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Wednesday, 20 August 2014
Distinguished Political Scientist to speak on "Power-sharing in deeply divided places with special reference to Iraq and Northern Ireland" as part of the President of Ireland’s Ethics Initiative Distinguished Irish political scientist Professor Brendan O’Leary of the University of Pennsylvania, Visiting Fellow at the Moore Institute,will give a public lecture on ‘Power-sharing in deeply divided places with special reference to Iraq and Northern Ireland’ in NUI Galway at 4pm on Wednesday 27 August, 2014. This talk is part of the President of Ireland’s ‘Ethics Initiative’, and is organised by the Conflict, Rights and Security Research Cluster of NUI Galway’s Whitaker Institute in association with the Moore Institute. Brendan O'Leary is Lauder Professor of Political Science at the University of Pennsylvania. He is the author of numerous highly regarded books and articles on conflict and peacemaking and has been deeply and directly involved in efforts to secure peace and design new structures of government in Northern Ireland and Iraq. He was born in Cork, Ireland, and his childhood and teenage years were mostly spent in Nigeria, Sudan, and Northern Ireland. Before going to University of Pennsylvania, O' Leary was on the faculty of the London School of Economics and Political Science between 1983 and 2003, where he had been Professor of Political Science, Head of its Government Department, and an elected Academic Governor. Between 2012 and 2014 he was also Professor of Political Science at Queen's University Belfast. O'Leary's professorial career has been combined with political advisory work. He was a political advisor to the British Labour Shadow Cabinet on Northern Ireland between 1987-8 and 1996-7, advising Kevin McNamara and the late Marjorie ("Mo") Mowlam. He advised Irish, British, and American ministers and officials and the Irish-American Morrison delegation during the Northern Ireland peace process, appearing as an expert witness before the US Congress, and being a guest at the White House. His ideas on power-sharing are said to have been extremely influential, and his work with Professor John McGarry on police reform was singled out in the press for influencing the commission on police reform which reported in 1999. O'Leary has also worked as a constitutional advisor for the European Union and the United Nations in the promotion of confederal and federal re-building of Somalia, and for the United Kingdom's Department of International Development in constitutional consultancies on power-sharing in coalition governments in Kwa-Zulu Natal, South Africa, and in Nepal. Between 2003 and 2009 he was regularly an international constitutional advisor to the Kurdistan Regional Government in Iraq, assisting in the negotiation of the Transitional Administrative Law (2004); electoral systems design (2004-5); the Constitution of Iraq (2005), and the Constitution of the Kurdistan Region (2005-). He has been an expert witness on Iraq to branches of the US Government, and to the United Kingdom's Iraq Commission. For the UN he contributed to its 2004 United Nations Human Development Report on Culture and Liberty. In 2009-2010 O'Leary was seconded to the UN as the Senior Advisor on Power-Sharing in the Standby Team of the Mediation Support Unit of the Department of Political Affairs. Dr Niall O Dochartaigh of the School of Political Science and Sociology at NUI Galway, commented: “The topic could hardly be more urgent – how do we deal with the political fractures in deeply divided societies that are one of the main sources of violent conflict in the twenty first century? As perhaps the single most influential and internationally-respected Irish political scientist Brendan O’Leary has taken his work far beyond the walls of academia and directly influenced the design of stable structures of government for divided societies. His work is ground-breaking, original, and intensely engaged with public debate. It is often provocative and challenging and always illuminating. We are delighted that such an active and distinguished scholar of deeply divided societies will give this public lecture in NUI Galway on such an important and timely topic. We are also proud to make a contribution to the excellent work being done across all of the universities on behalf of President Higgins’ ‘Ethics Initiative’. Events such as this, the academic and political contribution of engaged scholars such as Professor O’Leary and initiatives such as President Higgins’ all make vital contributions toward the cultivation of an informed and critically engaged citizenry.” The lecture is open to the public, but early attendance is advised. It will begin at 4 pm (sharp) on Wednesday, 27 August in the Aula Maxima, NUI Galway. Ends
Wednesday, 20 August 2014
NUI Galway researchers have asked the public to help in a quest to find out more about our elusive and unique Irish stoat. One of Ireland’s true native species, the Irish stoat (Mustela erminea hibernica) has been present on the island since before the last Ice Age. It is recognised as an endemic subspecies, quite distinct from those found in Britain and further afield. The research project is being undertaken by the Animal Ecology and Conservation group at NUI Galway, in collaboration with the Vincent Wildlife Trust, a charity that has been at the forefront of mammal conservation in Ireland and the UK for over 35 years. Stoats are predators and belong to the weasel family, the mustelids. While there are no weasels in Ireland, other mustelids found here include badgers, otters and pine martens. The Irish stoat is an important element of Irish biodiversity and a protected species, yet relatively little is known about them. Currently, there is no population estimate available and there is a real need for information on their distribution, ecology and habitat requirements. The project is being conducted by NUI Galway PhD student Laura O’Flynn and Lecturer in Zoology, Dr Colin Lawton. A key element of their research incorporates the use of ‘Citizen Science’, which is an opportunity for members of the public to pass on their sightings and experiences of the animal. Dr Lawton explains how the public can help: “We are hoping individuals all over the country will contribute to this vital conservation research. Stoats are about a foot long, with orange-brown fur and often their most recognisable trait is their quick bounding movement when running and hunting. Any information on the locations where stoats have been seen, the habitats they most frequently use or any insights into their behaviour will be of great use to the research team.” Dr Lawton added, “We have had great success using Citizen Science in the past to determine the most up to date ranges of grey and red squirrels in Ireland, and in tracking down the dormouse, a new mammal species to the country. Now we hope to find out what we can about one of our true native species, the Irish stoat, and see if they are in need of any conservation help, or indeed if they are causing any problems to farmers or gamekeepers.” There are a number of ways in which you can submit information to the project, by email at email@example.com, by phone on 091 492903 or 086 0660208, or on Facebook at the Irish Stoat Project https://www.facebook.com/irishstoat -ends-
Monday, 25 August 2014
A new atlas, providing one of the most thorough audit ever of marine life in the Southern Ocean, was launched in New Zealand today. Leading marine biologists and oceanographers from all over the world, including NUI Galway’s Dr Louise Allcock, spent the last four years compiling information on more than 9,000 species. The species, which range from microbes to whales, include seaweeds, crustaceans, molluscs, corals, anemones, worms, moss animals, urchins, starfish, sea squirts, plankton, jellyfish, fish, seals, and birds. In 66 chapters, the scientists examine the evolution, physical environment, genetics and possible impact of climate change on marine organisms in the region. Dr Louise Allcock, a Lecturer in Zoology at NUI Galway, is author of two of the chapters. Her first chapter focuses on octopuses, a subject on which she is one of the world’s leading authorities. In a second chapter she explores bipolarity, the phenomenon where a species exists both in Antarctica, and the Arctic. According to Dr Allcock: “The study of bipolar species is fascinating because it tells us quite a lot about evolution and speciation. There are probably far fewer bipolar species than some people have suggested, but they are a very real transient natural phenomenon. As a species becomes widely dispersed, for a while it can be bipolar, but because of limited gene flow between the polar populations, these populations eventually diverge and each becomes a species in its own right.” Published by the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR), the new Biogeographic Atlas of the Southern Ocean is an unprecedented international collaboration involving 147 scientists from 91 institutions across 22 countries. It is the first time that such an effort has been undertaken since 1969 when the American Society of Geography published its Antarctic Map Folio Series. Chief editor, Claude De Broyer, of the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences, said: “This is the first time that all the records of the unique Antarctic marine biodiversity, from the very beginnings of Antarctic exploration in the days of Captain Cook, have been compiled, analysed and mapped by the scientific community. It has resulted in a comprehensive atlas and an accessible database of useful information on the conservation of Antarctic marine life.” The data, and expert opinions, in the Atlas will help inform conservation policy, including the debate over whether or not to establish marine protected areas in the open ocean. Sophisticated environmental models coupled with existing species distribution data provide a valuable outlook on the possible future distribution of key species as they adapt to climate change. New advances in genetics have shed light on some of the best known species from the Antarctic sea floor. The giant isopod crustacean Glyptonotus antarcticus is one of those. The animal lives on the edge of the continent at depths of up to 600 metres. Previously considered to be a single species with a circumpolar distribution, molecular barcoding suggests it may, in reality, be a group with up to eleven species inhabiting much smaller geographic regions. Author, and editor, Huw Griffiths, of the British Antarctic Survey, said: “The book is unique and contains an amazing collection of information and photos. It’s been an enormous international effort and will serve as a legacy to the dedicated team of scientists who have contributed to it. The Atlas is a must-read for anyone interested in the animals living at the end of the Earth.” The Atlas contains around 100 colour photos and 800 maps. It was launched at the SCAR 2014 Open Science Conference in Auckland, New Zealand today. -ends-
