Thursday, 2 January 2020

NUI Galway has announced the first graduates from the dual degree partnership between the University’s J.E. Cairnes School of Business and Economics and Burgundy School of Business in France. Katie Whelan, a final year Bachelor of Commerce (Global Experience) student who enrolled in this dual degree programme, was recently awarded a French Government Medal and a National University of Ireland Prize of €1,000. She will be conferred with a Bachelor of Marketing and Business from Burgundy School of Business in March 2020. Maëva Hivert, a dual degree student from Burgundy School of Business, was conferred with a Bachelor of Commerce from NUI Galway at the recent Winter Conferring ceremonies. Maëva is the first student at NUI Galway to be conferred through this dual degree programme. Dr Ann Torres, Vice Dean for Internationalisation for the College of Business, Public Policy and Law, NUI Galway, said: “Expanding dual degree partnerships reaffirm the University’s commitment to provide students with internationalisation opportunities. Congratulations to Maëva and Katie for being the first to pursue these transformational educational experiences.” Claudia Sampel, Associate Dean of International Relations, Burgundy School of Business, said: “Embarking on a dual degree is an enriching and challenging experience. Katie and Maëva thoroughly deserve this recognition. We are that confident the skills they gained this year will equip them with an international outlook they will carry throughout their careers. We wish them the best for their future.” For more information regarding the Bachelor of Commerce (Global Experience) visit -Ends-

Friday, 20 December 2019

Medtech accelerator helps 14 companies secure €9.7 million and create 52 jobs Life Sciences start-ups benefit from extensive new state-of-the-art lab space Entrepreneurial students flourish during 2019 Industry collaboration continues to thrive New companies, new start-up spaces, national awards and student successes have marked another very successful year for innovation at NUI Galway. The year saw NUI Galway sign over 50 project agreements with industry contributing across a wide range of sectors including IT, engineering and life sciences. The university is also a collaborator on three ground-breaking projects under the recently announced Disruptive Technologies Innovation Fund. In 2019, start-ups including AtriAN Medical, Loci Orthopaedics, BlueDrop Medical, Cortechs and An Mheitheal Rothar - among others - saw great successes. Among the highlights of the year was the completion of the second round of the BioExel MedTech Accelerator programme, based at NUI Galway. The two-year pilot supported 14 companies who secured €9.7 million in investment and funding and created 52 jobs. The year also saw the creation of specialised laboratory space to support life sciences start-ups in the region, with room for up to 100 employees.  In recognition of her leadership role with BioExel and broader contributions to the medtech ecosystem in Ireland, Fiona Neary, Innovation Operations Manager with NUI Galway’s Innovation Office, was awarded an Achiever of the Year Award as part of Knowledge Transfer Ireland’s Impact Awards. Student and Staff Innovation Entrepreneurial students across campus continued to excel in 2019, in particular those supported by NUI Galway LaunchPad, the innovation training hub on campus which has supported over 7,000 student entrepreneurs since 2016. Christopher McBrearty was announced as Enterprise Ireland Student Entrepreneur of the Year and also featured with fellow students Emily Wallace and Aaron Hannon in the Sunday Independent Top 30 under 30 Entrepreneurs in Ireland. Former NUI Galway LaunchPad student entrepreneur in residence Edel Browne was named on the Forbes 30 Under 30 list 2019. Over 20 new innovative project ideas from collaborative student and staff projects were supported by the NUI Galway EXPLORE Programme. The projects range in topics from coastal flooding, outreach science kits, developing alumni linkages to developing the next generation of rehabilitation device for stroke victims. In 2019 the Galway Green Lab project, a newly funded project with EXPLORE was the first Lab in Europe to secure Green Lab certification. David Murphy, Director of NUI Galway’s Innovation Office, commented: “Our office plays a crucial role in driving impact for the University, with a focus on the benefits to society and the economy. The team works closely with NUI Galway’s research community to take research breakthroughs and knowledge out into society; to support collaborations with industry; to mentor spin-outs and spin-ins on campus; and to deliver programmes that engage staff and students in entrepreneurial projects.” Supporting Start-Ups and Industry There has been plenty of successes for NUI Galway spin-outs and spin-ins in 2019. Highlights include: Medical device spin-out company, AtriAN Medical closed a €2.3 million investment to commercialise a new treatment for atrial fibrillation. Loci Orthopaedics was announced as lead partner in a €2.5 million consortium to advance its device for the treatment of arthritis of the thumb under the European Commission’s ‘Fast Track to Innovation’ fund. Bluedrop Medical, a BioExel participant, successfully raised €3.7 million in 2019 with a mix of investment and EU grant funding to enable further clinical emersion of their product that has the potential to prevent hundreds of thousands of amputations. Brian Shields, founder of Galway medical device NUI Galway spinout Neurent Medical, was named as Enterprise Ireland’s high potential start-up Founder of the Year. The company was also among the finalists for the 2019 Knowledge Transfer Impact Award for spinout company. Cortechs, another BioExcel participant, has created data-driven, therapeutic applications that use cognitive training, brainwaves and biofeedback data to improve Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). The company has already received an EU grant of €1.3 million for the development of their products and is now open for seed investment of €2 million. An Mheitheal Rothar, a social-sustainable enterprise based at NUI Galway, was one of just three enterprises in Ireland to be awarded €5,000 by the Social Entrepreneurs Ireland in 2019. Irish technology start-up Joulica which is based on campus announced plans to create 45 new jobs over three years. For more information visit -Ends-

Thursday, 19 December 2019

NUI Galway launched The Pauline & Bunnie Jones Scholarship awards on (Monday, 16 December, 2019) in Scoil Mhuire, Strokestown, Co. Roscommon along with Roscommon-natives, Mrs. Pauline Jones and her daughter Dr. Deirdre Jones. The new scholarships have been established to celebrate achievement and support students from schools in County Roscommon who wish to register for a full-time undergraduate programme at NUI Galway.  The total value of the scholarship will be €2,500 per student. Four scholarships will be awarded based on the highest Leaving Certificate scores achieved in any one year. The scholarships will be awarded to students who demonstrate academic excellence in their Leaving Certificate and progress to undergraduate studies at NUI Galway. Students who meet the following criteria will be awarded the scholarships: Two students with the highest Leaving Certificate score, which was sat while attending Scoil Mhuire, Clochar na Trócaire, Strokestown, Co. Roscommon. Two students with the highest Leaving Certificate score, which was sat while attending any other school in Co. Roscommon. The award will be limited to a maximum of one medical student with the highest Leaving Certificate score, which was sat while attending any school in County Roscommon. To be eligible for the award, students are asked to: Register their interest in the award by completing the online scholarship application on or before 1st August. Have applied for any full-time Undergraduate course at NUI Galway via the CAO, for the academic year in which the scholarship is awarded. Upon receipt and acceptance of CAO offer, register as a student of NUI Galway by the due registration date. Have attended and sat the Leaving Cert at any school in County Roscommon. Speaking at the launch in Roscommon, President of NUI Galway, Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh, said: “Education is key to supporting society’s development and as part of the scholarships, NUI Galway is committed to providing the opportunity of a university education to students in Co. Roscommon, who strive to excel in their Leaving Certificate and progress to third level studies. We are very grateful to the Jones Family for their generous support of this initiative, which aims to celebrate achievements in secondary schools in Co. Roscommon. We look forward to welcoming the first four scholarship awardees at the start of our new academic year in September 2020. The Scholarship is the embodiment of NUI Galway’s values of respect, excellence, openness and sustainability - respect for education, excellence in our students, openness to all and sustaining the next generation.” The ‘Pauline & Bunnie Jones Scholarships’ was established to promote excellence and celebrate academic achievement in secondary schools in Co. Roscommon. The Jones Family is the benefactor of this scholarship which will be awarded through Galway University Foundation. For online scholarship applications and more information, visit: -Ends-

Wednesday, 18 December 2019

Academics from NUI Galway’s School of Education have been awarded research funding for a three-year international project that will develop teachers’ research skills and networking practices. The researchers, Dr Tony Hall and Dr Cornelia Connolly, have been awarded European funding for the project, which will develop teachers into teacher researchers and evidence informed practitioners through an innovative infrastructure. Aligning to the work conducted nationally by the T-REX consortium (which includes NUI Galway, the University of Limerick, Mary Immaculate College and Marino Institute of Education), this funding was awarded through the Erasmus+ programme, and will  support international partnerships seeking to enhance education. The NUI Galway have been joined with research partners from across Europe including the UK, Poland, Greece and Spain. Dr Tony Hall, Deputy Head, School of Education, said: “The development of a network of research teachers will reduce the gap between research and individual teaching practice, thereby giving back agency to the very people who will need to make use of, and who should be driving forward, research in schools.” Dr Cornelia Connolly, Co-Principal Investigator, added: “The project will deliver freely accessible tools to enable teachers to access research, help them design and carry out their own small scale projects, and publish and share their findings with peer groups across the EU.” The project will seek to inform teacher education practice in its partner countries and strategically target stakeholders and policy makers at its seven external multiplier events. The resources will also be made freely available for across the European Union, following project completion in August 2022. -Ends-

Monday, 16 December 2019

Professor Philip Alston, UN Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights, will deliver a public lecture entitled ‘What does climate change really have to do with human rights?’ at NUI Galway. The event will take place on Thursday, 19 December, from 12.30-2pm in the Distillery Buildings, Law Library, Dublin 7, and is co-hosted by the Irish Centre for Human Rights, the Ryan Institute, NUI Galway and the Human Rights Committee, Bar of Ireland. This event marks the launch in Dublin of the International Human Rights Law Clinic at NUI Galway’s Irish Centre for Human Rights, led by Dr Maeve O’Rourke, which includes a focus on climate justice and Ireland’s (non-)performance regarding its climate change mitigation obligations. The lecture will be chaired by Chief Justice, Hon Mr Justice Frank Clarke, and will draw from Professor Alston’s recent UN report on climate change and human rights, in which he described the extreme inequality and suffering that climate change is causing around the world and the steps that governments - and all members of society - particularly in wealthier countries need to take, urgently, to address the climate crisis. Commenting on the upcoming event, UN Special Rapporteur, Professor Alston said: “Climate change is going to affect all of us, and dramatically, but you’d never know that from the reaction of the legal and human rights communities.” UN Special Rapporteur, Professor Alston, will address the threats posed by climate change to the future of human rights, and the risk that progress made on human rights, poverty reduction and democratic governance, will be undone. He will highlight the need for human rights activists, lawyers, scientists and Governments to act now, with greater urgency, mobilising policy measures, law reform initiatives and human rights advocacy to secure policy and legislative changes. Professor Alston will also reflect on recent global developments as people globally, and young people in particular, put increasing pressure on their governments to act. Professor Siobhán Mullally, Director of the Irish Centre for Human Rights at NUI Galway, said: “Climate change threatens human rights, including the most fundamental of rights, the right to life. Globally, rights to livelihoods, health, housing, and decent work, are facing urgent and destructive threats globally and locally. Human rights activists, lawyers, Governments and policy-makers need to mobilise and to take courageous and bold steps now to safeguard the future of our children and the fragile protections of human rights that we have fought to defend.” Professor Charles Spillane, Director of the Ryan Institute at NUI Galway, said: “It has been estimated that the richest 10% of the world’s population are responsible for almost half of total lifestyle consumption emissions. At the other end of the income scale, the poorest 50% of people on the planet are responsible for only 10% of total lifestyle consumption emissions. While contributing the least to causing the climate change problem, it is the poorest and marginalised in our societies that are the most vulnerable to climate change impacts and shocks.” Professor Spillane stressed: “As the world’s leaders assemble for the COP25 climate negotiations in Madrid, there are major action challenges to be addressed relating to both reducing emissions and distributive justice to strengthen the climate change resilience of the poorest and most marginalised in society. While ‘Leaving No One Behind’ and ‘Reaching the furthest behind first’ has been a clarion call of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals, it remains to be seen what scale of climate justice actions will be deployed by our governments and institutions towards such ambitions.”  This event will appeal to policy-makers, NGOs, Government, lawyers, and all those interested in human rights, law, politics, poverty, climate change and/or environmental issues generally. The event is free but places must be reserved on Eventbrite The UN Special Rapporteur Professor Alston's report on Climate Change and Poverty can be accessed at and a summary is available at   . -Ends-

