental Health Day. This year’s event is proudly supported by Aerogen. Jigsaw Galway is a free and confidential support servicing the mental health and well-being of young people, aged 15 – 25, living in Galway city and county.  Jigsaw also provides advice and guidance to parents, family members, friends and other professionals worried about a young person.  All proceeds raised from this event will go to Jigsaw Galway. This charity event is forming part of the NUI Galway Alumni reunion programme, which takes place from 9-11 October on campus and will be an opportunity to bring together students, staff, alumni and friends of the University in one place to take part in a fun event for all ages and abilities. There are lots of family-friendly activities planned to coincide with the 8k to encourage participants to bring their children and grandchildren along. From tours of the Zoology and Marine Biology Museum to live music and sean-nós singing workshops, the day is perfect for families to come and walk or run the campus together. NUI Galway Vice-President for the Student Experience Dr Pat Morgan said: “Building on our very successful 8K event on campus last year, which attracted over 600 participants, we look forward to another great event for staff, students, alumni, friends and neighbours on 10 October. Little things make a difference and 'The more you move the better your mood' is a key message in support of better mental health. Take this opportunity to enjoy our wonderful campus and show your support for our partners in Jigsaw.” The event is open to everyone, with runners and walkers of all fitness levels catered for. To register for the NUI Galway 8K please log on to the Run Ireland Website http://www.runireland.com/events/nui-galway-8k-0 . Updates are also available on the Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/NUIGalway.8kRun. Local Kingfisher Fitness Clubs will be running training sessions over the next six weeks to help with your preparation and details are available at www.kingfisherclub.com. All queries on the event can be sent to nuigalway8k@kingfisherclub.com. -Ends-

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

NUI Galway has again increased its position in the QS World University Rankings 2015. Rising 9 places to 271st in this year’s ranking, NUI Galway is one of just two Irish universities to improve their standing in this year’s league table. Dr Jim Browne, President of NUI Galway, said of the achievement: “This is good news for NUI Galway and further acknowledgement of the developments in teaching and research that have taken place at this University in recent years. The QS World University Rankings is one of the best regarded evaluations of higher education in the world and we are delighted to see that again this year we are moving in the right direction in achieving our goals in international rankings as set out in our Strategic Plan Vision 2020.” The QS World University Rankings have been running since 2004 and are amongst the highest profile global evaluations of comparative university quality. The World University Rankings were conceived to present a multi-faceted view of the relative strengths of the world’s leading universities. QS Head of Research Ben Sowter said: “The fascinating thing about these latest results is that they reveal more diversity than ever in the distribution of world-class universities at the highest levels. We’re providing prospective students with the richest picture yet. Sowter added:  “Considering  the strong representation of Irish universities per-capita, one ranked university per 130,000 people, Irish universities are akin to the Irish Rugby Team; remarkably competitive given their population, funding and resources; and consistently so.” The QS World University Rankings are designed to provide students with comparable, accurate data to make informed decisions about their educational future. From this year, in response to students’ feedback and in consultation with its advisory board, QS has adopted an approach to normalise publication and research citation data across faculty areas. This reform accounts for the large volume of citations generated by researchers in the Life Sciences and, to a lesser degree, those in the Natural Sciences. Download the Ireland Country Report infographic here. To view the complete rankings, featuring the world’s top 891 universities as well as the Top 400 by Faculty areas: www.TopUniversities.com ENDS  