Monday, 25 August 2014
A symposium on youth development and sport, organised by UNESCO experts, takes place on Thursday, 28 August. The symposium is organised by three UNESCO Chairs in the field of youth studies from NUI Galway, University of Ulster, and Penn State University. It kicks off the Croke Park Classic Weekend, which will feature an American football clash between Penn State and University of Central Florida. According to the symposium organisers, with half of the world’s population aged 25 or younger, there is a pressing need for innovative strategies to engage youth. And with 85% of all youth living in less developed countries, active engagement of youth is essential to international security, stability, and regional capacity building. Dr Mark Brennan of Penn State University explains how sport can help: “We believe that a dedication to youth citizenship sponsored through sport and recreation will bring communities together and create a prosperous and peaceful environment for all.” ‘The UNESCO Croke Park Symposium on Youth Civic Engagement and Leadership through Sport and Recreation’ will look at the effects sport can have on youth in terms of leadership, peace building, empowering women and social inclusion. Key speakers will include, among others: Professor Mark Brennan, UNESCO Chair in Rural Community, Leadership, and Youth Development, Penn State University. Professor Pat Dolan, UNESCO Chair in Children, Youth and Civic Engagement, NUI Galway. Professor Alan Smith, UNESCO Chair in Pluralism, Human Rights and Democracy, University of Ulster. Don Mullan, author, founder of the Christmas Truce and Flanders Peace Field Project. Alan Kerins, Irish GAA star and founder of Alan Kerins Projects; Hugo MacNeill, Irish rugby star, Managing Director Goldman Sachs; Georgette Mulheir, CEO of Lumos (the organisation founded by J.K. Rowling which works to support children in institutions.) NUI Galway’s Professor Pat Dolan, the first person to be awarded the prestigious UNESCO Chair in Children, Youth and Civic Engagement in the Republic of Ireland, commented: “We are focussed on knowledge creation around ‘what works’ in the real world of practice and on utilising community based approaches to working with and for young people.” Explaining the organisers’ approach, University of Ulster’s Professor Alan Smith, said: “The symposium will bring together a range of voices, from youth involved in citizenship and peacebuilding projects, to policy makers and organisations tasked with building resilient and thriving communities.” The Symposium will result in significant policy initiatives and a major formal declaration on utilising sports and recreation as mechanisms for youth development worldwide. This declaration will be announced at halftime during the Croke Park Classic football match and presented to the UN, UNESCO, and UNICEF as a platform for them to build global programming and policy. The UNESCO Croke Park Symposium on Youth Civic Engagement and Leadership through Sport and Recreation will be held on Thursday, August 28, 2014 from 9am to 4.30 pm at Croke Park, Dublin. Click here for full symposium agenda. ENDS
Wednesday, 27 August 2014
The Regenerative Medicine Institute (REMEDI) at NUI Galway and Irish start-up Poly-Pico Technologies Ltd. have successfully executed a new and exciting scientific proof-of-concept involving the use of sound waves to dispense living stem cells. Using the Poly-Pico micro-drop dispensing device, the researchers were able to isolate individual adult stem cells from a bone marrow sample. The ability to isolate individual stem cells in a quick, scalable and cost-efficient manner is attractive to scientists working in the field, as current methods are often time-consuming and costly. Individual cells can then be replicated into exact copies of themselves for experimental purposes, or various drug compounds could be applied to the individual cells to see what effects occur. Further down the line, there is the tantalising prospect of perhaps being able to use such dispensing devices as a form of tissue engineering. Poly-Pico Technologies Ltd. is an Enterprise Ireland High Potential Start-up (HPSU) company, which spun out from the University of Limerick and is now based in Galway. The company has developed a unique, accurate and highly versatile device, which uses sound energy to accurately dispense a wide range of fluid / materials at very low volumes (picolitre to nanolitre). The novel technology uses disposable cartridges to dispense materials such as proteins, antibodies, DNA and other compounds for biological applications as well as providing industrial solutions for the precise dispensing of adhesives, lubricants; and coatings. Now, for the first time, REMEDI scientists have successfully used the same technology to dispense stem cells, thereby demonstrating a capability of the instrument which will open up further applications in life sciences. In the proof-of-concept experiments, living stem cells were dispensed one at a time onto different surfaces using the sound wave technology. The delicate stem cells remained viable and continued to grow after being dispensed. “This gives us some ideas about new uses for the instrument”, says Frank Barry, Scientific Director of REMEDI at NUI Galway. If we can deliver stem cells accurately and rapidly, we can potentially engineer new tissues in the laboratory based on complex arrays of dispensed cells. If we try to look into the future, it is possible to envisage that human tissues could be manufactured using this kind of technology, thus avoiding the need to identify tissue donors for transplants.” Alan Crean, CEO of Poly-Pico Technologies, commented: “We are delighted to see this new technology opportunity emerge at the interface between biology and engineering. We look forward to working with REMEDI and NUI Galway on developing stem cell applications using our acoustic methods. There are other exciting applications of Poly-Pico’s unique technology in, for example, drug screening and DNA amplification. Our objective here is to make our technology available to companies, and researchers, and add value to what they are doing. This is one example of such a success.” This proof-of-concept was carried out under the Enterprise Ireland Commercialisation Fund. The technology was then advanced using an Innovation Voucher, an Enterprise Ireland initiative developed to build links between Ireland’s public knowledge providers (i.e. higher education institutes, public research bodies) and small businesses. ENDS
Thursday, 28 August 2014
The GAA was put forward as a shining example for fostering youth engagement at an international UNESCO symposium in Croke Park today. The symposium was organised by three UNESCO Chairs in the field of youth studies from NUI Galway, University of Ulster, and Penn State University, USA. Professor Mark Brennan, UNESCO Chair in Rural Community, Leadership, and Youth Development at Penn State University, believes other countries can learn from the GAA’s model. According to Professor Brennan: “The Gaelic Athletic Association is a true grassroots organisation. It empowers, involves and invigorates not just individual young people but their families and wider communities. We hear a lot about the ‘fabric’ of society. Organisations such as the GAA are examples of a wonderful type of clever stitching which can make this fabric strong and support young people as they develop. Sport has such potential to strengthen society around the world by engaging young peoples around the world and nations can learn from each other about what works best.” Speaking at the symposium, NUI Galway’s Professor Eamon O’Shea, who is also the Tipperary Hurling Manager, spoke of the importance of sport. “How we contextualize a child’s engagement with sport can impact how they learn about success and failure. Sport is mainly about failure - learning to go back on the pitch and say, ‘look, things will get better’. If at the end we can say we stayed the course, took the knocks, were resilient, it doesn’t matter how we end up. The journey is the critical piece in how children develop in sport.” Delegates heard that involvement in sport is key for positive youth development. Apart from obvious physical health gains through fitness, it also has a positive effect on mental health and enables both dealing with stress and coping. Sport enables young people to learn and deal with success and disappointment, which is a useful preparation for later life. Of particular importance, delegates heard, was the mentoring aspect of sport and also the potential for developing emotional intelligence. Other speakers at the event included Professor Pat Dolan, UNESCO Chair in Children, Youth and Civic Engagement, NUI Galway and Professor Alan Smith, UNESCO Chair in Pluralism, Human Rights and Democracy, University of Ulster. Some of the representatives from sport included Alan Kerins, former GAA Intercounty hurler and footballer, and founder of Alan Kerins Projects, and Hugo MacNeill, Irish rugby star and Managing Director Goldman Sachs. Attendees heard that youth citizenship, sponsored through sport and recreation has the power to bring communities together and create a prosperous and peaceful environment for all. A declaration was put forward, which contained a ‘call for all youth worldwide to receive the attention needed for them to be empowered to take ownership for their lives and development of their societies’. The declaration will be signed on Saturday, at half time during the American football clash between Penn State and University of Central Florida. -ends-
Tuesday, 1 July 2014
