Tuesday, 9 May 2017

NUI Galway’s Career Development Centre recently won the Employability Award 2017 for their innovative programme piloted this year called ‘EmployAbility – Transition to Employment’. The event was part of the Association for Higher Education Career Services (AHECS) and GradIreland Awards that were recently held in the Mansion House, Dublin. The AHECS is a professional association of careers advisory and placement professionals in higher education in Ireland. The Association provides higher education careers services across the 27 universities and Institutes of Technology in Ireland. EmployAbility is an award winning programme that supports students with disabilities and mental health issues. The programme prepares students for the world of work and transition towards fulfilling careers. The programme was a result of the collaboration between NUI Galway’s Career Development Centre, Disability Support Service, Student Counselling and all units within Student Services. The programme was led by Careers Advisers, Marie Laffey and Ananda Geluk. Dr Pat Morgan, Vice President for Student Experience who formally launched the programme in January said: “This programme has been a wonderful success and reflects NUI Galway’s and specifically Student Services commitment to supporting the personal development and employability of all our students.” The programme featured in the Student Services Smart Study, Smart Life programme and was also funded by the Student Project Fund. Aspects of the programme included collaboration with external partners such as AHEAD (Association for Higher Education Access & Disability) and employers such as the ESB and Google who support and promote access to the labour market for graduates with disabilities. The judging panel were very impressed with the submission and said: “NUI Galway’s Career Development Centre showed great initiative and drive to creatively engage with and support a specific cohort of students with a clear vision and strong employability deliverables.” -Ends- 

Friday, 5 May 2017

GAA hurling demonstration for international scientists in Galway’s Pearse Stadium highlights how climate change will impact the future ‘clash of the ash’ Over 100 of the world’s leading experts in climate change, agriculture and food security converged in NUI Galway last week for a week-long International Conference on ‘Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security – Where is the cutting edge?’ The Conference was co-hosted by the NUI Galway Plant and AgriBiosciences Research Centre and the global research program. The Conference delegates from around the globe identified portfolios of Climate Smart Agriculture practices and innovations for decarbonising agricultural systems to provide food and bioresources for an expanding global population. The delegates discussed approaches for improving the resilience of agriculture and smallholder livelihoods in developing countries to climate change. With support from the GAA, the international delegation of climate change scientists were given a presentation on the history and development of Gaelic games. The presentation was hosted in Pearse Stadium by Galway football legend, and current Connacht Provincial Games Manager, John Tobin. The scientists were taught some of the skills involved in Ireland’s native sports by local athletes and took part in a poc fada competition. NUI Galway agricultural economist, Kevin Kilcline explained how almost half a million hurleys are produced in Ireland each year. The delegation heard how hurley sticks have been made from ash trees by craftsmen since before the recorded history of Ireland. Due to the problems with sourcing healthy ash trees for hurleys, the GAA has approved a wood-free, synthetic carbon-fibre hurley, which the group compared on the pitch to the wooden versions made from ash. The GAA stars and NUI Galway scientists explained how the best hurleys can only be made from the ash tree, which is now threatened by the ash dieback fungal disease. As ash dieback is affected by temperature changes, it provided a good example of how our national sport can potentially be impacted by climate change. In recent weeks, the Mauna Loa Atmospheric Research Observatory in Hawai’i recorded its first-ever carbon dioxide (CO2) reading in excess of 410 parts per million. NUI Galway’s Mace Head Atmospheric Research Station has also recently been recording CO2 readings over 410 parts per million. Dr Peter McKeown, coordinator of the inter-disciplinary Masters (MSc) degree in Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security associated with NUI Galway’s Plant and AgriBiosciences Research Centre, highlighted that children born today will likely never live in a world with CO2 levels below 400 parts per million.  The last time Earth had such levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide was about three million years ago. Back then, global average temperatures over long periods of time were estimated to be about 3.6 to 5.2 degrees warmer than it is today, and the planet may now be headed in that direction. While the conference was focused on the impact of climate change on agriculture and food security, it also highlighted global warming and extreme weather effects due to climate change will impact on all sectors of society in the years ahead. For instance, climate change will affect the geographic distribution of pests and diseases (of humans, animals and plants), with some diseases becoming more widespread, while others may become less prevalent. Global temperature increases have also affected the spread of ash dieback disease and emerald ash borer beetles, both of which represent significant threats to the security of European ash woodlands and forestry. Professor Charles Spillane, Head of the Plant and AgriBiosciences Research Centre at NUI Galway, said: The impacts of climate change on the predicted spread and distribution of ash dieback disease across Europe are being analysed, in conjunction with plant breeding efforts to identify naturally occurring genes that can be hybridised to make ash trees that are resistant to ash dieback.” -Ends-

Thursday, 4 May 2017

NUI Galway’s Professor Henry Curran, a world expert in chemistry combustion, has been awarded the prestigious 2017 Boyle Higgins Gold Medal Award. Professor Curran’s research expertise informs the design of cleaner, more efficient energy systems. The Boyle Higgins Gold Medal Award is awarded by The Institute of Chemistry of Ireland. It is awarded for a significant contribution to chemistry made by an Irish chemist working in Ireland or abroad, or by a chemist of any nationality, working in Ireland. Professor Curran is Director of the Combustion Chemistry Centre at NUI Galway’s School of Chemistry and of the Energy Research Centre in the University’s Ryan Institute: “My research interest is in the study of the chemistry of how fuels burn in combustors, in order to increase efficiency and reduce emissions. It is truly an honour to be recognised by my peers in this way. Ireland has such a strong cohort of experts working in the field of chemistry, that to be chosen for this accolade is truly gratifying.” The Combustion Chemistry Centre at NUI Galway is engaged in fundamental research on the combustion of fossil and biofuels. Professor Curran and his team are concerned with the application  of  combustion  research  to  the  design  of  energy efficient  engine and  gas  turbine combustion systems, and the impact of their use on toxic and greenhouse gas emissions, towards helping address the problems of urban air pollution and climate change. On receipt of his award, Professor Curran delivered a lecture to the Institute of Chemistry of Ireland entitled ‘Developing Detailed Chemical Kinetic Mechanisms for Fuel Combustion’. Much of Professor Curran’s work is on internationally collaborative projects with companies including Shell Global Solutions, Rolls Royce Canada Ltd., Siemens Canada Ltd., Renault and Saudi Arabian Oil Company. Professor Curran is also involved in the EU-funded project, ECCO-MATE, which aims to create a research and training platform for the improvement of diesel engines. Professor Paul Murphy, Head of the School of Chemistry at NUI Galway, said: “The School of Chemistry offers their most enthusiastic congratulations to Professor Curran on the award of the Boyle-Higgins Medal from the Institute of Chemistry, which recognises his contributions to both Pure and Applied Chemistry, given the strong relevance of his research for Industry. Professor Curran has provided pioneering expertise in his area and is fully deserving of this recognition by the professional body for Chemistry in Ireland.” Professor Henry Curran is ranked among the world’s top 1% of scientific minds by Clarivate Analytics, formerly the Intellectual Property and Science business of Thomson Reuters. He has been among the most highly cited researchers since the ranking started in 2014. -Ends-

Thursday, 4 May 2017

NUI Galway Mindful Way initiative in association with Mindfulness Ireland to host a weekend of mindfulness sessions and retreats with monastics from Plum Village The Mindful Way initiative at NUI Galway is delighted to once again welcome monastics from Plum Village back to the campus for a weekend of Mindfulness sessions in association with Mindfulness Ireland. Exploring the practice of mindfulness, a number of free events will take place from the 5-7 May in Aras Moyola, the School of Nursing and Midwifery and are open to the public. The mindfulness sessions will be presented by Teacher, Brother Phap Lai, and his colleagues from Plum Village in Bordeaux. Brother Phap Lai is a Senior Dharma Teacher within the Plum Village Mindfulness tradition and lives his daily life practicing mindfulness with his community and leading mindfulness retreats around the world. On Friday 5 May Brother Phap Lai will lead a Mindfulness session from 6pm to 8.15pm and again on Saturday 6 May from 6pm to 8.15pm. On Saturday 6 May from 2pm to 4pm ‘Wake Up Ireland’, an exciting new addition to the Mindful Way programme of events this year, invites young people between the age of 18 and 35 years to attend a separate mindfulness event. And on Sunday 7 May there will be a day long retreat from 11am to 4.30pm and participants are also invited to share a mindful vegan lunch with the Plum Village Monastics. These unique events are part of NUI Galway’s ongoing initiative towards integrating mindfulness into the University’s culture and the importance of mindfulness in higher educational institutions and the wider community. The event is open to all university staff and students, the general public, researchers, student counsellors and advisors, healthcare professionals, mindfulness practitioners, and anyone with an interest in mindfulness. Professor Lokesh Joshi, Vice-President for Research at NUI Galway, and coordinator of the University’s Mindful Way initiative, said: “NUI Galway is on a journey to adopt a mindfulness culture to benefit both staff and students that is being shared with the wider Galway community. We are honoured to host Brother Phap Lai and his monastic colleagues from Plum Village and we hope that everyone who attends will enjoy this truly unique offering with such a globally revered group.” Plum Village, near Bordeaux in southwest France, is the largest international practice centre in the Plum Village tradition, and the first monastic community founded by Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh, a global spiritual leader, poet and peace activist, revered around the world for his powerful teachings and bestselling writings on mindfulness and peace. His key teaching is that, through mindfulness, we can learn to live happily in the present moment - the only way to truly develop peace, both in one’s self and in the world. For more information about events email mindfulway@nuigalway.ie. All weekend sessions will take place in lecture hall MY243 in Aras Moyola, also known as the School of Nursing and Midwifery at NUI Galway and opposite the Alice Perry Engineering Building. For directions visit: http://www.nuigalway.ie/media/Aras-Moyola-map.pdf Parking on campus is free on Saturday and Sunday and after 5.45pm on Friday, visit: http://www.nuigalway.ie/media/buildingsoffice/files/services/parking/M12122_050916_Parking_CampusMapWEB.pdf. Those wishing to attend the Sunday Mindfulness retreat and lunch can register here: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/day-of-mindfulness-practice-with-plum-village-monastics-tickets-34065283179.       For more information about ‘Wake Up Ireland’ visit: http://www.wkupireland.org/. The Plum Village Monastics are in Galway as part of Mindfulness Ireland's Annual Retreat Programme, which takes place every year over the May Bank Holiday weekend. For more information please visit www.mindfulnessireland.org/ www.plumvillage.org and       https://plumvillage.org/about/wake-up-young-practitioners/ -Ends-