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Public round table to explore multilingual competence, language policy and becoming a ‘new speaker’ of various languages including Irish Fifty leading experts in multilingualism from twenty-five European states will meet at NUI Galway on September 24 and 25 to discuss the challenges and opportunities associated with ‘new speakers’ of various languages including Irish. The event will be hosted by the Department of Irish in the School of Languages, Literatures and Cultures as part of an ‘Action’ and research network supported by COST (European Cooperation in Science and Technology). The Action, ‘New Speakers in a Multilingual Europe: Challenges and Opportunities’, is led by Professor Bernadette O’Rourke of Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh and Dr John Walsh, Head of the Department of Irish at NUI Galway is a leading partner. “New speakers refer to those who are regular and fluent speakers of a language other than their ‘first’ or ‘native’ language”, explained Dr Walsh. “Historically in linguistics and related disciplines, priority has been given to the ‘native speaker’ and other types of speakers have been marginalised. Our network focuses on multilinguals and investigates how people become ‘new speakers’ of various languages.” So far the network has focused on new speakers of minority languages such as Irish and Basque, new speakers as immigrants and new speakers as transnational workers. In the second phase of the research, to be launched at the Galway meeting, general themes such as multilingual competence, language policy and becoming a new speaker will be explored. The meeting will include a public round table event on new speakers of Irish. Three new speakers of Irish from various parts of Ireland and one speaker from the Gaeltacht will discuss their language background, their experience of learning Irish or English, their relationship with other Irish speakers and their thoughts on identity and belonging. This event will be held in the Aula Maxima at 4.30pm on Thursday, 24 September. More information visit: http://www.nspk.org.uk/upcoming-event-details/round-table-on-new-speakers-of-irish.html For further event details contact Dr John Walsh, Department of Irish, NUI Galway on 091 492563 or john.walsh@nuigalway.ie -Ends- Cruinniú ag gréasán taighde Eorpach in OÉ Gaillimh chun plé a dhéanamh ar ‘nuachainteoirí’ Cruinniú poiblí chun féachaint ar inniúlacht ilteangach, polasaí teanga agus a bheith i do nuachainteoir i dteangacha éagsúla lena n-áirítear an Ghaeilge Tiocfaidh caoga saineolaí ceannródaíoch san ilteangachas as cúig stát Eorpach is fiche le chéile in OÉ Gaillimh ar an 24 agus an 25 Meán Fómhair chun plé a dhéanamh ar na dúshláin agus na deiseanna a bhaineann le ‘nuachainteoirí’ i dteangacha éagsúla, an Ghaeilge san áireamh. Roinn na Gaeilge i Scoil na dTeangacha, na Litríochtaí agus na gCultúr a chuirfidh an ócáid i láthair mar chuid de ghréasán gnímh agus taighde le tacaíocht ó COST (an Comhar Eorpach san Eolaíocht agus sa Teicneolaíocht). Tá an Gníomh, ‘New Speakers in a Multilingual Europe: Challenges and Opportunities’, faoi stiúir an Ollaimh Bernadette O’Rourke as Ollscoil Heriot-Watt i nDún Éideann agus is príomh-chomhpháirtí sa tionscadal é an Dr John Walsh, Ceann Roinn na Gaeilge in OÉ Gaillimh. “Tagraíonn nuachainteoirí dóibh siúd atá ina gcainteoirí rialta agus líofa i dteanga seachas a ‘gcéad’ teanga nó a dteanga ‘dhúchais’”, a mhínigh an Dr Walsh. “Go stairiúil, i réimse na teangeolaíochta agus i ndisciplíní gaolmhara eile, tugadh tús áite don ‘chainteoir dúchais’ agus rinneadh cainteoirí eile a imeallú. Díríonn an gréasán seo ar dhaoine ilteangacha agus scrúdaíonn sé conas mar a dhéantar ‘nuachainteoirí’ de dhaoine i dteangacha éagsúla.” Go dtí seo, dhírigh an gréasán ar nuachainteoirí teangacha mionlaigh cosúil leis an nGaeilge agus an Bhascais, nuachainteoirí mar inimircigh agus nuachainteoirí mar oibrithe trasnáisiúnta. Sa dara céim den taighde, a sheolfar ag cruinniú na Gaillimhe, scrúdófar gnéithe áirithe cosúil le hinniúlacht ilteangach, polasaí teanga agus conas a dhéantar nuachainteoir de dhuine. Beidh ócáid phoiblí faoi nuachainteoirí Gaeilge ar siúl mar chuid den chruinniú. Labhróidh triúr nuachainteoirí Gaeilge as áiteanna éagsúla in Éirinn agus cainteoir amháin ón nGaeltacht faoina gcúlra teanga, a dtaithí ar fhoghlaim na Gaeilge agus an Bhéarla, a gcaidreamh le cainteoirí Gaeilge eile agus a gcuid smaointe ar fhéiniúlacht agus ar mhuintearas. Beidh an ócáid ar siúl san Aula Maxima ag 4.30pm Déardaoin, an 24 Meán Fómhair. Tuilleadh eolais: http://www.nspk.org.uk/upcoming-event-details/round-table-on-new-speakers-of-irish.html Chun tuilleadh eolais a fháil faoin ócáid déan teagmháil leis an Dr John Walsh, Roinn na Gaeilge, OÉ Gaillimh ar 091 492563 nó john.walsh@nuigalway.ie -Críoch-