Thursday, 12 December 2019

University to shape Legacy of European Capital of Culture with a cultural legacy programme which will have a lasting impact on Galway’s creative arts sector NUI Galway announced its strategic partnership with Galway 2020 European Capital of Culture today (12 December 2019) at the O’Donoghue Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance. The partnership was officially launched by Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh, President of NUI Galway, and Arthur Lappin, Chair of Galway 2020. As European Capital of Culture 2020, Galway has a unique opportunity to build a lasting legacy for the cultural and creative arts sector in the city and its hinterland, boosting the reputation of the city and region, and building new relationships across Europe and the wider world. As Official Legacy Partner to the European Capital of Culture project, NUI Galway will support the development of a cultural legacy programme which will have a lasting impact on Galway’s creative arts sector. The multi-strand partnership to support the delivery of the legacy of Galway 2020 includes: A Legacy Cultural and Performance Space Demonstrating its commitment to Galway as European Capital of Culture 2020, the University has committed to considering the legacy of Galway 2020 in terms of space, both physical and conceptual, for the performing arts. This will build on the development of the Regeneration Master Plan for Nuns’ Island, which is being implemented in cooperation with Galway City Council. The brief for the performance space will be co-developed with Galway City Council and will involve broad consultation with cultural and arts organisations. Culture at the heart of the University’s Role Culture and the creative arts have always been at the heart of the University’s mission. NUI Galway has long been a wellspring of creative talent and is making an active contribution to building Galway’s reputation as an internationally recognised centre for culture, creativity and innovation. The University will invite ambition in research that enriches creativity and culture, and it is committed to partnering with and supporting cultural and creative organisations, regionally and nationally, to champion cultural expression for all.  The legacy of Galway 2020 will include the creation of new teaching courses – including a new Masters in Producing and Curating, the recruitment of new students into Creative Arts programmes, and the development of new local, national and European partnerships in teaching and research. NUI Galway to host Galway 2020 Events NUI Galway will become a hub for selected Galway 2020 events, bringing leading artists, researchers and audiences to the campus, expanding on its commitment to playing a leading role, as an engaged university, in the life of the City and the region. Galway 2020 events to be hosted on campus include three Gala Concerts, one with the RTÉ Symphony Orchestra, another with the RTÉ Concert Orchestra, as well as the grand finale of Cellissimo, a major new International Triennial Cello Festival by Music for Galway. Other events include elements of Project Baa Baa, a programme of events celebrating all things sheep and a major international conference on Cultural Legacy organised by the University. To finish the year-long programme of events, NUI Galway will host a spectacular light installation illuminating the iconic Quadrangle for the Closing Ceremony of Galway 2020 in January 2021. Dedicated Projects for 2020 Galway 2020 in association with NUI Galway will present two further projects in the Galway 2020 programme – The Immersive Classroom and Aistriú. The Immersive Classroom aims to engage students, educators, and the general public in critical debates about the way we think about our world, knowledge and embodied learning by using innovative technologies such as Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality. Aistriú will focus on Irish language literature on the theme of migration, shedding new light on some of the best-known Irish language writers. Earlier this year, a four-week capacity-building workshop, Future Landscapes, featured an exhibition showcasing work drawn from theatre, visual and digital arts, and animation. European Cultural Parliament comes to Galway The University hopes to bring members of the European Cultural Parliament to Galway and its regions to set up workshops exploring sustainable cultural ecologies in building new European networks and opportunities for artists and cultural workers. University Network of Capitals of Culture NUI Galway will host the University Network of European Capitals of Culture conference. The theme for this European conference is: ‘Re-thinking Cultural Capital(s): Inclusivity, Sustainability, and Legacies’. The University will also host the annual conference of the International Federation for Theatre Research, the world’s largest gathering of theatre scholars and practitioners, during the 2020 Galway International Arts Festival.  Monitoring and Evaluation The University and Galway 2020, in collaboration with The Audience Agency, will deliver the monitoring and evaluation for the European Capital of Culture programme. NUI Galway will deliver an innovative European research project and gather and analyse data to assess the impact of the European Capital of Culture designation on Galway City and County, in support of a research framework and evaluation plan currently being developed by The Audience Agency. As key educators of future arts practitioners, managers and academics in the cultural and creative industries in Ireland and abroad, the University has a strong interest in establishing educational frameworks that are responsive to the European Capital of Culture status and that can serve the arts, business and cultural communities that will grow in response to 2020. Speaking at the launch of the Strategic Partnership, President of NUI Galway, Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh, commented: “As a university for the public good, we are delighted to announce our strategic partnership with Galway 2020. As the official legacy partner to the European Capital of Culture project, NUI Galway is committed to respecting and supporting the development of a cultural legacy programme which will leave a far-reaching impact on Galway city and its hinterland. We value our openness to our communities and are therefore also delighted to make available our campus to several events throughout 2020 as well as hosting our own dedicated projects. This partnership will enable the University to continue to enhance and enrich the excellence of our creative and cultural programmes for our students, ensuring that they enjoy a sustainable future contributing to this sector in Galway.” Arthur Lappin, Chair of Galway 2020, said: “The legacy of Galway 2020 will be the ultimate measure of our success as European Capital of Culture. The announcement today that NUI Galway is our Legacy partner is a hugely significant moment in the evolution of the project. The depth and breadth of our partnership is a huge tribute to NUI Galway and its President, of the vision and leadership in our common goals.  Legacy will take many forms and it is so reassuring to know that when the work of Galway 2020 is done, this great institution will carry the torch of underpinning our legacy in so many ways.”  For more information about NUI Galway’s Strategic Partnership with Galway 2020 European Capital of Culture, visit: -Ends-

Thursday, 12 December 2019

State investment has returned €593 million to the economy Minister for Business, Enterprise, and Innovation, Heather Humphreys TD, and Minister for Training, Skills, Innovation, Research and Development, John Halligan TD, today announced a Government investment of €49 million through Science Foundation Ireland in the Insight SFI Research Centre for Data Analytics. This Government investment will secure a further €100 million from industry and other international sources, such as the European Union, over the next six years to further harness the power of data analytics, machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI). The Insight Centre for Data Analytics was established in 2013 and is hosted at four higher education institutions: NUI Galway, Dublin City University, University College Cork and University College Dublin and works in partnership with Maynooth University, Trinity College Dublin, Tyndall National Institute and University of Limerick. Minister Humphreys welcomed the announcement, saying: “I am delighted to announce this new investment in Insight, whose research and outputs are aligned with Future Jobs Ireland, the whole of Government plan to prepare our businesses and workers for tomorrow. Many traditional job roles are changing, and with Brexit and other international challenges on the horizon, we must continue to plan ahead, focus on what is within our control domestically and be the masters of our own destiny. Insight is playing an important role in our plans to prepare now for tomorrow’s world by keeping Ireland at the cutting edge of innovation in this important sector.” Also welcoming the announcement, Minister Halligan said: “As one of Europe’s largest data analytics research organisations, the Insight SFI Research Centre has over 450 researchers and 89 industry partners. I am delighted to welcome this investment announcement, as part of the Government’s commitment to develop a highly skilled and innovative workforce." Through this new investment, Insight will continue its world-class research via a set of three demonstrator projects under the themes: Augmented Human, Smart Enterprise and Sustainable Societies. In addition, it will significantly expand its Education and Outreach Programme, including a new Citizen Science initiative. This allocation forms part of a new six year round of funding (with an overall investment of €230 million) for six Research Centres, including Insight.  The investment has been made by the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation, as part of Project Ireland 2040, through Science Foundation Ireland. It will directly benefit approximately 850 researchers employed by the Research Centres, while also supporting the Government’s Future Jobs Ireland initiative. The investment is buoyed by industry support with 170 industry partners committing to investing over €230 million in cash and in-kind contributions over the next six years.  Insight collaborates with over 80 industry partners, including Abtran, Acquis BI, Boston Scientific, Curtiss-Wright, Eagle Alpha, Fujitsu, GAA and Dublin GAA to name a few. Insight’s research spans Health and Human Performance, Enterprise and Services, Smart Communities and Internet of Things and Sustainability and Operations. The centre’s new CEO, Professor Noel O’Connor, believes that the State’s continued investment in Ireland’s largest data research institute is a major boost for Irish research and will continue to pay dividends for the Irish economy. “We are very proud of what we have achieved since 2013. The establishment of Insight has been a major success story for the Irish economy, and the figures prove it,” says Professor O’Connor. “We have very ambitious plans for our next phase. We have globally competitive talent working at the frontier of research in artificial intelligence, smart cities and the augmented human, and have positioned ourselves right at the heart of innovation leadership.” Commenting on the announcement, Science Foundation Ireland’s Director General and Chief Scientific Adviser to the Government of Ireland, Professor Mark Ferguson said: “Insight’s research is equipping indigenous Irish companies to harness the power of data analytics, machine learning and AI to become more competitive and open new markets. The SFI Research Centres continue to attract and retain multinational organisations who want to conduct high value research in Ireland. Centres like Insight are seeding the next generation of world class innovators in our universities.” Insight was established in 2013 through an initial SFI investment of €43 million and has delivered an economic impact of €593m to the Irish economy. For every €1 of state investment, €5.54 is returned to the economy on an overall leveraged basis. This funding was supplemented by €63 million from EU sources and industry. That means for every €1 of SFI funding, another €1.46 in additional investment has come from those other sources.   During this period Insight has produced over 2,000 publications, trained 184 postdoctoral graduates and established 11 spin out companies and with this new funding will continue to develop these outputs. END