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Three NUI Galway students have recently been awarded the Global Citizen Award through their volunteering with Nurture Africa and the Experiment Intercultural Learning (EIL) initiative, which was set up to assist and develop international engagement, sponsored by Irish Aid. The Gold Global Citizen Award went to NUI Galway students Aisling Miller, from Leap, Co. Cork who travelled to Uganda with Nurture Africa and to Cormac Pope, from Barna, Co. Galway who travelled to Thailand with the EIL. Seán Devny, also travelled to Uganda with Nurture Africa and he received the Bronze Citizen Award. Following their travels last year, the students completed action projects once back in Ireland to connect the learning of their intercultural experience and secured the Bronze and Gold awards at this year’s national ceremony. The Global Citizen Award aims to mobilise returned international volunteers, to inspire members of the Irish public, and to foster active global citizens by increasing their understanding of global issues. Lorraine Tansey, ALIVE Student Volunteering Programme Coordinator, said: “Partnering the Global Citizen Award is ideal for NUI Galway because this award has a very important message. Volunteers are encouraged to connect to their local communities and write reflective blogs with their overseas partner. Through this full circle approach, volunteers can truly remain connected in solidarity with their overseas partners, building on the learning and intercultural experience.” -Ends- 

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

St Angela’s College, Sligo together with NUI Galway presented the 2017 President’s Award for Student Volunteering at a special ceremony on Tuesday 25 April.  The 2017 recipients volunteered in a range of local community projects and have fundraised for a variety of causes and also participated in the campus mentoring programmes. The ALIVE Certificate is awarded to students that demonstrate a commitment to volunteering and reflect on their learning from the experience through an online portfolio.  Dr Anne Taheny, President of St Angela’s College said: “We are delighted to celebrate the student’s commitments as we strive to encourage an ethos of student volunteering and engagement with community activities.”  Partnering with the Sligo Volunteer Centre, the event is part of the European Capital of Volunteering Sligo 2017 programme. The students from St Angela’s College gave an average of 34 hours this year equating to €13,590 of in kind time to social, environmental, health and education programmes. This is an estimate amount of forty-five students earning the minimum wage. Lorraine Tansey, ALIVE Student Volunteering Programme Coordinator, said: “Through campus based volunteering roles like mentoring and class representative, students are building democracy skills like decision making, debating, listening and referrals. There is a real campus community of voluntary effort that also extends to local and international volunteering.” Gráinne O'Toole, a third year student studying Home Economics and Biology Teaching, said: “Mentoring ensures an effortless transition for students leaving secondary school and entering third level education. The programme provides a local and small community for first year students who may be nervous or homesick in making new connections with us and other mentors in their year group, and making them feel more at ease.” Students this year volunteered with Samaritans, Irish Girl Guides, Fáilte Isteach Conversation Classes, Foróige and Special Olympics to mention a few. Ann Coyle student volunteer with Foróige said: “Volunteering has enabled me to advance my career and I have brought happiness, energy and laughter to children at Foróige Sligo. I have impacted the first year students of my course by sharing my knowledge and experiences of my first year experience with them to help them settle into being away from home.” -Ends-

Tuesday, 2 May 2017

NUI Galway students address issues of sexual assault and the negotiation of sexual consent in a film co-produced with Galway Rape Crisis Centre, and supported by The Manuela Riedo Foundation Ireland Drama, Theatre and Performance students at NUI Galway will premiere the short film, Lucy’s House Party, directed by Dr Charlotte McIvor today (Tuesday 2 May), at the O’Donoghue Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance. The short film will be presented as part of a sexual violence prevention initiative, The Manuela Programme, aimed at transition-year students in over 120 secondary schools across Ireland. An NUI Galway and Galway Rape Crisis Centre co-production, Lucy’s House Party, created by the students is a film adaptation of a devised theatre play, 100 Shades of Grey. The play was initially responding to a report written by researchers at NUI Galway’s School of Psychology entitled, ‘Young People, Alcohol and Sex: What’s Consent Got to Do With It?’ The Manuela Programme is a six session, 12 hour classroom-based intervention of which the film, Lucy’s House Party will form an integral part. The necessity to have an Irish-based context film inserted to the programme was thought essential, and resulted in The Manuela Riedo Foundation Ireland committing funds to this film project. The short film will be used as a specific learning tool to create discussion, debate and learning around the issues of healthy relationships, sexual consent along with the context, consequences and attitudes to excessive alcohol and drugs within a group of friendships. After being piloted earlier this year at schools in Kerry, Wexford and Galway, The Manuela Programme has just been funded for expansion into 120 secondary schools with significant financial support from the European Commission for Justice, Tusla, the Child and Family Agency and The Manuela Riedo Foundation Ireland. Manuela Riedo was a 17-year old Swiss student who was raped and murdered in Galway in October 2007 just two days after arriving to Galway on a language and cultural holiday. Commenting on the short film, Dr Charlotte McIvor at NUI Galway, said: “Sexual assault prevention particularly amongst young people is one of today's most pressing issues. Our drama and theatre studies students have passionately brought their skills to bear on adding to this conversation by making this film. We look forward to seeing our work used as part of the groundbreaking Manuela programme.” In October 2015 the Manuela Riedo Foundation Ireland invited and funded the 16 Rape Crisis Centres throughout Ireland to send delegates to a two-day conference in Galway. This was the first step in harnessing their expertise to build a nationwide, comprehensive, evidence-based education programme targeting 15-16 year olds in the area of sexual violence prevention. The outcome of this conference and continued research resulted in forming The Manuela Programme, which has the potential to be a powerful prevention programme to reduce sexual violence by empowering participants with the necessary skills, knowledge and behaviours. The programme draws on best practice from Ireland’s Rape Crisis Centres as well as building on international evidence in the field. Dr Sue Redmond, a social research consultant and facilitator in this area of expertise was the primary author of the final draft document. The film will be launched at the O’Donoghue Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance in NUI Galway on Tuesday, 2 May by Mary Roche, Senior Coordinator of Services for Sexual Violence at Tusla, the Child and Family Agency. -Ends-

Tuesday, 2 May 2017

For nearly a decade, the standard practice in Ireland for treating stings by the Portuguese man o’ war jellyfish (Physalia physalis) is to rinse with seawater and then apply ice. However, in a new study published last week, scientists from NUI Galway have found those measures are actually among the worst things to do if stung. Collaborating with jellyfish sting experts from the University of Hawai‘i – Mānoa, the NUI Galway scientists re-evaluated which commonly recommended first aid actions (such as rinsing with seawater) are the most effective for Physalia stings. Their results, published in the international journal Toxins, overturn the current advice, and show that the best first aid is to rinse with vinegar, to remove tentacles and then immerse in 45°C (113°F) hot water (or apply a hot pack) for 45 minutes. There are two species of Physalia, the Portuguese man o’ war (Physalia physalis) which occurs in the Atlantic, and the bluebottle (Physalia utriculus) which occurs in the Pacific. Both species are among the most recognisable stinging jellyfish with their bright blue tentacles and colorful inflated floating sails. Just last September, armadas of these painful stingers came ashore in Ireland. Taxonomically speaking, the Portuguese man o’ war is not a true jellyfish but a siphonophore, a closely related group of colonial animals. Dr Tom Doyle, Lecturer in Zoology from the School of Natural Sciences at NUI Galway, said: “We had unprecedented numbers washing up from Cork to Donegal last September. Thankfully we had very few reported stings given the time of year. However, if this event had occurred during the summer months, then we may have had hundreds of stings. Our new evidence-based research conclusively shows that the best first aid for a man o’ war sting is rinsing with vinegar or a Sting No More Spray, developed by the University of Hawai‘i – Mānoa, followed by the immersion of the injured area in hot water or the application of a hot pack.” But although man o’ war stings are common around the world, there was little agreement on the best first aid responses to such injuries until now. Dr Tom Doyle and PhD student Jasmine Headlam at NUI Galway collaborated with Dr Christie Wilcox, lead author of the paper and postdoctoral fellow with the Pacific Cnidaria Research Laboratory at the University of Hawai‘i, and her colleague Dr Angel Yanagihara, assistant research Professor at the University’s Pacific Biosciences Research Center.  Commenting on the research, Dr Wilcox, said: “Physalia are often listed as exceptions to any blanket first aid recommendations for jellyfish stings. Without solid science to back up medical practices, we have ended up with conflicting official recommendations around the world, leading to confusion and, in many cases, practices that actually worsen stings and even cost lives.” Dr Wilcox and Dr Yanagihara first examined box jellyfish, some of the deadliest jelly species in the world, finding that common practices such as applying urine or scraping away tentacles only make stings worse. Applying these new rigorous testing methods to man o’ war stings was the obvious next step, in which they collaborated on with Dr Doyle at NUI Galway. In 2008, Dr Doyle set up the Jellyfish Advisory Group, an expert coalition that developed the Irish guidelines for the treatment of jellyfish stings as part of an Ireland Wales INTERREG project EcoJel. He was instrumental in implementing the current sting response protocols and was keen to ensure that Irish medical practitioners are giving the best care possible to sting victims. Dr Doyle added, “In the coming weeks, I look forward to meeting with members of the Jellyfish Advisory Group to discuss our new findings and how we can revise the current protocols.” Dr Doyle met Dr Yanagihara at a jellyfish conference in Japan and together they proposed a project to the International Fulbright Specialist program, and Dr Yanagihara was awarded a Fullbright Specialist Award to come to NUI Galway to share newly developed assay techniques with the NUI Galway research team. Dr Doyle and Ms Headlam performed experiments using the Atlantic man o’ war in parallel with those conducted by Dr Wilcox and Dr Yanagihara in Hawai‘i. The results from opposite sides of the world aligned beautifully. The venom delivered by a man o’ war sting was lessened if the sting site was rinsed with vinegar, regardless of which species of Physalia was used. The scientists showed that vinegar inhibited the animals’ stinging cells from firing, thus safely removing tentacles and stinging cells that can remain adhered to the skin and continue to deliver venom over time. Meanwhile, PhD student Jasmine Headlam is already working on her next research project. “After the Portuguese man o ‘war, the most venomous jellyfish in Irish waters is the lion’s mane jellyfish”, she explained. Lion’s mane (Cyanea capillata) are responsible for more bad jellyfish stings in Ireland than any other species, and in many such cases, the victims end up in the hospital. Ms Headlam added, “We are currently doing similar experimental work on the lion’s mane jellyfish and hope to submit this work for publication in due course.” To read the full study in Toxins visit: http://www.mdpi.com/2072-6651/9/5/149/ and http://www.mdpi.com/2072-6651/9/5/149/pdf View this short video which summarises the results of the study: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZirOV9wJ2jo&feature=youtu.be -Ends-

