Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Dr Ciara Smyth, Director of the Doctoral Programme in the School of Law, NUI Galway, has been appointed to the government’s Working Group on Asylum.  The Working Group, which is convened by the Minister for Justice and Equality and the Minister of State at the Department of Justice and Equality, and chaired by retired High Court judge, Mr Justice Bryan McMahon, is to recommend to Government what improvements should be made to the State’s existing direct provision and protection processes for asylum seekers in the short and longer term.  The establishment of the Working Group comes in response to mounting criticism of delays in the Irish asylum procedure and the conditions in which asylum seekers are required to live while they await the outcome of their asylum applications.  Other members of the Working Group include: Sue Conlan, Chief Executive of the Irish Refugee Council and Sophie Magennis, Head of UNHCR in Ireland.  Dr Ciara Smyth has been working in the asylum field for over fifteen years, both as a practitioner and as an academic.  She teaches Immigration Law, International Human Rights and International Law in the School of Law, NUI Galway, and Refugee Law in the Irish Centre for Human Rights.  She has been involved in training of staff in the asylum institutions, has conducted master-classes for barristers, solicitors and asylum decision-makers on various aspects of refugee law, and is a member of the Board of Directors of the Irish Refugee Council.  She has just published a monograph with Routledge on  European Asylum Law and the Rights of the Child. Last year Ciara was presented with a prestigious Max van der Stoel Human Rights Award in Tilburg for her PhD thesis on ‘The Common European Asylum System and the Rights of the Child: An Exploration of Meaning and Compliance’, which she completed at Leiden University. Welcoming the announcement of Dr Smyth’s appointment to the new Working Group, the Head of the School of Law at NUI Galway, Professor Donncha O’Connell, said: “This is a well-deserved recognition of Ciara Smyth’s standing as a leading Irish and European scholar on asylum and related matters. I have no doubt that she will make an invaluable contribution to the Working Group which will be chaired by Judge McMahon who was, previously, a part-time Professor in the School of Law at NUI Galway.” -Ends-

Thursday, 16 October 2014

NUI Galway Professor of Human Resource Management and Employment Relations, Professor Tony Dundon, has been has conferred with the award of Fellow by the Academy of Social Sciences. Professor Dundon is one of 34 leading social scientists to receive the award. The recipients have a wide range of expertise in the social sciences, including town planning, education, geography, social work, law, sociology, economics and psychology. These Fellows have made a substantial contribution to wider social science in a variety of contexts, including in higher education, government, funding councils, charitable foundations and think tanks. Professor Dundon is recognised as a key figure in the development of employment relations studies, in particular on employee voice, worker rights and regulatory systems of industrial relations. The Academy of Social Sciences is the National Academy of Academics, Learned Societies and Practitioners in the Social Sciences. It has around 1,000 individual Fellows, who are distinguished scholars and practitioners from academia and the public and private sectors. They are awarded Fellowship status after peer group review of the standing and impact of their work and evaluation of their contribution to wider social science. Fellows are entitled to use the post-nominal letters 'FAcSS'. For more information visit http://acss.org.uk/news/4-leading-social-scientists-conferred-fellows/.   -Ends-

Friday, 17 October 2014

Three Honorary Masters Degrees will also be presented Almost 3,000 students will graduate from NUI Galway during the Autumn Conferring Ceremonies which take place from 18-24 October. The University will also confer three Honorary Masters Degrees during the ceremonies on Carl Hession, Charlie Byrne and Patricia Burke Brogan. Carl Hession - Masters of Music honoris causa: For over 30 years, Carl has been involved with music in Galway, primarily in Coláiste Iognáid where he teaches. In addition to his teaching, his association with and contribution to the school’s annual show and other events as composer and musical director is also highly regarded. Carl has designed and taught the Music Methodology on NUI Galway’s Professional Diploma in Education programme. In recent years as Musical Director for the University’s Medical Orchestra, he has helped rekindle and support the development of students’ musical talents, and to promote music engagement amongst students within the School of Medicine. Carl’s composition ‘Rhythm of the Dance’ and his most recent involvements with the Moscow Ballet are testament to his dedication and talent as a composer. Charlie Byrne - Masters of Arts honoris causa: Founder and owner of Charlie Byrne’s Bookshop which opened in 1988 as a market stall, the shop has grown successfully over the years and is now recognised as one of Ireland’s most successful bookshops. The business has become a cultural venue in Galway City, hosting book launches, readings, signings, poetry slams, musical evenings, art exhibitions and book clubs, and in 2013 he was awarded the Irish Times Bookshop of the Year award. A native of Longford, Charlie graduated from NUI Galway with a Bachelor of Arts in 1981. Patricia Burke Brogan - Masters of Arts honoris causa: Born in Co. Clare and now living in Galway City, Patricia is an internationally renowned poet, playwright and painter. Her paintings and graphics have been exhibited widely, both nationally and internationally, and has won many awards for her plays, poems, graphics and short stories. Her stage play Eclipsed, first produced in 1992, was presented with a Fringe First at the Edinburgh Theatre Festival that year and has since been produced all over the world and been translated into many languages, including Japanese for a recent production in Tokyo. Her memoir was published earlier this year. In advance of the conferring ceremonies, Dr Jim Browne, President of NUI Galway, said: “NUI Galway is fortunate to be associated with many outstanding honorary graduates throughout its history. This week we are proud to honour Carl Hession, Charlie Byrne and Patricia Burke Brogan. Each of these individuals has made an outstanding and distinctive contribution to the diverse fields of music, education, literature and the arts. NUI Galway is very pleased to be in a position to recognise their exceptional talents and achievements.” The annual Autumn Conferring Ceremonies will begin with the Centre for Adult Learning and Professional Development ceremonies, where awards will be conferred on almost 950 students who completed their certificate, diploma and degree courses at many locations across the country. -ENDS- Bronnadh an Fhómhair in OÉ Gaillimh Bronnfar Trí Chéim Mháistreachta Oinigh chomh maith Bainfidh beagnach 3,000 mac léinn céim amach in OÉ Gaillimh sna Searmanais Bhronnta Céime a bheidh ar bun idir an 18-24 Deireadh Fómhair. Bronnfaidh an Ollscoil Céim Mháistreachta Oinigh ar an triúr seo a leanas: Carl Hession, Charlie Byrne agus Patricia Burke Brogan. Carl Hession - Céim Mháistreachta sa Cheol honoris causa: Le breis is 30 bliain, tá baint ag Carl le ceol i nGaillimh, go príomha i gColáiste Iognáid áit ina bhfuil sé ina mhúinteoir. Le cois na múinteoireachta, tá ardmheas ar a chuid oibre mar chumadóir agus mar stiúrthóir ceoil ar sheó bliantúil na scoile agus ar imeachtaí eile. Is é Carl a dhear agus a mhúin an Mhodheolaíocht Cheoil ar an Dioplóma Gairmiúil san Oideachas in OÉ Gaillimh. Le blianta beaga anuas agus é ina Stiúrthóir Ceoil le Ceolfhoireann Leighis na hOllscoile, chuidigh sé chun buanna ceoil na mac léinn a athmhúscailt agus a chothú, agus chun rannpháirtíocht cheoil a chur chun cinn i measc na mac léinn i Scoil an Leighis. Is teist iad ceapadóireacht Carl ar ‘Rhythm of the Dance’ agus an obair is déanaí a bhí idir lámha aige le Ballet Mhoscó ar a dhíograis agus a bhua mar chumadóir. Charlie Byrne - Céim Mháistreachta sna Dána honoris causa: Is é Charlie bunaitheoir agus úinéir Charlie Byrne’s Bookshop a d'oscail in 1988 mar stalla margaidh. Tá fás agus forbairt tagtha ar an siopa thar na blianta agus tá sé aitheanta anois ar cheann de na siopaí leabhar is rathúla in Éirinn. Ionad cultúrtha atá sa ghnó anois i gCathair na Gaillimhe, agus bíonn leabhair á seoladh, á léamh, agus á síniú ann, mar aon le hócáidí filíochta, oícheanta ceoil, taispeántais ealaíne agus clubanna leabhar agus bronnadh gradam an Irish Times do Shiopa Leabhar na Bliana ar an siopa sa bhliain 2013. Is as Longford ó dhúchas é Charlie, agus bhronn OÉ Gaillimh Céim sna Dána air sa bhliain 1981. Patricia Burke Brogan - Máistreacht sna Dána honoris causa: Rugadh Patricia i gCo. an Chláir agus tá sí anois ag cur fúithi i gCathair na Gaillimhe agus is file, drámadóir agus péintéir í a bhfuil cáil idirnáisiúnta uirthi. Bhí péinteálacha agus grafaicí léi ar taispeáint go forleathan, go náisiúnta agus go hidirnáisiúnta, agus is iomaí duais atá bainte amach aici as a cuid drámaí, dánta, grafaicí agus gearrscéalta. Cuireadh a dráma Eclipsed ar stáitse den chéad uair sa bhliain 1992, agus bronnadh duais Fringe First air ag Féile Amharclannaíochta Dhún Éideann agus ó shin i leith tá sé curtha ar stáitse ar fud an domhain agus tá sé aistrithe go teangacha eile lena n-áirítear an tSeapáinis do léiriú a rinneadh le gairid air i Tóiceo. Foilsíodh a cuimhní cinn níos luaithe i mbliana. Ag labhairt dó roimh na searmanais bhronnta, dúirt an Dr Jim Browne, Uachtarán OÉ Gaillimh: “Tá an t-ádh ar OÉ Gaillimh a bheith bainteach leis an oiread sin céimithe oinigh den scoth ó bunaíodh an Ollscoil. An tseachtain seo, táimid bródúil céim oinigh a bhronnadh ar Carl Hession, ar Charlie Byrne agus ar Patricia Burke Brogan. Tá a c(h)ion féin déanta ag gach céimí oinigh daoibh seo i réimsí éagsúla an cheoil, an oideachais, na litríochta agus na ndán. Is cúis áthais dúinn anseo in OÉ Gaillimh an deis a bheith againn aitheantas a thabhairt don tallann agus don tsárobair atá déanta ag na daoine seo.” Cuirfear tús le Searmanais bhliantúla Bhronnadh Céimeanna an Fhómhair leis na searmanais an Ionaid Foghlama agus Forbartha Gairmiúla d’Aosaigh, áit a mbronnfar dámhachtainí ar bheagnach 950 mac léinn a chríochnaigh a gcúrsaí teastais, dioplóma agus céime in ionaid éagsúla ar fud na tíre. -CRÍOCH-

