Wednesday, 2 January 2019

From 10-12 January, 170 ecologists will be jointly hosted by NUI Galway and GMIT as part of the second ‘Ecology and Evolution’ conference of the Irish Ecological Association (IEA). Founded in 2015, the IEA is a society for ecologists in Ireland. It provides a forum for an international group of Irish-based ecologists and professionals interested in ecological science to meet, collaborate and solve ecological problems. With a focus on Ireland, the work of the Irish Ecological Association also draws on global themes relevant to ecosystems around the world. Ecology, the study of organisms and how they interact with each other and the environment, has many practical applications in terms of climate change, sustainable water, biodiversity conservation, soil health and many other global problems. Conference delegates represent both academic and professional ecologists and students working in higher education and research institutions, as well as non-governmental organisations, ecological consultancies and other professionals in ecology.  The conference, sponsored by the Marine Institute, Environmental Protection Agency and British Ecological Society, will take place over three days with talks, workshops and other events covering topics from microbes to arctic breeding birds, marine predators and woodlands. There is also a focus on training and upskilling, in particular for early-career researchers, with workshops on data analysis, career mentoring and translating ecology into policy and action. Four invited plenary speakers from Ireland and the UK will give keynote talks on microplastics in the oceans, the evolution of ageing in bats, conservation of biodiversity on farmland, and tagging and tracking birds and fish. Dr Gesche Kindermann, Applied Ecology Unit, School of Natural Sciences at NUI Galway, said: “Understanding the environment and processes within it is vital if we want to address current environmental problems. There is a lot of exciting research going on in relation to ecology and evolution, and this conference is an opportunity to showcase this.” Dr Dara Stanley, UCD and Adjunct Lecturer, School of Natural Sciences at NUI Galway, said: “Ecology is such an important discipline in our current world, and can be part of the solution to many of our major environmental and climate related issues. And Galway, situated in the beautiful west of Ireland, is a hotspot for Irish ecology.” As part of the conference, there will be a free, public lecture by Professor Richard Thompson from the School of Biological and Marine Sciences at Plymouth University entitled ‘Marine Litter: Are there solutions to this global environmental challenge’ which will take place at 7pm on Thursday, 10 January at GMIT Galway Campus. No registration is required. Dr Heather Lally from GMIT, said: “The IEA conference is an opportunity for local Galwegians, national and international researchers, NGOs, consultants and industry to come together to share their passion for Irish ecology. It has never been so important to work together to ensure its long term conservation.” NUI Galway will host two full days of events on the 11-12 January in the Human Biology Building and GMIT will host the public lecture with Professor Richard Thompson and a series of talks and presentations on a variety of topics on the 10 January. For more information about Professor Richard Thompson’s lecture, visit: https://bit.ly/2GwMd2k Delegates will also have a chance to take the NUI Galway Biodiversity Trail on campus, see: https://www.nuigalway.ie/biodiversitytrail/. For more details about the conference visit: www.eventbrite.co.uk and enter ‘Ecology and Evolution Conference Ireland’ and follow on Twitter and Facebook @irish_ecology -Ends-

Friday, 21 December 2018

In a very successful year for innovation during 2018, NUI Galway start-ups secured €35 million between private equity investment and research funding while the 36 companies based at the University’s Business Innovation Centre now employ 173 people, which represents an increase of 20% over 2017. The year also saw NUI Galway sign over 60 project agreements with industry (Irish SME’s and multinationals) contributing across a wide range of areas including: advanced healthcare diagnostics and device, additive manufacturing, food nutrition, energy optimisation, and Internet of Things enabled solutions. Over 2,200 staff and students were actively engaged through the University’s entrepreneurship experiential learning and mentorship programmes to produce projects ranging from storybook development and publishing to apps designed to aid people with disabilities find more accessible parking facilities close to their location. David Murphy, Director of NUI Galway’s Business Innovation Centre, commented: “We have a vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystem among our students and staff which we support through a range of commercialisation, experiential learning, and support programmes. There are significant benefits to society and the economy from the innovations that are seeded, researched, developed and implemented right here on campus. The number of start-ups and industry collaborations based on high-quality research is a very good indication of the level of entrepreneurism at the University and in the region.” Supporting Start-Ups and Industry The recent government announcement on the Disruptive Technologies Innovation Fund (DTIF), part of Project Ireland 2040, saw NUI Galway participate on eight projects. Five NUI Galway start-ups were supported through DTIF with a total of €16 million in funding. These companies were AuriGen Medical, Neurent Medical, Onkimmune, Atrian Medical, and Signum Surgical. Three of the companies had come through the BioInnovate Ireland programme which is based at NUI Galway and is creating a wave of new companies finding solutions for unmet medical needs. NUI Galway won a special recognition award in the Knowledge Transfer Ireland Impact Awards in May 2018 for its work with BioInnovate Ireland. 2018 also saw the first cohort of six companies complete the BioExel MedTech Accelerator programme in June while a new cohort of eight companies started in December. BioExel is a partnership funded by Enterprise Ireland, Galway University Foundation, the Western Development Commission and Bank of Ireland Seed and Early Stage Equity Fund, originated and delivered by an experienced MedTech team at NUI Galway.  The first cohort of companies in BioExel were: BioProbe Diagnostics, Bluedrop Medical, Giant Leap Biotechnology, Hidramed Solutions, Immunogrow and CompanionQMS.  Supporting Students and Staff Among NUI Galway staff, students and alumni, new ideas and entrepreneurship is encouraged and supported at every level. The EXPLORE programme is where staff and students collaborate on innovative ideas. In 2018 it supported 15 new projects, involving 61 staff and 42 students. Current projects focus on a variety of topics including Frankenstein, bat boxes, modernist studies and ‘fake news’ surrounding cancer and its risk factors. NUI Galway’s Blackstone LaunchPad supports entrepreneurship across campus. Last April, in partnership with BioInnovate Ireland, BioExel, Health Innovation Hub and the Translational Medical Device Lab, Blackstone LaunchPad held its annual MedTech start-up competition (MIDAS). This one-day multidisciplinary competition brought together undergraduate and postgraduate students to work on an unmet clinical need and present potential solutions to a panel of judges in the MedTech space. The day was hugely successful with a team of students mentored by Barry McCann, a BioInnovate Ireland Fellow, taking home first prize. In November, two NUI Galway start-up companies travelled to the US to take part in a TechStars Bootcamp programme. NUI Galway was represented by BioInnovate Ireland spin- out Nua Surgical with their project SteriCision and BladeComp, a spin-out project of the SFI MaREI centre based in the College of Engineering and Informatics. Jacinta Thornton, Associate Director of NUI Galway’s Innovation Office, added: “Our University puts a strong focus on knowledge transfer, entrepreneurship, and enterprise collaboration to maximise the impact of our research and our expertise for the region.” For more information about NUI Galway’s Business Innovation Centre, visit: http://www.nuigalway.ie/innovation/business-innovation-centre/ -Ends-

Thursday, 20 December 2018

NUI Galway is calling for scientists and science enthusiasts to enter ‘FameLab’ the world’s largest science communication competition held in 30 countries. For the fourth year running, NUI Galway will host a regional heat in the competition and looks forward to a high calibre of entrants once again. With science becoming increasingly specialised, those working in the field can struggle to explain their projects to colleagues let alone the general public, and explaining what you do can be extraordinarily important. The FameLab competition, an initiative of the Cheltenham Science Festival, recognises this and challenges up and coming scientists, engineers and mathematicians to explain a complex idea in a straightforward and engaging way. The Galway event is being managed in partnership between the British Council and NUI Galway, and forms part of the annual FameLab Ireland competition. The NUI Galway competition is open to a whole range of people who apply, work on, teach or study science, including: People who apply science, technology, engineering or mathematics in industry or business. People who work on applying science, engineering, technology or mathematics (e.g. patent clerks, statisticians, consultants to industry). Lecturers and researchers in science, technology, engineering or mathematics, including specialist science teachers with a science degree. University students of science, technology, mathematics or engineering aged 18 and over. People who apply science, technology, mathematics or engineering in the armed forces or government bodies. Armed only with their wits and a few props, the finalists in FameLab Galway heat will deliver short three-minute pieces on bizarre, quirky and pertinent science concepts. Audiences can expect to hear anything from why men have nipples to how 3D glasses work, and is nuclear energy a good or bad thing. Presentations will then be judged according to FameLab’s “3 Cs”: Content, Clarity and Charisma. Winning contestants from FameLab Galway will attend an all-expenses paid two-day communication masterclass over a weekend in March 2019, and participate in the FameLab Ireland final held at the Science Gallery, Dublin on Thursday, 11 April 2019. The winner will represent Ireland at the FameLab international finals at the Cheltenham Science Festival with representatives from organisations like NASA and CERN. By entering FameLab, participants will begin a journey with like-minded people, build their networks, expand skillsets essential for developing their career and, most of all, have a fantastic time! Training for FameLab Galway entrants will take place in Galway on Wednesday, 30 January, with the Regional heat scheduled for Thursday, 21 February 2019 in An Taibhdhearc in Galway. To enter the Galway heat, complete the online registration form: www.britishcouncil.ie/famelab/enter-competition/apply by Friday, 8 February or alternatively, submit an entry to FameLab Ireland by online video, visit: www.britishcouncil.ie/famelab for further details. For further information about FameLab Galway contact Eoin Murphy at e.murphy25@nuigalway.ie and Follow on twitter @FameLab_Galway. -Ends-