Thursday, 17 September 2015

• 51% increase in risk of alcohol-related cancers • 29% increase in risk of injury in current drinkers • No reduction in risk for a combination of outcomes (death, cardiovascular disease, alcohol-related cancer, injury or admission to hospital) • Harmful alcohol use most common in lower income countries, where increases in risk were more pronounced A new study shows that harmful alcohol use is linked with increased alcohol-related cancers and injury, with no reduction in the risk of death. The threat appears worst in lower-income countries, where harmful alcohol use is more common, as published today in The Lancet. Alcohol consumption is proposed to be the third most important modifiable risk factor for death and disability. However, alcohol consumption has been associated with both benefits and harms, and previous studies were mostly carried out in high-income countries. This new study investigated associations between alcohol consumption and clinical outcomes in a prospective cohort of countries at different economic levels. The lead author is Dr Andrew Smyth of the HRB Clinical Research Facility at NUI Galway and the Population Health Research Institute (PHRI), McMaster University Hamilton, Canada. The data came from 12 countries participating in the Prospective Urban Rural Epidemiological (PURE) study of individuals aged 35–70 years, divided into four income groups: high, upper-middle, lower-middle and low. The countries studied were Sweden and Canada (high-income); Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Poland, South Africa and Turkey (upper-middle-income); China and Colombia (lower-middle-income; and India and Zimbabwe (low-income). Dr Andrew Smyth, of the HRB Clinical Research Facility, NUI Galway says: “Our data supports the call to increase global awareness of the importance of harmful use of alcohol and the need to further identify and target the modifiable determinants of harmful alcohol use.” Almost 115,000 adults were followed for an average of four years, and it was found that 36,000 people (31%), reported drinking alcohol. Although current alcohol consumption was associated with a 24% reduction in risk of heart attack, there was no reduction in the risk of death or stroke. There was also a 51% increase in the risk of alcohol-related cancers - meaning those of the mouth, oesophagus, stomach, colorectal, liver, breast, ovary, and head and neck - and a 29% increase in the risk of injury in current drinkers. High alcohol intake and heavy episodic drinking were both associated with significant increases in the risk of death. The authors also identified differences between countries of different levels of prosperity. Although in higher-income-countries, current drinking was linked with a 16% reduction in the risk of a combination of all outcomes (death, cardiovascular disease, heart attack, stroke, alcohol-related cancer, injury and admission to hospital), the opposite was seen in lower-income-countries where there was a 38% increase in risk. Harmful alcohol use was most common in lower-income-countries, where one in eight current drinkers had high levels of intake and one in three had a heavy episodic drinking pattern. Co-author Dr Salim Yusuf, senior author and Director of the Population Health Research Institute (PHRI) and President of World Heart Federation adds: “Because alcohol consumption is increasing in many countries, especially low-income and low-middle-income countries, the importance of alcohol as a risk factor for disease might be underestimated. Therefore, global strategies to reduce harmful use of alcohol are essential.” In a related comment published in the same issue of The Lancet , Dr Jason Connor, Centre for Youth Substance Abuse Research, University of Queensland, and Professor Wayne Hall, Centre for Youth Substance Abuse Research, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia and National Addiction Centre, Kings College London, London, UK (WH), say: “More than sufficient evidence is available for governments to give increased public health priority to reducing alcohol-related disease burden in low-income and middle-income countries. This should be done by implementing the most effective population policies to discourage harmful drinking - namely, increasing the price of alcohol and reducing its availability, especially to younger drinkers, and preventing the alcohol industry from promotion of frequent drinking to intoxication.” Graham Love, CEO of the Health Research Board added, “'The HRB national alcohol diary survey last year showed that 54% of Irish people who drink, do so in a harmful manner. When you consider our national level of harmful drinking with these global findings it points to the potential for serious health consequences for Irish drinkers into the future. We must use quality research evidence like this to inform individual choices and public health policy in relation to alcohol.” Mr Love continued, “It is very encouraging to see both people that the HRB has funded and the research facilities that we have financed, come together to facilitate Irish participation in such a significant piece of international research. I would like to congratulate Dr Smyth and Professor Martin O’Donnell, at the HRB Clinical Research Facility in Galway, on getting their work published in such a prestigious journal.” -Ends-

Thursday, 17 September 2015

Lorraine McIlrath, Coordinator of the Community Knowledge Initiative (CKI) with NUI Galway’s Institute for Lifecourse and Society, has been shortlisted for the 2015 European Democratic Citizenship Awards. Lorraine is one of four, and the only Irish entry, nominated in the ‘Personality of the Year’ category. Lorraine has worked at NUI Galway for a decade and within that time she has successfully enabled the development of a civic engagement and practice across NUI Galway giving thousands of students annually an opportunity to be involved in community and civic activities. In addition, she has secured funding nationally and at a European level to support the ongoing development of civic engagement in Ireland, at a European level and within other countries. The European Democratic Citizenship Awards are aimed at promoting citizens’ engagement and reward outstanding initiatives and civil society stakeholders, who bring in a real democratic citizenship with an innovative dimension and with a concrete impact on their communities’ life, be it at the local, regional, national or European level. The ‘Personality of the Year’ award is presented to individuals who had an outstanding contribution to democratic life and to the development of a community or a cause. The winners will be selected through a public voting system and votes can be submitted at http://civic-forum.eu/en/european-democratic-citizenship-awards-2015. Voting is open to the general public until Monday, 28 September and the Council of Europe will announce the winners in the first week of October. -Ends-

