Tuesday, 31 January 2017

Researchers in NUI Galway have issued a call for patients and healthy volunteers to participate in a scientific study to unlock some of the mysteries around schizophrenia. iRELATE is a European Research Council funded project examining the impact of genes, early life experiences and the immune system on the brain. A particular focus of the iRELATE study is to understand how genetic and environmental factors impact on social thinking and interaction, a key factor in schizophrenia related disability. A chronic and severe mental disorder, schizophrenia (which affects between 0.5-1% of the  population) usually manifests between the ages of 18 and 30, affecting how a person thinks, feels, and behaves. Among that age group, the World Health organisation lists schizophrenia among the top five most disabling conditions, ahead of blindness and paraplegia. Gary Donohoe, Professor of Psychology and Director of the Center for Neuroimaging and cognitive Genomics (NICOG) at NUI Galway, is heading up the research project. “Schizophrenia is poorly understood by society as a whole, and there is also an incredible amount that we as clinicians and scientists have yet to understand. In this study we are trying to better understand schizophrenia by looking at how our brains process the social information that allows us to negotiate social situations. We know that there are genetic and environmental factors involved, but how these combine is uncertain. One idea is that these factors may influence brain development via our immune system – a biological system increasingly implicated in schizophrenia risk.” iRELATE will use a combination of state of the art neuroimaging, cognitive testing and molecular and genetic techniques to examine differences in genes and immune function across research participants, and how these may affect the brain. Research will be carried out across two sites in Galway and Dublin: at University Hospital Galway’s HRB Clinical Research Facility  and St. James’s Hospital’s Wellcome-HRB Clinical Research Facility and Centre for Advanced Medical Imaging (CAMI), in collaboration with colleagues from Trinity College Dublin’s Department of Psychiatry. The iRELATE project is currently recruiting research volunteers, including patients with  schizophrenia, and healthy volunteers. “We are asking people to reach out to our team to find out a little bit more about the project and how they may possibly be part of us and help us better understand this condition. Learning about this condition will better inform treatments of the future.” To find out more about volunteering for iRELATE, e-mail: iRELATE@nuigalway.ie ,  telephone 091 495 953, or visit us on our facebook page at www.facebook.com/irelateproject/  or at https://www.nuigalway.ie/nicog/irelate/ -Ends-

Tuesday, 31 January 2017

NUI Galway’s Centre for Irish Studies has announced Sarah Ghriallas as the Sean-nós Singer-in-Residence for 2017. Originally from Muiceanach, Co. Galway, Sarah has long been acknowledged as a sean-nós singer of exceptional talent, winning the coveted Corn Uí Riada award at the Oireachtas for the first time in 1984. That same prize has also been taken home by her son Michael, her sisters Nóra and Nan, and her niece Celia Ní Fhátharta. Sarah’s was a household full of singing and music-making and she credits her parents, Pádraig and Máire, and her wider family for instilling her first love of singing. Some of the songs which are most associated with Sarah include ‘Sagart na Cúile Báine’, Condae Mhaigh Eo’, ‘Táilliúir an Mhagaidh’ agus ‘Eileanóir na Rún’. To begin her residency, Sarah will give a series of five sean-nós singing workshops at the Centre for Irish Studies, NUI Galway, beginning on Wednesday, 8 February at 7pm. Workshops are free and open to all. This scheme is run with support from Ealaín na Gaeltachta, Údarás na Gaeltachta, An Chomhairle Ealaíon and the Centre for Irish Studies, NUI Galway. For further information contact Samantha Williams in the Centre for Irish Studies at 091 492051 or Samantha.williams@nuigalway.ie. -Ends- Sarah Ghriallais Ceaptha mar Amhránaí Cónaitheach ag OÉ Gaillimh Is cúis mhór áthais é d’Ionad an Léinn Éireannaigh, OÉ Gaillimh go bhfuil Sarah Ghriallais ceaptha mar Amhránaí Cónaitheach Sean-nóis i mbliana. Is duine de chlann Ghriallais as Muiceanach-idir-Dhá-Sháile í Sarah Ghriallais a bhfuil cáil na hamhránaíochta sean-nóis uirthi le blianta fada. Ocht n-uaire ar fad atá Corn Uí Riada buaite ag na Griallaiseacha, idir Sarah, a mac Michael, a cuid deirfiúracha Nóra agus Nan agus a neacht Celia Ní Fhátharta. Is sa mbliain 1984 a thug Sarah féin léi duais mhór an Oireachtais, Corn Uí Riada. Is óna hathair, Pádraig Ghriallais, agus a máthair, Máire, a phioc Sarah suas na hamhráin an chéad lá riamh. Baile an-cheolmhar a bhí i Muiceanach ina hóige, dar le Sarah, le bosca ceoil i ngach teach agus bhí na damhsóirí ar an sean-nós chomh fairsing ann is a bhí na hamhránaithe ag an am. Is iad na hamhráin is mó a chasann agus a thaitníonn le Sarah ná ‘Sagart na Cúile Báine’, Condae Mhaigh Eo’, ‘Táilliúir an Mhagaidh’ agus ‘Eileanóir na Rún’. Beidh sraith ceardlann á reachtáil ag Sarah san Ollscoil agus in áiteanna eile san Earrach agus arís sa bhFómhar agus beidh a chuid amhrán á dtaifeadadh aici don gcartlann sean-nóis atá á cur le chéile le blianta beaga anuas ag Ionad an Léinn Éireannaigh. Cuirfear tús leis na ceardlanna i seomra seimineáir an Ionaid ar Bhóthar na Drioglainne, Dé Céadaoin, 8Feabhra, ag 7pm. Tá na ceardlanna saor in aisce agus fáilte roimh daoine a bhfuil spéis acu san amhránaíocht. Is iad Ealaín na Gaeltachta, Údarás na Gaeltachta, An Chomhairle Ealaíon agus Ionad an Léinn Éireannaigh, OÉ Gaillimh, a mhaoiníonn an tionscnamh seo. Tuilleadh eolais ó Samantha Williams, Ionad an Léinn Éireannaigh, OÉ Gaillimh, ag 091 492051 nó Samantha.williams@nuigalway.ie. -Críoch-

Tuesday, 31 January 2017

NUI Galway will hold its Postgraduate Open Day on Tuesday, 7 February, from 1-5pm in the Bailey Allen Hall, Áras na Mac Léinn. The Open Day is an important event for professionals and graduates who are focusing on their future, with an aim of upgrading their qualification, broadening their skills-set, increasing their specialist knowledge and ultimately improving their job prospects. The Open Day will showcase over 160 of NUI Galway’s full-time and part-time postgraduate programmes, and an extensive range of research Masters and doctoral research options. Over 100 information stands will provide details on postgraduate opportunities at the University, with academic staff and current students on hand to answer questions about specific courses. The event will not just highlight the pathways for attendees to progress in their current career track or area of study but will also present the growing number of options for graduates and professionals who want to change track and pursue an alternative career. Sarah Geraghty, Student Recruitment and Outreach Manager at NUI Galway, said: “In addition to a variety of interdisciplinary conversion courses, many of the Masters on offer are open to graduates from multiple undergraduate courses. The Open Day will include a panel discussion on the topic ‘Changing Direction’ with expertise from all corners of the University available to give advice and answer questions for those exploring their options in new fields of study.” A key part of the decision to pursue a postgraduate qualification is finding out as much as possible about the application process and the funding options available. The upcoming Open Day brings together all the key people and organisations that provide support to postgraduate students. The recent announcement by the Department of Education and Skills on increased investment in maintenance grants in 2017/2018 will benefit over 1,000 students. SUSI (Student Universal Support Ireland), the national awarding authority for all higher and further education student grants, will be giving talks at the Open Day and on hand to answer queries about grants and funding. NUI Galway offers a wide range of fourth level courses, developing programmes based on its traditional academic strengths of Arts, Social Sciences, Celtic Studies, Commerce, Medicine, Nursing, Health Science, Law, Engineering, Informatics and Science. These areas have been augmented with innovative research centres in areas as diverse as Biomedical Science and Engineering, International Human Rights, Digital Media and Film Studies and Regenerative Medicine. The Open Day will showcase new programme offerings for 2017 including Masters programmes in Cellular Manufacturing, Astronomical Instrumentation and Technology, Politics and Sociology and Computational Genomics. To view NUI Galway’s suite of new and unique postgraduate programmes and to book your place at the Open Day visit www.nuigalway.ie/postgraduate-open-day  or simply call in on the day. To apply for an NUI Galway postgraduate course visit www.pac.ie/nuigalway. -Ends-

Tuesday, 31 January 2017

CÚRAM Investigator, Dr Manus Biggs, is one of three Irish researchers to receive a newly launched Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) - Science Foundation Ireland joint research grant of over €1 million, awarded between NUI Galway and the University of Glasgow. The BBSRC and Science Foundation Ireland have entered an agreement to welcome, encourage and support research applications that cut across national boundaries involving collaborative teams led by researchers from the UK and Ireland. Dr Biggs will co-lead a research programme in conjunction with Professor Matthew Dalby, Professor of Cell Engineering (Institute of Molecular Cell and Systems Biology) at the University of Glasgow. The programme will focus on the development of nanobiomimetic electrically active scaffolds for bone regeneration, with an aim of producing rapid, large area bone grafts in the laboratory environment. Bone tissue regeneration remains an important challenge in the field of tissue engineering and sees a transplantation frequency second only to that of blood. Bone grafting is the current standard treatment; however, given the inherent limitations of this approach, bone tissue engineering and advanced biomaterials that mimic the structure and function of native tissues hold potential as alternative strategies to regeneration. Current studies in regenerative bone scaffolds suggest that further biomimicry is required before a complete solution to bone regeneration can be delivered. Further evidence has been gathered on the importance of minute electrical and mechanical cues on cell differentiation and function. “This project will further our current understanding of the joint role of electromechanical stimulation on stem cell function. We need to focus on understanding the cellular response to these subtle electrical and mechanical cues,” says Dr Biggs “We can then understand more fully how these influence cell function and tissue regeneration.” This joint programme will focus on combining piezoelectric regenerative scaffolds, (piezoelectric materials have the ability to generate an electric charge in response to applied mechanical stress) with nano mechanical stimulation to develop new bone cells from stem cells. CÚRAM is the Science Foundation Ireland Centre for Research in Medical Devices, based at NUI Galway. Supported by Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) and industry partners, CÚRAM’s goal is to radically improve quality of life for patients with chronic illness by developing the next generation of smart, implantable medical devices. The Centre’s innovative approach incorporates biomaterials, drug delivery, cell based technologies, glycosciences and device design to enhance, develop and validate both traditional and new combinational medical devices, from molecular design stage to implant manufacturing. CÚRAM's devices are being developed with strong clinical collaborations to enable rapid translation of research findings to clinical application. -Ends-