Tuesday, 2 May 2017

New research projects to start in the areas of dementia care, cardiac care, and type 1 diabetes Three new research projects are to begin at NUI Galway, with the support of the Health Research Board, in the areas of dementia care, cardiac care, and type 1 diabetes. A total of €1.8 million has been allocated, with each project focused on improving patient care and outcomes. Dr Martin O’Donnell, Professor of Translational Medicine at NUI Galway has been funded under the ‘Definitive Interventions and Feasibility Award’ programme for research on Community Risk-based monitoring for an Atrial Fibrillation Trial. Atrial fibrillation is an irregular and often rapid heart rate that can increase the risk of stroke, heart failure and other heart-related complications. Professor Sean Dinneen, Professor of Diabetic Medicine has secured a ‘Definitive Intervention and Feasibility Award’ for research aimed at improving outcomes for young adults living with type 1 diabetes in Ireland. The study team based across the NUI Galway and Galway University Hospital campuses will work with national and international collaborators including a public and patient involvement panel (consisting of 10 young adult service users living with type 1 diabetes) to test and pilot the feasibility of a new intervention, called D1 Now. Professor Eamon O’Shea, Director of the Centre for Economic and Social Research on Dementia at NUI Galway, received an ‘Applied Partnership Award’ for resource allocation, priority-setting and consensus in dementia care in Ireland. The aim of this study is to address key questions regarding optimal service and support mix for people with dementia and to facilitate a more efficient and equitable resource allocation process that includes the delivery of personalised, community-based supports for people with dementia. Professor Eamon O'Shea will be working with the National Dementia Office through the Health Service Executive to develop Dementia care plans to address optimal resource allocation for different dementia case types. The Definitive Intervention and Feasibility Award scheme is designed to boost research activity in clinical trials and interventions, whereas the Applied Partnership Award scheme aims to encourage a partnership-based, co-funding approach to nationally relevant research topics. According to NUI Galway’s Vice-President for Research, Professor Lokesh Joshi: “The focus of these projects is to improve outcomes for patients with heart disease and diabetes, and to improve the provision of health services to people with dementia. We welcome the support provided by the Health Research Board for this patient-centred research which will impact on diverse patient communities.” Dr Mairead O’Driscoll, Interim Chief Executive at the Health Research Board, said: “Findings from these projects have the potential to make a big impact on patient care and patient outcomes, in a relatively short space of time. Through these awards, the HRB is delivering on two key goals in our strategy. Firstly, to boost clinical trial activity in Ireland and secondly, to encourage partner driven research that addresses research questions which are directly relevant to the needs of our health service.” Commenting on the D1 Now Study, Mary Clare O’Hara, Programme Manager of the study at Galway University Hospital, said: “Living with type 1 diabetes is demanding whatever your age. Individuals with diabetes must self-inject insulin several times a day for their entire life and monitor its effects through frequent (and painful) self-monitoring of blood glucose levels to manage this challenging condition. Even in motivated patients it can be difficult to avoid day-to-day fluctuations in blood glucose levels. This is particularly true of for young adults who have busy social, work, family and student lives. Since 2014 we have been working with our panel of young adult service users to re-imagine the way we deliver care to this population and to co-design the D1 Now intervention that we will now trial in diabetes centres in Ireland and Northern Ireland.” -Ends-

Friday, 28 April 2017

The Health Research Board – Trials Methodology Research Network (HRB-TMRN), based in NUI Galway, will host the Schools Teaching Awareness of Randomised Trials (START) competition on Friday, 19 May, 2017. As part of this event, students will be given the opportunity to meet MARIO, a companion robot designed to support people with dementia mitigate the effects of loneliness and isolation, and view a demonstration of his various abilities, including playing music and reading the news. The START competition, now in its second year, invites 4th, 5th and 6th class students and their teachers to design, carry out and evaluate their very own clinical trial. Participation in this competition meets several key aspects of the school curriculum including Maths, Science, English, Irish, Information Communication Technology and Social, Personal and Health Education. The MARIO project aims to manage active and healthy ageing through the use of caring service robots. It is funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme, within the thematic section ‘Societal Challenge on Health, Demographic Change and Wellbeing’. Many people with dementia live meaningful lives and retain many abilities if a supportive   psycho-social environment exists. MARIO aims to support people with dementia through companionship, stimulating social engagement and social connectedness and prompting older people with dementia to engage in meaningful activities. This is achieved through interactions through the use of speech and touch-screen technology. Through these interactions MARIO enables people with dementia to read their favourite newspapers, listen to their favourite songs, provide reminders of upcoming events, and connect with their friends and families. MARIO is currently undergoing pilot testing in Ireland, England, and Italy, where he is interacting with people with dementia in hospitals, community nursing homes, and residential care settings. Speaking about the MARIO project, Professor Dympna Casey from the School of Nursing and Midwifery at NUI Galway, said: “MARIO has evolved over the last 12 months with the input of people with dementia who have actively engaged with us to help him become a suitable companion robot for people with dementia, and we are thrilled to now give students the opportunity to meet and get up close and personal with MARIO!” For further information please visit: http://www.mario-project.eu/portal/, or follow on Facebook at facebook.com/mario.project.eu/ and Twitter @mario__project. -Ends-

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

NUI Galway Societies were presented with seven awards at the recent Board of Irish College Societies (BICS) National Awards. Over 400 staff and students from colleges across Ireland took part in the annual awards. This event sees student college societies, from all over the country compete against each other for 20 awards in 13 different categories.  NUI Galway Medical Society won ‘Best Cultural, Academic & Social Society’. The Medical society have raised almost €12,000 and promoted awareness about Mental Health in the West of Ireland with their Déan Athrú event. The NUI Galway society Climate Change & Food Safety won ‘Best Charity and Civic Society’ for their work in promoting awareness about climate change and sustainability and they also ran a campaign that resulted in the divestment of €3.4 million of fossil fuel shares in NUI Galway. The Sláinte Society won best ‘Event’ for their very popular Teddy Bear Hospital which sees 1,300 national school children and their teddies visit the campus to help alleviate children’s fears of hospitalisation and illness. The ‘Best Intervarsity Award’, went to NUI Galway Dramsoc for hosting the Irish Student Drama Association in 2016. This event allows colleges all over Ireland to showcase their best productions and compete against each other. The festival culminated at an Awards Ball, which honoured students participating in every aspect of theatre. The ‘Best New Society Award’, went to the NUI Galway Paediatric Society. Within this society the aim is to promote healthcare and wellbeing for children. The event Healthy Heroes gave the opportunity to visit national schools to promote healthy eating. The ‘Best Poster’ went to the Philosophy Society. The poster was designed by Siobhan Lenihan, who is studying a degree in Human Rights. The poster captured a student promoting an event about the philosophy of healthy and sustainable eating. The ‘Best Fresher Award’ went to Daniel Emmet Leahy, a student studying Law and German and who is also a committee member of several other societies at NUI Galway. BICS is a national organisation dedicated to providing a national forum for the societies in Ireland’s universities, Colleges and Institutes of Education. BICS now represents 21 colleges, 901 societies with 180,000 students across the island of Ireland. The organisation helps students from across the country to network, meet new people and run events on and off campus. The BICS Awards celebrate the unyielding work students do to create a greater, more enjoyable and more holistic college life for their peers. Ríona Hughes, BICS Chairperson and NUI Galway Society Officer, said: “The awards are the culmination of the societies year and we were delighted with the calibre of students attending. It is humbling to see the commitment and dedication that society committee members bring to making not only their campuses more welcoming and supportive but to the positive difference they make to their local communities and the wider world.” For more information about BICS Awards visit http://bics.ie/.  -Ends-

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Wednesday, 26 April, 2017: Adjunct Professor and honorary graduate of NUI Galway, the late Michel Déon was remembered this week at the University as the Chair of French will be named in his honour. The event took place as part of a day of tribute to the French author jointly organised by NUI Galway, Cúirt International Festival of Literature and the French Embassy, in the presence of French Ambassador to Ireland, M. Jean-Pierre Thébault, and of one of Michel Déon’s fellow members of the Académie Française, M. Frédéric Vitoux. Speaking of Michel Déon, Dr Jim Browne, President of NUI Galway said: “We remember with pride and affection the long friendship between NUI Galway and Michel Déon. Over many years, through his association with the discipline of French as Adjunct Professor, he showed generous support for our students and for our James Hardiman Library. His sharing of his vast collection of books with the University Library is a gesture which will be noted as one of great philanthropy by generations of scholars to come.  NUI Galway was proud to honour the literary achievements of Michel Déon on the occasion of his conferring with an honorary degree some decades ago. In conferring that honour the NUI was pleased to celebrate Michel’s remarkable talent as a French writer and ‘académicien’; his enduring bond with Ireland and his important role in sharing the Irish artistic imagination with the world.” Born in Paris in 1919, Déon spent over forty years in Tynagh Co Galway with his wife and family. He was one of the most respected writers of his time, a chronological span of some 70 years of writing from his first novel Adieux à Sheila (1944) to his last work – it comprises a total of more than 50 books and hundreds of editions. His works have been translated into German, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, Greek, Turkish, Russian, Chinese, Lithuanian, Hindi, Japanese, Polish, and, in recent years increasingly into English. As part of the day of tribute M. Pierre Joannon, Irish Honorary Consul for the South of France, will perform the launch of Horseman, pass by!, Clíona Ní Ríordáin’s translation of Michel Déon’s Cavalier, passe ton chemin!, published by Lilliput Press (2017). Déon’s books have won major literary prizes including the Prix Interallié in 1970 for Les Poneys sauvages (The Wild Ponies), the Académie Française Grand Prix in 1970 for his novel Un taxi mauve (The Purple Taxi), set in Ireland, and filmed in 1977 with such famous names as Philippe Noiret, Charlotte Rampling, Peter Ustinov and Fred Astaire. He held the high rank of Commandeur of the Légion d’honneur, the order created by Napoleon to honour the highest achievements in civic and cultural life. In 1978 he was elected as one of the 40 members of the Académie Française, the greatest distinction a writer can receive in France. Best known for his novels and essays he also wrote children’s stories, plays, memoirs and travel accounts. Associated with many great names, he collaborated with Coco Chanel and Salvador Dalí. He was also acquainted with some of Ireland’s finest writers, Seamus Heaney and John McGahern among others. Similarly, as a writer and reader, Déon saw it as an important part of his role to encourage students by making literature accessible to them. Over many years, through his association with the discipline of French as Adjunct Professor in the National University of Ireland Galway, he showed generous support for students there, and shared his vast collection of books (7,000) with the University Library in a gesture of great philanthropy and friendship. Professor Cathal O’Donoghue, Dean of Arts at NUI Galway, said: “We are proud to honour the memory of Michel Déon and celebrate his longstanding friendship with the discipline of French and the wider University. This is a fitting tribute to an author who loved communicating his enthusiasm for literature to our students at NUI Galway. In his long association with this university, Déon was equally generous in his support of the Hardiman Library, to which he donated many of his books. This event was originally envisaged as a tribute to celebrate his birthday but his memory will live on here at NUI Galway, as it is our intention that the Chair of French will be known in the future as the Michel Déon Chair of French.” Professor Jane Conroy of NUI Galway commented: “Michel Déon was seen as a ‘rebel’ in the world of French literature, and he never stopped questioning that world and thinking about how France and Europe were changing. We think of him as living between France and Ireland but actually he was at home in several cultures, Greece, Portugal, Italy…. and he knew several languages. He was able to translate Saul Bellow and Alarcón for example. He was loyal to France, but I think of him as a great European. It’s no accident that Les Poneys sauvages, one of his finest novels, takes us across several countries, including Ireland. I see him as being preoccupied with the future of European society and values. Certainly his experience during World War 2 deepened his awareness of the fragility of our civilisation. His novels explore these questions in very personal ways.”  -Ends-