Thursday, 20 December 2018

Researchers from the School of Psychology at NUI Galway are seeking first-time mothers of infants aged between one and thirteen months to take part in an online study looking at how the experience of childbirth can have enduring psychological consequences. This study aims to explore how the birth experience impacts maternal wellbeing after childbirth.  A number of research studies looking at childbirth and trauma estimate that over 40% of women experience some level of trauma during childbirth. Furthermore, three to six percent have been diagnosed with a Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. A previous study in 2017 carried out by Dr Veronica Byrne at the School of Psychology in NUI Galway highlighted how the subjective birth experience of Irish mothers can impact on mental health and on self-identity. If the birth experience does not go as planned this can impact on how a woman might adjust. For other women the experience can be like those experiences depicted on TV shows such as One Born Every Minute where it can be a slow paced, calm and wonderful experience.   Noelle Sammon from the School of Psychology is carrying out the research and says: “For some women childbirth can be a scary, emergency situation that they have no control over, in terms of what is happening to them, their body and/or their baby. Imagine what it must be like to feel like no one is listening to you, or they are not communicating what is happening to your body and your child. This may occur because the focus is on saving lives in an emergency childbirth situation.”  Ms Sammon added: “Psychologically, the impact of this more urgent and distressing birth experience can be traumatic and can have far reaching consequences in terms of emotional and psychological wellbeing. Imagine the impact of not being included in decisions about your body. Think of the psychological consequences of an emergency caesarean scar, if you have not been consulted on the process and the decision to scar you was taken out of your hands, even if the intent was to ensure safety. How might you feel, how might this stay with you, serving as a reminder that your experience was not how you had envisioned. What consequences might this have on your relationships, with yourself, with your partner, with your family and with your new baby.”  Dr Jonathan Egan, Deputy Director of the Doctorate in Clinical Psychology Programme and supervisor of this research at NUI Galway, said: “Following on from our previous research which showed that a salient part of whether a birth is traumatic or not is the woman’s report of whether she felt in-control and central to decisions about the birth and what happened to her body. Often, they were left feeling depersonalised and dehumanised and thereby more likely to end up experiencing the event as traumatic.”  Dr Egan added: “People underestimate the potential for trauma during childbirth. I frequently have women post-partum attending me for treatment with chronic pain, or unprocessed traumatic memories of the birth. For some it can result in tokophobia or fear of childbirth and women will avoid having sex in case they might get pregnant again, they keep their thoughts and fears to themselves, so talking about them is the first step to recovery.”  The research team are interested in exploring how control and support during and in the aftermath of a woman’s childbirth might impact on her psychologically in terms of trauma and mood and will cover both emergency and non-emergency childbirth scenarios. To participate in the online study, visit: www.bit.do/Yourchildbirthexperience or email Noelle Sammon, School of Psychology, NUI Galway at n.sammon1@nuigalway.ie. -Ends-

Tuesday, 18 December 2018

Farmeye turns the sod on a new era in sustainable agriculture Agri-Tech company Farmeye has launched their new Nutrient Management System, the NMP Portal. The online, map-based system, for sustainable soil nutrient management is a tool for Agri-consultants and Agronomists to manage and monitor sustainable fertiliser usage on farms. Farmeye, an NUI Galway spin out company, aim to create 10 new direct jobs and additional spin-out business with their growth over the next three years. Enterprise Ireland funded the company’s initial development work at NUI Galway through a Commercialisation Fund programme. The Commercialisation Fund programme is co-funded by the European Regional Development Fund under Ireland’s European Union Structural and Investment Funds Programme 2014-2020. Company CEO, Dr Eoghan Finneran explained the Farmeye mission: “A huge amount of data is collected on farms and much of that is either lost or misused. For example, half a million soil tests have been taken over the past 10 years and the vast majority of those reports are buried in biscuit tins or lie forgotten in filing cabinets.” Roscommon native, Dr Finneran continued: “Farmeye provide digital solutions to capture that data and put it to work in a practical, usable manner for the soils, for the farmer and for the environment. We in Ireland have a good news story to tell the world about the sustainability of our grass-fed meat and dairy produce, but without efficient management of farm-level data that story gets lost.” Asked what the technology can do for the farmer, Dr Finneran responded: “The Farmeye NMP Portal provides the first digital step to demonstrate sustainable soil management and quantify carbon sequestration. The average Irish dairy farmer could lose €9,000 per year in lost productivity and extra fertiliser bills, solely due to sub-optimal soil fertility. Farmeye provide simple, easy-to-use tools that allow the farmer to make efficient, data-driven decisions on the hoof when it comes to efficient fertiliser and slurry management.” Joe Desbonnet, company CTO and Software Engineer explains how GPS and barcoding formed the basis of the Farmeye SoilMate app. This Android app allows the Agri-consultant to trace every soil test by GPS to the field of origin. It cuts out much of the manual data entry and human error involved in soil sampling and drawing up an NMP. Because we are employing various GIS map layers, including European Sentinel satellite and real-time weather data on our system, we can easily identify regions and periods of high risk for groundwater pollution.” The Farmeye NMP Portal has been approved by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine as an alternative to the Teagasc system for preparation of compliance based Nutrient Management Plans such as derogation plans. This means that Independent Agricultural Consultants can now use Farmeye to prepare 2019 NMPs and fertiliser plans for Nitrates derogation farms, of which there are over 7,000 in Ireland. Company Co-Founder and Business Manager, Brendan Allen added that while the soil management technology is core to the Farmeye business at present, that the Agri-Tech company has broader aims in the medium term. Mr Allen said: “Soil management is just the first step in this process. We have a development plan in Farmeye to become the foremost provider of IT for monitoring and managing sustainability metrics at farm level. And sustainability of our food production is about more than just environmental sustainability. Social and economic sustainability are the other two legs on the sustainability stool and without any of the three, the whole system falls down. For example, increasing farmer age and declining farm incomes across Europe are unsustainable. The key to ensuring a secure and sustainable food supply for the next generation is to put these tools on the farm, to measure these metrics and then take steps to address the weakness in the system, whether that be in nutrient management or food supply-chain management.” Farmeye is also co-funded by the National Digital Research Centre and the NUI Galway start-up phase was funded through the Enterprise Ireland Commercialisation Fund. Those involved during the NUI Galway phase included Dr Chaosheng Zhang, School of Geography and Archaeology, and Dr Michael Schukat and Dr Hugh Melvin from the Department of Information and Technology. For more information about Farmeye email info@farmeye.ie or visit: www.farmeye.ie -Ends-

Tuesday, 18 December 2018

NUI Galway has announced the winners of its Threesis 2018 competition which took place in the O’Donoghue Theatre on campus recently. The fast-paced event featured three-minute talks by twelve NUI Galway researchers who shared the story of their research using just three presentation slides, in front of three judges and a voting audience. The winner of Threesis 2018 was James Blackwell from Ballyneety, County Limerick with his bite-sized talk ‘Finding brain tumours using ultrasound’. James is a PhD candidate split between the School of Physics and School of Mathematics, Statistics and Applied Mathematics at NUI Galway. His research involves using ultrasound to create stiffness maps of the brain. These can help surgeons to identify brain tumours and other diseases. His work is supported by the Irish Research Council. In second place was Katie Gilligan, from Eyrecourt in County Galway, with her talk ‘A novel therapy for breast cancer patients’. Katie is a PhD candidate in the School of Medicine, based in the Lambe Institute for Translational Research. Her research explores a new novel therapy for breast cancer patients. The therapy aims to be more targeted and tolerated leading to a better quality of life for the patient undergoing the treatment. Her work is supported by the Irish Research Council. Securing third place from the judges as well as being chosen as the Audience Winner, was Siobhán Morrissey with her talk on ‘Enid Blyton: War and Nationalism’. Siobhán, from Roscrea in County Tipperary, is a second year PhD student in the School of Humanities. Her research focuses on twentieth-century children’s literature, with a particular focus on the works of Enid Blyton. In her research, she studies the colonial, imperial and nationalistic elements of children’s fiction. Not only was there the challenge of time as part of Threesis, but the participants were tasked with using clear and jargon-free language. The judges in the final were: Lorna Farren, Director of Marketing and Communications, NUI Galway; Dr Sylvia Maretto, Research Support Officer, NUI Galway; and John Crumlish CEO, Galway International Arts Festival. Professor Andrew Shearer from NUI Galway’s School of Physics acted as MC for the evening. Ruth Hynes of the Research Office at NUI Galway which organised the event said: “We had incredible interest in Threesis this semester. Through a series of training workshops in October, and six heats in November we whittled down the initial 80 people who registered to our 12 amazing finalists. James, Katie and Siobhán did a fantastic job on the night, as did all of the other finalists and the many other researchers who signed up to be part of Threesis 2018 to communicate their research.” The Threesis competition was initiated at NUI Galway in 2012. It is open to all research students and postdoctoral researchers at NUI Galway. Finalists included undergraduate students, PhD candidates and postdoctoral researchers from across all Colleges on campus. Videos of the three winning presentations are available at: www.nuigalway.ie/threesis -Ends-

Monday, 17 December 2018

NUI Galway start-up NUA Surgical has been selected to take part in the inaugural LaunchPad Lift Powered by Techstars programme. LaunchPad Lift identifies top-performing university start-ups from across the LaunchPad global network of 20 universities, and pairs them with resources and opportunities to help their ventures succeed. LaunchPad Lift will help bridge the gap between the programming available on each University campus and the next big steps ventures need for their companies and is part of a suite of entrepreneurial programmes offered at NUI Galway. Whether the ventures are planning to apply to an accelerator program, raise capital, or make their first hire, LaunchPad Lift takes ventures through a personalised 10-week experience with an assigned Techstars mentor to help them succeed. NUA Surgical is the only Irish start-up and one of only seven ventures selected through a highly competitive process. As part of the LaunchPad Lift programme, NUA Surgical will receive a $10,000 prize from the Blackstone Charitable Foundation to support strategic efforts that grow and scale their ventures. The seven selected ventures for the 2019 cohort were chosen from across the LaunchPad global network, representing seven schools in four states and two countries. Additionally, over 50% of the start-ups in the 2019 LaunchPad Lift cohort have diverse founding teams. NUA Surgical are developing Stericision, a novel medical device in obstetrics to make caesarean delivery a safer and more superior surgery. The project has received significant support and funding from Enterprise Ireland through the Commercialisation Fund which will assist the team in taking the unmet need from idea through to concept and design development, in preparation for establishing a new MedTech start-up company. NUA Surgical’s founding story began when Barry McCann pursued an unmet clinical need identified during the clinical immersion stage of BioInnovate Ireland where Barry was completing a Fellowship in 2017/2018. Now joined by technical lead Padraig Maher and design control lead Marie Therese Maher, the team have over 50 years combined industry experience, bringing a wealth of knowledge to the project which is based in NUI Galway. Natalie Walsh, Executive Director of LaunchPad NUI Galway, said: “For NUI Galway to be chosen as one of only seven sites to take part in the LaunchPad Lift programme, it further endorses our campus commitment to positive impact in the areas of innovation and entrepreneurship. It has been fantastic to work with Barry and his team, the Bioinnovate programme and our broader ecosystem to support entrepreneurship and enhance NUI Galway’s position as a catalyst for innovation regionally, nationally and globally.”   David Cohen, Co-CEO of Techstars, added: “Blackstone LaunchPad powered by Techstars offers campus start-ups valuable on-campus support during a critical time in their entrepreneurial journey. LaunchPad Lift will take this a step further – dedicating additional targeted support to a cohort of the most promising ventures. Techstars wants to be a worldwide network that helps entrepreneurs succeed from inspiration to IPO and we recognise the importance of early guidance.” Amy Stursberg, Executive Director of the Blackstone Charitable Foundation, commented: “I am inspired by the diversity and potential of these entrepreneurs.  LaunchPad Lift, leveraging the expertise of Techstars and Blackstone, will provide an additional boost in their development as entrepreneurs.  Over the past decade of helping the next generation of entrepreneurs launch and grow businesses, we know that mentorship and targeted support is crucial at this stage of venture growth.  Through LaunchPad Lift, we will be able to supercharge campus ventures in a measurable way. ” LaunchPad Lift will run for 10 weeks, from January 28 through April 1, 2019. Upon completion of the program, each participating venture joins the Blackstone Charitable Foundation and Techstars team at a closing event in New York City. The programme at NUI Galway is funded by NUI Galway, Galway University Foundation and Blackstone Charitable Foundation. -Ends-