UN Special Envoy for the Great Lakes Region of Africa and Former President Mary Robinson is among the keynote speakers at NUI Galway Symposium An Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Eamon Gilmore TD today opens an international symposium on Women's Leadership, Peace and Sustainable Livelihoods in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and Region at NUI Galway, organised in partnership with Georgetown Women’s Institute, Washington DC. The symposium will mark the first year of former President Mary Robinson’s role as UN Special Envoy for the Great Lakes Region and will hear from global experts on the conflict. Two decades of conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) have resulted in the loss of up to five million lives. Hundreds of thousands of people, mostly women and children, have been subjected to sexual and gender based violence. Emerging from the conflict presents massive and complex challenges for the region. In February 2013 a new Peace, Security and Cooperation (PSC) Framework for the DRC and Region was agreed by the Congo and its neighbouring countries. Former President of Ireland, Mary Robinson, was appointed UN Special Envoy for the Great Lakes Region in March 2013, with a wide-ranging mandate to support and encourage signatories to implement the PSC Framework. Speaking about the NUI Galway Symposium, the Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore said: “Ireland has always supported the most vulnerable populations during conflicts; in particular women and children. This unique event will shine a light on the appalling suffering and turmoil in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and surrounding region. Women and children have borne the brunt of this terrible conflict, and as such, it is fitting that this international gathering will examine the vital role of women as leaders in managing the transition towards a brighter future for the coming generations.” At the end of the first year of the mandate of the UN Special Envoy, the two-day symposium at NUI Galway focuses on women’s leadership and participation in the implementation of the Framework for peace in the DRC region. Speaking at the symposium, UN Special Envoy, Mary Robinson commented: It is much harder in practice rather than in theory to engage women fully in peace making and peace building, yet their role is essential for sustainable peace. We need to be determined, creative and imaginative to ensure the full involvement and empowerment of women in conflict resolution.” The role of women in leading the peace process in the DRC region has emerged as a prominent theme of Mary Robinson’s first year as UN Special Envoy. As symposium organiser, Dr Niamh Reilly of NUI Galway explains: “This unique event in Ireland shines a light on the root causes of the appalling suffering and turmoil in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and surrounding region. Women and children have borne the brunt of this terrible conflict, and as such, it is fitting that this international gathering will examine the vital role of women as leaders in managing the transition towards sustainable peace for the coming generations.” The two-day symposium reflects the growing partnership between NUI Galway and the Mary Robinson Centre in Ballina. Speaking at the event, President of NUI Galway, Dr Jim Browne, said: “This important symposium represents the first major academic showcase of the NUI Galway-Mary Robinson Centre partnership. We are delighted to host this timely review of the tremendous work Mary Robinson has done as UN Special Envoy for the DRC region, and look forward to developing an extensive academic programme with the Centre.” Keynote speakers at the Women’s Leadership symposium include: MARY ROBINSON, UN Special Envoy of the Secretary General to the Great Lakes Region and former President of Ireland MELANNE VERVEER, Director, Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security and first United States Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women's Issues ROSE MUTOMBO KIESE, President, Cadre Permanent de Concertation de la Femme Congolaise (National Network of Congolese Women’s Organisations) BINETA DIOP, African Union Special Envoy for Women, Peace and Security and founder and Chair of the Executive Board of Femmes Africa Solidarité (FAS). A new research report, “Women’s Leadership and Participation in the Peace Security and Cooperation Framework for the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Great Lakes Region: Achievements, Challenges, and Opportunities", will be launched at the symposium. This joint NUI Galway-Georgetown University report, by Niamh Reilly at NUI Galway and Roslyn Warren at Georgetown University, documents Mary Robinson’s work on the ongoing implementation of Peace, Security and Cooperation (PSC) Framework for the DRC and Region and makes recommendations for the year ahead. -ends-
Tuesday, 1 July 2014
Minister for Education and Skills Ruairí Quinn T.D. acknowledged the role of NUI Galway in revolutionising education in Ireland at the ACE (Accelerating Campus Entrepreneurship) Conference at Farmleigh House in Dublin yesterday. Over the last six years, NUI Galway has worked with seven other Irish Higher Education Institutes as part of the ACE Consortium, to introduce enterprise and entrepreneurship education in non-business courses. “We all know that business students learn valuable financial and management skills. But it is also vital that those studying other disciplines such as engineering, creative industries and healthcare learn essential business skills. By learning to think in an entrepreneurial way, graduates are better prepared for the world of employment or self-employment” explained Michael Campion of NUI Galway’s Discipline of Management. At the ACE Conference the CEEN (Campus Entrepreneurship Enterprise Network) was established. This will provide a network for educators to share resources and support the introduction of enterprise education in non-business disciplines across their campus. In addition to driving the entrepreneurship agenda in third level education, the CEEN will work with primary and secondary educators to integrate entrepreneurship and enterprise education into Irish education. “Irish education must be innovative. It needs to adapt to meet the changing needs of graduates. It is not enough to teach technical skills. Entrepreneurship is a mind-set. It is a suite of skills. It is an ability to assess problems and find solutions. By teaching entrepreneurship, we give our children the toolkit they need to design their own future. This is the era of the ‘Entrepreneurial Graduate’ in Irish Education and NUI Galway is proud to lead this way in this major educational change” concluded Mr Campion. -Ends-
Tuesday, 1 July 2014
Two final year BSc (Business Information Systems) students at NUI Galway were awarded a Merit Award at the recent Enterprise Ireland Student Entrepreneur of the Year Awards. Lorcan Farrell and Domhnall Walsh, both from Galway City, received the award for their project ‘Ice Eyes’. ‘Ice Eyes’ the is an innovative solar powered cat’s eye road marker that is equipped with the technology to identify the temperature of the road and signal to drivers via a blue LED light when the temperature of that road has fallen below freezing. The aim of the project was to reduce the amount of accidents on Irish roads and all over the world during the cold seasons. Mary Dempsey, College of Engineering and Informatics, NUI Galway said: “This success reflects how our students expand existing technology boundaries and it demonstrates the richness of their innovative capacity. I am very proud of our students and their achievement of a merit award.” This year celebrates the 32nd year of the Enterprise Ireland Student Entrepreneur of the Year Awards. The Awards are part of a major drive aimed at tapping into the potential for students and young people to turn their entrepreneurial ideas into commercial businesses. This is Ireland’s largest and longest established third-level student enterprise competition. The awards are co-sponsored by Invest Northern Ireland, Cruickshank Intellectual Property Attorneys, Intel and Grant Thornton and are open to all third level colleges across the Island of Ireland. The awards were presented by Tom Hayes, Head of Micro Enterprises and Small Business at Enterprise Ireland and Dougie Howlett, from Munster Rugby. Each team received a tablet from Intel and Intellectual Property Consultancy from Cruickshank. -Ends-
Tuesday, 1 July 2014
Numerous scientists around the world are working to better understand the complex sugars, or glycans, which coat every living cell in our bodies. Glycans are involved in the interactions between cells and physiological processes, such as fertilisation, cancer, and stem-cell differentiation. Some of the leading experts in this field will convene at NUI Galway from August 6-9, 2014. The goal of the 5th Warren Workshop will be to highlight the capabilities and limitations that exist in the detection, identification, and quantification of these carbohydrates. Professor Rob Woods, School of Chemistry, NUI Galway, explains the complexities involved in understanding the chemistry involved in glycosience: “Glycans are very complex and each one is unique. It’s almost like our cells are covered in snowflakes, each having its own unique fluctuating shape. So how do proteins or anitbodies identify and bind to glycans? If we could better understand this, we could use this this knowledge to develop carbohydrate-specific biosensors for use in disease diagnosis and treatment”. The driving force for the Warren Workshop series is the need for detailed structural analysis of glycans in the context of complex biological systems. The workshop will bring together experts from around the globe in the discipline to establish workflows for tackling these huge challenges. Speakers will be coming from Ireland, the US, Switzerland, England, Japan, Australia, Sweden, Taiwan, the Czech Republic, Germany, the Netherlands, and Israel. Professor Pauline Rudd, National Institute for Bioprocessing Research and Training (NIBERT) notes that NUI Galway, DCU, UCD, TCD and NIBRT all have strong programmes in applied glycoscience, especially in technology development, analytics, molecular modelling, carbohydrate recognition, oligosaccharide synthesis and glycan pathway modelling. In addition, bioinformatics programmes have been pioneered by Irish scientists. This meeting focuses on many of these topics, and particularly on new technologies of direct relevance to Pharmaceutical companies. In light of the 2013 Nobel Prize in Chemistry being awarded for Computational Simulations, the 5th Warren Workshop will also include a session on computational glycoscience. Professor Woods’ research group at NUI Galway is supported by Science Foundation Ireland and closely integrates strong computational and experimental skill sets: “Because of the mind-blowing complexities involved, we need the most advanced computational simulations to help us better understand how glycans are interacting and communicating within our bodies”. The team in Professor Wood’s lab is investigating antiviral agents to block viral infections and applying their findings to influenza; chosen because of the potential for a pandemic. The group is also working on the development of diagnostics for cancer markers with a focus on pancreatic cancer, one of the more virulent forms of cancer with a mortality rate of over 90%. Early detection of all cancers, preferably by non-invasive surveillance, is needed for all cancers, but particularly for the most aggressive forms. For further information on the 5th Warren Workshop visit http://glycomics.ccrc.uga.edu/warren-workshop/ -ends-
Tuesday, 1 July 2014
The new secure bicycle compound at NUI Galway was officially launched on the 18th June. Coinciding with this year’s National Bike Week the compound is open to staff and students who want to cycle to work and leave their bike in a secure location. A University ID card is all that is required to access the facility. With space for more than 320 bikes there are separate entrances and exits for cyclists use only with a permanent pumping station due for installation in the coming weeks. The high security compound is one of a number of facilities aimed at encouraging staff and students to cycle to campus. Bicycle lockers are currently on trial and additional bike racks are being installed at a variety of locations around the campus.