Friday, 18 September 2015

Four outstanding researchers at NUI Galway have been ranked among the ‘World’s Most Influential Scientific Minds: 2015’ Four outstanding researchers at NUI Galway have been ranked among the ‘World’s Most Influential Scientific Minds: 2015'. Professor Colin O’Dowd, Professor Donal O’Regan, Professor Henry Curran and Emeritus Professor John Simmie have been ranked among the world’s top 3,000 scientific minds by the multinational media body Thomson Reuters. Those named on the list have earned their distinction by publishing the highest number of articles that rank among those most frequently cited by fellow researchers. More individuals were listed from NUI Galway than from any other Irish university. Thomson Reuters Highly Cited Researchers list was launched last year and also ranked three NUI Galway researchers among the ‘World’s Most Influential Scientific Minds: 2014’. According to NUI Galway’s President, Dr Jim Browne: “The report describes those listed as being ‘on the cutting edge of their fields’ and ‘among the most influential scientific minds of our time’. This is certainly true of the NUI Galway individuals who excel and out-perform in their fields of chemistry, climate change and mathematics”. • Professor Colin O’Dowd is Director of the Centre for Climate and Air Pollution Studies, at the Ryan Institute, NUI Galway and a Professor in the School of Physics, NUI Galway. Through his pioneering work in the field of atmospheric physics, Colin has become internationally renowned as one of the leading scientists in the field of climate change. • Professor Donal O’Regan is a Personal Professor of Mathematics at NUI Galway’s School of Mathematics, Statistics and Applied Mathematics and an internationally recognised expert in the field of Nonlinear Analysis, Differential Equations, and Fixed Point Theory. He has written over 1,000 peer-reviewed mathematical articles, making him one of the most prolific authors in the history of mathematics in the world. • Professor Henry Curran is Director of the Combustion Chemistry Centre at NUI Galway’s School of Chemistry and of the Energy Research Centre in the Ryan Institute. His research interest lies in the study of the chemistry of how fuels burn in combustors in order to increase efficiency and reduce emissions for a cleaner world. • Emeritus Professor John Simmie established the Combustion Chemistry Centre in the School of Chemistry at NUI Galway in the 1970’s and was instrumental in setting up the Environment and Energy research activity in the Ryan Institute at NUI Galway. John and his former student, Professor Henry Curran, collaborate on Combustion Chemistry research. Thomson Reuters analysts assessed papers indexed between 2003 and 2013 in 22 broad fields of study. They tracked authors who published numerous articles that ranked among the top one percent of the most cited in their respective fields in the given year of publication, earning them the mark of exceptional impact. These documents represent research that the scientific community has judged to be the most significant and useful. Visit the Highly Cited Researchers list here http://highlycited.com/ For further information contact Gwen O’Sullivan, Press & Information Executive, NUI Galway on 091 495695 or gwen.osullivan@nuigalway.ie -Ends-

Monday, 21 September 2015

Led by NUI Galway, Symposium will bring together some of the world’s leading academics in clinical trial methodology  The HRB-Trials Methodology Research Network (HRB-TMRN) will host its inaugural ‘Clinical Trial Methodology Symposium’ on the 24 and 25 of September in the Gibson Hotel, Dublin. The Symposium will be officially launched by Dr Graham Love, CEO of the Health Research Board (HRB), Professor Mike Clarke, Queen’s University Belfast and Professor Declan Devane, NUI Galway. Led by NUI Galway the HRB-Trials Methodology Research Network (HRB-TMRN) is a new collaborative initiative between a number of Irish and international higher education institutes and methodology centres. Its objective is to strengthen the methodology and reporting of clinical trials in health and social care in Ireland so that they become more relevant, accessible and influential for patients and other support users, practitioners, policy makers and the public. Speaking in advance of the Symposium, Professor Declan Devane, Director of HRB-TMRN at NUI Galway commented: “It is recognised that trials need to become more efficient and effective if they are to lead to efficient and effective care. The right trials need to be chosen, implemented and reported in the right ways. I hope this symposium gives the opportunity to think more about how this might be possible by bringing together some of the world’s leading minds in trial methodology and those keen to learn more about trials.” On Thursday, 24 September, the Symposium will feature an opening address from Dr Teresa Maguire, Head of the Population Health and Health Services Research Unit at the HRB and a keynote address from Sir Iain Chalmers of The James Lind Initiative who is described by The Lancet as the “maverick master of medical evidence”. In his talk, Sir Chalmers will illustrate the evolution of fair tests of treatments. Invited speakers include; Professor Mike Clarke, Queen’s University Belfast; Dr John Newell, NUI Galway; Professor Paula Williamson, University of Liverpool; Professor Peter Sandercock, The University of Edinburgh; and Professor Craig Ramsay the University of Aberdeen. Chairpersons include Professor Joe Eustace (UCC), Professor Martin O’ Donnell (NUI Galway), Professor Peter Doran (UCD), Professor Richard Costello (RCSI) and Professor Michael Gill (TCD). PhD students Aislinn Conway (NUI Galway), Caroline Hurley (UCC), Jessica O’Dowd (TCD) and Lydia Emerson (QUB) will present using the Pecha Kucha format of 20 slides with 20 seconds per slide addressing Methods of Disseminating Evidence to Health Care Staff; Risk Assessment Tools for Risk-based Monitoring in Clinical Trials: A Systematic Review; The Role of Context in Delivering Complex Interventions: Taking a Realist Approach; and Process Evaluation of Trials Investigating Complex Critical Care Interventions. Workshops will take place on Friday, the 25 September with Dr Valerie Smith, NUI Galway and TCD who will discuss Studies Within a Clinical Trial and Review; Dr Elisa Heron, TCD will discuss Sample Size Calculations; Dr Christine Domegan, NUI Galway will discuss Design and Delivery of Clinical Trials; Professor Leslie Daly, UCD will discuss Multiplicity in End Points; Dr Molly Byrne, NUI Galway will discuss Behaviour Change Strategies for Clinical Trials; Professor Andrew Murphy, NUI Galway will discuss A New Approach to Accessing Patients in Irish Primary Care; Professor Alan Montgomery, The University of Nottingham will discuss Randomisation in Clinical Trials; and Dr Paddy Gillespie, NUI Galway will discuss Health Economic Evaluations in Trials. For more information contact Dr Sandra Galvin, HRB-TMRN, College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences, NUI Galway on 091 494493 or sandra.galvin@nuigalway.ie To register visit www.hrb-tmrn@nuigalway.ie Or visit http://blogs.biomedcentral.com/bmcblog/2015/09/18/changing-face-clinical-trials-ireland/ and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mdmv8OVC3as -Ends-