Monday, 20 October 2014

NUI Galway recently celebrated the success of a select group of first-year students with a special ceremony on Thursday, 17 October, in recognition of the high points they achieved in the recent Leaving Certificate Examination. As part of the University's annual Excellence Scholarships, 57 students received €2,000 each, along with a specially designed NUI Galway scroll. Each year the Excellence Scholarships are given to new entrants at NUI Galway who reached a minimum of 560 points in their Leaving Certificate examination, except in Medicine. For Medical students 10 Scholarships were awarded certificates, based on the combined results in the Leaving Certificate and the new Admissions Test (H-PAT Ireland). The Excellence Scholarships are designed to recognise and reward Leaving Cert success for the highest-achieving students, and encourage their ongoing commitment to academic excellence during their time at NUI Galway. The awards may be held with any other scholarships or grants, including the University's Postgraduate Scholarships, Mature Student Scholarships, Sports Scholarship Scheme and schemes specific to individual colleges for those who excel in their University exams. Speaking at the award ceremony, NUI Galway President Dr Jim Browne, who presented the cheques to each individual winner, said: “I am delighted to present the scholarships to these 57 outstanding individuals in recognition of their academic talent. NUI Galway constantly strives to support and promote academic excellence across all disciplines. The purpose of these Awards is to encourage each student to develop his/her academic potential to the fullest, by setting a realistic threshold of excellence and rewarding every student who attains that level. It is also a chance to give due credit to their parents and teachers for their important contribution to such success.” This year Excellence Scholarships were awarded to students from 40 individual schools throughout Ireland. The winners represented 14 counties including Clare, Donegal, Dublin, Galway, Kerry, Kilkenny, Leitrim, Limerick, Longford, Mayo, Monaghan, Offaly, Sligo and Tipperary. -Ends- Ceiliúradh in OÉ Gaillimh ar Scothmhic Léinn a rinne Éacht san Ardteistiméireacht Rinneadh ceiliúradh in OÉ Gaillimh le gairid ar ghrúpa ar leith mac léinn chéad bhliana ag searmanas speisialta Déardaoin, an 16 Deireadh Fómhair, mar aitheantas ar na pointí arda a ghnóthaigh siad i Scrúdú na hArdteistiméireachta. Mar chuid de shearmanas bliantúil na hOllscoile le Scoláireachtaí Sárchaighdeáin a bhronnadh, bronnadh scoláireachtaí ar fiú €1,500 an ceann iad mar aon le scrolla speisialta ar 49 mac léinn. Bronntar na Scoláireachtaí Sárchaighdeáin gach bliain ar mhic léinn atá díreach tosaithe ag freastal ar OÉ Gaillimh agus a fuair 560 pointe, ar a laghad, i Scrúdú na hArdteistiméireachta, seachas mic léinn leighis. Sa Leigheas, bronntar deich Scoláireacht bunaithe ar thorthaí na hArdteistiméireachta agus na Tástála Iontrála nua (H-PAT Ireland) araon. Tá na Scoláireachtaí Sárchaighdeáin ann chun luach saothair a thabhairt do na daltaí is fearr a n-éiríonn leo san Ardteistiméireacht, agus chun a dtiomantas leanúnach i sárchaighdeán acadúil a spreagadh le linn a dtréimhse in OÉ Gaillimh. D’fhéadfaí go mbeadh scoláireachtaí nó deontais eile ag an té a fhaigheann na scoláireachtaí seo, Scoláireachtaí Iarchéime na hOllscoile, Scoláireachtaí do Mhic Léinn Lánfhásta, Scéim Scoláireachtaí Spóirt na hOllscoile agus scéimeanna a bhaineann go sonrach le coláistí agus iad siúd a n-éiríonn thar barr leo sna scrúduithe Ollscoile san áireamh. Ag labhairt dó roimh bhronnadh na ngradam, bhí an méid seo a leanas le rá ag Uachtarán OÉ Gaillimh, an Dr Jim Browne: “Is cúis áthais dom na scoláireachtaí seo a bhronnadh ar an 49 duine den scoth seo mar aitheantas ar a gcumas acadúil. Déanann OÉ Gaillimh iarracht i gcónaí tacú le sárchaighdeán acadúil i ngach uile dhisciplín agus é a spreagadh. Tá na Gradaim seo ann le gach mac léinn a spreagadh le lántairbhe a bhaint as a gcumas mar mhic léinn, trí thairseach réalaíoch sárchaighdeáin a leagan amach agus luach saothair a thabhairt do gach mac léinn a bhaineann an leibhéal sin amach. Deis atá ann freisin le haitheantas a thabhairt don tsárobair atá déanta ag a dtuismitheoirí agus ag a múinteoirí.” I mbliana bronnadh na Scoláireachtaí Sárchaighdeáin ar scoláirí ó 29 scoil ar fud na hÉireann. Bronnadh scoláireachtaí ar mhic léinn as na 11 chontae seo a leanas – Gaillimh, Maigh Eo, Luimneach, Sligeach, Ciarraí, Baile Átha Cliath, Tiobraid Árann, Ros Comáin, Dún  na nGall, an Dúin agus an Iarmhí. -Críoch-  