Wednesday, 11 December 2019

NUI Galway Dean of Students, Professor Michelle Millar, recently presented 33 outstanding athletes with NUI Galway Student Sports Scholarships, sponsored by Bank of Ireland, the main sponsors of the Sports Programme at NUI Galway. The ceremony commenced with a special address by Monika Durkarsha, Rowing Ireland team member who qualified in the women’s pair for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. Monika give an inspirational talk to the students on what is required to achieve their goals both in sporting and academically, and described how she is able to balance the demands of being a world class athlete and still maintaining a lifestyle balance which allows her to continue her PhD research. NUI Galway President, Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh delivered the opening address to students highlighting the importance of sport to the Universities Strategic Plan and also taking the opportunity to wish the students well during their studies in NUI Galway. Feargal O’Callaghan, NUI Galway High Performance Lead who manages the scholarship scheme, said: “Their time at university is a wonderful opportunity for these talented athletes to reach their true potential and learning, and to plan and achieve a balance in their lifestyle is key to their success both on the sporting arena and in their academic studies.” This year’s ceremony saw the Performance Points Sports Scholarship awarded to nine outstanding athletes. The scheme provides 40 additional points to those earned in the Leaving Certificate for elite athletes and for academic courses over 350 entry points. This year’s scholarship recipients represent some of the finest young talent in Irish sport today most of whom have already represented their sport at national, international or intercounty level. Speaking at the award ceremony, Feargal O’Callaghan continued: “We are really looking forward to working with all the athletes, it is an exciting time for the university in terms of sport as we continually improve the programme in order to produce the best possible athletes.” NUI Galway Performance Points awardees: Athletics                      Chloe Casey Athletics                      Jack Dempsey Gaelic Football           Cillian Golding Gaelic Football           Matthew Tierney Gaelic Football           Paul McGrath Gaelic Football           Sean O’Flynn Hurling                        Conor Waslh Rugby                         Charles Clarke Soccer                         Rachel Baynes NUI Galway Sports Scholarships awardees:   Athletics                      Pierre Murchan Athletics                      Sinead Treacy Athletics                      Thomas Mc Stay Basketball                   Alison Blarney Basketball                   Ciara McCreanor Basketball                   James Connaire Basketball                   James Lyons Boxing                        Darren O'Connor Camogie                      Carrie Dolan Camogie                      Laura Ward Camogie                      Leah Burke Gaelic Football           Laura Ahearne Gaelic Football           Saoirse Flynn Gaelic Football           Joanthan Hester Golf                             Liam Nolan Hurling                        Diarmuid Kilcommins Rowing                       Lisa Murphy   NUI Galway Rugby Foundation Sports Scholarship Awardees: Declan Floyd Even Kenny Jack Power Oisin Halpin -Ends-

Tuesday, 10 December 2019

The conference will take place from 6-7 March 2020 under the theme of ‘Cultivating a Culture of Compassion’ Over 500 Guidance Counsellors from all over Ireland are due to attend the forthcoming Institute of Guidance Counsellors (IGC) National Conference which will be held at NUI Galway in March 2020. This conference is being hosted by the Galway/Mayo Branch of the Institute of Guidance Counsellors. As well as facilitating the two-day conference, NUI Galway has been unveiled as the main sponsor for this year’s event with supporting sponsorship from Galway Mayo Institute of Technology (GMIT). The conference was launched in NUI Galway today (Tuesday, 10 December) by NUI Galway President, Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh, who spoke about the opportunity to host the national conference in Galway: “NUI Galway is looking forward to hosting the IGC National Conference 2020. Compassion, respect and providing a caring and inclusive student experience is central to the mission of NUI Galway so we are particularly proud to support the conference theme; ‘Cultivating a Culture of Compassion’. Fully understanding and appreciating the critical role guidance counsellors play in helping our young people prepare for life after secondary school, we look forward to welcoming guidance colleagues from all over the country to our beautiful campus and to providing opportunities to share, learn and recharge over the two-day conference.” Professor Pat Dolan, UNESCO Chair in Children, Youth and Civic Engagement was guest speaker and Chairperson Barry McDermott extended a very warm welcome to all on behalf of the Galway/Mayo Branch of the IGC.  Focusing on how the conference theme, ‘Cultivating a Culture of Compassion’ was chosen, Barry said: “We believe that a lack of compassion towards individuals, groups and our environment, is creating many of the divisions and problems evident in today’s society. It is our wish for the conference that through our wide variety of workshops, guidance counsellors working across all sectors get an opportunity to improve their professional knowledge and skills, and hopefully experience some of the wonderful attractions that make Galway such a special place.” IGC President Beatrice Dooley said: “The IGC are exceptionally proud to support the conference theme, ‘Cultivating a Culture of Compassion’. The IGC annual conference is an opportunity for guidance counsellors working with learners across the lifespan to reconnect with each other, with educational partners and labour market stakeholders. At conference 2020 we can upskill, reflect on our professional practice and experiment with other ways of delivering on the personal, educational and vocational guidance counselling needs of those in our care. This year’s conference theme resonates with the very essence of our work. We are very appreciative of the support and generosity of our main host NUI Galway, supporting sponsors GMIT and minor sponsors Maynooth University and Letterkenny Institute of Technology, and place high value on these positive, affirming relationships.” The two-day conference, taking place from 6-7 March 2020, will include a series of 19 workshops focusing on the concept and delivery of compassion, guidance topics for second and third level and professional development tools. On day one of the conference, delegates can expect a range of talks dedicated to the conference theme, including a SMART Consent Workshop by Dr Pádraig MacNeela and Dr Siobhán O’Higgins, School of Psychology and Dr Charlotte McIvor, Drama and Theatre Studies at NUI Galway. Highlights on day two of the conference include a ‘Mindfulness and Building Compassion in Education’ workshop by Dr. Eva Flynn, NUI Galway, a panel discussion on ‘Careers in the Creative Industries’ and a workshop on ‘How to Manage Panic Attacks and Social Anxiety’ by Dr Harry Barry, author and doctor. Attendance at the Institute of Guidance Counsellor Conference is open to members and non-members. The sponsors of the 2020 conference are NUI Galway, GMIT, Maynooth University and Letterkenny Institute of Technology. For registration please visit -Ends-

Tuesday, 10 December 2019

Professor Laoise McNamara and Dr Dimitrios Zeugolis will lead prestigious European funded projects The European Research Council (ERC) has awarded two NUI Galway researchers €4.4 million to pursue ‘blue-sky’ biomedical research. With this support, Professor Laoise McNamara and Dr Dimitrios Zeugolis, will pursue frontier research to achieve far-reaching impact on improving human health. Professor McNamara and Dr Zeugolis were winners in the prestigious ERC Consolidator Grant competition which saw 301 top scholars and scientists from across Europe receive awards, following a review of 2,453 proposals. Professor Lokesh Joshi, Vice-President for Research at NUI Galway, said: “These awards are among the most prestigious and competitive in Europe. Myself and the entire NUI Galway research community are delighted for both Laoise and Dimitrios who have demonstrated their excellence and leadership in research.” Professor Laoise McNamara – MEMETic Professor Laoise McNamara, who was recently announced as the Irish Research Council Researcher of the Year 2019, will lead the MEMETic project which will focus on bone disease.   According to Professor McNamara of the Biomechanics Research Centre, and CÚRAM, the Science Foundation Ireland Centre for Research in Medical Devices at NUI Galway: “My research is in the field of mechanobiology, which is at the interface between engineering and biology. Our work seeks to understand the biological mechanisms by which bone cells sense and respond to the forces they experience during every day physical activity, and how these are affected by Osteoporosis. Despite immense efforts to develop therapies for osteoporosis, conventional drugs that target bone loss only prevent osteoporotic fractures in 50% of sufferers, and the worldwide economic burden of treatment is projected to reach $132 billion by 2050. In this project we will develop advanced models to allow us to investigate how our bones react to changes in the physical environment, from a cellular level right the way up. We will use these models to increase understanding of bone disease and our ultimate aim is to apply these models to improve the success rates of therapies for osteoporosis.”    Dr Dimitrios Zeugolis - ACHIEVE Dr Dimitrios Zeugolis, Director of REMODEL and Investigator at CÚRAM, the Science Foundation Ireland Centre for Research in Medical Devices at NUI Galway, will lead the ACHIEVE project. The aim is to bring new advances to cell culture methods and address major bottlenecks in regenerative medicine, drug discovery and cellular agriculture.   According to Dr Zeugolis: “Currently, the development of cellular products, products made from cells cultured in the lab, is hampered by the lengthy culture periods taken when the cells are removed from their natural environment: the human or animal body. This time factor is responsible for the cells losing their normal function, resulting in suboptimal cellular products. With this project, we want to engineer culture environments that imitate the tissue from which the cells were extracted, thus maintaining their physiological function during experimental culture and significantly reducing the culture period. We believe the work will lead to a paradigm shift in cell culture methods with ground-breaking impacts across diverse fields, such as regenerative medicine, drug discovery and cellular agriculture.” Both grantees recognised as part of their success the support of their research students, postdoctoral and support staff, collaborators, friends and family, and funders. Professor Lokesh Joshi noted that the announcement built on years of previous successful projects for Professor McNamara and Dr Zeugolis, which were supported by Science Foundation Ireland, the Irish Research Council, Health Research Board, Teagasc, Enterprise Ireland and the European Commision, and through industry collaboration. Speaking at the announcement of the European Research Council awards, Mariya Gabriel, European Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, said: “Knowledge developed in these new projects will allow us to understand the challenges we face at a more fundamental level, and may provide us with breakthroughs and innovations that we haven’t even imagined. The EU’s investment in frontier research is an investment in our future, which is why it is so important that we reach an agreement on an ambitious Horizon Europe budget for the next multiannual budget. More available research funding would also allow us to create more opportunities everywhere in the EU - excellence should not be a question of geography.” ERC President Professor Jean-Pierre Bourguignon, whose mandate ends on 31 December 2019 after six years in office, commented: “I have had the immense privilege of seeing thousands of bright minds across our continent receive the trust and backing to go after their most daring ideas. It has been an exhilarating experience through countless meetings with many of them in person, listening to their stories and being inspired by them. As it’s about top frontier research, it comes as no surprise that an overwhelming number of them already made breakthroughs that will continue to contribute greatly to meeting the challenges ahead. As I bid farewell to an organisation that will always remain close to my heart, I am once more highly impressed when I see this latest set of grantees funded by the European Research Council. That the ERC empowers them makes me proud to be European!” For more about the ERC Consolidator Grant awards, visit: -Ends-