Wednesday, 2 July 2014
Elsevier Publishers, one of world’s leading scientific publishers, have announced an ambitious collaboration with the Insight Centre for Data Analytics. The centre established by Science Foundation Ireland is a joint initiative between researchers at NUI Galway, Dublin City University, University College Cork, University College Dublin and other partner institutions. The collaboration with Elsevier will focus on developing new scientometric techniques - that is, techniques for measuring the progress and impact of scientific and scholarly work. A team at Insight NUI Galway will work on the development of a novel platform for incorporating various sources of scientometric information, both traditional (e.g. bibliometric) and new (e.g. social media) in order to capture a holistic view of scientific practice and discourse. “While the use of citation data for measuring scientific impact is well established”, explains Professor Siegfriend Handshuh of Insight, “it is far less clear how science propagates its influence through other channels, such as news publications, social media, government policy documents and so on.” Elsevier are at the forefront of the development of several scientometric tools such as PURE, a platform to measure an organisation's research and collaboration strategies and accomplishments. It is envisaged that the collaboration with Insight will lead to the development of novel scientometric services to complement and extend existing products such as PURE. “Elsevier is delighted to be working with the new Insight Centre on this project” said Nick Fowler, Elsevier’s Managing Director of Academic and Government Institutional Markets, who is responsible for PURE and other products. “Working with an academic research partner lets us take on projects with a higher risk and reward than we normally could. That higher risk/reward approach is also enabled by the generous matching grant from the Irish government, otherwise we would not be able to dedicate four Ph.D. researchers for three years to such a project.” “This is a very important collaboration for Insight”, according to Professor Handschuh, “as researchers, we have an interest in improving the way scientific information is communicated, used and measured. Partnering with Elsevier has given us an insight into real problems, real data and challenges we would not have foreseen.” -Ends-
Wednesday, 2 July 2014
Catalina Vallejo Giraldo, a PhD student at the Network of Excellence for Functional Biomaterials (NFB) at NUI Galway, has been awarded the Royal Academy of Medicine Ireland (RAMI) Donegan Medal. She received the award for her presentation at the Section of Biomedical Sciences annual meeting held in UCD on Thursday, 19 June. The meeting featured a high calibre scientific programme covering novel biomedical research ongoing in Ireland. The competition is open to students presenting research for the first time at a meeting or conference and the Donegan Medal is awarded to the best oral presenter. This year, 16 entrants entered the competition. Catalina won the competition for her research on improving the design of implanted microelectrodes used for the treatment of neurodegenerative disorders. At present, implantable, electrically stimulating systems consisting of a number of electrodes that transmit signals via electrical conduction in bodily fluids are being investigated to treat neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s. While implanted electrodes work reasonably well for short term applications, they have had limited success over longer implantation times. With current methods the inflammatory response around the electrode interface increases to such an extent that there is neural loss and instability of the electrodes at the implantation site. It is this problem that Catalina’s research addresses by improving long-term function through use of conducting polymers to coat the implanted electrodes. Under the supervision of Professor Abhay Pandit, Dr Manus Biggs and Dr Eilís Dowd, she is developing polymeric neural probes for deep brain stimulation to treat Parkinson’s disease. Current therapies for Parkinson’s only provide relief from the symptoms of the disease and do not offer a cure. Catalina’s research, funded by Science Foundation Ireland, offers the possibility of halting the degenerative process with potential to cure the disease. Originally from Colombia, Catalina got her BSc with honours in Biomedical Engineering at Escuela de Ingeniería de Antioquia. After this, she was awarded her MSc in Biomedical Sciences from the prestigious Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, USA. She is starting her second year as a PhD student at NUI Galway. -Ends-
Wednesday, 2 July 2014
Three outstanding researchers at NUI Galway have been ranked among the ‘World’s Most Influential Scientific Minds: 2014’. Professor Henry Curran, Professor Colin O’Dowd and Professor Donal O’Regan have been ranked among the world’s top 3,000 scientific minds by the multinational media body Thompson Reuters. Those named on the list have earned their distinction by publishing the highest number of articles that rank among those most frequently cited by fellow researchers. More individuals were listed from NUI Galway than from any other Irish university. According to NUI Galway’s President, Dr Jim Browne: “The report describes those listed as being ‘on the cutting edge of their fields’ and ‘among the most influential scientific minds of our time’. This is certainly true of the NUI Galway individuals who excel and out-perform in their fields of chemistry, climate change and mathematics.” Professor Henry Curranis Director of the Combustion Chemistry Centre at NUI Galway. 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 the Director of the Centre for Climate and Air Pollution Studies, at the Ryan Institute, NUI Galway. Through his pioneering work in the field of atmospheric physics, 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 and an internationally recognised expert in the field of Nonlinear Analysis, Differential Equations, and Fixed Point Theory. He has written over 1,000 peer-reviewed mathematical articles, making him one of the most prolific authors in the history of mathematics in the world. Thomson Reuters analysts assessed papers indexed between 2002 and 2012 in 21 broad fields of study. They tracked authors who published numerous articles that ranked among the top one percent of the most cited in their respective fields in the given year of publication. These documents represent research that the scientific community has judged to be the most significant and useful. -ends-
Monday, 7 July 2014
Shane Browne, a final year PhD student at the Network of Excellence for Functional Biomaterials (NFB) at NUI Galway, has been awarded an Irish Research Council International Career Development Fellowship under the ELEVATE scheme. The award will cover his postdoctoral research at the University of California, Berkeley, USA to collaborate with Professor Kevin Healy for two years. The aim of this initiative, co-funded by Marie Curie Actions, is to allow Irish-based experienced researchers who have gained most of their research experience in Ireland to carry out research at an International Host Organisation. The scheme requires researchers to spend a mandatory one year return phase at a returning Host Organisation of their choice in Ireland. Shane will spend a third year at the NFB at NUI Galway to complete his fellowship. The project involves novel methods of treating limb ischemia which occurs when the blood supply is lost to a limb. Delayed treatment of the condition leads to morbidity, amputation and even death. Shane’s research will involve promoting new blood vessel growth to the limb using biomaterials in Professor Healy’s Laboratory. Professor Healy’s work focuses on the interface between biology and materials science to develop engineered systems to explore both fundamental biological phenomena and new applications in translational medicine. The research group at Berkeley is highly interdisciplinary, incorporating researchers from the fields of bioengineering, materials engineering, medicine, and molecular biology. Currently, Shane is completing his PhD which is funded by Science Foundation Ireland (SFI), under the supervision of Professor Abhay Pandit studying treatment of myocardial infarction (MI). He has received multiple rewards for his postgraduate research including a German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) fellowship and European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO) travel fellowship. His current project involves using a collagen biomaterial system, which has been developed at the NFB, for the delivery of anti-inflammatory and pro-angiogenic gene therapy to damaged heart tissue. The aim is to improve functional recovery of the heart muscle by modulating the inflammatory response following MI, and by subsequently promoting the formation of new blood vessels. Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of morbidity in the developed world, and yet there is currently no treatment available to patients to promote the regeneration of infarcted myocardium. One of the NFB’s goals is to develop biomaterial-based cardiac gene therapy to reduce scarring and promote regeneration of the myocardium following MI. This approach could ultimately benefit patients at risk of heart failure and lead to reduced morbidity and improved heart function following MI. -ends-