Monday, 30 January 2017

The finals of the Independent.ie Higher Education Fitzgibbon Cup senior hurling championship will be hosted by NUI Galway on 24-25 February, and were officially launched today at the University. It was announced that the final of the Independent.ie Fitzgibbon Cup will be held in Pearse Stadium, Salthill. The semi-finals of the competition will be held in Dangan, the NUI Galway Sports Grounds, along with the semi-finals of the Ryan Cup and the Fergal Maher Cups. The final of the Cup, which is sponsored by Independent.ie for the third year, will also be broadcast live on TG4 and takes place on Saturday, 25 February, 2017. The annual Independent.ie Fitzgibbon Cup dinner will take place on Friday, 24 February in the Westwood Hotel, where the late Joe McDonagh’s association with Gaelic Games at the University will be celebrated on a night I gCuimhne ar Joe. While in college, Joe played for the UCG football and hurling teams, winning a Fresher’s hurling medal in 1972 and featuring in several Sigerson and Fitzgibbon campaigns. As a postgraduate student in 1977 he finally collected his Fitzgibbon Cup medal, having beaten Maynooth in the final, 1-14, 1-12. In the history of the Cup, NUI Galway has won the title 10 times, the last in 2010 when hosted by the University. Previous to that that was 37 years ago in 1980 when also hosted in the west. In the 2016 championship, Mary Immaculate College hurlers were crowned title holders for the first time after defeating their local rivals University of Limerick in extra time. Trinity College Dublin took in the Ryan Cup, and IT Sligo took the Fergal Maher Cup. Commenting on the upcoming championship, Mike Heskin, NUI Galway Director of Sport, said: “NUI Galway is delighted to host the Fitzgibbon Cup sponsored by Independent.ie at the NUI Galway Sport Complex in Dangan. It will be a great festival of hurling with inter county players from all over the country. We are very grateful for the assistance provided by Galway GAA, Croke Park and our sponsors Bank of Ireland in hosting this event.  NUI Galway have won the competition on ten occasions and we hope 2017 will see the University back in the top flight of third level hurling. I would especially encourage all hurling lovers in the West of Ireland to come and support the teams over the weekend.” Arlene Regan, Marketing Manager, Independent.ie said; “We are delighted to be sponsors of the Independent.ie Sigerson and Fitzgibbon Cups for the third year running. These competitions showcase the best of the young GAA talent in the country and as a media organisation that is steeped in GAA tradition, we value our partnership greatly. Best of luck to all the participants this year - if last year is anything to go by, there is a very exciting few months ahead.” -Ends- Corn Mhic Giobúin Independent.ie á reáchtáil ag OÉ Gaillimh in 2017  Reáchtálfaidh OÉ Gaillimh craobhchomórtas Chorn Mhic Giobúin Independent.ie, an craobhchomórtas ardoideachais iománaíochta sinsir, an 24-25 Feabhra, agus seoladh go hoifigiúil an comórtas san Ollscoil inniu. Beidh cluiche ceannais Chorn Mhic Giobúin Independent.ie ar siúl ar Pháirc an Phiarsaigh i mBóthar na Trá.  Beidh na cluichí leathcheannais ar siúl sa Daingean, Ionad Spóirt OÉ Gaillimh, mar aon le cluichí leathcheannais Chorn Uí Riain agus Chorn Fergal Maher. Craolfar beo ar TG4 cluiche ceannais an Choirn, atá urraithe ag Independent.ie don tríú bliain anois, Dé Sathairn, an 25 Feabhra 2017. Beidh dinnéar bliantúil Chorn Mhic Giobúin Independent.ie ar siúl Dé hAoine, an 24 Feabhra in Óstán an Westwood, áit a ndéanfar ceiliúradh ar an gceangal a bhí ag Seosamh Mac Donncha leis na Cluichí Gaelacha san Ollscoil ag an ócáid I gCuimhne ar Joe. Sa choláiste, d'imir Joe ar fhoirne peile agus iománaíochta COG. Bhuaigh sé bonn iománaíochta sa chéad bhliain i 1972 agus bhí sé páirteach in go leor comórtais Sigerson agus Mhic Giobúin. Mar iarchéimí i 1977, bhuaigh sé bonn i gCorn Mhic Giobúin sa deireadh, nuair a bhí an bua ag COG ar Mhá Nuad sa chluiche ceannais, 1-14, 1-12. Tá an Corn buaite ag OÉ Gaillimh deich n-uaire. Is in 2010 a bhuaigh an Ollscoil go deireadh é nuair a bhí an comórtas ar siúl san ollscoil. Tá sé 37 bliain ó shin, i 1980 ó reáchtáladh an Corn san iarthar. I gcraobh 2016, ba iad iománaithe Choláiste Mhuire gan Smál a bhuaigh an corn den chéad uair riamh nuair a fuair siad an ceann is fearr ar a gcomharsana Ollscoil Luimnigh in am breise. Ba iad Coláiste na Tríonóide, Baile Átha Cliath a bhuaigh Corn Uí Riain, agus ba iad IT Shligigh a bhuaigh Corn Fergal Maher. Ag labhairt dó faoin gcraobhchomórtas, dúirt Mike Heskin, Stiúrthóir Spóirt OÉ Gaillimh: “Cúis áthas do OÉ Gaillimh Corn Mhic Giobúin a reáchtáil, urraithe ag Independent.ie in Ionad Spóirt OÉ Gaillimh sa Daingean. Ócáid iontach iománaíochta a bheas inti agus beidh imreoirí contae as fud fad na tíre páirteach. Táimid an-bhuíoch as an gcúnamh ó CLG Chontae na Gaillimhe, Páirc an Chrócaigh agus ónár n-urraitheoirí Banc na hÉireann chun an ócáid seo a reáchtáil.  Tá an comórtas buaite ag OÉ Gaillimh deich mbabhta agus tá súil againn go mbeidh an Ollscoil ar ais i mbarr a réime in 2017 ó thaobh iománaíochta ag an tríú leibhéal de. Mholfainn do dhaoine ar spéis leo an iománaíocht san iarthar tacú leis na foirne ag an deireadh seachtaine.”  Dúirt Arlene Regan, Bainisteoir Margaíochta, Independent.ie; “Tá an-áthas orainn urraíocht a dhéanamh ar Chorn Sigerson agus Mhic Giobúin Independent.ie don tríú bliain as a chéile. Léiríonn na comórtais seo na himreoirí óga CLG is fearr sa tír agus mar eagraíocht atá báite sna meáin agus i dtraidisiún CLG, is mór againn an chomhpháirtíocht seo.  Go n-éirí an t-ádh leis na rannpháirtithe ar fad i mbliana - má bhíonn sé cosúil leis an mbliain seo caite, tá cúpla mí iontach romhainn.”  -Críoch-

Monday, 30 January 2017

NUI Galway’s Centre for Disability Law and Policy has welcomed the publication of the Disabilities (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2016. The Bill has been identified by Government as one of the final steps towards Ireland’s ratification of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Ireland signed the Convention in 2008 and has committed to ratify once reforms to bring our laws into conformity with the Convention have been introduced. Eilionoir Flynn, Centre for Disability Law and Policy, NUI Galway, said: “The Bill will introduce long-overdue reform in the areas of access to goods and services, jury service, electoral laws, and will establish national implementation and monitoring mechanisms for the Convention in Ireland. While the majority of the proposed provisions are to be welcomed, some serious human rights concerns remain.” The Explanatory Memorandum of the Bill states that several key amendments, including those on deprivation of liberty of persons with disabilities will be introduced at Committee stage. These are key human rights issue for people with disabilities, mental health service users and older people; yet to date there has been no public consultation with these communities about the proposed legal changes. Jim Walsh of the Irish Advocacy Network said: “The fact that amendments are only being brought at Committee stage means that there will be less opportunity to debate the provisions. We call on the Department of Health and the Department of Justice to immediately publish their proposals for legal reform in this area and to engage in a meaningful consultation with those who will be directly affected by this part of the law.” The Bill makes important efforts to change jury service laws to eliminate disability-based discrimination which has led to many people (including members of the deaf community and people with learning disabilities) being deemed ineligible for jury service. However, the proposed wording would disqualify ‘a person who does not, in the opinion of the court, have sufficient mental or intellectual capacity to serve as a juror.’ Fiona Walsh, Recovery Experts by Experience, said: “A more human rights-compliant approach would be to disqualify a person who does not, in the opinion of the court, have the ability to perform the functions required of a juror, following the provision of reasonable accommodation.” The Bill designates the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission to monitor the implementation of the Convention in Ireland and provides for the creation of an advisory committee, of which half would be members with disabilities, to guide the Commission in this work. Sarah Lennon, Inclusion Ireland, said: “We are concerned that the Bill does not provide any additional funding to the Commission to carry out this work.  Further, in light of the principle of ‘Nothing About Us Without Us’ which guided the negotiation of the Convention, we urge the Department of Justice to reconsider making lived experience of disability or mental health services a requirement for all members of this advisory committee and not just half.” It is critical that Ireland fulfils its commitment to ratify the Convention as soon as possible. Given Ireland’s length process to prepare for ratification, it should be possible to ratify without entering significant reservations and declarations. Maria Walls, a PhD Scholar at NUI Galway said: “We are gravely concerned that the Department of Justice propose to enter reservations or declarations on Articles 12 and 14 relating to equal recognition before the law and liberty. These articles are core to the spirit and purpose of the Convention and we urge the government to commit to their full implementation in line with the guidance provided by the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.” -Ends-