Tuesday, 10 December 2019

NUI Galway student recognised for volunteering efforts To celebrate International Volunteers Day 2019 NUI Galway along with 9 other universities and institutes of technology have come together through the Campus Engage initiative to launch their first ever student volunteering annual report to highlight the activities and achievements of their students. Colm O’Hehir, Campus Engage Officer, said: “Student volunteers play such a constructive role in communities, often providing vital services for excluded and vulnerable people. Volunteering is for all and that idea of inclusiveness translates into the work student volunteers do daily across the country. Today is a day to celebrate volunteers and our report highlights some of the students who are helping achieve a more inclusive future for all.” An Impact Assessment of Irish Universities, conducted by economists Indecon, revealed that in 2017/18 over 17,500 student volunteers donated three million hours of their time to causes both at home and abroad, at an estimated value of €28.4 million to the exchequer.  is an online tool that supports students wishing to volunteer in their communities. The portal is the first of its kind globally - a national volunteering database specifically created for higher education students. It was developed in 2016 by ten third level institutions through Campus Engage.  There are now more than 1000 organisations and 14,000 students registered on the website, with over 4,000 new student registrations in the 2018-19 academic year. Through, new student volunteers have clocked up a total of 39,746 hours through volunteering opportunities promoted. Overall, students successfully volunteered for 3,391 opportunities. One such volunteer isNUI Galway mature access student Michelle Mitchell, a dedicated volunteer, who earned the NUI Galway ALIVE Certificate in recognition of her volunteering efforts. Michelle’s volunteering is with organisations that offer mental health, physical and intellectual disability supports. Michelle identified a gap in resources for families who have children with special needs, chronic illness and disabilities, and developed the Special Heroes Ireland initiative that provides educational and recreational activities in Galway. In particular, Michelle and other volunteers organise workshops for the siblings of those with disabilities to help parents who have to spend a lot of time tending to their additional needs child. Michelle said: “We work with families to help the sibling of the child, as parents who have a child with a special need or chronic illness have to focus their time and attention on that child. We create opportunities so they can learn to cook, make movies, do artwork.” Ends

Monday, 9 December 2019

Met Éireann Meteorologist Joanna Donnelly awards prizes to Cork, Dublin, Donegal, Galway, Offaly, Sligo and Meath schools and community groups Short films about Climate Action, Hearing and Water were to the fore when young science filmmakers from Donegal, Dublin, Cork, Galway, Offaly, Sligo and Meath were honoured at the ReelLIFE SCIENCE Video Competition Awards held at the recent Galway Science and Technology Festival Exhibition in NUI Galway. More than 190 short science films were entered into the competition by over 1,300 science enthusiasts from 77 schools and community groups around Ireland. Winning videos were selected by a distinguished panel of judges including geneticist, author and BBC presenter Dr Adam Rutherford; BT Young Scientist and Technologist of the Year 2019 Adam Kelly; and Met Éireann Meteorologist and RTÉ Weather Forecaster Joanna Donnelly, who presented the prizes along with Science Foundation Ireland Head of Education and Public Engagement Margie McCarthy. A group of nine sixth class students from Baltydaniel National School in Newtwopothouse, Co. Cork, along with their teacher Colman Lane, won the €1000 first prize at Primary School level for their video ’No New Water’. Primary school runners-up were Gaelscoil Riabhach from Loughrea, Co. Galway, while Sooey National School from Sligo finished third. Transition year students, Kalen McDonnell, Noah Lynskey, Jason Doyle, Erin Russell Hughes and Katie Hughes, along with teacher Aideen Lynch from Holy Family School for the Deaf in Dublin, claimed the Secondary School €1000 award, for their short film ‘How Science Helps Us Hear’. Sixth year students Aidan Grennan, John Stevenson, Carl Coughlan, Patrick Coughlan, Maeve Maloney, Leah Hogan, Naomi Whynne Smith and Natasha Delaney from Banagher College, Co. Offaly were runners-up, while Ashbourne Community School transition year students Aibhe Cronin, Eabha Delaney, Leah Duffy, Lisa Golden and Niamh Battersby were third. The ‘Green Team’ from Rosses Neighbourhood Youth Project in The Rosses, Co. Donegal, led by Foróige Project Worker Clare Mullan, won the €1000 Community Group first prize for their video about Climate Action, ‘Acting Local, Thinking Global’. Croí Heart and Stroke Charity Communications Manager Edel Burke and Cardiovascular Nurse Specialist Patricia Hall were runners-up, while third place went to members of the Knocknacarra Foróige group in Galway City. 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 and the Cell EXPLORERS science education and outreach programme, 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 Dr. Enda O’Connell and a team of volunteer scientists, this challenge has been met by more than 13,000 participants in 400 schools and groups around Ireland. Speaking about ReelLIFE SCIENCE, Dr Ruth Freeman, Director of Science for Society at Science Foundation Ireland, said: “We are delighted to support this initiative, which cleverly combines science literacy and creativity, while providing a great opportunity for students and teachers to think about how to communicate scientific topics in a novel way. ReelLIFE SCIENCE encourages young people to connect with the science and technology in their everyday lives, and to bring that knowledge to a wider audience, while promoting current Irish scientific research and development.” All videos can be viewed at -Ends-

Monday, 9 December 2019

NUI Galway took two top awards at the recent national gradireland Higher Education Awards 2020 which took place in Dublin. NUI Galway’s Law School was achieved the ‘Best Postgraduate Course in Law’, in a highly-contested category. The judges commented the programme displayed “excellent innovation and teaching methodology, with strong links to industry”. The course focuses on enhancing employability and developing graduate attributes around advocacy, negotiation, legal research and writing skills. Teaching takes place by means of small group seminars where students have direct access to business and legal experts and also have the opportunity to apply for placements with leading commercial law firms, to include: A&L Goodbody, Arthur Cox, Matheson, L.K Shields, RDJ Solicitors, AMOSS Solicitors and Flynn O’Driscoll Business Lawyers. The MSc in Cellular Manufacturing and Therapy received the award for ‘Best New Postgraduate Course’. The competition judges highlighted “why a course of study such as this is required. There [are] very strong links to employment need addressing the skills gap”.  When launching in September 2017, this MSc programme was the first of its kind worldwide. It has grown from a one-year full time MSc programme to a suite of opportunities including a two-year part time MSc, as well as postgraduate diploma and certificate streams.   Graduates have entered PhD programmes and have joined world-leading organisations like Takeda and Autolus in cellular production, quality assurance, cell culture scientists and assay development. Potential applicants interested in applying to either of these award-winning programmes can visit for further details. -Ends-

Friday, 6 December 2019

Second NUI Galway researcher wins ‘Medal of Excellence’ award for being top-ranked postdoctoral researcher in STEM at the Irish Research Council 2019 Awards Professor Laoise McNamara, Professor in Biomedical Engineering at NUI Galway, was awarded ‘Researcher of the Year’ for her research in bone mechanobiology and osteoporosis, at the Irish Research Council 2019 Researcher of the Year awards (4 December 2019).  President of Ireland Michael D. Higgins, was Guest of Honour and presented the winners with their awards. Professor McNamara is also the Vice Dean for Recruitment and Internationalisation for the College of Engineering and Informatics at NUI Galway. Professor McNamara’s research in bone mechanobiology is at the interface of engineering and biology and informs medical device design. Her work seeks to understand how the mechanobiology process is changed in osteoporosis, a disease which affects bone mass, and in cancer metastasis to bone. The Irish Research Council also presented ‘Medals of Excellence’ to four early-stage researchers. Each of the 'Medals of Excellence' have been named after previous Chairs of the Irish Research Council and recognise excellence in the 2019 postgraduate and postdoctoral funding calls run by the Council in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) and the arts, humanities and social sciences (AHSS). Dr Harold Berjamin an Irish Research Council Postdoctoral Fellow from the School of Mathematics, Statistics and Applied Mathematics at NUI Galway was awarded the ‘Thomas Mitchell Medal of Excellence’ for being the top-ranked postdoctoral researcher in the STEM category. Dr Berjamin’s research in Professor Michel Destrade’s group is based on the modelling of acoustic waves in brain matter. The goal of this project is to get closer to realistic simulations of traumatic brain injuries. President Higgins has made research and education one of the key themes of his Presidency, championing the importance of cultivating independent thought and academic freedom. The President has continued to emphasise the crucial role that universities and research institutes can play in crafting a global response to the great global challenges of our time. Chair of the Irish Research Council, Professor Jane Ohlmeyer said: “Professor Laoise McNamara’s work demonstrates the breadth of excellent research that is being carried out in Ireland – the impact of which ripples through multiple aspects of Irish life. I warmly congratulate Laoise on her outstanding track record to date, and on receiving the Irish Research Council Researcher of the Year award.” Peter Brown, Director of the Irish Research Council said: “The Council is unique in that it funds research across all disciplines and supporting research that addresses major societal challenges is a key priority for us. We must never forget the importance that world class research talent has on our economy and our society. Over the last 20 years, the Council has made a significant impact in establishing a vibrant research community in Ireland by investing in exceptional researchers at all stages of their careers. We look forward to building on our achievements to date with the launch of a new five-year strategy next year.” The Irish Research Council awards ceremony commended the very best of the Council’s awardees and alumni working in academia, industry, civic society and the public sector. -Ends-

Monday, 9 December 2019

NUI Galway’s Lorraine Tansey was one of 28 President’s Award Leaders who was recognised at a special Civic Merit Award Ceremony. The President’s Awards recognise these Leaders from all over Ireland who have supported young people to take part in the Gaisce programme for more than five years.The ceremony was MC’d by Gold Awardee Jamie Moore and the guest speaker on the night was Irish sports commentator Mícheál Ó Muircheartaigh.  Speaking about the Civic Merit Awardees, Yvonne McKenna, CEO of Gaisce – The President’s Award said, “Gaisce are delighted to celebrate the work of our President’s Award Leaders. We could not empower young people to realise their potential without them. Our President’s Award Leaders truly are the lifeblood of the Gaisce programme.” She continued: “Five years is a big milestone, and the time and hours given by you all collectively is enormous. Incalculable, however, is impact you have all had on the lives of young people in Ireland, an impact that will continue to be felt long after they have received their Gaisce award.” Lorraine Tansey as NUI Galway’s President Awards Leader has been supporting students to achieve the challenges of the Gaisce award programme for fifteen years. Lorraine said: “Community volunteering, skill development and physical movement are the three main components of the award and students inspire us across the campus to actively engage in civic skills.” A special message from the President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins was read by Chair of Gaisce – The President’s Award John Cunningham: “I thank you for the generous support you offer to the many young people who, every year, undertake the Gaisce journey. That is a greatly empowering journey on which you all play an important part, impacting positively on the development of so many of our younger citizens.” Gaisce – The President’s Award is a personal development programme for young people which enhances confidence and wellbeing through participation in personal, physical and community challenges.   Since its inception in 1985 over 178,000 young Irish people have completed a Gaisce Award, including former Rose of Tralee Maria Walsh and Irish rugby international Robbie Henshaw. -Ends-