Monday, 7 July 2014
NUI Galway PhD student, Thérèse McIntyre, was recently awarded a Gold Medal for Best Radio Programme in the 'Educational' category at the recent New York Festival Awards Gala. Thérèse was awarded the Gold Medal for a series of radio shows she made while doing her PhD at NUI Galway. Thérèse, originally from Detroit in the US, came to Ireland in 1996 to pursue independent studies of the various aspects of Irish traditional culture - music, song, and dance - with a particular focus on the song tradition. She has spent several years collecting songs, both in the English and the Irish languages, from various areas throughout Ireland and America and worked with individuals who are well known both inside and outside of the tradition. Thérèse’s particular area of research allows her to combine her academic strengths in Irish Studies and History with her longstanding personal interest in Irish traditional song and ballad. Thérèse was part of the first group to graduate from the Centre for Irish Studies with a Diploma in Irish Studies in 2002. She subsequently received her BA in History and English from NUI Galway (2008) and recently completed her Masters in Irish Studies, also at NUI Galway (2009). Her Masters thesis, titled ‘Another Martyr for Old Ireland’: Historical ‘Fact’ versus Folk Memory - Kevin Barry as a ‘Hero’ in the Irish Ballad Tradition’, examines the legitimacy of using the narratives contained within songs of the ballad tradition as valid sources of historical information, particularly with respect to figures such as Kevin Barry, who essentially have been marginalised by historians and also explores the song’s influence on the social memory of modern-day Ireland. In 2009, Thérèse was awarded an Irish Research Council for the Humanities and Social Science (IRCHSS) Scholarship. Her PhD, which commenced in October 2009, is titled ‘Historical ‘Fact’ versus ‘Folk’ Memory: The Creation and Representation of ‘Heroes’ in Irish Traditional Song and Ballad'. The series 'Herosongs', based upon Chapter One of the PhD project, is an eight part series is an Athena Media production for RTÉ Radio 1. Presented by singer and academic Therese McIntyre, who traces the journey of ballads from the 16th century to today and explores how they shape or distort our understanding of history, real events and real people like Henry Joy McCracken in 1798 or Jim Larkin in 1913. In the series we hear from historians including Diarmaid Ferriter, Kevin Whelan, Eunan O’Halpin, Mike Cronin, and Lillis Ó Laoire, song collector and scholar John Moulden and traditional music experts Nicholas Carolan and Grace Toland from the Irish Traditional Music Archive. Therese is joined by singers from the Góilín Traditional Singers Club, singers Iarla Ó Lionáird, Nóirín Ní Riain, Frances Black, Niamh Parsons, Derek Warfield and composer Eric Bogle among others, who share their own relationship with history, song and these sung heroes. The series of radio shows can be found at https://audioboo.fm/boos/1502239-herosongs-1-where-history-meets-song-episode-one -Ends-
Monday, 7 July 2014
Seroba Kernel, the associate life sciences investment firm of Kernel Capital, has announced the sale of its investee company, Apica Cardiovascular for $75 million. Based at the Business Innovation Centre at NUI Galway, Apica Cardiovascular was sold to US-headquartered Thoratec Corporation, a world leader in device-based mechanical circulatory support therapies for failing hearts. Apica had developed an innovative transapical access and closure system that can simplify and standarise the technique used to open and close the apex of a beating heart, in order to deliver large therapeutic devices into the inner chambers of the beating heart in a minimally invasive manner. Founded in 2009, Apica’s technology began life at the Georgia Institute of Technology and Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia. In 2010, Seroba Kernel Life Sciences led a Series A financing of the company, which was also supported by Enterprise Ireland, and Apica moved to the Business the Innovation Centre at NUI Galway where it developed its product range. Apica products enable the delivery of aortic and mitral heart valves via the transapical route (TAVI) and the implantation of heart pumps (LVADs) for patients with advance heart failure. Commenting on the announcement, Dr Daniel O’Mahony, a partner in Seroba Kernel, said: “We are delighted with the successful outcome of the investment in Apica. It validates our model of taking leading-edge technologies from the USA, where there is a shortage of finance, and implanting them in Ireland whilst retaining links to the US innovators and clinicians. It also reinforces Galway’s position as a world-class hub for med tech development.” -Ends-
Tuesday, 8 July 2014
NUI Galway has issued a final call for applications to its Elite Athlete Sports Scholarships Scheme for 2014/15. The University has a long tradition of excellence in sport and this has been enhanced by the recent success in Rowing, Hurling, Basketball, Soccer and Rugby as well as numerous individual achievements. The deadline for application for current and prospective students is Thursday, 31 July at 5 pm. The Elite Athlete Scholarship Programme is aimed at student-athletes of outstanding calibre who register as students of the University. NUI Galway has had an outstanding record in supporting young athletes in developing their sporting and academic careers with in recent years, scholarship athletes winning senior All-Ireland GAA titles, winning and competing at World Championship level in their chosen sport and dozens of NUI Galway students representing their country and a number who have gone on to professional careers in a number of sports. These scholarship students include: John Conlon and Domhnall O’Donovan from Clare who were just two of the large contingent of NUI Galway graduates who won the All-Ireland Hurling title last year; rower Aifric Keogh who finished fourth at the world rowing U23 championships; and Olympian Paul Hession, who recently received his medical degree recently. Applicants for Elite sports scholarships must satisfy the academic criteria for entry to NUI Galway and must have applied to the CAO in the usual manner or be a currently enrolled student at NUI Galway. For the Scholarships, students who meet the University’s entry requirements will be selected on merit by an independent panel. In addition to the scholarship, students will receive specialist support including physiotherapy, treatment of injury, fitness training, coaching and support for travel to national and international competitions. More details on the Sports Scholarship Scheme at http://www.nuigalway.ie/sports/scholarships_info.html. All applications must be submitted online at http://www.sports.nuigalway.ie/scholarshipform.html -Ends- Seans amháin eile ar Scéim Scoláireachtaí Spóirt OÉ Gaillimh Tá seans amháin eile le hiarratais a dhéanamh ar Scéim Scoláireachtaí Spóirt OÉ Gaillimh 2014/15. Tá dea-cháil ar an Ollscoil le fada as ucht a cuid feabhais i gcúrsaí spóirt agus táthar ag cur leis an gcáil seo le héachtaí san Iomramh, Iomáint, Cispheil, Sacar agus Rugbaí chomh maith le héachtaí aonair éagsúla. Is é Déardaoin, an 31 Iúil ag 5pm an spriocdháta le hiarratas a bheith déanta ag mic léinn reatha agus ag mic léinn a bheidh ag tosú ar chúrsaí. Tá an Clár Scoláireachta do Lúthchleasaithe Éilíte dírithe ar lúthchleasaithe den scoth atá cláraithe mar mhic léinn de chuid na hOllscoile. Is iontach an teist atá ag OÉ Gaillimh maidir le tacaíocht a thabhairt do lúthchleasaithe óga i bhforbairt a ngairmeacha spóirt agus acadúla. Le blianta beaga anuas tá lúthchleasaithe scoláireachta ag buachan craobhacha CLG Uile-Éireann, tá siad in iomaíocht agus ag buachan ag leibhéal an Domhain ina rogha spóirt agus go leor de mhic léinn OÉ Gaillimh ag seasamh an fhóid dá dtír agus cuid eile acu a bhfuil gairmeacha proifisiúnta bainte amach acu i roinnt spóirt. I measc na mac léinn scoláireachta seo tá: John Conlon agus Domhnall O’Donovan ó Chontae an Chláir a bhí ar bheirt den ghrúpa mór céimithe de chuid OÉ Gaillimh a bhuaigh Craobh Iomána na hÉireann anuraidh; an t-iomróir Aifric Keogh a tháinig sa cheathrú háit ag Craobhchomórtas Faoi 23 an Domhain; an lúthchleasaí Oilimpeach Paul Hession ar bronnadh a chéim sa leigheas air le déanaí. Ní mór d’iarratasóirí ar scoláireachtaí spóirt Éilíte critéir acadúla iontrála OÉ Gaillimh a shásamh agus ní mór dóibh iarratas a bheith déanta acu tríd an CAO ar an ngnáthbhealach nó a bheith cláraithe faoi láthair mar mhac léinn in OÉ Gaillimh. Roghnóidh painéal neamhspleách na mic léinn a shásaíonn riachtanais iontrála na hOllscoile ar bhonn fiúntais. Chomh maith le scoláireacht, gheobhaidh na mic léinn tacaíocht eile spóirt chomh maith cosúil le fisiteiripe, cóireáil do ghortú, traenáil aclaíochta, cóitseáil agus cúnamh le taisteal chuig comórtais náisiúnta agus idirnáisiúnta. Tá tuilleadh sonraí faoin Scéim Scoláireachta Spóirt ar http://www.nuigalway.ie/sports/scholarships_info.html. Ní mór gach iarratas a dhéanamh ar líne ar http://www.sports.nuigalway.ie/scholarshipform.html -Críoch-