Monday, 30 January 2017

NUI Galway’s Theatre Week returns to Galway City from 20-25 February celebrating Drama in many forms. This year’s programme contains a diverse programme that will appeal to a variety of people, whether you are a college student or just a Galway theatre lover and showcases the many talents of NUI Galway students through theatre, literature and film. Dramsoc’s flagship for the week is John Steinbeck's classic Of Mice and Men, directed by Naoise O'Beirn. The play dazzled audiences during its Broadway revival in 2014 which starred Chris O'Dowd and James Franco. This show will run for three performances, on the 20, 21 and 22 February at 8pm in the Bank of Ireland Theatre on campus. Featured in this week-long theatre extravaganza will also be the Jerome Hynes One Act Series, hosting five original plays by Dramsoc’s own writers. The plays will have varying themes from comedy to drama and will take place from 22-24 February. Since the inauguration of the series in 2001, many of the playwrights have gone on to win national and international awards and acclaim, and have seen their work produced professionally, and many new theatre companies have also emerged from the process. NUI Galway Societies Officer, Ríona Hughes said: “The week is the perfect showcase for our students, many of whom are studying drama, and we are delighted to invite back our dramatic alumni and feature their work during a week dedicated to theatre. We really hope the public will come onto campus and celebrate with us.” Dramsoc is delighted to support the newly formed Cáca Dána Theatre Company for their second production. The company was founded last year by Dramsoc alumni, Niamh Ryan, Katie Reid, Marie Hegarty and Dara O’Donnell. After a highly successful run in the Town Hall studio with their first play All the World’s a Cage, the company are returning with a new play starring and written by Niamh Ryan entitled Eternal Youth, which made its debut in North Carolina, produced by Lab Theatre. The production resulted in Ryan receiving the Sam Seldon Playwriting award. The play was performed in Dramsoc as a rehearsed reading in 2016 and will now take to the stage in the Town Hall studio. Tickets can be bought from the Town Hall Theatre. Other events taking place during the week include a devised theatre performance, a dance performance, and a variety show hosted by NUI Galway GIGSoc. Full details of each event can be found at http://www.nuigstudents.ie/theatreweek17 or follow the NUI Galway Theatre Week on Facebook for all information. Information and tickets are available from The SocsBox, Áras na Mac Leinn, on 091 492852 or socsbox@socs.nuigalway.ie. -Ends-

Monday, 30 January 2017

NUI Galway’s School of Law will host a public seminar on sports-related concussion and the law on Tuesday, 21 February. Guest speaker, sports law expert Professor Jack Anderson, will speak about brain injury litigation arising from concussion in sport. The seminar is being organised by NUI Galway law lecturer Dr Brian Tobin, who said: “Reports of controversial in-game concussion incidents or of players being forced to retire because of repeated concussion seem all too frequent nowadays in pro rugby, in particular. The seminar will explore what might occur if the controversial issue of concussion in sport was to ultimately collide with its greatest opponent, the law, in the form of brain injury litigation.” Jack Anderson is a Professor of Law at Queen's University Belfast, where he specialises in sports law. He is a member of a number of sports dispute resolution bodies, including those established for the GAA and the FAI. He was recently appointed as an arbitrator to the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Switzerland. The seminar will take place at Áras Moyola, NUI Galway, at 6pm and is free to attend. To register for the concussion seminar visit www.conference.ie. -Ends-

Friday, 27 January 2017

Public Lecture at NUI Galway on McGahern Literary Influences NUI Galway’s Hardiman Library and Moore Institute will host a guest keynote lecture from Professor Frank Shovlin, Institute of Irish Studies, University of Liverpool to mark the publication of a major new book on McGahern’s literary influences. The public lecture will take place on Thursday 2 February in the Moore Institute Seminar Room, NUI Galway at 4pm. The lecture, entitled “Prospecting for Gold – a Year with the McGahern Papers”, will reveal the extent to which the McGahern Archive at NUI Galway influenced the writing of this book and the extent of literary influences in McGahern’s own work. Touchstones: John McGahern’s Classical Style by Professor Shovlin examines the ways in which John McGahern became a writer through his reading. This reading, it is shown, was both extensive and intensive, and tended towards immersion in the classics. As such, new insights are provided into McGahern’s admiration and use of writers as diverse as Dante Alighieri, William Blake, James Joyce, Albert Camus and several others. Evidence for these claims is found both through close reading of McGahern’s published texts as well as unprecedented sleuthing in his extensive archive of papers held at NUI Galway. Dr John Kenny, John McGahern Lecturer in Creative Writing at NUI Galway, who will launch Touchstones following the public lecture, emphasises the importance of this new study: “Frank Shovlin’s book is a milestone for new approaches in McGahern criticism – forensically immersed in our McGahern Archive, and attentive to the depths beneath the realist surface of McGahern’s published work, Touchstones demonstrates that layered reading can add formidably to the sheer enjoyment of the art of fiction.” Frank Shovlin is Professor of Irish Literature in English and Head of Department, Institute of Irish Studies at the University of Liverpool and the author of Journey Westward: Joyce, Dubliners and the Literary Revival (LUP, 2012). ENDS

Friday, 27 January 2017

NUI Galway today (27 January, 2017) welcomed confirmation from the Department of Education and Skills that eligible students from the UK who enrol for eligible courses for the 2017/18 academic year will be able to avail of the Department’s Free Fee Schemes as in previous years. This means that students from Northern Ireland eligible under the Free Fees Initiative for 2017/18 will be entitled to avail of the initiative for the duration of their course. This clarification addresses concerns that the triggering of Article 50 could impact on students should the UK leave the European Union before the student completes her or his degree. Registrar and Deputy President of NUI Galway, Professor Pól Ó Dochartaigh said: “NUI Galway has been working closely with key stakeholders and relevant partners to ensure that students from Britain and Northern Ireland studying here are not disadvantaged in the event of withdrawal from the European Union. We are pleased that Northern Irish students now have certainty that they will be able to avail of free fee schemes in the event of Article 50 being triggered over the course of their studies.” Ms Grainne Dunne, NUI Galway’s Northern Ireland School Liaison Officer added: "The recent initiative by the Irish Universities Association to revise the model for converting A-Level grades to Leaving Certificate points, thereby increasing the CAO points awarded for A Level grades, saw a significant rise in students applying to NUI Galway in 2016. We anticipate a similar upward trend this year and our prospective students from Northern Ireland will certainly be encouraged by this news on the status of the fees." ENDS

Thursday, 26 January 2017

Dr Andrew Smyth, NUI Galway, has secured a prestigious Wellcome Post-Doctoral Training Fellowship award through the SFI-HRB-Wellcome Partnership to carry out a clinical trial to determine the effect of dietary modification on kidney disease. The award is worth €486,492 and will be co-funded by Science Foundation Ireland, the Health Research Board and Wellcome. Using the award, Dr Smyth will also form collaborations with international researchers in McMaster University in Canada and the University of Oxford in the UK to help reveal the risk factors for, and impact of, kidney disease. They will also look at the effect of kidney disease on other aspects of health. Commenting on the award, Dr Smyth said he is: “Very privileged to be given the opportunity to continue to further develop his clinical research skills.” Speaking about the achievement, Dr Graham Love, Chief Executive at the Health Research Board said: “Securing this award is a real testament to Andrew’s research capability. These awards are not easy to get and we are delighted to work with SFI and Wellcome to help make them accessible to Irish researchers.” Commenting on the award, Dr Darrin Morrissey, Director of Programmes at Science Foundation Ireland said: “Science Foundation Ireland would like to congratulate Dr Andrew Smyth as the first recipient in Ireland of this award. I hope that his success will encourage other clinician researchers to explore the opportunities available to support excellent and impactful research through the SFI-HRB-Wellcome Partnership.” Head of Research Careers in Wellcome, Dr Anne-Maire Coriat, commented on the award saying: “We are delighted that Andrew was successful in his application for a Clinical Postdoctoral Research Training Fellowship, he is the first successful applicant from Ireland that Wellcome has supported since we launched the scheme for early postdoctoral fellowships in 2011. Research-active clinicians have an overwhelmingly positive impact on patient care but there are still many challenges facing clinicians who juggle clinical work and research. Our recent support for the Wellcome – Health Research Board Irish Clinical Academic Training (ICAT) Programme is a further example of our support for clinical academic research in Ireland – this award provides support for an all-Ireland cross-institutional, comprehensive national programme for Clinician Scientists based at six major Irish universities and their affiliated hospital groups.” Wellcome’s existing schemes for postdoctoral clinical academics (the Clinical Postdoctoral Research Training Fellowship and Intermediate Clinical Fellowship) have recently been consolidated to establish a new scheme, the Clinical Research Career Development Fellowship. This offers the possibility of longer term support, and much greater flexibility in balancing research and clinical training. Those interested in finding out more, or applying, should visit: https://wellcome.ac.uk/funding/clinical-research-career-development-fellowships. Further Irish success in securing funding Recently, three more Irish researchers were successful in obtaining seed funding, worth over €350,000, from Wellcome through the same SFI-HRB-Wellcome Partnership. The Seed Awards are once-off awards of up to £100,000 (or euro equivalent) designed to help researchers develop a novel research idea, which could form part of a larger grant application in the future. The three recent successful awardees are using their funding to understand the function of a novel molecule in killing breast cancer cells, to model the transport of drugs into diseased heart tissue and to generate models of motor neuron diseases using fruit flies. Among the recipients was Dr Ellen Roche, based in NUI Galway also, will work on modelling the transport of drugs into diseased heart tissue using a novel, implantable device that is attached to the outer surface of the heart. Dr Roche’s work has the potential to ultimately improve treatment for patients with heart failure. Seven researchers based in the Republic of Ireland have been successful in securing Seed Awards since the scheme opened in 2015. The closing date for the next round is 13 March 2017, with outcomes due in May 2017. Anyone wishing to apply can find more information on the scheme here: https://wellcome.ac.uk/funding/seed-awards-science -ends-