Monday, 21 September 2015

NUI Galway’s Rover Society recently collected 1,100 sleeping bags at Electric Picnic to donate to Cope Galway in Galway. The society had previously received a donation of over 50 sleeping bags at Sea Sessions music festival earlier this summer. Donna O'Neill, Manager of the Cope Hostel for Homeless Men in Galway, said: “It couldn’t have come at a better time as our supplies are running low. We’ve had to make an emergency call out for help and this has really made all the difference. It’s shocking to see there is such a demand for sleeping bags on the streets of Galway and this supply will last six months at most. We really need a constant supply of practical items, so all donations are always welcome.” Cathal Breathnach, Auditor of the Rover Society at NUI Galway, said: “Homelessness is a much bigger issue in Galway than most imagine, it’s practically hidden. We were so glad we were able to help the situation and we are hoping to develop our relationship with Cope to provide more assistance in the future.” The NUI Galway Rover Society is the Scout society in NUI Galway who aims to promote the outdoors in the University but is also working towards a better community outreach. -Ends-

Monday, 21 September 2015

This year’s Intervarsity BioBlitz will take place from 24-25 September and the public are invited to take part in events taking place on NUI Galway’s campus. The BioBlitz brings together scientists and the public in a race against time to see how many species can be recorded in a 24-hour biological survey. From 5pm on Thursday, 24 September to 5pm on Friday, 25 September teams will race against other third-level institutions to record as many species as possible over the 24-hour period. The team that records the most species wins. Experts from the University’s School of Natural Sciences will be on hand to help identify and create an inventory the plants and animals found on campus. Last year NUI Galway won the nationwide Intervarsity BioBlitz by recording a total of 581 species. Aidan O'Hanlon of NUI Galway’s School of Natural Sciences, said: “Biodiversity means the variety of all living things, so we need people to survey and identify birds, mammals, amphibians, fish, invertebrates, higher plants, bryophytes, lichens, fungi and diatoms. This event is a really unique opportunity to to find and learn about your plant and animal neighbours, and to help out in a nationally important scientific survey of urban biodiversity.” Ireland’s BioBlitz is designed to increase public awareness of the variety of life in Ireland and to highlight some of the ecological services that biodiversity provides to enhance our quality of life at the global and the local level. The Bioblitz also demonstrates the high level of skill and expertise necessary to study many aspects of Ireland’s biological diversity. There are a number of public events running throughout the Bioblitz and everyone is welcome to attend. Events on Thursday include a birdwalk at 6pm and a bat walk at 7.45pm with both walks starting in the NUI Galway Park and Ride Carpark in Dangan. For a full list of events taking place on campus visit http://www.nuigalway.ie/environment/. This initiative is supported by NUI Galway’s School of Natural Sciences, the Buildings Office and the Green Campus team. -Ends-