Monday, 17 December 2018

Debate about what consent actually means has been the subject of constant reflection in 2018 in Ireland and beyond, from the Dáil to the US Supreme Court. However, not only debate but a working knowledge of consent is particularly important during the Christmas holidays when people may be drinking and socialising more and getting intimate with established or new partners.    NUI Galway researchers who run the SMART Consent programme made headlines last August when they reported research findings based on 3,500 students in Ireland: 70% of students said a couple who had 28 standard drinks were able to consent. 37% of students said a woman who has been drinking heavily can still give consent. These statistics have implications not only for university students, but are relevant to all sexually active adults especially during a party season. To this end, the SMART Consent team at NUI Galway have developed a short promo video highlighting their key message that Consent is OMFG (Ongoing, Mutual, and Freely Given). Using clips from the Consent is OMFG interactive short film series, the promo video (https://youtu.be/AtSP3gAJpuw) breaks down the message of OMFG, namely that consent is:  Ongoing: Not assumed, always reversible Mutual: Not one-sided Freely Given: Not drunk, drugged or under pressure Developed and led by Dr Pádraig MacNeela and Dr Siobhán O’Higgins from the School of Psychology and Dr Charlotte McIvor from Drama and Theatre Studies, the SMART Consent team have been training facilitators and delivering SMART Consent workshops in third level institutions, working in partnership with students and staff at colleges including NUI Galway, GMIT, UCC, DCU, UL, QUB, TCD, NCAD, AIT, Queens, and the University of Ulster.  Dr MacNeela said: “Up to 90% of students who have read our consent stories have said it’s ok to ask for consent. In our workshops we talk to students about what that means, and they tell us it means saying things like ‘are you ok with this’ or ‘do you want to have sex’. Active consent is about feeling confident in what you want, how you are going to say it, and communicating with your partner.” Drs O’Higgins and McIvor added: “We hope that people remember and practice Ongoing, Mutual, and Freely Given even in the midst of all the celebrations. So if anyone decides that they want to share intimacies with someone else, we urge you to be mindful and create mutually satisfying and safe experiences for everyone involved. And remember that consent should always be OMFG, not just under the mistletoe.”  The NUI Galway SMART Consent team have trained over 250 facilitators who have delivered Consent Workshops to over 3,000 students across Ireland as well as through the freely available interactive short film series on consent (www.nuigalway.ie/smartconsent/) delivering their core message that; Consent=OMFG (Ongoing, Mutual, and Freely Given) is a valuable shorthand for all sexually active adults to remember.   SMART Consent workshops were created through research led by Dr MacNeela on sexual consent and sexual experiences of third-level students in Ireland, in partnership with organisations including Rape Crisis Network Ireland. For more about Consent=OMFG, visit: www.nuigalway.ie/consent=omfg/ and for more on Smart Consent, visit: www.nuigalway.ie/smartconsent/ -Ends-  

Monday, 17 December 2018

D’fhógair Príomh-Aoire an Rialtais agus Aire Stáit don Ghaeilge, don Ghaeltacht agus do na hOileáin,Seán Kyne TD, inniu (14 Nollaig) go bhfuil deontas suas le €2.7m  ceadaithe aige don Údarás um Ard-Oideachas le leithdháileadh ar Acadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge chun cur ar a gcumas leanúint le raon cúrsaí trí mheán na Gaeilge a chur ar fáil sna trí ionad Gaeltachta atá acu - i nGaoth Dobhair, i gCarna agus ar an gCeathrú Rua. Is ionann an t-allúntas seo agus €900,000 in aghaidh na bliana acadúla don tréimhse 2018/19, 2019/20 agus 2020/21. Is mar chuid de chur i bhfeidhm bhearta 2.7, 2.19 agus 3.13 an Phlean Gníomhaíochta 2018-2022 don Ghaeilge atá an t-allúntas á cheadú.  Mar chuid den chlár oibre atá comhaontaithe leis an Acadamh, tá beartaithe clár teanga agus oiliúna don réimse luathoideachais a fhorbairt a mbeidh mar chuspóir aige tacú leis an oiliúint chuí a chur ar fáil trí Ghaeilge do chleachtóirí luathoideachais atá ag obair i naíonraí sa Ghaeltacht agus taobh amuigh di. Faoin gcur chuige atá aontaithe leis an Acadamh, cuirfear gearrchúrsaí i sealbhú agus saibhrú teanga, mar a bhaineann sé leis an réimse luathoideachais ar fáil sna hionadh Ghaeltachta de chuid an Acadaimh atá lonnaithe i nGaoth Dobhair, ar an gCeathrú Rua agus i gCarna agus forbrófar clár léinn níos leithne le freastal ar an earnáil thábhachtach seo Ag fógairt an deontais, le linn cuairte ar ionad an Acadaimh ar an gCeathrú Rua, dúirt an tAire Stáit Kyne: “Le ceadú an allúntais seo, tá mo Roinn ag déanamh beart de réir briathair mar a bhaineann sé cur i bhfeidhm an Phlean Gníomhaíochta 2018-2022 don Ghaeilge. Is údar áthais é go bhfuil an Roinn ag cur leis an gcomhpháirtíocht atá bunaithe le fada leis an Acadamh, ar mhaithe le deiseanna oideachais tríú leibhéal a chur ar fáil trí Ghaeilge in ionaid Ghaeltachta na hollscoile. Nuair a chuirtear san áireamh go mbaineann breis agus dhá mhíle mac léinn tairbhe bhliantúil as an raon cúrsaí a bhíonn á riar ag an Acadamh sna trí ionad Gaeltachta atá acu - agus a chuireann fostaíocht ar fáil do bhreis agus 80 duine faoi scáth an Acadaimh - is léir go bhfuil leas á bhaint as infheistíocht na Roinne, atá ar leas na Gaeilge agus na Gaeltachta.” I gcomhréir lena bhfuil luaite i mbeart 2.19 den Phlean Gníomhaíochta - go ndíreofar ar fhorbairt a dhéanamh ar oiriúnú a dhéanamh ar na cláir éagsúla chun tacú tuilleadh le cur chun cinn an phróisis pleanála teanga - tá aontaithe ag an Roinn leis an Acadamh go gcuirfear raon cúrsaí ar fáil ar mhaithe le tacú tuilleadh le cur i bhfeidhm an phróisis pleanála teanga mar a bhaineann sé leis na ceantair Ghaeltachta, na Bailte Seirbhíse agus na Líonraí Gaeilge. Is ionann an t-allúntas trí bliana €2.7m seo agus an t-allúntas a ceadaíodh don tréimhse 15/16, 16/17 agus 17/18. Tá tuilleadh eolais ar fáil faoin bPlean Gníomhaíochta 2018-2022 ar: www.chg.gov.ie. CRÍOCH €2.7m granted to the Acadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge by the Minister for State Seán Kyne TD Government Chief Whip and Minister of State for the Irish Language, the Gaeltacht and the Islands, Seán Kyne TD, has announced today (14 December) that a grant worth up to €2.7m has been granted to the Higher Education Authority to be allocated to the Acadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge, enabling it to continue providing its range of Irish language courses in their three Gaeltacht centres – in Gaoth Dobhair, Carna and An Cheathrú Rua. This allowance equates to €900,000 per year for the following academic years: 2018/19, 2019/20 and 2020/21. This allowance has been granted as part of the implementation of the measures 2.7, 2.19 and 3.13 in the Action Plan 2018-2022 for the Irish language. As part of the programme agreed with the Acadamh, it has been proposed to develop a language and training programme in the area of early education which will be aimed at supporting the provision of appropriate training through Irish for early education practitioners who are working in preschools both within the Gaeltacht and outside of it. Under the approach agreed with the Acadamh, short courses in language acquisition and improvement relating to early education will be held in the Acadamh's Irish language centres located in Gaoth Dobhair, An Cheathrú Rua and Carna, and a broader education programme will be developed to deal with this important sector. Announcing this grant on a visit to the Acadamh’s centre in An Cheathrú Rua today, the Minister of State Kyne said: "With the granting of this allowance, my Department are delivering on the promises made in the Action Plan 2018-2022 for the Irish language. It is a huge positive that the Department are continuing to contribute to the long-established partnership with the Acadamh in order to provide third-level educational opportunities through Irish in the University's Gaeltacht centres. More than two thousand students benefit annually from the range of courses provided by the Acadamh in their three Gaeltacht centres, and more than 80 people are employed by the Acadamh itself, so when this is taken into account it is quite clear that the Department's investment is of great benefit to the Irish language and the Gaeltacht.” In accordance with the contents of measure 2.19 in the Action Plan – that there will be a focus on developing and adapting the various programmes to further advance the language planning process – the Department has agreed with the Acadamh to provide a range of courses in order to further support the implementation of the language planning process in relation to the Gaeltacht regions, the Service Towns and the Irish Language Networks. This three year allowance of €2.7m matches the allowance that was granted for the period 15/16, 16/17 and 17/18. Further information about the Action Plan 2018-2022 can be found on www.chg.gov.ie. ENDS