Thursday, 26 January 2017

The official opening of the newly established Centre for Economic and Social Research on Dementia at NUI Galway takes place on Tuesday, 31 January. Professor Eamon O’Shea, Director of the new centre, which is funded by the Health Research Board, will give an inaugural lecture entitled Bringing it all back home - Re-imagining Dementia Care in Ireland. The Centre for Economic and Social Research on Dementia has been funded through a €1.6 million award from the Health Research Board. The vision is to provide transformative research and policy frameworks that will support personhood within dementia care through an integrated, holistic and person-centred approach to resource allocation for people with dementia. The Centre’s research programme will investigate optimal, person-centred pathways to care, and placement for people on the margins of home care and residential care. “We want to examine the economic, social and emotional costs of caring for people with dementia, with a particular emphasis on non-pharmacological approaches”, explains Professor O’Shea. “We also want to fully explore the concept of personhood in dementia, which in essence means treating the person with dementia as a person in the first instance. Unfortunately, people with dementia have long experienced instances and behaviours which have denied their personhood, for example being ignored, disrespected or not treated with dignity.” “The centre is committed to a partnership approach with all dementia stakeholders, particularly with people with dementia and their carers,” said Professor O’Shea. In addition, the Centre for Economic and Social Research on Dementia will focus on the implementation of the National Dementia Strategy. It will also promote and build capacity in economic and social research on dementia, develop the next generation of research leaders in the area, and engage directly with health policy makers and practitioners. The Centre’s mission is to: Support economic and social research on dementia in Ireland. Develop and facilitate new thinking on dementia in Ireland that focuses on personhood within dementia. Develop research capacity and facilitate collaboration and networking opportunities in relation to social research on dementia. Provide the research framework for critical appraisal of the implementation of the National Dementia Strategy in Ireland. Include people with dementia and their informal carers in the research process. The work will be hosted at the Institute for Lifecourse and Society at NUI Galway and will complement the University’s existing investment in social gerontology and health economics. The lecture will take place in the Institute for Lifecourse and Society Building, NUI Galway at 5pm.  For more info email cesrd@nuigalway.ie or phone 091 495461 or follow @CESRD_NUIG -ends-

Tuesday, 24 January 2017

NUI Galway will launch two new videos produced by children and young people which focus on parental separation and divorce. Dr Niall Muldoon, the Ombudsman for Children, will attend the launch of the videos ‘It’s OK’ and ‘Dear Parents, Dear Friends’ at NUI Galway’s Institute of Lifecourse and Society on Saturday, 4 February from 12-2pm. Acclaimed Irish actor and Patron of the UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre at NUI Galway, Cillian Murphy, has given his support to this project by introducing each of the videos, which resulted from work undertaken by a group of youth researchers aged 9 to 19 years. The young researchers from various parts of Ireland have, since 2014, been involved in research about how children and young people in Ireland experience parental separation, divorce and resulting changes in family life. The youth researchers considered that it was important to highlight the research findings to a wider audience. Over a six month period they, along with Dr Ann O’Kelly, a researcher from the UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre worked together, in association with Foróige, Ireland’s national youth development organisation, and a Creative Youth Education Programme, TechSpace, to develop their ideas, write scripts and produce two videos. ‘It’s OK’ is aimed at primary school teachers and children and highlights the need for the subject of parental separation and divorce to be discussed openly with young children in school. In the video ‘Dear Parents; Dear Friends’ the youth researchers identify the difficult aspects of parental separation and divorce and provide positive suggestions, especially for parents, to help children and young people overcome these challenges. They also highlight the importance of having support from their friends when difficulties arise. “We are delighted to have the Ombudsman for Children, Dr Niall Muldoon attend this event which will celebrate the work of the young researchers” said Dr Ann O’Kelly, of the UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre.  The launch will include a discussion with the youth researchers, the video makers and presentations by Professor Pat Dolan of the UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre, NUI Galway; Dr Niall Muldoon, the Ombudsman for Children; and the project’s researcher Dr Ann O’Kelly. The UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre supports young people to lead on and collaborate in research projects believing that it positively contributes to their development, enhances their skill set and empowers them to investigate issues and have their voice heard on matters of relevance to their lives. Details of the Centre’s youth as researchers programme are available at www.childandfamilyresearch.ie/youthasresearchers. For further information contact Ann O’Kelly at 085 7412711 or a.cullenokelly1@nuigalway.ie. -Ends-

Monday, 23 January 2017

Tony award-winning musical focuses on water consumption Galway University Musical Society’s (GUMS) 17th annual show ‘Urinetown: The Musical’ will take place in the Black Box Theatre from 7-11 February at 8pm. This underrated and quirky Tony award-winning musical shows a futuristic world where water is scarce and urinating is expensive. The story, full of hilarious characters, satirical script and catchy songs, focuses on class discrimination, corrupt law enforcement, revolution and above all, love. All water consumption is controlled by the unscrupulously greedy Caldwell B. Cladwell and chaos ensues when his daughter falls in love with revolutionary leader Bobby Strong. Riona Hughes, NUI Galway Societies Officer, said: “Galway University Musical Society never fail to deliver top class performances and attendees at last years ‘Adams Family’ will be able to attest to the professionalism of the cast and crew. This year they have taken on a new musical with an intriguing title which is very relevant to an Irish audience as we ponder the future of our water.” Galway University Musical Society is an amateur society run by students with a passion for musicals. Their productions have been nominated for numerous AIMS awards and received rave reviews throughout their years in NUI Galway.  Tickets for Tuesday, 7 and Wednesday, 8 February are €13 or €10 for concession (students or OAPs). Tickets for 9-11 February are €15 or €12 for concession. Tickets are on sale from Wednesday, 25 January, online at www.tht.ie and from the Town Hall Theatre and from the Socs Box in NUI Galway. -Ends-

Thursday, 19 January 2017

 A new robotic device could aid failing hearts by mimicking healthy cardiac muscles An innovative soft robotic sleeve which can help a heart to beat has been developed by researchers including Dr Ellen Roche of National University of Ireland Galway. The soft robotic sleeve wraps around the organ, twisting and compressing in synch with the beating heart, potentially opening new treatment options for people suffering from heart failure. The research has been published in the journal Science Translational Medicine today. Dr Roche is the paper’s first author and former PhD student at the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) and The Wyss Institute of Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University. The research took place at Harvard and at Boston Children’s Hospital. While other therapeutic systems known as ventricular assist devices (VADs) are already used to sustain end-stage heart failure patients awaiting transplant, they extend lives albeit at a high risk due to the number of complications that can occur resulting from their design. Complications include the risk of clotting requiring patients to take potentially dangerous blood thinner medications. Unlike VADs, the soft robotic sleeve does not directly contact blood, avoiding that risk. With heart failure affecting 41 million people worldwide, the hope is the device may one day be able to bridge a patient to transplant or to aid in cardiac rehabilitation and recovery. “This research demonstrates that the growing field of soft robotics can be applied to clinical needs and potentially reduce the burden of heart disease and improve the quality of life for patients,” explains Dr Roche, now a postdoctoral researcher with Professor Peter McHugh in biomedical engineering at National University of Ireland Galway, where she also previously studied for her undergraduate degree in Biomedical Engineering. To create an entirely new device that does not come into contact with blood, the researchers took inspiration from the heart itself. The thin silicone sleeve uses soft pneumatic actuators placed around the heart to mimic the outer muscle layers of the mammalian heart. The actuators twist and compress the sleeve in a similar motion to the beating heart. The device is tethered to an external pump, which uses air to power the soft actuators. "The sleeve can be customized for each patient", said Dr Roche. If a patient has more weakness on the left side of the heart, for example, the actuators can be tuned to give more assistance on that side. The pressure of the actuators can also increase or decrease over time, as the patient’s condition evolves. More research needs to be done before the sleeve can be implanted in humans but the work is an important first step towards an implantable soft robot that can augment organ function. “This research is really significant at the moment because more and more people are ending up with heart failure,” said Roche. “Soft robotic devices are ideally suited to interact with soft tissue and give assistance that can help with augmentation of function, and potentially even healing and recovery.” Senior authors on the study are Professor Conor Walsh, director of the Harvard Biodesign Lab, and Dr Frank Pigula, who was at Boston Childrens Hospital when the research was conducted. The study was co-authored by Markus A. Horvath, Isaac Wamala, Ali Alazmani, Sang-Eun Song, William Whyte, Zurab Machaidze, Christopher J. Payne, James Weaver, Gregory Fishbein, Joseph Kuebler, Nikolay V.Vasilyev and David J. Mooney. It was supported by the Translational Research Program grant from Boston Children’s Hospital, a Director’s Challenge Cross-Platform grant from the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering, Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences and Science Foundation Ireland. -ends-