Friday, 21 April 2017

NUI Galway hosts innovative session for arts and humanities graduates on ‘Taking the next step post-PhD/Masters: Career development beyond academia’ NUI Galway’s Moore Institute will host an innovative career development event on Friday 28 April. Entitled ‘Taking the next step post-PHD/Masters: Career development beyond academia’, it will introduce NUI Galway arts and humanities students to major employers in financial services, consulting, and the research and technology sectors. Masters and PhD graduates in the arts and humanities have increasingly begun to seek employment outside academia when they complete their degrees. These new pathways pose considerable challenges as students adapt their skills and explain what they can contribute to the commercial industry. The career development session will feature speakers in industry describing the contributions that arts and humanities can make to the commercial world. Students in turn will have a chance to network and describe their research and how it could contribute to innovation in industry. Speakers on the day include Ann Roddy, Vice President at Fidelity Investments, Gavin Duffy, Managing Director of technology company RealSim, Medb Corcoran of consulting powerhouse Accenture, and Daniel Quinn, interaction designer at Cisco. Professor Daniel Carey, Director of the Moore Institute at NUI Galway, said: “This groundbreaking event expresses the College of Arts, Social Sciences and Celtic Studies’ commitment to innovation, creativity, and opportunity. We want to break down barriers for students so that they can build new careers.” NUI Galway students participating in the event include PhD candidate Eavan Ó Dochartaigh, whose work investigates how the arctic was illustrated in the nineteenth century. She will show how her research relates to industry and the challenge of presenting information in graphic form for public audiences, which has wide application to businesses and marketing. PhD candidate Edward Kearns uses computational analysis to study non-linear narratives in modernist and electronic literature, and is looking at how his research ties into the technology sector and the need for large scale data analysis that studies language use. The event is free and open to the public and will take place on Friday 28 April in the Moore Institute seminar room (G010) in the Hardiman Research Building at NUI Galway. For more information on the Event see: http://bit.ly/beyondacademia For more information about the Moore Institute visit: www.mooreinstitute.ie. -Ends-

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Global conference at NUI Galway debates how climate-smart agriculture can ensure global food security and increase sustainability in food production Over 150 of the world’s leading experts on climate change, agriculture and food security are converging this week in Galway for the International Conference ‘Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security – Where is the cutting edge?’ The conference is being hosted by the NUI Galway Plant and AgriBiosciences Research Centre, which is a key strategic partner in the global Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security research program. The planet’s climate is rapidly changing due to global warming. Together with the growing demand for food from a rapidly increasing world population – 9 billion in 2050 – agriculture and food systems will be under fast increasing pressure. In addition, climate and weather-related shocks will affect the livelihoods of millions of people globally, with the poorest being particularly vulnerable to climate change impacts. Speaking from the conference, Professor Charles Spillane, Head of the Plant and AgriBiosciences Research Centre at NUI Galway, said: “The agriculture and food sector currently contributes 19-29% of global greenhouse gas emissions. There is growing realisation that reducing emissions from the industrial, transport and energy sector will not be enough, and emissions reductions from agriculture will be necessary if the planet is to stay within the 2oC warming limit agreed by the world’s governments. Recent global analyses have revealed that current agricultural interventions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions will only deliver 21-40% of 2oC target by end of century, indicating the need for transformative technical and policy innovations. There are no easy fixes, and solutions have to be found along the boundaries of multiple scientific disciplines, government ministries, international organisations, companies, local actors, new technologies and indigenous knowledge. The scale of the challenge is immense and urgent. It is crucial to rapidly reduce greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture and other sectors, and at the same time, ensure the capacity of farmers and food producers to adapt and strengthen their resilience to a fast changing climate. The NUI Galway conference identifies opportunities and synergies for research and innovation, for new partnerships, and for new approaches for scaling up science and technology innovations for Climate Smart Agriculture to reach millions of smallholder farmers globally.” Professor Bruce Campbell, Head of the global Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security program highlighted that, “millions of farmers are already being hit by extreme events, and these are likely to increase in severity and frequency in the years ahead. By helping farmers cope with such events, we can protect family assets and keep communities on a development trajectory. It also makes economic sense. Early warning systems for flood plain farmers have been shown to reduce emergency response costs by 30% per beneficiary. Research on drought adapted maize has delivered benefits five to eight times more than the research cost.” Irish Aid is a sponsor of the International Conference, and of the overall global Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security program. Through its support, Irish Aid is investing in research that builds evidence on how the poorest people and countries can best adapt, reduce risk, and build their resilience to withstand future set-backs and disasters. A key focus of Irish Aid’s efforts is on climate resilient agriculture for smallholder farmers, who urgently require systems to adapt to, cope with, and recover from climate risks. Aidan Fitzpatrick, Senior Development Specialist at Irish Aid indicated that, “Irish Aid recognises that climate change as a key driver of poverty and vulnerability in sub Saharan Africa, and in many of the world’s poorest countries. This conference brings together the worlds leading climate and food security experts and harnesses the research and collective knowledge of 15 of the worlds’ leading international agriculture research centres. This knowledge and research is important in informing Irish Aid's efforts to build poor people’s resilience and ensuring their food security in the face of the growing impacts of climate change.” NUI Galway has been working closely in partnership with the global program, particularly in relation to running the inter-disciplinary Masters (MSc) degree in Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security. This award-winning course is providing students with the skills and tools for developing agricultural practices, policies and measures addressing the challenge that global warming poses for agriculture and food security worldwide. Graduates of the MSc course are now playing key roles in local, national and international efforts to promote sustainable agricultural production, climate change adaptation and global food security. The conference is sponsored by Irish Aid, Bord Bia, Environmental Protection Agency, the GAA, Galway University Foundation, Fáilte Ireland, Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security program, and NUI Galway. -Ends-

Monday, 24 April 2017

A new film has been produced, with the support of the Huston School of Film & Digital Media at NUI Galway, featuring the extraordinary work of the Blood Cancer Network Ireland (BCNI). Clinical Trials – A Patient’s Perspective brings viewers, from the perspective of a current patient, Christopher McEvilly from Oughterard in Co. Galway, into the life-saving research and work carried out by the BCNI. The film’s producer, Dr Seán Crosson, Acting Director of the Huston School of Film & Digital Media at NUI Galway, said: “The Huston School was delighted to be able to support the production of this important film as part of an ongoing research and outreach project in the school exploring the role of digital media in healthcare. As evident in the film, the BCNI is providing Irish blood cancer patients with access to novel and innovative cancer treatments through the provision of early phase clinical trials. Clinical Trials – A Patient’s Perspective gives an insight into one clinical trial patient’s perspective of this life-saving process.” Professor Michael O'Dwyer, Director of Blood Cancer Network Ireland at NUI Galway, said: “A new diagnosis of blood cancer can be frightening and unsettling. This short film captures perfectly one patient’s perspective and positive experience of clinical trials and should help other patients who find themselves in this situation. We are very thankful to Seán and Dieter of the Huston School of Film & Digital Media for making this uplifting film.” The Huston School of Film & Digital Media is the leading centre for research and teaching in film and digital media in the West of Ireland. The school offers teaching and research programmes at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels (up to PhD), including pioneering MA degrees in Film Studies: Theory and Practice, Film Production and Direction, Digital Media, Arts Policy and Practice, Public Advocacy and Activism, and Film and Theatre. Clinical Trials – A Patient’s Perspective is directed by Huston School lecturer Dieter Auner and produced by Huston’s Acting Director Dr Seán Crosson. To view the film visit: http://www.bloodcancers.ie/bloodcancers/clinicaltrials/ where further information on the BCNI and clinical trials is also available. For more information about the Huston School of Film & Digital Media visit: www.filmschool.ie.  -Ends-

Monday, 24 April 2017

 The lecture will be delivered by Professor Wendy Bracewell from University College London NUI Galway will host a public lecture entitled ‘Travellers, travellees, and travelling texts: Eastern Europe and the Republic of Letters’. The lecture, which will be delivered by Professor Wendy Bracewell of the School of Slavonic and East European Studies, University College London, will take place on Thursday, 4May at 6.30pm in the Dillon Lecture Theatre, Arts Science Building. While many eastern European countries now form part of the EU and many Eastern Europeans now live in Galway, not so long ago, Eastern Europe was seen as very far removed from Western Europe. The notion of a deep cultural and political division between eastern and Western Europe goes back to the eighteenth century. Professor Bracewell shows that eastern Europeans themselves vigorously rejected the idea that they were in any way different or inferior to western Europeans. She suggests that the depictions of Eastern Europe and the reactions to them can teach us much about what the notions of ‘eastern’ and ‘western’ Europe mean.   A renowned historian of travel, Professor Bracewell makes a virtue of finding the humour in history. She published an anthology, Where to Go in Europe, which featured amusing accounts of European travellers grappling with foreign toilet facilities. Professor Bracewell also traced the fantastic trope of women throwing their long, pendulous breasts over their shoulders to feed their children in travel accounts from Tasmania to Croatia. Her book on banditry in the sixteenth-century Adriatic has been recommended to modern-day travellers by the Rough Guide to Croatia. The lecture marks the beginning of a conference entitled ‘Journeys’, to be held at the University’s Moore Institute from 4-6 May. The conference is organised by NUI Galway’s Dr Róisín Healy on behalf of the Irish Association for Russian, Central and East European Studies. Dr Healy said: “The University is especially pleased to host the conference this year.  The centenary of the Russian Revolution, sparked by that most famous of journeys, Lenin’s train journey from Switzerland to the Finland Station in Petrograd.”  For further information please visit www.iarcees.org/upcoming.php or email helena.condon@nuigalway.ie for registration details. -Ends-