Friday, 14 December 2018

The School of Psychology at NUI Galway is seeking 1,000 parents to complete an online ‘Child in Mind Survey’ which is looking at parents’ experiences of their children’s behaviour. The researchers are keen to hear from both fathers and mothers of children aged from two up to 18 years, and in particular the experiences with their eldest child. The study is being carried out by researchers, Noella Lyons, who is also a Senior Clinical Psychologist in the HSE and Dr Jonathan Egan, who is the Deputy Course Director of the Clinical Psychology Programme at NUI Galway and a Consulting Chartered Clinical and Health Psychologist. Noella Lyons from the School Psychology at NUI Galway, explained: “This research hopes to explore a concept called reflective functioning. This relates to how we understand the thoughts, feelings, intentions and behaviours of ourselves and of other people. This online survey is embedded in research on attachment which focuses on how children’s relationship with their parents develops. Through research like this we are beginning to understand more about the importance of how strong parent-child attachment can protect children’s social and emotional wellbeing, thereby leading them to become more resilient as teenagers and adults.” It is hoped that this research will lead to better awareness of how Mums and Dads experience their children’s behaviour. We know that all behaviour is trying to tell us something. Young children in particular don’t have the language skills to tell us about their feelings so they act out when they are hungry or tired, for example. For older children parents tend to have to do a little more exploration to understand what is going on in their child’s mind to cause behaviour problems. Dr Jonathan Egan from the School of Psychology at NUI Galway, said: “Some of these less studied aspects of parenting might open a door to help current parenting programmes become more effective in helping parents meet both their children’s and their own needs. Feeling like you are being an effective parent, builds up a sense of being in control of your family’s direction and also leaves you feeling like a better and more competent mum or dad, which can only be a good thing.” For more information about the study contact Noella Lyons, School of Psychology, NUI Galway at n.lyons7@nuigalway.ie. To complete the online survey, which takes 10-15 minutes to complete, visit: https://centreforpainresearch.com/limesurvey/index.php/651913?lang=en -Ends-

Friday, 14 December 2018

Researchers from the School of Physics in NUI Galway have been investigating pesticide exposures among professional gardener’s and amenity horticultural workers. The final results from this four-year study were recently published in the International Journal of Hygiene and Environmental Health. Glyphosate is the highest volume herbicide used globally and is extensively used in horticulture to control the growth of weeds and invasive species of plants, such as the Japanese Knotweed. Glyphosate has recently received much public attention following its ‘Group 2A – probably carcinogenic to humans’ classification from the International Agency for Research on Cancer. The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and other international agencies have concluded that glyphosate is unlikely to be carcinogenic to humans. Despite the widespread use of glyphosate, there is limited human exposure data available for this chemical. The research was led by Exposure Science lecturer Dr Marie Coggins and Alison Connolly, a PhD researcher in Exposure Science, both from the School of Physics at NUI Galway. The research project was conducted in collaboration with the Health and Safety Executive, Great Britain and the Institute of Occupational Medicine in Edinburgh. The project was funded by the Commissioners of Public Works in Ireland, the Health and Safety Authority of Ireland and the Colt Foundation UK.  Commenting on the study, Dr Marie Coggins at the School of Physics in NUI Galway, said: “Occupational biomonitoring data across Europe on chemicals such as pesticides is scarce. In this study detectable levels of pesticides in urine were low, however, further studies such as this one are required to fully characterise chemical exposures in humans to support risk assessment and to inform policy.”  Since 2014, the research team at NUI Galway have been conducting a biomonitoring study among professional amenity horticultural workers to assess their exposure to glyphosate. This involved collecting and analysing urine samples from workers. The researchers also assessed the contribution skin contact and inadvertent ingestion makes to worker’s total exposure by collecting wipe samples from worker’s hands, and the area around their mouth. In addition, worker’s mobile phones and vehicle steering wheels were also wiped and protective gloves collected. A total of 200 urine samples and 350 wipes and gloves were collected and analysed. Study results suggest low glyphosate exposure levels among professional amenity horticultural workers, the highest measured glyphosate concentrations were equivalent to less than 1% of the *Acceptable Operator Exposure Level (AOEL) set by the European Food Safety Authority. Results also suggest that skin contamination on the worker’s hands is the most significant form of exposure accounting for almost 40% of the total exposure. However, exposure through inadvertent ingestion may also be relevant. This four-year study highlights the importance of using personal protective equipment (PPE) when using pesticide products. If reusable PPE is used it should be thoroughly cleaned after use as levels of pesticide contamination were found on reusable worker gloves which, if reused by the worker may become a source of exposure. Detectable levels of glyphosate were also found on face wipes, which could be due to touching the face either to adjust a face mask or answer a mobile phone during the work task. Detectable levels of glyphosate were also found on vehicle steering wheels. Workers who took breaks during the work task had higher glyphosate concentrations in their urine, most likely due to contact with pesticide residues on contaminated protective clothing or personal protective equipment. Key recommendations for pesticide users: Wear personal protective equipment when applying pesticide products. Dispose of all used personal protective equipment after the task or ensure that re-usable personal protective equipment is washed thoroughly after each work task. When taking breaks during the task, be careful when donning or doffing personal protective equipment, to prevent contamination of clothes and the body. Be careful not to contaminate personal items such as mobile phones and steering wheels when working with pesticides. Dr Holger Koch, Chief Editor of the International Journal of Hygiene and Environmental Health commended the study for being, “an important, timely scientific contribution to the current worldwide glyphosate discussion, and the first international study of its kind to look at glyphosate exposures, and exposure pathways, among a previously understudied occupational group, amenity horticulture and gardeners.” The research has led to the development of a Guidance document on the safe use of plant protection products which is freely available on the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine website at:http://www.pcs.agriculture.gov.ie/media/pesticides/content/foodsafety/PesticideResiduesinFood2015270317.pdf To read the final study's in the International Journal of Hygiene and Environmental Health, visit: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1438463917300688?via%3Dihub; https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1438463918302505?via%3Dihub; https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1438463918305972?via%3Dihub;    -Ends- 

Wednesday, 12 December 2018

Students, Staff and Community Gather at NUI Galway’s Inaugural Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony At the recent inaugural Tree Lighting ceremony at NUI Galway, students, staff and retired staff, along with members of the public were invited to ‘Light the festive spark’ which included food, song and festive cheer among the University community while turning on the campus Christmas lights. Funds were also raised for the Students’ Union charities, COPE Galway and the Galway Rape Crisis Centre. Speaking at the ceremony, Victoria Chihumura, Ethnic Minorities Officer in the Students’ Union said: “We are delighted to be here today at this tree lighting, in such a central part of the campus. We in the Students’ Union have worked with the President and his office on this event here today to mark the holiday season. There is something about this time of year that creates a sense of community, one which brings everyone in this institution together at this time of celebration. Our University is a place of community and collaboration, and this event encapsulates that.  “Our community reaches far and wide out across the world. This festive season, we want to focus our thoughts on those who are far away from their families and home. In particular those who have come to this country seeking asylum and a better life in this country, who now live in the Direct Provision system, some of them being our own students. We recognise that the holiday season can be a tough time for many, not least refugees. To those people we say you are welcome here, this is a space of learning, of friendship, and of sanctuary.”    The event had an abundance of festive treats and cakes provided by campus caterers whilst student societies and the award winning staff choir entertained the crowd. Children were delighted when Santa Claus and some of his elves made an appearance. For students, it presented an opportunity to take a break from their studies with exams beginning this week. Following the event, President Ó hÓgartaigh commented: “The event was a lovely partnership of staff and students coming together to celebrate the festive season and where life poured ordinary plenty, to paraphrase Irish poet, Patrick Kavanagh.  It was also a timely and tangible expression of the importance of community here on our campus.  As we come to the shortest day and the turn of the year, it’s good to look forward to brighter days ahead.  “I was delighted to learn that the event raised significant funds for the two Students' Union  designated charities and that we were able to share some festive treats with homeless services in the city” he added. ENDS

Tuesday, 11 December 2018

Management Plan for Better Resilience to Climatic Changes in Agricultural and Rural Areas Underway at NUI Galway Researchers from the Whitaker Institute at NUI Galway are implementing the RiskAquaSoil project, which aims to develop a comprehensive management plan for risks in soil and in water to improve the resilience of the Atlantic rural and agricultural areas. The Atlantic Area presents high risk to climate change with increased intensity and frequency of storms, drought and flooding and all having implications for the agricultural sector. This is leading to huge uncertainties in the way climate change will directly and indirectly affect agriculture and food systems. The principle aim of RiskAquaSoil is to alert society to the fact that climatological disasters can and will happen during a lifetime. The project proposes simpler and more efficient tools and services for managing the more harmful risks in different parts of the Atlantic Area of Europe, stretching from Ireland to Andalucia. The project is inviting local communities to participate, adopt and apply the current solutions provided to address these issues, and to understand what political and local levers can be triggered to allow these new principles of management for a better resilience to climatic changes to be applied in the fields by farmers and rural people. Sinead Mellett, a Postdoctoral researcher in the School of Business and Economics at NUI Galway, said: “The RiskAquaSoil project will contribute to a better coordination for the detection, risk management and recovery for rural areas, maritime and terrestrial areas, especially for agricultural purposes that are mainly associated to climate change and natural hazards but also to human pressure. Climatic changes are slow on average, but at the extremes they seem to be becoming more frequent. This slowly changing average prevents us changing proactively and we end up reacting after disasters, such as recent fires in Greece and the earthquake and tsunami in Indonesia.” The project partners will combat the adverse effects of the impact of climate change, especially on agricultural lands. This integral plan will entail three stages linked to three specific objectives: Early warning and diagnosis: testing new low-cost remote methods to measure and forecast the local impact of different meteorological phenomena. These techniques will provide accurate data that will result in a better early detection system in rural areas. Diagnosis activity will be enlarged with climate change scenarios such as frequency of heatwaves, droughts and flash floods, including forecasts and the improvement of climate information services to farmers. Implementation and adaptation: developing several pilot actions in agricultural lands that will permit better soil and water management taking into account the risks associated with climate change, such as flood risk maps and soil erosion risk solutions. It will also include pilot actions in maritime areas such as soil erosion management, small storm catchment and farm management practices. Capacity building and dissemination: training and commitment of local communities and farmers for increasing capacity building, information and cooperation in risk management and damage compensation systems. Previous research carried out by Dr Sinead Mellett revealed that farmers did not proactively seek out information on climate change unless it was a regulatory requirement, a customer request or was going to have a potential economic benefit to the business. It also highlighted that engagement with advisors and farming networks is a ‘huge’ influencing factor for information, survival, growth and support for the farmer. Sinead Nee, research assistant on the project revealed that farmers in Ireland are concerned about severe weather events, and the effects on their farm. The research finding also showed that the majority of farmers are willing to adapt compulsory measures to better adapt their farm to climate change. The results will inform a larger survey, conducted on behalf of RiskAquaSoil to determine farmer’s perceptions and attitudes towards climate change.  The NUI Galway-led RiskAquaSoil project is an EU INTERREG Atlantic Area Cooperation Program supported by European Regional Development Funds and with associated partner, Teagasc. -Ends-