Tuesday, 8 July 2014
NUI Galway medical student Orla Hennessy has won a place at the University of Cambridge in the UK as part of the Amgen Scholarship programme. Orla, who was born in Dublin and grew up in Kilmaley, County Clare, has just completed her second year of medicine at NUI Galway and will spend the summer as a researcher in Cambridge. One of Europe’s most competitive science scholarship programmes, the Amgen Scholarship offers undergraduate students the opportunity to work in world-class labs across the continent. It is one of the only pan-European undergraduate research programmes open to students across multiple countries and offers the chance to take part in original research at labs at the University of Cambridge, Karolinska Institute or LMU Munich. Orla will work with Professor Martin Bennett in Cambridge’s Department of Medicine’s Division of Cardiovascular Medicine. Her interest in cardiovascular medicine has a family link as both her parents are doctors and her father is a cardiologist. Orla was only 16 when she sat her Leaving Cert. She knew by then that she wanted to do medicine, but was not sure she could do it, as she explains: “I saw how hard my father worked and how much of himself he put into his work. I wasn’t sure I could do that, but I was encouraged by my parents and my teachers. I came to realise that medicine was much bigger than what my father did and that I did not have to be a clinician. I could be a researcher or a bit of both. Medicine was not just my dad’s job. It was so much more.” Last summer she won a Health Research Board summer scholarship to do a research placement in Galway which looked at the skin ulceration in the early stages of diabetes. Dr Sean Dinneen is Head of the School of Medicine at NUI Galway: “Our faculty is actively engaged in innovative research in many areas, with particular emphasis on cancer, gene and stem cell therapy and biomedical engineering science. This investigative ethos is part of our undergraduate degree programme and we encourage students to undertake research opportunities. Orla should be commended for winning a sought after research scholarship and we wish her every success for the summer.” -ends-
Monday, 14 July 2014
Dermot Weld and Jim Bolger to be conferred with Honorary Doctorates NUI Galway has announced the names of two recipients of 2014 Honorary Degrees. At a special ceremony in the University on the biggest day in Irish racing, NUI Galway will honour two leading lights from the world of horse racing on Wednesday, 30 July. Dermot Weld and Jim Bolger will both be conferred with Degrees of Doctor of Arts (honoris causa) on a day when the infamous Galway Plate takes place. NUI Galway President, Dr Jim Browne, speaking in advance of the conferring ceremony, said: “With the sporting world’s attention on Galway and Ballybrit this week, we are proud to celebrate the horse-racing heritage of our city by recognising two of Ireland’s greatest racing trainers and breeders. Jim Bolger and Dermot Weld are global figures in the world of horse-racing. They have distinguished themselves as breeders, trainers and leaders of the sport and in so doing have burnished Ireland’s global reputation as a centre of the equine industry. NUI Galway is delighted to recognise their achievements by awarding them the highest honour which the University can confer, at a special ceremony during the Galway Racing festival.” Dermot Weld one of Ireland’s most renowned and successful racehorse trainers, at home and abroad will be conferred with a Degree of Doctor of Arts (honoris causa). He has trained the winners of twenty-two European Classic races and remains the only trainer outside of the US and Canada, to have won a leg of America's famous Triple Crown. Dermot has won races at both the Cheltenham Festival and at Royal Ascot and has enjoyed success at both meetings this year. Australia has been a country of note in Dermot's career with two wins in the race that stops a nation the Melbourne Cup. Dermot was the first trainer based in the northern hemisphere to win this most prestigious race when Vintage Crop stormed to victory in 1993. To date, Dermot has trained in excess of 3,700 winners. A qualified Vet, Dermot was a leading amateur rider and was crowned Champion on three occasions. He also rode winners in South Africa, the UK, France and in the US. Dermot was along serving Director of the Irish National Stud and also served on the board of the Irish Horseracing Authority. In 2001, Dermot was presented with the Charter Day Medal from University College Dublin. He is currently in his second term as a Director of Leopardstown Racecourse. In 20l1 he was made an honorary member of the Galway Race Committee. Jim Bolger will be conferred with a Degree of Doctor of Arts (honoris causa). In a remarkable career that has spanned five decades, at 71 years of age, he remains one of the single most iconic figures in the game. The Wexford native at the age of 35 years left his job in finance and began his training career in a yard at Clonsilla near the old Phoenix Park training ground. A farmer’s son who first dabbled in buying and selling show-jumpers, Bolger possesses rare vision and an insatiable work ethic, a trait that he has always sought to instil in his horses as he earned an enduring reputation that isn’t simply one of high-standards and meticulousness. A master of his profession and a born leader, his revered genius is as evident in the characters he has nurtured as it is in the champion racehorses that he has trained. Paul Carberry, Willie Mullins, Peter Scudamore and his now son-in-law Kevin Manning all emerged from his famously uncompromising academy. Since moving to Coolcullen’s Glebe House in Co Kilkenny in 1982, he has developed one of the most acclaimed and sophisticated private training centres in the world which has defined his enormous contribution to Irish racing’s globally-renowned status. Thirty years ago, Give Thanks secured him a first Classic victory in the Irish Oaks, and it is in racing’s uber-commercial Flat sphere that the self-made and inherently autonomous entrepreneur has continued to break down barriers and set the standards for others to aspire. The two graduands join the ranks of previous honorary alumni which include from the world of sport, Christy O Connor Snr and Jnr and Micheál Ó Muircheartaigh among many others such as, Nelson Mandela, Hilary Clinton, Enya, Anjelica Huston and Fionnuala Flanagan. -Ends-
Wednesday, 9 July 2014
Legendary Irish goalkeeper, Packie Bonner, launched the 2014 Macron Galway Cup at a special ceremony at NUI Galway this week. The tournament will feature teams from six countries and the cream of Ireland's young talent. Speaking at the launch, Salthill Devon Chairman Oliver Daniels welcomed the Deputy Mayor of Galway John Walsh and other distinguished guest, including John Fallon of Macron the tournament sponsors and the special guest Packie Bonner. He pointed out just how important the event is to the Galway region in particular, providing approximately ten thousand bed nights, worth an estimated €2 million to the city. "We are particularly grateful to NUIG where the vast majority of the players will stay, at the Corrib Village, throughout the tournament. Packie Bonner has been a staunch supporter of the tournament since its inception and he thanked Salthill Devon for inviting him back to Galway: "I am always delighted to get back to Galway. I have attend the Macron Cup as a both a spectator and as FAI Technical director and for me the players make it happen. I have spoken to people around the world who have played in and seen the tournament and the have nothing but the highest praise for the high standards at the event - hopefully this year will be no expectation.” The centre piece of the tournament is the Elite section for boys born in 1999. Squads from five countries, including the Irish National squad, Ipswich Town, Scunthorpe United, Chivas Guadalajara, Mexico, DC United, from the United Sates and Maccabi Haifa from Israel. According to Tournament Director, Denis Burke: "Over the years this Elite section has proved to be very competitive and the standard of play has been consistently high. This is our second year with Macron as our main sponsor - last year was a particularly successful event and we are looking forward to long and fruitful relationship with John Fallon and his team at Macron." He continued: "Additionally we have other important supporters in Fáilte Ireland, Galway City Council, Smyth's Toys, The Ardilaun Hotel, Finches soft drinks and Supermacs and their contribution allows us to stage a quality international event.” Salthill Devon have built this tournament, year on year, into the premier event of its type in Ireland. They have done this by engaging with 'like minded' partners in the community. Galway benefits significantly from the tournament as up to 1,100 players, officials and their families converge on the city for the tournament. A video from the launch can be viewed here.