Monday, 24 April 2017

NUI Galway’s School of Natural Sciences Bio-EXPLORERS programme, in collaboration with Kitchen Chemistry, is now taking bookings for its three Summer Science Camps. The camps take place from the 3–7 July, 10–14 July with the third taking place on the 17–21 July. The camp is open to all young scientists aged between 8 and 13 years old. Participants will get a chance to work as real scientists by performing and analysing experiments in a real research environment.  The Bio-EXPLORERS programme is composed of two science communication and public engagement initiatives: Cell EXPLORERS directed by Dr Muriel Grenon and Eco-EXPLORERS directed by Dr Michel Dugon. With Dr Michel Dugon, the host of the RTÉ’s Bug Hunters, children will participate in activities such as discovering live local and exotic plants and animals, studying their habitats, and understanding how they interact with their environment. With the dynamic team of Cell EXPLORERS, children will learn how cells make our bodies work. They will run their own experiments, build models, observe their own cells under microscopes and extract DNA from cells. Each camp will also include a session with Kitchen Chemistry, from NUI Galway’s School of Chemistry, who run fun, hands-on experiments that bring chemistry to life! The primary goal of these NUI Galway science outreach programmes is to inspire interest in science in the general public and to impact positively on science education. All three programmes run activities designed to engage children in a hands-on way and stimulate their interest in exploring science-related themes. They have engaged thousands of children in the West of Ireland and are very active during the Galway Science and Technology Festival. Since 2014, Bio-EXPLORERS have run successful Summer and Easter science camps, in addition to the very popular ‘Scientist for a Day’ one-day workshops during mid-terms, run in conjunction with Kitchen Chemistry. These camps provide a fun take on science where children can get involved and experiment as real scientists do. Small participant numbers, hands-on activities and a good ratio of well-trained, interactive demonstrators maximize the learning environment. This year’s summer camps will run over five days from 9.30am to 4.30pm each day. The cost is €160 per child, €145 for additional siblings for this exciting course packed with fun and exciting activities. Visit www.cellexplorers.com for details on the camp and links to register on Eventbrite. Once registered, post the completed registration form (download on Eventbrite page) with payment within five working days to Bio-EXPLORERS, Dr Martina Wernecke, Biochemistry, School of Natural Sciences, NUI Galway. Places are limited and will be allocated on a first-come first-served basis. For any queries email cellexplorers@nuigalway.ie -Ends-      

Monday, 10 April 2017

Pioneering O’Donoghue Centre for Drama, Theatre & Performance at NUI Galway will have a transformative effect on the University’s students and Galway’s cultural hinterland President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins will officially open the O’Donoghue Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance today (10 April 2017) at NUI Galway. The new state-of-the-art facility will act as a central hub for cultural innovation and creativity in the University and Galway City. Under the directorship of Professor Patrick Lonergan, the O’Donoghue Centre will deliver ground-breaking programmes, firmly rooted in NUI Galway’s local strengths and capacities, but globally significant in vision, ambition and innovation. This pioneering Centre is a 120-seat theatre space with retractable tiered seating allowing for multifunctional use and accessibility. It comprises of studio spaces, a classroom, and a workshop and rehearsal room that will have a transformative effect not only on the University’s students but on the vibrant cultural hinterland that surrounds the campus.  As a long-standing advocate for the arts and innovation, the President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins has paid tribute to the O’Donoghue Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance, praising what he called its "key role in establishing Galway’s reputation as Ireland’s cultural capital and an international centre for innovative drama, theatre and performance."   The Centre recognises the generous philanthropic support of Galway businessman, Dr Donagh O’Donoghue who began his association with the University after he completed both Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Commerce degrees in the 1960s. Donagh combined his academic work with an active involvement in extra-curricular activities. He was a member of Comhairle Teachta na Mac-Léinn (the Students’ Representative Council, predecessor of the Students’ Union), where fellow members included President Michael D. Higgins. President of NUI Galway, Dr Jim Browne said: “Today is a milestone in NUI Galway’s history - marking the opening of the O’Donoghue Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance, a flagship new facility for the performing arts in the heart of our University. NUI Galway has always had a deep commitment to the arts, a commitment which continues to be central to our vision. Over the years we've supported a vibrant ethos on campus which has enriched national culture and confirmed Galway’s position as a city of creativity and innovation. Today’s development is a consolidation of that effort and today I want to commend Dr Donagh O’Donoghue and Galway University Foundation and to thank them sincerely for their commitment and support. As we look to the future, we imagine the stories that will be told, the careers that will be forged and the ideas that will be sparked in this wonderful place.” NUI Galway has a distinguished tradition of producing important theatre-makers: great actors such as Siobhán McKenna, Caitlín Maude and Marie Mullen, directors such as Garry Hynes, and many writers, designers, producers, and scholars. The University now welcomes up to 50 undergraduate and 30 postgraduate students to its Drama courses every year. These students take classes in both theatre history and practice, and develop skills in acting, research, creative writing, directing, design, and much more. Their education is enhanced by partnerships with major arts organisations. Together with Druid Theatre, NUI Galway founded the Druid Academy, a new initiative to provide workshops and masterclasses for Galway students, including an annual directing workshop with Tony Award-winning director Garry Hynes. Students also have access to an annual internship programme with Galway International Arts Festival, which provides a behind-the-scenes insight into the management of one of Europe’s biggest festivals. The University also has major research resources in theatre, including the digital archives of the Abbey and Gate Theatres, which provide more than two million scripts, videos, photographs - making NUI Galway the home of the world’s largest digital theatre archive.  Minister Heather Humphreys, TD, Minister for Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs, commented: “Galway is a wonderful hub of Ireland’s cultural life and this development of the O’Donoghue Centre at NUI Galway will be a powerhouse for cultural innovation and will consolidate Galway’s reputation as a centre of creativity. The new centre is a timely addition to NUI Galway’s offering as the Government implements the Creative Ireland initiative, which aims to put culture and creativity at the heart of both public life and public policy.” The building on Earl’s Island began life as a bleach and flax mill in the 1850s. It was then converted into a jute factory, became a bonded warehouse, a factory for making cannon shells during World War I. and was occupied by the 6th Dragoon Guards and the 17th Lancers during the War of Independence. In 1935 it became Irish Metal Industries and was officially opened by Seán Lemass, then Minister for Industry and Commerce, on July 22 1935. And with today’s official opening it has now become the home of the O’Donoghue Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance. Professor Patrick Lonergan, Director of the O’Donoghue Centre for Drama and Theatre Studies at NUI Galway, said: “This Centre is opening at a time when governments are beginning to understand the essential role of creativity in the wellbeing of their nations – and not only in the cultural sphere. There is growing evidence that creative arts contribute to our communities’ wellbeing, including our mental and physical health. And we’re also seeing evidence that business leaders recognise the importance of creativity as a key skill. As Galway moves towards 2020, when it will be Europe’s Capital of Culture, we have a huge opportunity to transform attitudes to the creative arts, and to ensure they are valued both in themselves and for their broader impact. By placing a theatre right at the heart of its campus, NUI Galway is providing a tangible statement of the University’s sense of the importance of creativity.” The Centre was designed by Taylor Architects in Co Mayo and Richard Murphy Architects in Edinburgh, with the work carried out by Purcell Construction. For further course information at the O’Donoghue Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance visit: http://www.nuigalway.ie/creativearts/ -Ends-   Déanfaidh Uachtarán na hÉireann, Micheál D. Ó hUigínn,  Ionad Uí Dhonnchadha don Drámaíocht, an Amharclannaíocht agus an Taibhléiriú a oscailt go hoifigiúil in OÉ Gaillimh Beidh tionchar ceannródaíoch ag Ionad Uí Dhonnchadha don Drámaíocht, an Amharclannaíocht agus an Taibhléiriú ar mhic léinn na hOllscoile agus ar chultúr na Gaillimhe go ginearálta  Déanfaidh Uachtarán na hÉireann, Micheál D. Ó hUigínn,  Ionad Uí Dhonnchadha don Drámaíocht, an Amharclannaíocht agus an Taibhléiriú a oscailt go hoifigiúil inniu (an 10 Aibreán 2017) in OÉ Gaillimh. Beidh an áis nua-aoiseach den chéad scoth seo mar áit lárnach don nuálaíocht agus don chruthaitheacht i gcúrsaí cultúir san Ollscoil agus i gCathair na Gaillimhe. Faoi stiúir an Ollaimh Patrick Lonergan, cuirfear cláir cheannródaíocha ar fáil in Ionad Uí Dhonnchadha, cláir ina mbeidh láidreachtaí agus cumais an phobail áitiúil mar bhunchlocha ach ar cláir iad a bheidh tábhachtach go hidirnáisiúnta i dtaca leis an dearcadh, leis an uaillmhian agus leis an nuálaíocht a bheas ag baint leo.  Tá spás suí do 120 duine san amharclann san Ionad ceannródaíoch seo agus is suíocháin iad a thig a tharraingt ar ais chun gur féidir an spás a úsáid ar iliomad bealach. Tá spásanna stiúideo, seomra ranga, agus seomra ceardlainne agus cleachtaidh ann a chuideoidh go mór le mic léinn na hOllscoile agus freisin leis an bpobal bríomhar, cultúrtha a mhaireann timpeall ar an Ollscoil.    Mar dhuine a thacaigh riamh anall leis na healaíona agus leis an nuálaíocht, thug Uachtarán na hÉireann, Micheál D. Ó hUigínn, ardmholadh d’Ionad Uí Dhonnchadha don Drámaíocht, an Amharclannaíocht agus an Taibhléiriú, agus thug sé le fios go mbeadh “ról tábhachtach ag an Ionad i dtaca le buanú cháil na Gaillimhe mar phríomhchathair an Chultúir in Éirinn agus go mbeadh an tIonad ina ionad idirnáisiúnta don drámaíocht, don amharclannaíocht agus don taibhléiriú.”   Tugtar aitheantas san Ionad do thacaíocht fhlaithiúil, dhaonchairdiúil duine d’fhir ghnó na Gaillimhe, an Dr Donagh Ó Donnchadha, a bhfuil baint aige leis an Ollscoil ó bhain sé Céim sna Dána agus Céim sa Tráchtáil amach anseo sna 1960idí. Chomh maith leis an obair acadúil a bhí le déanamh aige, bhíodh Donagh gníomhach i gcónaí i ngníomhaíochtaí eile ar an gcampas. Bhí sé ina bhall de Chomhairle Teachta na Mac Léinn (ba í seo an chomhairle ionadaíoch do mhic léinn a bhí ann roimh Chomhaltas na Mac Léinn), agus bhí leithéidí an Uachtaráin Micheál D. Ó hUigínn ina leathbhádóir ar an gComhairle aige. Dúirt Uachtarán OÉ Gaillimh, an Dr Jim Browne: “Is lá cinniúnach é seo i stair OÉ Gaillimh - an lá seo ar a n-osclófar Ionad Uí Dhonnchadha don Drámaíocht, an Amharclannaíocht agus an Taibhleiriú, áis den chéad scoth do na taibhealaíona anseo i gcroílár na hOllscoile. Tá an díograis sin ar mhaithe leis na healaíona fréamhaithe go domhain in obair OÉ Gaillimh agus leanfar leis an díograis sin san fhís atá againn don am atá amach romhainn. Is fada muid ag cothú spiorad bríomhar ar an gcampas anseo, spiorad a chuir leis an gcultúr ar bhonn náisiúnta agus a chuir bonn ceart faoi stádas na Gaillimhe mar chathair chruthaitheach agus nuálaíoch. Daingníonn imeachtaí an lae inniu an obair sin a rinneadh leis na blianta fada agus inniu, ba mhaith liom ardmholadh a thabhairt don Dr Donagh Ó Donnchadha agus d’Fhondúireacht na hOllscoile agus buíochas ó chroí a ghabháil leo as a gcuid díograise agus as a gcuid tacaíochta. Agus muid ag díriú ar a bhfuil amach romhainn, samhlaímid na scéalta a inseofar, na gairmeacha beatha a chothófar agus na smaointe a ghinfear san áit iontach seo.”  Thosaigh an tógáil seo ar Oileán an Iarla den chéad uair nuair a tógadh muileann tuartha agus lín anseo sna 1850idí. Ansin rinneadh monarcha shiúiteanna de, ina dhiaidh sin, bhí sé ina thrádstóras faoi bhanna, ina mhonarcha ina ndearnadh sliogáin do ghunnaí móra le linn an Chéad Chogaidh Dhomhanda, agus bhí reisimintí an 6ú Garda Dragúin agus an 17ú Lansaí lonnaithe ann le linn Chogadh na Saoirse. An 22 Iúil 1935, d’oscail Seán Lemass, a bhí ina Aire Tionscal agus Tráchtála ag an am, ionad do Thionscail Mhiotal na hÉireann san fhoirgneamh seo. Agus inniu le hoscailt oifigiúil an fhoirgnimh, is ann a bheas Ionad Uí Dhonnchadha don Drámaíocht, an Amharclannaíocht agus an Taibhléiriú.  Dúirt an tAire Heather Humpreys, TD, an tAire Ealaíon, Oidhreachta, Gnóthaí Réigiúnacha, Tuaithe agus Gaeltachta: “Tá Gaillimh i gceartlár shaol cultúrtha na hÉireann agus le forbairt Ionad Uí Dhonnchadha anseo in OÉ Gaillimh, cuirfear lasair faoin nuálaíocht i gcúrsaí cultúir agus daingneofar cáil na Gaillimhe mar lárionad na cruthaitheachta. Is tráthúil go bhfuil an t-ionad seo curtha ar bun ag OÉ Gaillimh agus an tionscamh Éire Ildánach á chur i bhfeidhm ag an Rialtas, tionscnamh a chuirfidh an cultúr agus an chruthaitheacht i gcroílár an tsaoil phoiblí agus an bheartais phoiblí araon.”  Dúirt an tOllamh Patrick Lonergan, Stiúrthóir Ionad Uí Dhonnchadha don Léann Drámaíochta agus Amharclannaíochta in OÉ Gaillimh: “Beidh an tIonad seo ag oscailt ag am a mbeidh rialtais ag teacht ar thuiscint ar an ról fíorthábhachtach atá ag an gcruthaitheacht i leas a náisiúin - agus nach rud é seo a bhaineann le saol an chultúir amháin. Tá fianaise ann go gcuireann an chruthaitheacht le leas agus folláine ár bpobal, lena n-áirítear sláinte fhisiciúil agus mheabhrach na bpobal sin, agus tá an fhianaise sin ag dul i méid i gcónaí. Tá fianaise anois freisin ann go dtuigeann ceannairí gnó gur scil an-tábhachtach go deo í an chruthaitheacht. Agus Gaillimh ag druidim le 2020, nuair a bheas sí ina Príomhchathair Chultúir na hEorpa, is deis iontach dúinn é an dearcadh atá ag daoine i leith na n-ealaíon cruthaitheach a athrú, agus a chinntiú go bhfuil meas orthu agus ar an tionchar a bhíonn acu ar an saol go ginearálta. Trí amharclann a lonnú i gcroílár an champais, tá ráiteas láidir á dhéanamh ag OÉ Gaillimh go dtuigeann sé a thábhachtaí agus atá an chruthaitheacht.”  Ba iad Taylor Architects i gContae Mhaigh Eo agus Richard Murphy Architects i nDún Éideann a dhear an tIonad, agus ba iad Purcell Construction a rinne an obair air.  Chun tuilleadh eolais a fháil i dtaca le cúrsaí in Ionad Uí Dhonnchadha don Drámaíocht, an Amharclannaíocht agus an Taibhléiriú, téigh chuig: http://www.nuigalway.ie/creativearts/  -Críoch-  