Wednesday, 4 December 2019

New video documentary highlights people who work in labs are using 15-16 times more plastic than the average person in Ireland CÚRAM, the SFI Research Centre for Medical Devices based at NUI Galway has launched a new short video documentary ‘The time to green our labs is now’ as part of the Galway Green Labs initiative, which recently led to the CÚRAM lab being the first in Europe to be awarded Green Lab Certification. The video documentary tells the story of the Galway Green Labs initiative, which was spearheaded by Dr Una Fitzgerald, a CÚRAM funded Investigator and Director of the Galway Neuroscience Centre at NUI Galway. Together with her ‘green team’ of CÚRAM researchers and staff, and with the support of the University Registrar and Deputy President, Professor Pól Ó Dochartaigh, and the Community University Sustainability Partnership, she is working to transform practice across campus to address issues such as plastic waste, energy reduction, recycling, and water usage. Dr Una Fitzgerald, NUI Galway, explains her motivation for establishing Galway Green Labs: “What has emerged is that people who work in labs are using 15-16 times more plastic than the average person in Ireland. This practice is done more so out of convenience than out of necessity, so we’re trying to change mind-sets to heighten our awareness of the cumulative negative impact on the environment of this way of working. All we’re asking lab scientists to do is question what they’re doing - to ask themselves, “Is there something I can do to lessen the environmental impact of my work in the lab”. And to talk to others, and spread the message of the urgent need for change.” University Registrar and Deputy President, Professor Pól Ó Dochartaigh, is supporting the initiative and commented: "For many years NUI Galway has been improving its performance in terms of energy efficient buildings, waste management, water use and more. Recently we've brought together a Community and University Sustainability Programme that is looking at practices and spreading what we do out into the entire community and crucially bringing it into educational practices under the model Learn - Live - Lead. The Galway Green Labs initiative is a major part of this work." Certification was awarded this November by My Green Lab, a non-profit organisation that aims to fundamentally and permanently improve the sustainability of scientific research by unifying and leading scientists, vendors, designers, energy providers, and others in a common drive toward a world in which all research reflects the highest standards of social and environmental responsibility. Run for scientists, by scientists, it leverages its credibility and track record to develop standards, oversee their implementation, and inspire the many behavioural changes that are needed throughout the scientific community.  Though My Green Lab focuses solely on laboratory environments, it believes its activities will excite similar changes across other industries, and in the private lives of the millions of people who spend their time in labs. Alison Paradise, CEO of My Green Lab, commented: “Labs comprise an industry that is three times larger than the construction industry and half the size of the automotive industry. Labs, for all their good intentions, are estimated to discard over more than 5.5 million metric tonnes of plastic each year, which is enough to cover an area 23 times the size of Galway ankle-deep. They also consume 5-10 times more energy and water than office spaces. If every lab in Ireland were to turn off just one piece of equipment overnight for a year, it would be the equivalent to offsetting the greenhouse gas emissions associated with driving 2.8 million kilometres.” Sinéad Ní Mhainnín, Resource Efficiency Officer, Connacht Ulster Regional Waste Management Office, who appears in the film, is supporting Galway Green Labs, and says: “By 2020 we aim to achieve a 50 percent recycling rate for municipal dry recycling. Working with Dr Fitzgerald and the Galway Green Labs team is going to go a long way to help us in achieving this goal.” The documentary is funded by CÚRAM, SFI Research Centre for Medical Devices at NUI Galway, Connacht Ulster Regional Waste Management Office and St. Anthony’s and Claddagh Credit Union, Galway. For more information about Galway Green Labs, contact Dr Una Fitzgerald, NUI Galway, at  Click here to view the Galway Green Labs short video documentary: Follow on Twitter at #GalwayGreenLabs and @GalwayGreenLabs.  -Ends-

Wednesday, 4 December 2019

The winners of the prestigious 2019 Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) Awards were revealed recently at the annual SFI Science Summit. NUI Galway academics Professor Abhay Pandit, Scientific Director of CÚRAM received the ‘SFI Best International Engagement Award’ and Dr Muriel Grenon, lecturer in Biochemistry from the School of Natural Sciences received the ‘SFI Outstanding Contribution to STEM Communication’ award. Over 300 leading members of Ireland’s research community came together to celebrate the significant contributions made over the past year to Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) in Ireland. This year there were eight categories in total, with ten award winners. The SFI Best International Engagement Award recognised the accomplishments of Professor Abhay Pandit for his research-led international activities at CÚRAM, the SFI Research Centre for Medical Devices based at NUI Galway. Speaking about his award, Professor Abhay Pandit, CÚRAM, NUI Galway, said: “I am honoured to receive this award from SFI. This honour recognises the trust, hard work, dedication and excellence of the entire team of advisors, researchers, industry partners and staff at CÚRAM who I have the privilege to work and collaborate with. It is through our international research collaborations that we are driving the development of new understandings and the advancement of real solutions to develop affordable, innovative and transformative device-based solutions to treat global chronic diseases. By striving to be outward facing we are not only training to empower future leaders but also work hard to champion stakeholders in the community (artists, filmmakers, teachers) to engage them with the STEM message.” The SFI Outstanding Contribution to STEM Communication award recognised the accomplishments of Dr Muriel Grenon for her outstanding contribution to the popularisation of science and raising public awareness of the value of science to human progress. Speaking about her award, Dr Muriel Grenon, NUI Galway, said: “I would like to share this award with all past and present Cell EXPLORERS coordinators, volunteers, and supporters. Our programme is based on the simple idea of sending local science role models with a passion for Science to meet the general public locally. We meet young people at an age when they decide if they like science and if they would consider it as a career. Due to its hands-on aspect, the programme has achieved great popularity within schools and contributes to changing stereotypes about science and scientists. This is only possible through the amazing work that our coordinators do behind the scenes and the dedication of our volunteer scientists. I am very proud of what we have achieved together – the delivery of a programme with a high standard of public engagement, a high education value, inspiring many young children all over Ireland.” Professor Pandit is an Established Professor of Biomaterials at NUI Galway and Scientific Director of CÚRAM. He has been an elected member on the Council for both the Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine International Society and European Society for Biomaterials Society. He was the first Irish academic to be inducted as an International Fellow in Biomaterials Science and Engineering by the International Union of Societies for Biomaterials Science and Engineering and elected as a Fellow of the Tissue Engineering and Regenerative International Society. He was also elected to the American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE) College of Fellows. Professor Pandit has published more than 250 papers in peer-reviewed journals, filed numerous patent applications and has licensed four technologies to medical device companies. He has coordinated four EU grants to date and has generated research contracts from industry and government funding agencies totalling €90 million. Throughout his career, his work has been outward facing, from engaging in international collaborations and hosting international conferences, to supporting trade missions and championing residency programs for leaders in the community (artists, filmmakers, teachers) to empower them with the STEM message. Dr Grenon is a lecturer in Biochemistry at the School of Natural Sciences in NUI Galway and the founding Director of the Cell EXPLORERS science outreach programme. Dr Grenon started out the programme in 2012 with a team of 10 undergraduate science students in NUI Galway and has built Cell EXPLORERS into a national network comprising 13 partner teams with members from 15 Higher Education Institutions in Ireland. Between 2012 and 2018 Cell EXPLORERS involved 1,187 team members, visited 471 classrooms in 280 schools and reached 32,000 members of the public. Cell EXPLORERS has also successfully integrated science outreach projects into the final year of the Biochemistry undergraduate course at NUI Galway allowing the creation of potential novel science outreach resources each semester. Dr Grenon is also involved in driving science communication internationally: Cell EXPLORERS is part of Scientix, the community for Science Education in Europe. The programme has also started a collaboration with the University of Kwatzulu-Natal in South Africa, where a team is currently piloting the ‘Fantastic DNA school’ visits. Dr Grenon’s contribution and dedication to the popularisation of STEM has been recognised by the ‘Outstanding Contribution to STEM’ award at the 2013 Galway Science and Technology Festival, the 2017 ‘NUI Galway President Award for Societal Impact’ and been made Knight of the Order of the Palmes Académiques by the French Ministry of Education in 2019. -Ends-

Monday, 2 December 2019

Ombudsman for Children’s Office and UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre launch collaboration, Our Future:  Voices from Transition Year   The Ombudsman for Children’s Office (OCO) and the UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre at NUI Galway have joined forces to co-host Our Future:  Voices from Transition Year, an event to mark the 30th anniversary of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC). On Friday, 29 November, 150 transition year students from Galway city and county taking part in Our Future: Voices from Transition Year will be asked to share their priorities for the future and the changes they feel are needed to ensure that children’s rights and interests are promoted and protected in Ireland. The young people will engage in a series of Youth Cafe round table discussions and there will also be an opportunity to provide feedback to the Ombudsman and the UNESCO Chair. 2019 is also the 15th anniversary of the establishment of the Ombudsman for Children’s Office and the 10th anniversary of the UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre. Reflecting these milestones, the OCO and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child collaborated to host a youth-led event to ask students about the key issues that concern them and the programmes or policies they would like to see in place to support them to reach their potential. They will also invite children to share their views on how the UNESCO Centre and the OCO can bring their influence to bear on these issues into the future. The event, organised and moderated by young people, is part of the Youth as Researchers programme at the UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre at NUI Galway.   The Ombudsman for Children, Dr Niall Muldoon said: “2019 is a significant year as it marks not only the 30th anniversary of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, but also 15 years since the Ombudsman for Children’s Office was established and 10 years since the UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre came into being. We are delighted to take this opportunity to use the experience we have built up over the years to meaningfully engage with children. “Children have the right, under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, to have their views on issues that concern and affect them heard and considered. I will take every opportunity to share the views and concerns of those taking part in Our Future: Voices from Transition Year as I travel the country, advise on policy and legislation and meet with decision makers at all levels.” UNESCO Chair, Professor Pat Dolan, NUI Galway commented: “Supporting young people to engage in research on issues of interest to them is core to the UNESCO agenda for the development of youth participation and its potential for fostering better social responsibility and civic behaviour. Given the concerns of school-aged children in social issues like bullying, racism and climate change for example, opportunities to have their voices heard are hugely important. Research has shown that civic engagement positively contributes to adolescents’ development, enhancing their skill set and empowering them to investigate and take action on issues of relevance to their lives.” Our Future: Voices from Transition year will take place at the Institute for Lifecourse and Society, North Campus, NUI Galway at 10:30am on Friday, 29 November. -Ends

Friday, 29 November 2019

NUI Galway has announced the winners of its Threesis 2019 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 of over 100 people. The winner of Threesis 2019 as well as securing the Audience Winner prize was Sam Afoullouss with his bite-sized talk ‘Ireland’s Deep Sea Pharmacy’. Sam is a PhD candidate in the School of Chemistry and School of Natural Science, working together with both the Ryan Institute and Marine Institute. Sam’s research focuses on discovering new medicines derived from marine organisms. In particular, he studies sponges and corals from the Irish Deep-Sea, located off the west coast of Ireland, at a depth of 2 km. His research is funded by Science Foundation Ireland. In second place was Ríona Walsh, with her talk ‘Into the Woods: Can Woodland Creatures Protect us from Lyme Disease?’ Ríona is a PhD candidate in the School of Natural Sciences. Her research is transdisciplinary research on Lyme disease in Ireland, investigating the ecology, epidemiology, and awareness of this disease. Her work is funded by the School of Natural Sciences scholarship. Securing third place from the judges was Tianming Yao with his talk ‘Shaking off Romantic Shackles’. Tianming is PhD student in the School of Political Science and Sociology. His research topic is the media construction of sexuality. His research investigates how our bodies and emotions have been regulated and controlled by social structure, and explores the underlying power transition behind the changing media construction of sexuality. 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: journalist Lorna Siggins; 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. Professor Lokesh Joshi, NUI Galway’s Vice-President for Research, commented: “Threesis brings some of our fantastic people carrying out incredible research across all disciplines on a journey which empowers them to communicate the story of their research clearly and concisely. The grand finale was a really interesting event, full of fascinating, bite-sized insights into incredible research. Finally, I would like to congratulate Sam, who was a very worthy winner tonight in final full of excellent speakers.” 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 and PhD candidates from across all Colleges on campus. Videos of the three winning presentations will be available at: -Ends-