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

• NUI Galway to lead new national medical device research centre • NUI Galway to play key role in 3 of 5 new centres • €155 million of new Exchequer funds for 5 world-class Research Centres • €90 million co-investment by over 165 industry partners in new Centres A new world-class medical device research centre is to be established at NUI Galway as part of a €245 million Government investment in science and technology. In addition, NUI Galway is to play a key role in two other research centres announced today in Dublin by Richard Bruton, T.D. Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, and Damien English, T.D. Minister for Skills, Research and Innovation. An announcement of a total of five new SFI Research Centres today is a major investment by the Government in scientific research which is closely aligned to industry and enterprise needs, job opportunities and societal goals. A total of €155 million of Irish exchequer funding will be invested in the new world class research centres of scale. The new funding will be delivered through Science Foundation Ireland’s (SFI) Research Centres Programme coupled with over €90 million in cash and in-kind contributions from industry partners. The funding will be provided over the next six years with a mid-term review. CÚRAM - The Centre for Research in Medical Devices This major new national research centre will be based at NUI Galway. The prime objective for CÚRAM will be to radically improve health outcomes for patients by developing innovative implantable medical devices to treat major unmet medical needs. NUI Galway’s Professor Abhay Pandit, who is currently Director of the Network of Excellence for Functional Biomaterials (NFB), will be the Director of CÚRAM. Three high-profile Co-Directors will bring a depth and breadth of expertise to the new research centre: Professor Lokesh Joshi, Vice-President of Research and Stokes Professor of Glycosciences and Director of AGRC at NUI Galway; Professor Tim O’Brien, Director of the Regenerative Medicine Institute (REMEDI) and Professor of Medicine at NUI Galway; and Professor David Brayden, Professor of Drug Delivery at UCD. CÚRAM will design and create implantable ‘smart’ medical devices. Implants will be designed and manufactured to respond to the body’s environment and to deliver therapeutic agents, such as drugs, exactly where needed. Cutting-edge science will develop devices using the very latest research from biomaterials, stem cells and drug delivery. Devices will be developed with strong clinical collaborations and with industry partners and hospital groups to enable rapid translation to the clinic. CÚRAM’s outputs will benefit in particular patients with chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes and musculoskeletal diseases. As the global population ages, with one in 3 people expected to be over 65 by 2050, the financial burden for healthcare is expected to rocket. CÚRAM will position Ireland as the driver in developing medical device technologies which will provide affordable transformative solutions for chronic diseases to meet this challenge. Crucially, CÚRAM will also sustain and permanently strengthen Ireland’s standing as a major global hub for medical device sector research and development. CÚRAM brings together researchers from NUI Galway, UCD, DCU, UL, UCC and RCSI. The centre will include almost 40 industry partners and support product development and the creation of new spin-out companies. Partners will include indigenous Irish companies and multi-nationals such as Arch Therapeutics Inc, Aerogen, Medtronic Vascular Galway Ltd. iCrag - Centre for Research in Applied Geosciences NUI Galway also forms part of the new Irish Centre for Research in Applied Geosciences (iCRAG). This centre is focused on unlocking Ireland’s natural resources and providing solutions to resource security problems by securing supplies of energy, minerals and safe water. Part of this work will involve “de-risking” investment by exploration companies in Ireland by providing better descriptions and models of the geology to improve our understanding of the key processes influencing their formation. Additionally iCRAG will develop innovative techniques for predicting the location and nature of resources and link them to improved methods for optimising the production of resources throughout Ireland. iCRAG initial research is built around key sectors in the geosciences, notably Raw materials, Marine Geoscience, Groundwater and Hydrocarbons. Emphasis is also placed on increasing the public understanding of geoscience in Ireland and its role in the economy. NUI Galway researchers from the discipline of Earth and Ocean Sciences in the School of Natural Sciences will contribute to all aspects of iCRAG research. NUI Galway’s Professor of Earth and Ocean Sciences, Peter Croot, is a co-PI in iCRAG and will lead research in Marine Geosciences in cooperation with colleagues from UCC, Maynooth, TCD, DIAS and the iCRAG host institute, UCD. Lero Software Research Centre NUI Galway is also a key part of the Lero Software Research Centre. Software is everywhere and key Irish industry sectors such as manufacturing, medical devices, financial services, cloud computing, analytics, and smart cities depend on it. LERO’s research mission is to replicate the success of traditional software engineering in the context of large-scale, pervasive, physically-integrated, highly interconnected, evolving, and continuously-available systems, in which the boundary between design-time and runtime is disappearing. NUI Galway’s Dr Kieran Conboy, Dean of the College of Business, Public Policy & Law at NUI Galway will lead a group of 14 new research staff to work on software project management and innovation. According to Dr Conboy, while the software industry is particularly strong in Ireland, accounting for €12bn in exports, there are significant challenges to overcome to ensure this sector can play a leading role in Ireland’s recovery. Together with industry the group at NUI Galway will develop, implement and evaluate world-leading software development and management practices in two core areas: • Evolving software: The ways in which software is created and managed are constantly changing. The Lero team at NUI Galway will lead research on contemporary methods for evolving software such as lean and agile approaches, project and portfolio management, decision making and lean analytics. • Open software: The development and management of software crosses teams, organisations and sectors. The team will lead research in open innovation, software ecosystems, crowdsourcing, cloud technologies and design thinking. Geophysics and particularly seismic data are typically very large and growing in size, driven by many factors including higher-resolution sensors, cheaper storage and global acquisition programmes. However much of the software used on a daily basis by engineers and scientists in the field was conceived and built before the era of “Big Data”. The Irish Centre for High-End Computing (ICHEC), a technology centre at NUI Galway, and its industry partners will develop new methods to modernise our approach to handle large datasets in the oil and gas sector. Speaking about today’s announcement in Dublin, Dr Jim Browne, President of NUI Galway, said: “This is a wonderful endorsement of NUI Galway’s consistent approach to supporting selected priority areas of research, particularly in the area of biomedical science. CÚRAM will draw on the very significant pool of talented biomedical researchers on our campus, led by Professors Abhay Pandit, Tim O’Brien, Lokesh Joshi and their teams. CÚRAM holds enormous potential for the Irish economy and the Centre will work with industry partners to support innovation and development in the medical device sector – where Galway and Ireland already have a significant profile as an international hub for ‘medtech’. I am certain too that NUI Galway will make important contributions to the work of both iCrag Centre for Research in Applied Geosciences and Lero Software Centre, through the leadership of Professor Peter Croot and Dr Kieran Conboy. I congratulate my colleagues on securing this very significant research investment, as a result of which I look forward to the emergence of further dynamic and productive partnerships between NUI Galway researchers and industrial partners in the areas of biomedical science, geosciences and software engineering.” Speaking about the selection of the five world-class centres, Professor Mark Ferguson, Director General of SFI and Chief Scientific Adviser to the Government of Ireland, said, “These five new SFI Research Centres were selected following a highly competitive and rigorous international peer review process which screened for scientific excellence and assessed potential economic and societal impact. These five SFI Research Centres complement the seven we announced last year – which are already having a major positive impact: making important scientific advances, initiating and enhancing enterprise, training people with appropriate skills, winning EU projects and enhancing Ireland’s international reputation. These SFI Research Centres combine scientific research with deep and significant enterprise engagement, excellence and impact. We are confident that they will make a significant contribution to Ireland’s economy, employment and reputation.” Speaking at the announcement, Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Richard Bruton TD, said: “A key part of the Government’s Action Plan for Jobs is to build on the major achievements in scientific research we have built up over the past decade and turn more good ideas into good jobs. Today’s announcement will lead to the establishment in Ireland of world-class centres of research excellence and scale which will be game-changers for Irish scientific research.” “The €245 million investment announced today, and the five new, large-scale, world-class research centres it will support, are aimed at achieving a step-change in the reputation and performance of Ireland’s research system. This builds on the announcement of seven similar centres last year. With twelve world-class SFI Research Centres, Ireland is now well placed to take the lead developing cutting-edge research and new technologies, ultimately delivering more commercial ideas and jobs.” The new centres will link scientists and engineers in partnerships across academia and industry to address crucial research questions, and foster the development of new and existing Irish-based technology companies. The aim is also to attract industry that could make an important contribution to Ireland and its economy, and expand educational and career opportunities in Ireland in science and engineering. -ENDS- OÉ Gaillimh i lár an aonaigh san infheistíocht €245 milliún a d'fhógair an tAire Bruton agus an tAire English • Beidh OÉ Gaillimh i gceannas ar ionad taighde náisiúnta nua d'fheistí leighis • Beidh príomhról ag OÉ Gaillimh i dtrí cinn de na cúig ionad nua • €155 milliún de chistí an Státchiste do chúig Ionad Taighde den scoth • Comhinfheistíocht €90 milliún ó bhreis is 165 comhpháirtí tionscail sna hIonaid nua Táthar le hionad taighde nua den scoth d'fheistí leighis a bhunú in OÉ Gaillimh mar chuid den infheistíocht €245 milliún ón Rialtas san eolaíocht agus sa teicneolaíocht. Chomh maith leis sin, beidh ról lárnach ag OÉ Gaillimh in dhá ionad taighde eile a d'fhógair Richard Bruton, T.D. an tAire Post, Fiontar agus Nuálaíochta agus Damien English, T.D. an tAire Post, Fiontar agus Nuálaíochta i mBaile Átha Cliath inniu. Is infheistíocht ollmhór ón Rialtas sa taighde eolaíoch é an fógra a rinneadh inniu faoi na cúig Ionad Taighde SFI nua, agus tá sé ceangailte go dlúth le riachtanais tionscail agus fiontair, le deiseanna fostaíochta agus le spriocanna na sochaí. Déanfar €155 milliún de mhaoiniú Státchiste na hÉireann a infheistiú sna hionaid taighde nua den scoth. Tiocfaidh an maoiniú nua ó Chlár Ionad Taighde Fhondúireacht Eolaíochta Éireann (SFI) mar aon le breis is €90 milliún in airgead tirim agus i ranníocaíochtaí comhchineálacha ó chomhpháirtithe tionscail. Cuirfear an maoiniú ar fáil as seo go ceann sé bliana agus déanfar athbhreithniú meántéarma air. CÚRAM - An tIonad Taighde d'Fheistí Leighis Beidh an t-ionad taighde náisiúnta ollmhór nua seo lonnaithe in OÉ Gaillimh. Is é príomhchuspóir CÚRAM feabhas radacach a chur ar thorthaí sláinte d'othair trí fheistí leighis so-ionchlannaithe nuálacha a fhorbairt chun cóireáil a chur ar fáil do riachtanais leighis nach bhfuil freastal á ndéanamh orthu. Beidh an tOllamh Abhay Pandit as OÉ Gaillimh, atá ina Stiúrthóir faoi láthair ar an nGréasán Feabhais do Bhithábhair Fheidhmeacha (NFB), ina Stiúrthóir ar CÚRAM. Cuirfidh triúr Comh-Stiúrthóirí iomráiteacha saineolas domhain agus leathan ar fáil don ionad taighde nua: An tOllamh Lokesh Joshi, Leas-Uachtarán Taighde agus Ollamh Stokes le Gliceolaíocht agus Stiúrthóir AGRC in OÉ Gaillimh; an tOllamh Tim O’Brien, Stiúrthóir Institiúid an Leighis Athghiniúnaigh  (REMEDI) agus an tOllamh le Leigheas in OÉ Gaillimh; agus an tOllamh David Brayden, Ollamh le Seachadadh Drugaí in UCD. Déanfaidh CÚRAM feistí leighis 'cliste' so-ionchlannaithe a dhearadh agus a chruthú. Déanfar ionchlannáin a dhearadh agus a tháirgeadh le freastal ar thimpeallacht an choirp agus chun gníomhaithe teiripeacha, cosúil le drugaí, a sholáthar san áit ina bhfuil siad ag teastáil. Forbróidh eolaíocht cheannródaíoch feistí trí úsáid a bhaint as an taighde is déanaí ó bhithábhair, ó ghaschealla agus ó sheachadadh drugaí. Forbrófar feistí le comhpháirtíochtaí cliniciúla láidre agus le comhpháirtithe tionscail agus le grúpaí ospidéil chun aistriú tapa go dtí an clinic a chumasú. Bainfidh othair a bhfuil galair ainsealacha cosúil le galar croí, diaibéiteas agus galair mhatánchnámharlaigh ag gabháil dóibh buntáiste as obair CÚRAM. De réir mar a théann daonra an domhain in aois, agus duine as gach triúr le bheith os cionn 65 bliain d'aois faoi 2050, táthar ag tuar go dtiocfaidh ardú thar na bearta ar an gcostas a bhaineann le cúram sláinte. Le cabhair ó CÚ‏RAM beidh Éire ar thús cadhnaíochta i bhforbairt teicneolaíochtaí feistí leighis agus cuirfidh sí réitigh thrasfhoirmeacha ar phraghas réasúnta ar fáil do ghalair ainsealacha chun aghaidh a thabhairt ar an dúshlán seo. Cothóidh agus neartóidh CÚRAM seasamh na hÉireann mar mhol domhanda do thaighde agus d'fhorbairt in earnáil na bhfeistí leighis. Beidh taighdeoirí as OÉ Gaillimh, UCD, DCU, UCC agus RCSI ag obair in CÚRAM. Beidh beagnach 40 comhpháirtí tionscail bainteach leis an ionad áit a bhforbrófar táirgí agus a gcruthófar mac-chuideachtaí nua. Beidh cuideachtaí Éireannacha agus ilnáisiúnta cosúil le Arch Therapeutics Inc, Aerogen, Medtronic Vascular Galway Ltd. mar chomhpháirtithe. iCrag - Ionad do Thaighde Geo-eolaíochtaí Feidhmeacha Tá baint ag OÉ Gaillimh chomh maith leis an Ionad nua Éireannach do Thaighde Geo-eolaíochtaí Feidhmeacha (iCRAG). Tá an t-ionad dírithe ar acmhainní nádúrtha na hÉireann a chur ar fáil agus réitigh a fháil d'fhadhbanna slándála acmhainní trí fhuinneamh, mianraí agus uisce sábháilte a sholáthar. Bainfidh cuid den obair seo le hinfheistíocht dé-rioscaithe ó chuideachtaí taiscéalaíochta in Éirinn trí thuairiscí agus trí mhúnlaí níos fearr den gheolaíocht a chur ar fáil chun ár dtuiscint ar na príomhphróisis a mbíonn tionchar acu ar a bhfoirmiú a fheabhsú. Chomh maith leis sin, forbróidh iCRAG teicnící nuálaíocha chun suíomh agus nádúr na n-acmhainní a dhéanamh amach agus iad a cheangal le modhanna feabhsaithe chun táirgeadh acmhainní a uasmhéadú ar fud na hÉireann. Tá buntaighde iCRAG bunaithe ar phríomhearnálacha sna geo-eolaíochtaí, go háirithe Amhábhair, Geo-eolaíocht Mhuirí, Screamhuisce agus Hidreacarbóin. Cuirtear béim chomh maith ar chur thuiscint an phobail ar an ngeo-eolaíocht in Éirinn agus ar a ról sa gheilleagar a fheabhsú. Oibreoidh taighdeoirí OÉ Gaillimh ó dhisciplín na nEolaíochtaí Domhain agus Aigéin i Scoil na nEolaíochtaí Nádúrtha ar gach gné de thaighde iCRAG. Tá an tOllamh de chuid OÉ Gaillimh le hEolaíochtaí Domhain agus Aigéin, Peter Croot, ina chomh-Phríomhthaighdeoir in iCRAG agus beidh sé i gceannas an taighde ar Gheo-eolaíochtaí Muirí i gcomhar le comhghleacaithe ó UCC, Má Nuad, TCD, DIAS agus óstinstitiúid iCRAG, UCD. Ionad Taighde Bogearraí Lero Tá páirt lárnach chomh maith ag OÉ Gaillimh in Ionad Taighde Bogearraí Lero. Tá bogearraí i ngach áit agus braitheann príomhearnálacha tionscail na hÉireann cosúil le déantúsaíocht, feistí leighis, seirbhísí airgeadais, néalríomhaireacht, anailísíocht agus cathracha cliste ar bhogearraí. Is é misean taighde LERO macasamhail den rath a bhain le hinnealtóireacht thraidisiúnta bogearraí a chruthú i gcomhthéacs córas atá mór, forleatach, comhtháite go fisiciúil, thar a bheith idirnasctha, athraitheach agus ar fáil go leanúnach, áit a bhfuil deireadh ag teacht leis an teorainn idir an t-am a thógann sé iad a dhearadh agus iad a rith. Is é an Dr Kieran Conboy, Déan Choláiste an Ghnó, an Bheartais Phoiblí & an Dlí in OÉ Gaillimh a bheidh ag stiúradh an ghrúpa de 14 chomhalta foirne taighde nua a bheidh ag obair ar bhainistíocht tionscadal agus nuálaíocht bogearraí. Dar leis an Dr Conboy, cé go bhfuil tionscal na mbogearraí thar a bheith láidir in Éirinn, agus é freagrach as €12bn in easpórtálacha, tá dúshláin shuntasacha le sárú le cinntiú go mbeidh páirt lárnach ag an earnáil seo in athshlánú na hÉireann. In éineacht leis an tionscal, déanfaidh an grúpa in OÉ Gaillimh cleachtais forbartha agus bhainistíochta bogearraí a fhorbairt, a chur i bhfeidhm agus a mheas in dhá phríomhréimse: • Bogearraí athraitheacha: Tá athrú de shíor ag teacht ar na bealaí ina ndéantar bogearraí a chruthú agus a bhainistiú. Beidh foireann LERO in OÉ Gaillimh ag stiúradh an taighde ar mhodhanna comhaimseartha do bhogearraí athraitheacha cosúil le cur chuigí barainneacha agus solúbtha, bainistíocht tionscadal agus punainne, cinnteoireacht agus anailísíocht bharainneach. • Bogearraí oscailte: Baineann forbairt agus bainistíocht bogearraí le foirne, le heagraíochtaí agus le hearnálacha. Beidh an fhoireann i gceannas ar thaighde ar nuálaíocht oscailte, éiceachórais bhogearraí, sluafhoinsiú, teicneolaíochtaí néalríomhaireachta agus smaointeoireacht dheartha. Is iondúil go mbíonn sonraí geoifisice agus seismeacha, go háirithe, an-mhór agus ag méadú. Is iomaí fachtóir is cúis leis seo lena n-áirítear braiteoirí le taifeach níos airde, cláir stórála agus shealbhaithe dhomhanda níos saoire. Ach baineann an chuid is mó de na bogearraí a úsáideann innealtóirí agus eolaithe go laethúil leis an tréimhse roimh an “Olltiomsú Sonraí”. Forbróidh Ionad Ríomhaireachta Ardleibhéil na hÉireann (ICHEC), ionad teicneolaíochta in OÉ Gaillimh, agus a chomhpháirtithe tionscail, modhanna nua chun beocht a thabhairt don chur chuige maidir le tacair shonraí mhóra in earnáil an ola agus an gháis a láimhseáil. Ag labhairt dó faoin bhfógra i mBaile Átha Cliath inniu, dúirt an Dr Jim Browne, Uachtarán OÉ Gaillimh: “Is iontach an léiriú é seo ar chur chuige leanúnach OÉ Gaillimh i leith tacú le réimsí tosaíochta roghnaithe taighde, go háirithe i réimse na heolaíochta bithleighis. Bainfidh CÚRAM úsáid as an ngrúpa suntasach taighdeoirí bithleighis den scoth ar ár gcampas, faoi stiúir na nOllúna Abhay Pandit, Tim O’Brien, Lokesh Joshi agus a bhfoirne. Tá poitéinseal ollmhór ag baint le CÚRAM do gheilleagar na hÉireann agus oibreoidh an t-ionad le comhpháirtithe tionscail chun tacú le nuálaíocht agus le forbairt in earnáil na bhfeistí leighis – earnáil ina bhfuil próifíl ard cheana féin ag Gaillimh agus ag Éirinn mar mhol idirnáisiúnta do chuideachtaí leighis-teicneolaíochta. Táim cinnte chomh maith go gcuirfidh OÉ Gaillimh go mór le hobair an Ionaid iCrag do Thaighde sna Geo-eolaíochtaí Feidhmeacha agus Ionad Bogearraí Lero, le cabhair ó cheannaireacht an Ollaimh Peter Croot agus an Dr Kieran Conboy. Tréaslaím le mo chomhghleacaithe as an infheistíocht taighde an-suntasach seo a bhaint amach, agus táim ag súil dá bharr go mbeidh tuilleadh comhpháirtíochtaí fiúntacha agus dinimiciúla idir taighdeoirí OÉ Gaillimh agus comhpháirtithe tionscail sna réimsí eolaíochta bithleighis, geo-eolaíochtaí agus innealtóireachta bogearraí.” Ag labhairt dó faoi roghnú na gcúig ionad den chéad scoth, dúirt an tOllamh Mark Ferguson, Ard-Stiúrthóir SFI agus Príomh-Chomhairleoir Eolaíoch le Rialtas na hÉireann: “Roghnaíodh na cúig Ionad nua Taighde SFI seo tar éis próiseas athbhreithnithe piaraí idirnáisiúnta thar a bheith iomaíoch agus dian. Rinne an próiseas scagadh ar shárchaighdeán eolaíoch agus rinne sé tionchar poitéinsiúil eacnamaíoch agus sochaíoch a mheas. Feidhmeoidh na cúig Ionad Taighde SFI seo leis na seacht gcinn a fógraíodh anuraidh – agus a bhfuil tionchar thar a bheith dearfach acu cheana féin: ag déanamh dul chun cinn tábhachtach ó thaobh na heolaíochta de, ag cur tús le fiontraíocht agus á feabhsú, ag cur oiliúint ar dhaoine le scileanna cuí, ag buachan thionscadail AE agus ag cur le cáil idirnáisiúnta na hÉireann. Nascann na hIonaid Taighde SFI seo taighde eolaíoch le rannpháirtíocht, le sárchaighdeán agus le tionchar fiontraíochta ar leibhéal domhain agus suntasach. Táimid muiníneach go gcuirfidh siad go suntasach le geilleagar, le fostaíocht agus le cáil na hÉireann.” Ag labhairt dó ag an bhfógra, dúirt an tAire Post, Fiontar agus Nuálaíochta, Richard Bruton TD: “Is príomhchuid de Phlean Gníomhaíochta do Phoist an Rialtais cur leis na móréachtaí i dtaighde eolaíoch atá déanta againn le deich mbliana anuas agus poist mhaithe a chruthú as smaointe maithe eile. Mar thoradh ar fhógra an lae inniu, bunófar ionaid sárchaighdeáin taighde den chéad scoth in Éirinn a athróidh go suntasach an taighde eolaíoch in Éirinn as seo amach.” “Tá an infheistíocht €245 milliún a fógraíodh inniu, agus na cúig ionad nua mhórscála taighde den scoth a gheobhaidh tacaíocht ón infheistíocht sin, dírithe ar athrú suntasach a bhaint amach i gclú agus i bhfeidhmíocht an chórais taighde in Éirinn. Cheana féin anuraidh fógraíodh go raibh seacht n-ionad eile chun maoiniú a fháil. Agus dhá Ionad Taighde SFI déag den scoth in Éirinn, tá deis againn anois ceannas a thógáil ar thaighde ceannródaíoch agus teicneolaíochtaí nua a fhorbairt, a chuirfidh níos mó smaointe tráchtála agus post ar fáil.” Déanfaidh na hionaid nua eolaithe agus innealtóirí a nascadh i gcomhpháirtíochtaí sa saol acadúil agus sa saol tionsclaíochta chun aghaidh a thabhairt ar cheisteanna fíorthábhachtacha taighde, agus chun forbairt cuideachtaí teicneolaíochta atá bunaithe in Éirinn, idir chuideachtaí nua agus chuideachtaí atá ann cheana féin, a chothú. Tá sé mar aidhm freisin tionscal a mhealladh a d’fhéadfadh a bheith an-tairbheach d’Éirinn agus do gheilleagar na hÉireann, agus níos mó deiseanna oideachais agus gairme san eolaíocht agus san innealtóireacht a chur ar fáil in Éirinn.  