Friday, 21 April 2017

Free access available for technology developers to test their tidal turbine blades at NUI Galway in one of the few such testing facilities available worldwide The Centre for Marine and Renewable Energy in Ireland (MaREI) at NUI Galway will provide test facilities for technology developers to test their tidal turbine blades as part of ‘MaRINET2’, a €10.5 million project funded by the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 programme. The project is inviting an open call to offshore energy technology developers with applications closing on the 20 May 2017.* Currently, in Europe, there is approximately 100 megawatts of tidal stream capacity and 32 megawatts of wave energy capacity when taking into account devices in the water, under construction and permitted. It is expected that between 2015 and 2020 the European ocean energy industry could spend a further €1 billion in research and development, and €3 billion to €4 billion to deploy the projected capacities. With this momentum, the industry association, Ocean Energy Europe, estimates that 100 gigawatts of wave and tidal energy capacity can be deployed in Europe by 2050, that’s almost 1000 times more capacity than is currently available. This industry target is consistent with recent studies on the practical deployment potential of ocean energy in Europe. The global market for ocean energy could see 337 gigawatts of installed capacity by 2050, a third of this would be in Europe. Jamie Goggins, Senior Lecturer in Civil Engineering at NUI Galway, and lead Principal Investigator of the Structures and Materials research area in the MaREI, is responsible for the large structures test facility located at the University that is available under the MARINET2 programme. Commenting on the project, Dr Goggins said: “It is great to have our large structures test cell available for free access for offshore energy technology developers. We have experience of testing both wind and tidal turbine blades and structural components for a number of leading companies. We have invested over €1.5 million in this facility in recent years and understand that it is one of the few, if not the only, test facility in the world available for accelerated life testing studies of full scale tidal turbines under fatigue loading. We look forward to welcoming technology developers to our laboratory under the MARINET2 programme to use the facilities in the Alice Perry Engineering Building.” Today 45% of wave energy companies and 50 % of tidal energy companies are from the new EU member states, EU13. According to the Ocean Energy Strategic Roadmap ‘Building Ocean Energy for Europe’, the right support over the coming decade will enable Europe to maintain leadership in a global market, worth a potential €653 billion in investments between 2010 and 2050, and an annual market of up to €53 billion, hugely benefiting the European economy. Reducing costs and increasing performance through innovation and testing is one of the six essential priority areas identified by the European Technology and Innovation Platform for Ocean Energy (TP Ocean) to be addressed to improve ocean energy technology and decrease its risk profile. To address the need of industry and researchers, a team in the MaREI Centre based at NUI Galway has developed the capability - infrastructure, personnel and knowledge - to conduct static and fatigue testing of full scale tidal turbine blades in the large structures test cell at the University. These types of facilities are becoming essential to tidal turbine developers as the testing is an important step in the certification of their tidal turbine blades for use in full-commercial projects. This state-of-the-art facility, located in the Alice Perry Engineering Building at NUI Galway, is now available to technology developers across Europe as part of the MARINET2 TNA programme. MaRINET2 Project Coordinator, Jimmy Murphy from UCC highlighted the value of the project for the offshore renewable energy sector: “Over the next four years, MaRINET2 will be an important instrument in reducing the cost of development in Europe’s offshore renewable energy sector. It will keep innovative new technologies progressing towards the marketplace, and keep Europe at the cutting edge of development globally. It will also strengthen Europe’s network of world-leading offshore renewables research infrastructure.” Christophe Maisondieu the Marinet2 Access Coordinator for Ifremer (the French Research Institute for Exploitation of the Sea) welcomed the project: “The first Marinet project supported 178 projects over a period of four and a half years, and had a considerable impact on research into offshore renewables in Europe. We look forward to building on this success in MaRINET2, and help develop exciting new renewable energy technologies from around Europe.” For details on eligibility criteria, how to apply, and available testing infrastructures please visit the Marinet2 website at www.marinet2.eu. -Ends-  

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Mary Mitchell O’Connor TD, has announced funding to facilitate the commercialisation of research from NUI Galway.  Eight projects have been funded through the SFI Technology Innovation Development Award (TIDA) programme, which is run in collaboration with Enterprise Ireland and supports researchers undertaking applied research projects that demonstrate potential for strong economic impact. A total of €782,279 was awarded to NUI Galway in areas of research including renewable energies, anti-microbial resistance, sustainable agriculture and Parkinson’s Disease. Professor Lokesh Joshi, Vice President for Research at NUI Galway, welcomed the awards: “Our research often leads to the development of a new or innovative technology, product, process or services. This funding will give these eight researchers the opportunity to demonstrate the technical feasibility of their idea and the commercial opportunities associated with their work. There is huge potential here for both economic and societal impact.” Speaking of the Awards, Minister Mary Mitchell O’Connor said: “I am delighted to announce this investment in research commercialisation and entrepreneurship training, through the SFI TIDA programme. It will enable the research teams to take the first steps in developing new discoveries and inventions with commercial potential. As outlined in the Irish Government’s science strategy, Innovation 2020, we are committed to having one of the most highly skilled and innovative workforces in the world. With SFI-funded researchers receiving entrepreneurship training as part of these awards, we are helping to bring scientific and technological research to market.” The SFI TIDA programme is designed to enable researchers to focus on the initial stages of an applied research project, facilitating researchers with the opportunity to demonstrate the technical feasibility of their project, directed toward the development of a new or innovative technology, product, process or service that has potential for further commercial development. Speaking at the announcement, Professor Mark Ferguson, Director General of Science Foundation Ireland and Chief Scientific Adviser to the Government of Ireland, said: “Science Foundation Ireland is committed to investing in the translation of world-class research from the laboratory to market. We regularly see high quality research discoveries that are likely to have strong economic impact potential; a key objective for Science Foundation Ireland is to increase the number of these discoveries that secure follow-on public or private investment. The SFI TIDA programme plays a key role in this process by providing funding to develop technologies, and by delivering training in entrepreneurship to support Ireland’s next generation of technology start-ups.” The NUI Galway research activities awarded TIDA funding are: Dr Brian Ward, School of Physics, College of Science, NUI Galway Development of an instrument to improve the characterisation of turbulence at tidal energy sites, to assist the tidal renewable energy industry in optimising turbine efficiency. Professor James O’Gara, School of Natural Sciences, NUI Galway Evaluate new antimicrobials, biomaterials and therapeutic approaches for the treatment and prevention of antimicrobial resistant infections. Dr Sara Farrona, School of Natural Sciences, NUI Galway The use of beneficial microorganisms to increase crop resistance and yield under SFI’s Sustainable Agriculture category – Enhancing plant growth and resilience by Ensifer – mediated seed priming Professor Paul Murphy, College of Science, NUI Galway Design and synthesis of carbohydrate based therapies for fibrosis. Dr Daniel O’Toole, College of Medicine, NUI Galway Development of a nebulised recombinant SOD protein for acute respiratory distress syndrome. Dr Thomas Barry, School of Natural Science, NUI Galway Culture independent diagnostics technologies for the rapid detection of Non Tuberculosis Mycobacteria associated with water distribution system contamination. Dr Andrew Flaus, School of Natural Sciences, NUI Galway Optimised chromatin substrates for epigenetic drug screening. Dr Leo Quinlan, School of Medicine, NUI Galway Electrical stimulation cueing for freezing of gait correction in people with Parkinson’s Disease. -Ends-