Tuesday, 26 November 2019

Researchers from NUI Galway’s Centre for Pain Research recently received prestigious prizes for their research at the Annual Scientific Meeting of the Irish Pain Society 2019, continuing an impressive track record of success in these competitions. Researchers from the Centre won prizes in every research category at the event.  Orlaith Mannion won best presentation at the Irish Pain Research Network short oral data blitz for her short presentation demonstrating that drugs which boost levels of the body’s own marijuana-like cannabinoids have potential for effective treatment of post-operative pain following groin hernia repair. Her work was supervised by Professor David Finn and Professor Brian McGuire. Rachel Humphrey won the Irish Pain Society Preclinical Research Medal for her poster demonstrating that alterations in pain processing may be a feature of autism spectrum disorder symptomatology, and pinpointing brain regions that could be implicated. Her work was supervised by Dr Michelle Roche and Professor David Finn. Mehnaz Ferdousi won second prize in the preclinical poster category for her Science Foundation Ireland funded research on the effects of novel opioid drugs on pain, anxiety and depression related behaviour. Her work was supervised by Professor David Finn, Dr Michelle Roche and Professor John Kelly. Monika Pilch won the Irish Pain Society Clinical Research Medal for best clinical poster on how perspective-taking influences what we pay attention to when evaluating facial expressions of pain. Her work was carried out with Dr Denis O’Hora and Professor Brian McGuire. Nessa Sweeney won second prize in the clinical poster category for her work examining the experience of young Irish mentors supporting adolescents with juvenile idiopathic arthritis, supervised by Dr Caroline Heary and Professor Brian McGuire. The research competition was judged by a panel of international experts who commended the high quality of the research.  Both co-directors of the Centre for Pain Research at NUI Galway also contributed to the event. Professor Brian McGuire delivered a keynote presentation on the assessment and management of pain in people with an intellectual disability, and Professor David Finn presenting in the Irish Pain Research Network Symposium on the values and challenges of preclinical models in translational research. They joined a number of other clinical experts and scientists from a range of professional disciplines such as pain medicine, surgery, nursing, physiotherapy and psychology in presenting their work to an audience of scientists and health practitioners. Marking the Global Year against Pain in the Most Vulnerable, the meeting heard about challenges and opportunities in identifying and treating pain, and new and innovative approaches in research and clinical practice. -Ends-

Friday, 22 November 2019

As part of the Galway Science and Technology Festival, National University of Ireland Galway will be hosting a Space Careers roadshow on Friday 22nd November. The roadshow is run by ESERO Ireland in partnership with CIT Blackrock Castle Observatory. Featuring a whole host of speakers from the Space Industry including Space engineers, astronomers, and artists, the roadshow offers students the opportunity to see the exciting array of careers available to them in the space industry in Ireland. The roadshow will be emceed by acclaimed Science Communicator and artist Dr Niamh Shaw. Professor Walter Gear, Dean of Science & Engineering at NUI Galway “As an astrophysicist, I am particularly pleased to that the Science & Technology Festival is bringing the Space Careers Roadshow to NUI Galway this week.  Building on Ireland’s membership of esteemed international space organisations, this event showcases the breadth of exciting and rewarding careers available to our graduates in the space sector, including opportunities that extend beyond traditional physics, astronomy and engineering subjects’” Ireland is well positioned to exploit careers in the Space industry. Ireland has a well-educated workforce and excellent tech infrastructure. Our membership of groups such as the European Space Agency and European Southern Observatory affords Irish engineers, astronomers, and more, opportunities that wouldn’t otherwise be available to us. While there are obvious STEM career benefits, there are also opportunities available in areas such as Space Law, Architecture, Art, Languages, and more. Ireland’s commitment to advancing careers in this sector was confirmed earlier this year when the Department of Business Enterprise and Innovation launched Ireland’s first Space Strategy for Enterprise. There are still spaces available for students at the Space Careers Roadshow. Spaces are free, but allocated on a first come first served basis. To book spaces for your students contact or visit

Thursday, 21 November 2019

NUI Galway’s Fiona Neary has been awarded an Achiever of the Year Award as part of Knowledge Transfer Ireland’s Impact Awards. The annual awards showcased the success in knowledge transfer carried out in Ireland’s Higher Education Institutions and publicly funded research organisation for the wider benefit of the economy and society at large. Fiona Neary is Innovation Operations Manager with the NUI Galway’s Innovation Office and was lauded for her passion and commitment to supporting entrepreneurs. In particular, she was recognised as co-founder of BioExel, Ireland’s first MedTech Accelerator. Since January 2018, Fiona co-delivered two rounds of the intensive 6-month investor ready accelerator programme, which saw 14 companies achieved €9.7m investment to date. David Murphy, Director of the Innovation Office at NUI Galway said: “I congratulate Fiona on this well-deserved award.  Fiona drives impact for the university and region by inspiring and progressing the start-up community on campus. She is the interface between these companies and the university, providing practical supports and sharing her expertise as an entrepreneurial mentor.” Spin-Out Company Impact Award NUI Galway was also shortlisted for its spin-out Neurent Medical. Neurent Medical is developing a new-to-world, medical device led procedure to treat patients with rhinitis. The founders of Neurent Medical, having identified an unmet clinical need in treating rhinitis, developed new technology with support of the Enterprise Ireland Commercialisation Fund which will remove huge unnecessary spend for the healthcare system. The company’s founders were part of Bioinnovate Ireland at NUI Galway and Neurent Medical spun-out of the university in 2018. The Innovation Office at NUI Galway has supported the project through from idea conception, invention disclosure, funding application, project implementation, IP management and patent protection, and through company formation and licensing the technology from the university.  Neurent Medical continues to work closely with NUI Galway through funded research programmes. Commenting, KTI Director and Chair of the Judging Panel Dr Alison Campbell said:  “The EU’s Innovation Scoreboard classifies Ireland as a “Strong Innovator” with our performance ranking favourably among our EU peers. Tonight’s awards recognise and pay tribute to the work of those on the ground nationwide in Ireland’s Technology Transfer Offices who actually make this innovation happen, acting as a vital link between industry and academia. They provide the information to companies, support and manage the processes that allow commercialisation and collaboration to flourish, freeing up researchers and businesses to get on with the business of innovating. Today we recognise their achievements both at the wider project level, but also through the individual KT Achiever of the Year award.”   The Innovation Office’s role in driving impact NUI Galway’s Innovation Office plays a crucial role in driving impact for the university, with a focus on the benefits to society and the economy. The team works closely with the university’s research community to take research breakthroughs and knowledge out into society; to support collaborations with industry; to mentor spin-outs and spin-ins; and to deliver programmes that engage staff and students in entrepreneurial projects. Up to 40 start-ups are based on campus at any one time, becoming a key part of the thriving entrepreneurial ecosystem in Galway. -Ends-

Thursday, 21 November 2019

NUI Galway will promote the meaningful integration for Ireland’s newest communities, breaking down barriers to education, and eliminating discrimination in all its forms  NUI Galway will celebrate its recent designation as a University of Sanctuary today (Thursday, 21 November) with Galway City Mayor, Councillor Mike Cubbard and NUI Galway President, Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh attending the event from 10am-12pm in the Aula Maxima. The 2019 University of Sanctuary scholarship recipients from several diverse and under-represented backgrounds will also participate in the event. Minister of State for Equality, Immigration, and Integration, David Stanton, TD will also launch the University’s annual report on Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) for the academic year 2018/19 today (Thursday, 21 November). President of NUI Galway, Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh, said: “We commit to broadening access to university education from under-represented groups, while leading on and promoting equality and diversity throughout the University. While we look at diversity in terms of race, ethnicity, culture, language, religion, and experiential upbringing, we look at people simply as people. Fellow human beings on a journey through life. “Education is key to supporting society’s development and it’s fundamental that our education system does its utmost to assist those most in need. Students who have fled war, persecution, genocide, and many other human rights violations deserve our support. Their resilience should be rewarded, and we are pleased this week to award eight University of Sanctuary scholarships in 2019, underlining our commitments to developing our position as a University of Sanctuary.” In 2017, student members of the Fáilte Refugees Society created a university-wide movement to challenge educational inequities, prejudice and racism that existed nationally and in the West of Ireland in particular. NUI Galway’s student-led society, Minceirs Whiden (Travellers Talking), is the first student society for Travellers in Ireland established by a university, and gives our students from the travelling community a place to talk and share support. Six undergraduate and two postgraduate University of Sanctuary scholarships have been awarded in 2019, which include: four scholarships in College of Science; two in Business, Public Policy and Law; one in Engineering and Informatics, and one in Arts, Social Sciences, and Celtic Studies. Figures published in the annual report show that the NUI Galway community is increasingly reflective of the diverse society and of the diversity in the West of Ireland. NUI Galway had 3,972 international students in 2018/19, making up 18% of all undergraduate students and 28% of postgraduates. The numbers of international staff have also grown by 4% (from 20% to 24%) in the last year, with more than 110 countries represented on campus. NUI Galway also records statistics for average age, gender breakdown, and staff with disabilities. The annual Equality, Diversity and Inclusion report outlines key achievements during the past year, including: The success of the University of Sanctuary campaign, placing NUI Galway among those universities internationally who work to ensure that higher education is accessible and welcoming to asylum seekers, refugees and to members of the Traveller Community. The celebration of 20 years of Access Programmes, which support individuals in realising their educational potential through various non-traditional entry routes to higher education. The development of equality and inclusion priority actions to link with the University’s new Strategic Plan, which will be launched in early 2020. The embedding of Athena SWAN, a gender equality award, throughout the University and its Schools. The undertaking of a Gender Pay Gap analysis, ahead of required government legislation, to proactively confront any issues that may be present due to gender inequality. The Gender Pay Gap captures the extent to which women are represented evenly across an organisation, at both junior and senior levels. The development of a Staff Guide to Disability in the Workplace to support staff who require reasonable accommodations. The establishment of an International Staff Network to support and provide a voice for all non-Irish staff members of NUI Galway. Places of Sanctuary Ireland (PoSI) is a network of groups in local communities which share the objectives of promoting a culture of welcome and inclusiveness across Irish society for those seeking International Protection in Ireland. Their University of Sanctuary initiative encourages and celebrates the good practice of universities, colleges and institutes welcoming refugees, asylum seekers and other migrants into their university communities in meaningful ways. The University of Sanctuary steering committee at NUI Galway also includes the Irish Traveller community in its remit, with a focus on the promotion of Irish Traveller culture as an innate and positive element of Irish society, and to address the low levels of participation at second and third-level education amongst Irish Travellers. Speaking at the launch, Minister Stanton said: “I am delighted to be at NUI Galway today to launch this report. With this being their third Annual Report, it is clear that the University actively lives by its values and that equality, diversity and inclusion are front and centre in the way it carries out its role. This Report encapsulates the great progress that NUI Galway has made in recent years and demonstrates that it remains committed to creating a welcoming work and study environment where diversity is celebrated, where everyone can contribute and reach their full potential, and where everyone is treated fairly and respectfully.” NUI Galway’s Vice President for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, Professor Anne Scott added: “I am delighted to see this report of our programme of equality, diversity and inclusion initiatives launched today by Minister David Stanton. This annual report provides clear evidence that we in NUI Galway are making significant progress in building a sustainable diverse and inclusive culture in our university. We all appreciate that we are on a stimulating journey with significant challenges ahead. However, our commitment to this broad-based agenda is clear. We look forward with confidence to building on these achievements and continuing this important work in academic year 2019/20.” Guest speakers at the University of Sanctuary celebration will include the Mayor of Galway City, Mike Cubbard; NUI Galway President, Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh; NUI Galway's Students' Union President, Clare Austick, as well as student representatives from across the university. There will be live music on the day from the Galway One World Choir, as well as from colleagues in the Centre of Irish Studies at NUI Galway. To read the Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) annual report, visit: -Ends-