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Students from across Connacht who received an A in Junior Certificate Honours Business Studies, were presented with Certificates of Achievement from the College of Business, Public Policy and Law, NUI Galway recently. The presentations, in association with the Business Studies Teachers Association of Ireland (BSTAI), were made at a special ceremony at the University which included teachers and parents. This is the fifth year NUI Galway has presented these awards and 300 students received recognition for their achievement at the ceremony. The certificates were awarded to students from over 55 individual schools throughout the counties of Galway, Leitrim, Mayo, Roscommon and Sligo. Dr Kieran Conboy, Dean of the College of Business Public Policy and Law, NUI Galway, who presented the certificates to each individual winner, said “NUI Galway believes these awards are important to recognise the achievements of our potential future business leaders. I congratulate all the students on their success and also the work of teachers in helping students achieve their potential. I’m sure I will have the pleasure of meeting many of these students again in NUI Galway in the future on one of our business or commerce programmes.”  Jennie Harrington, President, BSTAI said “The BSTAI are delighted to continue its partnership with NUI Galway in hosting this ceremony which celebrates and recognises academic excellence in Business Studies at a young age.  I’m confident many of today’s award recipients will build successful careers in the business world.” -Ends-

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Education experts will gather in the School of Education, NUI Galway on Friday to discuss the issue of diversity among Ireland’s teachers. While many schools now have student populations from many backgrounds and cultures, the teaching population remains predominantly female, and from the majority ethnic and upper socio-economic backgrounds. Initial findings from an NUI Galway research project on ‘Diversity in Initial Teacher Education’ (DITE) in Ireland will be presented at a seminar on Friday. The seminar, which is supported by the University’s Moore Institute, will feature two presentations. The Cultural Diversification of the Teaching Profession: How Effective is it? Professor Ninetta Santoro, Strathclyde University, Glasgow, Scotland. Diversity in Initial Teacher Education (DITE) in Ireland: A Rationale and Initial Analysis. Dr Elaine Keane, Dr Manuela Heinz, and Dr Conor Foley, School of Education, NUI Galway. Dr Elaine Keane is the recipient of an Irish Research Council Research Project Grant for the DITE project, and, along with Dr Heinz, is heading up the DITE research project in the School of Education at NUI Galway. According to Dr Keane: “While research and policy documents emphasise the necessity of diversifying the teaching population, we are lacking data adequately describing our national context in relation to diversity in initial teacher education. The gathering of comprehensive data on those applying to enter, and entering, initial teacher education is crucial in informing future directions in policy and research on teacher diversity in Ireland.” For more information visit http://www.nuigalway.ie/education/research/dite/dite.html -ends-

Thursday, 23 October 2014

Last week saw the final challenge for the Inaugural Ryan Award for Innovation, support by the Tony Ryan Trust, as four finalists from NUI Galway presented their innovations from the Marine, Energy and Environment sector. The award, a €25,000 fund to advance the technology, will be presented to Dr Margaret Rae and her team in the University’s Ryan Institute, for their ground-breaking work on a new cancer treatment. This early stage ground breaking technology has the potential to and hopefully will save lives. The Award was established in 2013 to drive innovation, entrepreneurship and spin-outs from postgraduate research at NUI Galway in the areas of environment, marine and energy.  The annual competition, targeted at researchers and/or postgraduate students within the Ryan Institute, assesses business ideas arising from research. This award is to enable the winner to commercialise, or develop their idea through further research at home or abroad. The nature of the technologies from the four finalists included: A marine inspired cancer therapeutic presented by Dr Margaret Rae from the Ryan Institute. A multi-application improved sensing system in the monitoring of wastewater pollution presented by Peter Ó Conghaile of the School of Chemistry and Ryan Institute. A new customised, meteorological, forecasting technology with high-level accuracy opportunities presented by Enda O’Brien and Sufian Al Aswad from the Ireland High-Performance Computing Centre (ICHEC). A study involving the regenerative abilities of a marine invertebrate, with the hope of applying the knowledge to human research presented by Professor Uri Frank of REMEDI. The team of judges included Professor Pól Ó Dochartaigh, NUI Galway Registrar and Deputy President; Michael McNicholas from Ervia (formally Bord Gáis Eireann); Barry Egan, West Regional Director of Enterprise Ireland; and JP Prendergast of Biopharmed-West, an energy related start up. -Ends-

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

The high value placed on our rivers, lakes and seas by the Irish public has been shown in a new research report published by the EPA today. The research, which was undertaken by NUI Galway and Teagasc, illustrates the value placed by the public on our waterways and their associated features.  In the nationwide survey, respondents rated a number of water body features including the health of the aquatic ecosystems, water clarity and smell, access to recreational activities and the conditions of banks and shorelines.   The results demonstrated that respondents assigned the highest value to the aquatic feature of ‘water clarity and smell’ and the lowest values to ‘access to recreational activities’.  While over half of all respondents expressed positive willingness to pay, the research also found that 44% of respondents were unwilling to pay for improvements to Irish water bodies. The main reasons given for this were because they felt that they could not afford to pay or the government should be responsible for the costs of improvement. Dara Lynott, Deputy Director General of the EPA said, “The quality of our environment is critical to our wellbeing. This EPA funded research shows what value Irish citizens are willing to put on the environmental, health and recreational benefits associated with aquatic environments.   Dr Stephen Hynes, NUI Galway, explains, “Our research presents new information on what the benefit value is of achieving improved access and better environmental standards on Irish water bodies. Valuing the benefits derived from aquatic ecosystem services allows those managing water bodies (i.e. regional policy makers and related stakeholders) to make more informed decisions in relation to how water bodies might be sustainably developed and managed. Such estimates are also now a requirement for assessments under the Water Framework Directive and the Marine Strategy Framework Directive.” The key findings of the report are: The highest Marginal Willingness to Pay (MWTP) estimates were for a good status of water clarity and smell (€46.48 per respondent per year), which indicates that respondents place a high price on the aesthetic value of water bodies. The lowest MWTP estimate was for secondary access to recreational activity (€11.04 per respondent per year). ‘Cannot afford to pay’ was the main reason given by respondents who were unwilling to pay for improvements to Irish water bodies followed by ‘Government should be pay for improvements’. Findings from the survey showed that respondents’ concern for the water body attributes (health of ecosystems; water clarity and smell; access to recreational activities; condition of banks and shoreline) varied significantly according to the number of times they had visited the water bodies in the past 12 months. There is also evidence that individuals’ recreational use of rivers, lakes and seas differ substantially. The highest frequency of visits to any water body was for the purpose of walking, jogging or running along its boundary. Respondents also, on average, travelled the furthest distance to a water body in order to undertake this particular activity.  Respondents displayed mainly positive opinions on the environmental quality of Irish water bodies, but the extent of this positivity varied somewhat across water body type. The preferred payment vehicle identified by the survey was a once-off lump sum whilst the payment vehicle used in the choice experiment (an increase in personal income tax for 10 years) was only the second most popular payment type listed in the survey. ENDS

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

On Wednesday, 29 October, a table quiz will be held and hosted by NUI Galway’s Centre of Adult Learning and Professional Development, in aid of the charity Irish Medical Aid for Palestinians. The quiz will take place in ‘The View’, Áras na Mac Léinn from 1-2pm. The funds raised will go directly to Caritas Gaza, which is a campaign to provide counselling support to up to 3000 Palestinian children who have lost close family members (parents and siblings) in the recent fighting.  Tables can consist of between 4-6 players and participants are invited to contribute €5.00 per person. A raffle will also be held offering a number of prizes, which have been generously sponsored by local businesses. Free teas, coffees and biscuits will be provided for all. Lisa Walshe, event organiser, Centre for Adult Learning and Professional Development, said: “Fundraising events like this are an opportunity for people to reach out to help the people of Gaza, to show support for a people under siege and to save lives. Irish Medical Aid for Palestinians needs the continued generosity of Irish people to continue their relief efforts on the ground in Gaza. We are delighted to assist them with their work in supporting the children of Gaza in the aftermath of the recent humanitarian crisis.” For Further information, please contact Lisa Walshe at Lisa.Walshe@nuigalway.ie or 091 495787.                                                                         -ends-

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Secondary school students interested in NUI Galway are invited to an information evening in Athlone on Thursday, 6 November. Parents and guardians are also particularly welcome to the event which runs from 7 to 9pm in the Radisson Blu Hotel, Athlone, Co. Westmeath. The evening will begin with short talks about NUI Galway and some of the 60 courses it offers. Afterwards, current students and NUI Galway staff will be on hand at information stands to answer any individual questions in relation to courses offered by the University and about practical issues like accommodation, fees and scholarships, and the wide range of support services available to our students. The ever-increasing popularity of NUI Galway is in-part due to a suite of innovative new programmes, developed in response to the changing needs of the employment market. Unique programmes include a Bachelor of Arts in Human Rights, an Energy Engineering degree which is taught in the University’s new Engineering Building, Ireland’s largest School of Engineering, and a Maths and Education degree aimed at training Maths teachers. Visitors to the information evening will also get information on NUI Galway’s newest degree programme, a BA in Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies, BA in Journalism, BA in Science (Physics - degree options in Applied, Astrophysics, Biomedical or Theoretical) and a Bachelor of Commerce (Gaeilge). Caroline Loughnane, Director of Marketing and Communications at NUI Galway, said: “NUI Galway has a great deal to offer. Our own students tell us our lecturers are inspirational and challenge them to achieve their full potential. The student experience in Galway is second to none, and we want to bring a taste of that to Athlone, while also providing all the practical information on accommodation, CAO points, fees, scholarships and courses. With so many courses on offer, this event in Athlone is a perfect opportunity for prospective students to meet current students and lecturers to see what degree might be the right fit for them.” To find out more about the information evening in Athlone, contact NUI Galway's Schools Liaison Officer, Gráinne Dunne at 087 2440858 or grainne.dunne@nuigalway.ie. -Ends-