Tuesday, 22 September 2015

The Centre for Research in Medical Devices (CÚRAM), based at NUI Galway, will host a seminar promoting entrepreneurship as a career option for researchers at different stages of their career. The “Design Your Future, From a Young Researcher to a Medical Device Entrepreneur” seminar will take place in the Biosciences Building at NUI Galway from 1.00pm to 3.15pm on Friday, 9 October. All are welcome and encouraged to attend this free event, which is being organised as part of the Startup Gathering 2015 Initiative. The seminar aims to assist young researchers with their career development by providing an interdisciplinary discussion forum with speakers to include John Power, Chief Executive and Managing Director of Aerogen Ltd and Evelyn O'Toole, Chief Executive Officer of Complete Laboratory Solutions. The presenters will be speaking about their own individual career paths to provide inspiration for future entrepreneurs. A ‘brown bag’ lunch will be provided to all attendees. Supported by Bank of Ireland and the Action Plan for Jobs 2015 under the theme “Start, Scale and Succeed from Ireland”, the Startup Gathering 2015 aims to promote entrepreneurship and help identify entrepreneurial talent at an early stage across Ireland. The goal of the initiative is also to help raise the international profile of the startup sector to investors and Research and Development teams. There will be a strong emphasis on developing startup hubs in the Medical Technology (MedTech) and Information Communications Technology (ICT) sectors. Professor Abhay Pandit, Director of CÚRAM at NUI Galway said: “We are delighted to have such experienced, independent entrepreneurs, such as Mr Power and Ms O’Toole, speaking at our event. It is a great opportunity for any researcher to hear about these experiences and the presentations will be both informative and motivational for researchers thinking of starting a company as part of their career.” Backed by Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) and Industry funding, CÚRAM works with industry and clinical partners to radically improve health outcomes for chronically ill patients through the development of the next generation of ‘smart’ implantable medical devices. Tickets to the event can be obtained at www.eventbrite.ie or http://bit.ly/medtechentrepreneur For further details contact carmel.mcgroarty-mitchell@nuigalway.ie or 091 494146. -Ends-

Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Former Director General of RTÉ and founding Director of TG4, Cathal Goan has launched NUI Galway’s 2015/2016 Arts in Action Programme. The programme is a collaboration between the University’s Arts in Action Office and the James Hardiman Library, and invites students to engage with the creative arts, offering free access to a variety of professional performances of an international-standard throughout the academic year and a range of rare archival material housed at the Library. The Arts in Action programme is packed with rich and diverse performances focusing on emerging and established artists from Northern Ireland in the first semester. For the second semester the focus will be on a range of bespoke events, including performances that have been put in place as part of the 1916/2016 commemorative programme for NUI Galway. Embracing the Arts from Northern Ireland is significant and offers the students and staff at NUI Galway a rare opportunity to celebrate the rich content that prevails, literature, theatre and the traditional arts. Arts in Action also offers and promotes arts events that are directly linked to the period 1900 to 1920 incorporating specific elements that commemorate and celebrate the writers that were also leaders of the 1916 Uprising, through music, song and the spoken word. Launching the new programme, Cathal Goan said: “This is an initiative of which NUI Galway can be truly proud. Through it, the community that is NUI Galway gets the opportunity to experience a range artistic endeavour that is rich in its diversity and deep in its wealth of talent. Any Arts Festival would be happy to announce a programme of activities such as those on offer to the University’s community free of charge. This is an enlightened blessing for all involved.”  Arts in Action is in continuous development for over five years to support specific undergraduate and postgraduate modules, as well as having a significant input into programmes for international students. Mary Mc Partlan, Traditional Artist-in-Residence at the Centre for Theatre and Performance and Artistic Director of Arts in Action at NUI Galway, said: “This year’s programme marks the ultimate goal and objective of embedding the creative arts into academic modules, creating a full programme in such a sustained and significant way that fulfils all the aims and outcomes for credit bearing modules, available to all students across the campus, with structured, bespoke space opportunities for visiting students to immerse in Irish Traditional Culture.” All events are free to attend and will take place mostly at The Cube and Bailey Allen Hall in Áras Na Mac Léinn, NUI Galway. The programme will commence on Thursday, 1 October and run until the end of March 2016. For programme details please see http://www.nuigalway.ie/arts/artsinaction.html, or visit the Arts in Action Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/ArtsinActionNUIGalway. -Ends-