Monday, 10 December 2018

Solving Darwin’s Dilemma: the mystery of when animals first appeared on earth  Animals may have existed on earth for hundreds of millions of years before they first appear in the fossil record, according to new research from NUI Galway, just published in the journal, Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology.  The international study, led by scientists from the School of Natural Sciences at NUI Galway, has shed light on a significant question which perplexed Charles Darwin over a century and a half ago. In his masterpiece, Origin of Species, Darwin had great difficulty in explaining the apparently sudden appearance of many different types of complex animals around half a billion years ago. This observation was based on evidence from the fossil record, but did not fit with his proposal that animals had slowly and gradually evolved from much simpler ancestors over a very long period of time. Darwin could only suggest that, for reasons then unclear to him, the earliest record of animal life on Earth was not represented in the fossil record. This conundrum would later be dubbed ‘Darwin’s dilemma’. The research team has shown clearly for the first time that the earliest and most primitive animals to appear on Earth would not have had body tissues capable of becoming fossilised - even in situations where exceptionally well-preserved soft-bodied fossils are known to have formed. The oldest known fossils of animals thus do not represent the oldest animals. Dr Breandán MacGabhann (now at the Department of Geography, Mary Immaculate College), who coincidentally shares his birthday with Charles Darwin, conducted the research for his PhD degree at NUI Galway. He commented: “For most of the fossil record we find shells and skeletons, but little evidence of the soft-bodied animals like jellyfish and worms that actually make up the majority of marine animal life. The oldest animal fossils are just impressions left behind by soft-bodied creatures on the seafloor, from long before the time when animals first developed the ability to make shells. We have never known how well these fossils represent these very early animal communities, largely because these creatures were quite different from modern animals, but also due to the fact that we didn’t understand precisely how they came to be preserved as fossils.”  The team investigated fossils of bizarre disc-shaped creatures called ‘eldonids’, which were collected from the edge of the Sahara Desert in Morocco. Their anatomy and preservation was carefully examined in NUI Galway, and also in labs in the USA - work which included using cutting-edge geochemical techniques to reveal precisely how different parts of these unusual soft-bodied animals had become fossilised. Dr MacGabhann continued: “As soon as we saw these fossils from the Sahara Desert, it was a bit of a ‘eureka’ moment - we immediately realised that, for the first time, we had known animals preserved in precisely the same way as most of the oldest animal fossils. We shipped over a tonne of fossil-bearing rocks from Morocco back to Ireland, and the entire team spent huge amounts of time working on this material in the lab. We used concepts and techniques from soil science, microbiology, and environmental science to demonstrate that these types of fossils only record and preserve the specific parts of the animal’s bodies which were originally made out of quite complex tissues like chitin and collagen. These body materials are not really present in most primitive animals, like sponges, jellyfish, and sea anemones, which of course would have been amongst the first animals to evolve.” Dr John Murray from Earth and Ocean Sciences at NUI Galway, who supervised the research project, said: “These findings confirm a suspicion that scientists have long held, but which they had struggled to conclusively prove - namely that the earliest animal ancestors most likely evolved during a protracted and cryptic time interval, long before more advanced creatures began to become preserved as fossils. Our work provides the extra time which Charles Darwin needed to account for the early stages of the evolution of animals and it solves a seemingly intractable problem which greatly troubled him when he was writing arguably one of the most important books in science.” To read the full study in Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, visit: https://authors.elsevier.com/c/1Y8-A73NzqkrB -Ends- 

Monday, 10 December 2018

Renowned RTÉ journalist and broadcaster Sean O’Rourke has been appointed as an Adjunct Professor of Journalism at NUI Galway.Mr O’Rourke, who presents the ‘Today with Sean O’Rourke’ show on RTÉ Radio One, will take up his new role in January. The role is honorary and Mr O’Rourke will continue to work in his current capacity with the State broadcaster, RTÉ. Mr O’Rourke is a graduate of NUI Galway (BA, 1977) and received an honorary doctorate from the University in 2011. Head of Journalism at NUI Galway, Tom Felle said: “We are delighted that Sean has accepted this post and it’s a strong signal of NUI Galway’s commitment to journalism education.  “Sean is a hugely respected current affairs interviewer and his forensic style has helped shaped the national conversation around many issues in recent years. He epitomises journalistic values of fairness and probity, and his work has made an indelible contribution to Irish democracy by holding those in power to account. “Students will be able to learn from Sean via master classes in radio journalism and in newsdays, working alongside one of the best journalists in the country,” he added. Sean O’Rourke said: “I’m greatly honoured by this appointment, having worked as a student journalist in NUI Galway long before the university began to offer courses in journalism. So much has changed since then in the way journalism is practiced and received, but at its core it is still about two things: asking questions and telling stories. I look forward to working with today’s students, learning from them and sharing ideas about how to serve the public.” NUI Galway has a long history of journalism training and in 2018 opened a new digital newsroom. A new dedicated radio broadcast facility was completed in November this year and new television facilities are planned for 2019. A new BA in Journalism and Ireland’s first MA in Sport Journalism and Communication are being launched in 2019. ENDS

Wednesday, 5 December 2018

Dr Breandán Mac Suibhne, a Senior Research Fellow with NUI Galway’s Moore Institute, has won the Royal Irish Academy’s inaugural Michel Déon Prize for non-fiction for his book The End of Outrage: Post-Famine Adjustment in Rural Ireland. The award was announced this week at a ceremony held in Dublin. Dr Mac Suibhne receives a prize of €10,000 and will deliver ‘The Michel Déon Lecture’ in France in early 2019. His book was selected from a group of 76 nominated titles and a shortlist of six books. The category of non-fiction encompassed by the prize includes works of autobiography, biography, cultural studies, history, literary studies, philosophy and travel. Eligibility was open to authors of any nationality currently living on the island of Ireland who had published a non-fiction book in the period July 2016 to July 2018.  The End of Outrage: Post-Famine Adjustment in Rural Ireland, published by Oxford University Press, tells a story of struggles over land, and acts of duplicity, informing and violence that took place in a small community in nineteenth-century Donegal. The narrative focuses on a schoolmaster who turned informer on a secret society – ostensibly in order to protect a farmer, James Gallagher, who had acquired land from his neighbours in the immediate aftermath of the Famine. It is at once a history and a memoir as the author’s forebears were among those who had lost land to Gallagher, and Dr Mac Suibhne probes how his own people came to terms with their loss. The End of Outrage was The Irish Times Irish Non-fiction Book of the Year in 2017, and in 2018 the American Conference for Irish Studies awarded it the Donnelly Prize for Books in History and Social Science. Professor Daniel Carey, Director of the Moore Institute at NUI Galway, was among those who nominated the book for the Michel Déon Prize. Professor Carey, said: “The End of Outrage is a remarkable achievement – a brilliantly written and researched book that gives a hugely compelling account. It brings a new dimension to the writing of Irish history. As a work of style and storytelling it is worthy of Michel Déon.” Speaking after winning the inaugural award, Dr Breandán Mac Suibhne from NUI Galway, said: “NUI Galway has a remarkable tradition in the study of nineteenth-century Ireland—its economy, its politics, and its literature, in Irish and English. I was lucky to have been a Fellow of the Moore Institute when working on the book and to have had access to the wonderful resources and staff of the Hardiman Library, as well as the support and advice of colleagues in different departments and the Centre for Irish Studies. Galway is such a great place to think.” Professor Michael Cronin, Chair of the Royal Irish Academy’s judging committee commented: “We were absolutely delighted with the calibre of entries for this inaugural prize and feel that Breandán is a very worthy winner and one that Michel Déon would be proud of. The judges felt that The End of Outrage was a beautifully written, well told, compelling narrative and a very interesting way to look at a period of history.” Helen McEntee T.D., Minister of State for European Affairs, said: “I would like to join in congratulating Breandán Mac Suibhne and all of the shortlisted authors. The Michel Déon Prize supports modern writers of non-fiction and new artists who seek to develop and strengthen their cultural work. I am delighted that the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has funded this prize, and I look forward to it growing as a key moment in our shared cultural calendar.” The prize, sponsored by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, reflects the work and interests of the French writer Michel Déon, a member of the Académie française, who made his home in Ireland from the 1970s until his death in 2016. The late Michel Déon was Adjunct Professor and honorary graduate of NUI Galway. Over many years, through his association with the discipline of French as Adjunct Professor in the University, he showed generous support for students there, and shared his vast collection of books (7,000) with the University Library in a gesture of great philanthropy and friendship. For full details of the prize visit: www.ria.ie/michel-deon-prize. -Ends-