Thursday, 21 November 2019

Recently conferred NUI Galway graduate Fionnuala O’Malley, was awarded the OMEP Student of the Year Award 2019 for her paper: Promoting Inclusion in Early Years Care and Education. The winning paper was submitted as part of her final year studies in the part-time BA in Early Childhood Studies and Practice. The award, bestowed on students by OMEP-Ireland, includes a trophy, a cash prize and the publication of the winning paper in the next edition of An Leanbh Óg. OMEP: the World Organisation for Early Years Education (or Organisation Mondiale pour l'Educational Prescolaire) is an international non-governmental, non-profit organisation with standing at the United Nations and UNESCO. OMEP is made up of a worldwide network of locally based chapters, including OMEP-Ireland who host the ‘Student of the Year’ award, an annual Early Childhood conference and publish the peer-reviewed academic journal An Leanbh Óg. The ‘Student of the Year Award’ is an open competition for students undertaking third level studies in the area of Early Childhood Education and Care throughout the Republic of Ireland. Fionnuala O’Malley, from Enfield, Co. Meath, said: “The module and the essay motivated me to reflect upon and interrogate not just my own values and experiences around equality and inclusion but also really brought home the critical role the early year’s practitioner can play in preventing prejudice and promoting inclusion.” The winning paper focused on ‘The role of Early Years Practitioners in challenging prejudice and providing inclusive early education to young children’. The paper also critically analysedrelevant theories, explored best practice models, situating the discussion within the current Irish Early Childhood Education and Care context. Speaking about the paper, module tutor Lynda Smyth said: “Fionnuala developed an excellent, insightful critique throughout the paper, particularly in relation to the role of the adult in ECEC practice. Promoting an inclusive environment in our early childhood settings is about the key adults having the knowledge, values and skills to ensure each child develops a sense of belonging, which enhances their wellbeing and identity. This is the foundation for everything else that happens in these important settings.” Dr Sheila Garrity, Academic Coordinator of the BA and MA in Early Childhood Studies and Practice at NUI Galway, said: “Throughout the four years of our degree Fionnuala stood out as a committed student, with a passion for exploring the factors that come together to provide for rich early learning experiences for young children. The students who undertake our degrees are in the existing workforce; they are combining study with employment, maximising that theory-practice connection; however, they are also balancing many demands in their busy lives. For a student of this blended learning part-time degree to achieve this accolade speaks of course to the student’s own capacities, but is also a reflection of the quality of the team we have here in the Centre for Adult Learning and Professional Development, including all of our committed tutors.” The BA in Early Childhood Studies and Practice was launched in 2010 and is offered through CALPD in collaboration with the School of Political Science & Sociology and the UNESCO Child & Family Research Centre. Offered on a part-time, outreach basis, the course was designed to support the existing Early Childhood workforce, for those wishing to upskill to a degree, while engaged in employment in the field. Students are able to benefit from their own workplace as a placement setting creating a more achievable and feasible model for student-practitioners. Information on the BA in Early Childhood Studies & Practice is available at: or you can contact the Centre on 091-492080 or email Information on the OMEP Student of the Year Award is available at: -Ends-

Tuesday, 19 November 2019

NUI Galway and Galway Community Circus have launched a new partnership for 2019-2022 to develop circus arts in Galway and Ireland. Galway Community Circus were recently successful in their Erasmus+ grant application for a three-year research project Circus++ in the first European wide, third level, long term training programme for circus teachers. A grant of €360,000 was awarded for the research and development programme: ‘Circus++ Youth and Social Circus Arts – an innovative and inclusive education for Europe’. It will allow Galway Community Circus, along with four other circus schools across Europe, and three universities (including NUI Galway), to devise a curriculum for the first ever BA and MA courses in Youth and Social Circus, in the world. The future curriculum will be delivered by the partnering universities from 2022 onwards. Lead partner, the University of Tampere Finland, will lead the project together with Finnish circus partner, Sorin Sirkus and the International Youth and Social Circus Network Caravan. Finland is an international leader in social circus and has used circus in a theraputic and educational context for many years. Executive Artistic Director of Galway Community Circus and Finnish native,  Ulla Hokkanen, said: “Circus++ means that Galway Community Circus will be at the forefront of this exciting, international development in youth and social circus. Through the project, circus will be understood on a deeper level for the developmental and well-being benefits it offers, as well as for its unique characteristics as an art form. We are delighted that NUI Galway will be part of this jourrney with us, providing a new and innovative educational offering to Irish and international students.’’ Dr Ian Walsh, Lecturer in Drama and Theatre Studies, NUI Galway said: “The development of this new curriculum in partnership with Galway Community Circus and our other European partners offers NUI Galway the opportunity to develop new expertise in assessing and evaluating the circus arts and to build on our current teaching and research in the areas of applied theatre and popular performance studies. There is great value in students studying the circus arts as it develops skills in concentration, working together as an ensemble and task completion.” Galway Community Circus is a flagship for Youth and Social Circus and has been in operation for 18 years. It is one of the most active arts organisations in the country, with over 650 members a week attending classes and training at their venue in Shantalla. In 2020, the company will present ‘Wires Crossed – A Balancing Act for Europe’, produced in partnership with Galway 2020 European Capital of Culture and the European Funambulism Network. This tightwire project will see 400 people cross the River Corrib and The Claddagh Basin in August 2020, to highlight positive mental health.  NUI Galway will also partner with Galway Community Circus on the Creative Europe funded project ‘Wires Crossed: Head, Heart, Balance’, a shared project with The Serious Road Trip (Romania), Ecole de Cirque de Bruxelles, and the Université Libre de Bruxelles. This will see ‘Wires Crossed’ continue on to the Capital of Culture 2021 in Timisoara, Romania, as well as the publishing of scientific research on the neurological effects of funambulism on the brain. ‘Wires Crossed: Head, Heart, Balance’, will run from October 2019-September 2022, with NUI Galway being the evaluator for the project. Circus+ is a partnership project between universities and circus schools from five partner countries. Partners include Tampere University, Sorin Sirkus, Stockholm University of Arts, Cirkus Cirkör, Le Plus Petit Cirque du Monde, NUI Galway, Galway Community Circus, CIRQUEON and Caravan - International Youth and Social Circus Network. For further information contact Dani Gill, Communications Co-ordinator, Galway Community Circus at or 085 7604072. -Ends-

Tuesday, 19 November 2019

NUI Galway’s School of Education recently hosted a Diversity in Teaching research symposium. Building on their previous Diversity in Initial Teacher Education (DITE) project funded by the Irish Research Council (2013-2015), the Diversity in Teaching event was Ireland’s first research symposium on the topic.   Professor Anne Scott, Vice-President for Equality and Diversity at NUI Galway, opened the event and welcomed over 60 participants who were in attendance from higher education institutions all over Ireland, as well as from Canada, the US, and the UK. Professor Liz Thomas of Edge Hill University, England provided the keynote address, examining the role of professional passion in improving diversity and success in teacher education. The symposium was organised by Drs Elaine Keane and Manuela Heinz, who further contextualised the symposium’s work by examining the rationale for diversifying the teaching profession. The remainder of the day featured 18 papers presented by national and international participants, many drawing on projects funded under the Higher Education Authority’s innovative Programme for Access to Higher Education (PATH), Strand 1 (Equity of Access to Teacher Education), which in 2017 committed €2.4 million to projects to diversify the teaching profession in Ireland. Chaired by Dr Rory McDaid, Marino Institute of Education, the day closed with a panel session looking to the future in the area, with contributions from Neil McDermott, Higher Education Authority; Eilish Bergin, Department of Education and Skills; Owen Ward, Professional Master of Education student; and Drs Elaine Keane and Manuela Heinz, School of Education, NUI Galway.   Dr Elaine Keane, School of Education at NUI Galway, said: “We were delighted to welcome so many colleagues from the national and international contexts to Ireland’s first research symposium on Diversity in Teaching here at NUI Galway. Diversifying the teaching profession has long been a core research focus for us here in the School of Education, and the symposium’s work here today has laid the foundation stone for the progress of this important work into the future.” Dr Manuela Heinz, School of Education, NUI Galway, said: “The research symposium offered teacher educators, representatives from the Department of Education and the Higher Education Authority, teachers, student teachers and education researchers the opportunity to discuss ways forward. Our previous DITE research identified a significant ‘diversity gap’ between student and teacher cohorts. Now that we are supporting the recruitment of a more diverse student teacher cohort, we need to provide the necessary supports for teachers from currently underrepresented groups, an important focus for research.” -Ends-

Monday, 18 November 2019

The ‘Inaugural Professors In Conversation Series’ featuring newly appointed Business Professors at NUI Galway will continue on Wednesday, 20 November at 4:30pm with Professor Jonathan Levie, recently appointed Professor of Entrepreneurship and Regional Development will give a talk on ‘Entrepreneurship and Regional Development’. Hosted by the J.E. Cairnes School of Business and Economics and Whitaker Institute, the event is free and open to the public. Developing a balanced economy in Ireland requires the emergence of thriving entrepreneurial ecosystems throughout Ireland, not just in Dublin. Drawing on 35 years of working with a diverse range of national and regional entrepreneurial ecosystems across the world, Professor Levie will discuss how diverse regional stakeholders can cooperate to enhance entrepreneurship within their region, including third level education institutes, financial institutions, corporates, local government, accelerators, enterprise agencies, and above all, entrepreneurs and business angels. He will also contrast the role of national government with that of regional ecosystem stakeholders. The talk will also outline plans for a new Centre for Entrepreneurial Growth and Scaling at the J.E. Cairnes School of Business & Economics. Professor Levie will be in conversation with Senator Pádraig Ó Céidigh, Entrepreneur and Independent Senator in Seanad Éireann. Professor Alan Ahearne, Director, Whitaker Institute at NUI Galway, said: “Entrepreneurial firms are the engines of growth in any regional economy. They need to be at the heart of the regional development strategies for Galway and the wider West of Ireland region. Only by understanding the roles of various regional stakeholders and how they most effectively work together can we succeed in building an environment where entrepreneurial firms can prosper.” Speaking of the event, Professor Levie said “I am very much looking forward to a lively discussion with Senator Pádraig Ó Céidigh. NUI Galway has much to be proud of from an entrepreneurship perspective, from working with enterprise educators in schools to winning the EI Student Entrepreneur of the Year Awards in two out of the past three years, to our world class programmes in medtech business creation. But I am convinced there is more we can do across the campus and across disciplines, and beyond the campus to work in new and innovative ways with stakeholders across the West of Ireland.”  The event will take place on Wednesday, 20 November from 4:30pm-5:30pm in Room CA110 in the Cairnes Building, North Campus, NUI Galway. To book the event, visit: and search for ‘Entrepreneurship and Regional Development’ or   -Ends-