Tuesday, 22 September 2015

                     Promote Wellbeing Improve Performance Transform Culture NUI Galway will host a conference on 9-10 October bringing together mindfulness visionaries, higher education leaders and University staff and students to share the evidence-based impact of mindfulness on performance, well-being, entrepreneurship and society. The NUI Galway Mindful Way conference will seek to explore current challenges within society and organisations. It will focus on the benefits of integrating mindfulness with the University setting to continue to serve the 21st century needs in delivering its core principles: teaching, research and contribution to society through innovation and entrepreneurship. NUI Galway intends to become a mindful university, one that is aware of the challenges faced by its student and staff, and is preparing itself to lead the higher education sector by setting a new model on how to build a sustainable and successful institution of education, research, life-long learning and sharing. The conference is one of the first steps towards integrating mindfulness into the University culture. The first day of the conference will focus on ‘Mindful Society’ and ‘Mindful Enterprises’. The second day will focus on ‘Mindfulness in Action’ and ‘Mindfulness in Education’. Speaking in advance of the conference, Professor Lokesh Joshi, NUI Galway Vice-President for Research, said: “We in NUI Galway are keen to connect the well-being our university community with mindfulness, to enhance the performance of individuals, their various units and ultimately the University. We want to ensure that mindfulness is brought into the University with the solid backing of scientific evidence. NUI Galway is also committed to promoting entrepreneurship within the University, and in addition to a very successful ecosystem for entrepreneurship for researchers, we are now investing in undergraduate entrepreneurship, one of the elements of which will be mindful entrepreneurship. The speakers at this conference have committed to help us build a mindful University and a mindful entrepreneurial ecosystem and we are very pleased to be taking this first step towards becoming a Mindful University.” Alfred Tolle, Google ‘Compassion Guy’ and founder of Wisdom Stockholm is among the speakers at the conference. Head of Google’s Nordics LCS Dublin, Tolle is responsible for bringing Wisdom 2.0 to Europe and, in his own words, is committed to: “leadership development for a better world.” Tolle commented: “NUI Galway has a great opportunity to take the lead among European universities by promoting a mindful culture. The Mindful Way conference is an opportunity for researchers, practitioners and students to come together to understand how mindfulness has impacted other areas of society and to explore how evidence-based mindfulness can enhance people’s experience of education.” Tibetan Buddhist Monk, Gelong Thubten of Kagyu Samye Ling Monastery in Scotland will also speak at the conference on the topic of bringing mindfulness to life. Thubten was an undergraduate at Oxford, and has been a monk for the past 23 years, during which time he has developed mindfulness programmes in companies such as Google and several major law firms, as well as lecturing at a number of universities. He points out that: “Mindfulness is a science-based way of training the mind which can be used in a non-religious manner in many different settings including schools and universities, hospitals, businesses and prisons. It has several major benefits which include reducing stress, improving mental clarity and cognitive function. Mindfulness practice helps us to develop a sense of inner freedom, which enables us to be more effective in the world. Medical research proves that brain activity is much healthier among mindfulness practitioners. Everyone can benefit from this practice and it’s most encouraging that NUI Galway is planning to focus on bringing evidence-based mindfulness into the university for the benefit of students and staff.” The conference will host an array of other international speakers including: Col. Ray Lane, Commanding Officer, Irish Defence Force Ordnance School Peter Read, Angel Investor and Business Advisor Chris Ruane, Former Labour MP for Vale of Clwyd Nipun Mehta, Founder of ServiceSpace.org Sister Stanislaus Kennedy, Congregation of Religious Sisters of Charity and Founder of The Sanctuary Dr Jutta Tobias, Cranfield University School of Management Joining the speakers at a panelist round-table discussion will be: Seán O’Driscoll, Managing Partner, Athrú Consulting (Chair) Dr Jim Browne, President, NUI Galway, and Mary Hawkes Greene, President and Founder, Burren College of Art (BCA) The conference will be facilitated by: Professor Lokesh Joshi, Vice President for Research, NUI Galway Professor Chris Curtin, Vice President for Innovation, NUI Galway Sean O’Driscoll, Managing Partner, Athrú Consulting, and Emily Lane, Founder, Corporate Wellbeing Institute Registration for the NUI Galway Mindful Way conference is now open and will cost €75. Further information is available at www.conference.ie -Ends-