Monday, 14 July 2014
NUI Galway has honored staff members for their outstanding contributions to Research. The President’s Awards for Research were introduced earlier in 2014 and are highly competitive. The awards acknowledge excellence in research activity across three categories: ‘Early Stage Research, ‘Research Supervision and Established Research. Recipients were honoured recently at NUI Galway’s Inaugural Research Showcase. The awards ceremony included opening remarks from NUI Galway President Jim Browne and Vice-President for Research Professor Lokesh Joshi. Professor Joshi remarked on the breadth and depth of the award recipients and thanked members of the University community for their thoughtful and moving nominations. Speaking at the presentation ceremony, Dr Jim Browne, President of NUI Galway said: “It is a privilege to preside over the Inaugural President’s Research Awards and to share our research with fellow colleagues and our broader research community. Whilst our Inaugural winners come from different Schools and Disciplines with very different research skills and objectives, they share a passion for research excellence which is internationally recognised in their cognate research areas.” The Award Winners included: Professor Henry Curran (Chemistry), Established Research Award Professor Donal O’Regan (Mathematics), Established Research Award Dr Marie-Louise Coolahan (Humanities), Established Research Award Dr Shane Darcy (Law), Early Stage Research Award Dr Martin O Halloran (Engineering), Early Stage Research Award Professor Afshin Samali (Biochemistry), Research Supervisor Award Dr Mark Healy (Engineering), Research Supervisor Award Other events featured at the Research Showcase included a Euro Million Project Pitch with team and individuals pitching for research funding to develop a unique research idea. Seven projects were pitched to a panel of research expert with four projects awarded developmental funding. Awards were presented to the following: • Dr Eilionóir Flynn (College of Business, Public Policy and Law) • Dr Deirdre Ní Chonghaile (College of Arts, Social Sciences and Celtic Studies) • Dr Pádraic Moran (College of Arts, Social Sciences and Celtic Studies) • Dr Audrey Morley (College of Arts, Social Sciences and Celtic Studies) Sixty postgraduate researchers were also selected to present posters designed to represent their work. The event gave students the opportunity to share their research with other students and staff. The following students were acknowledged at the event for their contributions to research. Best Poster Presentations Karen Taylor (College of Arts, Social Sciences and Celtic Studies) Dilip Thomas (College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences) Claire McDaniel (College of Science) Societal Impact Award Linda Connor (College of Science) Industry Impact Award Trevor Clohessy (College of Business, Public Policy and Law) Graphic/Imagery Award Leah Kidney (College of Science) Innovative Poster Award Ursula Kenny (College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences) Professor Joshi commented “This is a unique day in the calendar of the University as Engineers, Scientists and Humanities come together to debate and present their research in a forum that is open to the broader University Community. The Research Showcase gives NUI Galway students and staff the chance to share their research with new audiences and tell the world about their work.” -ends-
Monday, 14 July 2014
NUI Galway’s School of Medicine are seeking volunteers to participate in a water survey to find out what people living in Galway City and Galway County know about their drinking water. This survey is accessible at http://www.nuigalway.ie/bac/water_survey.html. It will take approximately 10 minutes to complete and will run until Wednesday, 23 July. People will also be surveyed on the street, house to house and online. The survey asks questions such as if people drink water from the tap at home, if they buy bottled water, if they know where their water supply comes from, and if they know whether their drinking water is tested regularly and treated to prevent contamination with bacteria and other organisms. Millions of tonnes of water, from a variety of sources, are treated in Ireland every day to provide drinking water to Ireland’s population. The drinking waters produced and distributed by Irish Water are termed public water supplies and provide water to 82% of the Irish population. The rest of the population are supplied by group water schemes (6.6%), small private supplies (0.8%) and private wells (10.6%). This research hopes to gain an insight into what people served by different supply types know about their drinking water, if they’ve ever experienced difficulties with their drinking water supply and if so what impact this had on their drinking water habits. The research, funded by the Health Research Board (HRB), will be carried out by Dr Dearbháile Morris, lecturer in Bacteriology at the School of Medicine, NUI Galway and second year medical student, Maeve Cahalan. NUI Galway’s Dr Dearbháile Morris said: “Water is everywhere and is essential for life. We all drink water everyday but this precious resource is under threat. The UN estimate that 47% of the world’s population will be living in areas of high water stress by 2030. So what do we really know about our drinking water? This survey aims to give us more detail on what we know, our usage and how to protect this precious commodity.” Results of this short survey will help inform a larger Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-funded research project led by Dr Dearbháile Morris, in conjunction with the Centre for Health from Environment, Ryan Institute, NUI Galway. -Ends-
Tuesday, 15 July 2014
Professor Alan Ahearne, Head of Economics at NUI Galway, recently spoke at The Economist’s 18th Roundtable with the Government of Greece, ‘The Big Rethink for Europe’, in Athens. Professor Ahearne shared a panel with Enrico Letta, Former Prime Minister of Italy, and Daniel Franklin, Executive Editor, The Economist. The discussions centred on lessons to be learnt from EU members states on economic recovery and the need for EU leaders to implement their strategy for closer economic and political integration in order to restore confidence and stability. The Economist's 18th Roundtable with the Government of Greece brought together Greek ministers (including the prime minister), two former Italian prime ministers, the opposition leader and many senior business representatives. The timing made this an appropriate moment for what the meeting's subtitle called a "big rethink". Greece's economy is at a turning point after six years of recession; following the recent cabinet reshuffle several ministers could outline their priorities in their new portfolios; and instability around Europe's rim prompts some rethinking on international relations, too. "The economic recovery in Ireland is more visible in the labor market, which-after-stabilized in the last two years be refined," Professor Ahearne concluded speaking at the annual Economist. Referring to the factors responsible in the opinion of the reversal of the image in Ireland, analyzed the following three levels: · Basic economic forces came into play (pharmaceutical sector, medical technology, ICT, agri-food, tourism). · Decisive action was taken within the country (sustained effort to reduce the budget deficit and rebuild the banking system). · Support policies reinforced from abroad (CMT, new architecture of the Euro, revised terms on bank loans - improving the economies of the U.S. and Britain). Professor Ahearne spoke, however, the need for further macroeconomic support to address the gaps in the labor market, with emphasis on youth unemployment. -Ends-
Tuesday, 15 July 2014
Following on the success of four international symposia devoted to the technological advances in power electronics and distributed generation, the 5th International Symposium on Power Electronics for Distributed Generation Systems (PEDG 2014) was recently held at NUI Galway. PEDG 2014 saw representation from 24 countries, with 130 delegates and experts presenting their state-of-the-art developments in Distributed Generation Systems such as wind, solar, wave and biofuel energy sources. The conference programme included several keynote sessions at which internationally renowned researchers and industry speakers presented on topics ranging from ‘Taming the Intermittent Nature of Renewable Energy’ by Professor Ron Hui of Hong Kong University, to ‘eCar Adoption: A European Perspective’ by Patrick Foley from ESB ecars. The conference was organised by Professor Gerard Hurley and Dr Maeve Duffy of the Power Electronics Research Centre (PERC) at NUI Galway, whose aim is to foster links with industry by transferring power electronics technology from a strong research base in the University to the wider community. Current research topics in PERC include the design of miniaturised (resonant) power converters with high efficiency, and the application of photovoltaic (PV) energy to charging of electric vehicles. PEDG 2014 provided an opportunity to discuss these and other research topics with world renowned industry and academic experts. The conference is sponsored by IEEE Power Electronics Society and was previously held in China, Denmark and the USA. Full details about the conference are available at www.pedg2014.org. -Ends-
Tuesday, 15 July 2014
NUI Galway Boat club and its sister alumni club Gráinne Mhaol had a massively successful weekend at the National Rowing championships held in the National Rowing Centre in Cork over the weekend. Team NUI Galway had an encouraging opening day winning the Men’s Intermediate Coxed Four, the Women’s Club Coxed Four and in a composite entry with Cork Boat Club, the Women’s Senior Coxless Four. NUI Galway’s alumni club, Gráinne Mhaol, took the Men’s Senior Coxless Four title for the third year in a row. On Saturday, NUI Galway won the Women’s Senior Coxless Pair event with a commanding performance over the field. The final day of the Rowing Championships saw three more wins for NUI Galway rowers who took the Women’s Club Eight title, the Women’s Senior Eight title - again in partnership with Cork Boat Club - and in the final race of the regatta, NUI Galway and alumni partners Gráinne Mhaol, came from almost a length down at one stage to win the premier event, the Men’s Senior Eight, by a mere 0.41 seconds in a thrilling battle with Trinity, a third successive Irish title for this formidable unit. NUI Galway finished joint-top club with seven wins. Sports Scholarship holder and current NUI Galway Sports Award winner Aifric Keogh won three senior titles in Eight, Four and Pair. From the winning Men’s Eight, NUI Galway Sports Scholarship holders Rob O’Callaghan, Richard Bennett and Kevin Neville along with Gráinne Mhaol’s Fionnán McQuillan-Tolan will represent Ireland in the Men’s Heavyweight Coxless Fours event at the Under 23 World Rowing Championships being held in Varese, Italy from July 23-27. -Ends-
Thursday, 17 July 2014