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Research article published by CÚRAM Investigator the most highly cited article in Cancer Discovery, the premier journal of America Association for Cancer Research The Cancer Discovery review article, ‘Endoplasmic Reticulum Stress-Activated Cell Reprogramming in Oncogenesis’ published by Professor Afshin Samali has become the most highly cited article published by the Cancer Discovery journal in 2015. Professor Afshin Samali, Principal Investigator at CÚRAM, the Science Foundation Ireland Centre for Research in Medical Devices, is based at NUI Galway where he is Professor of Biochemistry and Director of the Apoptosis Research Centre (ARC). Professor Samali’s research is focused on the fields of cell stress and cell death. His work asks fundamental scientific questions pertaining to endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress signaling, its role in the life/death decisions that a cell makes and the associated implications for human disease. Professor Samali from CÚRAM at NUI Galway, said: “Cellular stress responses are mechanisms activated by cells in response to stressful stimuli, including extremes of temperature, exposure to toxins, and mechanical damage and are crucial in determining cell fate in response to the stress. My research goal is to uncover the signalling pathways that are activated during endoplasmic reticulum stress and the unfolded protein response (UPR) and to understand the links between these stress response pathways and cell death and how these processes contribute to human diseases.” Currently Professor Samali’s team is working on describing ER stress signalling in health and disease and investigating the role of the IRE1 enzyme, one of three major ER stress sensors in breast cancer and targeting IRE1 in pre-clinical models of breast cancer. The team are also investigating how the unfolded protein response (UPR) controls cell death and survival, and how it is regulated and how cell stress responses influence pro-inflammatory processes and the tumour microenvironment in cancer. “We are interested in identifying and validating new ER stress and cell death related targets for drug discovery efforts. The goal is to develop approaches and compounds that have therapeutic potential for use in a number of different cancers, for example breast cancer, colorectal or paediatric cancers”, Professor Samali added. Cancer Discovery is the premier cancer information resource published by American Association for Cancer Research (AACR).  Professor Samali’s publication will be highlighted in a special print collection which will include the four most highly cited original research articles and the single-most highly cited review article from each of AACR’s journals.  To read Professor Afshin Samali’s paper visit: http://cancerdiscovery.aacrjournals.org/content/early/2015/05/13/2159-8290.CD-14-1490 -Ends-

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

NUI Galway recently conferred special certificates on the tenth cohort of ‘graduates’ from its Youth Academy. In total, 318 primary school children from across the West of Ireland received their certificates, with more than 1,000 friends and family attending the ceremony. Established in 2012, the Youth Academy aims to inspire entry to university by introducing primary school students and their families to university life. Since its foundation, over 2,500 students have graduated from a variety of courses on Saturday mornings ranging from Make your own Camera to Art, Engineering to Creative Writing, Cell-EXPLORERS to IT and Make your own Radio Show to Social Innovation. The Youth Academy runs for a six week period and works with high ability fourth, fifth and sixth class primary school children to support their learning and academic development, in partnership with their primary schools. Speaking at the event, President of NUI Galway, Dr Jim Browne, said: “The University has many initiatives where we reach out to the community. We push our staff to share learning and knowledge with school students (primary and secondary) and adult learners. It allows us to share with the community around us our belief that education provides everyone with the opportunity to learn, to experiment, to broaden their horizons, and to shape their future.” For further information on the courses and participation please contact Geraldine Marley, NUI Galway Youth Academy Coordinator, at youthacademy@nuigalway.ie. -Ends-

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

NUI Galway has announced the appointment of Professor Siobhán Mullally as the Established Professor of Human Rights Law and Director of the Irish Centre for Human Rights at NUI Galway. Professor Mullally will take up her post in September 2017. Professor Mullally is currently a Professor at the School of Law, UCC where she also holds the position of Vice-Head of the College of Business & Law. She was recently elected President of the Council of Europe expert group on human trafficking, GRETA. Professor Mullally is also a Commissioner of the Irish Human Rights & Equality Commission and a member of the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague. Professor Mullally has worked as an adviser and consultant on human rights, migration and asylum law, gender and justice sector reform for UN bodies and international organisations in many parts of the world, including in Ethiopia, Timor-Leste, Kazakhstan, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Kosovo.  In 2009, she was appointed by the International Bar Association to an inquiry team, examining the independence of the judiciary in Pakistan. As President and member of the Council of Europe anti-trafficking body (GRETA), she has been rapporteur for several country reports, including Hungary, France, Italy, UK and Sweden. Professor Mullally is the Irish member of the Odysseus European network of experts on Asylum and Migration Law. Prior to her appointment at UCC, Professor Mullally held lecturing posts in the UK and Pakistan. She has held visiting positions at several leading universities, including at Harvard Law School, Cornell University, Sydney Law School, National Law School of India, Bangalore. In 2009-2010, she was a Fulbright Scholar and Senior Fellow in Residence at Columbia University, Gender, Sexuality and Law Centre, and inn 2011-2012, she was awarded the prestigious Senior Fernand Braudel Fellowship at the European University Institute, Florence.  Announcing the new appointment, Professor Donncha O’Connell, Head of the School of Law at NUI Galway, said: “We, in the School of Law and Irish Centre for Human Rights, are delighted that Siobhán Mullally is joining us as a colleague and we look forward the tremendous value that she will undoubtedly add to our work, nationally and internationally. Professor Mullally is an academic of unrivalled renown who, as well as being recognised internationally as one of the foremost scholars in her field, is also a very generous thought leader in civil society. I am certain that she will, in the years ahead, build on the very strong reputation of the Irish Centre for Human Rights at NUI Galway as a world class academic institution.” Professor Mullally said: “The Irish Centre for Human Rights at NUI Galway  is one of the world’s premier human rights centres, with an outstanding track record of research, post-graduate teaching and doctoral education in the field of human rights law. Uniquely situated at the cross-roads of practice, policy and academia, the Centre brings together human rights practitioners and scholars from across the world in a dynamic intellectual environment. At this critical time for human rights globally, I look forward to working with colleagues at the Centre and School of Law, to contribute to informed policy debates on many pressing human rights challenges  - from gender equality, women’s human rights and social justice, to refugee and migrant protection.” The Irish Centre for Human Rights is one of the world's premier university-based institutions for the study and promotion of human rights and humanitarian law. Since its establishment in January 2000, the Centre has developed a global reputation for excellence in the field of human rights teaching, research and advocacy, which has enabled the institution to attract high quality students to its acclaimed masters and its undergraduate programs as well as to build a thriving community of doctoral researchers. -ENDS-

Thursday, 13 April 2017

NUI Galway and the 30% Club Announce Scholarship to Advance Female Leadership and Executive Representation in Business/Global Organisations Thursday, 13 April, 2017: The J.E. Cairnes School of Business & Economics at NUI Galway, in collaboration with the 30% Club, are delighted to offer a scholarship for its Executive MBA programme. Globally, the 30% Club is establishing partnerships with a number of business schools to rectify the under-representation of women pursuing post-graduate management education, by offering scholarships aimed at women. “We see this scholarship as important in encouraging and equipping talented, experienced women to set their sights on senior leadership roles, to inform and shape the direction of Irish businesses – for the benefit of business and society”, says Professor Anne Scott, Vice President for Equality and Diversity at NUI Galway. The AMBA Accredited NUI Galway Executive MBA integrates an academically rigorous and challenging real-world business education with industry engagement and global learning. With over 45 years of experience in MBA provision, the NUI Galway MBA programme prepares its graduates for accelerated career progression through the acquisition of knowledge, skills and confidence necessary for success in strategic management and senior leadership roles. Professor Breda Sweeney, J.E. Cairnes School of Business & Economics, NUI Galway said: “Executive MBA programme can transform career opportunities for aspiring female executives by equipping graduates with important leadership skills, business acumen and a network of talented executives from diverse professional backgrounds. The success of our Executive MBA in this regard is evident from the achievements of our alumni.” Launched in January 2015, the 30% Club Ireland’s goal is to achieve better gender balance at all levels in leading Irish businesses and aims to develop a diverse pool of talent for all businesses through the efforts of its members who are committed to better gender balance at all levels of their organisations. The initiative is complementary to individual company efforts and existing networking groups, adding to these through collaboration and the visible commitment of senior business leaders. This scholarship is valued at €13,850 in total for the MBA programme which equates to 50% of the fees (fees are €27,700 over the two years). Closing date for receipt of applications of Thursday, 1 June 2017. For more information on the 30% Club scholarship application process, or to submit your application please, contact Mairead McKeon, Executive MBA Programme Administrator at mairead.mckeon@nuigalway.ie  or visit http://www.nuigalway.ie/business-public-policy-law/cairnes/courses/mba/. -Ends-­

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

At the recent Early Childhood Ireland annual conference, Dr Sheila Garrity, research associate for the UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre at NUI Galway, highlighted the ongoing challenges for the professionalisation of the early childhood education and care sector to Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Katherine Zappone TD. The theme for this year’s conference was entitled ‘Valuing the Early Childhood Professional’. Early Childhood Ireland represents over 3,600 childcare members who support over 100,000 children and their families through preschool, afterschool and full day care provision nationwide. Its work includes quality enhancement, publications, advocacy, training, business support and information for a sector that employs 25,000 people today. Dr Garrity from NUI Galway took the opportunity to speak with Minister Zappone to highlight the opportunities available for early childhood educators to undertake a BA or Masters programme in Early Childhood Studies and Practice at the University. The BA and Masters programmes at NUI Galway are offered on a part time blended learning basis, which meet the needs of busy professionals working in, or supporting the early years care and education sector. Dr Garrity highlighted the ongoing challenges for the professionalisation of the early childhood education and care sector and the lack of financial and other supports for professionals wishing to up-skill to degree level. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) recommends that 60% of early childhood educators should be qualified to degree level to ensure quality early childhood education and care provision. A robust body of research, include the Effective Provision of Pre-School Education (EPPE) study in the UK (Sylva et al, 2004) indicates the correlation between early childhood education and care professionals qualifications and quality experiences for young children. Currently in Ireland the percentage of early childhood educators with qualifications above a level seven degree on the National Qualifications Framework stands at 18%. Dr Garrity at NUI Galway, states:“There is a huge need to address the lack of supports and initiatives for early childhood professionals to up-skill to degree level, which is clearly correlated with increased quality provision and practice.” For further information about the UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre, visit: http://www.childandfamilyresearch.ie/ -Ends-