Thursday, 14 November 2019

Bronnadh an gradam don scannán faisnéise is fearr ag Féile Scannán na hÉireann i Londain ar ‘Cumar – A Galway Rhapsody’ le hAodh Ó Coileáin as OÉ Gaillimh ag ócáid in Ambasáid na hÉireann sa Bhreatain i Londain an tseachtain seo. Ag glacadh leis an gradam, dúirt Ó Coileáin: “Tá suntas ag baint leis an mbronnadh seo i gcathair Londain mar gur áit thábhachtach é d’ealaíona na hÉireann.  Sna blianta tar éis an Dara Cogadh Domhanda, tháinig cuid mhaith dár gceoltóirí agus dár n-ealaíontóirí go Londain chun a slí bheatha a bhaint amach:  Seosamh Ó hÉanaí, ón Aird Thoir, Carna, an píobaire, Willie Clancy ó Shráid na Cathrach, an t-amhránaí ó Chorcaigh, Margaret Barry, Bobby Casey, an tEanach i gCo. an Chláir, Julia Clifford agus Con Curtin ó mo chontae dúchais, Ciarraí, Roger Sherlock ó Shligeach a sheinneadh maidin Dé Domhnaigh sa White Hart, Fulham Broadway.  Ócáid ar leith i stair na hamharclainne in Éirinn ab ea an taispeántas a thug Druid de dhráma Synge, ‘The Playboy of the Western World’ i gCovent Garden sa bhliain 1985. D’aistrigh a lán seóanna de chuid Fhéile Idirnáisiúnta Ealaíne na Gaillimhe go dtí an chathair.  Tá an stair shaibhir seo mar chúlra agus mar thaca ag ‘Cumar – A Galway Rhapsody’ agus an scannán a thaispeáint i Londain.” Dúirt bunaitheoir agus stiúrthóir Fhéile Scannán na hÉireann i Londain, Kelly O’Connor: “Thaithin an scannán go mór linn agus inár dtuairim, seasfaidh sé i bhfad mar thaifead ar bhunbhrí inmheánach agus ar thionchar na Gaillimhe.  Is fada linn go bhfeicimid an glacaadh a bheidh leis an scannán anseo i Londain.” Tá déantóir an scannáin, Aodh Ó Coileáin ina stiúrthóir cláir ar an MA (Cleachtas Gairmiúil sna Meáin) agus múineann sé ar an gcéim BA (Cumarsáid agus Gaeilge), Acadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge, OÉ Gaillimh.  Bhí aird na léirmheastóirí ar ‘Cumar – A Galway Rhapsody’, a léirigh Paddy Hayes ó Tua Films, nuair a taispeánadh é don chéad uair ag Fleadh Scannán na Gaillimhe i mbliana.  Taispeánadh é ag féile i Chicago i mí Mheán Fómhair freisin. Caitheann an scannán dátheangach súil fhísiúil chruthaitheach ar Ghaillimh agus ar Chonamara mar thimpeallacht ina n-oibríonn na healaíontóirí seo.  Déantar scrúdú chomh maith ar an tionchar a bhíonn ag saothar na n-ealaíontóirí ar a n-áit chónaithe.  Faoi chaibidil sa scannán tá: an ceoltóir/cumadóir Máirtín O’Connor, an file/drámadóir, Rita Ann Higgins, an scríbhneoir, Mike McCormack, Noeline Kavanagh, stiúrthóir ealaíona an ghrúpa Macnas, an t-amhránaí Róisín Seoighe, an péintéir ó Chonamara, Pádraic Reaney, agus an fear seoigh, Tommy Tiernan.  Le chéile tugann na healaíontóirí léargas úr spreagúil agus ionraic ar shaol an ealaíontóra i gcathair na Gaillimhe agus i gConamara.  Chum an Gaillimheach Jake Morgan an ceol agus cloistear an grúpa Galway Street Club sa scannán. Is togra de chuid na scéime ilDána é ‘Cumar – A Galway Rhapsody’ – maoinithe ag TG4, Údarás Craolacháin na hÉireann agus an Chomhairle Ealaíon i gcomhar le hIonad Scannán na Gaillimhe.  Bhain sé coimisiún amach in 2017 agus sé an comhlacht Tua Films a léirigh an scannán. Cruthaíonn scéim ilDána deis do lucht déanta scannán, saothar cennródaíoch a chruthú ar na healaíona trí Ghaeilge. Taispeánfar an scannán sa Regent Street Cinema mar chuid d’Fhéile Scannán na hÉireann i Londain, Dé Domhnaigh, 24 Samhain, 7.30pm.  Beidh fáiltiú dí roimhe mar cheiliúradh ar Ghaillimh 2020, Príomhchathair Chultúir na hEorpa. -Críoch-

Thursday, 14 November 2019

The 2019 Best Documentary Award at the Irish Film Festival London was presented to ‘Cumar – A Galway Rhapsody’ a film by NUI Galway’s Aodh Ó Coileáin this week. Receiving the award at the Irish Embassy in London, Ó Coileáin said: “It is of particular significance to be selected for this award in London, a city so central to Irish artistic endeavour.  In the years following the Second World War, many of our musicians and artists came here to make a living:  Joe Heaney from Carna, Piper Willie Clancy from Milltown Malbay, singer Margaret Barry from Cork, Fiddle player Bobby Casey from Annagh in Co. Clare, Julia Clifford and Con Curtin from my own home county of Kerry, Flute player, Roger Sherlock, from Sligo who played in the White Hart, Fulham Broadway on Sunday mornings.  Druid’s performance of ‘The Playboy of the Western World’ at the Donmar Warehouse Theatre, Covent Garden in 1985 was a milestone in Irish Theatre.  Many Galway International Arts Festival shows have transferred here.  It’s against this rich background that ‘Cumar – A Galway Rhapsody’ screens in London.” Founder and Director of Irish Film London, Kelly O’Connor said: “We really loved the film and think it will become a long-standing document of the intrinsic essence and influence of Galway. We can't wait to see how audiences respond to it here in London.” The film was conceived and directed by Aodh Ó Coileáin who is Programme Director of the MA (Cleachtas Gairniúil sna Meáin) and also teaches on the BA (Cumarsáid agus Gaeilge) programme at NUI Galway’s Acadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge.  The film was produced by Paddy Hayes of Tua Films and premiered to critical acclaim at this year’s Galway Film Fleadh, it also screened at a film festival in Chicago last September.  ‘Cumar – A Galway Rhapsody’ examines the influence of Galway city and Connemara on seven artists of varied fields.  In turn the lens focuses on the impact of these artists’ work on the place where they live.  The artists featured in the film include: musician/composer Máirtín O’Connor, poet/playwright Rita Ann Higgins, novelist Mike McCormack, Noeline Kavanagh, artistic director of Macnas, singer song-writer, Róisín Seoighe, visual artist, Pádraic Reaney and comedian, Tommy Tiernan.  The film is scored by Galway composer Jake Morgan while Galway Street Club make a guest appearance with their own brand of music. ‘Cumar – A Galway Rhapsody’ is the project which was selected for the 2017 ilDÁNA commission.  The ilDÁNA scheme is an opportunity for documentary filmmakers to make a landmark, cinematic documentary on the arts in Irish.  ilDÁNA is a partnership between TG4, the Arts Council, and the BAI in association with Galway Film Centre. The film will screen at Regent Street Cinema as part of the Irish Film Festival London, Sunday, 24 November at 7.30pm.  The screening will be proceeded by a drinks reception celebrating Galway 2020, European Capital of Culture. -Ends-

Wednesday, 13 November 2019

The STARTED Project, coordinated by NUI Galway’s TechInnovate programme, will host a free workshop ‘Supporting Researchers to Create Innovation Driven Enterprises’ in the Maldron Hotel, Sandy Road, Galway from 9.30am-4.30pm on Thursday, 14November 2019. The event, in partnership with the West Regional Skills Forum, is an exciting opportunity to gain intrapreneurship and entrepreneurship skills tailored for those working on new product development, research or innovation within companies or startups. Participants will gain a detailed insight into bringing innovations from potential customer engagement through to successful commercialisation or technology transfer. They will also be the first in Europe to have free access to associated online tools, developed as part of the STARTED Project, to test the feasibility of their innovations. Online tools include: E-learning Platform “Validate Your Idea” is an interactive, free e-learning course designed to introduce researchers to entrepreneurship and guide them through the main steps on how to validate the business potential of their idea. Starting from the market discovery, the researchers will learn and apply fundamental concepts through a series of lessons that include both learning material and exercises. ResearchInno Database is the first database specifically designed for researchers who intend to evaluate the entrepreneurial potential of their invention/project/idea and helps them find potential partners, resources and competitors in their specific industry.           A roundtable on the day will explore the additional skills needs for research and development functions in industry to input into the development of funded and subsidised future training courses for the region. Denise Rocks, West Regional Skills Forum Manager based at NUI Galway, said: “This is an exciting chance for those working in Research and Development, or in a team for which innovation is essential, to gain an edge from the incredible team at TechInnovate and to learn the principles and practice of disciplined entrepreneurship to startup or spinoff their innovations.” John Breslin, Director of TechInnovate at NUI Galway, said: “We are delighted to give this free workshop on Disciplined Entrepreneurship with the STARTED Project, sponsored by Erasmus+, and the Regional Skills Forum. The aim is to move from storytelling about entrepreneurship to practical skills development on how to go about being an entrepreneur or intrapreneur, and we will have an experienced team of five lecturers and researchers from TechInnovate at NUI Galway giving a varied set of useful sessions on the day.” The STARTED Project is an Erasmus+ Knowledge Alliance initiative funded by the European Commission. It aims to reinforce and structure a European network for promoting entrepreneurship and innovation in the Research and Development area while improving the flow of knowledge and win-win cooperation between Higher Education Institutes and businesses. For more information visit: The West Regional Skills Forum is an initiative of the Department of Education and Skills, serving Galway, Mayo and Roscommon. The Forum Manager acts as a single contact point in the region to help employers connect with the range of services and supports available across the education and training system. For more information visit To register to attend this free event visit, For more information about the event, contact Denise Rocks, West Regional Skills Forum Manager at -Ends-