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

This November, Startup Weekend is coming to Galway. Running from 14-16 November, teams of entrepreneurs and innovators will gather together to develop their ideas from an initial 60 second pitch to a scalable company. 54 hours of activity will culminate in a round of presentations to the assembled judges, mentors, and other teams, leaving attendees with valuable feedback on their ideas, new skills, great contacts, and hopefully, a viable startup business. With 36% of Startup Weekend startups not only continuing after the weekend, but through the three month mark, taking part is a great initial step for anyone wondering what it takes to launch a startup. Startup Weekends have taken place all across the world, including in Dublin and Cork, with Galway joining in for the first time in November. NUI Galway will play host for the weekend, and with the backing of the local business community behind it, Galway Startup Weekend promises to be a great addition to the annual event calendar. The organisational team includes: Dr John Breslin, senior lecturer in NUI Galway and cofounder of Boards.ie; Michael Campion of NUI Galway’s Cairnes school of Business and Economics; Michael FitzGerald, founder and CEO of sales management software company OnePage CRM; Paul Killoran, founder and CEO of research publishing software company Exordo; and Tara Dalrymple, founder and CEO of lifestyle management and outsourcing businesses, Busy Lizzie and Mission Possible. Between them, they represent the wealth of startup knowledge that exists in the Galway business community, as well as a significant skill set ranging from finance and marketing to programming and design. Startup Weekend is all about action, giving attendees the chance to test out an idea in a creative space. People will share their skills and form teams, with mentors on hand to provide guidance throughout the weekend. The 54 hours of hard work will be interspersed with meals, short talks, and some surprises along the way. Attendees usually have either a technical or business background, resulting in a diverse range of skills and mindsets and an excellent collaborative environment. Galway Startup Weekend offers the perfect opportunity to validate an idea, learn valuable skills, or simply collaborate with similarly focused people. For regular updates, see www.facebook.com/GalStartweekend, or www.twitter.com/GalStartWeekend. As well as encouraging people to attend and take part, the organisers are currently seeking volunteers to help both at the event and in the run up to it. Anyone interested in lending a hand (particularly photographers or video bloggers) should send an email to galway@startupweekend.org -Ends-

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

World-leading experts from the field of stem cell science will convene at NUI Galway on 29-30 October 2014. The Galway International Stem Cell Conference will focus on the latest developments in basic science and translational aspects of Mesenchymal Stem Cell (MSC) research in Ireland, the UK and worldwide. A type of adult stem cell, Mesenchymal Stem Cells or MSCs, have shown huge potential for use in many medical therapies. In addition to plenary talks from internationally renowned speakers, the program is structured to include oral paper presentations selected from submitted abstracts. With Ireland hosting the event this year, there will be a particular focus on some of the ground breaking research taking place here. The latest plans from researchers at NUI Galway for stem cell trials in Galway, focusing on arterial disease in the lower leg and osteoarthritis in the knee will be discussed. According to Professor Frank Barry, Scientific Director of REMEDI at NUI Galway: “The impact of this conference will be high because it focuses on those aspects of basic science and clinical evaluation which represent obstacles to translation. New biological insights have emerged recently about stem cells and their clinical potential has been demonstrated. However, there are still substantial gaps in knowledge in the field, such as how we can standardise the mass production of stem cells in facilities around the world.” As of 2014, Ireland now boasts its own specialist facility which can ‘grow’ stems cells for use in such clinical trials in humans. Located at NUI Galway, the Centre for Cell Manufacturing Ireland (CCMI) is a custom-built facility certified to the highest EU manufacturing standards and criteria. The CCMI at NUI Galway is the first ever facility on the island of Ireland to receive a licence from the Irish Medicines Board, and firmly positions the country as a global player in the regenerative medicine field. Alongside Professor Frank Barry, other key speakers include: Javier Garcia-Sancho, Institute for Molecular Biology & Genetics (IBGM), University of Valladolid & Spanish Research Council, Valladolid, Spain; Silviu Itescu, Mesoblast, Melbourne, Australia; Sue Kimber, Tissue Regeneration and Stem Cell Network, University of Manchester; Ian McNiece, University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX, USA; Mark Pittenger, University of Maryland, USA; and Darwin Prockop, Director, Institute for Regenerative Medicine, Texas A&M, USA. ENDS

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Antarctic explorer, Professor Bill Baker of the University of South Florida, has been appointed as Visiting Professor of Marine Biodiscovery at NUI Galway through funding from the Beaufort Research Awards for one year. Marine Biodiscovery forms an integral part of the strategic programme for the marine sector – SeaChange, which is coordinated by the Marine Institute. The funding of the Professorship of Marine Biodiscovery at NUI Galway by the Beaufort Marine Research Awards is a critical component of the strategy to develop overall Irish research capacity and to position Ireland’s marine sector within a global knowledge-based economy. The Beaufort awards have been used to support research of international standing by making funding available for Principal Investigators and a number of researchers.  Professor Baker has established his international reputation in Marine Biodiscovery by searching for chemicals in the Antarctic. This programme at the Antarctic has been funded by the National Science Foundation in the USA for the last 24 years and now Professor Baker will turn his attention to the Irish shores in terms of searching for molecular treasures. The chemical compound Palmerolide A, one of the treasures discovered originally in the Antarctic by Professor Baker, is extremely promising against skin cancer and exploration of the Irish waters could potentially lead to a compound with similar potential. Professor Baker will provide expertise in the area of marine natural products chemistry in searching for molecular treasures from the Irish waters. The isolation and identification of novel secondary metabolites from marine organisms (Bacteria, Archaea and Eukaryotes) in Irish marine environments is still underexplored and provides an opportunity to identify bioactive agents of interest in the context of drug discovery, functional foods and other biotechnological applications. In a European and world-wide context, Ireland’s marine biodiversity is exceptionally high for its size: for example, 7.5% of the world’s marine benthic algae are found in Irish waters.  Professor Baker will conduct Chemistry, Bioassays and Biofermentation activities during his period in Ireland.  It is hoped that discoveries made during the Professorship in Ireland will lead to a better understanding of the chemistry of marine species and hopefully produce pharmaceuticals that fight killer diseases. Professor Baker will also deliver a public lecture at NUI Galway entitled ‘Treasures from the Antarctic Ice’ on Monday, 10 November at 7.15pm in the Kirwan Theatre, Arts/Science Building. During the lecture Professor Baker will describe the challenges of carrying out research in Antarctica but show the potential rewards of this research. This will be linked to his efforts in searching the Irish waters for novel chemical agents could potentially lead to new molecules to treat killer diseases. To register for the lecture visit http://billbakeratnuig.rsvpify.com. -Ends-

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Cancer, asthma, kidney injuries and antibiotics are just some of the areas likely to benefit from €13.5 million in funding for new health research projects announced this week by Minister for Health Leo Varadkar. A total of 36 projects are being supported by the Health Research Board (HRB) over the next three – five years, four of which have been secured by NUI Galway. Announcing the investment, Minister Varadkar said:“These 36 projects cover a huge range of areas, including research into stem cell research to fight pneumonia, developing diet and exercise plans following cancer surgery and combating osteoporosis in older HIV patients. Others will look at how to help asthma sufferers who cannot control their condition, new treatments for resistant types of breast cancer, and the impact of salt on kidney function. Many of these projects receiving funding today will go on to make a real difference to people’s lives, not just in Ireland but around the world. “This investment highlights the Government’s commitment to developing new research in areas with a clear health benefit, as well as developing new approaches to health care, and boosting the medical science sector. Every treatment, every medical device and every procedure in our health service starts with a good idea that has been proved in practice.” Speaking at the launch of the awards, Graham Love, Chief Executive at the Health Research Board said:“The HRB focuses on driving more research into policy and practice. This is illustrated by today’s investments. Innovation can help bridge the gap between demand for health services and the resources to pay for them. That innovation comes from implementing top class research, which is our raison d'être at the HRB.” NUI Galway projects funded include: Sexual assessment and counselling in hospital cardiac rehabilitation: A pilot study by Dr Molly Byrne, School of Psychology; Software in 100 GP practices will enable sophisticated analysis of high blood pressure patients  by Professor Andrew Murphy, General Practice; A randomised controlled trial (the first to address this question), to determine whether a low salt intake, compared to average/moderate intake, is associated with a slower rate of decline in kidney function in patients with chronic kidney impairment by Professor Martin O’Donnell, Associate Director, HRB Clinical Research Facility; Using patient samples and animal models to investigate whether blocking a particular protein can reduce the massive inflammation response in sepsis by Professor Afshin Samali, Biochemistry.   The research teams securing the HRB funding are spread across Ireland, with researchers linked to TCD, UCD, NUI Galway, UCC, RCSI, Athlone Institute of Technology, NUI Maynooth and University of Limerick. The HRB will monitor progress in each project and will receive annual and end-of-grant reports. The outcomes from the projects will be assessed, using an international framework, in terms of short and medium terms outcomes like new knowledge, research capacity building, and informing policy. The HRB will also look at the longer term impact of each project such as new innovations including devices, new diagnostics, approaches to care; changes in policy or practice; or economic and commercial activity such as patents and spin-offs. Ends  

Thursday, 30 October 2014

Scholarships available in five key research areas Applications are being accepted immediately for fully-funded PhD scholarships at NUI Galway. The Hardiman and Dr Tony Ryan Research Scholarships will support students to undertake four year Structured PhD programmes, by providing a stipend of €16,000 per annum and fees. The deadline for applications is 21 November, 2014. The scholarships are focused on five key areas of research in which NUI Galway offers world-leading expertise: Applied Social Sciences and Public Policy Biomedical Science and Engineering Environment, Marine and Energy Humanities in Context, including Digital Humanities Informatics, Data Analytics, Physical and Computational Sciences An additional Cancer Care West Hardiman Research Scholarship will also be offered, supported by Cancer Care West. This scholarship will support research in Radiation Oncology or Surgical Oncology at NUI Galway and the associated University Hospital Galway. All the research scholarships are also supported by the Galway University Foundation. NUI Galway Dean of Graduate Studies, Dr Lucy Byrnes said: “These scholarships aim to attract the best students to NUI Galway and to support their development as innovative individuals who will contribute to economic, cultural and social development. They offer opportunities to pursue doctoral studies focused on areas of research in which the University offers leading expertise.” Applications forms and further information are available at http://www.nuigalway.ie/hardiman-scholarships/ with closing date for applications at 5pm on 21 November, 2014. -Ends-

Friday, 31 October 2014

NUI Galway Rugby completed a historic double over the other Irish universities to retain both women's and men's Kay Bowen and Maughan-Scally intervarsity trophies at last weekend's Irish Universities Rugby Union (IURU) Festival of Rugby in Dublin. The Kay Bowen Cup drew some of Ireland's most prestigious universities to Belfield, with Trinity, NUIM, Queen's University Belfast, UCC and NUI Galway joining hosts UCD to compete for the title. NUI Galway claimed the trophy for the second year running with wins over Trinity (33-0) and Queen's (29-0) in the pool stages, and UCC (24-5) in the final. In two years' competition, NUI Galway's women have posted more than 100 points and, through to the 18th minute of last weekend's final, their tryline remained uncrossed. At the same time as the women's side were securing a second successive intervarsity title, the men's squad contested a hard-fought final with UCD. The Galway men were also looking to become the first university to win the Maughan-Scally Cup three years in a row. A memorable day for NUI Galway concluded with the presentation of trophies to women's captain Rhona Julian and men's captain Luke Murphy, before both cups made the now-familiar journey west for another year. -Ends-