Wednesday, 5 December 2018

The European Association for Digital Humanities (EADH) is holding its inaugural conference in the Arts Millennium Building and The Moore Institute at NUI Galway from 7-9 December. The theme of the conference is ‘Data in Digital Humanities’ and brings together and represents the Digital Humanities in Europe across the entire spectrum of disciplines that research, develop, and apply digital humanities methods and technology. The EADH also supports the formation of Digital Humanities interest groups in Europe that are defined by region, language, methodological focus or other criteria. Keynote speakers include Professor Elisabeth Burr of the University of Leipzig, and Professor Leonid Borodkin from Lomonosov Moscow State University. Christof Schöch, Professor of Digital Humanities at the University of Trier, Germany, and Co-Director of the Trier Center for Digital Humanities, will curate a roundtable session on the theme of data and digital humanities. Over 130 papers will be presented on issues such as the transformation of data for cultural heritage, use of data analytics in literary studies, natural language processing, data visualisation and modelling, and much more. Local committee chair and NUI Galway Lecturer, Professor Sean Ryder said: “We look forward to welcoming European and other international researchers who are working at the cutting edge of digital humanities research and practice. This conference will help us to understand the new roles that data is playing in arts and humanities scholarship and teaching, and its impact in the worlds of cultural heritage and the curation of knowledge.” Further details may be found at the conference website, eadh2018.eadh.org, or by contacting Professor Sean Ryder at eadh.conference.2018@gmail.com. -Ends-

Tuesday, 4 December 2018

NUI Galway students and staff recently gathered to celebrate the achievements of the Galway Energy-Efficient Car (the Geec) and in particular to mark its Technical Innovation Award win at SEM Europe 2018. For five years running, the Geec has offered a vision of cleaner transport, and it is now established in the international top tier for energy-saving motoring. The car is designed, built and tested by NUI Galway students from Mechanical, Electrical and Electronic, Electronic and Computer, and Energy Systems Engineering. Engineering students develop the car as part of their engineering studies, and also devote considerable free time to their creation. Every year since 2015 they have competed in Shell Eco-marathon Europe, where cars race for efficiency rather than speed. The students have improved the design of the three-wheeled electric car year on year. In 2017, the Geec achieved an energy score of 354 kilometres per kilowatt-hour over a 10-lap, 16 kilometre circuit in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in London. This is equivalent to around 10,500 miles per gallon of diesel, or driving from Galway to Dublin for 12 cents, and ranked the NUI Galway team 13th out of 41 competitors. The success didn’t stop there - at SEM Europe 2018, the Geec won the Technical Innovation Award for the unique design of a bodywork feature that covers the wheels, and moves as the car steers, streamlining the car and decreasing air resistance substantially. This year, the team hopes to progress even further. A new team is working on a lighter chassis, upgraded electronics, and fine-tuned drivetrain for the 2019 car, mentored by lecturers in the College of Engineering and Informatics, and supported by the engineering technical staff. President of NUI Galway, Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh, congratulated all involved, past and present. “This is a great team of students! Our University is proud to have such motivated and dedicated students, whose accomplishments over the past five years have showcased NUI Galway’s internationally-competitive capacities in engineering and our impact in environmental technologies in the world and for the world.  Their talent and ingenuity has been reflected in their success this summer at Shell Eco-marathon Europe and we look forward to further success in the years ahead. With climate change now one of the most pressing challenges facing our planet, the work of finding new energy-efficient transport strategies becomes ever-more important. This is an example of how universities foster the knowledge and talent which can transform our world. Congratulations to our students, supported by the University’s academic, technical and support staff in the College of Engineering and Informatics and the Geec’s industry partners for their pioneering work with the Galway Energy-Efficient Car.” The Geec was sponsored in 2017 and 2018 by the Tony Ryan Trust through Galway University Foundation, Shell E&P Ireland, Jaguar Land Rover, ÉireComposites, MaREI, Blackstone Launchpad, MBW Bike Shop, CADFEM UK & Ireland, Mathworks, OutdoorLiving.ie, Tocana Plastics, Molex, EasyComposites, and Irish Ferries. Check out www.thegeec.ie for more details on one of Ireland’s greatest green innovations. -Ends-

Tuesday, 4 December 2018

NUI Galway’s Professor Henry Curran, Professor Colin O’Dowd, Professor Donal O’Regan and Dr Derek Morris, have ranked in the top 1% of Clarivate Analytics list of Highly Cited Researchers for 2018. The Clarivate Analytics list of Highly Cited Researchers for 2018 identifies scientists and social scientists who have demonstrated significant influence through publication of multiple highly cited papers during the last decade. Researchers are selected for their exceptional performance in one or more of 21 fields (those used in Essential Science Indicators (ESI)) or across several fields. Approximately 6,000 researchers are named Highly Cited Researchers in 2018 — some 4,000 in specific fields and about 2,000 for Cross-Field performance. This is the first year that researchers with Cross-Field impact are identified. 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. 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. He has written over 1,300 peer-reviewed mathematical articles, making him one of the most prolific authors in the history of mathematics in the world. Dr Derek Morris is a Principal Investigator in the Neuroimaging and Cognitive Genomics (NICOG) Centre and is Senior Lecturer in Biomedical Science within the School of Natural Sciences at NUI Galway. His research, which began during his time in TCD (2001-2013), is based on using genetics and genomics to understand the biological basis of schizophrenia and other common psychiatric disorders. Vice President for Research at NUI Galway, Professor Lokesh Joshi, said: “Professors’ Curran, O’Dowd, O’Regan and Dr Morris are outstanding in their fields and have deservedly earned respect and recognition globally for their research. We are proud of our colleagues and the way they reflect the vibrant and impactful research community at our university.” The Highly Cited Researchers data from Clarivate Analytics form a key component of the Academic Ranking of World Universities, one of the longest established and most influential annual surveys of top universities globally. For the 2018 Highly Cited Researchers analysis, the papers surveyed were those published and cited during 2006 - 2016 and which at the end of 2016 ranked in the top 1% by citations for their ESI field and year (the definition of a highly cited paper). This is the fifth year in a row since 2014 that Professors’ Curran and O’Regan have been included in this prestigious list, the fourth year in a row for Professor O’Dowd and the first year for Dr Morris. The 2018 Highly Cited Researchers list can be seen in its entirety by visiting: https://www.clarivate.com/ -Ends-

Tuesday, 4 December 2018

BioImplant Innovative Training Network (ITN) is an ambitious European Industrial Doctorate programme coordinated by NUI Galway, that will provide world-class multidisciplinary training to 12 early-stage researchers in the area of bioabsorbable medical implant development. BioImplant is being led by Dr Ted Vaughan, a Lecturer in Biomedical Engineering in the College of Engineering and Informatics, along with his colleagues in the Biomechanics Research Centre at NUI Galway, Professor Peter McHugh and Dr William Ronan. The research programme will target the development of next-generation bioabsorbable medical implants, which has been a strategic priority area for researchers at NUI Galway for the past number of years. Bioabsorbable materials are a category of biomaterial that gradually degrade when implanted in the body. These biomaterials have the potential to form the basis for the next-generation of vascular and orthopaedic medical implants, for example, bone screws/plates, as they can reduce the need for implant removal surgeries associated with conventional permanent implants. The BioImplant Innovative Training Network programme will tackle key technological challenges in this area by bringing together EU partners with leading academic, industry and clinical expertise to develop innovative biomaterials with application potential in vascular and orthopaedic implants. Speaking about the programme, Dr Ted Vaughan at NUI Galway, said: “The BioImplant ITN will provide a unique opportunity for 12 early-stage researchers to acquire world-class multidisciplinary training in the area of bioabsorbable medical implant development. Furthermore, the research programme will significantly advance current bioabsorbable material technologies and maximise their commercial potential for both orthopaedic and vascular implant applications.” The BioImplant consortium spans four EU countries, comprising of Academic (NUI Galway, Queens University Belfast, RWTH Aachen, IMDEA Materials Institute and Universidad Carlos III de Madrid), Industry (Boston Scientific, Galway, Meotec Gmbh, Aachen, ITA Gmbh, Aachen and Vascular Flow Technologies, Dundee) and Clinical (University Hospital Aachen) participants. The multidisciplinary training programme delivered to early-stage researchers during the BioImplant Innovative Training Network programme will enhance career development and employability, promoting their development into leading innovators in the European Medical Technology sector. The BioImplant ITN programme is worth a total of €3.3 million and is funded by the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Innovative Training Networks. -Ends-

Monday, 3 December 2018

NUI Galway was awarded the ‘Postgraduate Course of the Year in Business, Finance and Management Award’ at the recent national gradireland Higher Education Awards 2019 which took place in Dublin. This year, the prize was awarded for the University’s MSc in International Management programme. This is the second time that this programme has won this accolade, last winning best programme in 2013. Judges commented on the MSc in International Management being consistently strong throughout, and were impressed by its innovative approach and resources. The NUI Galway MSc International Management programme, delivered by the Management Discipline at the J.E. Cairnes School of Business and Economics, is highly regarded nationally and internationally as a programme through which students develop the skills, knowledge and global mind-set required for working in an international context with large multinational corporations or small born-global start-ups. This innovative programme ensures graduates are ‘work-ready’ and have developed their full professional potential. The Academic Programme Director, Dr Majella Giblin, said: “The Discipline of Management devote time to developing the student’s key skill-sets in team-work, business communication, research and business travel. A key learning experience for students on this programme is engaging in a week-long business assignment trip abroad, which in the past number of years involved travelling to Hong Kong to experience this business culture. Developing such employability skills is fast-tracking many graduates to excellent positions in organisations worldwide.” Potential applicants interested in applying to participate in the MSc in International Management can contact Dr Majella Giblin at majella.giblin@nuigalway.ie, or visit    l for more details. -Ends-