Tuesday, 17 January 2017

‘Engage ‘17’ will focus on employability, job categories and specific skill sets NUI Galway, Galway Mayo Institute of Technology (GMIT), Galway and Roscommon Education and Training Board (GRETB) and the Galway Technical Institute (GTI) will hold a free information day for adult learners on Saturday, 28 January in the Connacht Hotel from 10am -1pm. ‘Engage ’17’ is suitable for those who need some careers advice; whether it’s to upskill, change career, or find out about study options.  This event focuses on adult learners and brings together career advisors and educational providers in the Galway region. “By reviewing what your current skills and interests are, our advisors can explore learning pathways with you, which can help you achieve your goals whether your direction is a work or study-based one”, explains Nuala McGuinn, Director of the Centre for Adult Learning and Professional Development at NUI Galway. This one-stop-shop event also engages employers with representatives from eight key industry sectors providing careers advice on the various roles and career options in their area. Sectors represented at the event include Business, Sales & Languages, Construction, Creative Arts and Humanities, Information Technology, Science and Engineering, Social Impact Careers and Tourism/Hospitality. The event is a perfect opportunity to hear first-hand, about job categories and specific skill sets that these sectors are actively looking for.  One-to-one consultations are available for those who wish to speak directly with a career counsellor.  Bridie Kiloran, Guidance Counsellor at GMIT, said: “These sessions, which are free of charge, can be pre-booked online. Each consultation will focus on the individual’s personal work and education history and will explore future study and career options with the assistance of a qualified counsellor.” The event is being hosted by the Regional Skills Forum West, a network which supports the development of businesses and their employees through training programmes, research projects and entrepreneurship activities.  “This unique event brings together further and higher education providers with representatives from GMIT, GTI, GRETB and NUI Galway. All will be available to discuss study options, apprenticeships and support services for adult learners”, highlights Claire Hurley, Regional Skills Forum West Manager.  Siobhán Brangwyn of the Adult Education Guidance and Information Service at GRETB, said: “Meeting people who work every day in these industries provides a valuable insight for adults who are either seeking work or considering a career move.” For more information on speakers, or to register for a one-to-one consultation, visit engagegalway.com. Additional information is available at 091 494066, engagegalway17@gmail.com or on social media at #engagegalway. -Ends-

Monday, 16 January 2017

For the second year running NUI Galway will host a regional heat for FameLab 2017, one of the biggest science communication competitions in the world. If you think you can explain a scientific concept to a general audience, in just three minutes, then why not enter? You could become the new face of science, represent Ireland at the 2017 FameLab International finals in the UK, and open doors to global opportunities in science communication. The competition is open to: people who apply science, technology, engineering or mathematics in industry or business; those who work on applying science, engineering, technology or mathematics (e.g. patent clerks, statisticians, consultants to industry); lecturers and researchers in science, technology, engineering or mathematics, including specialist science teachers with a science degree; university students of science, technology, mathematics or engineering aged 18 and over; and those who apply science, technology, mathematics or engineering in the armed forces or government bodies. Training for entrants will take place in Galway on Tuesday, 31 January, with the regional heat scheduled for Tuesday, 21 February. The event will be held at the Taibhdhearc Theatre, Galway. The application deadline to enter the competition is Tuesday, 7 February, 2017. Successful candidates who make it through the initial regional heat stage, will be invited to attend an all-expenses paid ‘Communication Masterclass’, which will take place in Dublin on the 25-26 March, to help develop invaluable STEM media and presentation skills. The FameLab Ireland Final will be held at the Science Gallery, Dublin on Thursday, 13 April 2017. The aim of each presentation is that the audience and judges should be left inspired and enthused about science. The winner will be a charismatic presenter who makes the science easy to listen to, entertaining, exciting and who is not only able to communicate the science but who can share their passion for it. To see terms and conditions and to register your interest and take part in the Famelab Galway competition please visit http://www.britishcouncil.ie/famelab/enter-competition/apply Please contact famelab@ie.britishcouncil.org if you are unsure about your eligibility and check http://www.britishcouncil.ie/famelab/prepare-heats/regional to learn more about regional heats. Follow Famelab Galway on twitter @FameLab_Gaway. -Ends-

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

The 12th annual Teddy Bear Hospital at NUI Galway will take place Thursday and Friday, 19 and 20 January. The event will see over 1,300 sick teddy bears admitted to the hospital, accompanied by their minders, 1,300 primary school children. The event is organised by the Sláinte Society, NUI Galway’s branch of the International Federation of Medical Students Associations, and up to 200 medical and science students will diagnose and treat the teddy bears. In the process, they hope to help children, ranging in age from 3-8 years, feel more comfortable around doctors and hospitals. Over the years, children have come along with teddy bears suffering from an imaginative range of sore ears, sick tummies and all kinds of other weird and wonderful ailments. Sally Cahill, a second year medical student at NUI Galway and co-auditor of Sláinte Society, said: “This year we are celebrating the 12th annual Teddy Bear Hospital. Over the past couple of years, demand from schools to attend the event has increased and as a result the event has become ever bigger in an attempt to cure all of the sick teddies of Galway. We are eagerly awaiting the arrival of our first ‘patients’ on Thursday, 19 January and hope to create a relaxed and enjoyable ‘hospital’ environment for the children.” This year, 25 local primary schools are participating in the event, equating to over 1,300 children. On arrival at the Teddy Bear Hospital on campus, the children will go to the ‘waiting room’, which contains jugglers and face painters. Then the children and their teddy bears are seen by a team of Teddy Doctors and Teddy Nurses, who will examine them. The students will have specially designed X-ray and MRI machines on hand, should the teddy bears need them.  Recuperating teddy bears can avail of medical supplies from the Teddy Bear Pharmacy, stocked with healthy fruit from Burkes Fruit and Veg and Fyffes, along with medical supplies sponsored by Matt O’Flaherty Chemist. After all this excitement the children can enjoy a bouncy castle and entertainment from the juggling society in the college. Further sponsorship for the event came from Bank of Ireland, Dunnes Stores, Mr Price Terryland, Butlers Chocolates, MPS and Evergreen. Ríona Hughes, NUI Galway’s Societies Officer, said: “The Teddy Bear hospital is a magical opportunity for the society to invite the children and their teddies to campus and provide a valuable learning experience for all. It is one of the NUI Galway societies’ most colourful and endearing community outreach programme and we are thrilled with its success. Congratulations to Sláinte Society who engage such a large number of our students in this event for such a positive purpose and we look forward to a rewarding few days for all involved.” -Ends-   Déanann Mic Léinn Leighis OÉ Gaillimh ceiliúradh ar Dhá Bhliain Déag d'Ospidéal na mBéiríní  Den dara bliain déag as a chéile, beidh Otharlann na mBéiríní, ar oscailt in OÉ Gaillimh, Déardaoin, an 19 agus Dé hAoine, an 20 Eanáir. Tiocfaidh breis agus 1,300 béirín tinn chun na hotharlainne lena bhfeighlithe, 1,300 páiste bunscoile. Is é an Cumann Sláinte, craobh OÉ Gaillimh de Chónaidhm Idirnáisiúnta Chumann na Mac Léinn Leighis, agus suas le 200 mac léinn leighis agus eolaíochta a bheidh ar láimh le scrúdú leighis a dhéanamh ar na béiríní agus le cóir leighis a chur orthu. Tá súil acu go gcuideoidh an ócáid le páistí, idir 3-8 mbliana d’aois, a bheith ar a suaimhneas nuair a bheidh siad ag an dochtúir nó san otharlann. Thar na blianta, thug páistí béiríní chuig an otharlann agus iad ag samhlú go raibh réimse leathan tinnis ag gabháil dóibh cosúil le cluasa tinne, boilg bhreoite agus gach cineál gearán eile faoin spéir. Bhí an méid seo a leanas le rá ag Sally Cahill, mac léinn leighis sa dara bliain in OÉ Gaillimh agus comh-iniúchóir an Chumainn Sláinte: “I mbliana táimid ag déanamh ceiliúradh ar dhá bhliain déag d'Ospidéal na mBéiríní. Le roinnt blianta anuas, tá méadú tagtha ar líon na scoileanna atá ag iarraidh freastal ar an ócáid agus, dá bharr sin, tá an ócáid i bhfad níos mó anois chun béiríní na Gaillimhe ar fad a leigheas. Beimid ag súil go mór na chéad ‘othair’ a fheiceáil Déardaoin, an 19 Eanáir agus tá súil againn ospidéal taitneamhach a chruthú do na gasúir ar an lá.” I mbliana, tá 25 bunscoil áitiúil páirteach san ócáid, sin os cionn 1,300 gasúr. Nuair a thagann na páistí chuig Otharlann na mBéiríní ar an gcampas, rachaidh siad chuig an 'seomra feithimh', áit a mbeidh lámhchleasaithe agus maisitheoirí aghaidheanna ag fanacht leo. Ansin buailfidh na páistí agus na béiríní le foireann de Dhochtúirí Béiríní agus d’Altraí Béiríní a chuirfidh scrúdú leighis orthu. Beidh meaisíní speisialta X-gha agus MRI ag na mic léinn ar fhaitíos go mbeidís ag teastáil ó na béiríní.  Beidh Cógaslann Béiríní ann chomh maith, agus beidh torthaí sláintiúla ó Burkes Fruit and Veg agus Fyffes ann mar aon le soláthairtí leighis urraithe ag Cógaslann Matt O’Flaherty le cóir leighis a chur ar na béiríní. Nuair a bheidh an méid sin curtha díobh acu beidh deis ag na gasúir spraoi a bhaint as preabchaisleán agus beidh cumann lámhchleasaíochta an choláiste i mbun siamsaíochta. Rinne Banc na hÉireann, Dunnes Stores, Mr Price Thír Oileáin, Butlers Chocolates, MPS agus Evergreen urraíocht ar an ócáid chomh maith. Bhí an méid seo a leanas le rá ag Ríona Hughes, Oifigeach na gCumann in OÉ Gaillimh: “Is deis iontach é Ospidéal na mBéiríní don chumann chun cuireadh a thabhairt do pháistí agus a mbéiríní chuig an gcampas agus chun taithí luachmhar foghlama a thabhairt do chách. Tá sé ar cheann de na cláir for-rochtana pobail is deise agus is spraíúla atá idir lámha ag cumainn OÉ Gaillimh agus táimid an-bhródúil as chomh maith agus a éiríonn leis an ócáid. Comhghairdeas leis an gCumann Sláinte a thugann deis do líon chomh mór dár gcuid mac léinn a bheith rannpháirteach san ócáid seo do chúis chomh dearfach agus tá súil againn go mbainfidh gach a mbeidh páirteach an-sult as an gcúpla lá seo.” -críoch-