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

NUI Galway will hold a conference focusing on Public and Patient Involvement (PPI) in healthcare research on Thursday, 27 April from 10am-3.30pm in the Institute of Lifecourse and Society (ILAS) Building. PPI involves an active partnership between members of the public, patients, researchers and doctors to ensure that the voice and perspective of the public or patient influence all stages of the research process. Involving the public and patients in planning and conducting research ensures that the real life experiences of patients are considered when decisions are being made about what research should be done, about how to design studies that are sensitive to the needs of patients and how to share the results of studies in language that is understandable and through media channels that are popular with the public. Researchers may not have had personal experience of the condition they are researching, so hearing from patients about the experience of suffering from a particular illness or of living with a particular condition provides a powerful insight into what matters most to patients. Attendees at the conference will hear from Catriona Dunne, an NUI Galway graduate, who lives with impaired vision, about her experience of working with lab-based researchers investigating treatments and cures for blindness. Caitriona said: “People affected by a condition are experts in their condition already from their experiences of living with it day to day so they have a lot of valuable information to offer to scientists, healthcare professionals, policymakers, industry and others. However, it’s not always easy to know how we can do this and where we can get involved in the processes. Patient education courses provide an opportunity for lay people to learn how the research systems work and how they can get involved and give the patient perspective in an effective and meaningful way.” A local group consisting of members of the public from Galway city and county, will describe their experience of working hand-in-hand with NUI Galway researchers in primary care, helping the researchers to plan and conduct research that takes the voice of the patient into account.  Denis Mockler, a member of this group, said: “I have been involved with researchers at NUI Galway for the last year – we all come from different places, we all have different lived experience of dealing with doctors and the healthcare system and we draw on this experience from the patients point of view to help researchers to ask questions that matter to the patient and to communicate in language that the patient can understand. I feel we are making a difference, it’s all about collaboration.”  Katie Scott from UK Cancer Research will also give a keynote presentation about a culture change in that organisation to ensure that all research is driven by the voice of the cancer patients, survivors and carers. A series of workshops at the conference will show researchers and members of the public how to build meaningful partnerships and collaborate to bring about change. The conference is open to members of the public, researchers, doctors and all healthcare professionals with an interest in research and in hearing the voice of the patient. The conference is organised by the HRB Primary Care Clinical Trials Network Ireland, a collaborative group of researchers conducting clinical trials through general practice and primary care, with support from the Irish Platform for Patient Organisations, Science and Industry (IPPOSI) and the HRB Trials Methodology Research Network. Registration is essential. For more information visit www.primarycaretrials.ie, email info@primarycaretrials.ie or contact Edel Murphy, NUI Galway on 091 495308.  - Ends -

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Dilip Thomas, a Doctoral Candidate at the Science Foundation Ireland Centre for Research in Medical Devices (CÚRAM) at NUI Galway, has been awarded first place in the category of ‘Best Preclinical Study’ at the Journal of Wound Care Awards 2017. The Awards recognise the important work carried out by healthcare professionals in all fields of wound care, to benchmark standards within wound care and to highlight the great contribution that nurses, clinicians, scientists, researchers and academics make to the development of wound-care research and practice. Winners are chosen by a prominent panel of expert judges that is representative of the diversity of disciplines and organisations that make up the sector. The judges assess each entry according to its objectives, available resources and budget. Laboratory studies shortlisted for ‘Best Preclinical Study’ award represent a vital first step in evaluating wound care interventions and form the base of the evidence pyramid on which all other research is built. This category recognises the efforts of those researchers who have provided strong, evidence-based studies in wound care. The research for which Dilip was awarded focused on the development of a microgel-based cell delivery device for the treatment of Critical Limb Ischemia (a severe obstruction of the arteries). It captures the essence of interdisciplinary research, where biomaterials have been used to enable existing stem cell-based therapies for debilitating vascular diseases such as Critical Limb Ischemia (CLI). One of the early and critical events in wound healing is the establishment of a robust blood supply network, to promote infiltration of new cells that replace the damaged ones. Dilip's work involved stimulation of new blood vessels, and restoration of blood supply in a pre-clinical model via delivery of human adult mesenchymal stem cells entrapped in collagen-based capsules (referred to as microgels). The research highlights how entrapment of stem cells, and subsequent cell maturation within the engineered microgels enhance the release of therapeutic cargo by the stem cells for regeneration of new blood vessels. And as a therapy, microgels would not only help faster tissue repair but also provide treatment for more patients. Congratulating Mr Thomas on his award, Professor Abhay Pandit, Scientific Director of CÚRAM at NUI Galway, said: “I’m delighted to see our researchers recognised for their hard work. Wound healing is an important area of research at CÚRAM and I’d like to congratulate Dilip on his project and the development of new knowledge in this area.” Commenting on his award, Dilip Thomas said: “I’m delighted to receive the award for Best Preclinical Study and it definitely serves to boost confidence in my work and to motivate further studies. It’s always nice to have your achievements recognised, particularly as I finalise my PhD this year.” Mr Thomas received a BSc in Biotechnology at the University of Mumbai, India and an MSc in Biochemical Engineering at University College London in the UK. His research interests include the development of novel functionalised biomaterials, microencapsulation and transplantation of progenitor cells to promote angiogenesis in ischemic animal models. Journal of Wound Care award finalists were invited to attend an evening gala dinner and awards ceremony last March 2017 at The Banking Hall in London. The full shortlist of finalists for the awards is available at www.jwcawards.com/shortlist-2017 -Ends-

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

NUI Galway Societies celebrated their long history of charitable endeavour and civic outreach at the University’s recent Societies Awards. Almost 20 volunteering and socially active societies within the University focus solely on charity and civic engagement throughout Galway and the wider world, with over a hundred societies in NUI Galway and almost a quarter of a million Euro given in Charity last year, the contribution is immense. Many societies create events that are focused around fundraising, outreach and civic engagement within the campus and the wider community. This engagement with charities and civic projects is heavily evident in our annual society awards. Many of the awards are inspired by and awarded to societies that are involved in working with communities outside the University. Two of NUI Galway volunteering societies, Voluntary Services Abroad and Draíocht, both of whom will send over 70 students to Nepal and Africa this summer, have achieved Signatory Status with Comhlámh, an internationally recognised award for best practice for sending agencies, and the NUI Galway’s Societies Office was awarded with a Supporter Status. Comhámh is an organisation which supports charity and civic organisations that are involved with social justice, human rights and global development issues. Awards presented on the night included: Best Outreach Award – Sláinte Society for the Teddy Bear Hospital Best Event – Sláinte Society for the Teddy Bear Hospital Best Fundraiser - Voluntary Services Abroad The Volunteer Award – Draíocht Society The Community Impact Award – Cancer Society for their Relay for Life event Best New Society – Paediatric Society Best Cultural, Academic & Social Society – Medical Society Best Society in the Charity Civic Field – Climate Change and food Safety (CCAFS) Society NUI Galway Societies Officer Ríona Hughes, said: “The opportunities to engage with the wider community offer the students an opportunity to learn and grow through their experiences. From the numerous school programmes they run, to the charity fundraisers and working with their community partners the Societies fully participates in the world outside the campus.  By becoming active citizens empowered to bring about positive change both locally and internationally they have an opportunity to fully realise their potential and become truly educated.” -Ends-

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

NUI Galway recently held the Third Undergraduate Research Conference which focused on the theme of the Sustainable Development Goals. This year’s theme highlighted the global commitment to the seventeen goals related to health, education and the environment. Students who undertook research from all disciplines presented in a positive and relaxed atmosphere.The conference is unique in that the space provided to present is structured in small groups, there is a mixture of topics in a multi-disciplinary approach and training is provided to enrich the experience of the participants. This widens the thought process of participants as researchers present ideas that is completely different from their background of study. The conference promotes diversity amongst students from different disciplines and increases opportunities for meeting new people and receiving peer evaluation. This event is an opportunity to gain feedback from peers and to grow research skills for future employability. Michelle O'Dowd Lohan, NUI Galway’s Sustainability Engagement Associate, said: “The presentation on the funding avenues available to undertake further study research is great information for students to get at this stage in the year as it is a minefield trying to figure out what the sources of funding are available. Also the opportunity to engage in round table discussion in their areas of interest is a great taster as to what focused research is like.”  The conference is funded by the Research Office and ALIVE, NUI Galway’s student volunteering programme and directly run, created and imagined by students. To learn more: www.nuigalway.ie/undergrad-research/. -Ends-

Monday, 10 April 2017

NUI Galway seminar will discuss methods to engage children in science education NUI Galway’s Cell EXPLORERS science outreach programme is partnering with ProActivate Ireland to organise a day of presentations and discussion on innovative methods of engaging children in science education. The seminar will take place in the Institute for Lifecourse and Society, NUI Galway on Tuesday, 25 April from 10am – 4pm, and will constitute the first public event of the European Union funded project InEdu*. The seminar will focus on a number of key areas in science outreach and education, including: encouraging critical thinking; experimentation and innovation; demonstrating different lines of scientific enquiry; incorporating technology into the classroom; bringing together arts, creativity and science; as well as promotion of social inclusion. Educators engaging children in science, teachers or other science education providers, are invited to join the discussion and share their techniques and tips with a panel of like-minded professionals. Dr Muriel Grenon, Vice-Dean for Promotion of Science Technology Engineering and Maths at NUI Galway, said: “This event is a unique opportunity for participants to learn from one another, exchange best practice, forge potential partnerships, and meet locally based practitioners working in the area of science education or outreach. Importantly, it is a chance to exchange with some of the most successful and innovative science outreach programmes in Europe, all partners in the InEdu project.” One of the European science outreach programmes who will present on the day is Children’s University Foundation, a Polish award winning organisation that have been running original, advanced educational programmes based on children’s curiosity since 2007. Partner institutions featuring on the day will include: the Vienna University Children’s Office which specialises in overcoming stereotyped notions in science with a special focus on social inclusion and those groups who are underrepresented in formal and informal education; the University of Bedfordshire, Department of Teacher Education, which is in the top 20 UK Initial Teacher Training Establishments and has expertise in the primary sector in the delivery of mathematics, science, literacy, and using IT to enhance pupil learning; and ProActivate Ireland, a Galway-based non-profit NGO that participates in European projects in the field of education, unemployment activation, youth, and language learning. Local initiatives, including Cell EXPLORERS, Atlantaquaria, and Dr How's Science Wows will also present their ideas during the day. Registration is free but mandatory for this event. To register through Eventbrite and see a detailed schedule of the day visit https://inedueventgalway.eventbrite.ie or contact ProActivate Ireland directly at info@proactivate.ie or 091 566759. Several slots have been reserved for participants interested in presenting or demonstrating their science-based initiative, including activities that can be used in the classroom. Registration to present or exhibit your own science initiative can also be done through the Eventbrite page. -Ends-