Monday, 1 September 2014

Guest judges include Mathematics Lecturer Aoibhinn Ní Shúilleabháin Primary and secondary school students from all over Ireland have been challenged by NUI Galway to compete in a new science communication competition. Students are invited to make entertaining and educational short videos on a range of science topics for ReelLIFE SCIENCE. With over €3000 in prizes, the makers of the best video at primary and secondary school level will each receive €1000, to be spent on promoting science in the winning school. Second and third-placed entries at each level will receive €300 and €200, respectively. Closing date for submissions is Friday, 17 October and the winning schools will be announced during the week beginning 10 November to coincide with Science Week 2014. Topics include ‘The Power of Science’, ‘Science Heroes’ and ‘Physics in Real Life’. ReelLIFE SCIENCE was piloted in Galway schools last year with great success and was conceived by NUI Galway’s Dr Enda O’Connell who said: “There is huge enthusiasm among students for using hands-on science to investigate the world around them, whether it’s exploring the plants and animals in their school garden or the food in their lunchbox. A great way of communicating this is by using video cameras, tablets or even smartphones to make a short movie for their friends, parents and teachers to enjoy.” The secondary school winner of the 2013 pilot competition was Michael McAndrew, a student from St Enda’s College in Galway with an animated video, entitled ‘Astrobiology – Life in Space’. Michael’s winning video can be viewed at http://youtu.be/JbyZ9z3CS3o. Michael has since launched his own website design and hosting company, Corrib Digital, while finding the time to podcast every week about new technology and, of course, study for his Leaving Certificate. Videos will be selected by special guest judges: Stephen Curry, Professor of Structural Biology at Imperial College London and Science writer with The Guardian; Aoibhinn Ní Shúilleabháin, Lecturer in Mathematics at University College Dublin, Radio and TV broadcaster, columnist and author; and Paul Clarke, St. Paul’s College, Raheny, winner of the SciFest National Final 2013 and Overall Winner of the BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition 2014. More information about the competition and application process can be found at www.reellifescience.com. The initiative is in collaboration with the Cell EXPLORERS School of Natural Sciences outreach programme, and is supported by the Science Foundation Ireland Discover programme, which seeks to promote the awareness and engagement of the Irish public with science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM). -Ends-

Monday, 1 September 2014

NUI Galway will host Ireland’s largest surgical conference, the 39th Sir Peter Freyer Memorial Lecture and Surgical Symposium, on 5-6 September 2014. Internationally renowned surgeon, Dr John Birkmeyer will deliver the Memorial Lecture entitled ‘Strategies for Improving the Quality of Surgical Care’. John Birkmeyer, MD is the George D. Zuidema Professor of Surgery and Director of the Centre for Healthcare Outcomes & Policy at the University of Michigan. He is a graduate of Harvard Medical School. His research career has focused on performance measurement, understanding variation in hospital outcomes and cost-efficiency, and strategies for improvement. Formerly a series editor of the Dartmouth Atlas of Healthcare, Dr. Birkmeyer has leading roles in several regional collaborative improvement programs involving over 50 hospitals in Michigan, with support from Blue Cross Blue Shield Michigan. He serves on the blue ribbon expert panel on hospital safety ratings for the Leapfrog Group and as Chief Scientific Officer for ArborMetrix, Inc. Dr. Birkmeyer was elected to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences in 2006. Professor of Surgery at NUI Galway, Michael Kerin, who is hosting the event along with his colleague Professor Oliver McAnena, says: “We are delighted to welcome Dr Birkmeyer to our University. Dr Birkmeyer is focused on improving the quality of the health care system which will serve the lives of the people and communities for generations to come.” On the second day of the Surgical Symposium, Mr James Sheehan, CEO, Galway Clinic, Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon, Co-Founder of Blackrock Clinic, Galway Clinic and the Hermitage Clinic will deliver the State of the Art Lecture entitled ‘Reflections on the Past and a Vision for the Future’ on Saturday, 6th September at 12.45 p.m. He is a Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons of Ireland and he holds an M.Sc in Bioengineering and a PhD in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Surrey. He is a Fellow of the Institution of Engineers of Ireland and the Irish Academy of Engineering. He specialised in the design of artificial hip and knee prostheses. Since co-founding the Blackrock Clinic in the 1980s, his name has become synonymous with healthcare provision, as well as innovations. For further information on event, please contact 091 524390 or www.freyer.ie -ends-

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Galway Harbour will transform this month when Galway City will host the seventh World Robotic Sailing Championship (WRSC) from 9-13 September 2014. Fully autonomous and unmanned sailing boats, up to 2.5m in length will compete over a series of short distance racing, navigation and autonomy challenges with teams from Galway, Wales, US, Finland, France, Portugal and Russia participating. This is the first time that Ireland has hosted the event. Organised in conjunction with the WRSC, the International Robotic Sailing Conference (IRSC) will take place on Monday 8 September, in the Aula Maxima, NUI Galway. IRSC provides a platform to discuss the broad range of scientific problems involved in the design and development of autonomous sailboats. NUI Galway Engineering Lecturer and event Co-Chair, Dr Fearghal Morgan, said: “The International Robotic Sailing Conference provides international researchers with the opportunity to present and exchange ideas on their work on a wide range of topics related to autonomous surface marine robotics, particularly robotic sailing. Previous IRSC/WRSC events have been hosted in France, Wales, Germany, Canada, Portugal and Austria. We invite participation from anyone who might be interested in this work, particularly from engineering-related and marine sectors.” Robotic sailing offers the potential of long range and long term autonomous wind propelled, solar or wave-powered carbon neutral devices. Robotic sailing devices could potentially contribute to monitoring of environmental, ecological, meteorological, hydrographic and oceanographic data. These devices can also be used in traffic monitoring, security, assistance and rescue. ‌ The WRSC competitions propose tasks such as station, speed in different conditions, accuracy, obstacle avoidance, target tracking, endurance and cooperation, all performed autonomously. The competition, originally designed for sailboats, also includes a motorboats category in order to bring together the scientific communities that work on different types of autonomous marine vehicles. A bottle boat competition will also be held with several Irish entries competing. Event Co-Chair Dermot Tynan of Hewlett Packard, Galway said: “The dependency on changing winds and sea conditions presents a considerable challenge for short and long term route and stability planning, collision avoidance and boat control. Building a robust and seaworthy autonomous sailing robot presents a truly complex and multi-disciplinary challenge for boat designers, naval architects, mechanical engineers, electronic and embedded systems engineers and computer scientists. Since 2004, events such as Sailbot, Microtransat Challenge, World Robotic Sailing Championship and the International Robotic Sailing Conference have sparked an explosion in the number of groups working on autonomous sailing robots. To date, the longest distance sailed autonomously is almost 400km. Many of the challenges in building truly autonomous sailing robots still remain unsolved.” Mr Tynan continued: “We are looking forward to welcoming international teams, many of whom are travelling long distances by sea and overland to bring robotic sailing boats to the West of Ireland. This demonstrates their enormous dedication and enthusiasm.” GMIT has two boats competing in the sailing challenge, Seol and Malendroke, involving students from several engineering departments in the college - electronic & electrical engineering, energy engineering and mechanical engineering. The Seol team are 3rd year electronics students John Lynam and Janet Hardiman, 4th year electronics student Brian Cunnane, and 4th year energy engineering student Brendan Henry. The Malendroke team are 3rd year electronics students Ciunas Low Bennett and Rastislav Petras, 3rd year energy engineering student Christoph Schellenberg, and 1st year mechanical engineering student Brendan Divilly. The challenges begin on Tuesday 9 September at the Claddagh Basin, Galway city. Sean Coffey, lecturer in the GMIT School of Engineering and the competitors' mentor, says "that the challenge presents an enjoyable and exciting opportunity for students to apply and develop their high-tech skills." The IRSC/WRSC event also includes two free public exhibitions in the Aula Maxima, NUI Galway on Sunday, 7 September from 2-5pm and on Monday, 8 September from 11am-4pm, at which several of the robotic sailboats will be exhibited. All are welcome. School groups are asked to contact the organisers in advance. IRSC 2014 and WRSC 2014 are sponsored by Hewlett Packard, NUI Galway, Port of Galway, Galway Bay Sailing Club and Intel. Information on each WRSC team entries and schedule is available at http://wrsc2014.com/teams. Details of the conference programme and delegate registration can be found at http://wrsc2014.com/. -Ends-

Thursday, 4 September 2014

The positive effect of reminiscence therapy on the quality of life of people with dementia in long-stay care has been shown in a new report from NUI Galway. The report is the result of a major trial undertaken over the course of three years and involving over 300 dementia sufferers. The trial is the largest of its kind internationally in the area of reminiscence therapy in long-stay settings, and was funded by the Health Research Board. At its simplest, reminiscence is recalling an individual’s past memories and experiences, often through prompts such as photographs, music and familiar household items. “The results showed positive effects of reminiscence for people with dementia,” explains Professor Eamon O’Shea of the Irish Centre for Social Gerontology at NUI Galway. “Reminiscence is increasingly seen as important in the care and support of people with dementia, given its potential to draw on early memories, which often remain intact for people with dementia, thereby highlighting the person’s preserved abilities rather than any cognitive impairment. While pharmacological interventions have been the mainstay of caring for people with dementia, increasing attention is being paid to the role of psychosocial interventions in the care of people with dementia.” Professor O’Shea added: “The results confirm the importance of a person-centred approach to the care of people with dementia in long-stay care settings. There are a range of psychosocial interventions, such as reminiscence therapy, cognitive stimulation, and art. Interestingly, there is reciprocity at play with the care givers, everyone gains through a more person-centred approach to care in long-stay settings. Fifteen years ago Professor Eamon O’Shea wrote the first Action Plan for Dementia for Ireland and he has been influential in preparing the ground for the new National Strategy on Dementia which will be published by the Government in the coming months. The cost of caring for people with dementia worldwide was estimated to be US$604 billion in 2010. While there have been no comprehensive prevalence studies on dementia carried out in Ireland, current estimates suggest that there are currently 47,746 people with dementia in the country. Approximately 4,000 new cases of dementia arise in the general Irish population every year. The cost of dementia in Ireland has been estimated at just over €1.69 billion per annum, 48% of which is attributable to informal care provided by family and friends to those living with dementia in the community. The trial - the DementiA education programme incorporating REminiscence for Staff (DARES) - was designed to evaluate the effectiveness of a reminiscence-based education programme. The intervention was a structured education reminiscence-based programme for care staff, who subsequently engaged in individualised reminiscence with long-stay residents under their care. The primary research question focused on the impact of reminiscence therapy on the self-reported quality of life of residents with a diagnosis of dementia. -ends-

Friday, 5 September 2014

New research from NUI Galway is using adult stem cells in the fight against cornea transplant rejection. The research has been published in the American Journal of Transplantation, and underpins a pan-European project which hopes to help the 100,000 people worldwide who undergo cornea transplant procedures each year. Corneal eye disease is the fourth most common cause of blindness in the world and it affects more than 10 million people worldwide. An unhealthy cornea affects vision by scattering or distorting light and causing glare and blurred vision. The most widely used treatment for this condition is cornea transplantation (or keratoplasty) where the diseased or scarred corneal tissue is replaced with healthy tissue from an organ donor. Although these procedures have been performed for over 100 years, unfortunately about 30% of transplants are unsuccessful due to rejection by the patient’s own immune system. Researchers, led by Dr Thomas Ritter from NUI Galway’s Regenerative Medicine Institute (REMEDI), showed in a model system that transplant rejection rates could be reduced to as low as 10% by administering a certain type of stem cell called a mesenchymal stem cell (MSC). MSCs can be readily obtained and grown from the bone marrow of adult donors. ‌ Dr Ritter explained: “In recent years, our Immunology research programme at REMEDI has focused at a basic level on understanding the immune response to transplanted tissues such as the cornea as well as on the immune modulating effects of stromal stem cells. It is hoped this work will lead to much improved outcomes for the 100,000 people worldwide who undergo cornea transplant procedures each year.” Previous research from the team at REMEDI which showed that these cells have certain properties which can modulate the immune system led them to study their usefulness in combating cornea transplant rejection. Dr Oliver Treacy, the lead scientist on the team at NUI Galway, showed that the MSCs release chemicals capable of adjusting the immune system balance in the body. This led to an increase in cells called regulatory T-cells, which dampen down inflammation, and a decrease in the number of natural killer cells, key players in the rejection process. Mr Gerry Fahy, Consultant Ophthalmologist at Galway University Hospital, who was involved in the study said: “Corneal transplant rejection can result in blindness and is not uncommon in high risk patients. This important research presents a potentially new avenue of treatment to prevent transplant rejection and save vision in this vulnerable group of patients.” In a follow-up €6 million study now underway, the research team from REMEDI have teamed up with 11 collaborators from all over Europe to look at the process of cornea transplant immune rejection in much greater detail. The five year project which is called ‘VISICORT’ is being funded by the EU Framework Programme 7, and the final year will involve a clinical trial carried out in Galway using stem cells made at the NUI Galway, Centre for Cell Manufacturing (CCMI) facility. Based in NUI Galway, REMEDI (www.remedi.ie) was established in 2003 through a Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) Centre for Science Engineering and Technology (CSET) award, and industry funding.  REMEDI is part of the National Centre for Biomedical Engineering Science and manages the Centre for Cell Manufacturing Ireland, an Irish Medicines Board licensed facility for the manufacture of stem cells. -ends-