Wednesday, 11 January 2017

Professor Pat Dolan welcomes “a social inclusion agenda that bails out families as well as banks” Speaking ahead of the 2nd Biennial Distinguished Lecture by Leo Varadkar T.D. Minister for Social Protection to be held on Thursday, 12 January at the Institute for Lifecourse and Society (ILAS) NUI Galway, Institute Director Professor Pat Dolan has highlighted the need to see the easing of austerity as an opportunity to provide better family support to those worst affected by the economic crisis over recent years in Ireland. The biennial Distinguished Lecture Series, inaugurated by President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins in 2015, provides a forum for public engagement with the important work of the Institute, through the delivery of key Irish and international policymakers perspectives on how best to address societal issues in an Irish context. “Minister Varadkar’s forthcoming lecture is timely given the current policy crossroads towards enabling social inclusion for those most marginalised,” Professor Dolan said.   Welcoming Minister Varadkar’s engagement with the Institute, Professor Dolan highlighted that within European policy and headline targets, public debate is often focused on very narrow ideas of what exclusion, and hence inclusion, are, and how we need to combat it. “There is currently an overemphasis on economic dimensions, with sometimes a misguided focus on labour market participation as the sole means of lifting people out of poverty and exclusion. This has the damaging effect of isolating many vulnerable sectors of our population, including children, people with disability and older adults. “To be effective, policy shouldn’t divide society into sectors, but should look at inclusivity from cradle to grave. In recent years, for example, we have seen the positive impact on young people of prevention and early intervention initiatives delivered within the community. Such approaches can be replicated for other sectors of society, such as older adults, to support rather than disrupt family lives by empowering communities and reducing the need for institutional care.” Tomorrow’s event will see the second of the Institute’s Distinguished Lectures delivered by Minister Varadkar, who will outline priorities in the area of social inclusion, in addition to remarks in response by Dr Michelle Millar, Senior Research Fellow at ILAS who has completed extensive research on lone parents. The Institute for Lifecourse and Society is the home for applied social sciences at NUI Galway and focuses on issues related to lifecourse and societal issues. It represents a significant and innovative development, in that it brings together interdisciplinary expertise to address the dynamic challenges that face and implicate potentially marginalised sections of our population, at different points in their lives. Engaging in research, community engagement, practice and education, and policy. It draws on the strengths of constituent research Centres in NUl Galway, including; the UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre; Irish Centre for Social Gerontology; Centre for Disability Law and Policy; Centre for Economic and Social Research on Dementia, along with the work of units such as the Irish Centre for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Research, Health Economics and Policy Analysis Centre along with the work of units such as the Community Knowledge Initiative, Community Engaged Research in Action, and Speech and Language Therapy. ENDS

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

Information evening specially designed for mature students, Leaving Certificate students and parents/guardians. NUI Galway will hold a special information evening for prospective students on Wednesday, 18 January from 5.30-8:30pm in the Arts Millennium Building. The event is aimed at mature students, Leaving Certificate students and parents/guardians. The mature students’ element of the information evening is designed for anyone aged 23 or over, who may be considering studies at NUI Galway in 2017. The evening will focus on the benefits and supports for returning to education, career opportunities and subject specific information which will be given through a series of lectures and presentations. A talk will also be given on applying to Medicine as a mature student with information on the HPAT test and the interview process. Trish Bourke, Mature Students Officer at NUI Galway, said: “The evening is specially designed for those who wish to find out more about the degree programmes on offer, the services that the University provides, the CAO application procedure, funding and life as a student on campus. Having studied an Arts degree at NUI Galway myself, I know the value of it and the opportunities it gave me to plan a successful career. There is a place for everyone at NUI Galway whether it is through an Access course or through our Centre for Adult Learning and Professional Development Programmes.” Leaving Certificate students and their parents will have the opportunity to explore in detail the over 60 courses available at undergraduate level. Over 25 subject specific talks are being held on the evening including an Admissions Talk and College talks for Arts, Business, Law, Engineering and Informatics, Science, Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences. For students who are undecided on their career or course choice, the event will include a Career Clinic and a Course Clinic for students and parents to meet University guidance counsellors and school liaison officers to help guide them through the many avenues available. All the relevant support services including Fees, Sports, Admission and Access will be available on the night to provide information and answer any queries.   Sarah Geraghty, Student Recruitment and Outreach Manager at NUI Galway, said: “With so many courses on offer, this event is a perfect opportunity for prospective students and their parents to meet lecturers on campus and to see what degree might be the right fit for them. It is also a chance find out more about new programmes being offered at NUI Galway including the Bachelor of Commerce (Global Experience), Bachelor in Children’s Studies and the BSc (Applied Social Sciences), all of which feature relevant work placement as part of the programme structure.”   For further information on the programmes and opportunities for students at NUI Galway, please visit: www.nuigalway.ie/cao.   -Ends-

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

In a tribute to the late Dr T.K. Whitaker, former Chancellor of the National University of Ireland, Dr Jim Browne, President of NUI Galway said: “On behalf of NUI Galway, I want to express great sadness at the passing of one of the Ireland’s most exemplary public servants. In a career defined by innovation and dedication, led the transformation of Irish economic policy which has shaped modern Ireland. His service to the State continued long beyond his retirement in 1976 and had a major impact on many of facets of Irish life with more than 40 organisations having benefited from his wisdom and leadership. For those of us in academic life, we remember with fondness and high regard his Chancellorship of the National University of Ireland for over 20 years, from 1976 to 1996, at a time when higher education in Ireland underwent its most radical transformation. We are honoured that the Whitaker Institute at NUI Galway stands as acknowledgement of his stature as a policy leader whose legacy will be to have shaped modern Ireland as a sustainable economy, an inclusive society, and a healthy democracy where academic debate and public discourse engage together to advance the greater good. I would like to extend sincere sympathy to his family and friends. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam dílis.” RÁITEAS AR BHÁS AN DR T.K. WHITAKER  In ómós don Dr TK Whitaker, nach maireann, iar-Sheansailéir Ollscoil na hÉireann, dúirt Uachtarán OÉ Gaillimh, an Dr Jim Browne: “Thar ceann OÉ Gaillimh, ba mhaith liom ár mórbhrón a chur in iúl go bhfuil duine de mhórsheirbhísigh eiseamláireacha poiblí na hÉireann ar lár. Ba cheannródaí tiomanta an Dr TK Whitaker ar feadh a shaoil ghairmiúil agus stiúraigh sé an claochló ó bhonn a tháinig ar pholasaí eacnamaíoch na hÉireann a mhúnlaigh Éire na linne seo. Thug sé seirbhís don Stát i bhfad i ndiaidh dó dul ar scor in 1976 agus bhí mórthionchar aige ar an iliomad gné de shaol na hÉireann. Chuaigh a chuid ceannaireachta agus géarchúise chun tairbhe bhreis agus dhá scór eagraíocht. Cuimhnímidne sa saol acadúil, le hardmheas agus le cion, ar a théarma Seansailéireachta ar Ollscoil na hÉireann ar feadh tréimhse de scór bliain, ó 1976 go 1996, tráth a ndeachaigh mórathrú ar an ardoideachas in Éirinn. Cúis bhróid dúinn gurb ann d’Institiúid Whitaker in OÉ Gaillimh ar aitheantas é ar a sheasamh mar cheannródaí polasaí. Clocha ar a charn gur mhúnlaigh sé Éire na linne seo mar gheilleagar inbhuanaithe, mar shochaí chuimsitheach agus mar dhaonlathas folláin, áit a mbíonn caibidil acadúil agus an dioscúrsa poiblí ag cur lena chéile chun leas an phobail. Is mian liom ár gcomhbhrón ó chroí a dhéanamh lena theaghlach agus a chairde. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam dílis.”  

Monday, 9 January 2017

Event to assist students from Tipperary, Clare, Kerry and Limerick considering CAO applications NUI Galway will host an information evening for students, parents, guardians and guidance counsellors in the Strand Hotel, Limerick from 7-9pm on Thursday, 19 January, 2017.  The event will provide information on over 60 courses available to students at undergraduate level. Staff will be on hand to answer any individual questions in relation to courses and practical issues like accommodation, fees and scholarships, and the wide range of support services available to students. To register and see more information visit www.nuigalway.ie/cao. The increasing popularity of NUI Galway is in-part due to innovative programmes, developed in response to the changing needs of the employment market. Feedback also highlights the impact of NUI Galway’s recent rise in university rankings, as it entered the global Top 250 universities for the first time. Sarah Geraghty, Student Recruitment and Outreach Manager at NUI Galway, said: “In recent months, we’ve seen the impact of NUI Galway’s continued rise in world university rankings with huge numbers interested in our courses and in discovering what has made us one of the world’s Top 250 universities. We’re delighted to have the opportunity to showcase the NUI Galway experience in Limerick, from our teaching and research to the clubs, societies and culture that makes us unique. With so many courses on offer, this event is a perfect opportunity for prospective students to meet current students and lecturers to see what degree might be the right fit for them.” Unique programmes include a suite of Arts degree programmes including Drama, Creative Writing and Human Rights, an Energy Systems Engineering degree, a Maths and Education degree aimed at training Maths teachers, a Marine Science degree and Podiatric Medicine, a programme unique in Ireland. Visitors to the information evening will also get information on NUI Galway’s newest degree programmes, a Bachelor of Commerce (Global Experience), Bachelor in Children’s Studies and the BSc (Applied Social Sciences). The event will also be attended by Conor Cleary, NUI Galway student and Clare hurler, who encourages people to attend: “I’m looking forward to meeting students and having the chance to discuss the reasons why I recommend studying at NUI Galway. It’s a university with real ambition for its students, and is helping me to realise my potential. There’s a real focus here on preparing students for what comes next, and I’ve been supported to develop skills which will benefit me throughout my working life and also on the hurling pitch.” Mike Heskin, NUI Galway’s Director of Sport and Physical Activity will outline the University’s supports in this area at the event.  He added: “Sport can be pivotal for wellbeing during our students’ time here and beyond.  At the information evening, I’ll outline the range of sports on offer, from supports for elite athletes, to the unique opportunities Galway provides to all our students, from mountain climbing in Connemara to kayaking on the Corrib.”   To find out more about the information evening, visit www.nuigalway.ie/cao or contact Sadhbh Picilaidis, Marketing Officer, NUI Galway at sadhbh.picilaidis@nuigalway.ie or 091 494398. -Ends-