As part of 20th anniversary celebration of Burren Art College in Co Clare One of the main events marking the 20th anniversary of Burren College of Art in County Clare this week will be Irish Artist Seán Scully receiving an Honorary Doctorate from NUI Galway. From 17 – 20 July, 2014 Ireland’s only independent fine art third-level college will exhibit works by over 40 of its most successful and high profile alumni and will host a symposium exploring alternative models of education, featuring contributions from groundbreaking Irish and overseas art education innovators. Irish-born American painter and printmaker and twice Turner Prize nominee, Sean Scully will receive the honorary Doctorate from NUI Galway. The Sean Scully honorary conferring takes place on Saturday, 19 July and will be followed by The Best of the Burren - a banquet of Burren food and a recital by Ballyvaughan-born Naomi O'Connell who has become an international opera star, accompanied by Archie Simpson, founder of the Lismorahaun singers. Speaking in advance of the Honorary Conferring ceremony, President of NUI Galway, Dr Jim Browne, said: “As President, may I express the pride of the entire University community in welcoming Seán Scully to the ranks of our alumni. In becoming an honorary graduate of our University, he joins a global network of over 90,000 alumni. By honouring this truly outstanding visual artist, we pay tribute to his achievements by awarding him the highest honour which the University can confer, thereby associating his name forever with National University of Ireland, Galway – and indeed – Burren College of Art. On this very special celebratory weekend, I would like to extend warmest congratulations to Burren College of Art on behalf of all my colleagues at NUI Galway.” Located at Newtown Castle in Ballyvaughan, the Burren College of Art specialises in delivering a range of contemporary fine art programmes including photography, sculpture, painting and digital media, and in hosting leadership retreats and “audacious conversations” using creative methodologies Postgraduate programmes at the College have been accredited by National University of Ireland, Galway since 2002. Mary Hawkes Greene, President and Founder of the Burren College of Art (BCA) said the 20th anniversary celebrations are aimed at showcasing the success of BCA's "alternative approach to education by providing students the time and space to develop their individual talents amidst the inspirational landscape of the world famous Burren. The anniversary will launch the College’s extended remit as a hothouse for universal creativity – accessing the creative potential in all.” She continued: "By facilitating discussion amongst leading art education innovators from around the world and by showcasing the works of our graduates, we are seeking to highlight BCA's contribution to the arts sector and to serve as a creative springboard for re-imagining what an art school can be at this moment of profound societal change.” The BCA 20th anniversary celebration gets underway today, Thursday 17 July when stories of historical and contemporary alternative approaches from the US and Europe will form the basis for the two-day 'Ex-centric Alternatives'symposium. Contributors include Uffe Elbaek, former Danish Minister for Culture, founder of Kaos Pilots design school and of” The Alternativet” political party; Professor Brian Butler, Director Black Mountain College Museum; Dr Carol Becker, Dean of the School of Arts, Columbia University; Professor Sir Christopher Frayling, former rector of the Royal College of Art, London; Tracy Meisterheim, Blekinge Institute of Technology, Sweden; and James Elkins, The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. The alumni exhibition, entitled “the Middle of Everywhere", opens tomorrow, Friday, 18 July and will feature the work of 40 BCA past students from the US, Mexico, Canada, UK, Ireland and Uganda. For more on the Burren College of Art, Newtown Castle, Co. Clare, and it 20th anniversary celebrations visit www.burrencollege.ie. -ENDS-
Friday, 18 July 2014
Druid Academy students at NUI Galway to Perform at Galway International Arts Festival As part of Galway International Arts Festival, on Tuesday, 22 July, NUI Galway students will be performing in a reading of a new play at Druid Theatre. A Boy Called Nedd by Emily Gillmor Murphy is being staged as part of the “Druid Debut” series at this year’s Festival, and is a brand new play from Emily Gillmor Murphy. The reading will feature NUI Galway Drama students Deirdre Ní Chloscaí, Muireann Ní Raghallaigh, Joe Power and Niamh Ryan. In a unique development for Drama and Theatre teaching in Ireland, Druid and NUI Galway launched a new Druid Academy earlier this year, as part of a 10 year partnership between the two organisations. The participation of NUI Galway students in the event is one of many collaborations between University students and Druid. As part of the Centre for Theatre and Performance at NUI Galway, the Druid Academy covers a range of undergraduate and postgraduate programmes in Drama, Theatre Studies and Performing Arts, as well as PhD research opportunities. The Druid Academy also provides training in drama that meets best international practice while also embedding the values associated with Druid into the teaching curriculum. A Boy Called Nedd tells the story of a sixteen-year-old boy trying to stay on course after his brother’s suicide. Nedd’s is a fast moving world. Here a relationship goes from awkward silences to making out to throwing insults at the speed of light. Here his least step out of line goes viral at the blink of an eye. Here the lures of the adult world – guns, included – are only a text or a mouse-click away. But how fast is he going that he should confuse grief for the need for revenge? The play has strong language and explicit content. NUI Galway Professor of Drama and Theatre Patrick Lonergan stated that this event will be a major opportunity for the students. “This event gives our students the chance to perform in a professional setting, working with a very exciting new writer, in a major theatre company, in Ireland’s major arts festival. As part of our continuing work with the Druid Academy, our students will continue to work closely with Druid on projects such as this." Druid Director-in-Residence, Thomas Conway, says: "the play is a dispatch straight from the frontline of contemporary teenage experience in Ireland. Not only does it show the world of Irish teenagers in a no-holds-barred fashion, it gets under its skin, revealing the kinds of pressure today’s teenager routinely experience. We’re excited in Druid to have students from NUI Galway join us for its presentation. We have been impressed to date with the connection they have made with the play and feel confident they will bring many great acting qualities to its presentation." Borne out of a vision of Galway as a location for the creation of excellent theatre, teaching in the Druid Academy will follow the Druid approach, focusing on ensemble as a mode of performance, rigorous critical analysis of theatre by both practitioners and audiences, and an awareness of the importance of audience, in a variety of locations: locally, regionally, nationally and internationally. The Academy has also led to the development of new courses, including three new MA programmes. These are in Irish Drama, Writing for Theatre, and Theatre Practice and Production. NUI Galway also offers a part-time MA in Drama and Theatre Studies, and has two very popular undergraduate Drama programmes. Students of the Druid Academy gain a unique insight into the world of professional theatre when they have the opportunity to stage an annual professional-standard production, directed by the Druid Director-in-Residence. The relationship between NUI Galway and Druid is a long and fruitful one. The company was founded on campus in 1975 by graduates Marie Mullen, Garry Hynes and the late Mick Lally. Through the years the two organisations have collaborated at various times including notably the housing of the Druid archive at the James Hardiman Library at NUI Galway and the establishment of a playwriting award in memory of the late Jerome Hynes who was General Manager of Druid at a formative stage in the company's development. The three founders, as well as being graduates, have all been awarded Honorary Degrees by the University. Three years ago that relationship was formalised into a strategic partnership that saw Druid and NUI Galway join forces to train the next generation of theatre-makers. This partnership moves on to a new level with the announcement of the Druid Academy. For further information on the part-time MA in Drama and Theatre Studies please visit http://www.nuigalway.ie/drama/postgrad/ptma/ ENDS
Wednesday, 23 July 2014
NUI Galway’s School of Education is currently seeking young women aged between 14-20 with a formal diagnosis of ADHD to participate in a study to examine the impact the condition has on their educational and social experiences. This study is open to participants living in any geographical region of the Republic of Ireland. Participants will be asked to provide their opinions and insights regarding how ADHD affects their daily lives, academic performance and achievement, and their relationships with others. They will be asked to complete one personal interview and one online questionnaire. Those participating will not need to travel to NUI Galway, as a researcher will travel to a location of their choosing. This project represents an important advancement in ADHD research because very few studies of ADHD have taken place in Ireland, and fewer yet have considered the impact that ADHD has on the lives of young women. Primary researcher of this project, Andrea Lynch said: “We do a lot of talking ‘about’ people with ADHD, and yet, very little communication takes place with people affected by ADHD. This study represents an important chance for young women living with the condition to have their voices and opinions heard, and to help others understand what it is truly like to live as a young woman with ADHD in the Irish context.” Additionally, this study is seeking the insights of second-level teachers who have some experience supporting students with ADHD in the classroom. This study represents a chance for teachers to reflect critically on their own educational preparation for working with students with ADHD, as well as their own praxis, and ways in which classroom inclusion for second-level students with ADHD could be increased. Teachers are asked to complete one online questionnaire and also asked to consider completing a personal interview which can be held at a time and location of their choosing. Ms Lynch continued: “This study also represents a chance for teachers to reflect upon their experiences of teaching students with ADHD, and is an opportunity for them to express their opinions regarding the particular needs of second-level educators in supporting students with ADHD, and ways in which educational provision for students with this condition could be improved for this population.” Those interested in participating in this study should contact research Andrea Lynch at firstname.lastname@example.org or on 087 1129868. -Ends-
Wednesday, 23 July 2014
Mr. Brendan Howlin, TD, Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform yesterday, 22 July 2014, launched Ireland’s national Open Data Portal developed by Insight Centre for Data Analytics, NUI Galway together with the research reports produced by Insight. The Minister said: “I am delighted to be launching Ireland’s national Open Data portal together with research compiled by Insight. This work builds on initiatives already in place in Ireland taking into account best international practice and will enable the development of a national Open Data strategy.” Open Data forms a core element of Ireland’s first Open Government Partnership (OGP) national Action Plan which, following Government approval tomorrow, I expect to publish and transmit to the OGP Steering Committee to facilitate Ireland’s full membership of the Partnership. Insight was commissioned to carry out this research to develop the basic building blocks for a national Open Data strategy. The national Open Data Portal (data.gov.ie) currently contains 418 datasets from 45 public bodies. It is an alpha site, but an important first step. The next steps to further develop it will be considered in tandem with experts in the public sector and the wider public. Going forward, the Minister would encourage public bodies to publish datasets on this portal. The Minister said: “I am very excited about Open Data. Studies show that publication of official non-personal data in open format has the potential to drive more effective decision-making and efficient service delivery, spur economic growth, and empower citizens to take an active role in improving their own communities”. Professor Stefan Decker, Director of Insight at NUI Galway, commented: "The Open Data Roadmap and Portal developed by Insight at NUI Galway is a great example of leveraging research results and expertise funded by Science Foundation Ireland and Enterprise Ireland for the good of society. Together with the civil society we are able to make a contribution to Ireland by enabling the use of public data assets for economic and societal benefit.” Insight’s work is being published to assist the development of an Open Data strategy for Ireland. Submissions should be made by 5th September to email@example.com ENDS About Insight, the Centre for Data Analytics Insight is Ireland’s leading research centre for the study of Data Analytics. In a joint initiative between NUI Galway, DCU, UCC and UCD, Insight brings together more than 200 researchers, with 30 industry partners, to position Ireland at the heart of global data analytics research. Established by Science Foundation Ireland, Insight focuses on new ways to capture and understand data from the world around us, making better decisions for people, communities and industry, and creating a more informed society in a healthier, more productive world.