Monday, 8 September 2014

NUI Galway, in association with the Kingfisher Club, will host its second annual charity 8K Run/Walk on Saturday, 11 October at 10am. The route consists of a traffic-free, mixed terrain run around the University’s campus and along the banks of the river Corrib. The official charity partner for this event is Jigsaw Galway and coincides with global events around World Mental Health Day. Jigsaw Galway is a free and confidential service supporting the mental health and well-being of young people, aged 15 – 25, living in Galway city and county.  Jigsaw also provides advice and guidance to parents, family members, friends and other professionals worried about a young person.  All proceeds raised from this event will go to Jigsaw Galway. This charity event is forming part of the NUI Galway Alumni reunion programme which takes place from 10-12 October on campus and will be an opportunity to bring together students, staff, alumni and friends of NUI Galway in one place to take part in a fun event for all ages and abilities. NUI Galway Vice President for the Student Experience Dr Pat Morgan said: “This is a wonderful opportunity to welcome staff, students and alumni to the campus as part of the Alumni Reunion programme. Equally, however, it is part of a wider campus initiative to encourage physical activity and perhaps more importantly a great opportunity to show support for Jigsaw and get moving towards better mental health and it is fitting that such an event should take place around World Mental Health Day.” The event is open to everyone, with runners and walkers of all fitness levels catered for. To register for the NUI Galway 8K please log on to the Run Ireland Website http://www.runireland.com/events/nui-galway-8k. Updates are also available on the Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/NUIGalway.8kRun. Local Kingfisher Fitness Clubs will be running training sessions over the next six weeks to help with your preparation and details are available at www.kingfisherclub.com. All queries on the event can be sent to nuigalway8k@kingfisherclub.com. -Ends-

Monday, 8 September 2014

Ireland has been successful in its bid to attract a significant scientific conference to the Convention Centre Dublin in 2018. Almost two thousand experts in aspects of clean and efficient energy and propulsion technologies, fire safety and power generation will visit the capital in 2018 for the 37th International Symposium on Combustion. The Dublin bid was put together by a consortium of researchers from NUI Galway, University of Limerick and University of Ulster, who saw off competition to host the event from London and the Turkish capital Ankara. The announcement was made at a recent meeting in San Francisco by the Board of the Combustion Institute, an educational non-profit, scientific and engineering society. NUI Galway’s Professor John M. Simmie is Chair of the Irish Section of the Combustion Institute. He explains the importance of research in this field: “In Ireland, 96% of the energy we use is derived from the burning of fuels and 85% of the energy we use is imported, one of the highest figures in Europe. As the effects of climate change begin to be felt around the world, cleaner more efficient fuels and combustion technologies must be developed.” The 2018 Dublin meeting will follow on from San Francisco in 2014 and Seoul in 2016. The voting board members were impressed with the amenities and facilities offered by the Dublin bid, in addition to the scientific stature of the local organising committee. Professor John M. Simmie added: “There is a critical mass of researchers in Ireland focussed on this field of science and this is reflected in the decision of the Combustion Institute to bring their symposium here. Through collaboration among scientists and advances in the combustion research, we intend to unlock more energy from the resources we currently use and engineer solutions for the planet's long term sustainability.” The Irish Section of the Combustion Institute will host the symposium having secured strong support, both financial and motivational, from Government agencies Fáilte Ireland and Science Foundation Ireland - the latter through an Exceptional Conference Award. Those agencies were thanked by the local organising committee which consists of Professor Henry Curran (NUI Galway), Dr Stephen Dooley (University of Limerick), Professor Vladimir Molkov (University of Ulster), Dr Rory Monaghan (NUI Galway) and Professor Emeritus John Simmie (NUI Galway), The committee also thanked the support of Dr Jim Browne, President of NUI Galway and Professor Don Barry, President of University of Limerick. Positive support was also obtained from a number of organisations including Aer Lingus, the Environmental Protection Agency, ESB International, GE Energy Kalman Ltd., the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland, and the Ministers for Research and Innovation, and, Transport, Tourism and Sport. -ends-

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

NUI Galway’s Centre for Irish Studies will host a series of Sean-Nós Dance workshops this September. The workshops will be taught by Gearóid Ó Dubháín, the NUI Galway Sean-nós Dancer in Residence 2014. A native of Ardmore, Connemara, Gearóid is renowned for his dancing and has won the prestigious Oireachtas na Samhnna (2010), Craobh na hÉireann (2011), Féile na Mí (2006, 2008, 2010 and 2012), Féile Chóilín Clesham and many other prizes.   The workshops will take place at the Aula Maxima (Upper Level), NUI Galway from 7-8.30pm each Wednesday, beginning on 24 September. The workshops are free of charge and everyone is welcome to attend. For further details, contact Samantha Williams at 091-512428 or samantha.williams@nuigalway.ie. -Ends- Ceardlann Rince ar an Sean-Nós in OÉ Gaillimh Cuirfear tús le sraith de cheardlanna rince ar an sean-nós san Aula Maxima (Upper), OÉ Gaillimh ag 7pm, Dé Céadaoin, 24 Meán Fómhair 2014. Is é Gearóid Ó Dubháin, ón Árdmhóir, i gConamara, a bheidh ina stiúrthóir. Tá Gearóid ceaptha mar Rinceoir Cónaitheach ar an Sean-Nós san Ollscoil i mbliana. Tá cáíl bainte amach ag Gearóid mar damhseoir agus tá go leor duaiseanna bainte amach ag Gearóid ar fud na tíre, ina measc tá Oireachtas na Samhna (2010), Craobh na hÉireann (2011), Féile na Mí (2006, 2008, 2010 agus 2012), Féile Chóilín Clesham (buaite cúpla uair), mar aon le neart comórtais eile. Tá cead isteach saor in aisce agus fáilte roimh chách. Tuilleadh eolais ó Samantha Williams ag 091-512428 nó samantha.williams@nuigalway.ie. -Críoch-

Thursday, 11 September 2014

Dr Manus Biggs, a Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) Investigator at the Network of Excellence for Functional Biomaterials (NFB) at NUI Galway has won the Larry Hench Young Investigator Award. The award was presented at the United Kingdom Society for Biomaterials (UKSB) division of the 26th Annual Conference for the European Society for Biomaterials, held in Liverpool, UK from 31 August–3 September 2014. The prize is awarded to a promising young research scientist in recognition of outstanding and innovative contributions in a selected field of biomaterials research. The judging criteria includes evidence of peer reviewed publications, outstanding contribution and demonstrable research in the field of biomaterials. Additionally, the researcher must be at an early stage of his career having no more than seven years of experience after his PhD was awarded. Dr Biggs’s research focuses on developing electrically active polymers for musculoskeletal and neural applications. His research group creates nanoscale fibres from piezoelectric polymers and incorporates them into a mesh-like scaffold that mimics the natural bone matrix. The scaffold materials can be utilised for the regeneration of large bone defects, which do not undergo spontaneous regeneration normally. Also, his group is improving long-term function of implanted microelectrodes being used for the treatment of neurodegenerative disorders by using conducting polymers to coat the implanted electrodes. The aim of the coating is to reduce the inflammatory response around the electrode interface to prevent neural loss and instability of the electrodes at the implantation site. Seven researchers from the NFB presented at the European Society for Biomaterials conference. The conference brought together experts and scientists from academia and industry, and also those involved in funding regulatory and commercial enterprises related to biomaterials science, tissue engineering and regenerative medicine. Professor Abhay Pandit, Director of the NFB at NUI Galway, commented: “The award is further indication of the competitiveness of the NFB’s research at an international level.” -ends-

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

NUI Galway has again increased its position in the QS World University Rankings 2014/2015. Rising 4 places to 280th in this year’s ranking, NUI Galway is the only Irish universities to improve their standing in this year’s league table. Dr Jim Browne, President of NUI Galway, said of the achievement: “This is good news for NUI Galway and further acknowledgement of the developments in teaching and research that have taken place at this University in recent years. Although all ranking systems have their limitations in that they seek to measure performance across a narrow range of criteria, the QS World University Rankings is one of the best regarded evaluations of higher education in the world.” The global emphasis on high-impact scientific and technological research is the key driver of leadership in the QS World University Rankings. The rankings are, for the third year, led by MIT with Imperial College London the biggest climber in the top 10, leapfrogging Harvard, UCL and Oxford to rank second equal in the world, tied with University of Cambridge. QS Head of Research Ben Sowter said: “In the wake of the recession, both governments and private sector funding source are placing greater emphasis on high-impact STEM research, much of which takes place in specialist institutions, Tech-focused institutions are increasingly the focal point of a global race for innovation. With budgets from public sources increasingly coming under strain, institutions seem more focused than ever on potentially lucrative research in science, technology and medicine.” The QS World University Rankings have been running since 2004 and are amongst the highest profile global evaluations of comparative university quality. The World University Rankings were conceived to present a multi-faceted view of the relative strengths of the world’s leading universities. The calculations leading to the QS World University Rankings are based on data gathered in the following categories: Academic Peer Review, Employer Review, International Faculty Ratio, International Student Ratio, Student Faculty Ratio, and Citations per Faculty (citation data supplied by Scopus). ENDS