Thursday, 24 September 2015

Participants sought for national survey on the economic costs for families raising a child with an autism spectrum disorder A PhD scholar from NUI Galway, in association with Irish Autism Action is leading a research study and seeking participants as part of a national survey calculating the economic costs to families raising a child or children with an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) in Ireland. The national survey, which is strictly confidential, is being conducted by Áine Roddy, an Irish Research Council and Hardiman PhD Scholar in Health Economics under the supervision of Professor Ciaran O’Neill at the J.E. Cairnes School of Business and Economics at NUI Galway. The study aims to establish what the economic costs of autism spectrum disorders are in Ireland for children aged between 2 to 18 years. This is the first international study that will provide an in-depth analysis and evidence-based research on issues that affect families such as the financial costs, level of debt as a result of the condition, health services accessed, educational supports in place, impact on employment and household income. In addition to the time involved in caring for their child’s special needs and safety. This research will be used to inform public policy about the economic burden on families raising a child or children with an autism spectrum disorder in Ireland. Limited research has been carried out on this issue in Ireland, which makes this survey and the involvement of parents particularly important. It is hoped the findings will help inform the development of evidence-based policies to meet the needs of those whose lives are impacted by autism. The research has been supported and advanced by Kevin Whelan, CEO of Irish Autism Action, and everyone who returns a completed survey has a chance to win 1 of 5 iPads kindly donated by Irish Autism Action. To date, the survey has been distributed in the post by Irish Autism Action, Shine Ireland and Dóchas autism organisations. Áine Roddy says: “We are very grateful to all the parents who have completed and returned a survey so far. However, more participants are still welcomed. 1 in 100 people in Ireland are affected by an autism spectrum disorder, yet there is no register or data available on the numbers who access services or require them. The information gathered from this survey is vital to establish what services are accessed by children aged between 2 to 18 years and calculate the economic impact of autism spectrum disorders on families and society. A recent study conducted in the United Kingdom by Beuscher et al. 2014 showed that autism costs the United Kingdoms’ economy £32 billion per year. The cost of autism to the UK’s economy is more than its combined cost of cancer, heart disease and strokes, yet targeted investment in autism spectrum disorder services and supports remains an underfunded area.” Ms Roddy added, “Behind these figures lies the reality that many families are under a huge financial strain trying to pay for private services and interventions due to a lack of services and long waiting lists. There are also several children with unmet service needs, and parents having to give up paid employment to become full-time carers, not to mention the costs associated with long-term care. The survey gives parents a voice to let policymakers know the extent to which their lives are affected by autism spectrum disorders, whilst providing them with an opportunity to explain what better services means to them. I will write an evidence-based report on the findings which will be available to the public next year through autism organisations social media. I would like to reassure all parents that the information they provide is strictly confidential and will not be passed on to any third parties.” Parents and families from every county in Ireland have the opportunity to contribute to the survey so that their voice can be heard. The closing date to complete and return the survey form is Friday, 23 October 2015. The survey can be downloaded as a pdf file from the Irish Autism Action website http://www.autismireland.ie/news-events/news/1445/ and returned by email or freepost to Áine Roddy. Alternatively, participants can request that the survey is posted to them. -Ends-

Friday, 25 September 2015

IPRN will facilitate closer dialogue and collaboration between all active pain researchers in Ireland based in academic institutions, hospitals, other healthcare practices, or industry The Irish Pain Research Network (IPRN) is a new national initiative that aims to bring together all active pain researchers on the island of Ireland (North and South) for the purposes of sharing research results and ideas and facilitating cross-institutional collaboration in the area of pain research. The IPRN will be launched by Professor Rolf-Detlef Treede, President of the International Association of Pain, at the 15th Annual Scientific Meeting of the Irish Pain Society at the Radisson Blu Hotel, Golden Lane, Dublin 2 on Saturday, 26 September. The idea to establish the IPRN arose from discussions last year between NUI Galway pain researchers, Professor David Finn and Dr Brian McGuire from the School of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences and UCD researchers, Dr Brona Fullen, Dr Catherine Doody and Dr Catherine Blake. It was recognised that while a number of academic institutions and hospitals in Ireland currently have a cluster or centre of pain researchers, there is currently no forum that brings all of these groupings together specifically for the purpose of discussing pain research and advancing collaborative pain research within Ireland. The launch will take the form of an inaugural research symposium where researchers from the various pain research groups across the country will give short presentations, followed by a round table discussion of collaborative opportunities and potential joint grant applications. The IPRN will be run as a special interest group of the Irish Pain Society. Incoming President of the Irish Pain Society and founding member of IPRN, Professor David Finn from the Centre for Pain Research at NUI Galway, said: “Given the increasing requirement for institutions to work together and to share resources to do the best possible research, the establishment of IPRN will facilitate closer dialogue and collaboration between all active pain researchers based in academic institutions, hospitals, other healthcare practices, or industry.” The aim is to have strong representation from every major pain research grouping across Ireland. Those active in pain research within Ireland are invited to join IPRN and attend the inaugural launch. Pain researchers at any level of seniority are welcome to join, and students and early-career researchers are particularly welcome. There is no fee to join IPRN but you must be a member of the Irish Pain Society to join. All registered delegates at the Annual Scientific Meeting on Saturday will automatically become members of the Irish Pain Society and are therefore eligible to join IPRN if they wish. Chronic pain (pain which has lasted for three months or more) affects up to 35% of the Irish population and is increasingly recognised as a disease in its own right. Chronic pain is sometimes associated with psychological effects, which may include anxiety and changes in mood, as well as forgetfulness, and difficulties in focusing attention, planning tasks and making decisions. To join IPRN contact Orla Doran on ODoran@coa.ie and put ‘IPRN’ in the email subject field. For further information visit http://www.irishpainsociety.com/ -Ends-