Friday, 6 January 2017

NUI Galway has announced the appointment of Professor Cathal O’Donoghue as the new Dean of Arts, Social Sciences and Celtic Studies. NUI Galway offers an extensive range of Arts programmes at undergraduate level. The flagship programme, Bachelor of Arts (GY101), is designed to build students’ capacity for creative and critical thinking, equipping graduates for the fast-changing work environment of the future. Other offerings such as the BA Connect and a range of denominated Arts degrees give students greater opportunity to specialise. New programmes being offered this year include the BA in Children’s Studies and a BSc in Applied Social Sciences, both of which are interdisciplinary in nature and include relevant work placements.  Previously, Cathal O’Donoghue was Head of Teagasc’s Rural Economy and Development Programme, one of the four research programmes of Teagasc. He was a member of the board of Teagasc’s research directorate. He was a member of the Fund Council of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR), a $1 billion a year International Agri-Food Research organisation from 2014-2016. From 2012-2014, he was CEO of the Irish Government’s Commission for the Economic Development of Rural Areas 2012-2014, Chairman of the Irish Sport Horse Strategy Committee 2013-2015, was President of the International Microsimulation Association 2011-2015 and is on the Executive of the UK Agricultural Economics Society. In welcoming the appointment, Dr Jim Browne, President of NUI Galway, said: “I’m delighted to welcome Professor Cathal O’Donoghue to NUI Galway as Dean of Arts, Social Sciences and Celtic Studies. Cathal is a distinguished scholar who has significant policy and leadership experience in the social sciences. He brings a great breadth of experience and I look forward to working with him to strengthen and build on the strong foundations in the College of Arts and to further developing new programmes of research and teaching initiatives.” Cathal is a UCC graduate, a statistician and economist by training, with post graduate degrees from the universities of Oxford and Warwick, UCD and the London School of Economics, having worked previously at the ESRI, UK Government Economics Service, the University of Cambridge and NUI Galway.  His personal research programme involves the development and use of policy simulation models, for which he holds a Chair at the University of Maastricht, as well as an adjunct position in UCD. He has published over 150 research papers, four books and supervised over 25 PhD students to completion. He has been an advisor to many international organisations and was a long-term advisor to the British Government’s Department of Work and Pensions on policy modelling earlier in his career. Speaking on his appointment, Professor O’Donoghue said: “I am very energised by taking up this role. As the world has become more complicated and volatile, where big data, 24 hour news and social media bombards us with information, there has never been a greater need for Arts and Social Science graduates and research. We have seen in recent years, that if we don’t get the foundations of society and the economy right in terms of inequality, culture, identity, language, heritage, we get crisis, marginalisation and the large political and social upheavals we are experiencing now.” Professor O’Donoghue added: “The world needs graduates who can distil and critically assess information; have independence of thought; apply creativity, communication and analytical skills; and are adaptive team players. While many traditional professions become obsolete due to advances in technology, there will always be a need for graduates, with these, the core Arts skills. I look forward to working at NUI Galway to enhance the offerings in Arts, Social Sciences and Celtic Studies which will build this critical capacity.” -ENDS-

Thursday, 5 January 2017

NUI Galway’s Centre for Disability Law and Policy will hold a seminar entitled ‘Consent and Refusal: Mental Health, Human Rights and the Law’ on 11 January 2017. The event is part of the research project ‘The Voices of Individuals: Collectively Exploring Self-determination’ (VOICES) and takes place in the University’s Institute for Lifecourse and Society.   This seminar will explore how human rights under the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) can be used to guarantee the right to consent to, and refuse, medical treatment – with a focus on lived experience in the mental health system. “We all take for granted that our refusal of medical treatment will be respected – but the lived experience of people with disabilities and many in the mental health system demonstrates that this is not always the case”, explains Dr Eilionóir Flynn, Principal Investigator on the VOICES Project and Deputy Director of the Centre for Disability Law and Policy at NUI Galway. “For example, the medical system might respect the decision of a cancer patient to refuse chemotherapy, but deny the right of an individual who wants to refuse electro-convulsive therapy.” Dr Flynn added: “The speakers at the event come from a wide range of countries including Kenya, Ireland, Australia, Canada, Colombia, China, India, Sweden, the US and the UK. They have a diverse range of experience – as lawyers, researchers, advocates and activists, with personal and professional experience of consent to treatment and how this impacts people with disabilities and people with experience of the mental health system.” The seminar should be of interest to students, researchers, people with disabilities, people with experience of the mental health system, family members, and practitioners in the fields of law, health and social care. The VOICES project is funded by a European Research Council Starting Grant, awarded to Dr Flynn, the youngest person to ever receive such an award. Its purpose is to look at how people with disabilities are treated by the legal system when they want to make their own decisions – known as ‘legal capacity’. “Legal capacity means being recognised as a decision-maker by the law and making decisions that the law requires other people to respect. VOICES involves a series of workshops and conferences, bringing together people with disabilities and people who write about how law and policy affects people with disabilities. At the end of the project we will publish a book with people’s stories and ideas about how the law should change”, said Dr Flynn. Further information is available at www.ercvoices.com or email Clíona on ercvoices@nuigalway.ie or 091 494272. Participant accessibility requests and enquiries are welcomed. ENDS

Thursday, 5 January 2017

This national study is seeking 1,000 nurses to examine how burnout is having an impact on their ability to provide treatment and care to the elderly population. The School of Psychology and the School of Nursing and Midwifery at NUI Galway is conducting a research study on nursing staff’s experiences of burnout and how this impacts both their mental well-being and capacity to treat and care for the over 65 year olds. All registered general nurses are invited to participate in the online study, and the findings will better inform future policies and interventions for trainee and qualified nursing staff in Ireland. This study is being carried out by Natasha Fitzgerald-Yau, a Psychologist in Clinical Training at the School of Psychology in NUI Galway, under the academic supervision of Dr Jonathan Egan, Deputy Director of the University’s Doctorate Programme in Psychological Science and under Dr Andrew Hunter in Nursing and Midwifery. Ms Fitzgerald-Yau is interested in the effect of burnout and stress on people’s capacity to mentalise. She said: “Mentalising means being aware of what is going on in our own minds, that is our thoughts, feelings, intentions, etc., and in other people’s minds. It is the attachment processes between staff and patients that helps to foster and maintain the capacity to mentalise. When staff are feeling over-pressurised, this attachment relationship can become disrupted or fail to develop. If the ability to mentalise gets compromised then this may explain why both patients and staff alike report feeling objectified within the healthcare system.” A recent survey in 2016 of [i]nursing staff across 200 hospitals in Belgium, England, Finland, Ireland, Spain and Switzerland found that nearly a third showed signs of burnout and a similar proportion were dissatisfied with their job. A qualitative study [ii]in October based on interviews with nurses in three Emergency Departments across Ireland revealed that many leave the profession because of stress and that they are “often forced to engage in a sliding scale of care resulting in reduced dignity for patients”. One such patient group whose care is particularly at risk of being jeopardised are the over 65’s. Patients and staff report the dehumanising experience for patients of being moved around inside hospitals ‘like parcels’. Older patients are more likely to be forgotten about because they are less critical and are less likely to complain. Research has found that negative attitudes towards working with older people pervade among health professionals due to working conditions, poor career prospects and a perceived lack of professional esteem. For those who would like to participate in this national study, please visit the online survey link at http://svy.mk/2j3UtGu. For further information, contact Natasha Fitzgerald-Yau at n.fitzgeraldyau1@nuigalway.ie. -Ends- [i] Aiken, L. H., Sloane, D., Griffiths, P., Rafferty, A. M., Bruyneel, L., McHugh, M., & Sermeus, W. (2016). Nursing skill mix in European hospitals: cross-sectional study of the association with mortality, patient ratings, and quality of care. BMJ Quality & Safety, bmjqs-2016. [ii] White, G. (2016). Understanding Emergency Nurses' experiences of moral distress (Doctoral dissertation).

Wednesday, 4 January 2017

 Event to assist students considering CAO applications NUI Galway will host an information evening for students, parents, guardians and guidance counsellors in the Radisson Hotel in Letterkenny on Thursday, 12 January from 7-9pm.   The event will provide information on over 60 courses available to students at undergraduate level. Staff will be on hand to answer any individual questions in relation to courses and practical issues like accommodation, fees and scholarships, and the wide range of support services available to students. The ever-increasing popularity of NUI Galway is in-part due to innovative programmes, developed in response to the changing needs of the employment market. Feedback also highlights the impact of NUI Galway’s recent rise in university rankings, as it entered the global Top 250 for the first time. Sarah Geraghty, Student Recruitment and Outreach Manager at NUI Galway, said: “NUI Galway has strong links throughout the North West, having recently opened a new medical academy in Letterkenny in addition to providing Irish language courses in Ionad Ghaoth Dobhair.  We are delighted to have the opportunity to visit Letterkenny and showcase all of the undergraduate and postgraduate courses on offer in Galway and throughout the West. With so many courses on offer, this event is a perfect opportunity for prospective students to meet current students and lecturers to see what degree might be the right fit for them.” The event will also be attended by Emer Gallagher, NUI Galway student and Donegal footballer, who encouraged people to attend: “NUI Galway has provided me with a great, holistic education as in addition to developing my academic knowledge, I’ve also developed real world skills which I apply in the workplace and on the football pitch. I look forward to meeting students so I can tell them about my experiences and why I recommend studying at NUI Galway.”    Unique programmes include a suite of Arts degree programmes including Drama, Creative Writing and Human Rights, an Energy Systems Engineering degree, a Maths and Education degree aimed at training Maths teachers, a Marine Science degree and Podiatric Medicine, a programme unique in Ireland. Visitors to the information evening will also get information on NUI Galway’s newest degree programmes, a Bachelor of Commerce (Global Experience), Bachelor in Children’s Studies and the BSc (Applied Social Sciences). To find out more about the information evening, visit www.nuigalway.ie/cao or contact NUI Galway's School Liaison Officer, Gráinne Dunne on 087 2440858 or on grainne.dunne@nuigalway.ie. -Ends-