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Guest Speakers include Tipperary Senior Hurling Team Manager Eamon O’Shea NUI Galway invites all CAO applicants, fourth and fifth year students, parents/guardians, mature students teachers and Guidance Counsellors to its annual Autumn Open Days on Friday, 3 October and Saturday, 4 October. Friday's Open Day will run from 9am to 3pm and is aimed at school groups, although individuals are also welcome to attend. Running from 10am to 3pm, Saturday's Open Day is for students thinking about university and their parents and families. Open Day is an opportunity for students, along with their parents and families, to explore NUI Galway’s campus and to learn more about the over 60 degree courses that NUI Galway offers. The Open Days are expected to attract some 8,000 visitors. Lecturers and current students will be on hand to talk to students and parents at the main exhibition area in the Bailey Allen Hall, with over 80 subject-specific exhibition stands to answer questions on courses, CAO points, employability, and career progression routes. The ‘Parents Programme’ on Saturday, 4 October will provide parents and students with information on important issues such as fees and funding, careers, accommodation, career destinations and support services for students. This year NUI Galway will host an Alumni event for its graduates. Taking place on Saturday, 4 October at 2pm, the event will include a series of short talks from the University’s leading experts including Professor Alan Ahearne, Head of Economics and Professor Hubert McDermott, Department of English to mention but a few. The Open Days will feature a mix of taster sessions and short lectures to provide a feel for university life. Events will include hands-on science workshops and interactive sessions with IT systems and robotics. To get the most out of the Open Days visitors are encouraged to view the timetable of talks at www.nuigalway.ie/opendays and plan your day. Talk highlights include: New Scholarship Schemes for 2014 including CAO Performance Points Scholarships in Sports and Arts and Excellence Scholarships. A guest appearance and talk about Sports at the University with Eamon O’Shea, Professor of Economics at NUI Galway and Manager of the Tipperary Senior Hurling Team. Career talks - “Where are the jobs? What are my employment prospects after University?” Taster sessions designed to give a real insight into studying at NUI Galway will include: Physics - A brilliant career from lasers to the Universe. Take a 3D tour of the Universe with The Centre for Astronomy, which will take visitors on a trip from the earth to nearby starts, across our Galaxy to groups of stars, and finally through the whole Universe. Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences – Introduction to the Healthcare Programmes. Arts – BA Connect Programme in Drama, Theatre and Performance studies. Caroline Loughnane, Director of Marketing and Communications at NUI Galway, said: “Choosing a university is one of the most important decisions a student will ever make. The Autumn Open Days is the perfect opportunity for students and parents to get a taste of university life and to gain access to all of the information they need to make that important decision. We are encouraging anyone with an interest in studying at NUI Galway to come along, talk to our lecturers and current students, find out about the courses, explore the campus and decide for yourselves whether NUI Galway is the right university for you.” Tours of the campus will feature the state-of the-art sports complex and gym, and the new Engineering Building. Tours of student accommodation will also be available to visitors on the day, with the tour shuttle bus departing. Guided walking tours of the main campus will also take place throughout the afternoon. To plan your day in advance and receive a programme on Open Day 2014 visit www.nuigalway.ie/opendays, or contact 091 494145 or visit@nuigalway.ie. -Ends- Laethanta Oscailte an Fhómhair in OÉ Gaillimh I measc na n-aoichainteoirí tá Bainisteoir Fhoireann Sinsir Iománaíochta Thiobraid Árann Eamon O’Shea Ba mhaith le OÉ Gaillimh cuireadh a thabhairt do gach iarrthóir CAO, do dhaltaí sa cheathrú agus sa chúigiú bliain, do thuismitheoirí/do chaomhnóirí, do mhic léinn aibí, do mhúinteoirí agus do threoirchomhairleoirí teacht chuig Laethanta Oscailte an Fhómhair Dé hAoine, an 3 Deireadh Fómhair agus Dé Sathairn, an 4 Deireadh Fómhair. Dírithe ar ghrúpaí scoile atá an Lá Oscailte a bheidh ar siúl idir 9am agus 3pm Dé hAoine, cé go mbeidh fáilte roimh dhuine ar bith cuairt a thabhairt ar an Ollscoil an lá sin chomh maith. Is do mhic léinn atá ag smaoineamh ar aghaidh a thabhairt ar an Ollscoil, dá dtuismitheoirí agus dá dteaghlach an Lá Oscailte, a bheidh ar siúl idir 10am agus 3pm Dé Sathairn. Deis atá sa Lá Oscailte do mhic léinn, dá dtuismitheoirí agus dá dteaghlaigh aithne a chur ar champas OÉ Gaillimh agus foghlaim faoin mbreis is 60 cúrsa céime atá ar fáil san Ollscoil.  Meastar go bhfreastalóidh timpeall 8,000 duine ar na Laethanta Oscailte. Beidh léachtóirí agus mic léinn reatha ar láimh le labhairt le daltaí agus le tuismitheoirí i Halla Bailey Allen, áit a mbeidh os cionn 80 seastán ábhair ar taispeáint chun ceisteanna faoi chúrsaí, pointí CAO, fostaíocht, agus bealaí chun cinn i ngairmeacha a fhreagairt. Beidh eolas le fáil ag tuismitheoirí agus ag daltaí i ‘gClár na dTuismitheoirí’ Dé Sathairn, an 4 Deireadh Fómhair faoi cheisteanna móra cosúil le táillí agus maoiniú, gairmeacha, lóistín, cinn scríbe gairmeacha agus seirbhísí tacaíochta do mhic léinn. Beidh ócáid Alumni ar siúl ag OÉ Gaillimh i mbliana dá céimithe. Dé Sathairn, an 4 Deireadh Fómhair ag 2pm, tabharfaidh saineolaithe na hOllscoile cosúil leis an Ollamh Alan Ahearne, Ceann na hEacnamaíochta agus an tOllamh Hubert McDermott, as Roinn an Bhéarla, sraith cainteanna gairide. Beidh idir sheisiúin agus léachtaí gairide ar siúl i rith na Laethanta Oscailte le blaiseadh a thabhairt do chách ar an gcineál saoil a chaitheann mic léinn in OÉ Gaillimh. I measc na n-imeachtaí beidh ceardlanna praiticiúla eolaíochta agus seisiúin idirghníomhacha le córais IT agus róbataic. Chun an tairbhe is fearr a bhaint as na Laethanta Oscailte moltar do chuairteoirí breathnú ar amchlár na gcainteanna ag www.nuigalway.ie/opendays agus an lá a phleanáil dóibh féin. Ar na cainteanna is suimiúla tá siad seo a leanas: Scéimeanna Nua Scoláireachta 2014 cosúil le Scoláireachtaí na bPointí Breise CAO sa Spórt agus sna hEalaíona agus na Scoláireachtaí Sármhaitheasa. Labhróidh Eamon O’Shea, Ollamh le hEacnamaíocht in OÉ Gaillimh agus Bainisteoir ar Fhoireann Sinsir Iománaíochta Thiobraid Árann, faoi Spórt san Ollscoil. Léacht na nGairmeacha - “Cá bhfuil na poist? Cén rogha gairmeacha atá agam i ndiaidh na hOllscoile?” I measc na léachtaí gairide a bheas ar siúl chun blaiseadh a thabhairt duit don staidéar in OÉ Gaillimh tá siad seo a leanas: An Fhisic - Gairm den scoth ó léasair go dtí an chruinne. Téigh ar thuras 3D den Chruinne le hIonad na Réalteolaíochta. Tabharfaidh an tIonad cuairteoirí ar aistear ón domhan seo timpeall an réaltra chuig grúpaí réalta, agus timpeall na cruinne ar fad. Leigheas, Altranas agus na hEolaíochtaí Sláinte – Blaiseadh de na Cláir sa Chúram Sláinte. Na Dána – An Clár BA Connect sa Drámaíocht, i Léann na hAmharclannaíochta agus sa Taibhiú. Dúirt Caroline Loughnane, an Stiúrthóir Margaíochta agus Cumarsáide in OÉ Gaillimh: “Ceann de na cinntí is tábhachtaí a dhéanfaidh mac léinn go brách an ollscoil a bhfreastalóidh sé/sí uirthi a roghnú. Deis iontach iad Laethanta Oscailte an Fhómhair do mhic léinn agus do thuismitheoirí blaiseadh a fháil de shaol na hollscoile agus an t-eolas ar fad atá uathu a bhailiú a chuirfidh ar a gcumas an cinneadh tábhachtach sin a dhéanamh. Molaimid do dhuine ar bith ar spéis leo staidéar in OÉ Gaillimh teacht chuig an Lá Oscailte, labhairt leis na léachtóirí agus leis na mic léinn reatha, eolas a fháil faoi chúrsaí, aithne a chur ar an gcampas agus a fháil amach duit féin an bhfeileann OÉ Gaillimh duitse.” Ar thurais den champas, taispeánfar an t-ionad spóirt le giomnáisiam den scoth mar aon leis an bhFoirgneamh nua Innealtóireachta. Beidh turais de lóistín na mac léinn ar fáil do chuairteoirí ar an lá chomh maith agus beidh seirbhís bus ar fáil chuige seo. Beidh turais treoraithe siúil den champas ar siúl ar feadh an tráthnóna chomh maith. Chun do lá a leagan amach agus clár a fháil do Laethanta Oscailte 2014 féach www.nuigalway.ie/opendays, nó déan teagmháil le 091 494145 nó visit@nuigalway.ie. -Críoch-

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

As part of Culture Night 2014, which takes place on Friday, 19 September, NUI Galway will launch a new Cultural Campus Trail (brochure and map), at 4.30pm in the Atrium of the Orbsen Building. This follows the official start of the night's events in the City and County by the Mayor of Galway, Councillor Donal Lyons, also in the Orbsen Building. Dr Chris Coughlan of Hewlett Packard will launch the University’s Cultural Campus Trail, which heralds a new vision for an open campus at NUI Galway, promoting the sights on offer to the public at the University. The Trail brochure is a first template for a comprehensive visitor guide to the wealth of treasures to be explored on campus in the areas of art, sculpture, heritage, science and technology, and environment, including the sections of the river walk and Greenway. The star attractions include the permanent displays in Zoology, Geology, The James Hardiman Research Building and DERI with details of how tours can be arranged by appointment. ConTempo Quartet, Galway Ensemble in Residence, will play a tribute to mark the Trail and refreshments will be served. NUI Galway is hosting several events that evening across campus and all of the exhibitions are open to the public until 10pm including a new exhibition in the Art Gallery by Vincent Godfrey-Glynn and a pop-up sculpture by Donnacha Cahill. For more information visit http://www.nuigalway.ie/culturenight2014/ or www.galwayculturenight.com. -Ends-  

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Today marks the 25th UN International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer, commemorating the date of the signing of the Montreal Protocol which brought about a global initiative to ban Ozone Depleting Substances. Two Irish scientific atmospheric monitoring stations have played a significant role assessing the planet’s success in saving the ozone layer. Over the last 25 years, atmospheric observations from NUI Galway’s Mace Head Station in Connemara and Met Éireann’s Valentia Observatory in Co. Kerry, have charted the success of international actions relating to man-made Ozone Depleting Substances (ODS). The world was shocked 30 years ago to hear of the major threat posed by the hole in ozone layer. World governments responded by developing and eventually agreeing in 1987 the Montreal Protocol .The protocol phased out the use of man-made ODS, of which, the primary culprits where CFCs or chlorofluorocarbons used as refrigerants. CFCs provided a source of reactive chlorine in the upper atmosphere which destroyed ozone. Combined observations from Mace Head and Valentia, supported by satellite data, illustrate that it took 15 years for the destructive chlorine trend to peak-out and turn into decline. As the destructive chlorine declined, stratospheric ozone concentrations slowly started to recover. The data are unique in Europe as they represent observations in Europe’s cleanest air and they demonstrate a gradually recovering ozone layer over the last 10 years. Globally, the impact of CFCs is still evident. According to the IPCC AR5 Report, Climate Change 2013: The Physical Science Basis, it is certain that global stratospheric ozone has declined from pre-1980 values. Most of the decline occurred prior to the mid-1990s. Since then ozone has remained nearly constant at about 3.5% below the 1964–1980 level. Ireland is strategically located to monitor the change in ODS and stratospheric ozone in the cleanest northern hemispheric air and at mid-latitudes which are heavily populated and susceptible to most impacts from the ozone hole. Professor Colin O’Dowd, Director of NUI Galway’s Centre for Climate and Air Pollution Research, which operates Mace Head highlighted the importance of such observing and research infrastructures stating that: “Without these key long-term observations in strategic locations emerging environmental dangers, solutions, and response to interventions would be very difficult to identify, enable and quantify. It is essential that stakeholder support of such research and observation infrastructures is sustained and even expanded on into the future in order to improve environmental security and better inform response-policy development.”   Eoin Moran, Assistant Director of Met Éireann, added: “The location of Valentia Observatory and Mace Head, are strategically important, nationally and internationally, providing important climate and environmental data at the interface between Europe and the Northeast Atlantic. The measurements at both stations are complimentary forming a very important component of the Global Atmosphere Watch programme – this work represents an excellent example of Ireland’s contribution to international scientific research – brought about through successful and sustained collaboration between world class research and operational scientists.” Monitoring Ozone Recovery The accumulation of CFCs in the atmosphere has been monitored at NUI Galway’s Mace Head Atmospheric Research Station since the early 1980’s. This globally important record was one of the first to demonstrate the reduction in CFCs a few years after the protocol for the most reactive CFCs. Mace Head operates with a World Meteorological Organisation ‘Global Atmosphere Watch’ (GAW) status in tandem with Met Éireann’s GAW station at Valentia Observatory where complementary stratospheric Ozone measurements are conducted. The ozone measurements at Valentia contributed to the identification of the extent of ozone loss and eventually the initial beginnings of the expected recovery using special balloon-borne ozone detecting instruments (called ozonesondes) and a sophisticated ground based ozone sensor (called a Brewer Spectrophotometer). The research by NUI Galway is conducted in cooperation with the Advanced Global Atmospheric Gas Experiment (AGAGE). More information on the observatories can be found on www.macehead.org and www.met.ie. -ends-