Monday, 3 December 2018

The new Professors lecture series at the College of Arts, Social Sciences, and Celtic Studies at NUI Galway will continue with Professor of American History, Enrico Dal Lago, on Thursday, 13 December at 5pm, in Room G010, Moore Institute NUI Galway. In his talk, Professor Dal Lago will contend that a comparative historical project focusing on the events and transformations that occurred in the United States in the period after the American Civil War and in Italy in the period after national unification can help us understand better the deep economic, social, and political changes experienced by the rural areas of the nineteenth-century Euro-American world. In this lecture, Professor Dal Lago will compare the Reconstruction U.S. South with post-unification southern Italy by investigating specifically the reasons behind the origin and expansion of violent practices of agrarian vigilantism and criminal activity in the cotton-producing regions of upcountry South Carolina and in the citrus-growing regions of coastal western Sicily. In comparable terms, in both the cases of upcountry South Carolina and coastal western Sicily, those violent practices were tightly related to both a regional agrarian past and the specific historical circumstances of the period between 1865 and 1875. Also in comparable terms, those practices led to the creation of two particular traditions of illegal violent activity – the first Ku Klux Klan and the early Mafia – which, although very different in character, served a similar purpose of controlling the agrarian workforce in areas characterised by the production of highly valuable cash-crops. Dr Seán Crosson, Vice-Dean for Research in the College of Arts, Social Sciences and Celtic Studies at NUI Galway, said: “We are delighted to continue this lecture series which provides a great opportunity for the University to make the general public more aware of the world-leading innovative research being undertaken in the college. This is the sixth speaker in the series which has featured contributions to date in the areas of social policy, education, political thought, online therapies, language transmission, and behavioural psychology.” -Ends-      

Thursday, 6 December 2018

Research Examines the Reception and Circulation of Nuns’ Writing during the Seventeenth Century A new article by Dr Bronagh Ann McShane from the Moore Institute at NUI Galway has been published in The Journal of Historical Network Research. The article uses new research methodologies and digital tools to analyse data extracted from letters written by and about English Benedictine nuns living in Brussels during the seventeenth century. The data for the analysis is taken from the project ‘RECIRC: The Reception and Circulation of Early Modern Women’s Writing 1550-1700’. The project is producing a large-scale quantitative analysis of the ways in which women’s writing was received and circulated in the early modern English-speaking world and its database will be open-access from the project’s close in 2019. The project has captured data on a range of female-authored sources, including texts produced in English convents established in Europe during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Speaking about the research, Dr McShane at NUI Galway, said: “Network analysis tools and methodologies are shown here to illuminate the sheer breadth and diversity of the nuns’ letter writing activity. The networks highlight in a visual way the connections between the Brussels Benedictine nuns and the world beyond the cloister. This serves to enhance our understanding of the nature and limits of enclosure imposed upon early modern nuns.” Dr Bronagh Ann McShane is a social historian specialising in the history of women and religion in early modern Ireland and Europe, and is currently conducting a study of early modern Irish nuns, funded by the National University of Ireland. RECIRC is a European Research Council-funded project, led by Professor Marie-Louise Coolahan in the Discipline of English. It investigates the impact made by women writers and their works during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. The project runs from 2014 to 2019. To read the full article in The Journal of Historical Network Research, visit: https://doi.org/10.25517/jhnr.v2i1.32 For more information on the RECIRC project, visit: www.recirc.nuigalway.ie/ or email recirc@nuigalway.ie and follow on Twitter @RECIRC_. -Ends-

Friday, 7 December 2018

NUI Galway’s Professor Henry Curran, Professor Colin O’Dowd, Professor Donal O’Regan, Professor William Wijns and Dr Derek Morris, have ranked in the top 1% of Clarivate Analytics list of Highly Cited Researchers for 2018. The Clarivate Analytics list of Highly Cited Researchers for 2018 identifies scientists and social scientists who have demonstrated significant influence through publication of multiple highly cited papers during the last decade. Researchers are selected for their exceptional performance in one or more of 21 fields (those used in Essential Science Indicators (ESI)) or across several fields. Approximately 6,000 researchers are named Highly Cited Researchers in 2018 — some 4,000 in specific fields and about 2,000 for Cross-Field performance. This is the first year that researchers with Cross-Field impact are identified. 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. 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. He has written over 1,300 peer-reviewed mathematical articles, making him one of the most prolific authors in the history of mathematics in the world. Professor William Wijns is an internationally renowned expert in cardiology and a Professor of Medical Devices at the College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences. Professor Wijns research focuses on interventional cardiology, more specifically on reducing the number of adverse cardiovascular events in high-risk patients. Dr Derek Morris is a Principal Investigator in the Neuroimaging and Cognitive Genomics (NICOG) Centre and is Senior Lecturer in Biomedical Science within the School of Natural Sciences at NUI Galway. His research, which began during his time in TCD (2001-2013), is based on using genetics and genomics to understand the biological basis of schizophrenia and other common psychiatric disorders. Vice President for Research at NUI Galway, Professor Lokesh Joshi, said: “Professors’ Curran, O’Dowd, O’Regan, Wijns and Dr Morris are outstanding in their fields and have deservedly earned respect and recognition globally for their research. We are proud of our colleagues and the way they reflect the vibrant and impactful research community at our university.” The Highly Cited Researchers data from Clarivate Analytics form a key component of the Academic Ranking of World Universities, one of the longest established and most influential annual surveys of top universities globally. For the 2018 Highly Cited Researchers analysis, the papers surveyed were those published and cited during 2006 - 2016 and which at the end of 2016 ranked in the top 1% by citations for their ESI field and year (the definition of a highly cited paper). The 2018 Highly Cited Researchers list can be seen in its entirety by visiting: https://www.clarivate.com/  -Ends-

Wednesday, 28 November 2018

Two NUI Galway based start-ups are the main winners of 2018 InterTradeIreland competition  Loci Orthopaedics based at NUI Galway have been crowned the overall winner of the 2018 InterTradeIreland Seedcorn Investor Readiness Competition, taking home a cash prize of €100,000 at the grand final held last weekend in Belfast. The team at Loci Orthopaedics, a BioInnovate Ireland spin out located in the Business Innovation Centre at NUI Galway, has developed an implant for the treatment of thumb base joint arthritis. The implant, InDx, is the first of its kind that fully re-creates the natural motions of the joint post implantation. Commenting on their win, CEO and Co-Founder of Loci Orthopaedics, Brendan Boland, said: “It is an absolutely fantastic feeling to win the overall award at the InterTradeIreland Seedcorn 2018 final. The competition has been an incredibly challenging and rewarding experience, and we would like to thank the judges and organisers for the expert advice and constructive feedback provided along the way. The prize money will prove invaluable in supporting our orthopaedic joint implant ‘InDx’ at such a crucial stage in its development and will allow us to invest in securing additional personnel and provide further support for expansion.” The other main winner on the night was HidraMed Solutions also based at NUI Galway, who won the Best New Start Category award and a cash prize of €50,000. HidraMed Solutions was one of the cohorts who completed the 2017-2018 BioExel MedTech Accelerator programme delivered by NUI Galway. Hidramed Solutions has developed a unique wound care solution for people who suffer from Hidradenitis Suppurativa (HS), an inflammatory skin disease that causes draining lesions and non-healing wounds. Business founder, Suzanne Moloney is a HS patient and has spent 5 years researching and developing the product. CEO and Founder of Hidramed Solutions, Suzanne Moloney, NUI Galway, said: “We are thrilled to win the Best New Start Category Award, it is a real honour. The €50,000 cash prize will help us take our proposition to the next level and the entire Seedcorn process has offered us a platform to refine our business plan and our company offering, which has been a hugely beneficial experience for us.” Now in its 16th year, Seedcorn is Ireland’s biggest business competition for innovative new start and early stage businesses in any sector, from any part of the island. As well as a substantial cash prize fund, participants benefit from promotional, business planning workshops and mentorship support throughout the competition.  Congratulating the winners, Ken Nelson MBE, InterTradeIreland Chairman, said: “Seedcorn recognises and nurtures entrepreneurship, innovation and new ventures, and provides young companies - who are at a critical stage of their development - the opportunity to really put their proposition to the test. The quality of the business plans throughout the competition has been of an extremely high standard, and this year’s participants are testament to the innovation and entrepreneurial excellence of small businesses, North and South. I would like to congratulate Loci Orthopaedics and Hidramed Solutions and wish them every success in the future. We look forward to watching our 2018 winners grow and will be following their development with a keen eye.” To date, InterTradeIreland has supported over 2,300 enterprising companies through the Seedcorn process. With €238 million in new equity being raised by the companies which have reached the regional finals stage of the Seedcorn competition over the past 16 years, the competition has a strong track record of supporting early business start-ups to become investor ready. For more information about Loci Orthopaedics, visit: http://www.lociorthopaedics.com and for more information on Hidramed Solutions, visit: www.hidrawearskin.com. -Ends-

Wednesday, 28 November 2018

Hannah Durand, a doctoral researcher in the School of Psychology at NUI Galway, has received an Early Career Award from the International Society of Behavioural Medicine (ISBM). The award ceremony, which took place recently in Santiago, Chile, honoured ten outstanding early career researchers in the field of behavioural medicine. Hannah, from Kingston, Galway City, recently completed her PhD in Health Psychology. Her research, supervised by Dr Gerry Molloy of the School of Psychology and Professor Andrew Murphy of the Discipline of General Practice at NUI Galway, investigated the extent of and reasons for non-adherence to antihypertensive medications for treatment-resistant hypertension in primary care. She is the only Irish recipient of the ISBM Early Career Award in its history. Dr Anne Berman, Chair of the ISBM Education and Training Committee, said: “This award recognises an important contribution to the science of behavioural medicine at an early career stage. Recipients have distinguished themselves in their scientific or clinical practice career. This award is presented to Hannah Durand in recognition of her outstanding contribution to the study of medication adherence as well as her total career achievement to date. It is our hope that Early Career Award winners will go on to be world leaders in the field of behavioural medicine.” Dr John Bogue, Head of Psychology at NUI Galway, said: “The School of Psychology at NUI Galway has recently been ranked in the top 1% of psychology departments in the world – this award confirms that our standards of education and research are at the very top in international standings. We are very proud of Hannah’s remarkable achievement.” Hannah’s research was funded by the Health Research Board Patient-Oriented Research Award and supported by the Primary Care Clinical Trials Network Ireland. -Ends-   