Tuesday, 3 January 2017

NUI Galway’s School of Psychology, with the support of Cancer Care West is currently recruiting people with persistent fatigue who have completed cancer treatment at least three months ago. Fatigue is one of the most debilitating and frustrating symptoms faced by individuals after cancer treatment. For some, these symptoms can last for months or even years after treatment. This can have an emotional and functional impact on peoples’ lives. Such overwhelming fatigue can hold people back from resuming ‘normal life’ after cancer.  An online programme called ‘REFRESH: Recovery from Cancer-Related Fatigue’ has been developed by NUI Galway and Cancer Care West Hardiman Scholar Teresa Corbett to help people manage fatigue symptoms after cancer. Participants to date reported they found the REFRESH programme both helpful and enjoyable to use.  Cancer-related fatigue is still relatively under-recognised and under-treated. The online programme aims to address this unmet need of cancer survivors by raising awareness about what might cause fatigue and how people can learn to cope with it effectively. The ‘REFRESH: Recovery from Cancer-Related Fatigue’ programme will provide eight online sessions for people in the comfort of their own home. The free online sessions will focus on what people do and think in response to their fatigue symptoms. Participants will be provided with instructions on a range of activity-pacing techniques to encourage more consistent levels of activity from day-to-day. Useful relaxation techniques and how to sleep better will also be addressed. The study is open to people all over Ireland and will take place over the coming months. GPs and cancer support networks around the country are being encouraged to refer suitable people with fatigue to the study. Participants can access all medical services as usual while involved in the programme. Teresa Corbett, coordinator of the study, said: “I’ve met so many people who are fatigued after cancer treatment. Often they feel frustrated and confused about their symptoms. We know that programmes like this can be beneficial. Unfortunately, people often feel that they do not get the support they need to re-adjust to life after cancer. We want to help people to learn skills to enable them to move on with their lives.” Dr Jane Walsh, supervisor of the study at NUI Galway, said: “Online programmes can allow many people to access high quality care from their own home, but we know how important it is to have personal contact as well. This is a promising new online fatigue management programme and we are hopeful it will be of benefit to people with persistent fatigue after cancer.” A REFRESH Programme information evening will be held in the School of Psychology, NUI Galway on Tuesday, 10 January at 7pm. Please email nuigrefresh@gmail.com or phone 091 495951 if interested in attending. All materials are available online for those wishing to learn effective ways of managing their fatigue. For further information contact Niamh Gethin, School of Psychology, NUI Galway, or visit https://nuigrefresh.wordpress.com/. GPs or cancer services who are interested in referring suitable patients to the programme can also use these contact details. -Ends-

Thursday, 8 September 2016

NUI Galway will host a major conference on ‘Planning For Regional Development: The National Planning Framework as a Roadmap for Ireland's Future’. The conference will take place on Friday, 9 September at 9.30am in Áras na Mac Léinn. The conference is organised by the Regional Studies Association Irish Branch, in collaboration with NUI Galway and the Western Development Commission. Current trends suggest that the next 30 years could see the Republic’s population reach up to 6.5 million and Ireland will need to plan for such growth. The development pressures arising, along with the need to address development legacies from the past require innovative and long-term thinking to avoid unnecessary congestion, inadequate housing provision as well as meeting the hugely challenging environment of change internationally, including the impending Brexit. Speakers will include: Paul Hogan, Senior Advisor of Planning at the Department of Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government. Professor Markku Sotarauta, University of Tampere, Finland and an influential expert on leadership and regional development. Peter Mehlbye, former Director of the European Spatial Planning Observatory Network, was involved in the Advisory Committee for the Irish National Spatial Strategy. Professor Leonie Janssen-Jansen, Professor of Land Use Planning at Wageningen University in the Netherlands. Dr Seán O'Riordáin, Chairman of the Public Policy Advisors Network. Dr Patrick Collins, Lecturer in the School of Geography and Archaeology and Cluster Leader in the Whitaker Institute, NUI Galway and local organiser and committee member of the Regional Studies Irish Branch, said: “It is great that we get to bring the conversation on this into the west. NUI Galway has a long history in voicing the need for more balanced approaches to national development. Regional development is not a zero sum game, planning for balance is not ‘taking from one to give to another’. Instead it is ensuring that each place, town, county, city or region can reach its best potential.” This conference is part of a wider public engagement initiative on behalf of the Department of Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government. For further detail regarding conference program and speaker profiles or visit www.rsa-ireland.weebly.com/uploads/6/9/6/0/6960312/rsa_-_conference_v_2.pdf   -Ends-

Tuesday, 13 September 2016

A diagnosis of ADHD for an adult can lead to a sense of disbelief quickly followed by relief. That’s according to a new study of adult ADHD carried out by researchers at the School of Psychology, NUI Galway. The study was done in collaboration with the Irish National Council of AD/HD Support Groups (INCADDS). “Many people have struggled all their lives with the difficulties of ADHD. Its only when they are diagnosed as adults do they realise that they can now name something that has affected them since childhood,” explains the author of the study, Dr Pádraig Mac Neela, a Lecturer in Psychology at NUI Galway and member of the University’s Institute for Lifecourse and Society. He continued: “There are three types of Attention Deficit / Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). For the inattention type of ADHD the main feature is distractibility, organisation, and sustained concentration. The hyperactive / impulsive form of ADHD is marked by high levels of activity, talking and difficult sitting still. The mixed form involves both of the other types together. It is now recognised that ADHD persists into adulthood for up to two-thirds of people who experienced it in childhood. Yet it often goes undiagnosed in childhood, leaving many people unprepared for how they should adapt to manage college, employment and family life. Many doctors, teachers, employers and family members are unaware of ADHD as an adult condition and do not know how to support someone who is affected by it.” The researchers interviewed 19 adults with ADHD in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. They were asked about how ADHD has affected their lives and how they have learned to live with the condition. Only three had a diagnosis of ADHD as children – for the others finding out about ADHD and getting a diagnosis took some years. The average age of diagnosis was 40. ADHD affected their school and college performance, and continued to impede them later in work. Many of the participants had formed a negative view of themselves because they were unable to conform to societal expectations. Some had problems finding a doctor who accepted the idea of adult ADHD. In a majority of cases the diagnosis had come by going the private route to pay for the assessment required. There was concern and stress associated with finding out about having a mental health condition. Yet being able to label it enabled the participants in the study to take more control in their lives. Medication was helpful for some, but all of the participants found benefit from re-thinking the past and identifying positive aspects of ADHD. The study participants were often helped by friends, family and health professionals in putting together the pieces after learning about ADHD. First and foremost they had to rely on themselves to find their way to living with ADHD, not least because of a lack of specialised services and supports for adult ADHD in Ireland. A full copy of ‘Finding Your Way With ADHD: A Study of The Struggle, Supports and Solutions Experienced by Adults With ADHD’ can be found at http://www.incadds.ie/index.html  -ends

Tuesday, 20 December 2016

NUI Galway PhD student Gezahegn Girma Tessema has been awarded the 2016 International Award for Young Agricultural Researchers by the Japanese Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Research Council (AFFRC) and the Japan International Research Center for Agricultural Sciences (JIRCAS). Gezahegn’s research on ‘Contemporary approaches to the improvement of yam germplasm conservation and breeding’ earned this year’s recognition, and was presented at the U Thant International Conference Hall, United Nations University in Tokyo recently. Yam is the second most important root/tuber crop in Africa after cassava, and is extremely important to food security in regions of Southeast Asia and the Pacific, as well as the tropical Americas. Gezahegn was a PhD student from Ethiopia in the Genetics and Biotechnology Laboratory of Professor Charles Spillane within the NUI Galway Plant and AgriBiosciences Research Centre. He carried out his PhD research on yam genetics between NUI Galway and the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (IITA) in Nigeria under the MoU between the two institutions. His research was co-supervised by Professor Spillane and Dr Melaku Gedil from IITA. He was motivated to conduct his research on yams because it is a very important crop offering huge benefits to humankind but the extent of genetic diversity has not been well investigated and minimal efforts have been made to understand its taxonomy. In addition, very little is known regarding which genes are responsible for key traits in yam and there is almost no report on polyploidy and its effect on phenotypic performance. Receiving the award, Gezahegn said: “I feel honoured to be one of the recipients of the 2016 Japan International Award for Young Agricultural Researchers. I am truly pleased for the recognition of our research efforts toward solving some of the challenges in yam germplasm conservation and improvement. This would have not been possible without the great mentorship from my research supervisors, Melaku Gedil and Professors Spillane. I believe that this recognition will motivate other young researchers in making commendable research outputs that contribute to solving agricultural challenges in developing countries.” JIRCAS president Masa Iwanaga expressed his appreciation on the great achievements made by the young awardees, and expectations for much greater success in the future: “Young scientists are essential to developing countries to achieve further development, and the government of Japan sincerely wishes to contribute to the capacity development of the next generation of scientists who will play a major role in improvement of world food and nutrition security.” This annual award, which began in 2007, is organized and presented by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries. Its purpose is to recognise and honour young foreign researchers (under 40 years of age) who are highly recommended by their institutes, and whose outstanding achievements promote research and development of agricultural, forestry, fishery and other related industries in developing regions. Tessema is one of three PhD students from Africa who have graduated to date from NUI Galway under the research alliance partnership between the NUI Galway Plant and AgriBiosciences Research Centre and the world leading non-profit research organisation the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture. -Ends-