Tuesday, 27 November 2018

Judge Dara Ó Briain helps select prize winners from Wicklow, Kilkenny, Galway, Carlow and Dublin schools and community groups Tuesday, 27 November 2018: Science filmmakers from Wicklow, Kilkenny, Galway, Carlow and Dublin were honoured at the recent Galway Science and Technology Festival Exhibition in NUI Galway for winning the nationwide ReelLIFE SCIENCE video competition. More than 1,250 science enthusiasts from 80 schools and community groups around Ireland entered the competition, and the winning videos were selected by a distinguished panel of judges including aeronautical engineer and astronaut-candidate Norah Patten, BT Young Scientist and Technologist of the Year 2018, Simon Meehan and comedian and TV presenter Dara Ó Briain, who said: “I was delighted to be a guest judge in this year's competition and see how much enthusiasm, knowledge and energy is pouring out of Science classes across the country!" A group of 24 third and fourth class students from Powerscourt National School, along with their teacher Rachael Kinkead, won first prize at Primary School level for their video ’Science and Me: The Skin’, presented by Laurie Ryan, Senior Executive - Education and Public Engagement with Science Foundation Ireland. Primary school runners-up were Gaelscoil Riabhach from Loughrea, Co. Galway, while Scoil Mhuire Gan Smál from Carlow finished third. Transition year students Emer Tobin and Katherine Morrow from Loreto Secondary School Kilkenny, claimed the Secondary School award, presented by Director of the CÚRAM Centre for Research in Medical Devices, Professor Abhay Pandit, for their short film about Rosalind Franklin, who was instrumental in the discovery of the structure of DNA. Sixth year St. Mary’s College Galway students Jakub Szymonik and Alex Polchowski were runners-up, while Skerries Community College fifth years Sam Enright and Adam Kelly were third. Seán Janson from Lackagh Foróige group in Lackagh, Co. Galway demonstrated the ‘Science of Smashing’ with equations, experiments and “tons of personality” to achieve first place at Community level, presented by Dr Muriel Grenon, Director of the science education and outreach programme, Cell EXPLORERS. Members of the Westside Youth Project in Galway City were runners-up with a video about volcanoes, while third place went to the Galway Parkinson’s Association for ‘Living with Parkinson’s’. Based in NUI Galway and supported by the Science Foundation Ireland Discover programme, the Community Knowledge Initiative, the CÚRAM Centre for Research in Medical Devices, the Cell EXPLORERS science education and outreach programme and the National Centre for Biomedical Engineering Science, ReelLIFE SCIENCE challenges Irish schools and community groups to communicate science and technology via engaging and educational short videos. Since being launched in 2013 by NUI Galway’s Dr Enda O’Connell and a team of volunteer scientists, this challenge has been met by more than 10,000 participants in 350 schools and groups around Ireland. Special guest judge Norah Patten said of the programme: “I think this is a fantastic initiative because the students are not only learning about a scientific topic - they are also developing skills to communicate what they've learnt. These types of hands on, practical projects will be really valuable as they progress through to the next stage of their career.” All videos can be viewed at www.reellifescience.com. -Ends-

Tuesday, 27 November 2018

Students interested in studying at NUI Galway are invited to an Information Evening in Dundalk on Thursday, 6 December. Students, parents, guardians and guidance counsellors are invited to attend the event which runs from 7 to 9pm in the Crowne Plaza Hotel, Dundalk. The evening will begin with short talks about NUI Galway and the undergraduate courses it offers. Afterwards, current students and NUI Galway staff will be on hand to answer any individual questions in relation to courses and practical issues like accommodation, fees and scholarships, and the wide range of support services available to our students. The ever-increasing popularity of NUI Galway is in-part due to its innovative programmes developed in response to the changing needs of the employment market. NUI Galway is launching three new Arts degrees for enrolment in 2019. This includes a BA (History and Globalisation), BA Government (Politics, Economics and Law) and a BA Education (Computer Science and Mathematical Studies).  The University will also launch a new degree in Law and Human Rights for 2019 and Dr Conor Hanly from the School of Law will give a short presentation on Law at NUI Galway. The event will also have representatives from across the University’s five colleges available to answer questions about the programmes on offer, entry requirements, and placement and employment opportunities. St. Angela’s College and Shannon College of Hotel Management, both colleges of NUI Galway, will also attend the event. Members of the Accommodation Office will be on hand to answer any queries about on-campus or off-campus options, including the new Goldcrest on-campus development, which sees 429 new beds this year, bringing the total of on-campus beds to 1193. Sarah Geraghty, Student Recruitment and Outreach Manager at NUI Galway, said: “NUI Galway is dedicated to excellence in teaching and learning with a focus on developing highly skilled and employable graduates and dedicated to providing a positive, welcoming and inclusive student experience. The Information Evening in Dundalk is an opportunity for students to take a closer look at the opportunities available at NUI Galway and explore what it means to study at a world class university”. To find out more about the information evening in Dundalk, contact NUI Galway's Schools’ Liaison Officer, Elish Carr at 087-7794010 or email elish.carr@nuigalway.ie -Ends-   

Tuesday, 27 November 2018

NUI Galway’s Medical Orchestra will present a varied and rich progrmame of work to include the premiere of a five-minute original piece of music entitled Vena Vitae, as part of the Arts in Action 2018-2019 programme. The concert is in aid of Cancer Care West and takes place on Wednesday, 5 December at 6pm in the O’Donoghue Centre at NUI Galway. This original piece of music, Vena Vitae was composed and arranged by Máirtín O Connor and Garry O Briain that features a scientific background involving the sounds emanating from a chemotherapy machine as the infusion reaches the patient. The piece captures rhythms and the translation of sounds to musical notation and arrangement for all sections of the orchestra, described as “an Ode to healing”. The Medical Orchestra will be joined by an ensemble of musical guests including Jim Higgins, The Smiths, Carl Hession, Matthew Berrill and Mary McPartlan. Speaking about this special concert, Mary McPartlan, Artistic Director of Arts in Action at NUI Galway, said: “The orchestra has been in existence now for ten years and its main aim has always been to enrich and support the medical students, in reaching their own individual creative spaces, thereby supporting their overall wellbeing, their academic endeavor and their work in the study of medicine.” David O’Donnell from Cancer Care West, said: “Cancer Care West are thrilled to be the benefiting charity from this very unique fundraising event. Funds raised will help support cancer patients and their families who are attending our Support Centre on Seamus Quirke Road.” The medical students’ participation in the annual Arts in Action programme is one of the highlights of the academic year. The orchestra was formed from a close partnership with colleagues in the College of Arts, Social Sciences and Celtic Studies, which allows NUI Galway’s medical students to express themselves through their music and contribute positively to the wider community. Tickets are €15 with all proceeds going to Cancer Care West and available from www.cancercarewest.ie (News and Events), or on the door on the night at the O’Donoghue Centre in NUI Galway. -Ends-

Monday, 26 November 2018

A new report launched today (26 November) by safefood finds that parents view weaning as an exciting but challenging time as they deal with lots of information and advice when starting their babies on solid foods. The research was carried out by the Health Promotion Research Centre at NUI Galway. Dr Colette Kelly, lead author of the study and Director of the Health Promotion Research Centre at NUI Galway, said: “Weaning an infant to solid foods is an exciting time for parents but they can feel anxious about what, when and how to feed their baby. Parents want practical and clear information at the time they are starting to feed solids to their baby.” Dr Cliodhna Foley-Nolan, Director, Human Health & Nutrition at safefood, said: “The first two years in a child’s life is a critical time for growth, development and establishing healthy eating habits for the child and for the whole family. We carried out this research to hear from parents about their experiences of weaning their babies on to solid foods. A worrying factor is the reliance on commercial baby foods rather than confidence in their own home cooking.” In the research, parents were open about the many challenges that they faced: Choosing baby foods to introduce at the weaning stage can be confusing. Varying opinions and advice from grandparents, family and friends about what to do. Practical advice needs to be available when the time is right, not in the new born period. Weaning can bring up feelings of inadequacy, embarrassment and guilt for parents. Dr Phil Jennings, HSE Director of Public Health and National Lead for the Healthy Childhood Programme, welcomed the report, stating: “The findings further confirm the support that parents require at this crucial stage of their child’s development. Professional advice and support is available from public health nurses, GPs and practice nurses.”  The time to introduce solid foods is important - not before 17 weeks and not after 26 weeks (for both breastfed and formula-fed babies). This timeframe is recommended by health experts as before 17 weeks, a baby’s kidneys and digestive system are immature and may not be able to handle food and drinks other than milk. Delaying the introduction of solid foods beyond 26 weeks is not recommended because babies that are 26 weeks old need solid food to meet all their energy and nutrient requirements and the baby is now ready to develop important skills for eating a mixed diet. Other important advice for parents who are introducing their babies to solid foods is to: Always stay with your baby when he/she is eating to make sure he/she doesn’t choke. Never add any foods to your baby’s bottle (this includes rusks) as this can cause choking and can damage teeth. Avoid foods and drinks high in fat, salt or sugar as they encourage unhealthy food preferences which persist through life. From six months, babies should be introduced to drinking from a cup or beaker. Tap water can be offered to your baby in a cup at meal and snack times. Cow’s milk (full fat) can be offered as a drink from one year onwards. Use foods that you would normally eat as a family - there is no need to go out and buy special weaning foods, however be mindful of the salt content when making family meals especially when adding stock or gravy granules to dishes. While commercial baby foods can be convenient for when you are out and about, these should be the exception and not every day. Allow plenty of time for feeding, particularly at first. Until now your baby has only known food that comes in a continuous flow from a nipple or teat. Your baby needs to learn to move solid food from the front of the tongue to the back in order to swallow it. The food tastes and feels different – it’s bound to take time so don’t be surprised if baby initially spits the food out or appears to dislike it. It will take time for baby to become used to new tastes and textures. Encourage babies to be involved at mealtimes, eat a variety of foods, hold finger foods and spoons and encourage them to try and feed themselves. Avoid distractions at mealtimes such as televisions, phones or tablets. Mealtimes are an ideal opportunity to interact with baby. The research was funded by safefood and was led by NUI Galway in collaboration with Queen’s University Belfast. The NUI Galway research report, What parents think about weaning - An island of Ireland study is available to download from https://www.safefood.eu/Home.aspx  -Ends-